A Publication of the Sikh Dharma Office of the Secretary of Religion
"What can be more love, than when God is in the presence of you?"
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji,
SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa, Secretary of Religion
Normally, I have some resistance to going up the mountain for Summer Solstice. It's hot, the road is beyond bumpy and it's so dry. Always when I get there I am thrilled to be in that vibration and do not want to leave. This year was different. As I sat in my L.A. office as early as Monday and Tuesday of the week before Solstice, I could feel the energy pulling me to New Mexico. Once I arrived back there, I couldn't get up the mountain soon enough. I was so happy to be at Ram Das Puri. It was a very powerful time to be together. Our Summer Solstice Ministers' meeting was likewise filled with this energy.
Despite the fact that we were in the furthest teaching tent from the main grounds, a wonderful group of Ministers made the trek. My intent for this year's meeting was to experientially explore Sikh Dharma as a technology. With the blessing of SS Kirn Kaur Khalsa from Espanola, NM as our teacher, we did just that. Taking a line from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib (page 651 or 2138 from the eight-volume set), Slok 3rd Guru, "From the Guru's service wells up peace and then one is not afflicted with pain." We explored the meaning with our intellect. What is seva? How does peace well up from inside? What is pain in relationship to karma and learning from time and space?
After gathering answers from the group, Kirn Kaur led us in a short Kundalini Yoga set from Fountain of Youth, page 28 (available from the Ladies Camp link at 3HO.org). The set is a body adjustment to elevate the spirit. It was followed by a meditation to quiet the ego, from The Mind, It's Projections and Multiple Facets, Yogi Bhajan, PhD, with Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D, Kundalini Research Instate l998, page 185.
After these two experiences, we broke into dyads and again addressed the line from Guru Amar Das: " From the Guru's service wells up peace and then one is not afflicted with pain." The meaning was deeper. Lastly, Kirn Kaur led us in chanting Nagar Kirtan. We were to continue to reflect on the line from the Guru. When we concluded this chanting, we had a group discussion about the meaning of that line now, having gone through these three technologies of Sikh Dharma. People shared some significantly different and profound experiences. It was a wonderful oasis in the middle of the high desert. Wahe Guru!
We videotaped the meeting and if there is enough interest we can make the tape available for a nominal fee. Please contact newsletter editor SS Sarb Nam Kaur to let her know of your interest for your community.
May God ever bless you and keep you in His light and love.
Humbly, your Secretary of Religion, SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa
Sikh's Relationship to the Gurdwara
From the earliest days of his ministry, Guru Nanak's approach to spreading his God-given message was very simple. Accompanied by his minstrel Mardana, he walked from village to village throughout much of India and many surrounding countries. There he would sit down under a tree, request Mardana to play, and begin to sing. His songs were filled with such poetic beauty and depth of meaning that the villagers could not help but gather around him and listen in awe. Those who felt their soul's longing satisfied by the Guru's shabds (sacred songs) came to be known as shishya, or disciples. Wherever Guru Nanak went, he requested his followers to establish dharamsalas (abodes of dharma) where they could congregate to sing God's praises. Thus, from the beginning, the most essential aspects of what developed into the Gurdwara service were in place: the sense of awe inspired by the presence of the Guru, the transformation achieved by praising God's Name, and the magnified effect of gathering in a holy congregation open to all.
At the time of Guru Hargobind the dharamsalas began to be known as gurdwaras (gates of the Guru). The change reflected the development of the faith by Guru Arjan Dev. He had taken the original sacred composition book of Guru Nanak, the pothi, to which had been added the compositions of subsequent Gurus, and compiled their sacred writings and those of other saints into a granth, which he installed in the Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar in 1604. From that time on, copies of the Granth were piously transcribed and devotees carried them on their heads to install in their respective dharamsalas. Eventually, the granth became known was as the Granth Sahib and was treated as a holy embodiment of the Gurus' revealed utterances. The dharamsal where the Granth Sahib was kept became known as a gurdwara.
Just as the early Sikhs were in awe in the
presence of Guru Nanak, so the Sikh today experiences a sense of anticipation
in coming into the presence of the Guru in gurdwara. Siri Singh Sahib
states, "When somebody comes to the House of the Guru, one comes
in the most beautiful way possible. 'It is not where you are, it is not
what you are, it is what you project.' In essence, it is how you project
beyond. You rise and consolidate yourself in the morning, dress, look
at yourself in the mirror, and all the time your thought is, 'I am going
to the Guru's house. I am going to present myself before the Guru.' That
is worth a million meditations." (KWTC 1977 Vol. 2 p. 424) When you
go inside the gurdwara, through the Guru's gate, you have affirmed your
commitment to the elevation of your soul. You receive the nectar of the
Gurbani, which produces an internal state of bliss. The power of the Sadh
Sangat (Company of the Holy) magnifies your "chance to uplift the
flow of your own spirit." (KWTC 1977 Vol. 2 p. 354) You make your
self that sacred abode from which resounds the Guru's Holy Word, and you
become as Guru Nanak.
