The Sword of the Khalsa by SS Jot Singh
Khalsa, Millis, MA
A Publication of the Sikh Dharma Office of the Secretary of Religion
"My birth and my life and my end are meant to serve, to console, to inspire, to share the sufferings and to take the suffering, and that all is the happiness."
(Beads of Truth, September 1974, Bead 24, p. 17)
SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa, Secretary of Religion
Sat Nam. In order to
be a member of the International Khalsa Council, you must be a Minister.
Consequently, this body represents a microcosm of our global Ministry.
For the second session on the topics: "Unifying the Sikh Panth, Service,
Ministry and Interfaith," The Office of the Secretary of Religion
was responsible for a one hour and forty-five minute block of time focused
on the Ministry. By Guru's grace, we had a powerful and uplifting group
The Siri Singh Sahib said that "the Age of Aquarius is not coming to us, it is coming through us." Our intention was to experience, capture and describe 1) our unified identity as a Sikh Dharma Ministry 2) calibrate to the frequency of the Age of Aquarius and 3) discover our unified identity. This storming process started with a meditation led by SS Shanti Shanti Kaur assisted by MSS Guru Raj Kaur. The meditation was "Purifying the Sushmana, the Central Nerve Channel" (from Reaching Me in Me, compiled and illustrated by Harijot Kaur Khalsa, KRI, 2002, p. 57.) Guru Raj Kaur's a cappella chanting was heavenly and transformational. Panch Nishan Kaur then read her poem entitled: "To Be A Sikh Dharma Minister." Shanti Shanti Kaur and I framed our intention and gave a brief historical perspective on the Ministry, originating during the time of Guru Amar Das.
Shanti Shanti Kaur led us in the next meditation: "Meditation to See the Unseen" (from Self Experience, compiled and illustrated by Harijot Kaur Khalsa, KRI, 2000, p. 42.), and accompanied by SS Sat Kirn Kaur, Snatam Kaur and other musicians. From this meditation, MSS Guruka Singh and MSS Guru Raj Kaur led us through a meditation/visioning process. At the conclusion of this experience, we broke into groups of four to share. After twenty minutes, we had a full session sharing. The following are excerpts from that session:
What is our unified identity as Sikh
How do you experience calibrating to
the Age of Aquarius?
Yes, there was a lot of storming. For our next session we move into forming. After wrapping up the session, I left the group (and now you) with an affirmation that I say daily: Sikh Dharma Ministers, working in unity and purity to serve humanity, take responsibility as leaders in their communities. The Ministry and the Dharma move forward by Guru's magnificent design. There is a solid and conscious foundation from which expansion takes place.
Wahe Guru! Humbly, SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa, Secretary of Religion
The Battles of Guru Gobind Singh
Why did the Gurus' path lead through so much hardship and pain? The Gurus went through hardship and pain to set an example. They wanted others to see the truth. By accepting the will of God, their acts and words proclaimed the principle "O Lord, Thy Will is Sweet to me, and I accept it." The Gurus fought for the rights of others -- they bore great hardship so that others may live free.
What do we learn from the battles of Guru Gobind Singh Ji? Guruji taught that as Khalsa it is our duty to exhaust every peaceful means to resolve a wrong, and only when all peaceful means fail it is right and just to raise a sword. The Guru taught us to fight unconditionally for the benefit of others.
Tell us about the Battle of Chaumkaur in December 1705 when the Guru's sons were killed. After the death of the Guru's sons, many of his Sikhs wanted him to leave the battlefield. He said "Today Khalsa has become Khalsa in God's Darbar." He asked the rest of the Sikhs to remember Waheguru, since we get everything from Waheguru. He said Sikhs have four shelters:
1. Akal Purakh
4. Within the Self
The next day, when the Guru himself was getting ready to fight, his men asked him to leave Garhi instread of going into battle. Guruji then put his "kalgi" ornament on Bhai Sant Singh, who resembled the Guru. Guruji then left Garhi at night. The Sikhs who were left in the field kept chanting Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh while fighting. Many of them were killed in the battle.
From "Living Reality" by Bhai Sahiba Dr. Inderjit Kaur Khalsa (Bibiji), Miri Piri Academy Press, Chheharta, India.
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: email@example.com. Mukhia Sardarni Sahiba Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa answers on behalf of Bibiji and the Office of the Bhai Sahiba.
Two new Sikh Dharma ministers took vows at the April 2008 International Khalsa Council meetings in Espanola, New Mexico. Welcome to SS Hari Nam Kaur Khalsa (Espanola, NM, former Siri Singh Sahib staff member) and SS Guru Kirn Kaur Khalsa (Espanola, NM, KWTC Yatra Coordinator).
