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.


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.

Moolmantar and WaheGuru

Gurjas Singh is a grade five student, who plays basketball, is learning taekwondo and loves the outdoors.

I do moolmantar five times every morning and say
Jai Prasad Chatee Amrit Khai,
Tis Thakur Kau Rakh Man Mahe

before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Before a test, a basketball game or a Taekwondo sparring match, I do WaheGuru WaheGuru. Sometimes, when I wake up at night, I do WaheGuru WaheGuru and then I don’t feel scared anymore.

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