Saturday, 25 October 2008

Touching the Soul...

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart my friends, brother’s friends and sangat (congregation) who have donated money for the kids. I can’t begin to tell you the profound happiness and uplift my spirit receives when we are out and about. . My mate Juggy from the UK was also down and stayed with us for a few days, what a laugh it was – we went out with the kids, had a water fight and got their eyes checked too (very basic test) it was so refreshing for me to have someone I knew around.

In India when there are celebrations Darbar Sahib gets extremely crowded and people push and shove one another like there is no tomorrow, so taking the deaf and mute children would in itself be a challenge especially if they were to get lost. I’ve noticed that the is such a divide with the so called ‘Normal’ children and they feel they should not include those with disabilities but its not their fault they have not been taught any better, this is why we are here to love and educate them. So the kids that got left on Gurpurab all 12 of them, we decided to take them to Pizza Hut.
There was a lot of laughter and signing, this man was watching us (well everyone as but who cares) he came over to us and asked me who these kids were and gave us some money for desserts! How amazing was that just made me realise that there are many good people in this world but you only attract them when the time is right and when God wishes.

We also went to Darbar Sahib and now being here so long I have made friends with the Sewadars (volunteers) and they know who my kids are so they let us go in the fast lane so to speak. So, Ram a beautiful soul who has polio told me his story and I wasn’t expecting it at all but I guess going there brought back memories for him

“Didi, this is where my mother left me,”

Those words just stopped me in my tracks as he went further…
“well mum brought me here and I didn’t think anything of it, she then said she was going to get my little brother, but she never came back. It became dark and one of the Baba Ji’s (old man) took me to Pingalwara where I have been since”
With a lump in my throat I did not know what to say to this lively, bubbly and crazy child… so diverting the topic for both of us was best, so clothes off he dived in to the Sarovar (Ambrosial Nectar surrounding the Golden temple) and what a soul touching moment.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Dharam Shala

After reading the Power of now I have most definitely learnt the importance and value of the present moment, why worry about yesterday it has past? Why fret about tomorrow as it has not come? The mind is bound by time and this moment, right now, right this second as your read this is all that matters, this timeless, limitless and the mind has no control of it! So with this mindset I let my remaining journey and life unfold itself. This led to letting things flow in surrender to HIS will and what a blessing. During the interfaith conference I met with some amazing people who are the reason I ended up in Dharam Shala wow, I can tell you I would recommend it to anyone its 4 hours away from where I was and it felt like a new country and the air was spiritually charged as Baba ji would put it, surrounded with monks and people who are looking to connect with the deeper consciousness.

We did some shopping which was like respite after the few months I’ve had and thought about the family a lot – wish they could have been there to share the experience. We also had the pleasure of meeting Kesang Y. Takla (Mrs) the minister of the department if information and & international relations for his holiness the Dala Lamai and it was a great feeling and what history the Tibetans have and the heartache surrounding the Chinese, but one can only pray that God shines his light on people and countries as Jesus said “Forgive them as they know not what they do”. Whilst we were shopping I got a call from my friend Victor from Scotland who said we are meeting his Holiness in 5 minutes GET HERE STRAIGHT AWAY!

Wow… I always wanted a photo with His Holiness and I actually thought he would be at Hazur Sahib as there was a major conference in Amrtisar last year too where he attended. As I let thing unfold accepted that God knows what’s in my heart, security is extremely tight here at the temple and at his home which is totally understandable so our mobile phones and camera were taken away, bags and body searches were done! But it was worth every second, to see His Holiness was such a blessing and all the books and passages you can truly see an enlightened spirit in physical form touching so many thousands of lives.
We were only there for a couple of days and my batteries recharged and it also topped off the conference especially when going home (well Pingalwara is home for now) to work on the projects.

Compassion (Daya)

The main subject interest for me was compassion, who knows why but since coming to India, I feel the whole concept of compassion needs to be imbedded in every person otherwise the darkness surrounding us will consume us individually and collectively. Seeing God in all is vital when serving the children, the poor and needy.

“If you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all”

Yogi Ji from the USA had given me their personal business card (this was engraved on the back) when I was 17 years old and today the realisation of its true meaning has dawned on me, seeing the God in everyone, I know its difficult at times trust me I’m going through my tests and battles both within and external. Reading Eckharts 2nd book A NEW EARTH (recommended to all seeking a deeper meaning to life). He talks about ‘Being’ in the presence this only takes place once one has detangled themselves out of the unconsciousness mind and EGO state and when finding yourself in a state of negativity, anger, resentment, blaming or in grievance when seeing another person, the emotion is within US only US we need to look within us Jesus said ‘why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?’ Makes so much sense.

I am reminded of such a saintly person who served at the time of our Gurus who clearly set the example to the true meaning of selfless service, compassion and seeing God in everyone.

