Sikh

Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji

Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji

 

It is as difficult and beyond imagination to express and narrate the spiritual spheres and virtues of a true saint, as if to capture the ocean in a bowl. The latter might be accomplished one day but the spiritual sphere of a saint will never be brought under limitation. Rare are the Divines who descend on this earth duly empowered and equipped with Divine Grace to shower the fragrance of the Holy Name. Invested with the Eternal Glory of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib, Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji arrived on this earth on Friday 5th August 1905, in Alowal, a village near Patiala, in the family of Baba Ram Singh Ji, who was the head of that village. Baba Ram Singh Ji,was always yearning for the company of saints. Incidentally there came a saint to that village who while leaving, gave a rose to Baba Ram Singh Ji and blessed him that he would have a son who would be worshipped by the rulers and kings. After sometime, a son named Sant Isher Singh Ji was born and was taken to the Gurudwara. After seeing Sant Ji’s hand, a pandit had made a horoscope and was aghast by seeing the ‘an eye’ like symbol in the sole of his foot. The symbol was read as a sign of being a great spiritual head or a king. Also, after the birth of Sant Isher Singh Ji, his father Baba Ram Singh Ji, started getting more and more respect and importance in society.   Baba Ram Singh Ji was very keen in giving a good education to his son. After finishing primary education, Sant Isher Singh Ji was sent to Model School Patiala, a rare thing back in those days. Sant Isher Singh Ji did exceedingly well in school, and was an outstanding student in every field: games, studies, social work etc. All this made Sant Isher Singh Ji’s personality very outstanding.   Sant Isher Singh Ji was always in search of the ‘Truth’. Eventually he started going to the Gurudwara in the mornings and evenings and also started doing ‘Kirtan’. Sant Ji then got the privilege of being in the company of Sant Atter Singh Ji, Mastuana Sahib and Sant Attar Singh Ji, Reru Sahib Wale. Later Sant Isher Singh Ji went to Sant Attar Singh Ji Reru Sahib Wale with S. Hira Singh Ji where he was bestowed with ‘Amrit’ and was blessed that he would go a long way in the search of ‘Truth’. Sant Isher Singh Ji returned back to Patiala with a totally changed personality. In July, 1922, Sant Isher Singh Ji left home and got totally involved in looking after Sant Attar Singh Ji, at Reru Sahib. After a short time, Sant Kishen Singh Ji joined Sant Isher Singh Ji to look after and to serve their ‘Guru’ Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji. Since then, both Sant Isher Singh Ji and Sant Kishen Singh Ji remained together.

 

The two principles that Sant Attar Singh Ji gave to Sant Isher Singh Ji and to Sant Kishen Singh Ji were:

 

1.) To be a firm believer of “Atam Marg” (the spiritual path), and to constantly practice and preach ‘Nam’.

2.) To be always upright and never to beg for anything.

 

Soon Sant Attar Singh Ji, Reru Sahib Wale, demised from this world. His two young students Sant Isher Singh Ji & Sant Kishen Singh Ji moved out of Reru Sahib and came near Rara Sahib in a small jungle. They both started meditating and their ‘samadhi’ would last for hours starting from midnight. Since this was a very tough practice of the long sittings of meditation that Sant Isher Singh Ji’s health started deteriorating and he became very weak. He was then taken to Delhi where Dr. Mukherjee treated him and S. Mohan Singh looked after him. Gradually Sant Isher Singh Ji started recovering and came back to Rara Sahib and started accompanying Sant Kishen Singh Ji.

 

In Rara Sahib, Sant Isher Singh Ji got immersed in deeper and deeper ‘sadhana’. More and more people joined the building of a Gurudwara for Sant Ji. Then Sant Kishan Singh Ji was responsible for looking after the entire Gurudwara set up: Langar, buffaloes, cows, schools etc. and Sant Isher Singh Ji was responsible for going from place to place in India and abroad doing Kirtan, answering the questions of the ‘Sadhaks’ and preaching Guru Nanak’s teachings. He changed thousands of people’s lives and there are plenty of incidents that seem to prove this. After doing all this, Sant Isher Singh Ji, laid off his body in England on 25th August 1975.

 

At the age of 16 a student went to Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji, gradually becoming his closest associate. This student has also touched the same pinnacles of spiritual heights like his mentor, Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji. That student is today known to the whole world as Sant Baba Mann Singh Ji Pehowa Wale, whom has dedicated himself in currently preaching Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message to the world.

 

Sant Isher Singh Ji’s special qualities started coming to light at a young age. When three years old he used to tell the local kids to sit down cross-legged and recite ” Waheguru, Waheguru “, whilst he gave “parshad”. On another occasion Baba Ram Singh Ji and Mata Rattan Kaur were on their way to visit a local holy man “Vidoshe Wale Sant”, and Maharaj Ji, then four years old, insisted on going along. After bowing both Baba Ram Singh Ji and Mata Rattan Kaur, sat a respectful distance away, however Maharaj Ji went and sat next to the holy man in the same manner. On doing so he asked several times whose son this was, eventually and a little fearfully Baba Ram Singh and Mata Rattan Kaur owned up. The holy man laughed and told them they did not realize their son’s qualities, he told them that he would be a very holy person and people, many very influential, would come to him for advise and to be in his presence. By the inspiration of the latter, he got baptized and was renamed Isher Singh. Thus motivated by the life and teachings of Sant Attar Singh Ji, he adopted the path of devotion and from him received the boon of propagating Sikhism through “Kirtan” (singing of hymns).

