Sidak - a SikhRI initiative

We passionately believe that the teachings and principles revealed to the Ten Nanaks have a lot to offer to the humanity...

Programs-Sidak (127K)

Established in 2003 and located in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A., SikhRI is a non-profit, faith-based initiative whose mission is to "facilitate training and development while inspiring Sikh values.

We passionately believe that the teachings and principles revealed to the Ten Nanaks, or Sikh Gurus, have a lot to offer to the humanity and must be promoted with determination. We are confident that the solutions to our community’s contemporary problems lie within these very values. To that end, we recognize the need to constantly develop innovative, effective responses to inter- and extra- Sikh struggles using the paradigm sustained in our rich and glorious tradition.

We believe in generating solutions that are built upon our community’s spiritual, social, economic, and political heritage to produce a stronger, freer, and more prosperous Sikh Nation that is in turn able to fruitfully contribute to the global community. This, we believe, is the way to celebrate Sikh heritage!

By inspiring Sikh values, our institutional mission earnestly seeks to heighten individual and communal awareness in all spheres of life. We endeavor to provide a platform for intensive dialogue in a stimulating atmosphere where commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued. Such discourse and training witnesses the transformation of family life, social relationships, civic duty, and service to humanity.

Our approach to learning Sikhi and sharing with the Sikh community is primarily through the interpretation of Gurmat, a term that describes the wisdom of the Guru, the one who takes an individual from ignorance to transcendent enlightenment. Gurmat consists of the confluence of bani, tvarikh, and rahit. That is, respectively, scriptural directives, historical precedents, and a code of ethics. Bani most readily refers to Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, as the embodiment of Sikh teachings.

It embraces those parts of universal cultures that have the potentialities to be charitable, sublime, and impartial, and admit no hegemonic influence that may disturb the flow of its spiritual message. Tvarikh includes historical traditions that celebrate the prophet-genius of the Guru-. It also borrows insight from the lives of Sikhs in the company of the Guru-. Rahit, which provides details on how a Sikh should live, encompasses the wholeness of life and raises it to transcendental purity. Additionally, we utilize the synergy of other faiths, traditions, and philosophies that further the realization of divine potential within each individual as long as they do not contradict with Gurmat.

Sikh values, create global awareness of Sikhi, and deliver solutions to the key challenges faced by the Sikh community." Read more

Sikhri (64K)


It is a rarity to find mentors and teachers who will provide a spark to an inquiring mind. I have found that my experiences at Sidak have led me to seek a better understanding of my faith. The spark I received at Sidak was the beginning of a journey. I set out to learn as much as possible about Sikhi and Gurbani. I wanted to learn about the social and political issues affecting us as a people. From human rights abuses in Panjab to civil rights issues in the diasporas, it is imperative that we become cognizant of the issues affecting us. Once we gain awareness, hopefully we can begin the process of addressing these issues.

Education is the first step and that is what the programs at Sidak provide. In the year following completion of the Sidak program, I was able to help develop lectures and small group discussions for a national Sikh conference. I attended the Sidak program twice in the summers of 2006 and 2007. Three years later, my brother and I still have weekly Gurbani vocabulary quiz sessions.

Sidak was a life changing experience. There are very few programs that can provide a positive influence on one's life. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to learn at Sidak and I hope others are able to share my experiences by attending Sidak.
--Raviinder Singh

Evening Divan was my favorite - sitting in the midst of the sangat, reciting Rehraas Sahib with my eyes closed. For a moment, I took a deep breath and listened. The sound of synchronized voices has an immense power - something I still cannot explain in words.

This is Sidak.

Over the course of two weeks, I looked forward to each evening. It was a time that allowed me to truly understand my Guru and connect to bani on a deeper level. I cherished each and every moment, whether it was listening to kirtan sung by another Sidak participant or hearing the Hukam being discussed amongst my peers.

Each evening, members of the sangat would discuss what they had learned that day. It was not only a time to discuss textbook material, but also how to apply the material learned in classrooms to everyday life. The vitality of the information gained throughout the day was heavily present in each person's reflection. Whether it was discussing a portion of Asa Ki Var or the equal importance of the Guru Granth and Guru Panth, one was able to learn from each individual's personal account.