“No one is my enemy, and no one is a stranger, I get along with everyone. The entire humankind should be recognized as One”

In 1704, Sikhs were engaged in a battle, facing hostility from the moghul authorities as well as the local chiefs. The Sikh martial tradition was not to convert, plunder or gain territory, but to uphold just and humanitarian values. Whilst having all the courage and the skill of a soldier, one must also have the wisdom, compassion and understanding of a saint. Amongst the Sikh forces, there was a water-carrier named Bhai Kanhaiya, who was entitled to serve water to the thirsty and wounded Sikhs in the battle. Dressed in white and carrying a water pouch from his shoulder, he tended to the injured and dying without distinction. Infuriated that he was helping the enemy, his fellow Sikhs reported this to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who summoned Bhai Kanhaiya Ji. When questioned about his actions, Bhai Kanhaiya humbly said that he saw only the Guru’s face or God in everybody and in his heart he was giving water to the Lord. The Guru, deeply imbued with compassion, blessed Bhai Kanhaiya for acting in the true Sikh sprit and gave him bandages and ointment to heal the wounds of the enemy soldiers as well. In this way Bhai Kanhaiya should be considered a precursor to the Red Cross. The Sewa Panthi organisation that he established continues its selfless work in his memory to date. Bhai Kanhaiya encapsulates the Sikh teaching ‘no one is my enemy and no one a stranger; my companionship is with all alike’. He embodied the Godly qualities of Nirbhau – not living in fear of anyone – and Nirvair – having no hatred towards others.

Interfaith Hazur Sahib (GNNSJ)

The Sikh Gurus Message to Humanity
Respecting world scriptures & living up to their message

What a powerful concept bringing each others scriptures to highlight the similarity and differences of such beautiful religions.

Baba Ji have been instrumental in putting Sikhism on the map of world religions and I remember Barcelona at this stage WOW, what an experience – the air was spiritually charged, the love was permeated in every corner, Langar was served to thousands and most importantly we were all equal and serving one God. What memories!

It was brilliant to receive the blessings of the sangat and Baba Ji these past few days, it was great to speak English with everyone too. The conference was amazing in it allowed all religions to come together to celebrate the Tercentenary anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it was a space where people from all walks of life, religions, race came together for one purpose Guru Granth Sahib Ji and its universal message to all.

The Divine scripture (Bani) is the embodiment of the Guru, and the Guru is the Divine Scripture, with the Divine Scriptures dwells the Ambrosial nectar. When the disciple humbly accepts and obeys the teachings of the divine scripture, the Guru in his true from becomes instantaneously manifest and emancipates the disciple.

There were many letters of greetings from all leaders from different religions I selected the following to share:

Humble salutations to Guru Granth Sahib Ji, whose divine guidance has been our constant companion over the last few centuries. In this 300th year which marks the bestowing of the Guruship to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, we are reminded that there are no adequate words to express our gratitude to the Shabad Guru’s Benevolence, grace and compassion for all. Indeed, we are immensely fortunate to have such a repository of divine Wisdom with a unique universal message that we are able to share with our brothers and sisters of all faiths and cultures. To the estimated 25 million Sikhs worldwide, this is a most auspicious occasion and we congratulate each and every one of you. For those engaged in whatever capacity in the preparation, celebration and observation of this historic commemoration, we owe our heartfelt gratitude.

As finite beings, it is impossible for us to fathom the infinite wisdom of our Guru’s message to humanity. No individual can adequately translate this message only Gurbani is best ever to explain Gurbani. Everything that is encapsulated in the separate scripture is precious and it is our life line. What pervades and shines through Gurbani is Naam, the Divine Name. The Guru Granth Sahib begins with the sacred words: Ik Oankar, describing the Oneness of the Creator; the concept of Sat, truth; and the Naam. This essence of the Creator is expounded throughout Gurbani until the closing verses. Within these lies the salver of scripture, Amrit Naam, the Ambrosial name, contemplation upon which ensures our happiness in this life and beyond.

This is a time to rejoice, to imbibe and awaken the essence of the creator within us, to harness our latent divine values, so that we can generate both inner serenity and outer peace. Peace and cohesion within the family leads to peace and cohesion in the wider community, nationally, internationally and globally.

This 300th year is an opportunity for all us to take stock of our human frailties, and to cease blaming, condemning and judging others. We need to commit ourselves to panthic and the wider community’s ekta, seeking sarbat da bhalla - everybody’s welfare.
In God’s service,
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh

Harmony among our different religious is essential for world peace. In order to develop genuine harmony, it is extremely important that we cultivate genuine respect for one another. We need to encourage a worldwide sense of pluralism among our faith communities. Religious differences should not be grounds for antagonism. Religion should be the basis for friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood. I believe that people with religious interests have special responsibilities in this regard and I am impressed that on the occasion of simply conducting your own celebration, the Sikh community is taking this joyful opportunity to hold an Interfaith conference.

