Archive for January, 2008

January 26th, 2008

Sunday, January 27 Diwan

Posted in Announcements by London Sikh Society

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Langar seva for Sunday, January 27 is by Sardar Ajmer Singh and family. Sardar Ajmer Singh ji requests all sadh sanghat to please attend the gurudwara sahib.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

January 22nd, 2008

Executive Committee 2008

Posted in Announcements by London Sikh Society

London Sikh Society
 Executive Committee 2008
Harbans Singh Mann             President                      519-681-0744
Dave Singh Gill                     Vice-President               519-474-9230
Bhupinder Singh Gill              Secretary                     519-685-0086
Rajinder Singh Dulay             Treasurer                     519-280-6791
Kawaljit Singh Patpatia          Assistant Treasurer       519-660-4458
Jaswinder Singh Yashpal        Langar Coordinator       519-673-4673
Mohinder Singh Sandhu         Langar Assistant           519-633-4551

January 19th, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008 Diwan

Posted in Announcements by London Sikh Society

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Langar seva for Sunday, January 20 is by Sardar Chinder Singh Mann and family. The Mann family would like to invite everyone to this diwan.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

January 4th, 2008

January 6 Sunday Diwan – Gurpurab Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib

Posted in Announcements by London Sikh Society

Parm-Poojya Sri Khalsa Ji Sadh Sangat:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

The advent of new year 2008 was celebrated by Sadh Sagat ji while doing Keeratan from 9 Pm till Midnight on December 31. Bibian were gracious enough to prepare Lanagar for the occasion. Ardas was conducted for welfare of all humanity as usual by all Sadh sangat and wishing happy times ahead for all.

The next Langar on January 13 is by family of S Sukhdev Singh Aul. All are cordially invited.

We are celebrating the Parkash Diwas of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Panth-De-Wali, Do Zehan De Malak on January 4,5,6 with begining of Sri Akhand Path Sahib on January 4, 2008 and Bhog on Sunday January 6, 2008. A former Hazoori Raagi Jath of Sri Durbar Sahib ji Amritsar, lead by Bhai Baljinder Singh will conduct Keertan on Sunday January 6. Bhai Baljinder Singh ji is running a Keertan Academy at Sri Anandpur Sahib where students learn Tanti Saaz and Tablas. Many graduates of this academy are performing Keertan at Sri Durbar Sahib right now. Bhai Baljinder Singh himself is very expert in playing of Tati Saaz such as Saranda, Sarangi, Dilruba. We have requested him to bring these Saaz with him to our Gurughar on January 6.

Congratulations to all on Agman of Sri Kalghidhar ji on this world stage on Poh-Sudi 7 in year 1666 AD. May Satguru i guide us and give encouragement to take Khanday Batey Di Pahul so that we can be worthy of calling ourselves Sikhs of the Guru.  We have a special article for sadh Sangat’s interest on Guru Sahib’s gracefuldeeds for the human race:

On Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday

-By Khushwant Singh, author of many books on Sikhs and Sikhism
Republished from The Sikh Review
In the summer of 1921 a strange phenomenon was witnessed in the
Punjab. That year the Sikhs launched a passive resistance movement to
take possession of one of their historic shrines called Guru Ka Bagh,
a few miles from Amritsar. Batches of passive resisters went to this
shrine. They were mercilessly beaten by the police. Their arms and
legs were smashed; they were dragged by their long hair; many were
hung upside down from branches of trees till they became senseless.

Instead of being cowed down by these brutalities, the number of
passive resisters increased steadily till 500 strong jathas began to
arrive every day at Guru Ka Bagh – amongst them many who had suffered
beatings earlier and had been discharged from the hospital.

This “rare species of courage” as Gandhiji and Rev. C.F. Andrews
described “was born of religious fervour”, in its turn, born of a
legend widely accepted by the Sikhs. It was said that wherever five
passive resisters assembled to say their prayers, Guru Gobind Singh
appeared before them. He led them to Guru Ka Bagh. And he, not the
passive resister, received the blows showered by the police. When
these satyagrahis were produced in court and asked their names and
addresses, they gave their names correctly. But of their parentage
and address, the answer invariably was: “My father’s name is Guru
Gobind Singh; my mother, Mata Sahib Devan. My home is the Guru’s town
Anandpur.”

The Guru Ka Bagh satyagraha went on for some months till the Punjab
gaols were crammed. Ultimately it was the police and the Government
which gave in and agreed to Guru Ka Bagh being handed over to the Sikhs.

