SikhiWiki:Today's featured article/August 2009

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August 1

Dances of Punjab

Folk dancer in his colourful costume

Punjab is a very rich state in terms of the types and number of folk dances that can be found here. It has many different varieties of folk dances, among which the most famous and popular are Bhangra and Giddha. These days, not to miss out of a good thing, many non-Punjabis are also getting into the spirit and fun of Punjab's folk dance, as you occasionally see a European, African or Chinese face in various Bhangra competitions. These non-Punjabis have simply made Punjabi dance a part of their own local culture.

The exuberance and vitality of the people of Punjab are vigorously displayed in their folk dances. The moves are full of expression, gestures, vocal remarks, subtleties of motion and uninhibited freedom – it is a dance from the heart! With the drum beat or to the tune of some other instrument of folk music, the energetic feet of the people of Punjab are spontaneously set to give in to inhibition and give instant birth to a folk dance - an expression of the triumphant soul; an outburst of emotions; a sudden release of energy. The dances of Punjab are the clear depiction of the energy and enthusiasm of the lively youth of Punjab. Punjab's folk dances are replete with foreign influences. It is only in Punjab where there is no common dance for men and women. ...Continued
(Main contributor to this series: Harpreet Singh, Mohali, Punjab)



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August 2

A cousin of Guru Ram Das came to Amritsar from Lahore especially to ask the Guru to attend his son's wedding.

The Guru said, "I will not be able to go because I can't leave my duties as Guru. Perhaps I can send one of my sons instead."

Guru Ram Das had three sons: Prithi Chand, called Prithia, Mahadev, and Arjan Mal. Prithia was in charge of collecting donations, of which he secretly took a portion for himself. When the Guru asked him to attend the wedding, Prithia said, "I have to take care of the collections. And I hate going to weddings."

Actually, he was afraid if he were away from the Guru for too long, he might not be appointed the Guru's successor. Having no luck with Prithia, the Guru then turned to Mahadev. Mahadev lived his life in meditation and said, "I have no desire to involve myself in worldly affairs."

Finally, the Guru asked Arjan if he would go. Arjan said, "I only desire to do what you wish." The Guru was very pleased. He asked Arjan to spend some time in Lahore to share the Guru's teachings with the city's inhabitants and Sikhs. Any donations he received were to be given to the free kitchen to feed the poor. The last words he said to Arjan were, "You should stay in Lahore until I send for you by letter." .....More
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August 3
Guru Amar Das and King Akbar

Akbar was a famous king of India. He was a kind and good king and respected the Sikh Gurus for their sensible practises and their fair and just teachings. In the year 1569, Akbar came to the Punjab and wanted to see the Guru.

So he sent a message to Guru Amar Das ji that he was coming to visit him. The Sikhs were very happy at the news. Some Sikhs thought that special arrangements should be made to welcome the king.

But the Guru said, "Akbar is as much a human being as others are. The Guru's place is open to all. The king and his subjects, the Hindus and the Muslims, the rich and the poor are all equal here. So Akbar will be welcomed like all other visitors to the Guru's place and special arrangements need not be made."

"Caste has no power in the next world; Only the humble are exalted there. It is only the good who are honoured for good acts." (Guru Nanak (SGGS p469))

The king, along with the Rajah of Haripur, arrived in Goindwal where the Guru lived. The Guru and a few Sikhs received them warmly. They were shown round the place. Akbar was interested to know how the Guru's Langar was run. Simple food was served to all in the Guru's Langar. It remained open day and night. .....More
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August 4

Sukhmani or Sukhmani Sahib is the title given to the Gurbani in raga Gauri Sukhmani in the Guru Granth Sahib which in turn appears in the major musical measure Raga Gauri to which it belongs.

It is a lengthy masterpiece, written by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. The sacred prayer spans 35 pages from page 262 to page 296 of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Surprisingly, many ardent Sikhs include the recitation of this Bani in their daily regimen of Nitnem.