 

Once a year on Sant Baba Karam Singh Ji’s barsi, Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji would go to Sehdu Sahib, there after having bathed in the extremely cold river Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji and Maharaj Ji would sit on the river bank and do path and meditate for many hours. On the first occasion, Maharaj Ji being unfamiliar with the cold fell ill but it was only with the permission of Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji that Maharaj Ji was taken and revived. As time went on Maharaj Ji attained a higher and higher spiritual level and eventually Maharaj Ji was bestowed a “kafni”, these being the outer garments to distinguish Maharaj Ji as a Sant. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji explained that although Maharaj Ji had already attained this state it was important for the Sangat and outside world to know his standing. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji further stated that Maharaj Ji would attain a very high spiritual level and many very important people from far and wide would come to be in his presence and for his advice. Maharaj Ji replied that he had no interest and relationship with these things since they would take him away from God and Maharaj Ji requested for Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji to bless him that he will never forget God. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji explained to Maharaj Ji the pitfalls that lay ahead on Maharaj Ji’s path and how to be very careful of these things. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji also told Maharaj Ji to keep increasing his knowledge and to learn how to do kirtan, so that Maharaj Ji will be able to impart some of that knowledge to the Sangat that would come to be in his presence. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji placed Maharaj Ji’s hand on a harmonium to signify this new phase in Maharaj Ji’s life. In 1926 Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji and Maharaj Ji went to Dumdama Sahib for Vasiakhi, there Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji met Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji Mastuana Wale. When leaving Dumdama Sahib when Maharaj Ji paid his final respects to Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji Mastuana Wale, he looked at Maharaj Ji and held him in his arms. Sant Baba Attar Singh Ji Mastauna Wale put his hand on Maharaj Ji’s head and stated he would attain a very high spiritual level and people would come to him for advice and to ask for Maharaj Ji’s time.

 

When on 21st January 1927 Sant Attar Singh Ji gave up his corporeal being. Sant Isher Singh Ji became sad and disconsolate. In order to overcome this despondency, he set out on pilgrimage. After visiting Machiwara, Kiratpur Sahib, Sri Anandpur Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib, Sri Nankana Sahib and Punja Sahib he came to Rara Sahib and settled here. By virtue of his devotion he turned this deserted place into a sacred place that has become famous the world over. “A saint remembers the God and helps others remembering Him” following this principle he devoted himself to worship and motivated the people to be ‘Gursikhs’ and to follow the path, shown by the Sikh Gurus. It is after they had settled at Rara Sahib did Sant Ji begin their life mission of preaching Sikhi. Maharaj Ji is universally acclaimed as one of the most charming and dynamic personalities of their day. Tall and majestic, sweet and warm hearted his heart over flowed with the milk of human kindness, Pious in thought word and deed he was the very image of Godliness. Blessed with the Divine light, he preached God’s truth and delivered Guru Nanak’s message of love and peace to every home in India and abroad.  Continuously for 55 years he recited Gurbani and with his sweet and melodious kirtan put thousands of burning minds to rest. After the final Diwan of each location Amrit Sanchar would take place. By this fashion over 700,000 Sikhs received Amrit and entered the Khalsa Panth. In their duty of preaching Sikhi Maharaj went on a 13 months long mission to Africa in 1949. There he gratified the spiritual needs of the Sikh congregation with lucid explanation of the Gurbani, interspersed with his melodious, captivating and soul lifting recitals Dharnas, taken from Gurbani. The thousands of devotees that attended congregations in His holy presence world wide felt as if they had taken a dip in an Ocean of purity. Minds would be cleansed of all accumulated impurities of past sins and Karmas in His holy presence. From this Ocean of purity which Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji Maharaj was and is, beams out to the whole world all the blessings and bliss of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. There was no trace of ego, worldliness or materialism in His dwelling places. Purity was the keynote, main-stay, life-force in His congregations.After returning to Punjab, he continued his mission by holding annual congregations in towns and cities as far as wide as Meerut, Delhi as well as in Punjab. Maharaj Ji had three main Ashrams  in India, firstly at Rara Sahib, secondly at Dabhlan, Patiala and thirdly at Hapur, in Uttar Pradesh. To these day all three location are preserved in Maharaj Ji’s loving memory. On this very mission, to propagate Sikhism he also visited England in 1974 and 1975. As Gurbani tells us, whoever comes onto this earth must eventually leave it. Maharaj Ji had started to give hints about the inevitable. At both his last diwans in Ludhiana and Delhi Maharaj Ji stated that they were going to England and they would again grace this county if their body allowed it. They arrived in England and after holding diwans in London they went to Wolverhampton.

 

Sadly on 26th August 1975, while sitting in meditation in Wolverhampton, England he left the world for heavenly abode. The necessary arrangements were made and Maharaj Ji’s holy body was brought back to India on the 31st of August where more than 20,000 devotees had gathered to have darshan of their most beloved master. The holy body was then brought back to Rara sahib, Maharaj Ji’s home of the last 55 years. The next day the holy body was taken to Gurdwara Bibhaur Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh Ji composed ‘Chaupai’. Here over 50,000 devotees had gathered to bid farewell to their beloved master.  After Ardas was performed by Sant Baba Mihan Singh Ji, Maharaj Ji’s holy body was taken out on a boat accompanied by Sant Baba Kishen Singh Ji Maharaj, Sant Baba Mihan Singh Ji, S.Daljit Singh Ji and S.Charanjeet Singh Ji Coca cola wale as well as other members of sangat. Here in the middle of the River Sutlej Maharaji Ji’s Holy Body was laid to eternal rest.

 

“Always, remember Waheguru to achieve salvation. Let your life be guided by the saying, Whatever God wills, is good. Be contented with the will of God. Remember Him both in pleasure & pain” - Sant Baba Isher Singh Ji.

 

 

Diwali – Bandi Chhorh Divas

Bandi Choor

Diwali – is the festival which Sikhs and Hindus celebrate on the same day but have different reasons.

Sikhs called Diwali – Bandi Chhorh Divas. The Sikhs celebrate this day as Bandi Chhorh Divas i.e., “the day of release of detainees”, because the sixth Nanak(Hargobind Sahib Ji) had agreed to his release on the condition that the other fifty-two detainees would also be released. These other fifty-two detainees were the vassal kings who had done something to annoy the emperor. Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned the sixth Nanak because he was afraid of the Guru’s growing following and power. The Sikhs on this day, which generally falls in october-November, hold a one-day celebrations in the Gurdwaras. So in the evening, illuminations are done with Deewé (earthen oil lamps) or candles and fireworks. The celebrations are held both in the Gurdwaras and in homes. The story of Diwali for the Sikhs is a story of the Sikh struggle for freedom. From the time of Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539), the founder of Sikhism, popular seasonal or folk festivals like the harvest festival of Vaisakhi, or ancient mythological festivals like Holi and Diwali, or worship rituals like Aarti, began to take on a new significance for the Guru’s students, the Sikhs. The Guru used these festivals and special days e.g. first day of each lunar month, as symbols or pegs for his teaching themes. And so the Sikhs were slowly diverted from darkness of superstitious ritualism based on fear and ignorance to an enlightened ideology based on reason and belief in One Creator. The enlightened ideology of Guru Nanak gave new significance to ancient festivals like Diwali and Vaisakhi

Hindus celebrate Diwali – the festival of lights when, according to Indian lore, Lord Rama returned home after destroying the demon god Ravana who had taken away Rama’s wife, Sita? The story, of course, has no significance in the Sikh tradition. However, in the Sikh struggle for freedom from the oppressive Mughal regime, the festival of Diwali did become the second most important day after the Vaisakhi festival in April.