The Sound and the Soul of the Ministry - Join the Chardi Kalaa Jetha and Sikh Dharma Ministers from around the world at the Annual Summer Solstice Minister's Gathering at Ram Das Puri. We will chant, meditate, vision, and connect on the Guru's land in Espanola, New Mexico on Sunday, June 22. Please join together to share and be a part of this special gathering sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Religion.
Dharma International announces a brand-new website to represent our spiritual
www.sikhdharma.org . There is a section on the ministry that
will give visitors an understanding of our traditions and history and
a way to contact ministers through the Office of the Secretary of Religion.
Guru Gaddee 300th Anniversary: We want to know how you and your sangat are planning to celebrate this historic event. Please send us information on your preparations for Guru Gaddee Day 2008, for publication in our August Minister's Newsletter. Photos are welcome. We also would love to have articles sharing the actual events for our November or February newsletters. Please contact Newsletter Editor, SS Sarb Nam Kaur at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know of your submissions. Thank you!
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 Gurukirn Kaur, Phoenix, AZ
Mai Bhago, or Mai Bhag Kaur, distinguished herself as one of Guru Gobind Singh's most faithful followers when she led a contingent of forty Sikhs who had deserted the Guru back to fight for his cause in what came to be known as the Battle of Muktsar in 1705. The Guru was being pursued by the imperial army, and Mai Bhago's forces were able to cut them off at the pool of Khidrana. The small force fought so fiercely that the imperial forces eventually retreated; however, Mai Bhago was the only soldier who, though injured, survived the battle. At the request of the dying warrior Mahan Singh, the Guru pardoned the forty soldiers. They have come to be known as the Chali Mukte, the Forty Liberated Ones, whom we honor to this day in our recitation of the Ardas.
Mai Bhago eventually recovered form her injuries. Dressed in male attire, she later served the Guru as one of five attendants who guarded his bed at night. She accompanied the Guru when he went south to Nanded. After his death in 1708, she retired further south to Jinvara where she spent her days in meditation, living to an old age. Her hut there has now been converted into Gurdwara Tap Ahthan Mai Bhago. At Nanded, also, a hall within the compound of Sri Hazur Sahib marks the site of her residence and is known as Bunga Mai Bhago. Her spear and musket are preserved along with Guru Gobind Singh's weapons at Sri Hazur Sahib. Mai Bhago serves as a true example of Khalsa, her purity, courage, and commitment foremost in her actions.
to Majha, forty men did ride,
We pitched cloths on the bushes far and wide.
by Guruseva Singh Khalsa, Miri Piri Academy, 12th grade (Mexico)
But seeing it from a saint like Guru Gobind
Singh, as Sikhs we can see and use as an inspiration in our lives how
one can always fight to defend his or her identity. From my point of view,
this is a saintly action. Even though Guru Gobind Singh fought fiercely
and strongly, he was also compassionate, caring and serviceful.
by SS SatSundri Kaur Khalsa, Espanola, NM
Guru Gobind Singhji left his earthly home at the city of Nanded (400 miles east of Mumbai) on the banks of the River Godavari in south central India in October 1708, after declaring Siri Guru Granth Sahib as the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs. Three hundred years lager, we commemorate the anniversary of both these important occasions.
For many centuries the area of Nanded has believed to have been a place of sacred activity. Guru Gobind Singh, following the death of his elder sons at Chamkaur, and the younger Sahibzadas and his mother at Fatehgarh Sahib, began to make his way south from Punjab while Emperor Aurangzeb who desired to extinguish Guru's light, was still in power. During this time of travel, the Emperor became ill and died.
Through a succession struggle between sons, Bahadur Shah became the new Emperor. Bahadur Shah asked for Guru Gobind Singh's assistance during his struggle for the throne. Once the Guru reached Delhi, he camped where today stands the Damdama Sahib Gurdwara in the Nizamuddin area. He met with the new Emperor Bahadur Shah, and the Guru informed the new Emperor of the path of the Khalsa as distinct from the Islamic or Hindu paths. By royal invitation, the Guru traveled south with the Emperor by a separate but parallel route.
Guru Gobind Singh liked this area and settled there with his followers. He spent much time instructing all his Sikhs, including Banda Singh Bahadur. Mata Sahib Kaur was there and Mai Bhago joined him as well. From here, Banda, after coming to understand the principles of Sikhism and at the Guru's behest, was sent to carry the mission of the Guru back to the Punjab.
Land of Many Gurdwaras
The area holds many historical Gurdwaras and holy places.
Banda Ghat Sahib is upstream from Nagina Ghat and is the spot
where Madho Das, the Bairagi Sadhu, as Banda was previously known, had
his abode. Close by, where Guru Gobind Singh liked to meditate, overlooking
the river, a structure was constructed to house Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Gobind Singh's Death
Guruji said "I have entrusted you to the immortal God. Ever remain under His protection, and trust to none else. Wherever there are five Sikhs assembled, who abide by the Guru's teachings, know that I am in the midst of them. He who serves them will obtain the reward and the fulfillment of the heart's desires. Now, the Guru shall be the Khalsa, and the Khalsa, the Guru. I have infused my mental and bodily spirit into the Guru Granth Sahib and the Khalsa."
