Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bibi Rena Kaur

March 21, 1987 was Bibi Rena Kaurs' Birthday.
For those of you who have no clue as to who she was, here's a brief bio
I've heard a bit about her. I have listened to a lot of her Kirtan audios. I haven't ever seen her/ met with her or known her personally. In fact, I guess I wasn't even living in Canada when she passed away, so there's no question.... but there's some connection, there's something that ties me to her.... I am really unsure how to document this, but there is something...
It seems to me that, most if not all the members of the Sangat in Vancouver seem to have been connected to Sikhi through the lives of Bibi Rena Kaur, Bhai Charanjeet Singh and Bhai Parminder Singh Ji. I guess, I stepped into this path because of people who came on board because they were tremendously inspired by there three great souls.
I feel the connection to her because of that... I am so grateful to Guru jee and Akaal Purakh Waheguru for Kaurs United and the sevadaars and sangat at Guru Nanak Academy, both of which came into existance because of the inspiring lives of these Gursikhs.

I feel the connection now, more than ever before because I feel Kaurs United is almost as if my family, which actually came into existence in her memory, because there were revolutionaries who were true to the panth and thought:
I don't believe time heals separation or makes you miss people less. I do believe separation can be transformed into action & changing the world in your own way ." (-unauthorized stealing of this quote from a special friend, from the KU fraternity- I guess she might not like if I share her name, but I guess she wouldn't be too  mad about the unauthorized stealing part LOL)

Today, I am going to read her bio and get inspired... I am going to make a commitment, to stay strong and inspired and always walk on this path till the end of my life and beyond..............

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guru jee's Singhnis~

Yesterday morning, I walked into the hospital (another one of my volunteer jobs), and a Singhni friend of mine who works there on Wednesday nights, was walking out. I was running late and I guess so was she (usually at that time, she has her her hubby outside, waiting to pick her up!)…
Since I was running late, my hair was down, and I had my hood on. In the car, I hardly had time to wear my jacket, socks and boots! Well, basically I don’t wear a Dastaar, I just wear my headgear that I call a ‘Scarfie Thingie’. To people, I might be a muslim or a hijabi… but really I am a Sikh or at least I’m trying to become one.
When I am without my scarfie thingie, I think that Singhs/ Singhnis would probably judge me thinking that I probably don’t get up in time or do my hair properly or just simple am lazy or a bad Sikh.
To me Dastaar wans’t something I faught for too much, In order to be a sikh I have to disbey my Duniavi(worldly) family and rebel. I like it~ really I like having to fight for what I want, It makes me realize how bad I want something and It helps me get through the test of ’ you don’t need support of encouragement for something you want real real bad!’. When Dastaar or for that matter the scarfie thingie came in my agenda, it was more like an accessory to feel like a Sikh. To me External Paraphernalia doesn’t make you a Sikh, its what is inside. And yet it is important, or maybe somewhere deep in my heart, I do wear a Dastaar, its just that only Guru Jee sees it. It is not for the others. For some reason, I don’t feel ready to wear a dastaar for the others, I think that I get caught up in the external more that I should, and so Wearing a dastaar would shift my focus from Nitnem, Simran and internal Sikhi~ to the external. External is easier to achieve than the internal, and so I’d want to first establish an internal connection and then look into the external…. I don’t wanna have a weak core and show on the outside that I am strongly connected. Maybe I don’t know my own emotions about this clearly~ But well- its all GurParsaad really, Isn’t it?
Well, So the Singhani friend of mine… to my surprize, I did not need to explain anything to her, even though I was trying… Anyway, She hugged me, and kissed me on my cheek without any words from either of us. We both knew we were running late… But that hug, w/o the need to explain or talk, and that kiss on my cheek… was pure love w/o any judgement of wether or not I was a good Sikh…
…..that hug just touched my heart.
I always see that Singhnis are so genuine, so giving… so loving and so non-judgemental… that they really are Guru jee’s roop (face)~
This wasn’t the first time I realized this… but it was one of the many times that Guru jee came, looked into my eyes, and without any words/ questions or concerns… He hugged me nice and tight and left me mezmerized!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

(Dis)abled by default!

