Monthly Archives: January 2010

Time of Prayer

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer,
and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things,
I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.

Brother Lawrence

Of Separation and Coming Together, Again

Puneet Singh, Ghaziabad

Puneet Singh, Ghaziabad

I have heard these shabads read and sung many times and know that I jut like them for the mood and effect they create. I feel a little detached from the worldly affairs and concerns, even as I feel the love for God and Guru rising, growing.


Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering Optional

Jaskaran Singh, California

I was in Delhi in 1984 when anti-Sikh riots broke out. I was fortunate in that I was safe, and shielded from the bloodshed. I did not see much, though what I did see was bad enough.

I used to read this shabad written in big letters on the outer wall of a house in Punjabi Bagh and it had always comforted me. I was a small town kid, away from home for the firs time, staying in a college boarding house, being ‘ragged’ by seniors, had been hurt in a road accident etc. etc. But whenever I read these words, I felt I ‘belonged’ (to my Guru), that He was watching over me and therefore no serious harm could come to me.

Then the prime minister was assasinated and the carnage soon started. Many houses, businesses and countless vehicles belonging to Sikhs in the neighborhood were burnt during the riots. But miraculously, this house was spared.

The owners of the house had hung a blanket over the words, so people won’t identify the house as belonging to a Sikh. Now, whenever I walked by, I would expect the blanket to be gone, but somehow I thought of the hidden words more. I did some research (we didn’t have access to computers and the Internet) and learnt what the shabad meant. It was the same shabad, but instead of saving me from minor irritants, that’s what my troubles of a few days ago seemed now, it had now saved my life.

When He protects you, nobody and nothing can harm you. There was really no question in my mind that He protects us all the time. In return we have to be true to Him and to ourselves. This is what I have continued to believe since then.

We change as we go through life, our needs change and so do the prayers that provide us with strength, comfort and guidance.

I know what I write is nothing new or profound, but I felt it strongly and it is therefore of great significance to me.

The blanket was taken away after a few weeks and the shabad is still there for all to see.


I Overcame Addiction

I Overcame Addiction

Devinder Singh
Northampton, England

I always had a problem with alcohol and drugs. When I moved to England at 27, I was determined to make a fresh start. But within two years, I was drinking and using heavily again.
I lost several jobs and my wife of 4 years was sick and tired of the situation. I was desperate and tried medication, therapy and support groups. All of these worked some, but I would always slip back. I saw many other people like me in these groups, who looked normal enough in everything else, but when it came to drinking or drug abuse, they were helpless and acted like insane people.
Many a time I went to gurdwara and did ardaas. It always helped, but I would soon forget how close I had come to disaster, and went back to drinking and abusing.
The whole family was suffering and I had almost given up hope that I would ever get sober. After one particularly nasty bout of drinking, my wife said she had had enough and was leaving with our daughter. It was after a lot of begging and absolutely humiliating myself that I managed to persuade her to give me ’1 more chance’.
A family friend took us to an elderly Sikh who lived about 50 kms away. I was told I must do whatever the old man told me. I have cut my hair and expected the old man to scold me about it. But he treated me like a normal person, not condescending, not lecturing or talking down at me, almost with respect. He didn’t tell me I should become an amritdhari Sikh, or how I was ‘patit’ and ungrateful for all the sacrifices our gurus had made for us. I feel he could see my plight more clearly than most of the people close to me and somehow had more sympathy for me than anybody I had met who did not himself drink. I felt he understood, yet he did not talk down at me. He just told me to do as much path as I could (not 5 banis) and do ardaas frequently. I think I said something to the effect that is it good to be always begging, asking the Guru for one thing or the other. He said it was okay, that who will a son go to if not his father. Then he opened a book and showed me a shabad:
meri sangat poch soch din rati
In my simplistic way, I understood it to mean: I admit I’ve been in bad company, that my life has become sinful, but please don’t forget me God, I am your charge. Please get rid of my problems; I won’t leave your feet till you do. I am in your protection, please show yourself to me.
My initial cry was out of desperation and self-pity. Later on, I guess, some more love came into the ardaas, and true humility, even as I developed more confidence in worldly affairs.
This shabad was like an anchor, it grounded me, gave me roots again, put me into touch with what I had learned as a child growing up in a Sikh family. I recite it every morning, and it gives me strength to know that He looks after His own.


In the Spirit of Mindfulness

All of us are apprenticed to the same teacher that the religious institutions originally worked with: reality.

Reality-insight says … master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity.

It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition.

Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick – don’t let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits.

Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our “practice” which will put us on the “path” – it is our path.

Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild


We all need a personal experiment in mindfulness, to revel in the wonder and simplicity of present moments. But we don’t have to go out of our way or find someplace special to practice mindfulness. It is sufficient to make a little time in our life for stillness and ‘non-doing’, and then tune in to our breathing.

The miracle of the changing seasons is within our breath. Our parents and our children, our body and our mind, all are within our breath. The breath is the current connecting body and mind. It is the current of life.

God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages.


Much of our time is spent saying, “I’m not good enough for that job,” “She’s too good for me.” Sometimes we are very status conscious because we feel unworthy. We take either superior or inferior roles with every one we deal with. So, it’s difficult to have peers or friends.

The status games are really silly.

True humility occurs when we stop shaming or inflating ourselves and begin accepting ourselves as no worse and not any better than anyone else. In the eyes of God, we are all equal.

You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.

Ray Bradbury (1920 – ), advice to writers

Taati Vao Na Lagaee Parbrahm Sarnaee

Sukirat Kaur is a freshman who is proud to be a Sikh and believes people of different faiths can live together in harmony while staying true to their beliefs.

Sukirat Kaur is a freshman who is proud to be a Sikh and believes people of different faiths can live together in harmony while staying true to their beliefs.

Taati Vao Na Lagaee Parbrahm Sarnaee is my favorite prayer because of many reasons.

My mom used to recite it every night before my brother and I went to sleep, so it became a habit. Whenever I’m sick or in pain it just comes into my mind naturally, it provides comfort and gives me strength. The meaning of the shabad is that nobody can harm you when you’re under the protection of God; he’s always by your side to help you out.


Be at one with the Spirit of the universe. As we think, so we are.
I pray that my deepest affection be on things spiritual.
That I may think of and desire that which will help, not hinder, my spiritual growth.
That I may be one with God.

I pray that I may think Love, and Health, so that is what will surround me.