Thursday, December 24, 2020

ਨਵੀਂ ਕਿਤਾਬ ਦੀ ਰਿਲੀਜ਼ । New book release

With Satguru Ji's Grace, this month the book "The Sikh Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct): History, Guiding Principles and a Contextual Translation" was released. This was my first book. This was a project which took 10 years, which included collecting information, researching, analysing and writing. Bhai Parmvir Singh from Khalsa Foundation gave me the encouragement to get this project into a book format. Thank you to all the Gursikhs that helped with me with the project.

The book launch and information about the book has been covered in the below links:

To purchase the book please visit If anyone from outside the UK wishes to purchase the book, you need to email and they will arrange it for you.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

ਜਾਨੀ ਸੰਤ ਕੀ ਮਿਤ੍ਰਾਈ । "I made Friends with a Saint"

Prof Uday Singh Ji & Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh Ji

Author: Late Prof. Uday Singh Ji

On page 898 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji there is a line which translates, “I made friends with a saint.” (jaanee sant kee mitraa-ee) I was lucky to have made friends with Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh and to have had his darshan (sight) for 15 years.

The impression of his life on mine is indelible. My parents lived in Jalandhar where they had their own house. I received all my education up to second year in College in Jalandhar. After that however, in March 1944, much against their wishes, I migrated over to Khalsa College, Amritsar. There, suddenly I had many class-mates from villages of Ludhiana, among them the late Mirgind Singh son of the late Giani Nahar Singh, publisher of Bhai Sahib’s books. These students often talked of Bhai Sahib. Giani Puran Singh, at that time the Superintendent of Patiala Hostel, a student-residence where I was putting up, promised to find for me the time when, and place where, I could see Bhai Sahib. In October 1945 I read Bhai Sahib’s ‘Jail Letters’ in my maternal uncle’s house in New Delhi. This was a remarkable work. But more remarkable was the hero of that book, who was also its author.

I became impatient to see him. In the summer of 1946 I was staying with my elder brother in Ferozpur, where Giani Puran Singh came to see us and told me that I could see Bhai Sahib at the house of his son, Sirdar Balbir Singh, in Civil Lines, Ludhiana. There, in July 1946, I say Bhai Sahib for the first time. At that time he didn’t yet look very old. He was broad-shouldered, well-built and of medium height. His forehead was broad, his nose flat and his face very serene. Guru Gobind Singh says “The Khalsa is my own image”. My first impression of Bhai Sahib was that he was indeed Guru’s own image. From this time on, I stayed at his feet for ever. I now know why I moved to Khalsa College, Amritsar, inspite of my parents’ objections. It was to see Bhai Sahib, which, very likely, I would not have, otherwise. No doubt, my destiny then propelled me in his direction.

From August 8, 1946 to end of June 1947 I was employed in the ICAR in New Delhi. That position I resigned on July 1st to prepare for the then freshly instituted competitive exam for recruitment to the Indian Administrative Services. On July 2nd, I took the Bombay Express train from Delhi to Jalandhar. On the way I got off at Ludhiana and went to see Bhai Sahib. When walking to his house I told myself that I had already resigned my job and that therefore I had nothing else to do except prepare for the IAS exam. Moreover the mind was not ready not to compete for this exam, because I was certain I will pass it. So I decided not to ask Bhai Sahib if or if not I should sit for this exam. In this time I reached his house (the famous, Model Town, Ludhiana). There, as I sat before him, the first thing he asked me was, what I was doing. I got caught. Of course I said I will soon sit for the IAS exam. Quick he said “Don’t. You will lose you inclination for Naam and Bani. What will you do with all this worldly education? Let it go.” ਭਾਈ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਬੋਲ ਸਨ: ਨਾਮ ਬਾਨੀ ਦੀ ਰੁਚੀ ਖੋ ਬੈਠੇਂਗਾ | ਛੱਡ ਪੜਾ ਪੜਾਈਆਂ। ਕੀ ਲੈਣਾ ਹੈ? His remarks were always pithy and pointed. I could feel the sting of his words. There it was. He was trying to stop me. I was not willing. The rest of the story is short.

