Son, Guru have birthdays in Sikh tradition

January 9, 2012 by Jonathan Edwards/ADjedwards Source:

January 09, 2012: Karpal Dosanjh worked for 43 hours this past weekend so she could celebrate two birthdays — her son's 20th and the 346th of a Sikh holy teacher.

"I am so happy for th is moment," said Dosanjh, 56. "I am just too happy to have a son."

So happy that celebrating the birth of Tejpal Dosanjh has become a yearly event for the family. They pay the money and put in the work needed to host and feed more than 1,000 Sikhs who come to worship over three days at the Yuba City Sikh Temple on Tierra Buena Road.

"I look forward for this day every year," Karpal Dosanjh said. "We're already thinking about it for next year."

The Sikh holy scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, are read from start to finish during the 48 hours of worship. Worshippers came and went during that time, with a flurry of 500 to 600 flocking to the temple on Sunday, Tejpal said.

Tejpal's father, Tejinder Dosanjh, downplayed his son's birthday, which is Jan. 16. The weekend was about Gobind Singh, the 10th and final guru of the Sikh religion, who was born on Jan. 5, 1666, and died in 1708. Before he died, the guru gave Sikhs the Guru Granth Sahib, which Sikhs treat as a guru now that there are no living ones.

Sikhs honor 10 teachers, or gurus, who lived from 1469 to 1708, and provide the spiritual bedrock of the faith.

"We celebrate our 10th guru's birth, which allows us to get together, to celebrate together, to get united for the future," said Tejinder Dosanjh. "The community is united. They are together. They are here.

"This," he added, "is more important than my son's birthday."

A read-through of the Guru Granth Sahib is special, but not a rare thing; it happens every couple weeks at the temple. Each time, however, a different family sponsors the ceremony and festivities. The birthday of the 10th guru has become the Dosanjh family's weekend to honor Gobind Singh.

"This is just a little bit of repaying back," said Kiranjeet Dosanjh, 26, Tejpal's youngest sister.

Tejinder and Karpal began parenthood by having three daughters. They wanted a son so badly that Karpal would deputize their three daughters to pray for a little brother. The answer came in Tejpal.

"It's a blessing," said Ranjeet, his 29-year-old sister. "After three girls, they finally had a son. This is a way of thanking God for that blessing."

Like her mother, Ranjeet cooked and cleaned for the event, but also helps her kid brother outside of his big weekend. For example, she hooks him up with her debit card when he needs to, for instance, buy a sports jersey.

"He's spoiled," she said. "We love spoiling him."

Tejpal echoed his sister's assessment, saying he was "very spoiled."

"I pretty much got everything I wanted," he said. "I was showered with love from everybody."

Still, being the much-desired only son who shares a birthday with Guru Gobind Singh isn't exactly a walk down easy street for a San Francisco State student.

"It's a lot of pressure," he said. "All eyes are on me. I have to make sure I'm always doing something right and not goofing off."

  HeadPriest (11K)
Head priest Rajinder Singh watches over the Guru Granth Sahib, or Sikh holy scriptures, Sunday at the Sikh Temple on Tierra Buena Road, Yuba City. The weekend marked a sponsored event at the temple in which the scriptures were read continuously.

Tej (9K)
Tejpal Dosanjh, center, listens as the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy text, is read Sunday at the Yuba City Sikh Temple on Tierra Buena Road. The weekend marked a family-sponsored event at the temple for Dosanjh, who turns 20 later this month.

karpal (8K)
Karpal Dosanjh smiles during an event on Sunday celebrating the 20th birthday of her son, Tejpal Dosanjh, as well as the 346th birthday of the 10th guru of Sikhism at the Yuba City Sikh Temple on Tierra Buena Road.

TejDishes (11K)
Tejpal Dosanjh, center, dishes up some food with Dharmer Sahota, left, and Harninder Purewal on Sunday, at the Sikh Temple on Tierra Buena Road in Yuba City.

Photo credits:
Chris Kaufman/Appeal-Democrat


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