Baisakhi 1999 Events
Monday, April 12th This morning a small group of us made our own personal pilgrimage to Keshgarh Sahib in the Amrit Vela. We arrived at about 3:15 a.m. and already large crowds had assembled. Whole families with small children walked up the hill for Gurus darshan and the beauty of Asa di Var. We went up to bow where the weapons of Guru Gobind Singh are kept but it was too crowded to do so.
Later in the morning, I heard that a panj of our Khalsa women asked to meet with Professor Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Sri Keshgarh Sahib. The women asked that a woman be allowed to be one of the members of the Panj Pyare at the Keshgarh Sahib Amrit ceremonies. The women meeting with the Jethedar felt the meeting was very successful. They also felt confident that the participation of women in this capacity would happen soon. Amrit at Keshgarh Sahib is given everyday at 8:00 a.m. Tomorrow, our camp will also have an Amrit Ceremony in the Amrit Vela for all the people in our yatra who want to become Khalsa. Gurbani Kirtan at Keshghar Sahib Walking to Keshghar Sahib
Today we went to Kiratpur and joined the Khalsa Fateh March/Jaloose. The distance from Kiratpur to Anandpur Sahib has been completely resurfaced with a new four-lane roadway. The distance between the two towns is only about 6 miles (or 11 kilometers), yet it took us almost 4 hours to cover the distance. It was so astonishing to see the great variety of Sikhs that God has put on the planet. There are Sikhs of all shapes, sizes, and forms. Some are wearing the bana of Guru Nanak; others are wearing the bana of Guru Gobind Singh. And, of course there are many people wearing everything in between.
A beautiful, wiry-fit, old Nihung who must have been in his seventies climbed aboard and onto the top one of our six buses. All the young adults and students on our bus immediately followed his lead and climbed on top to join him. This is the fun of a jaloose. Exchanging frozen sherbets and sweet jalaybs is part of the fun as well. The streets were filled with a magnificent Jaloose of exquisitely decorated trucks, the Panj Pyare, buses, Nihungs on horseback, elephants, marching bands, foot soldiers, Bengali lancers, and hundreds of marchers from all over the Punjab and Pakistan. The march symbolized the culmination of the five marches, which were started from the birthplaces of the five beloved ones who were baptized by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, creating the Khalsa Panth.
Even in the 105º F heat of the day, the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd was incredible. Planes flew overhead and dropped countless pieces of colorful paper confetti squares on the crowds - red, yellow, pink, green, blue, purple, orange, silver and gold rained down from the skies, balloons flew overhead and the morning and evening were filled with loud and colorful fireworks. The presence of Guru Gobind Singh was powerful and it was easy to imagine seeing him training his troops and holding court in our midst. Wahe Guru!
Throughout the day I find out that many people are organizing and participating in various programs. The Miri Piri Academy jetha, led by Jagat Guru Singh Khalsa, played to a crowd of 100,000 at the main Pandal. Evidently, their jetha was greatly received and the sangat was so inspired by their kirtan that their time was extended. Two other jathas from our yatra went to play at Keshgarh Sahib, one jetha from Eugene, Oregon and one jetha from Los Angeles, California.
The masses of people are arriving. The crowds in the street are getting thicker and thicker. Several of our yatra jethas played kirtan in the evening. Heres an excerpt describing one musician's (Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa) journaled experience:
Guru Dhan Singh talking to the yatra group about the Anandpur Sahib crowds
Looking at handwritten notes by Sikh Gurus at a Gallery in Anandpur Sahib
Listen to a Shabad by Sant Anoop Singh singing with 6 other famous ragis.
The athletic events at the Charan Ganga Stadium Sports Festival are a lot of fun to watch. Theres wrestling, theres kabaddi, and theres the ever entertaining tent pegging. Tent pegging involves Nihung Sikhs on horseback who gallop at full speed, with spear in hand, attempting to spear tiny tufts of hay.
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Copyright © 1999Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa
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