I wrote the IAS exam three times in 1948, 1949 and 1950 and duly failed all three times. In the process I accumulated heavy debts. I realized, only too late, that the Saint’s words could not have gone in vain. He did his duty towards me. Only I failed in mine. From this episode however, I can certainly conclude that a saint can change one’s fate and future. If I were to have accepted Bhai Sahib’s advice, I could have saved three best years of my youth, and instead of failing the exams, could have succeeded in acquiring Naam and Bani. How very blessed that would have been.

During these years I rarely missed his Kirtan Smaagams, but he never ever asked me how I was doing in my exams. After repeated failures in these exams, my future was indeed bleak. My date of birth as wrongly entered in my matriculation certificate made me 25 in October 1950 and that, in twin, made me overage for any more trials. Nor indeed did I want to try again. I had had enough of it. But what will I do? I was only B.A. then. So in September 1950 I joined M.A. (mathematics) as a student. Bhai Sahib’s Vaisakhi Smaagam in April 1951 was held in Amritsar. I went there as I entered the Pandal (congregational area) upstairs, I still remember, the line they were then singing was this: ਕਿਸ ਹੀ ਕੋਈ ਕੋਇ ਮੰਞੁ ਨਿਮਾਣੀ ਇਕੁ ਤੂ ॥ kis hee ko-ee ko-e, manjh nimaanee ek too. (“Some people have others, but I am forlorn and dishonoured; I have only You, Lord.”)

After the night-long Kirtan, I had to come away early the following morning. Before I left, Bhai Sahib told me that he and his Jatha will follow me the same day by the flying train. At its arrival time, I again went to Jalandhar railway station to see him in the train. It was about 2 pm and the date must be April 15, 1951. I was happy to see him again. But I wasn’t aware what was going to happen. He said, “What became of the exam you wanted to write?” My answer was, “I tried again and again but failed every time. I have now become overage for it. So I will have to reborn to pass it.” Quickly he said a line by Bhagat Kabir, ਬਹੁਰਿ ਹਮ ਕਾਹੇ ਆਵਹਿਗੇ ॥ bahur hum kaahe aavehi-gay (“I will not come back again”). Years later, in December 1976, in Toronto, when I asked Bhai Jeevan Singh (himself Bhai Sahib’s lifelong companion) what this meant, he said “what it says.” I leapt for joy. Thus ended sequence of my IAS failures in a blessing from Bhai Sahib.

The month was February or November and the year 1951 or 1953. The place was Khurdpur (in Jalandhar district). I went to hear Bhai Sahib’s Kirtan. There he was, sitting in the centre of the Sangat, clad in his usual blue, singing divine Kirtan, his face beaming with inner joy. After the Kirtan, we moved next door (in the girl’s school, where he was staying). That day I was alone with him several hours. When I said, “Poetry should be like Guru Arjan’s”, He corrected me saying, “It is Gurbani, not poetry.” Continuing, I said, “Life should be like yours”, meaning that I would like my life to become like his. He said: “It will be in a while yet.” Soon it was time to leave. I asked his permission. He said, “I will see you off”, and together we moved out of the room into the compound of the school. There we stood face to face, when he held me in his arms what a beautiful new feeling I had all over my body. And of for the taste in my throat, I have no words for this sensation, because I haven’t had it before or since. Many times later Bhai Sahib and I have embraced each other, but that feeling of unbearable pleasure never returned.

In September 1954, Bhai Sahib preformed an Akhand Paath and Kirtan in Sardar Hardial Singh’s house (on Ladowali Road, Jalandhar). My son, Kirpal Singh, then three and I went to see Bhai Sahib and stayed with him most of that day. We were sitting in the yard, while the Akhand Paath was going on, inside the house. Suddenly Bhai Sahib asked me to run to hear a line that was shortly about to come in the reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and which, he said was for me. I ran in and did hear something, but now I forgot what it was. Later that afternoon, he asked me to get a rickshaw so we could go out for some fresh air. When the rickshaw puller came, I handed Kirpal and my bicycle to him. I sat Bhai Sahib on the rickshaw and started pedalling it myself. We went clear out of town and stopped at the government sugarcane farm.

