November 20, 2016: We’ve completed our forty days of seva at the Golden Temple. Wahe Guru!
It’s been a wonderful time, a challenging time and an uplifting time as we’ve gone through these forty days, confronting our desire to sleep, but making it to the bus each morning with the help of each other and the group spirit that has carried us.
As our forty days came nearer to its end, there were mixed emotions. Some were relieved that it was ending, looking forward as they were to uninterrupted sleep; others were sad to see it end, and asked if we could schedule an optional trip for the very next day. Being at the Golden Temple has become a part of our daily routine and we will miss the comfort that comes from that regularity.
I imagine that over the forty days, each student found something that they loved about the experience. Whether it was joining the ‘happy chai circle’, dipping in the waters, carrying buckets or talking to a friend. Here’s a video with many of those moments, taken throughout the 40 days.
Along with the 40 days of parkarma seva at the Golden Temple, many students chose to do additional practices; either at the Golden Temple or back on campus. Here are some of the students’ experience doing these additional practices:
Jaap Singh, Grade 7, U.S.A – Part of a group doing shoe seva for the full forty days (collecting the shoes, then leaving the Golden Temple early to lay them out and watch over them for the other students)
This is my first time waking up at 2am and doing a straight forty days so it was a good experience for me. What I liked about the shoe seva was that I was able to learn more peoples’ names by learning about their shoes; who’s shoes are who’s; it helped me discover who they are.
Ulysse, Grade 9, France – Part of a group of boys reading Japji while taking a dip in the sarovar
Last year I never dipped; I never tried it. I wanted to try it this year. On the first day of seva I was feeling lazy; I wasn’t going to dip. But I decided to take my towel anyway and if I felt like it, I would try. I ended up trying and I had a really good experience. I had a Nitnem and I did Japji with them. They were faster than me, so I couldn’t read as much as they did, but it was a good experience. It’s been challenging this past week because it’s so cold. There are two days left and I’m really happy about it. I’ve done it everyday. I do it because I want to do it and I know that I’ll feel good about it when we finish, and I’ll know that I have kept up.
Taran Adi Kaur, Grade 11, Mexico – 12 minutes of Kirtan Kriya
I always wanted to do a meditation for forty days. I’ve done a meditation for one day or two days before but not for forty days. I choose this meditation (Kirtan Kriya) because it helps you get out the things on your mind. I needed that. I needed to take out a lot of stuff from my mind and be more balanced. It’s helping me a lot. I feel like I’m more aware now of when I’m sad or mad. Because I’m more aware of it, I can handle or manage it better. I’ve been feeling more calm and neutral. I was a really negative person but now I feel more calm.
Vladmir, Grade 11, Russia – Japji Sahib & 108 Mul Mantras
Reciting Japji Sahib everyday helps balance the upper palate. It activates the right side of the brain and makes me more creative. It makes my mind function differently. As a result, I’m more positive, more focused and more creative. Doing 108 Mul Mantras also feels like it balances me. It might not seem so, but I’m pretty emotional. I’m a fiery person.
Konrad & Malie, Grade 12, Germany –
Reciting Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Anand Sahib, Benti Chaupai, Shabad Hazare & Tavprasad Savaiye each morning and Rehiras Sahib & Kirtan Sohila at night
Reciting all of these banis has been much easier than I expected. It takes about an hour and a half each morning. I’ll start on the bus, read on the parkarma and then on the bus ride home. I’m focusing on the pronunciation. Guru Gobind Singh’s banis are really powerful. I’ll adjust the speed and go a little faster when reading them. I’m tired in the morning so it also helps to wake me up!
I know Japji Sahib the best so I’m able to have deeper experiences with that bani; Guru Gobind Singh’s banis feel very commanding.
Konrad Mieke, Grade 12, Germany – Part of a group doing a different kriya each morning after seva
We’re doing a different kriya every single day. First we went through the Teacher Training manual and now we’ve started on another. We each take turns leading. It’s really nice as we can get more into teaching; not just doing the kriyas but getting to know them, the timings, how to present and how to adjust them. Some of the kriyas have weird things in them or are hard to teach. When you see them, you think ‘nah, this is weird’ but we’ve done them and they’re actually really nice.