The physical site where, around AD 1602-03, the Guru composed this Gurbani was once enclosed by a dense wood. The location is still marked on the bank of the Ramsar pool in the city of Amritsar, near the famous Golden Temple or Harimandir Sahib.

It is said that Baba Sri Chand, elder son of Guru Nanak and founder of the Udasi order, came to Amritsar to meet Guru Arjan, then engaged in composing this Bani. The Guru who had by that time completed sixteen astpadis, or cantos, requested him to continue the composition.

Baba Sri Chand, out of humility, only recited the salok of Guru Nanak following the Mool Mantra in the Japji .....More
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August 5
Sketch of Bhagat Puran Singh

On 5 August every year, the Sikh community commemorate the "Barsi" (Death Anniversary) of late Bhagat Puran Singh (1904 - 1992).

Bhai Sahib was born at Rajewal, in district Ludhiana, Punjab, India on June 4, 1904. His mother was Mehtab Kaur and his father's name was Chaudhari Chibu Mal. Bhai Sahib was born into a Hindu family and his original name was Ramji Das.

He started his education at Khanna, Punjab and then later joined Lahore's Khalsa High School. As a young man, he used to perform "sewa" at Gurdwara Dera Sahib and Gurdwara Shahid Ganj in Lahore.

Here, he would help with cleaning, cooking and serving food; he also tended to the aged, infirm and sick who came to the Gurdwaras to pay their respect to Guru Granth Sahib.

In an interview with Bhai Patwant Singh, Bhagat Puran Singh discloses how he became a Sikh. In his early life he used to travel a lot from village to village and would stay overnight at a Hindu Temple. One day when he was staying at one such temple, the Brahmins told him to clean the temple and then when he had done that, they sat in front of him and started eating food without offering him anything. .....More
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August 6
Guru Tegh Bahadur supports the Kashmiri Pandits' freedom to choose their faith

The Sikh Gurus believed in giving the individual complete freedom to choose his or her spiritual path. They believed that there should be no compulsion or force used when an individual makes this choice.

Most of the disciples of the Gurus became their followers after listening to the Gurus' sermons and then voluntarily following the guidance provided by the Gurus.

The Sikh spiritual masters made no promises of heaven or paradise to entice these followers to follow the path of Dharma (righteousness).

The disciples were not told that because they were Sikhs and followers of the Gurus, only they would be welcomed by God. The Guru made it clear that only by following the path of truth and by undertaking righteous actions can one become dear to the Lord thus:

"One who practices truth, righteous living, charity and good deeds,
has the supplies for God's Path. Worldly success shall not fail him.(2)"
SGGS Page 743

Bhai Mardana was a life long companion of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhi. Bhai Mardana was a Muslim from birth and remained as such until his last day. .....More
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August 7

The laava (singular laav) are the four Shabads (sacred hymns) of the Anand Karaj (Sikh wedding ceremony). They form the central part of the marriage ceremony.

The "four rounds" ("char phaara") as they are sometimes called, form the main part of this auspicious occasion. The four Shabads that are central and form the key element of the Sikh marriage ceremony are from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scriptures and appear on pages 773 to 774 of the total of 1430 page of the holy Granth.

Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru tells us on page 788 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib about the meaning of marriage to a Sikh couple – Effectively, the Guru defines a Sikh marriage in these 2 lines:

"They are not said to be husband and wife who merely sit together. Rather they alone are called husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies."

Thus the partnership of marriage is given a special meaning - a new dimension. For a union of marriage to be successful, the two personalities have to merge into one – a spiritual bonding through understanding and love.

The Guru through the four laava gives the Sikh couple further spiritual guidance for their life together; a journey together towards liberation and union with God. The Guru tell the Sikhs of the four golden rules of married life. These rules start very clearly to define the path to be threaded together in this sacred union. The Shabads inform us how the couple as a team has to .....More
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August 8
Sikhs being beaten with long batons at Guru ka Bagh

On August 8 every year, the global Sikh community remember the sacrifice made by thousands of their brethren in respect of "Guru ka Bagh Gurdwaras".

