Have a Majestic & Inspiring Vaisakhi!

I believe the Panj is important. Yet believing is one thing, and experiencing is another....

Last week, Sikhs from around the world gathered together at the Los Angeles, California convention center in the United States to celebrate Vaisakhi. After the Gurdwara portion of the celebration, a grand Nagar Kirtan was held through the downtown streets of Los Angeles. I was involved at the event as a sevadar and near the end of Gurdwara was asked if I would participate in the Nagar Kirtan as part of the Panj Piare.

I believe the Panj is important. Yet believing is one thing, and experiencing is another. I feel I now understand better how important the Panja Piare, along with the sangat, are to enhancing the court of Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji and the presence of the Guru in this world.

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When I first met the other members of the Panj, I was overtaken with a deep feeling of respect. Then, when I got ready and joined them in full bana, I had this feeling that Guru ji was presiding over us. It was a certain spiritual weight that descended on us who came to represent the Guru’s face. When five gather in his name, Guru Gobind Singh really does show up.

Throughout the procession, there were moments that went beyond the average. It was as if there was a window to a realm of blessing and during this time we would touch that window more often than normal. This realm of blessing is the court of the Guru. Though we may go to the physical Gurdwara, the spiritual court is when the atmosphere brings the Guru alive for us and we are able to join in the Guru’s world of spiritual majesty. We feel the presence of the Guru on the inside.  

During the Nagar Kirtan, there were certainly times that seemed normal, even though we are physically in the presence of the Guru but the inner feeling of presence would open up more especially when someone showed respect or devotion.

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When the youth show spirit in gatka, it is most pleasing. When small ones who are full of innocence are dressed as Khalsa, it is indeed most pleasing. We are here, the hands and feet of the Great Guru, all creating His splendid court spreading the Guru’s light in the streets, and it is most pleasing.

I realized that this great presence is always available to us. It’s just easier for us to feel it during celebrations like this. It’s easier to feel the Guru’s presence in the company of the sangat and especially it is more possible to feel the Guru with the presence of the Panj.

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I’m sure we can all agree that we have experienced this. We all want to experience it more, so let us do what we can to increase the Guru’s presence.

These are the kinds of not so ordinary thoughts and feelings I was experiencing and seeing while walking down the streets of Los Angeles.

Then an amazing event happened. We were walking in Los Angeles, one of the most famous centers of Maya in the world. I heard some noise to the right. When I looked over, there was a woman who had fallen on the ground. The traffic officer who accompanied the Nagar Kirtan was picking up the woman and telling her to clear the street.

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Actually, she had fallen on the street prostrating herself, arms outstretched on the ground face downward, in reverence or submission towards the Panj Piare. When she lifted her head up, tears streaked down her cheeks. She had a certain emotional intensity that said this moment was a breaking point.

She is a stranger to me. I know nothing about her besides that she has black skin and her hair is thinly braided in strands. Perhaps people of this world think she is crazy. Perhaps people of the world respect her. Perhaps she is well to do. Perhaps she is homeless. I know nothing of this worshipful stranger but I do know she had an experience, that she is a sister in the lap of the Guru.  

God knows what she saw. How did she know to bow? Did she see the glory of the Guru’s presence? Did she offer all her pain to the feet of the Guru? Did she feel the answer to her life’s prayers? Only God knows what truly happened in her heart that caused her to lunge on the asphalt crying.

Being there I can certainly say that she perhaps had never seen Sikhs before, she perhaps had no idea what this huge scene was all about, but she was bowing to the Panj Piare. It was as if these personal representatives of the Great Guru, the Lord of the physical world and the spiritual world, hit her with the power of the Guru’s greatness. I am sure she felt the blessing of being in the presence of the Guru’s traveling court.  

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The lives of the Gurus are full of such stark moments of devotion and offering to the Divine feet. The Guru is certainly alive and well in this modern day, not just in the history books. It is available for us to tap into. It was amazing and awe inspiring to witness history come alive.

This is what it means to bow. This is what it means to be a Sikh. This is what it means to be in the court of the Guru.

We are the Guru’s beloveds and we are engaging in this unfathomable play. We are decorating the court of the Living and Eternal Guru. Guru ji is certainly alive. God bless us to know this in our hearts. Bless us to feel it through and through. Bless us to give ourselves up and pray like this unknown woman. Bless us to have the courage to believe in the Guru’s Sikhs and the Guru’s panth. There are no leaders who will appear out of thin air. We are the ones. Everything is in the Guru’s care, in God’s will and we are the ones to act it out.

Shine on oh great Khalsa, do your best.

Wherever you are, there is the Guru.

Have a majestic, blessed, awe inspiring, memorable and blissful Vaisakhi!

- Harijot Singh Khalsa

English Katha
Birth of the Khalsa
NEW - Vaisakhi And What Led To It
The Vaisakhi story actually starts before Guru Gobind Singh was born. Listen to this in depth historical picture of that era. Download the mp3

Videos
The Miracle of Vaisakhi
The Miracle of Vaisakhi
This is an audio visual telling of the Vaisakhi story. Watch here
Pardeep Singh: Mata Sahib Kaur
Why I am a Sikh - Talk in Punjabi with Sadasat Simran Singh
A short video with about why I am part of the Sikh religion and what inspires me. Watch here
Pardeep Singh: Mata Sahib Kaur
Siri Chand Singh: Being a Sikh
Interview with Siri Chand Singh from 2005 sharing some of his experiences growing up as a Sikh and being from an African American background. Watch here
Pardeep Singh: Mata Sahib Kaur
Guruka Singh: Why I became a Sikh
"I was born a Sikh but I didn't know it, and neither did my parents. It took me a while to catch on"... Read an article by Guruka Singh about this.

Audio Story
Birth of the Khalsa
Vaisakhi - Birth of the Khalsa
After his father left his body Guru Gobind Rai knew the time of the warrior had arrived. The gentle and serviceful Sikhs needed to have the strength of steel for the times ahead. How would he give them this power

Downloadable Wallpapers
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Articles
The First Vaisakhi
The First Vaisakhi, 1699
Three hundred years ago, the finite being known as Guru Gobind Singh could see the unseen times to come. He said not a word from himself because he was not himself. He was the very Self of God....
The First Vaisakhi
The Mul Mantra of the Khalsa
According to the tradition it was said in the Court by the Tenth Guru, on the Khalsa inauguration at Vaisakhi, and recorded by scribes. Read here.
The First Vaisakhi
What is the Tenth Guru to You?
The Perfect Guru is a diamond. Rest assured, whatever our station in life, there is a more complete picture of him waiting on the path of our destiny.  Read here.

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