Parking the rickshaw by an irrigation ditch, I went to the nearby tube-well, leaving Bhai Sahib alone for a short walk in the fields. Soon he came back to the well. Meanwhile I forgot all about Kirpal. In our absence, he started pushing at the rickshaw and, before long, had it upside down in the ditch. That was easy. But how to get the thing back on its wheels? When Bhai Sahib and I came back on the scene, the little boy, still struggling to pull the bicycle out of the ditch, was sweating all over. His clothes were soiled and his hands and feet were muddied. Seeing this Bhai Sahib said to Kirpal, “Watch before you mess your own life like that.” His exact words I forget but the meaning was just about this. From that day on, I had a vague feeling that something bad will happen to Kirpal sometime.

Today with the benefit of hindsight, I can comprehend the message of the one line in the Holy Granth, which, Bhai Sahib said, was for me and which I did hear but then forgot. Very likely that line cautioned me against being too desperately attached to the boy, or for that matter, to other worldly possessions. But since I did not pay attention to the message, Bhai Sahib decided to take me out alone and to repeat the warning in particular reference to the boy.

In June 1955 I passed my M.A. exam. The following one year was my blackest. I had a family, two sons, responsibilities, debts, a first class Master’s degree, but no job. I knew grinding poverty. I made applications all over India, also, some abroad. Finally in July 1956, Khalsa College, Mahilpur, hired me as a lecturer in Mathematics. Bhai Sahib once said to me, “You are good at mathematics”. He used the Persian word “Taq” to say this. To this I attribute my modest success in the line of Mathematics. All these years, Bhai Sahib kept asking me to take Amrit but I kept postponing. In May 1957, I received a post card from him, which, though, was scribed and signed for him by somebody else, and in which he asked my wife and I to come prepared to take Amrit and the time of Shaheedi Gurpurb in Ludhiana (in June). In a post script he said my wife was going to bear my fruit, and so the Amrit Smaagam was arranged only for our sake (before the baby’s arrival that is). We became aware of our secret only after reading his post card, which I still have. It is dated May 25, 1957. We took Amrit in June 1957. Our only daughter was born on November 20, 1957.

In a letter dated March 4, 1960, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, approved my status as graduate student and teaching assistant to do advanced work in Mathematics. I wanted to go. But not without asking Bhai Sahib. In 1947 he dissuaded me from taking the IAS exam. I disobeyed him and suffered. I didn’t want that to happen to me again. I settled with that if he didn’t want me to go, I wouldn’t. in this frame of mind, when I asked his permission, he said, “Go do good to others and come back” ਭਾਈ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦੇ ਬਚਨ ਸਨ: ਜਾਉ, ਪਰਉਪਕਾਰ ਕਰੋ, ਮੁੜ ਕੇ ਆਉ। Subsequently however, when I was refused my visa on medical grounds, in July 1960, I came back to him worried. At that time he had difficulty speaking. But seeing me he said, “Why are you still here? Haven’t you gone?” My question was answered. I realized I will go. But (in the excitement) I forgot to ask him if my family could accompany me, for how long could I stay abroad, when will I see him again. This was my last Darshan (sight) of him. After that I never saw him except in my dreams. I arrived in the states early in September 1960. There in a letter from my wife I learnt that the Saint who had guided and helped me so much, to whom I owed so much and even foretold me my future, had expired in April 1961. I had always desired to go back to India to cling to his feet, but that was not to be.

My present University hired me from September 1961 and my wife and four children joined me in Canada in May 1963.

In September 1970 I sent Kirpal, then 19, to the University of Calgary, as a student. He failed his year there, because, as I learnt later, he started chasing girls. So I asked him to come to my university the following school year. He did come home in the summer months, but didn’t listen to my advice and returned to Calgary. I refused to support him there. Over the telephone and in letters, he became very rude. In a very nasty letter in October 1971, he told me he cut his hair. This was a shock to me. Three months later he said he wanted to marry a German girl, which was another shock to me. Finally I wrote him a long letter in February 1972. In this I told him for the first time what Bhai Sahib said to him 17 years ago in the sugarcane farm in Jalandhar. I said that I was there afraid for him. I also tried to dissuade him from marrying the non-Sikh girl. I pleaded before him to re-grow his hair and to come back home. With trembling hands I remember, I also wrote that if he would not re-grow his hair, and for as long as he would not, our relation as father and son would stand terminated. He never replied to that letter.