This article outlines the struggle by the Sikhs to see justice in respect religious freedom, their right to determine their religion and the management of their Gurdwaras - places of worship.

Below is an account of a major campaign in the Sikh agitation that took place in early 1920's. This resistance was for the reformation of their Gurdwaras (holy places).

Many Gurdwaras had been freed without much problem but they faced a serious hurdle here. Guru ka Bagh in Ghukkevali village is located about 20 km from Amritsar. It has two historic Gurdwaras close to each other, commemorating the visits respectively of Guru Arjan in 1585 and Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1664. .....More
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August 9

Sikhism, the youngest of the world's religions, is barely five hundred years old. Its founder, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469.

Guru Nanak spread a simple message of "Ek Ong Kar" : we are all one, created by the One Creator of all Creation.

This was at a time when India was being torn apart by casteism, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism. He aligned with no religion, and respected all religions.

He expressed the reality that there is only one God and many paths, and the Name of God is Truth, "Sat Nam".

Guru Nanak's followers were called Sikhs - seekers of truth. He taught them to bow only before God, and to link themselves to the Guru, the Light of Truth.

Among other things, Guru Nanak taught 3 simple ways of life; they are: Nam Japna - To meditate on God's Name and recite His praises; Dharam di Kirat Karni - To work and earn by the "sweat of the brow" or effort of the mind; and Vand Ke Chakna - To generously share the fruits of one's labor with others .....More
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August 10

Bhagat Beni also spelt as ‘’Baini’’ and ‘’Baynee’’ is one of the fifteen Sikh Bhagats and a Sufi saint who is believed to have been born in India. His Bani consisting of 3 shabads is included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

The place and year of his birth are unknown but Guru Nanak Dev refers to Bhagat Beni as "a Master of Yoga and meditation, and the spiritual wisdom of the Guru; He knows none other than God" (see last quote below - Guru Granth pg 1390)

In spite of all this uncertainty, he can be called a contemporary of Guru Nanak. It seems that Beni lived in this part of the world probably in northern India, somewhere between mid-15th century to the mid-16th century. He was a well educated scholar, with a very humble temperament. From his bani, it is clear that he was ever ready to serve the true preceptor which provided him real comfort in the manner depicted in the holy Granth: "O my Beloved, I have no one except You. Without You, nothing else pleases me. Loving You, I am at peace." SGGS-61

Bhagat Beni makes a severe denunciation of the Hindu rituals and austerities of "Hath Yoga" so that common man learns of the real motive of true religion i.e. the remembrance of the True Lord and the cultivation of the Divine Name. .....More
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August 11
Khanda – a symbol of disciplined conduct

Rehat Maryada is the Sikh Code of Conduct by which all Sikhs need to regulate their lives and to control their needs and actions. This Code of Conduct is the guideline by which a Sikh should live his or her life.

The main theme through this regulation is the reliance on a "disciplined life" – a Sikh is bound by the Guru to lead a simple life where the mind has a control over the various desires and urges that are trying to overpower the person's mind.

The Guru tells us that for a "pure" Sikh, "True are his actions; true are his ways." (SGGS p283) and "Those who speak are liberated, and those who listen are liberated; those who keep the Rehat (discipled code), are not reincarnated again." (SGGS p1230). In 1950 the SGPC formulated a formal Code of Conduct to provide guidelines for all Sikh individuals and communities around the world. Its implementation has resulted in a high level of uniformity in the religious and social practices of Sikhism. This Rehat Maryada provides some direct and effective guideline for a committed Sikh…....Continued
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August 12
Guru Arjan "Tera keea mitha lagaa,
May your doings appear sweet to me"

A Sikh is a person who accepts Gurbani (the Guru's words) as his or her spiritual guide and who adheres to the message contained within its holy pages.

Sikhi is the message of the holy Granth and the code or policy (rehat) by which the person has to live their life. It is fascinating how the underlying message of the Sikh Holy Scripture is a message of pure love.