The Sixth Guru Hargobind, was freed from imprisonment in the famous fort of Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir in October, 1619. The reason for the young Guru’s imprisonment was no more than religious bigotry. The Guru’s father, Guru Arjan, had been martyred for the same reason. According to Sikh tradition, the Guru agreed to be freed only if the other Indian chiefs (rajahs) imprisoned with him were freed. Jahangir was under pressure from moderate but influential Muslim religious leaders like Hajrat Mian Mir, a friend of the Guru. So he relented grudgingly and ordained, Let those rajahs be freed who can hold on to the Guru’s coat tails and walk out of prison. He had in mind no more than four or five being freed with the Guru. However, the Guru was not to be outmanoeuvred in this way. He asked for a special coat to be made with 52 coat tails – same number as the rajahs in prison with him! And so the rajahs were freed and the Guru became known popularly as the Bandi Chhor (Deliverer from prison). He arrived at Amritsar on the Divali day and the Har Mandar (now known as the Golden Temple) was lit with hundreds of lamps i.e. he was received in the same way as the Lord Rama and the day came to be known as the Bandi Chhor Divas (the day of freedom). Guru Hargobind reached Amritsar on the eve of Diwali, after his release from Gwalior fort, during the reign of Jahangir.The People illuminated the Golden Temple and the city splendidly to celebrate the return of their Guru to the city. Thereafter, Diwali is being celebrated at Amritsar with great pump and show, and also with a lot of religious fervour.

 

Sri Harmandir Sahib

During the fair, religious congregations are held at Manji Sahib, Akal Takhat and Baba Atal which continue for three days. A large number of poets and singers also participate. Recitation of Granth Sahib is done at Darbar Sahib, Akal Takhat and various gurudwaras in the vicinity of Golden Tample

Early in the morning, pilgrims take a holy dip in the scared tank, while reciting Japji Sahib and thereafter, they go to the Golden Temple for paying their obeisance. They make offerings of various kinds both in cash and kind, such as flowers, candy-drops and parched-rice grains, but mostly the offerings are of karah parshad. which is prepared and sold to the pilgrims by the management. Circumambulation of the tank is considered sacred by the pilgrims.

Illuminations and pyrotechnic display are the unique features of the Diwali celebrations. A mammoth gathering in the parikarma and on the adjoining buildings witness to their great delight the multicolored lights thrown up in the sky and their reflections in the water of the tank. Chain of the electric lights hang along the causeway and on the Darshani Deorhi. Small earthen lamps lighted and fed with sarson oil are arranged in lines all around the tank. All buildings in the compound are bedecked with coloured lights. Candles and small earthen lamps fed with pure ghee are floated in the tank.

This fair is attended by people in the large numbers who come from far and near. A large number of visitors take shelter in the verandahs of the various buildings in the premises. All local inns, rest houses and other common places are packed to capacity. The free mess, called Guru Ram Dass Langar, remains open for all. The whole function is organised by Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee. During the fair, qualified doctors render free medical service to the pilgrims.

Thenceforth, the Sikh struggle for freedom, which intensified in the 18th Century, came to be centred around this day. In addition to the Vaisakhi day (now in April), when Khalsa, the Sikh nation was formally established by the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh, Divali became the second day in the years when the Khalsa met and planned their freedom strategy.

Celebration Of Bandi Chorrh Divas:

On the occassion of Bandi Chorrh Divas, Sikhs observe a one-day celebrations in the Gurdwaras. In the evening, illuminations are lighted with Deewé (earthen oil lamps) or candles and fireworks are also bursted. Such celebrations are held both in the Gurdwaras and in homes.

Sacrifice of Bhai Mani Singh on the Occasion of Diwali:

Another important Sikh event associated with Divali is the martyrdom in 1734 of the elderly Sikh scholar and strategist Bhai Mani Singh, the Granthi (priest) of Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple). He had refused to pay a special tax on a religious meeting of the Khalsa on the Divali day. This and other Sikh martyrdoms gave further momentum to the Khalsa struggle for freedom and eventually success in establishing the Khalsa rule north of Delhi

Bhai Mani Singh was a great scholar and he transcripted the final version of Guru Granth Sahib upon dictation from Guru Govind Singh ji in 1704. He took charge of Harmandir Sahib’s management on 1708. Diwali was not celebrated in Golden Temple at that time. In 1737, he received permission from Mogul emperor of Punjab, Zakaria Khan for celebrating Diwali at Golden Temple for a massive tax of Rs. 5,000 (some authors say it was Rs10,000). Invitations were sent to the Sikhs all over India to join Bandi Chhorh Diwas celebrations at Harmandir Sahib. Bhai Singh thought he would collect the tax-money from the Sikhs as subscriptions who would assemble for the purpose of Diwali Celebrations. But Bhai Mani Singh Ji later discovered the secret plan of Zakariya Khan to kill the Sikhs during the gathering. Bhai Mani Singh Ji immediately sent message to all the Sikhs not to turn up for celebrations. Bhai Mani Singh could not manage to arrange the money to be paid for tax. Zakariya Khan was not happy about the situation and he ordered Bhai Mani Singh’s assassination at Lahore by ruthlessly cutting him limb-by-limb to death. Ever since, the great sacrifice & devotion of martyr Bhai Mani Singh Ji is remembered on the Bandi Chhorh Diwas (Diwali) celebration.

