#SikhiStrong - "I hope that one day my life can be a living art work in worship to Waheguru"


Connection through Kirtan

Like a giant wave, of love and unity, roaring towards the shore devouring everything in its path...

Having travelled the path of finding myself, the journey has been fraught with struggle, hardship and questions. Lots and lots of questions.

Right now I find myself sitting in a room surrounded by people singing and praising the One  in the form of Kirtan (Sikh devotional prayer - based on ancient chants, if listened to with intention it has the ability to quieten the mind). Everyone is giving thanks to the Almighty with what I can only describe as the purest emotion I have witnessed in a long, long time.

Dedication and belief in something greater than us all unites them in their quest for whatever it is they seek. Some may call it enlightenment, others may call it peace. Whatever it is, I don't know, but in this moment the energy in this room is nothing short of electric. The harmony of the voices combined with the rhythmic sounds of the tabla which is being played in the most beautiful and moving way. Not only do you hear the sound but you truly feel the beat of the drum resonating through your entire body. Pritpal Paji sits in front of me, wearing a white turban, his fingers beat the drum with every inch of his soul, giving himself completely and with his entirety, filling the room with devotion and love. As his wife Amar Bhenji steps up to lead the singing they play and perform together, husband and wife in unison, standing by and for each other - neither of higher status than the other. Both shoulder to shoulder honouring each other's greatness and pouring their love for each other and their love for their Guru through the playing of the drums and offering it as gift the congregation... A gift to me. Her voice is sweet and the harmony that fills the room as the sangat sing alongside her cannot drown out her tone...

It sounds like protection and elevation.

The sounds of the shaihnahi get stronger and more powerful as they start to chant "Waheguru, Waheguru" faster and faster in unison, the sound of the voices move as one without missing a beat, and they get faster and the music quickens and you fall deeper and deeper into trance until your solar plexus physically starts to move with the chanting... like a giant wave roaring towards the shore devouring everything in its path, the only difference here is that it's the biggest wave of love and unity I've ever experienced and as I feel the tears rolling down my face... The level of emotion is uncontainable... Right now I feel blessed.

As I write this Raj Paji sits to my left and beats the drum, I'm watching as his fingers move across the leather and I'm mesmerised. Inspired by the level of skill but also the energy, pure power being injected into that drum. The drum is an instrument of music but right now, it feels like an instrument that is not separate from him but an extension of him, a performance to wow and mesmerise the crowd, and as a member of the crowd I can say I'm nothing short of awestruck.

However, the expression and emotion displayed on his face tells me this isn't a performance at all, it wouldn't matter if there were 1000 people in this room or not a single soul... This is not for the crowd or the performance, this is a true display of connection and an extremely personal and individual experience, a connection and a resonance with the deepest core of his being giving him access to a realm that can only be reached through surrender, trust and pure silence of the mind...

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Some may call this a state of nirvana, others may call it channelling. For me, I can honestly say this is oneness... Oneness with one's own body, mind and soul but also oneness with every entity in the room, in this moment, we are all our individual bodies but at the same time intrinsically connected and bound together by the waves of the music as it envelopes our bodies and propels into each of our souls. If there ever was a time that I could say I've connected, this is it. It's as the though the beginning and the end of time have collided with the present moment and I encompass them all.

Hardial Paji sits at the front playing the harmonium, not once has he opened his eyes, not once have I seen him break the space that he's in. He plays with feeling with emotion and heart, he leads the group commanding the presence of all those around him... The peace I see in his face is nothing short of magical and it makes me crave and wonder - if the expression on this man's face is what it means to experience devotion then I am humbled at the awesomeness of what I am privvy to be witnessing...

As his playing continues there's a voice - that of Sukhpal Paji, it projects through the room and engulfs it. It seeps into the cracks of the walls, shooting through the corridor and down the stairs. The power and depth of this voice transcends me further into a place of peace, there is nothing in this moment other than the beauty of this sound. I don't know the words or what they mean but this doesn't take away the impact, in fact it has a strange way of connecting me to something greater than me, the same words sung with such force throughout centuries, passed down to take us all back to the same place - the silent space that exists within us all but one that we so often forget as we go about our daily lives. A place where there is no status, no gender, no sexuality, no race - just peace...

The space in the room has been been created by my friend and soul sister Daljit, granddaughter of the late Bhagat Ji, a man who was honoured and revered amongst many. Every effort has been made to enhance the energy. A mural on the wall reads 'live every moment, laugh every day and love beyond words'. Words which have true meaning in this moment, candles flicker all around and the scent of geranium whispers around the room. Everywhere I look, eyes are closed - people deep in prayer, giving themselves wholly to their creator. Their hearts beat as one... Silence in their minds and love pouring from every cell of their bodies... This experience has moved me beyond words...

Magic is real and I just got to experience it...

Thank you Baba Ji

Ranj K ~ [email protected]

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