In April 1972, at the time of Vaisakhi celebration in Windsor, I learned from my younger brother that Kirpal had made his girl pregnant and that the two had secured an abortion. This news tasted to me like death. In June 1972, he married her. This marriage destroyed what little hope I had of regaining him. There was not contact left between us, even though I gave him to understand (through my brother) that I would recognize their marriage if they both came back into Sikhi. Once or twice in these years, he did phone his mother. He also tried to get a common friend to intervene. I had the impression that he wanted to come back and kept waiting for him.

In September 1974, one day when I came back home, I met a tall non-Sikh white girl and a taller coloured boy standing in front of my house. The boy tried to fight back his nervousness and the girl tried to force out a smile. I asked them in but before they stepped in, my other son Dayaal told me that they were Kirpal and Peggy. He was still shaven. For that and for what I heard. I was angry with them. He was angry with me. I asked him, “Who are you?” Peggy said, “He is your son, Kirpal.” I said to him, “Re-grow your hair and then come back.” They both left, Kirpal still yelling at me. That was the last time I saw him.

I now regret I didn’t then sit with him and talk things over. His coming back was an indication that he was willing to change. The young lady likely would also have accepted some change. If only Kirpal were to come back in Sikh form. But how could that be? He had to mess his life. The Saint’s words had been said long ago.

Bau Mal Singh Ji (right)
Meanwhile I had decided that Canada was not the country for our teenage children. So I sent my family to India to live. This was the summer of 1974 and 1975. In May 1975 I also went to India. In late July that year, my wife and I, and our youngest son Kirat, went to Kumar-hatti in Shimla hills where Bhai Sahib used to stay for summer. Babu-ji Mall Singh (himself a saint and companion of Bhai Sahib for over 50 years) also joined us there. Every time he talked to my wife, he told her to not let me return to Canada alone. I told him in Canada my children were in danger of becoming Christians and that therefore I wouldn’t take them back with me. He still insisted that my wife would accompany me. He even told her to go on fast, or to sit a Dharna (protest) in my way, to stop me from returning to Canada without her. I started wondering why Babu-ji said this again and again.

We left Kumar-hatti on August 6 and Babu-ji saw us off at the bus stop, still insisting that my wife accompany me to Canada. On September 4, while I alone was leaving home for Canada, my wife reminded me of what Babu-ji said so many times. I reached my home in Canada on September 5. A month later, on October 6th evening, my brother phoned me from the states that earlier that day, a little after 5 in the morning, Kirpal had been killed in a car accident near Medicine Hall in Alberta. I then realized the reason for Babu-ji’s insistence. I immediately wired my wife. She arrived on October 12. We cremated Kirpal’s body on October 14, 1975. He was little over 24 at the time of his death.

I offered last Ardas for Kirpal’s soul. Thought of his long separation from us before death made me cry. Sobbing in the Sangat before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I said, “His death does not pain me. His sins do.” I undertook to become responsible for his sins as if I had done them. But asked that he be pardoned. I even asked the Guru to transfer to him (Kirpal) whatever little spiritual attainment I had been blessed with. Of course I remembered Bhai Sahib during the prayer and asked for his help to save Kirpal, his mother, and me. From the Guru, I asked assurance of Kirpal’s protection in specific words which I actually spelled out. I asked to be assured, and in exactly these words, that Kirpal’s sins had been washed, that the messenger of death would not inflict pain on him, that the Guru would hold him by his finger to see him through difficult passages and that he would be in peace hereafter.

In tears all the time, I felt relieved at the conclusion of Ardaas when I said that if he were to be reborn I would be happy to welcome him back into my family line. At this we read a Shabad from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. A miracle happened. Everybody present witnessed it. The Shabad soothed me by saying exactly what I wanted said, and in exactly the words in which I had asked it said. In joy I threw my arms in the air, because I had no doubt that Kirpal had been pardoned. The Shabad was the last on Ang 895 of the Holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Bhai Gurdev Singh read it for us. It is as follows:

ਰਾਮਕਲੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
raamkalee mahalaa panjvaa ||
Raamkalee, Fifth Nanak:

ਦੁਲਭ ਦੇਹ ਸਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਜਾਹਿ ਨ ਦਰਗਹ ਹਾਰਿ ॥
dulabh deh savaar || jaa-eh na dargeh haar ||
Make this human life fruitful (worthwhile), which is obtained with great difficulty. You shall not go as a loser when you go to the Lord's Court.