 

Baba Nand Singh Ji

Baba Nand Singh Ji                  Baba Nand Singh Ji

 

Life History

A great devotee of Sikhism, Baba Nand Singh Ji was born in 1870 A.D. at Sherpur Village, Jagraon, in Ludhiana District of Punjab. His father was Sardar Jai Singh while his mother was Sardarni Sada Kaur. Right from childhood days, he had an urge for devotion to God. His nature was that of a hermit, a “Yogi” but he had an extra glow on his face. Upon seeing the glow on his face, one could feel that he was a great soul sent by God into this world to deliver the message of Ultimate Truth. At the age of five, he often used to wake up in the middle of the night and go out for meditation. Once his parents on not seeing him in his bed got worried and started looking for him. They were surprised to see him sitting on the edge of the well with his eyes closed and in deep meditation. He was perched precariously and any slight movement due to his sleepiness/drowsiness would have resulted in his falling into the well. Upon seeing the glow on his face and the manner in which he was in deep meditation, the apprehension of the parents disappeared. The whole episode led them to believe that their child was a great soul who would one day become a great saint and who will show the way to Ultimate Truth to the world.

Baba Nand Singh Ji, in his youth, adopted the profession of his fore fathers, but in reality he was deeply devoted to God.

Baba Ji left his house and started to do “sewa” at Gurdwara Sahib in Ferozpur. There he met Sant Baba Harnam Singh Ji, Bhuchon Wale. Sant Ji observed that the young Baba Nand Singh had the characteristics that must have been acquired by long and deep meditation and devotion. He also seemed to possess the spirit of sacrifice and always ready to serve. This made Sant Harnam Singh Ji show the young Sant Baba Nand Singh the way to complete devotion and the correct path to divine knowledge leading to the ultimate Union with God. Sant Ji also made him realise that only that part of the life which was spent in the devotion and service to God was considered successful. He further stressed that one should do good deeds for the welfare of humanity and that the youth age once passed never returns in life while old age never leaves. Therefore youth should not be wasted but one should make the maximum use of it to do service to God and mankind.

Deep Meditation

The above advice and instructions changed the life of Baba Nand Singh Ji and made him to go to the forest for further meditation. He commenced his meditation without considering the local weather conditions. Furthermore he did not go anywhere for his food. He believed that He, “Waheguru” on whom he was devoting and meditating, shall definitely take care of all his needs. With this strong belief in mind, he sat in deep meditation. Somehow the food came from one source or other at the required times.

After a period of meditation, he returned from the forest and camped just outside the village and continued with his meditation irrespective of the local climatic conditions. The villagers upon observing this built a temporary house for him. After sometime the people from Kalera Village came and requested him to visit their village. He accepted their invitation and set out for Kalera. On the way he stopped at a well which was between Kaunke Village and Kalera and decided to camp there. The villagers over there made a small hut for Baba Ji and Baba Ji started his meditation.

Nanaksar Dera

Baba Nand Singh Ji later established his “Dera” (centre) near Kalera in Punjab. He led a simple life and continued with the same principles of deep meditation. The food for the “Dera” would come from different devotees though no cooking was done at the “Dera” itself. This practice is still continued by the “Dera” now popularly known as Nanaksar. The food, “langar”, is not prepared at Nanaksar but it is sent by the nearby villages and no matter how big the congregation, never ever has has there been a shortage. No monetary offerings are ever made in front of the Guru Granth Sahib at Nanaksar, as the usual practice is at other Gurdwaras, but never a shortage of funds has occurred there. Baba Ji did not use any money on himself. He always served the community with true love and affection. It is said that once Maharaja Bhupender Singh of Patiala came to offer one lakh rupees for the Gurdwara fund but Baba Ji politely refused the offer. This was the first time someone had ever declined the offer of accepting money for a religious place from a Maharaja and of course the Maharaja felt bad and told Baba Ji, “You will not find a donor like Bhupender Singh”. To this Baba Ji replied, “You will not find another person who is prepared to sacrifice everything and yet be fully committed like Nand Singh”. This made the Maharaja humble and respectful and he bowed his head before Baba Ji. Baba Ji left for his heavenly abode in 1943 (13 Bhadron Sanmat 2000) at the age of 73.

His Teachings

” Be True Sikh ” Do charity, speak truth and embrace humility ” Emphasized on Naam Simran (Meditation) ” Have faith on Akalpurkh alone ” Choose a charitable cause and pursue it with selfless devotion ” Have Love for all and every one ” Have faith and respect the Holy Body of Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the Living Sikh Guru. ” Praise only Guru Nanak Dev Ji and criticise and condemn only oneself. ” Pray before Guru Granth Sahib only for all blessings and effacing of sufferings.

HOW WAS THE PLACE OF NANAKSAR Takhat selected BY BABA NAND SINGH JI?

One day BABA JI asked S. Rattan Singh of Kaleran village (located a mile from Nanaksar Thath) to select a place where he can stay for a few days.  BABA JI said that the place should be an open one, which should not have a road nearby and the area must be dry. S. Rattan Singh replied that such a place is “KARRARI KA THEH”.  This place was surrounded by the boundaries of three villages (Galib Kalan, Galib Khurd, and Sherpura).  Here a “Mathh” was erected in the memory of a childless, unmarried girl of the mahajans (karrarr); the people were emotionally attached to this place.  Dhan Baba Ji refused to stay at this place.  This led the followers to tell about a place near Gujran Di Patti, but again Dhan Baba Ji declined to stay there.

Then Baba Ji himself pointed to a place, where there was a well.  This place belonged to Agwar Lopo of Jagraon.  Baba Ji then brought a horse and road it to the newly discovered place, and his followers took spades and karahis and followed Baba Ji.  The land was full of ant holes and recently diseased animal carcasses were scattered throughout the land.  Snake holes were seen everywhere, and people began to suspect that this land was a place of ghosts.  The herds of deer ran hither and thither. The wild cows ran amuck and at night wolves would howl for hours.

Nearby, there was a deserted well.  They took some water out of it, but it was black in color.  The followers drank some of it, and described it as being bitter like poison.  But Baba Ji said that the water was good and ordered to take some buckets of water out of it, which prompted the villagers to immediately withdraw water.  Suddenly, the water became very sweet and pure.  Baba Ji did not want to move to another place even though it may be near a road.  Baba Ji liked this place and decided to stay here.

What was the real reason to select this place?  About a mile from this place is the historical gurdwara of Gurusar, where SAHIB SRI GURU HARGOBIND SINGH JI stayed there for some time.  GURU SAHIB used to hunt in the forest there and GURU SAHIB himself took water from that well.  The ANTARJAMI BABA JI selected this place for that special reason.

The villagers dug a deep pit about six feet in length and built a boundary wall about six feet high made of katcha (bricks). It was covered by local grass.