Later in the evenings, after Divan, it wouldn't be uncommon to find myself in an unplanned discussion started by a few people sitting next to me during dinner. These were truly eye opening experiences for I was not only able to express my thoughts, but also gain different perspectives on various topics.

Being able to discuss issues I wouldn't normally delve into on a day to day basis made me appreciate the sangat around me. These were extraordinary people that taught me more about myself than I could have imagined. They came from all walks of life and had an array of passions - some were great musicians, talented artists, accomplished scholars, or even activists that made me want to make a difference in the world.

Sidak gave me a platform to discover my faith and my personal relationship with the Guru in an environment that was enriched with leadership and Sikh principles. I gained the confidence I needed to initiate a connection with the Guru and I no longer feel intimidated.

Although my days in San Antonio are over, my Sidak experience has not left me. When I recite bani on a day to day basis or even when I talk to others, I always remember the principles I was taught. Sidak made me realize that Sikhi is not simply a religion, but a lifestyle. I live my Sikhi each and every day and I am grateful for my Sidak experience, for it truly made me realize my faith and who I am as an individual.
-- Sharanjit Kaur, Granada Hills, CA.

The Gurmukhi track at Sidak 2009 is a very structured course whereby high school and college students and adults with either minimal Gurmukhi skills or with fluent modern Punjabi written and spoken skills or those in between, can learn to translate ancient Gurbani used by the Sikh Gurus in the Guru Granth Saheb Ji. While the Gurbani is compiled from a variety of ancient languages there is much to be gained from the use of parts of speech and techniques of grammar to understand a significant portion of Dhur Ki Bani in Guru Granth Saheb Ji. Two weeks is hardly enough time to learn a language, but the Gurmukhi track at Sidak 2009 is presented via detailed course materials, and supplemented with the tools and techniques to help you continue your journey to discover the Guru Granth Saheb Ji for yourself with self-study afterwards.

The instructors at Sidak 2009 were excellent and they used well developed course materials to transfer their knowledge to students who came from a wide variety of backgrounds. The proof of their effectiveness of instruction is in the fact that I saw young adults with minimal written and spoken modern Punjabi skills translating shabads on their own in a span of two weeks. The instructors were knowledgeable and passionate about teaching. However, the course is rigorous and has ample homework and it is definitely not for the meek or timid, I think. If you are serious about learning ancient Gurmukhi used in the Guru Granth Saheb Ji then Sidak 2010 is the only place that I know of that will offer the level of depth and scope that will help you to extrapolate your existing English and modern Punjabi or other language skills to understanding Bani with parts of speech, vocabulary, and techniques of grammar.

The Gurmukhi track at Sidak is unique in that it caters to a diverse audience - those that already are or aspire to become highly accomplished as professionals in fields of engineering, medicine, dentistry, nursing, social studies, psychology, computers, mathematics, sciences, arts, law and other areas. Students and professionals from almost each of these fields attended Sidak 2009 in San Antonio offered by the Sikh Research Institute. Student ages ranged from 16 to 34 at Sidak 2009, to my knowledge.

In a relatively short time of 6 days not including the weekend (I missed 4 days of active instruction due to my job commitments), the Sidak Gurmukhi track enabled me to leapfrog my understanding of Gurbani from that of a green novice to becoming adequately equipped with tools and techniques to continue through self-study. I am thoroughly impressed by this course and wholeheartedly recommend it for every Sikh and non-Sikh who wishes to learn, translate, and understand Gurbani for themselves. If you are of the mindset that the ancient Gurmukhi of our Gurus that is comprised of a multitude of languages is a rare art form that a select few "back in India" could have the privilege of learning properly then you are in for a pleasant surprise. The Gurmukhi track at Sidak reveals the art and science of Gurmukhi and makes Gurbani accessible to you, even if you do not practice modern Punjabi in your daily lives.