He bathed, changed, read Japji and said an Ardas. Then he put the traditional coconut and five paise before the Guru Granth Sahib and bowed to it as his successor, speaking "Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!" He circled the Guru and uttered, "O beloved Khalsa, let him who desires to behold me, behold the Guru Granth Sahib. Obey the Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Guru. And, let him who desires to meet me search its hymns." He reputedly kept only one Sikh with him, Bhai Santokh Singh, when he went to the tent where his bier was constructed (this room is called Angitha Sahib.) His instructions to him were to keep the Langar always open, and see than no one erected a shrine to honor him.
In the town of Nanded today, a shrine does exist, constructed by Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ardas is recited several times a day, and the weapons of Guru Gobind Singh and Maharaja Ranjit Singh are displayed for the Sangat with great reverence. There is a special Aarti in the evening, with ghee lamps, and the Dasam Granth is on an identical Palki Sahib next to Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
In October 2008, Nanded will be host to Gur Ta Gaddi celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of Parlok Gaman of Guru Gobind Singh as well as bestowing of Siri Guru Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhs. From around the world, as many as 3 million devotees are estimated to visit the area of Nanded over the fall, including an official contingent of members from our beloved and esteemed Khalsa Council International and all who are called to make the yatra to this holy site.
by Siri Sikdar Sahiba Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa, Espanola, NM
Please join the Sangat on a Yatra to Takht Hazur Sahib in south India in late October to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of when Guru Gobind Singh passed the Guruship to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Shabd Guru.
Guru Gobind Singh incarnated for one purpose. That purpose was to extend faith in God, preserving the virtuous saints of all faiths while destroying the tyranny of the times. He experienced innumerable personal losses, but in the end he gave to humanity the Siri Guru Granth Sahib to guide our souls on our journey to God and he brought an end to the tyrannical rule of the Mogul Empire in India.
The divine plan to bring Divinity to humanity as a manner of consciousness started with Guru Nanak's travels throughout the world teaching about the universality of One God. About 300 years later during the lifetime of Guru Gobind Singh, the Mogul rulers were forcing conformity to the Islamic faith. The choice was clear, to convert or to die.
The spirit and identity of Sikhs had grown greatly under the guidance of Guru Gobind Singh in Anandpur Sahib. All the neighboring hill chiefs became fearful and jealous. There were many skirmishes, battles and subtle plays for power.
Guru Gobind Singh's final home was Hazur Sahib. His journey there actually started with the sacrifice of many Sikhs who died in Chamkaur Sahib following a three year siege against the fort of Anandpur Sahib. Inside the fort the conditions were very difficult. There was no food and many Sikhs were dying. Emperor Aurangzeb sent a letter to Guru Gobind Singh swearing upon the Koran that he would grant him and his Sikhs safe passage to leave Anandpur Sahib. Knowing the Emperor's promise would be false, but also knowing that to remain within the fort was not a life affirming option, the Sikhs decided to leave the protection of the fort and Anandpur Sahib.
During the battle in Chamkaur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh lost his four sons and his mother. At the end only Guru Gobind Singh and five Sikhs remained alive. He wanted to give his final breath in the battle but this panj of Sikhs persuaded him to live that day in order to rebuild the spirit and future of Sikhs for another day. It was then that the panj acted with ceremony to request the Guru to escape through the jungle. As a panj they carried temporal authority to make this request, and the Guru agreed to serve their plea. He also realized he had yet to perform two significant tasks in order to complete his promise to God and fulfill his purpose for incarnating. He needed to install the Siri Guru Granth Sahib as our spiritual authority and guide for future generations.
Secondly, he needed to bring an end to the rule of tyranny. Toward this, as a man of God he wrote the beautiful Zafarnama, known as "Epistle of Victory" and sent this to Emperor Aurangzeb. In it he gave praise to God for victory and ended by denouncing the treachery of the Emperor. And so Guru Gobind Singh and the remaining Sikhs began their journey to the south of India. It is said that when the Emperor received the Zafarnama he turned pale. Its words acted as arrows of truth to bring him face to face with God and the realities of his tyrannical rulership.
What was so amazing about this story in the life of Guru Gobind Singh was that after all the betrayal, treachery, sacrifice and pain inflicted upon the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh still upheld a level of compassion and offered to meet with the Emperor in order to redeem his soul before the eyes of God as only a man of God can do. This never happened. The Emperor died but his son appealed to the Guru for support in establishing his authority as ruler, and that support was given.