This love and longing is evident on all the pages of the Sikh scriptures; the Lord is referred to as "Husband Lord", "Beloved", "Immaculate", "Great", "Merciful", etc. all affectionate words for a tender, caring and powerful being.

However, God is not an external entity; God is said to be in all places; in every living things; literally everywhere. Gurbani tells us, "The Lord Himself is within the self, and outside as well...; the Lord Himself is fully pervading everywhere" and also "You are the Great Giver of all souls; You are the Life within all living beings."

The ten Sikh Gurus and the other bhagats of the Sikhs in their compositions in Gurbani, explain over and over again their dedication and their love for the Almighty Lord. Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru explains his love for the Lord thus "Without the Lord, I cannot live for a moment, even an instant; I love Him, like the camel loves the vine." (GGS 369). .....More
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August 13
The Mool Mantar in the handwriting of Guru Gobind Singh

The sacred hymn called the Japji sahib consists of the Mool Mantar (the opening mantar), a set of 38 Pauris (hymns) and a final salok. This Bani appears at the very beginning of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib from Page 1 to Page 8 of the Holy Book of the Sikhs. It is regarded as the most important Bani or 'set of verses' by the Sikhs and is recited every morning by all practising faithful of this religion. The word ‘Jap’ means to ‘recite’ or ‘to ‘chant’ & implies practising this truthful path to achieve a higher aim of human life i.e. ..to understand the path to GOD. ..to achieve realisation and salvation in your life, etc.

Japji is a universal song of God composed by Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith. Japji uses the technology of "Naad" - the science of the sound current. Reciting the words of Japji, which speak of that which is beyond words to express, serves to bring the frequency of Infinity into your life. Japji is a tool designed to deliver a human being to a higher level of conciousness. Japji is a requirement for the seeker of Truth. The Sound Current of Japji and the meaning of its words, when meditated upon with openness and love, awakens a soul to its destiny. Step by step, Japji gives you the comprehensive power to know yourself as you are and be one with God's Creation in a spirit of joyful surrender and connection. .....More
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August 14

Lord Krishna is a deity worshipped across many traditions in Hinduism in a variety of perspectives. While many Vaishnava groups recognize him as an avatar of Vishnu, other traditions within Krishnism consider Krishna to be 'svayam bhagavan', or the Supreme Being.

The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh in the Dasam Granth has written a section of Bani called Chobis avatar. This is the seventh Bani in the second holy scriptures of the Sikhs.

This is a collection of tales of the twenty-four incarnations of the demi-god Vishnu, and forms a part of Bachitra Natak. The complete work contains a total of 4,371 verse units of which 3,356 are accounted for by "Ram avtar" and "Krishn avtar". The shortest is Baudh Avatar (The Buddha) comprising three quatrains, and the longest is Krishn avtar, with 2,492 verse units, mostly quatrains.

In Hindu literature, Krishna is often depicted as an infant, as a young boy playing a flute as in the Bhagavata Purana, or as a youthful prince giving direction and guidance as in the Bhagavad Gita. .....More
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August 15

Two self governing countries legally came into existence at the stroke of midnight on 15 August 1947. 14 August, 1947, saw the birth of the new Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

At midnight the next day, India won its freedom from colonial rule, ending nearly 350 years of British presence in India. The British left India divided in two. The two countries were founded on the basis of religion, with Pakistan as an Islamic state and India as a secular one.

India’s Independence Day is celebrated on August 15 to commemorate its independence from British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation on that day in 1947. The day is celebrated all over the country and by a growing diaspora around the world. Pakistan became independent on the previous day. What is sometimes forgotten is that the period signifies the single largest human migration of people in modern history.

Till today, there is no institutional memory of Partition: the state has not seen fit to construct any memorials, to mark any particular places – as has been done, say, in the case of Holocaust memorials, or memorials for the Vietnam War. .....More
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August 16

Bhadon

"In Bhadon, those who love the Guru, shall not be thrown into hell" (134)
(photo:Prabhu Singh)

Bhadon is a sixth month in the Nanakshahi calendar. The first day falls on August 16. This month coincides with August/September of the Western/ Georgian/ Julian Calendar and is 31 days long.