Baba Ji uttered this salok of Bhagat Kabir Ji  ( ang 1376 ) :——–

‘Kabeer, why kill yourself for your love of decorations of your home and mansion? In the end, only six feet, or a little more, shall be your lot’

Then Baba Ji said that it was a royal palace and even there was no need of bread here.

Mai Bhago (Mata Bhag Kaur)

Mai Bhago

 

Mai Bhago, also know as Mata Bhag Kaur, was a sikh woman who led sikh soldiers against the Mughals in 1705. Mai Bhago was born in village of Jhabal Kalan, now known as Amritsar district of Punjab. Mai Bhago was descendant of Bhai Pero Shah, teh younger brother of Bhai Langah a Dhillon Jatt, a chief of 84 villages who had converted to Sikhism during the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563-1606). She had 4 brothers, who were also Staunch Sikhs. She was married to Bhai Nidhan Singh Varaich of Patti. Mai Bhago was a staunch Sikh by birth and upbrining. Her parents took her to Anandpur Sahib, when she was young to have glimpse of Guru Gobin Singh Ji.

Mughals and hilly chiefs had surrounded Anandpur and were demanding it be evacuated. They announced that any Sikh who would say that “he/she is not anymore a Sikh of Guru Gobind” will be left untouched while others will be done to death. A group of 40 Sikhs, led by Mahan Singh Brar told Guru Gobind Singh that they were not his Sikhs anymore. The Guru told them that they will have to write it in a document that says, “We are not your Sikhs anymore” and sign it. All forty Sikhs wrote their names on this document but one of then declined to sign; ‘Bedava’ and left Guru Gobind Singh. Mai Bhago was distressed to hear that some of the Sikhs of her neighbourhood who had gone to Anandpur to fight for Guru Gobind Singh had deserted him under adverse conditions. Hearing her taunts, these Sikhs were ashamed at their deed. She rallied the deserters persuading them to meet the Guru and apologize to him. she set off along with them and some other Sikhs to seek out the Guru, then travelling across the Malva region.

Meanwhile, Guru Gobind Singh had to evacuate the fort of Anandpur, his children were lost in the confusion. Two youngest one’s Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, went along with their grandmother (mother of Guru Gobind Singh). While elder one’s Ajit Singh and Jhujhar Singh were with their father. Then at battle of Chamkaur Guru’s elder sons attained martyrdom, Guru was saved by five Sikhs and he evacuated Chamkaur and was travelling in Malva region, being pursued by Mughal forces of Aurungzeb. Travelling day and night in the Jungles of Malva region, imperial Mughal forces were in constant pursuit of Guru. Guru Gobind Singh reached village of Khidrana, when Mai Bhago and the men, she was leading stopped near the dhab or pool of Khidrana where an imperial army in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh had almost overtaken him. They challenged the pursuing host and fought furiously forcing it to retreat. All forty Sikhs attained martyrdom in this pitched battle, in which Guru himself was supporting them with a shower of arrows from a nearby high ground, found all the men except one Mahan Singh, killed when he visited the battlefield. Mai Bhago and Guru Gobind Singh ji were the sole survivors of this fiercely fought battle.

Mahan Singh, who had been seriously wounded, also died as the Guru took him into his lap. Guru Gobind Singh blessed those forty dead as the Forty Liberated Ones. He took into his care Mai Bhago who had also suffered injury in the battle. She thereafter stayed on with Guru Gobind Singh as one of his bodyguard, in male attire. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded in 1708, she retired further south. She settled down at Jinvara, 11 km from Bidar in Karnataka where, immersed in meditation, she lived to attain a ripe old age. Her hut in Jinvara has now been converted into Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago. At Nanded, too, a hall within the compound of Takht Sachkhand. Sri Hazur Sahib marking the site of her residence is known as Bunga Mai Bhago.

Warrior Princess Mai Bhago and the 40 Liberated Ones:

Guru Gobind Singh was joined by warriors of the Brar clan continued the fight against the Mughals who had mercilessly slaughtered his innocent children and countless other Sikhs. The Guru pressed westward pursued by the Mughals.

Bhag Kaur and her husband Nidhan Singh lived in the Majha region where the deserters of Anandpur had returned home. After hearing of the Guru’s plight, Bhag Kaur urged her husband to accompany her to the Guru’s side. Donning warrior’s attire, mounting her horse and raising her sword high, Bhag Kaur roused the sentiments of the deserters and rallied an eager army. Gathering forces along the way, Bhag Kaur was joined by many Sikhs including Mahan Singh, a Sikh deserter from the village of Sur Singh Wala, and a few influential leaders from Lahore who hoped to negotiate with the Mughals on behalf of the Guru. Bhag Kaur’s army met up with Guru Gobind Singh not far from Khidrana, a natural reservoir.

Forty of the former deserters joined the Guru in the ensuing battle. Greatly outnumbered, every one of Bhag Kaur’s regiment succumbed to the heavy combat and fell around her. The last one standing, Bhag Kaur fought courageously. She managed to procure a lance and speared several of her opponents until, overwhelmed by the enemy, she too fell. After the battle, Guru Gobind Singh found only Bhag Kaur and Mahan Singh alive. The Guru tended Bhag Kaur’s wounds and held Mahan Singh as he died, promising to pardon the deserters and tear up their papers of resignation.

The widowed Bhag Kaur stayed with Guru Gobind Singh’s army in his camp at Nanded attired as one his warriors. She was given a place in his personal body guard of ten soldiers, traveled as part of his entourage and was with him when he recruited Banda Singh Bahadar. Mai Bhago remained in Guru Gobind Singh’s service until the Guru’s death in 1708. She then made her home in Jinvara not far from Bidar of Karnataka where she lived in a humble dwelling.

Mai Bhago passed the remainder of her days in austere meditation living to an advanced age. Her place of residence in Jinvara has been converted into the shrine Gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago. In Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib of Nanded, the shrine, Bunga Mai Bhago, has been dedicated to her memory. Mai Bhago’s legacy of warrior princess continues to be an inspirations figure to Sikh women around the world. The deserters that she led in to battle are known as the Chali Mukte, or 40 liberated ones, who achieved spiritual emancipation from the ego based cycle of birth and death with their martyrdom.