I have met many of these passive resisters and, with my own ears,
heard them tell of the darshan of the Guru, and his ethereal form
lead them to face the police. They swear that they lost all fear, and
when they were tortured they knew no pain.

Soon after Guru Ka Bagh yet another phenomenon was witnessed in the
Punjab. The sacred pool surrounding the Hari Mandir in Amritsar was
drained and desilted. In this Kar Seva, as it was known, millions of
people took part. You can today meet hundreds of men and women who
will swear that many a time while they were engaged in this Kar Seva
the Guru’s white hawk swooped down from the skies and settled on the
gold pinnacle of the Hari Mandir – and then as dramatically vanished
into the blue heaven.

Sceptics will undoubtedly have explanation for these phenomena. Let
us concede that in an atmosphere of religious fervour, such
experiences are possible. However, the point to bear in mind is that
for the Sikhs these phenomena have been usually connected with Guru
Gobind Singh, because he has been to them their father-figure, their
supreme hero, the sustainer of faith, hope and courage, and their
beau-ideal – all in one.

What kind of man was this heroic Guru Gobind Singh? By now you must
be familiar with the main events of his life. I will not repeat them.

I will only draw your attention to five points to help you judge the
Guru’s place in history. The choice of the number ‘five’ is
deliberate. Five has some kind of mystic significance in the Punjab –
the land of five rivers. The Guru himself subscribed to sanctity of the five:
pancon men nit bartat main hun

panc milan to piran pir.

“Wherever there are five there am I. Where five meet, they are the
holiest of the holy.”

First, it should be borne in mind that he was only a child of nine
when his father, the ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur was executed by the
order of Emperor Aurangzeb. In any mortal such an experience would
result in a traumatic shock followed, first, by fear and, then, by
hate and desire for revenge against the people who had perpetrated
the crime. I have little doubt that many persons must have tried to
fill young Gobind’s mind with feelings of hatred and revenge against
the Mughals. The Guru remained impervious to these influences. When
he grew into manhood he announced his mission in life in the
following words: “I came into the world charged with the duty to
uphold the right in every place, to destroy sin and evil… the only
reason I took birth was to see that righteousness may flourish, that
good may live, and tyrants be torn out by their roots.”

Secondly, it should be constantly before our minds that the Guru
never subscribed to the theory “might is right”. Although he
introduced the worship of arms in Sikh religious ritual and even
described the sword, the spear and the musket as ‘the pirs’ –
religious mentors of the Sikhs, this was entirely in the context of
force as the righter of wrongs. He was fully aware of the fact that
the teachings of the first five Gurus and the Granth Sahib were
pacific in content. But should truth and goodness be allowed to
suffer annihilation at the hands of falsehood and evil? The Guru’s
answer was a categorical “No”. In a Persian composition entitled the
Zafarnama, the Epistle of Victory said to have been sent to Emperor
Aurangzeb, he wrote:

cu kar az hama hilate dar guzasht

halal ast burdan ba shamshir dast.

“When all other means have failed, it is righteous to draw the sword.”

In this context, it is significant that although Guru Gobind Singh
dictated the final version of the Guru Granth Sahib, he did not
include any of his own compositions exhorting people to rise in arms
in the sacred text.

Thirdly, the Guru took, special care that anti-Muslim sentiment
should not stain the crusade he was about to launch against the
Mughals. “My sword strikes tyrants, not men”, he said. Amongst the
earliest recruits to his army were Muslims. Although he fought the
Mughals all his life – as indeed he did the Hindu Rajputs of the
hills – he had both Muslims and Hindus fighting on his side, shoulder
to shoulder with his Sikhs. This followed naturally from his
conviction that all men were of one caste – manas ki jat sab ek
pacanbo – he exhorted. And that the mosque and the temple to be the
same; the call of the muezzin and the chanting of the pandit were the same.

The non-communal tradition started by Guru Gobind Singh was continued
into the time of Maharajah Ranjit Singh who was, as pointed out by
Pandit Nehru in his “Discovery of India”, one of the few genuinely
secular rulers of our country. It was, therefore, in the fitness of
things that in the crowning success of Sikh arms, the flag that the
Muslim General, Colonel Basswan, carried through the streets of Kabul
bore the emblem of Guru Gobind Singh; likewise, the Dogra, General
Zorawar Singh, planted this saffron banner bearing Guru Gobind
Singh’s Chakra, with Kirpans crossed, beneath, in the heart of Tibet.