Sawan and Bhadon form the rainy season. Rain has come after the very hot month of Harh which is considered the hottest month of the year. So Bhadon is considered a very pleasant month with rain and bearable heat in the Punjab, India.

The Guru tells us that the the month of Sawan (July/August) and Bhadon (August/September):

"The rainy season is beautiful; the months of Saawan and Bhaadon bring bliss. The clouds are low, and heavy with rain; the waters and the lands are filled with honey. God is all-pervading everywhere; the nine treasures of the Lord's Name fill the homes of all hearts...." (p 928) and also "...The lakes and fields are overflowing with water; the rainy season has come - the time to celebrate! In the dark of night it rains; how can the young bride find peace? The frogs and peacocks send out their noisy calls. Pri-o! Pri-o! Beloved! Beloved! cries the rainbird, while the snakes slither around, biting. The mosquitoes bite and sting, and the ponds are filled to overflowing; without the Lord, how can she find peace? O Nanak, I will go and ask my Guru; wherever God is, there I will go. ||10|| " (p1108) .....More
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August 17

Bhai Mani Singh "Shaheed" (martyr) (1670 - 9 July 1737), was a great Sikh personality of the eighteenth century; he occupies a very esteemed position in Sikh history as he assumed control and steered the course of destiny of the Sikh panth at a very critical stage.

A great scholar, a devoted Sikh, and a courageous leader, Bhai Mani Singh willingly laid down his life to uphold the dignity of the Sikh faith and Sikh principles. Due to the nature of his martyrdom, his actions have become a part of the daily Sikh Ardas (prayer) of the Sikhs.

He is said to have been brought in the early years of his childhood to the presence of Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandpur. He was not the same age as the Guru's own son, Gobind Rai; however they became close friends.

Bhai Mani Singh remained in his company even after he had ascended the religious seat as Guru in 1675. Mani Singh accompanied the Guru to the seclusion of Paonta sahib where Guru Gobind Singh spent some three years in large part given to literary work. .....More
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August 18
Mass execution of Sikhs in Lahore during the time of Zakariya Khan

Zakariya Khan (d. 1 July 1745) was the Mughal governor of Lahore from 1726 onwards when he replaced his father 'Abd us-Samad Khan' as governor of this famous historic city and province now located in Pakistan.

He had earlier acted as the governor of Jammu from 1713 to 1720 and of Kashmir from 1720 to 1726. He had also taken part in Lahore government's operations against the Sikh leader Banda Singh Bahadur.

After the capture of Banda Singh and his companions in December 1715 at Gurdas Nangal, he escorted the prisoners to Delhi, rounding up Sikhs that he could find in villages along the route. As he reached the Mughal capital, the caravan comprised seven hundred bullock carts full of severed heads and over seven hundred captives.

After becoming the governor of the province in 1726, Khan Bahadur Zakariya Khan, shortened to "Khanu" by Sikhs, launched a still severer policy against the Sikhs and let loose terror upon them. His moving military columns forced the Sikhs to seek shelter in remote hills and forests. .....More
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August 19
Juan Singh Hawker

Most of us think that Sikh or South Asian migration to Australia is a recent phenomenon, spanning just the past few decades.

But not many of us know that our Sikh forefathers first came to Australia more than 150 years ago - at a time when the dust was yet to settle from the fall of Ranjit Singh's empire.

Displaying their true enterprising spirit, they crossed the seven seas to come to the land Down Under, in search of a better lifestyle and wages, and quickly endeared themselves to the local population here.

Country towns all over Australia are dotted with memories of these brave Punjabi migrants, who seem to have been welcomed by the locals despite the official "White Australia" policy.