The Gurmukhi track at Sidak offered by the Sikh Research Institute reckons that even if you have never spoke a word of modern Punjabi in your entire life, but if you have just the desire to learn the word of the Guru Ji in Guru Granth Saheb Ji, then you will come out of this course with enough knowledge, tools and techniques, and literature references to start your journey towards discovery of Dhur Ki Bani by yourself.
-- Narenderpal Singh, Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Sidak: A Life Changing Experience (My Review)

This summer, I was able to take part in a two-week intensive learning program in San Antonio, Texas. I didn't know what to expect, since it was my first year attending, but I heard so many great things about the program so I had to see it for myself.

I decided to take Gurmukhi 101 this year, which provides an in-depth overview of Punjabi grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. I really felt like I needed a much stronger grasp on the basics of the Gurmukhi script, and I truly think that I have built a good solid foundation from Sidak to continue building on in the future. I was also able to develop my speaking, writing, and reading skills at the same time while I was at Sidak, which was very helpful for me to immerse myself more into the language. I was encouraged to continue developing my skills outside of the program and use what I've learned as a base to start communicating and interacting with others in Punjabi. I was never given any formal education in the Gurmukhi script until Sidak came along!! I'm really thankful that I've been given the opportunity to attend this program to spark my interest in learning Gurmukhi, and eventually learning how to understand Guru's message through the Guru Granth Sahib.

Every day of the program was divided up into four sessions... the first three were dependent on the track which I signed up for, and the last session was a group session for all students. For the Gurmukhi 101 track, I had one session just specifically for Punjabi grammar instruction, and the other two sessions were set specifically for transcription, speaking, writing, and reading labs as well as history lessons, which were all spread out throughout the two weeks. I was provided with a binder with all the learning material, so it was very easy for me to read through the material covered in class if I didn't understand something and ask questions to my teachers throughout the day. During the personal development time, the teachers were always accessible, the students were always willing to help... at Sidak, you are a part of a sangat that encourages and motivates you to keep learning and making yourself better!! I loved the supportive environment at Sidak; it encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, like taking Hukam in front of sangat, and of course, singing the Kanye West song Heartless during the Open Mic Night! Now everyone thinks that I'm American Idol bound!
After the three track sessions were over, I always looked forward to the fourth session of the day. The fourth session would always be some sort of informational or leadership development workshop run by well-known leaders in the San Antonio community. The informational workshops covered topics like gender constructions, falling in love, the events of 1984, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The leadership development workshops covered topics like conflict resolution, the social change model, and the everyday activist. In every workshop, I was able to engage in the discussions and ask questions to better my understanding of the topic at hand. The facilitators of the workshops were not only credible but they were also very knowledgeable about their chosen topic! For example, Larry Mills, an executive member in the San Antonio Spurs organization, shared with us during his conflict resolution workshop the obstacles that he had to overcome in order for him to become the successful leader that he is today. The facilitators expressed so much enthusiasm about their chosen topic which made the workshops much more interactive and engaging! I could tell that the facilitators of these workshops really wanted us to take the knowledge that we gained from the workshops and apply it into our daily lives in our respective communities. I feel motivated as a Sidak 2009 graduate to take on what I've learned from the workshops and classes and share my newfound knowledge and experiences with the people in my community. Right now, I serve as an ambassador to all my family and friends from Florida and other places around the United States and Canada, and some of them hope to join Sidak next year, which I'm very truly excited about!

Overall, the Sidak program has not only given me the basic knowledge of the Gurmukhi script but also it has given me practical leadership skills that I can utilize when I start my college career in a few weeks at the University of Florida. I really look forward to becoming a leader in several organizations like the Sikh Student Association and sharing my experiences from Sidak with my college friends. I truly feel that participating in Sidak this year is a stepping stone of greater things to come, and I can't wait for next year! I want to give a big thanks not only to the San Antonio sangat for providing us with a safe and enjoyable learning environment but also to Waheguru for blessing me with the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing program like Sidak! It has changed my life for the better, and it will certainly change yours!
Read more

Jasmine Kaur
Director of Education
Sikh Research Institute
Preserve. Celebrate. Inspire.
210.757.4555| SikhRI

Add a Comment