Have you visited the historic gurdwara Tap Asthan Mai Bhago, Bunga Mai Bhago, or Muktsar shrines honoring the 40 liberated ones? We’d love to hear about your visit. Please share your experience and any photos you may have with our readers, and find out what others have to say about the historic shrines commemorating Mai Bhago and the Chali Mukti.

Mata Gujri

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Mata Gujri was the wife of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Sikh’s Guru and the mother of Sikh’s Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Mata Ji was born in Sikh Gurjar family as the daughter of Bhai Lal Chand Subulikka of Kartarput, in Punjab.

Mata Gujri was married to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji on 4 February 1633. The betrothal had taken place four years earlier when Tegh Bahadur had come to Kartarpur in the marriage party of his elder brother, Suraj Mall. Bishan Kaur, the mother, had been charmed by the handsome face of Tegh Bahadur and she and her husband pledged the hand of their daughter to him. After the marriage ceremony, the couple came to reside in Amritsar. Bride Gujari won the appreciation of everyone “Like bridegroom like bride” records Gurbilas Chhevi patshsahi. “Gujri is by destiny made worthy of Tegh Bahadur in every way ” In 1635, Mata Gujri left Amritsar with the holy family and went to reside at Kartarpur, in the Sivalik foothills. After of Guru Hargobind left this world in 1644, she came with her husband and mother-in-law, Mata Nanaki, to Bakala, now in Amritsar district of the Punjab. There they lived in peaceful seclusion, Tegh Bahadur spending his days and nights in meditation and Gujari performing the humble duties of a pious and devoted housewife. After he was installed Guru in 1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur, accompanied by Mata Gujri, went on a visit to Amritsar, travelling on to Makhoval, near Kiratpur, where a new habitation, named Chakk Nanaki (later Anandpur) was founded in the middle of 1665.

Soon after this,Guru Tegh Bahadur along with his mother, Nanaki, and wife, Gujri, set out on a long journey to the east Leaving the family at Patna, he travelled on to Bengal and Assam. At Patna, Mata Gujri gave birth to a son on 22 December 1666. The child was named Gobind Rai, the illustrious Guru Gobind Singh of later day. Guru Tegh Bahadur returned to Patna in 1670 for a brief stay before he left for Delhi, instructing the family to proceed to lakhnaur, now in Haryana.

Mata Gujri, accompanied by the aged Mata Nanaki and young Gobind Rai, reached, on 13 September 1670, Lakhnaur where she stayed with her brother Mehar chand, until she was joined by her husband. An old well just outside Lakhnaur village and reverently called Matta da Khuh or Mata Gujri da Khuh still commemorates her visit. From Lakhnaur the family proceeded to Chakk Nanaki where Guru Tegh Bahadur rejoined them in March 1671 after spending some more time travelling through the Malva region and meeting sangats. At Chakk Nanaki, 11 July 1675 was a momentous day when Guru Tegh Bahadur left for Delhi prepared to make the supreme sacrifice. She showed courage at the time of parting and bore the ultimate trial with fortitude. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed in Delhi on 11 November 1675, and, Guru Cobind Singh then being very young, the responsibility of managing the affairs at Chakk Nanaki, initially, fell to her. She was assisted in the task by her younger brother, Kirpal Chand

Mata Ji was with her family during 1705, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji refused to evacuate, starving Sikhs turned to his mother hoping too presuade her to leave knowing the Guru Ji would follow. Influenced by false promises made by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Mata Gujri was instrumental in making a decision to flee desperate circumstances. On the stromy eve of the flight from Anandpur, the 81 year old Mata Gujri took charge of her two younger gransons. They became separated from Guru Ji while crossing river Sarsa.

Mata Gujri and her younger grandsons Sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh sought shelter with a priest by profession, called Gangu, as he offered their protection but betrayed them by telling the Mughals where Mata Gujri and Sahibzadey were staying. Mata Ji and Sahibzadey were arrested on 08 Dec 1705. They were detained in an open tower known as, Thanda Burj meaning ‘Cold Tower’, where they passed several days and nights without warm clothing and only little food. Mata Ji encouraged her grandsons to remain steadfast in their faith. Aurangzeb wanted them to convert to Islam but when they refused to convert to Islam but when failed then ordered to kill the Sahibzadey and Mata Ji. He ordered to lay Mata Gujri on an ice block and Sahibzadey were bricked alive, while younger Sahibzadey were being bricked alive by Mugals they were reciting The Japji Sahib.

At Fatehgarh Sahib, near Sirhind, there is a shrine called Gurdwara Mata Gujri (Thanda Burj). This is where Mata Gujri spent the last four days of her life. Ahout one kilometre to the southeast of it is Gurdwara Joti Sarup, marking the cremation site. Here, on the ground floor, a small domed pavilion in white marble is dedicated to Mata Gujri. The Sikhs from far and near come to pay homage to her memory, especially during a three-day fair held from 1113 Poh, Bikrami dates falling in the last week of December.

Thanda Burj

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar became the first guardsman in 180 years to parade outside Buckingham Palace wearing a turban

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar became the first guardsman to parade outside Buckingham Palace wearing a turban instead of the bearskin.

A Sikh soldier yesterday became the first Guardsman for 180 years to parade at Buckingham Palace wearing a turban instead of the bearskin.

Jatenderpal Singh Bhullar, from West Bromwich, who is in F Company Scots Guards, said it was, “The best thing in my life”.

The 25-year-old said: “Conducting public duties while being a practising Sikh and wearing my turban is a great honour for me.

“I am very proud to be a member of the Household Division and to be the first Sikh Guardsman to mount guard in a turban will be the best thing in my life, especially as a member of the Scots Guards.

“The regiment is full of history, as is my religion.”

Guardsman Bhullar has just joined F Company Scots Guards – what is known as an “incremental company” of soldiers responsible for delivering ceremonial duties in London.

As a 5 K Sikh – someone who adheres to all five symbols that mark Sikh identify – he will also be distinguishable from his fellow soldiers on parade by his beard.

Sikhs in the Household Division have guarded the Queen many times before, but have always worn the bearskin.

Sikh Chaplain to the Armed Forces Mandeep Kaur welcomed the move.

“Sikhs have served Britain in World War One and Two with their turbans intact, confirming their commitment towards righteousness and serving others and living their identity till their last breath.

“I applaud the British Army for being appreciative and respectful towards diversity.”

