Thursday, July 27, 2006

Brave Punjaban!

Well, I just read this and thought it was worth sharing. I hope this is an exception and I commend the stand that this women took. Read if you wish:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Check this out!

I got this bottled water from a non-Sikh coworker of mine who got it on a July 4 celebration. I was really impressed with the creativity of putting introduction to Sikhi on a water bottle! I wish every Gurdwara/Sikh Organization/school etc. would think of this to pass out.

Colorful Nagar Kirtan in Bay Area on a hot hot day!

Very creative flag sign on a light post!

Sighni doing gatka!

one of the floats

Beautiful colored decorations for Guru Granth Sahib!

Floats coming down from Gurdwara at hill in El Sobrante

KYC Espanola, New Mexico and Arizona

Kieran posing in front of sports car!

Grand Canyon on the way back

Grand Canyon!

Slide Rock in Arizona!

Kiran rock climbing at Khalsa camp!

Camran, Simran and Kieran

more pictures!

Some of Guru Gobind Singh Missil Boys!

Siri Nm Singh giving quad ride to Harteg Singh

Mankanwal Singh from NY

Tera Singh from Utah!

Vicki from California!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pillars of Sikhism?

I had heard of Pillars of Islam (5 or 6 depending who you talk to) but never had heard of Sikhism being mentioned in terms of pillars. Anyways, it is not a bad concept. I like the creativity of the person who came up with this diagram. Anyways, check it out!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Khalsa is forever! May Waheguru bless us all.

As I was reading about Ahmad Shah Abdali, and all of his ruthlessness in India, and about Marathas as to how they even imposed fines on Sikhs and Jats during their rule and all of the atrocities committed by so many rulers like Abdali. I start thinking how there have been so many ruthless kings and royals that came and went and hardly anybody visits their graves or memorials , but Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh remains alive and strong forever. Sometimes in everyday norm of things, we forget how precious the gift of Sikh beliefs and values have been throughout Sikh history and how they have been carried thru from generation to generations to this day, be it thru families traditions or thru the Gurdwaras or thru schools, thru libraries and internet computers and even thru the battlefields. I just love the picture at some sites of Sikh soldiers carrying Guru Granth Sahib thru the battlefield in World War I. It sends a very powerful and important message to Sikhs that they need to cherish their values and love the gift that Guru has given them. Whenever I see little boys and girls in their patkas, turbans, banas, salwaar kameezes, it just reminds me as to how the legacy and gift of Guru Gobind is being carried on. I may be dead today, but Khalsa will remain. It also makes me think of all of those countless volunteers inside and outside of Gurdwaras. I mean these sevadaars, granthis, kirtani Jathas, musicians, langar sevadaars, gutka teachers, Gurmukhi and Punjabi teachers, writers, teachers and so many others that are selflessly and compassionatley are so dedicated to putting countless hours to the keep the Khalsa alive and strong. With all of the chaos in the World right now, especially in the Middle East, and remembering our own Sikh history, I feel we as Sikhs are blessed at this time to have peace within our community and should use this time wisely to use our physical and financial energies towards creativity, arts, mathematical and scientific research and development, reading, writing, shastar vidya, media, Gurbani, poetry, and all other gyan in the World.

Friday, July 14, 2006

More Khalsa Camp Pictures!

Simran, Camran and Kiran

Pinata~ Making

Rattlesnake held by Parmatma Singh

Guru Fateh Misl breaking boards in Martial Arts Class

Gutka with Guru Jodha Singh Class!

Camp Pictures!

Guru Gobind Singh Misl Getting Ready for Evening Meditation


The Five Tatwa Lesson!

Morning Gurdwara!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Is a failure of Sikh leader to lead really a failure of Sikhism? Where have compassionate, peace loving and strong Sikh leaders gone?