Sadly, they are also forgotten in the annals of history. Initially, the migrants from India were indentured labourers, who worked on sheep stations and farms around Australia. Some adventurers followed during the gold rush of the 1850's. .....More
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August 20

Bhagat Dhanna ji was a Sikh Bhagat who was born in about 1415, at village of Dhuan Kalan near Deoli city, in the Tonk district, Rajasthan, present day North West India. He was a simple Indian farmer. He worked hard on his farm all day tending his crops. He used to go past the house of this clever Pundit (priest) everyday on the way to his work on the farm.

Dhanna ji used to listen to the Pundit singing religions verses and carry out various ritualistic acts, which were beyond the understanding of this simple Jatt (farmer). He found these acts intriguing but never asked the religious man about any of the things that he had observed in the many years that he had gone past the Pundit’s house.

One day, Bhai Dhanna ji was passing the pundit's house and noticed that the religious man was feeding his Thakur - a stone idol. Bhai Dhanna ji was quite puzzled by what he was observing. On this occasion as he had some free time, he went and asked the Pundit,

"Pundit Ji, What are you doing?"

The Pundit was very hungry and wanted to get this feeding over as soon as possible and really wasn't in a mood for Bhai Dhanna ji's simple inquiries. He replied, "Oh, nothing, I am just feeding my Thakur. Now if you will excuse me..."

Bhai Dhanna ji found that incredibly funny, "What is the use of feeding a stone?" .....More
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August 21

SOBHA SINGH (29 November 1901 - 21 August 1986) was a famous Sikh painter, especially well known for his portraits of the Sikh Gurus.

He was born on 29 November 1901 in a Ramgarhia family of Sri Hargobindpur, in Gurdaspur district of the Punjab. His father, Deva Singh, had been in the Indian cavalry.

In 1905, when he was only 4 years old, his mother Bibi Acchran died and some 12 years later, when he was about 16, his father S. Deva Singh died in 1917.

At the age of 15, Sobha Singh entered the Industrial School at Amritsar for a one year course in art and craft. It is said that in 1919 he was present in Jalianwala Bagh at the time of firing.

As a draughtsman in the Indian army he served in Baghdad, in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). On coming back from Baghdad, he married Inder Kaur. Whatever amount he had been sending to his sister from overseas, she had not saved anything out of it for him. They had a real hard beginning due to the stringency of money.

He left the army in 1923 to pursue an independent career in drawing and painting, initially in Amritsar at Bazar Mai Sewan. .....More
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August 22

Every year in November, many millions of spiritually inclined people around the planet will celebrate the birth anniversary of the most widely respected of saints in the world, Baba Nanak.

Baba ji was born in 1469 and brought a universal message of peace, love, unity, mutual respect, service and dedication to all of humankind.

He turned people from violence to peace; he converted tyrants into compassionate beings; and he changed painful societies' into blissful communities. People of all faiths listened to his message and all gained from his wise and sacred words.

Out of respect for his wisdom and fascination for his beautiful poetry, many thousands of followers heeded his words and changed their way of life.

Today in these violent and turbulent times, many millions continue to gain from his spiritual insight and lead a tranquil and peaceful existence treading on the path that he established – his teaching enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib are a beacon to many millions in the world.

He never asked anyone to change their religion; all he said was "If you desire eternal bliss, O Nanak, always remember the Lord in meditation" (p714). He asked all to mend their ways, to remember God and do good deeds. .....More
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August 23

Several months before March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh invited his followers from all over India to a special congregation at Anandpur on Vaisakhi Day, 30 March 1699. As a result, on that particular day many hundreds of devotees and onlookers had gathered at Anandpur Sahib.

Many had come as a sign of respect for the Guru and in accordance to his invitation while some had just come out of curiosity. On the appointed day, the Guru addressed the congregates with a most stirring oration on his divine mission of restoring their faith and preserving Dharam (righteousness).