ਹਲਤਿ ਪਲਤਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਹੋਇ ਵਡਿਆਈ ॥ ਅੰਤ ਕੀ ਬੇਲਾ ਲਏ ਛਡਾਈ ॥੧॥
halat palat tudh ho-e vaddi-aaee || ant kee belaa le-ay chhaddaa-ee ||1||
In this world and the next, you shall obtain honour and glory. At the very last moment, He will save you. ||1||

ਰਾਮ ਕੇ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਉ ॥ ਹਲਤੁ ਪਲਤੁ ਹੋਹਿ ਦੋਵੈ ਸੁਹੇਲੇ ਅਚਰਜ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਧਿਆਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
raam kay gun gaa-o || halat palat ho-eh do-vai suhelay a-charaj purakh dhiaa-o ||1|| rahaa-o ||
Sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.  Meditate on the wondrous Lord God, as this will make you happy and at peace in both this world and the next. ||1||Pause and reflect|| 
ਊਠਤ ਬੈਠਤ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਪੁ ॥ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਸਗਲ ਸੰਤਾਪੁ ॥
oo-that bai-that har jaap || bin-sai sagal santaap ||
While standing up and sitting down, meditate on the Lord,  and all your troubles shall depart.

ਬੈਰੀ ਸਭਿ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਮੀਤ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਚੀਤ ॥੨॥
bai-ree sabh ho-vehi meet || nir-mal teraa ho-vai cheet ||2||
All your enemies will become friends. Your consciousness shall be become stain-free and pure. ||2|| 
ਸਭ ਤੇ ਊਤਮ ਇਹੁ ਕਰਮੁ ॥ ਸਗਲ ਧਰਮ ਮਹਿ ਸ੍ਰੇਸਟ ਧਰਮੁ ॥
sabh tay oo-tam e-hu karam || sagal dharam meh srestt dharam ||
This is the most excellent of all deeds. Of all faiths, this is the most beautiful and excellent faith. 
ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਨਿ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੁ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਜਨਮ ਕਾ ਉਤਰੈ ਭਾਰੁ ॥੩॥
har simaran teraa hoi udhaar || janam janam kaa utarai bhaar ||3||
Meditating in remembrance on the Lord, you shall be saved. You shall be rid of the burden of countless lives. ||3|| 
ਪੂਰਨ ਤੇਰੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਆਸ ॥ ਜਮ ਕੀ ਕਟੀਐ ਤੇਰੀ ਫਾਸ ॥
pooran teree ho-vai aas || gur kaa up-des sunee-jai ||
Your hopes shall be fulfilled, jam kee kattee-ai teree faas || and the noose of the Messenger of Death will (also) be cut away. 
ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਸੁਨੀਜੈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਖਿ ਸਹਜਿ ਸਮੀਜੈ ॥੪॥੩੦॥੪੧॥
gur ka updesh sunee-jai || naanak sukh sehaj samee-jai ||4||30||41||
So listen to the Guru's Teachings. Nanak (Guru says -) (this way) you shall be absorbed in spiritual peace. ||4||30||41||

On hearing this Shabad my pain stopped and healing started. Babu-ji wrote me a very moving letter. In this he clearly said that Kirpal will be reborn in my family line. Subsequently he even discussed it with me and my wife. He didn’t say when. Will Kirpal be reborn as my grandson? Or as what? He didn’t say that either. But with my experience of Bhai Sahib and Babu-ji’s earlier predictions, I do not doubt that this one will also come true. I am waiting for Kirpal. I treasure in my heart many more of Bhai Sahib’s sayings. Some of these I can’t say in English.

In another one, he said such a big thing about such a small man, that I hesitate to disclose it. It is about me. But happen, it will too, no doubt about that. His words, “Do good to others”, said to me on my eve of departure to America, led to my involvement in Gurdwara work in Sudbury and Toronto. But inclusion of detail of such involvement in this article will make it too long, I am afraid. Bhai Sahib had miraculous powers. He could read minds and foretell futures. His words always came true. By his magical powers, he could changes one’s future. He could even alter the course of nature.