After the recent incident at the Darbar Sahib between SGPC and Akalis, I have been kind of surprised and delighted at the response of various Sikh organizations and general Sikh community all over the World. I could be wrong, but it seems like the message is very clear to various Sikh leaders of political parties in Punjab such as different Akali Dals, Congress, BJP, Communist etc. as well as religious leaders such as SGPC, DSGPC, Jathedars etc. is that they need to get their act together and stop bringing embarrassment to the World Sikh community as a whole. Osama Bin Laden is a good example of how works and actions of few can bring a negative generalization for the whole religion and the community. Sikh community seems to be fed up with the lack of ability of Sikh leadership to sit together and resolve issues, lead Sikh panth, work towards making lives better for Sikhs and non-Sikhs all over the World. They can do all the fighting they want in their homes, offices, villages etc. if they really need to but when it comes to sacred historic Sikh shrines and they are present in front of Guru Granth Sahib, their rudeness, fighting, clashing behavior can not be tolerated. It looks like that some Sikhs believe that democracy and openness taught by Guru Granth Sahib means they can fight in the presence of Guru.

Sikhs leadership could use their energies and monies to open new Khalsa schools, better manage existing colleges, provide money to Sikh doctors, researchers, scientists, open colleges for higher learning, money for Sikh libraries, money for filmmaking and documentaries on Sikhism, charities, helping poor families in Punjab, helping widows, reducing aids and drug use. I mean the resources for funds and possibilities for helping are endless. Only thing lacking in leaders is compassion, strong will, knowledge and Chardi Kala attitude that our Gurus ask for us to have in everyday of our lives. Why don't Sikhs have the right to vote for Jathedars of all Takhats? It should not be left for useless leaders like Badal or some other political party leader to decide who should be Jathedar.

I also liked the idea of new non-profit Sikh organizations being established all over the world to help humanity. United Sikhs, SALDEF, SEVA CENTRAL come to mind. There will more and more organizations like these and they will definitely take away power from the Sikh leadership if it does not change its fighting ways and listen to the panthic calls for change on issues affecting Sikhs all over the World and not just in Punjab or India. The leaders need to keep the big global picture in mind for everything affecting Sikhs.

Faith must not make you blind!

Here is something interesting I got from Hindustan Times. Some of it may apply to Sikhs as well. Read if you wish. I haven't got the camp pictures yet, but hopefully soon. Also, my dear sympathies to all of the families, friends and relatives of those killed by the terrorist bombings in Bombay railway in India. May Waheguru bless them. I am so happy that Sardar Manmohan Singh is leading India at times like this and hopefully no religious riots etc. will be allowed to take place and will be able to keep Indians united.

Faith mustn't make you a victim
INNER VOICE Seema Burman
July 12, 2006

Simply because one is interested in spirituality doesn't mean that one must trust others blindly, not argue at all, or be taken for a ride. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa warned his disciples not to trust others blindly just because they were spiritual seekers. He advised them to use their intelligence in worldly matters.Once a disciple (later Swami Yogananda) went to a shop and bought an iron pan without examining it. He thought that the shopkeeper would naturally give him a good pan, as he was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. On returning he found that the pan had a crack.The Master scolded, "Because you are a devotee of God, does that mean you should be a fool? Do you think any shopkeeper opens a shop to practice religion? Never be so foolish again. Why did you not examine the pan before you bought it? Next time, make sure you shop around for the best options and demand the little extras where allowed."Devotees usually become soft hearted. People even condition their mind as to how a spiritual person should behave or dress. Swami Sukhbodhananda was surprised when a devotee asked him to stop playing basketball and practising martial arts as they were "unspiritual" activities.Today, Sri Morari Bapu has people asking him not to explain nuances of the Ramcharitmanas with the help of old film songs and Urdu couplets. But spiritualism does not mean being narrow-minded or dumb.
Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa said that while living in the world one must be aware of one's rights. He narrated the story of a snake that everyone was afraid of. A monk passing by told the snake not to bite and gave him a mantra. The snake chanted the mantra and became docile. The children of the village discovered this and started pelting stones at it, but the snake did not bite them. When he came by again and saw the snake's piteous condition, the monk was aghast. When the snake narrated everything the monk cried, "But I didn't tell you not to hiss!",00360004.htm

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Khalsa Youth Camp 2006, Espanola NM