True to his purpose for incarnating, Guru Gobind Singh brought an end to the rule of tyranny. It is known that upon his departure from this world, Emperor Aurangzeb's empire ended and a new phase began for humanity with the Siri Guru Granth Sahib guiding all Sikhs wherever they were in the world. It is now three hundred years later and we will join the sangats from around the world in Hazur Sahib to celebrate the gift of receiving the Siri Guru Granth Sahib as our Guru.
During this yatra, we will
be in the city of Aurangabad and people will have the opportunity to visit
the Ellora Caves. These caves were carved from the mountain and served
the three religions present during ancient times. The Hindu, Jain and
Buddhist temples sit side by side.
Join us at this time in this historic yatra if you can. We will join the sangat in celebrating this historic event by playing kirtan, doing seva, offering gifts and sharing in the spirit of Sarbat Da Bala, blessing the world. Come with a humble prayer to the Altar of Guru Gobind Singh and receive the darshan of his spirit blessing you.
Dates are October 27th to
November 1st 2008 (exclusive of international travel time).
by Atma Kaur Khalsa, Miri Piri Academy, 11th Grade (Leverett, MA)
I was pushed and shoved as
I made my way through the crowded streets. All around me people were chanting
and waving big flags. "Make way," boomed a voice behind me.
I turned around and, craning my neck, I could just make out the face of
a large man almost hidden behind his burly black beard. If my parents
knew where I was my father would be furious with me, "It's not safe,"
he would say, " you're a Muslim boy." For a boy of only six
the religious battle between the Muslims and the Sikhs made no sense.
I often wondered what was the difference between us. What was it that
made my father and his generals so angry that they could not even speak
the word Sikh without their voices shaking?
"General Akhmed!" The voice was gruff and had the steadiness of a trained soldier. The general stiffly rolled over and opened his eyes. What could possibly be the matter? It was just past dawn and the night previous had been peaceful. General Akhmed Mohamed Salam was a proud man who practiced a disciplined lifestyle. He was a loving husband and father. His tall figure had gained a stoutness but there was nothing about his aged figure that did not command authority. "General," the voice said again, this time with more urgency. "It is about your son, Fahzid, he's gone missing!"
"What do you mean?"
the General demanded. The general strode swiftly to his son's bedroom
door, where a group of soldiers were huddled worry spread across their
faces. "How could you let this happen?!"
His voice shook with anger. "There were four guards posted by my
son's door, now tell me, he could not have just walked out of here could
he?" his gazed was sharp and it pierced the air that hung around
the silenced soldiers. Without waiting for an answer he pushed past them
and entered his son's room.
He felt guilty for running away
his negligence would be dealt with later. He ordered his men to hold his
son. But upon seeing the soldiers approach Fahzid again said, " Father
I have been here I have seen what is in the carriage I assure you that
it is no threat." And then even bolder her spoke out, " Do you
not feel it father? These people worship a God just as we do. We can not
take that away from them just as it can not be taken away from us. I have
been to prayer, father, and the feelings are the same. Why can't you see?
If you are going to kill these people for worshiping a God then you must
too kill me. I am also guilty of worshipping a God and I see now how blind
a thing worship is. It has turned great men like you into monsters. I
do not recognize you when you are masked follow blindly."
SS SatSundri Kaur Khalsa, Espanola, NM
When and how did you become a minister? My minister's card says the date was 1973, the year after I became a Sikh, a couple years after meeting Siri Singh Sahibji. Honestly, I can't remember, other than it was probably at a Solstice. That was following being sent to the task of ashram co-director in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I remember a longing to formalize my commitment to serve the sangat. I feel very honored to be a minister.
describe what the words 'Sikh Dharma Ministry' mean to you. I
experience Sikh Dharma Ministry as being in the 'moment' within the vibration
of the Holy Nam, being a resource to others finding their way on the dharmic
path. There are as many aspects, or facets of this as there are to life
- in the stages of life, the development of life, the communication of
life, the relationship to one's own soul and inner life, the relationships
to others, and to Guru. I love in our practice that there is no higher
or lower. Siri Singh Sahibji said once - "In Sikhism we are colleagues
- some are a little further ahead, some a little further back; we are
all together on the path."
In 2005, a year
after Siri Singh Sahibji's passing, I was invited to Espanola to serve
in a Public Relations capacity for the Sikh and non-profit community.
I am currently serving and working within Sikh Dharma International structure
to deliver its transformation to the Sangat in a form the Sangat and Ministry
will recognize itself and its service as a practical and elevated face
of radiance, prayer, grace, effectiveness in service, and destiny - all
in service to the global community. And, we ask for the Sangat's prayers
for the success of this endeavor.
1. How do you plan to celebrate the 300th
anniversary of Guru Gaddi? Please share any special events you and your
sangat are planning.
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.