Once, during his Kirtan in Narangwal, rain started. The Sangat started moving for cover. The heavenly bliss coming from Kirtan was thus interrupted. At that time the line they were singing was ਕਿਛੁ ਹਾਥਿ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੈ ਕਿਛੁ ਨਾਹੀ… kichh haath kissai dai kichh naahee (“We have nothing, i.e. no power, in our hands…") At this he lifted his hand and in a loud voice he said ਇਸ ਮੇਘਲੇ ਦੇ ਹੱਥ ਭੀ ਕੁਛ ਨਹੀਂ (This rain also has nothing in its hands, i.e. has no power!) Soon the rain stopped and his Kirtan continued. His Kirtan would usually last for well over twenty four hours, sometimes over thirty-six. All these hours he would sit there, sometimes motionless for hours. In his company ordinary men and women turned into singers of Gurbani, and he collected hundreds such around him, because many singing birds alighted on his Kirtan-Sarovar (lake of singing divine-praises).

A school teacher (I think Tarlok Singh was his name) used to sing a long Shabad in Sarang Raag, ਸਭ ਦੇਖੀਐ ਅਨਭੈ ਕਾ ਦਾਤਾ ॥ sabh day-kheeai an-bhai ka daataa (“See the Giver of fearlessness in all”) and the Sangat would be spell-bound. Bhai Jeevan Singh who sang Kirtan for Bhai Sahib for a quarter century is still doing it. A young lady used to sing a Shabad, ਮੋਹਿ ਲਾਗਤੀ ਤਾਲਾਬੇਲੀ ॥ mohi laagtee taalaa-baylee (“I am restless and unhappy”). Twice I heard her sing it. But only twice. It was blissful. A boy of ten used to sit and sing all night.

Bhai Sahib did not like the show off of musicians. He sang Gurbani in straight tunes. He revived the disappearing Sikh tradition of night long Kirtan. His Rainas-baaee Kirtan always started with the Shabad headed “Din Rain” on Ang 136 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. As Kirtan progressed, the voice of singers became croaky but more sharp, till, around early morning, the Kirtan seemed coming from heaven, and became unbearably sweet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਵਿੱਚ 'ਘਰੁ' ਦਾ ਮਤਲਬ । What does "Ghar" mean in Gurbani?

The word "Ghar" is written in the title (Sirlekh) of Shabads (sacred hymns) written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. "Ghar" literally means "house". In the context of Gurbani "Ghar" means "the rules of the house" (i.e. rule of reading or singing the particular Shabad).

To understand the "Ghar", the rules of the house, i.e the rules relating to singing or reading the Shabad, numbers have been given. For example 1, 2, 3 etc. 

The below line is "Ghar 1", which means it can be read straight without any break/comma:
ਕਰਿ ਬੰਦੇ ਤੂ ਬੰਦਗੀ ਜਿਚਰੁ ਘਟ ਮਹਿ ਸਾਹੁ॥
kar band-e too bandgee jichar ghat meh saahu.
(Ang 724)

The below line is in "Ghar 2", which means the line needs to be read in two parts:
ਹਮ ਭੀਖਕ ਭੇਖਾਰੀ ਤੇਰੇ;  ਤੂ ਨਿਜਪਤਿ ਹੈ ਦਾਤਾ॥
ham bheekhak bhekhaaree tere;  too nij-pat hai daataa.
(Ang 666)

The below line is in "Ghar 3", which means the line needs to be read in three parts:
ਜਹ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਭਇਆ;  ਤਹ ਉਪਾਧਿ ਗਤੁ ਕੀਨੀ;  ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਨਾ॥
jeh har simran bheyaa;  teh upaad gat keenee;  vad-bhaagee har japnaa. (Ang 670)

The below line is in "Ghar 4", which means the line needs to be read in four parts:
ਊਚਨ ਊਚਾ;  ਬੀਚੁਨ ਖੀਚਾ;  ਹਉ ਤੇਰਾ;  ਤੂੰ ਮੋਰਾ॥

oochan oocha;  beechan kheechaa;  hau teraa;  too meraa. (Ang 821)

In reference to the above rule, there can only be a maximum of 8 Ghars one particular line.