Siri Sardarni Dr. Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa is the Bhai Sahiba, or Chief Religious Minister of Sikh Dharma. Please feel free to submit your dharmic questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mukhia Sardarni Sahiba Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa answers on behalf of Bibiji and the Office of the Bhai Sahiba.
Congratulations and Wahe Guru! to these new ministers taking their vows at Summer Solstice Sadhana (June 2007):
Amrit Kaur Khalsa,
San Antonio, TX
Guru Prem Singh Khalsa,
Los Angeles, CA
Nirmal Kaur Khalsa,
North Vancouver, BC
Sat Ganesha Singh
Khalsa, Eugene, OR
Seva Kaur Khalsa,
Los Angeles, CA
If you would like to assist someone in becoming a minister, please review the Procedure for Becoming a Sikh Minister, revised in January 2006.
by SS Siri Bahadur Singh, Houston, TX
A handful of demons wait at every corner seeking
to distract the warrior saint from his duty, from fulfilling the word
given in trust and service. Voices from the past, conflicting desires,
and the angers and fears carried around as residue from past experience
seek to blur his vision, water down his resolve, and keep him from hunting
with the big dogs. That weight of ancient and useless baggage would encourage
the saint to slink onto the porch and play it safe if he stopped to listen
and abandon his resolve. Leave the thrill of the hunt to others. Let someone
else deliver the goods of the moment.
A servant of the Guru will pray, not for any
gift, favor, or quality. That person will pray to be light and free from
the robbers of his or her birthright – from the fears and burdens of past
mistakes or mistaken perceptions. The Arc Line can be cleansed of its
burden with the meditation to clear the past karmas. It can be revitalized
with Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. It can be reinstated within the wink of an
eye with a soul-felt prayer and total surrender to Siri Guru Dev. The
bliss of seeing you, my Beloved, the joy of your Presence in my brothers
and sisters, the sight of you in the sunlight playing upon the trees,
that is my true treasure. You are my Life and my Breath. You are me and
I am Thee and I will find a new way to say so and act so in every moment.
by SS Dr. Kartar Singh Khalsa DOM, Espanola, NM
I've been asked to speak about the seventh body, the auric body. I want to share some experiences both from my personal life and as a healer, to help ministers as well as those they serve. In SS Nirvair Singh¹s book on the ten bodies, he calls the seventh body the Platform of Elevation. The key question of the seventh body is: "Will I allow myself to uplift and nurture myself and others?" What I¹ve been finding is that this year 2007 is about cleaning up some of the last vestiges of samskaras, early childhood karmas etc. because we have until the end of this year to really consolidate ourselves. As we begin to hit the crush of the cusp, there is an increasingly urgent need for us to be fully present. It is critical that we engage fully and consciously in our personal work now because soon, when people come to us, they¹re not going to care about any of our issues. As the Siri Singh Sahib said, people are going to literally pull us out of our cars and demand that we heal them immediately. In that case our auras need to be strong and we need to have already done our work on uplifting and nurturing ourselves.
I believe that the example the Siri Singh Sahib showed us, of wearing down the physical body, may not work in this transition. In fact, at one of his last birthday parties that he actually attended, he warned us, "Don¹t do what I did." Don't wear out the physical body. In order to serve mankind we need to do as much work internally as we do externally. For me, the true lesson in understanding my name, Kartar, is in the being, not the doing, because in the being everything gets done. I always tell people in my practice who give too much and injure themselves, that they have a moral, ethical, and spiritual obligation to heal and take care of themselves first, before they can take care of anyone else. Being known for our service may not necessarily be in the doing, but in our presence the radiance of our auras, like a lighthouse, letting people know we are here to serve. Our sadhanas and our practices and our technology must be utilized to uplift ourselves in this moment before the tidal wave hits, because it's going to. Many people will be turning to us for guidance and upliftment and support.
I'd like to
urge everyone to create a manageable schedule of support for themselves
in getting ready for these times. We all need time to rest and rejuvenate
and prepare. If you are having trouble in giving yourself permission call
me and I'll prescribe it as your physician. Many blessings as we enter
this new phase.
by MSS Gurudhan Singh, Los Angeles, CA
Starting at about 12 years old, I found my mind asking me a recurring question. What would I be doing when I was 23 years old? I thought this question had to do with what type of work career I would be embarking on. But as it turned out, God had a plan different than mine.
In August 1971, at the age of 23, I began my practice of Kundalini Yoga. Interestingly enough, my initial exposure to Kundalini Yoga was sadhana in the early morning hours. I did sadhana for over 40 days before ever attending a regular class. Through these first 40 days a habit was set that has lasted till this very day: Get up before the sun rises, consciously breathe the breath of life; let this deep, rhythmic, relaxed breath go through the body's meridian points to bring the life force and its energy into my system. In other words, activate the Pranic or Eighth Body to bring life's electricity.
The results of this habit were immediate. Although I always had "energy," my energy was now even stronger and more focused. Things that used to disturb me bothered me less. As time passed, my doubts and anxieties began to subside and I found myself becoming more and more neutral in my outlook. I also felt my fears dropping away! After several years, I understood how blessed I was to have received the gift of conscious breathing through Kundalini Yoga.