I was replying someones’ e-mail and committing to help ‘be his eyes’ in the library as he does some research for his Paper. He wrote in his e-mail, that”I am blind as a bat and I basically need a pair of eyes, do you wanna help out?” and I giggled to myself….. thinking about How blind is a Bat….
But then I was surrounded by a question, “Why would God Shower me with so many blessings, when I least deserve them, especially at a time when I am not even performing my Spiritual duties well, not even staying with Guru jee’s feet, not even doing my Nitnem (daily prayers) the way I should be…….
“Simran, Why do you wanna help?”, I said that to myself a few times….
And then My inner voice said,   “………. mmmm… because I have so many disabilities…., so many, the only thing is, people don’t ever notice them….”

Isn’t that true, I really believe that we all suffer from something or the other, we all have noticeable or non-noticeable disabilities, or sufferings, if I don’t have a fever, I have the biggest disease in the world, the “Haumey da rog” meaning Ego disease; if I don’t have physical leprosy, I have mental leprosy- which makes me unavailable for seva (Selfless Service of Humanity) ; If my legs work perfectly fine, I have the moral disability, when I refuse to stand up for the rights of others.
If I can see perfectly, I have my minds eyes completely blind- blind to the sorrow of the others, blind to faith, blind to see poverty, blind - completely blind, maybe even blind as a bat- that I just can’t see how much I hurt others, when I am mad at them, or how irresponsible I can be, when I let the people I see at the Sky-train Station every day, inject themselves with crap and not do anything about it…
We have so many disabilities, and yet we can not see them, because we choose to keep our ‘perfectly working eyes’ closed
I wrote this on my Blog a long while ago… Basically, my client (/ the person I assist) from the Centre for Students with Disabilities, is now very good friend. I am his admirer- big time, He inspires me so much~ [I shall call him ‘A’ for the purpose of this blog post]
Today We were hanging out and working on something together. And after, I found myself smiling to myself while returning home…
Well, I was thinking of something we talked about today while we were hanging out. ‘A’ was basically out on campus, a few hours earlier, Smoking in a random outdoor space of the campus. A random girl walked by, while chatting with her friend. She said to her friend, while ‘A’ was in an audible distance; “OMG, I feel so bad about being Handicapped, I’d probably die if I were blind or something, It’s so hard…”. ‘A’ is wonderful, He went upto the girls, and the girl that was talking, got so embarrassed and scared (A is a strong dude, with a super cool personality!) that she almost fell…
A held his hand up to help save the girl from falling over, and said “Are you falling for me already?”  
It brought a smile on my face, this was such a cool (& cute) way of reacting to it & hopefully opening her eyes . ‘A’ never denies the truth, and how I perceive it- He faces and fights the world, Courageously looking the world Straight in the eye!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Guru of the Kalyugi Jeevs