However, "Ghar" can also means the total number of words in one verse of a Shabad. Read more about this on:

Source: "Ghar Da Vidhaan" book, authored by Dr Charan Kamal Singh

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Banbury Sikhs protest in solidarity with farmers in India...


Great to see our local newspaper has covered the farmer protest that is taking place in India and across the globe. I would urge everyone who supports this protest to contact their local media outlets and spread the awareness.

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Friday, December 04, 2020

Question: Is it important to be able to read Gurmukhi (Punjabi script)?


Question: Is it important to be able to read Gurmukhi (Punjabi script)? 

Answer: The main reason for learning to speak Punjabi and to be able to read Gurmukhi (the Punjabi script) is so that we can build a relationship with our Guru and get a better grasp of the deeper meanings and context of Gurbani (scripture). Our Guru is the ‘Shabad Guru’, i.e. the Holy Word of God. In order to be able to best experience its power and energy, we need to be able to pronounce it correctly. To understand and learn from Gurbani (scripture) it is best if one reads it themselves and tries to understand it, rather than solely relying on the personal interpretations, translations and experiences of others (which all have limitations!). 

When we hear the stories of the amazing Sikhs in our history who were brave, courageous, and full spiritual strength, we have to realise that this is only possible through reading Gurbani (scripture) and Naam Simran (meditation upon God). What better motivation to learn Gurmukhi and start the journey to have conversations and learn from the Shabad-Guru. 

It is never too late to learn! There are Sikhs of different colours and ethnic backgrounds who are not linked to Punjab, but they have learnt Gurmukhi and Punjabi and are able to fluently read Gurbani and do Keertan (sing sacred hymns). Anything can be achieved with the right intention, motivation and effort. However, seriously reflect on your children and future generation by making Gurbani and Gurmukhi a priority in their lives at an early age. It is important we spiritually invest in our children from when they are born.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Question: I have been living with my partner for some years but not had an Anand Karaj. Should I get an Anand Karaj done?


Question: I have been in a serious relationship with my partner for some years. We live together and I feel blessed to have her. We never had a religious wedding or a civil wedding. I have rediscovered my faith now and feel I am progressing in my Sikhi. My question is that should I now have an Anand Kaaraj (Sikh wedding ceremony) with my partner? 

Answer: A lot of parents of children who are already in a relationship with someone, want them to have Anand Kaaraj because (1) “what will relatives say?”, (2) “it will look nice!”, (3) “it’s embarrassing otherwise” etc. These are not the reasons that Guru Sahib gave us the Anand Kaaraj.

The Anand Kaaraj ceremony is a very important ceremony, which is not a ritual but seeking approval of Guru Sahib to be husband and wife, and whereby husband wife not only commit to one another, but also commit to God that they will lead a spiritual life together and follow the instructions of the Guru. However, unfortunately, the majority of the Punjabi community, starting from our elders, have lost the true essence and meaning of Anand Kaaraj! 
It would make no sense for someone who has built a house without Council permission to later on think that “Shall we get approval for this house built without a license?” One would only ask approval from the Council, if one was prepared to have the house demolished, and then rebuilt in accordance to the rules and regulations of the Council. In the same way, it would not make sense to seek approval and permission from Guru Ji to start a relationship of husband and wife, when a man and woman are already living like husband and wife.

Instead, the best option would be when you both take Amrit (baptism). The Panj Pyaare (Five Chosen Sikhs that conduct the ceremony) will ask everyone whether they have had their relationships sanctified in accordance to Guru’s Maryada (Way) by having an Anand Kaaraj. When you tell them that you are partners but haven’t had an Anand Kaaraj ceremony, the Panj Pyaare will either arrange for you to have one during the Amrit Sanchaar (baptism ceremony) or straight after it in the presence of all the Sangat (congregation).

Taking Amrit (baptism), is like demolishing an illegally built dwelling, i.e. demolishing one’s thinking and ego, and then letting the Guru rebuild a beautiful house of married life in accordance to the rules and regulations of God, just like the Council would give approval for a new house after demolishing the illegal building first. Following and living in accordance to these rules and regulations then leads to a spiritually happy and satisfied life.

