The Asa di Vaar Workshop in Los Angeles.

If you had the opportunity to ask Guru Nanak one question, what would you ask?

If you had the opportunity to ask Guru Nanak one question, what would you ask?

This was the opening statement of a workshop I recently attended, along with about 50 other Sikhs at the Lankershim Gurudwara in Los Angeles.

Titled "Asa Ki Vaar: Beyond Duality", the workshop explored multiple facets of this often neglected Baani through presentations which were reminiscent of college lectures. These comprehensive presentations covered everything from the "Structure and Poetics of Asa Ki Vaar" to "The Legend and Message" behind the Baani, and offered me a new understanding and appreciation of Asa Ki Vaar.

Sikh Research Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission statement reads, "To facilitate training and development while inspiring Sikh values", organized the event.

Moreover, as they hoped to accomplish, I found that the defining difference that inspired me with this new appreciation is that instead of a dry recitation of facts, the workshop transformed into discussions about Love.

With phrases such as, "love is an act of will, not just a feeling" and other gems of wisdom, presenter Harinder Singh was able to highlight the creation of Asa Ki Vaar as the living embodiment of the Sikh mindset with its one unifying focus: Love.

The central message that I understood after attending the presentations is that Asa Ki Vaar is about shattering ignorance with truth. Through this process, a person is able to move "Beyond Duality" into an oneness in their thoughts, conducts, and with society.

Going back to Guru Nanak and what other workshop goers would ask, questions ranged from the often asked "What do you think about Sikhi today?" and "How do we make Sikhi more in line with your vision?" to the insightful provoking question of "How did you have the courage to start a new religion?"

Through Asa Ki Vaar, Guru Nanak provides us with the answer to that last question. If we have the courage to move beyond our internal greed and accept that we have been graced we can achieve anything.

If this is the case, then upon leaving I was plagued with another type of question.  It wasn't about how we can bring Sikhi back to Guru Nanak's vision, but instead: How do the 50 attendees of this workshop embody the Love expressed in Asa Ki Vaar, and then inspire 50 other people to do the same? 

This is our true challenge.

-From Balmeet Singh
Delano, CA

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