Well, just got back from attending the Khalsa Youth Camp in beautiful Espanola. I Had to fly back to get back to work but rest of the family is still on the road sightseeing and taking their time. It was great to meet new and old Khalsa campers and their families, some fellow bloggers (The one and only Sardar Prabhu Singh! who was even more pleasant in person than his beautiful blog. His brother Hari Singh is just as nice and pleasant. They sure brought a lot of positive energy around them during my brief visit with them. Both Hari Singh and Prabhu Singh opened up their big hearts like Punjabis and invited me and ManKanwal Singh (another gursikh from New York I met in Espanola) to join them for a great south-western style mexican food restaurant and then into home of Hari Singh for evening chat. Camp itself was a great experience for the whole family and there are opportunities for families to take part in work-exchange program. As far as weather, it rained almost every night along with thunder and lightening, unlike last year when it didn't rain for even one day. At times it felt like monsoon season in Punjab with the exception of mangoes and peacocks (Hari Singh does have six ber (jujubee) trees though and interesting stories to go along with their growth and upbringing). I encourage every Indian/Punjabi Sikh and non-Sikh family to attend at least once if not more with their kids because it is a fun filled, positive, learning experince. This is especially true for older kids ages 7 thru 12 who would learn Khalsa values, yoga, songs and kirtan sung beautifully in English and Gurmukhi . Then there is Bhangra, Gutka-Jitsu, Seva, Rock climbing, basketball, cold showers etc. And, then there was delicious vegetarian food cooked by a fellow Californian, Atma Kaur and her international team of helpers from New York, Calgary, Chile, Columbia, California, Massachussette, Trinidad and Tobago and other places I may forget. Even though, my youngest one was kind of anxious to leave and that could be just a personal thing, or some negative experience with another camper, but the older ones seemed to have had a lot of fun. In one of my previous posts I mentioned how my sons stayed vegetarians after last camp, but a few days after my post I learned that they did not want to be vegetarians any more. I am still proud of the fact that they both tried it for 11 months and who knows they may come back to vegetarianism one day again. I owe it to the camp for encouraging these values. I will try to post some pictures soon.

Below is a Song of the Khalsa which is sung every morning during the Gurdwara. It is a beautifully written song and always brings tears in my eyes listening to the powerful words in it.

Song of The Khalsa
Many speak of courage.
Speaking cannot give it.
It's in the face of death that we must live it.

When things are down and darkest
that's when we stand tallest.
Until the last star falls, we won't give an inch at all!

Stand as the Khalsa,
strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru
mind and soul, breath and bone.

Guru Arjan gave His Life
to stand for what was right.
He was burned and tortured
five long days and nights.

He could have stopped it any time
just by giving in.
His Strength a solid wall, He never gave an inch at all!

Sons of the Khalsa
remember those who died.
Stood their ground until their last breath
so we who live now, might live free lives.

A princess is not royal, by her birth or blood inside.
But if her family's home is Anandpur Sahib
She'll walk with such a grace and strength
the world will bow in awe.
Until the mountains fall, she'll never give an inch at all!

Daughters of the Khalsa, in your strength our future lies.
Give our children fearless minds, to see the world through the Guru's Eyes.

Baisakhi we were thousands, but only five had the courage for dying.
Then one brave man, one flashing sword, turned us all to lions.
And now we live His Legacy, to die before we fall.
And like the five who answered the call, we can't turn back at all.

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

The Tenth Guru gave even His Sons, to give the Khalsa life.
His Words stand like mountains, against the winds of time
That Khalsa will rule the world, all will be safe in its fold.
But if the Khalsa falls, there won't be a world at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

Many speak of courage. Speaking cannot give it.
It's in the face of death that we must live it.
When things are down and darkest, that's when we stand tallest.
Until the last star falls, we won't give an inch at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Gives our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.
Sons of the Khalsa, remember those who died.
Stood their ground until their last breath, so we who live now, might live free lives.
Daughters of the Khalsa, in your strength our future lies.
Give our children fearless minds, to see the world through the Guru's Eyes.
Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.
Mind and soul are His alone.