Whether it's striving for success or longing for significance, whether it's trying to create a better world or become a better person, there is a drive within us all. We are designed with a need to move forward. Without it our lives become only shadows of what they could have been. You can live without perusing a dream, you can function without passion but with each passing moment, your soul will become more and more anemic.
Your soul longs to become, and you can try to ignore it,but soon you will find yourself hating your life and despising everyone who refuses to give up on his or her dreams.
- Erwin Raphael McManus in the book Soul Cravings
I was on campus a few days ago, when a guy from a Christian Student Society approached me. I am super social, and I tend to talk to people who approach me like that for at least a little bit. He offered me a few goodies and talked about his club. He wanted to know what I thought about Jesus. I smiled. I looked at his exhibit table and found some free books that I could take home if I wanted. I picked up the books to take a quick look, while I answered something along the lines of" Christ, to me would be the messenger of God sent down to the Earth for all of us to learn from..." One was an English translation of the New Testament and the other was this book called Soul Cravings. I guess my answer made him more curious as he posed another question to me, saying what faith/ religious beliefs do have? What religion did I belong to?
With a faint smile, I responded, Sikhism. He didn't know much about it... He asked, What is your concept of God. I assume he meant what is the Sikh concept of God, as I answered, "We believe in one God, who is infinite, formless and omnipresent." Very general stuff. Very simplified. He then asked what did Sikhs think of Jesus. And I smiled again. I tried, to pull the answer from the little that I know about Sikhi, and from what I've heard Gyanis (people with great treasures of Knowledge) say in Kathas, but I wasn't quite sure if I could put it in words that the concept was worth! If my words could justify it enough.....
I think I said... "I don't promise to answer this to the absolute accuracy, I'm kinda new to sikhi, but here's what I've found out by talking to some other Sikhs, who have dug quite deep into sikhi as far as I can tell"..I paused to think if I was really gonna tell him this....then I thought lets just give this a try..."This might sound real ironical, but We as Sikhs are 'Kalyugi Jeevs' meaning that people of the dark age. We were real hard to rectify and work upon. When God felt that the world needed Avtaars i.e. Messengers of God, He first sent Christ. Christ was indeed Wonderful, He had the power to change the world, and we'd think that all Christians were 'Satyugi jeevs' meaning the beings of the True/ Truthful age, they were genuine Humans who were receptive to change for the better. They had the seeds of faith within them, or that Christs Goodness and Sacrifice touched them, it moved them deeply, and this was enough to change them, make them faithful!
And those who stood there and did not see the sacrifice, still did not decide to become His disciples. God still was full of light, He cared about the non followers as well, and so He kept sending other Avtaats, and those who saw God's kindness and light though these Avtaars, kept realizing the truth and becoming faithful to these newer faiths........" And our conversation ended around there, We chatted briefly about how ironical that sounded and how "not-so-mainstream thinking that was"  I had to run to a class, he had to go do something.... But
For those that still wouldn't change their way, after so many of these chances to become faithful, God came down to the Earth Himself as Guru Nanak Dev Ji maharaaj, and even those who were so hard to mend found the light...and changed. The Sikhs are those who were not moved enough by the sacrifice of Christ, the Saviour... They didn't see Prophet Mohammed and His kindness, they were so stubborn that they left God with no other alternative but to come down Himself. God is Nirvair, He doesn't fear or hate anyone, He still wanted to work on these stubborn beings, and hence He came down in Kalyug. To show us the light and to bring dawn in the Kalyug... to the beings that needed to see sooooo many sacrifices, before they'd understand and become convinced of the greatness of God....
 Well,  whatever your understanding tells you, Please feel free to comment and tell me what you think/ if you want to enlighten me a little about what the truth is or what We, as Sikhs think of this concept of Faiths- and what it means to be a Faith that came up in Kalyug....
Whatever your story might have been, but in my story towards Sikhi, I've had this 'falling for Sikhi after multiple exposures/ fits of connection with other faiths... maybe just on the level of a theology enthusiast/ curious kiddo! But I seriously considered several faiths to be my calling, until all my fears/ doubts/ insecurities were taken care of, by Guru Nanak Dev Ji's beautiful Gurparsaad!
Gurparsaad is said to be the one word definition of Sikhi! (I read that somewhere, and believed it to be true ever-since, It really is, Isn't it?)
I've probably brought this up before, that I've been real curious about Sri  Dasam Guru Granth Sahib jee Maharaaj quite a bit lately. I've been blessed with the chance to read a few banis, (besides the Jaap Sahib of course) and I've always found the concept of Sikhi being a Kalyugi faith or Guru Jee dawning upon the Kalyug a few times in the pure Verdicts of Our father Guru Gobind Singh Jee Maharaaj. I've also noticed that Chandi/ Bhavaani/ and other Hindu Goddesses have been repeatedly mentioned as Guru Jee's special form. I've heard a katha from someone saying that Mata Sahib Kaur Ji was Chandi's Avtaar. I've heard the story of Guru Gobind Sahib Jee Maharaaj at Naina Devi, when He explained to the Hindu Pandits that the Chandi was the sword He produced from the fire as they all saw, while dawning upon them that they should perform pooja (worship) of God, not His messengers alone!....... AND I've been curious, I've researched more to find why it all is the same thing for Guru Jee, when we as Humans want to keep it all compartmentalized. And the only concept I found that might explain what all of it is tied in one long string is this!  The reasoning I mentioned above...
As far as Chandi is concerned, here's what I've found from research: She was a prime devotee of God and so If Guru Gobind Singh Jee Maharaaj (Guru Nanak Dev Jee Maharaaj), the God Himself was to get someone to serve as His wife and the mother of the Khalsa, who was better than the biggest devotee of God- Chandi reincarnated Mata Sahib Kaur.

Well, I'm hoping that this is a safe and friendly place to discuss our views. I am aware that there is much debate and controversy about things like this concept out there, but I am a little under 2 years old in and as a Sikh- just a toddler! Please share your views to help me learn and grow in this path.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

P.S.: Thought I should mention this: I'm not at all knowledgeable, my information is not the cited-b/c I don't remember where exactly I found every piece of info! However, this is by no means my original piece of thinking either... So please forgive me if any of this sounds too uncanny to you, but please also let me know (leave me a comment/ e-mail) if there is something you might want me to look into & learn more about.
Thank You!
Also, Please pray for Japan and those that lost their lives. One little Ardaas- one little prayer- I'm sure it can make a lot of difference!