 

BBC Remembrance – The Sikh Story (Full HQ Program)

BBC Program, Remembrance – The Sikh Story Full program, first aired on the 9NOV2010.

Documentary examining why followers of the Sikh religion were marked out as a ‘martial race’ under the British Empire, and how thousands of Sikh soldiers valiantly laid down their lives for Britain’s freedom across two world wars.

With contributions from eminent historians, military experts and war veterans, the film features the last-ever interview with legendary WW2 Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji, and the first television broadcast of a rare audio recording of a WW1 Sikh prisoner of war, handed to Britain in 2010 after 94 years in German hands.

Gurdwara Head truns into Hero in US attack

Gurdwara Head

Gurdwara Head

New York: The 65-year-old head of the small US town Gurdwara turned out an unlikely hero of the Wisconsin shooting incident as he confronted the ‘neo-Nazi’ gunman with his kirpan to save dozens of women, children and other worshippers from being shot down.

Sadwant Singh Kaleka’s, the head of the Wisconsin Gurdwara, unequal battle may not have lasted long as the 40-year-old former US Army ‘psy-ops’ veteran Wade Michael Page killed him mercilessly by his 9mm handgun.

But his heroism slowed down the racist killer, providing vital moments for women and children to flee the attacker and bolt themselves in rooms round the complex, US media reports said.

The women and children who were preparing meals for the congregation were in direct line of attack of the the gunman, but Kaleka’s brave effort to stab Page to slow him down has won widespread acclaim and praise in Wisconsin.

“He turned into an unlikely hero to save the place which he had devoted to build,” said Amardeep Kaleka, his son.

“Whatever time he spent in that struggle gave the women time to get cover,” he said.
 
Relatives said Kaleka was widely regarded as the founder of the Oak Creek temple that was attacked by Page, a disgraced former US army soldier and racist, who is widely thought to mistaken bearded and turban-wearing Sikhs for Muslims.

As Kaleka confronted the gunman, Page had already shot at least one person in the temple’s car park. He then went on to kill six Sikh worshippers before going back outside to ambush the police when he heard approaching sirens.

The killer was then “put down” in a gunfight after severely wounding one police officer.

Kaleka and his family came to the United States from India in 1982. He built a successful business, and devoted every extra dollar he earned into building the Oak Creek Gurdwara.

Parishioners described him as the kind of man who, if you called him at two in the morning to say a light had gone out at the temple, would be there at 2:15 am to change the bulb.

In stark contrast, Page, 40, was a disgraced soldier, in the army from 1992 to 1998, before being discharged for a “pattern” of misconduct including drunkenness and going Awol.

Pictures show him heavily tattooed. Neighbours said that he had a tattoo commemorating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on his right arm, a common indicator of far-Right and anti-Muslim affiliations.

 

US gurdwara shooting: Demented ‘white’ man kills 6, injures 3 critically

Satwant Kaleka, Temple President

Satwant Kaleka, Temple President

 

A gunman killed six people and critically wounded three at a gurdwara during Sunday services before police shot him dead in an attack that authorities are treating as an act of domestic terrorism (when somebody “does active terrorism within the US”).

FBI launches thorough probe into gurudwara shooting

Gurdwara shooter had 9/11 tattoo

Witnesses said the gunman opened fire when he entered the kitchen at the gurdwara of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee at about 10.30 am CDT (3.30 GMT) as women prepared a Sunday meal, forcing worshippers to flee.

Watch video: SGPC condemns US Gurudwara shooting

The suspect was a bald, white man, approximately 40 years old, said Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities did not release his identity.

Four people were shot dead inside the sprawling temple. Three, including the gunman, were killed outside.

The gunman ambushed and shot a police officer who was responding to a 911 call and helping a shooting victim, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second officer shot and killed the gunman.

Edwards said he had no identification for the shooter nor information on what kind of weapon or weapons he had. The victims’ identities and descriptions were not made public.

The wounded officer, a 20-year veteran, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Hospital officials said two other victims, also in critical condition, were being treated.

Law enforcement personnel surrounded and searched a gray, two-storey house in the Cudahy neighbourhood presumed to be the residence of the gunman on Sunday evening. Generators and floodlights were set up along the middle-class block.

Obama condemns attack, says US enriched by Sikhs

A police source confirmed that a search warrant had been issued for the house, and a bomb squad was on the scene.

Temple member and US Army Reserve combat medic Jagpal Singh, 29, said people who were at the service when the shooting broke out described to him a scene of chaos and confusion.

Worshippers scrambled to escape the gunfire, but some tragically ran in the wrong direction. Others survived the rampage by locking themselves in bathrooms, he said.

Singh said eyewitnesses described the shooter as a white man who was either shave-headed or bald.

DOMESTIC TERRORIST

Turban-wearing Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the probe into shootings, Edwards said.

We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist incident, he told reporters. Officials had no details about a possible motive.

Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital said three male victims included one who had been shot in the abdomen, one in the extremities and face, and a third who was hit in the neck.

The Oak Creek shooting was the latest in a series of suburban US gun rampages. Organizations fighting gun violence rate Wisconsin’s gun safety laws from low to moderate. There are no limits on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, nor on the possession or transfer of assault weapons, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Sunday’s attack came just over two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. In January 2011, then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in which six people were killed and 13 were wounded in Tucson, Arizona.

The gunman is worse than the one at the theater a couple of weeks ago because he targeted an entire community, said Jagatjit Sidhu, who was among dozens of temple members and onlookers gathered near the sealed off temple.

Some witnesses at the scene had said there was more than one gunman, but Edwards said reports of multiple gunmen were common in incidents that involved only one shooter.

We believe there was one but we can’t be sure, he said. Officers finished sweeping the temple only after hours of searching, and Edwards said the investigation was just starting.

President Barack Obama said he was deeply saddened and pledged his administration’s commitment to fully investigate the shooting.

Obama was briefed by counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and FBI director Bob Mueller and told the situation at the temple was under control.

The president said that he wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh community, the White House said in a statement.

SIKHS IN US

The Indian embassy in Washington said it was in touch with the National Security Council about the shooting and an Indian diplomat had been sent to the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

The temple in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee, was founded in October 1997 and has a congregation of 350 to 400 people. There are an estimated 500,000 or more Sikhs in the United States.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 by Islamist militants, Sikhs have sometimes been confused publicly with Muslims because of their turban headdress and beards.