On the one hand, all religions counsel forgiveness, patience and compassion and ways to cultivate them. These are practical qualities that are of great value in creating a dialogue that we can share with other. On the other hand, as we all know, it is an unfortunate fact that religion is sometimes the source of conflict. When this is the case, the cause more often than not is ignorance and misunderstanding, and the fear that result from them. I believe each of us can contribute to countering these shortcomings through engaging in active dialogue with members of other faith traditions. I have no doubt there is much we can learn from each other. My own experience has taught me that there is enormous potential for mutual enrichment in the dialogue between Buddhists and other traditions, especially with regard to ethics and spiritual practices, such as the practices of love, compassion, meditation.

For some time I have felt that the following measures can help us to nurture understanding and harmony an-among different religious traditions, and thus promote peace and security in society. We should convene frequent inter-faith meetings among leaders of different religious traditions so they can share their spiritual experiences and insights. We should also promote meetings of scholars to discuss and study what they have in common, rather than what is different, among various religious traditions. Finally, and perhaps most important for the far- reaching effect it can have, we should encourage an increase in contacts among the followers of different religions and visits to each other’s places of pilgrimage and prayer. I firmly believe that if these steps are taken, the general public will develop respect for other religious traditions. This, in turn, will help to promote harmony in society.

It is in this context that I give my whole- hearted support to efforts to advance understanding and dialogue among religions in the hope of strengthening peace among them and thereby consolidating peace in the world at large. On the auspicious occasion of the Guru Granth Sahib Tri-centenary, I offer my greetings to everyone attending and participating in the Interfaith Conference being organized by my spiritual brother Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh and his group. I pray that the fruits of your exchanges will be far-reaching and long lasting.
The Dala Lamai
Attending the different seminars enabled me to take different elements that made sense to my life at this moment in time… they came from the various speakers from all different religious denominations.
“Love is the most important at all stages beginning, present and End we need to project love and compassion in every part of daily lives.”

“Emptiness, from that state leads to enlightenment”

2 wings of a bird love and compassion (Buddhist) this really resonated with me as we have been brought up with the same concept from Baba Ji that SEWA (selfless Service) AND NAAM SIMRAN (The Divine Name) are like wings of a bird you cannot have one without the other, they both bring Humility and Spiritual awakening.

We have shared wisdom through the scriptures and similarities, God infuses each of these scriptures as transcendental interpretation of God the sharing of scriptures can shine the light together. We need to understand there are similarities and acknowledge the differences.

“There are sharks in the ocean of comparison that doesn’t mean we cannot swim in them”.

Heaven sent SAINTS...

What words can encapsulate the divinity and legacy of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) and its founder Sant Baba Puran Singh Ji, as briefly mentioned Vadai Baba Ji as we respectfully address them arrived in Kenya 1917 and lived there till 1874 and arrived in England. Here Baba Ji founded the Headquarters of the Jatha in Birmingham and they left for their heavenly abode in 1983. Growing up listening to Vichar (spiritual experiences) about them they were truly the epitome of Sikhi and they lived an exemplified Sikh way of life and beyond. Their Jot (Flame) was then passed onto to Bhai Sahib Norang Singh Ji who we address as Bhai Sahib Ji they too upheld the legacy and life of Vadai Baba Ji. Their love touched thousands of hearts and gave so many hope and light which was truly a blessing from beyond – that’s when you realise that you must have done something right in a past life to be blessed by such saints. Even when they told us off - the love, hugs and those 3 gentle taps on our head were WOW a stamped memory on our hearts.

I remember the time when my little brother was very hot tempered (still is at times) so whenever he went to receive blessings and did Darshan, Bhai Sahib Ji always made a point of asking “pani pitha gusai thunda hoga gya’ have had your intake of water? And has the anger cooled down? My brother is now 27 and still to this day reminisces of those times with them and the love we felt from their gestures, speech, and their whole life was again the of the Sikh way of life the way the our Guru’s taught.

We are now blessed with the divine blessings and guidance of Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ji since 1995, Baba Ji have played an integral part in our lives and blessed us with much love and guidance. Their words to this day resonate with us and we try and live of life under their wing – I remember the time during my A-levels and Baba Ji spoke in much details about secularization in the world today and then I went on to do my degree and Masters with their blessings, in my Masters I was reading the area of disability and spirituality, they gave much insight to the subject of spirituality and religion, Spiritual being the substance and religion the ritual. You cannot have the later without spirituality otherwise it just remains a ritual, done without essence or meaning. The analogy of operating on the brain was given - to get to the brain you need to cut open the skull and this is a similar concept to that.
My words to not do justice to the history of our saints and GNNSJ all one can say is that the light of such kindled spirits have been life changing for many and will remain to be for many many more years.