Vaisakhi. New Day. New Life.

Today, when we go to the Gurdwara on Vaisakhi, we all remember the story of what happened....

When Guru Gobind Rai issued the summons for his Sikhs to gather in Anandpur Sahib for Vaisakhi, nobody really understood what the Guru had planned for them. No one could predict the powerful transformation that the panth would undergo.

Today, when we go to the Gurdwara on Vaisakhi, we all remember the story of what happened. And we even know what to expect. In that “knowing,” might we be missing something?

If it is new, then you can’t know. If you know, than it is not new.

The more time that passes, the more we think we are experienced. We are not struck with wonder at the world around us. Just think of how excited a child is to meet a new friend or to run and hug their father. We are not as open to feeling how the Guruji can come to us here, now, on THIS Vaisakhi. 

We want this year to be new, so God help us forget what we think we know about Vaisakhi! Guru ji’s majesty and mystery goes far beyond the human mind and perhaps Guru ji has something in store for us that is beyond our current understanding.

It takes wisdom to not take what we know for granted and see with fresh eyes. It takes strength to let go and start anew.

I believe this is the sentiment behind these teachings of Guru ji:

ਸਾਚ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ ਸਦਾ ਨਉਤਨ ਸਬਦਿ ਨੇਹੁ ਨਵੇਲਓ ॥
Saach kee mat sadaa noutan sabad neho navelo
The Teachings of Truth are forever new; the love of the Shabad is forever fresh. (Ang 242 Guru Nanak)
(Read Shabad)

Many of us will soon attend a Vaisakhi celebration. Many of us will have also been there before, perhaps know the organizers, even bet on what shabads will be played. So how do we feel this as fresh, as if it were the first Vaisakhi? How do we have an authentically new experience. How do we forget what we know so we can experience Guru ji’s Vaisakhi as new? 

Here is one idea: This year, as we celebrated the 350th birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, imagine that you know nothing about the soul that would at some point have the name of Guru Gobind Singh. Imagine this soul, or the mission of this soul, is taking birth at this time. That this is the birth year of a great master. There is a celebration taking place and many people are going, yet the true importance of it is so subtle it’s hard to perceive. Let us go with this intention. 

Let this Vaisakhi be a birth of a new relationship with Guru ji in your life. Let your mind forget everything and open to a fresh understanding of the nature of this great master. 

Here are a few suggestions to get the conversation started, feel free to add your own suggestions as a comment:

  • Even though you may have read Banis many times, next time say this to yourself “I’m excited to recite this, I have never done this before.”
  • Sing your Banis in different tunes than you ever have before.
  • Take pauses in your recitation and see how you feel [amidst the naad] reciting...See if any meaning dawns in your mind.
  • When you go to Gurdwara say to yourself “I am meeting these familiar faces for the first time, I am bowing to my Guru as the first time”

What you know cannot be new and if it is new you cannot already know. 

In the name of the great, may we experience a rebirth His mastery in our lives and our world. 

Happy Vaisakhi, a new year, and a new life!

Wahiguru ji ka Khalsa Wahiguru ji ki Fateh

Painting by Kanwar Singh ArtOfPunjab "Master and Disciple"

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