Members of the Milwaukee Sikh community complained to police and a state representative last year about an upturn in robberies and vandalism at Sikh-owned gas stations and stores.

In September 2001, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot dead by a man who was said to be seeking revenge on Muslims for the hijacked plane attacks on the United States.

Phoenix police said they were in contact with local Sikh leaders and had increased patrol presence around the three temples in the city until further notice.

New York police said they were increasing security at Sikh temples as a precaution. There are no known threats against temples in the city, they said in a statement.

Sapreet Kaur, executive director of the Sikh Coalition civil rights organization, said Sikhs had been the target of several hate-crime shootings in the United States in recent years.

The natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case, he said in a statement.

Badals react:

The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who is also president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) described the incident in Oak Creek Gurdwara in United States as most painful and condemnable.

Both Badals tonight have asked the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to take up this issue with US Authorities and the authorities there should preserve the security and sanctity of sikh shrines. Interestingly Badal (Senior) is likely to leave to US tomorrow night on a private tour.

Meanwhile, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “It is unfortunate that firing has taken place in a gurdwara. The guilty should be brought to the book.”

Reacting to the news, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said Sikh community was shaken by the incident of firing in gurdwara in Wisconsin. “Even as the motive of the attack is not yet clear, the Sikh community is shaken after the reports of firing in gurdwara in Wisonsin. The Indian government should take up the matter with US to ensure that the Sikhs and their religious places in US are not subject to incidents like these,” Makkar said, adding that SGPC condemned the incident. “We want India to take up the matter with US and do the needful to get justice for the families of victim and those held hostage as per reports,” Makkar said.

Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh said it was unfortunate that such an incident had occurred at a gurdwara. “Though it is not clear so far that what is the motive behind the incident, but the firing in the gurdwara is unfortunate and deserves to be condemned,” said Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh.

Sikh religious leadership condemns attack on Gurdwara in US

Amritsar: The Sikh religious leadership today condemned the attack on a Gurdwara in Wisconsin in which seven people were killed.

“It is a highly unfortunate incident which has taken place in America leaving six innocent devotees dead. This is a security lapse on the part of US Government,” Giani Gurbachan Singh, the head priest of Akal Takht, the highest Sikh temporal seat, said here.

He said that the time has come for US-based Sikhs to adopt all kinds of possible security measures in the entry point of Gurdwaras by installing close-circuit cameras so that surveillance on suspected elements can be kept.

The Jathedar also said that he has directed the SGPC President to send a special team of Sikhs to the US to investigate the cause of the attack.

He said that prayers will be held across various Gurdwaras in India, including the Golden Temple here, for the departed souls.

President Shiromani Gurdwara Pharbandhak Committee (SGPC), Avtar Singh Makkar, “I am leaving for Delhi to meet the US Ambassador and the External Affairs Minister to take up the issue with the US authorities concerned. The cause of this brutal attack on innocent Sikhs must come out so that such incidents could be prevented in future”.

He further said that two SGPC members Surinder Singh and Amarjit Singh Chawla and member of Sikh Student of Federation, Paramjit Singh Khalsa, who were currently on a visit to Canada, have been asked to reach the US to give an account of the incident to the SGPC.

US shooting: US Ambassador offers prayers at Delhi Gurdwara

New Delhi: Reaching out to the Sikh community in the wake of the shooting incident at a Gurdwara in Wisconsin, US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell today offered her prayers at a Gurdwara here and said the incident will be probed thoroughly.

“…United States through the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the local police will conduct a thorough investigation into this crime,” Powell told reporters after visiting Gurdwara Bangla Sahib here.

She offered her condolences on behalf of the entire US Mission here over the incident, which claimed seven lives, terming it a “ghastly act of violence”.

“We are deeply saddened by it, particularly that it happened in a house of worship,” she said.

The Ambassador was presented a ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ by the Gurdwara authorities on her visit.

Six people were killed in the attack on the Gurdwara during Sunday morning prayers in Wisconsin by at least one gunman who was also shot dead, police there said.

Early in the day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed shock and sadness over the incident and hoped the authorities there will ensure “conditions” that such violent acts are not repeated.

He welcomed US President Barack Obama’s statement on the tragic incident.

 

More information and vedios, please click on:

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/wisconsin&id=8762900

 

On the Olympic trail: ‘Langars’ in London for Fauja Singh’s torch run

While Fauja Singh – the 101- year-old marathon runner – carries the Olympic relay torch in London on July 21, Sikhs would celebrate the occasion by organising a langar (community kitchen) along the road for the public.

They would serve free roti rolls at several key points along the Olympic torch route from Greenwich Park to Waltham Forest Town Hall between 7 am (12.30 pm IST) to 8 pm (1.30 am IST). Fauja – the oldest torch-bearer at London 2012 – would carry the torch on the 64th day of the Olympics Torch Relay when it reaches Newham.

The Olympic Stadium is also located at Newham. The langar would be organised by United Sikhs – an organisation dedicated to promoting the Sikh identity and tenets.
‘We are proud to share with the public the 500-yearold Sikh tradition of serving free meals,’ Parvinder Kaur, who would manage the langar project, said.

She said that the Sikhs from the UK and around the world would be participating in celebrations. They would show the world how the community embraced diversity.

‘We hope to demonstrate through the langar how the community involves itself in selfless service.

 

‘We will be serving thousands of free vegetarian meals along the route,’ she said. ‘It would also showcase how community food can bring people from all walks of life together.’
Paul Uppal, MP for Wolverhampton South West, said he always believed in promoting the society as a Sikh and as a Conservative.
‘I am looking forward to seeing gurdwaras from all over the country come together to serve others in the name of faith and community.’

The people serving the langar would wear yellow Tshirts carrying Fauja’s image.

t-shirt designed for Langar

t-shirt designed for Langar

The langar would be served at several service points in each of the five boroughs – each serving at least 1,000 vegetarian roti rolls within two hours.

Fifteen gurdwaras from South and East London have already granted their consent for participating in the event.

The organisation also demonstrated how to prepare roti rolls – an improvised version of cooked mixed vegetable filled in rotis made of whole wheat flour and plain flour.

An executive chef has already taught volunteers how to prepare roti rolls. Sources said several Sikhs from India also plan to reach London to support the project.