After his inspirational discourse, he flashed his unsheathed sword and said that every great deed was preceded by equally great sacrifice. He asked, with a naked sword in his hand, "Is there any one among you who is prepared to die for their faith?" When people heard his call, they were taken aback. Some of the wavering followers started to leave the congregation, while other began to look at one another in amazement. .....More
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August 24
Kaljug meh Kirtan pardhana. Gurmukh japeya lahai dhiana.
"In this dark era of Kalyug, the singing of Kirtan is king,
the Gurmukhs sing it with their minds focused.
you save yourself and all your clan and go to the Lord's Court with honour. (6)"
(SGGS p1075)

In this Shabad on page 1075 of the Sikh holy Granth, the fifth Sikh master, Guru Arjan Dev tells how important it is to sing Kirtan in this age of Kaljug. Kirtan is the singing of the Lord's praises with the accompaniment of musical instruments.

The Sikhs regard the Guru Granth Sahib as their perpetual spiritual guide. At the same time, it is a holy Scripture for all mankind that embodies the revealed truth applicable to all the human race. The holy Granth enshrines the wisdom of many spiritual masters of the East and is the most recent endeavour to allow us to experience the Divine.

Although Kirtan refers to any singing of the Lord's praise, for the Sikhs, it is the singing of hymns (Shabads) from their holy Scriptures. .....More
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August 25
Yogiji.jpeg

Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (born as Harbhajan Singh Puri)[1] (August 26, 1929 - October 6, 2004), also known as Yogi Bhajan and Siri Singh Sahib, was a charismatic and influential proponent of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma. He is best known as the spiritual director of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) Foundation, which today is one of the world's largest yoga-teaching bodies, and for his outspoken defense of the holistic doctrine of Sikh teachings. He was widely known as a master of Kundalini Yoga and taught thousands to be teachers and spread the teachings.

Harbhajan Singh was born on August 26, 1929 into a Sikh family in Kot Harkarn, district Gujranwala, in the province of Punjab (British India). His father, Dr. Kartar Singh Puri, served the British Raj as a medical doctor. His mother was named Harkrishan Kaur. Theirs was a well-to-do landlord family, owning most of their village in the foothills of the Himalayas. .....More
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August 26

Bhai Daya Singh (26 August 1669 - 1708), the first of the Panj Piare or the "Five Beloved" celebrated in the Sikh tradition.

He was the son of Bhai Suddha, a Sobti Khatri of Lahore, and Mai Diali. His original name was Daya Ram.

His name is uttered first among the five Beloved of the Guru (Panj Pyaras) in the Sikh Ardas.

Bhai Suddha was a devout Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur and had visited Anandpur more than once to seek his blessing. In 1677, he travelled to Anandpur along with his family including his young son, Daya Ram, to make obeisance to Guru Gobind Singh, this time to settle there permanently.

Daya Ram, already well versed in Punjabi and Persian, engaged himself in the study of classics and gurbani. He also received training in the use of weapons.

In the historic divan in the Keshgarh Fort at Anandpur on Vaisakhi 1699, he was the first to rise at the Guru's call and offer his head, followed by four others in succession. .....More
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August 27

Guru Gobind Singh in the Dasam Granth in verse number 9 of Tav Prasad Saviaye puts a seal on the concept of Love leading to salvation.

Tav Prasad Saviaye is one of the five Banis of a Sikh's daily Nitnem routine of reciting of the Guru's words.

In this Bani (Guru's composition), the tenth master covers many aspects of human living which one needs to inspect on a daily basic but the central message is the concept of "Love for the Lord and his creation" and the "constant remembrance of His Name".

If you do not feel any love for God; you will not feel any love for His creation and vice versa; your heart will be barren and you will have no compassion or mercy. The Guru reminds us:

ਸਾਚੁ ਕਹੋਂ ਸੁਨ ਲੇਹੁ ਸਭੈ ਜਿਨ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਕੀਓ ਤਿਨ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਾਇਓ ॥੯॥
Sach kahon sun leho sabai jin prem kio tin hee prabh paio.
I tell the truth; listen everyone. Only those who have Loved, will realize the Lord. (9)

The message of Love and longing is evident on all the pages of the Sikh scriptures. The Love for God and His creation is easy to see in Gurbani; the Lord is referred to as "Husband Lord", "Beloved", "Immaculate", "Great", "Merciful", etc. all affectionate words for a tender, caring and powerful being. .....More
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August 28
Anandpur Sahib Resolution

Anandpur Sahib Resolution is a frequently invoked document of "modern Sikhism" pronouncing its religious aspirations as well as its political goal.