Once I was immersed in this Pranic energy flow, "things" just happened. Soon I was practicing martial arts 4 days a weeks (that lasted 23 years), became the Solstice Camp Director (to this very day), taught Kundalini Yoga every week (still), and for the last 16 years have worked for Golden Temple, Inc. managing the sales of Yogi Tea, Peace Cereal and Bulk Granola.
Additionally, one of these "things" was doing seva (self-less service). "Giving is the art of life. If you give, it will create a vacuum and God shall fill it." (Yogi Bhajan, YB Teachings) Yogi Bhajan told me my name meant "doer of good deeds." Whether calling it ministering, doing good deeds, giving back, sacrificing your time for others, it is all the same. I do not know what karma I have nor why my Pranic Body is the body that is most used in my giving, but it is. Over the years, I have consistently drawn on the pranic energy to deal with any and all challenges that I have faced, without fear, energetically, and connected to the Universal flow of energy.
The Anandpur Sahib Yatra in 1999 was one of the biggest challenges I have faced over the years. Why? Due to my Solstice management experience, I was sent to Anandpur Sahib by the Siri Singh Sahib three weeks before the rest of us (500 people) arrived to set up the "camp" we were to live in for six days. I found the "camp" was a day school for young children with no showers, no living quarters, no kitchen, a very small water tank on the roof and only six flush toilets!
This school was the only place available for us to stay since Anandpur Sahib would be over flowing with 7 million people to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Baisahki. To make a very long story short, it all came together wonderfully and gracefully to accommodate us all. But, for those who know India, to get to that end result was not easy whatsoever. Each day, I had to go deep within with conscious breathing to center myself on that Universal energy. It was that energy that carried this project to a happy ending.
I have never thought formally about "ministering." But I have thought very deeply about tuning in to the pranic energy that flows through me. I put these thoughts into action each day by doing sadhana with conscious breathing, chanting, and meditating.
Once sadhana is over, I'm ready for the day
with my pranic energy activated and moving. Whatever opportunities come
my way to serve, I'm ready to "minister" through the essence of the 8th
body, the Pranic Body.
by SS Tej Kaur Khalsa, Los Angeles, CA
Over the years,
the Siri Singh Sahib used to ask us to tune into his subtle body, rather
than his physical presence. He explained once he left his body, this would
help us to 'find him' again. I was always interested in this because my
Tantric Numerology contains four 9's. So I had at least four reasons to
be very interested in this.
As a teacher, you often spend time listening
to people's stories. One day, after the Siri Singh Sahib had left his
body, a young man came to my office, asking for a meditation to help with
a problem. I had a photo of our Teacher sitting next to me on my window
ledge. As the young man spoke, a mental image of a meditation flashed
through my mind, and at the exact same time a loud clicking sound arose
from the photo. We both looked towards the noise, and I said, "I think
I know the meditation that would be perfect for you."
by MSS Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa, Vancouver, BC, Canada
"These are the powers when
the Radiant Body works. All of God's Creativity, all of His Virtues, His
Values come down.
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji
There is a painting of Guru Gobind Singh in Prayer Pose, eyes fixed upward in supplication, offering himself to God and Guru. Sitting in Vir Asan every morning, hands in Prayer Pose, powerfully chanting Wahe Guru Wahe Guru Wahe Guru Wahe Jio gives the touch of the essence of the Radiant Body. It requires the activation of and support of the Heart Center, purifying the Heart, connecting oneself with the energy of the heart, pre-surrendering, deeply bowing, offering oneself to be guided by the Radiant Body, supported by an open, humble heart, confident of God's Love, confident of God's Ultimate Will as worthy of surrendering to. Then one rises, sword in hand, saying:
"Okay, God, I'm going for it, you can cover me if you want! I'm going for it anyway!" Complete commitment, courage, surrender 110%. The Radiant Body's golden glow reaches out extending the aura, giving the seal of victory, magnetizing all it needs for that victory.
The interesting element of operating from the Radiant (and Subtle) Bodies is that, in order to activate these bodies it takes complete surrender. There is no 'control' here. You can't 'try' to move the Radiant Body. The only thing you can do is pre-surrender. Ah, but that is a huge achievement in the right direction!
Your Radiant Body is in complete service to that which you are committed to, that which you value, which you serve. Your commitment activates the Radiant Body, and with warp speed, environments of power are created, infused with the essence of what you are serving. When your Radiant Body is activated and surrendered, it carries your commitment to victory. No looking back…no duality…no doubt. All is called from the universe to serve what you are committed to. You represent it. Your entire mind, body, soul is in service to the elevated Truth. Your 'mukh,' your radiant projection shining from your face, is in complete service to that which you are committed to.
In this way, as a Mukhia Sardarni Sahiba, Mukhia
Singh Sahib, Singh Sahib, or Sardarni Sahiba, your Radiant Body carries
the Guru's Essence by your very presence. Humble, yet Radiant! Shining,
announcing the Guru's Glory!
1. Which of the ten bodies
do you relate to in your service and ministery?
Would you like to share your thoughts with other ministers? You can answer the reflection questions above and send them to the editor at email@example.com. Your answers will be posted on a new page called Reflection Question Responses, where your peers can read and respond to them.