This month we are celebrating the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. He was born in northern India in 1666, and we celebrate his birthday on January 16th. For me, it is a time to tap into his energy, and receive the blessings of his teachings into my life. As the tenth Guru, he delivered the message that no matter where we are in our consciousness, we each have the capacity to live in radiance, royalty and joy. He gave us a Dharma, a spiritual lifestyle with specific tools including Shabads, or sacred songs, to heal our wounds and move forward in the full strength and experience of the true self. It is a simple matter of purification—to remove the tendencies of fear, hatred and anger from within. He called this concept Khaalsaa, and solidified a Dharma in order for us to reach this consciousness. This Dharma, or what we call Sikh Dharma has many beautiful practices. We wear clothes that remind us of our royalty and spirit that is called Baanaa. In addition, we keep our hair, which is tied in a turban, to bring our energy upwards to serve in our highest capacity through the day. We remember to always stand for truth with the practice of a martial art called Gutka, and wear a Kirpaan (a sacred sword) and Kara (steel bracelet) to keep us in this consciousness throughout the day. We incorporate service to community and humanity into our daily life, and practice healthy ways of living with diet, exercise, daily meditation and recitation.
Khaalsaa is a very universal consciousness of purity and I feel that there are many paths to it. From this place of reverence, I share with you a story from the childhood of Guru Gobind Singh, that illustrates the kind of healing available to us within the path of Sikh Dharma.
Guru Gobind Singh was born to Maataa Gujarī, and the ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahaadur in a then small town called Panna located in Northern India. Guru Teg Bahaadur had many travels at that time, to fulfill his mission and service to humanity. At home, Maataa Gujaree raised her lively, sweet, saintly and sometimes mischievous son on her own for the early part of his life. Known at that time as Gobind Rai, as a young child he would often run about with his friends in the village and nearby fields with various games and fun adventures.
Near the family home lived an old lady, who for the most part was quite unhappy. Her life had been hard, as things had happened to her, and she had acted in ways that she was not entirely happy with. She was doing her best to support herself by spinning wool to make yarn, which she sold in the market. However, a heavy energy seemed to always be with her, and she was often seen with a grumpy frown on her face, going about her work in her run down little hut. She would always yell at the children if they got to close to her hut, as the noise disturbed her. One day, in a spark of mischief, Gobind Rai ran into her hut and grabbed one of her balls of yarn that had been stacked on a shelf, and rolled the yarn into the dirt covered courtyard in front of the hut. With squeals of laughter, he ran off.
The old lady was so angry but could not run after him. She just picked up the dirty and ruined yarn and yelled out in frustration, "How dare you! I will have a word with your mother!"
She went straight away to the Gurus house, and knocked on the door. Mata Gujaree answered, and upon hearing what had happened, took her inside. She was perhaps used to hearing the mischief of her son. So she said to the lady,
"He is the son of the Guru, and I do not know sometimes why he is so mischievous. There is such a light of love that always flows through him. Here, please have a cup of tea, and accept this money to pay for your yarn!"
The old woman accepted at first with some annoyance. But, then, as she stayed for some time she began to relax and feel something good inside that she had not felt for quite awhile. While Maataa Gujaree prepared the old woman's tea she chanted the Guru's Baanee, or song. While the old woman was drinking her tea, someone else in another room began chanting. This vibration was always permeating their home and quite normal for the family, but indeed very new for the old woman. It was a beautiful space to be in and she relaxed and enjoyed her tea. She thought to herself, "Oh he was a mischievous boy! But, certainly he will not do it again."
In fact, the very next day, as the old lady sat down to her work, she was back to her old grumpy self, and yelling at the children to get away from her yard. With a flash of light sparkling from his eyes Gobind Rai dashed in, and grabbed another ball of yarn, and set it rolling into the dirt and ran away laughing. Again, the old lady went to the Guru's house, very furious. Again, Maataa Gurjaree invited her in and as the sacred Baanee, or song of the Guru was being sung in the home, the old lady sat and felt relaxed and joyful.
This pattern repeated for many days. In this way the old lady became a frequent visitor to the Guru's home, and something in her began to change. Through the vibration of the Shabad Guru and the company of the holy, or Sangat, her karmas (energetic results of past actions) began to loosen, and she found a deep sense of healing. Soon she was much more relaxed, and even felt happy about herself and her life. Although the young boy Gobind Rai had at first appeared mischievous, he reached out to her in the wisdom of the Guru that he would become and brought her into the sacred vibration that would heal her forever more.
With this, I leave you with these sacred words of Guru Gobind Singh, the last four lines of Jaap Saahib. Yogi Bhajan taught us that this mantra removes fear, anxiety, depression, and phobias, and brings victory. It instills courage and fearlessness into the fiber of the person. It gives “saahibee”- self command and self grace. Here is a link to this mantra (the 5th track on the Ras album) if you would like to hear it and experience it in your life.