It was a resolution for the "self-determination" of the state of Punjab and was passed on 28 August 1973 at Anandpur Sahib. That resolution is now called the 'Anandpur Sahib Resolution'.

The Sikhs enjoyed political power under chief ministers, Gurnam Singh and Parkash Singh Badal in the Punjab which had been newly demarcated in 1966.

However, nationally the Sikhs represented by their premier political party, the Shiromani Akali Dal were only able to capture one seat at the elections to the Indian parliament in 1971 from among the 13 which were allocated to the whole of Punjab.

In the Punjab Assembly elections which took place in March 1972 their tally was a mere 24 seats out of a total of 117, and the Punjab Government passed into the hands of the Congress Party, with Giani Zail Singh (later, President of India) as chief minister. .....More
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August 29
Nanaknewsahjib.jpg

Gurdwara Nanak Mata is a historical Sikh shrine in a town also named Nanak Mata (often pronounced Matta) in district Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand in northern India.

Uttarakhand state borders Tibet to the north, Nepal to the east, and the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to the west and south respectively. The provisional capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun which is also a rail-head and the largest city in the region.

The town is associated with Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Hargobind. It is situated on the bank of Deoha stream, which has since been dammed into a reservoir named Nanak Sagar.

The Gurdwara is located 15 kilometres west of Khatima Railway Station on the Pilibhit-Tanakpur metre-gauge section of North-Eastern Railway. The holy shrine is near the town of Sitarganj.

Gurdwara Sri Nanak Mata Sahib is associated with the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev ji who went there during his third Udasi in 1514 A.D. At that time, Gurdwara Sri Nanak Mata Sahib was the abode of the devotees of Guru Gorakhnath and it was called "Gorakhmata". .....More
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August 30
Dictation of the Guru Granth Saheb.jpg

From August 30 to September 1 this year (2011), the Sikhs will celebrate 407 years since the completion and first installation of their "Holy Book" called the Adi Granth.

This is the only holy scripture in the world which was written by the founders of the religion during their lifetime. This Granth (book) was compiled and then installed for the first time at Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar in 1604.

In the beginning, it was simply called the Adi Granth which literally means "the first book". The holy scripture contains hymns written by the Sikh Gurus, saints and scholars of different religions and was finally completed on 30 August 1604.

On September 1, 1604 it was installed for the first time at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India. Ever since then it has been showering important messages and valuable guidance for the benefit of the whole of humanity.

This initial compilation of the main Sikh Scripture by Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru was performed with much love, labour and dedication. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh added further holy Shabads (hymns) to this Granth during the period around 1705. .....More
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August 31

Swami Ram Tirath Dandi Sanyasi (aka Ram Tirath Singh) (31 August 1897 - 12 May 1977) was born in Brahmin family at Tohra village in Patiala, Punjab India.

He was a Hindu theologian, Sanskrit scholar and an expert in the Vedas, Puranas and Simrities (ancient Hindu scriptures).

In his later years, he became the author of the publications "Supreme Scriptures, Sri Guru Granth Sahib" and "Paramount Religion, Khalsa Panth"; both originally written in Hindi but subsequently translated into Punjabi and English.

He was a recluse who after a prolonged spiritual quest turned to the Guru Granth Sahib. Born on 31 August 1897 to Pundit Balak Ram and Hari Devi, a Gaur Brahman family of the village of Tohra, in the then princely state of Nabha, he received the name of Ram Pratap but was rechristened Swami Ram Tirath by Swami Narayan Tirath, an ex-Principal of Queens College at Calcutta, who initiated him into sannyasi {recluse) order in 1937.

For his early education. Ram Tirath was apprenticed to a Pandit in Nabha from where he moved to Patiala .....More
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  1. ^ Biography - Sikhnet