Until you both take Amrit (baptism), work together to bring spirituality into your lives. Learn about Sikhi together, do Simran (meditation) and read Gurbani (scripture) together, keep Sangat (company) of godly souls that bring you closer to Guru Ji and do Seva (selfless service) at the Gurdwara, of your parents and of the community. This will give you a good foundation for when you both take Amrit and have Anand Kaaraj in accordance to Guru’s Maryada (Way).

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

ਦੋ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਦੀ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਜੋ ਝੂਠ ਬੋਲਣਾ ਬੰਦ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰ ਸਕਦੇ ਸਨ । Story of two Sikhs who couldn't stop lying...

Bhai Puriya Ji and Bhai Choohar Ji were Chaudhary (headmen of a small area) by profession and came to the refuge of the Fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Their profession was such that they could not avoid lying and doing other such sinful practices including corruption.

They came to the Darbaar (court) of Guru Ji and truthfully pleaded, “O Satguru Ji (True Guru), since we are Chaudharies (headmen) we lie a lot… how can we attain salvation?”

Guru Ji replied, “You will have to stop lying if you want to be saved.”

They honestly replied, “Dear Great Guru, we are Chaudharies (headmen) by profession and it is impossible for us to carry on with our profession without lying.”

Guru Ji is extremely compassionate and kind. Guru Ji could have denied them Sikhi but Guru Sahib is always merciful. Guru Ji lovingly said, “If you can't stop lying then continue your normal day only after waking up Amrit-vela (the last part of the night before sunrise) and doing Naam Simran (meditation), and listening to Gurbani (scripture) for about 2 hours (4-5 ghariya) with love. Then at night, write all your sinful activities on a piece of paper. Every month they would come to the Darbaar (court of the Guru) for darshan (audience) and bring along your account of sinful activities that you have done whilst doing your daytime job.”

The Chaudharies (headmen) happily obeyed the hukam (order). They started getting up at Amrit-vela (early hours before sunrise) to do Naam Abhyaas (the spiritual practice of repeating the Name of the Lord). Later on they would listen to the recitation of Gurbani (scripture) for about 2 hours. During the night, they would write all of their sinful activities, such as lying, doing corruption etc. Then every month they would go to the Darbaar (court) of Guru Sahib and read out all their sins there.

The amazing transformative power (Paaras-Kalaa) of Gurbani (scripture) never fails. Whoever listens to Gurbani (scripture) and Naam (the Name of God) with love and devotion gets their heart and intelligence cleaned. These Chaudharies (headmen) were no exception to this. They felt extreme remorse and embarrassment when they read out their sins to Guru Sahib. They started getting fearful of sinning. They had the following options:

1) Continue to sin and write all sinful activities. They read them out to Guru Sahib once a month.

2) Since they felt embarrassed, they could have continued their sinful activities but not write all of them on paper.

3) Stop sinning and thus save themselves from the embarrassment they felt when reading out their sins to Guru Sahib.

They of course chose the last option i.e. to stop lying and doing corruption. At first, they reduced their sinful activity to a bare minimum. They only lied when they could not avoid but slowly they totally gave up lying. It took them 6 months to reach this state.

Their tendency towards Dharam (righteousness) increased and their sinful activities stopped. This way they attained salvation. Scholar-saint Bhai Gurdas Ji has written about them as follows:

paree-aa choo-harr chau-dharee, pai-rraa dargah daataa bhaaraa.
“Bhai Puriya, Chaudhari Choohar, Bhai Paira and Bhai Durga Daas are known for their charitable nature.”
(Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 11: Pauri 18)

REFLECTION: May Guru Sahib erase our sinful tendencies and enable us to chant the Name of the Lord and derive pleasure (rass) from it. If you struggle getting rid of the darkness of your life (i.e. bad habits and ways), then walk towards the light (the Guru). The more you add light in your life through reading Gurbani (scripture), Simran (meditation), and reading books on the lives of the Gurus and great Sikhs in history, you will find that after some time, the darkness would have gone. Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaaj! (Great is the Divine King, Guru Arjan Dev Ji)