Guru Gobind Singh was able to raise his fight against Mughals into a
struggle of the down-trodden against oppression of the rich, into a
demand for justice against tyranny of wrong-doers, in short, into a
crusade, a veritable dharma yudha against the powers of evil. He
forbade his soldiers from looting. He made them take solemn vows that
they would never molest women of the enemy. He emulated the example
of our ancient rishis and yogis and insisted that all Sikhs should
wear their hair and beards unshorn – for they were not common
soldiers but Sant Sipahis, Soldier-Saints.

Fourthly, what deserves your attention is the incredible sense of
loyalty and sacrifice that the Guru was able to arouse amongst his
followers. Let me give you a few examples. You may have heard of the
famous ‘baptismal’ ceremony when five men willingly agreed to have
their heads cut off.

There are innumerable examples of similar sacrifice. As well known as
these first five Sikhs, known as Panj Piyaras, were another group of
forty known as cali mukte. Under great stress during the prolonged
siege of Anandpur these forty men asked the Guru to let them go.

After getting a deed of renunciation, the Guru released them from
their obligation. When these men returned to their homes their women
folk taunted them for disloyalty to the Master. The men (including
amongst them a woman, Mai Bhago) rejoined the Guru at Muktsar and
fell fighting. The last request their leader, Mahan Singh, made to
the Guru, was to have the deed of renunciation torn up before he
closed his eyes for ever.

Yet another example was of an old woman who came to the Guru for
help. She told him that her husband and two sons had been killed
fighting. All that remained of her family was her youngest son who
was dangerously ill. She begged the Guru’s blessings to restore him
to health – not to have some one to look after her in old age – but
in order that this son too could attain martyrdom in the battle field.

How was Guru Gobind Singh able to fire his followers with this kind
of reckless valour? Primarily by setting an example himself. This is
the fourth point of your consideration. He fought alongside his men.

He never put his family before his followers. On the contrary, at one
of the engagements, he allowed two of his sons to go to a certain
death before he allowed any of his Panj Piyaras to do so. Within a
few months he lost all his four sons: two were killed fighting, the
other two, aged nine and seven, were executed by the Governor of
Sirhind. His own mother died of grief. When his wife asked him in
tears for her four sons, the Guru answered, “What if four be dead;
thousands live to continue the battle.”

It was by this kind of personal example that the Guru was able to
train poor rustics who had handled nothing more lethal than a lathi
and flabby, pot-bellied, timid shopkeepers, to become some of the
greatest fighters India has ever known. He redeemed his pledge that
‘he would train the sparrow to fight the hawk’ and ‘teach one man to
fight a legion’. Pathans, Persians, Afghans and Baluchis of the North
West Frontier region who had for centuries invaded India, terrified,
massacred and looted our people, were beaten back into the homelands
by these new soldiers of Guru Gobind Singh.

It has never been fully appreciated by our historians that these
Sikhs set up a human barricade against the invaders and so made
possible the rise of Maratha power in the Deccan.

Fifthly, and this is my final point, is the genuinely democratic
spirit of this great leader of men. Guru Gobind Singh never claimed
divinity for himself. He denounced those who tried to make him an
incarnation of God. “I was ordained to establish a sect and lay down
its rules,” he wrote. “But whosoever regards me as Lord shall be
damned and destroyed. I am – and this let there be no doubt, I am but
a slave to God, as other men are: a beholder of the wonders of
creation.” He took no credit for what he did: he attributed all
achievements to the Khalsa – all his victories, his power, his
prestige, he said was due to the efforts of his followers. Although
he was their Guru, he made himself their disciple – ape gur-chela.

Whenever the congregation passed a resolution it acquired the
sanctity of a gurumata – an ordinance of the Guru binding even on the
Guru himself.

Guru Gobind Singh was thus a rare combination of many qualities – a
sophisticated aesthete composing poetry in many languages – Sanskrit,
Prakrit, Persian and Punjabi; a handsome cavalier fond of chase and
danger; a soldier who dedicated his life to fight tyranny; a leader
who looked upon his followers as comrades and equals, a Guru who
exhorted people to worship the God they love best but insisted they
look up their fellow beings as equals; a man who sacrificed all he
had – his family and his worldly possessions and ultimately himself
for his ideals. This ideal he stated in lines which have become the
most quoted of his compositions:

O Lord of Thee these boons I ask

Let me never shun a righteous task.

Let me be fearless when I go to battle.

Give me faith that victory will be mine.

Give me power to sing Thy praise,

And when comes the time to end my life,

Let me fall in mighty strife.

Has the world produced many men as great as Guru Gobind Singh?

Charhdi Kala to all.

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