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Friday, December 22, 2006

Sahibzada Zorawar Singh ji & Fateh Singh ji

Guru Gobind Singh ji decided to evacuate Anandpur Sahib, on the advice of his Sikhs, although he had no confidence on the promises made by the adversaries, and told them about his views. Guru ji, accompanied by Sikhs and his family members evacuated Anandpur Sahib in December 1704, A.D. They had hardly reached the bank of rivulet Sirsa, when the enemy forces attacked them from behind without caring a bit about the promises made by them earlier in the name of their Holy Books.
During the ensuing battle on the bank of Sirsa rivulet which was in spate due to heavy rains upstream, only Guruji, forty Sikhs and two elder sons of Guru ji, Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, were able to safety cross the river. Others either died fighting bravely or were drowned in the flooded waters.The two younger sons of the Guru, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, accompanied by thier Grandmother Mata Gujri ji, strayed away walking along the bank of Sirsa, without making any attempt to cross it. While walking away from the scene of battle along the bank of rivulet Sirsa, they met their old servent named Gangu Brahmin, who had worked in their house for nearly 20 years. On his request, Mata Gujri, accompanied by his two grandsons, agreed to go with Gangu to his village and stay at his place for some time.
Mata Gujri ji was carrying good number of gold coins in those days. She kept the money under her pillow when she went to sleep in the house alongwith Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh. Gangu’s greed for money turned him unfaithful.He quitly stole the money bag from under the pillow of Mata Gujri Ji while she was fast a sleep. When she got up in the morning she did not find the money bag under her pillow. She enquired from Gangu politely about the gold coins. The thief Gangu got annoyed at this questioning by Mata ji and started threatening her that he would get her arrested along with her grandsons for this accusation. Mata Ji tried to calm him down. Gangu had his eyes on the prize that he would receive from the Mughal rulers if he handed over the mother and two sons of Guru Gobind Singh to the police authorities. Accompanied by the village chief, he went to the police station at Morinda town and informed the station incharge about the preseence of Guru Gobind Singh’s mother and his two youger sons in his house and requested him to bestow him prize money for helping the authorities in the arrest of fugitives.
The police officer was immensly pleased at this important information provided by Gangu. He accompaind him to his vilage and arrested Mata Gujri along with her two grandsons and handed them over to Nawab Wazir Khan of Sirhand. Nawab Wazir Khan who had to return empty handed from Anandpur Sahib without being successful in arresting Guru Gobind Singh or his associates, was too glad to find Guru’s mother and two sons in his prison.Mata ji along with her two grandsons was imprisoned in the cold tower at Sirhind.The Nawab ordered them to be produced in his court the next morning. Sitting on the floor of this cold tower on this very cold December night,Mata Gujri tried to provide comfort and warmth of her body to her grand sons putting them on her lap,and Kissing the foreheades of the beautiful Kids,went to sleep.
She woke them up early the next morning and readying them for the ensuing test they were going to be put to at the court of Wazir Khan,the tyrant ruler of Sirhind. She thus said to them, “O sons of great Guru Gobind Singh ! you are going to be offered all the comforts of a luxurious life if you agree to say goodbye to your religion and adopt Islam as your new religion.If you refuse to accept such an attractive offer they will threaten you with painful deaths. I have full confidence that though you are young Kids,you will neither be fooled by the attractive offers nor be seduced by their threats. Be brave like your Guru father who has put every thing including his life at stake to prepare people to uproot the rule of tyrant rulers. Keep up the honour of your father at all costs.”While the grandmother was still advising her grandsons, the soldiers of Wazir Khan arrived to take the two kids of Guru Gobind Singh to the court. Mata Gujri wished her grandsons and sent them with the soldiers praying for their success to uphold their principles and steadfastness at the court.
Many a senior officers and advisors of Nawab Wazir Khan were seated in the court along with him in addition to prominent public personalities. On entring the court Sahibzada Jorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh loudly uttred, “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh” to the utter astonishment and amazement of Wazir Khan and his courtiers.One of the prominent courtier Sucha Nand told the courageous sons of Guru Gobind Singh to bow before the ruler Wazir Khan and salute like the Muslims do. The kids told him that like other Sikhs, they too bow before no one except their Guru.

Nawab Wazir Khan now took over and said, “O small kids ! Your dad alongwith your two elder brothers has been killed in the battlefield. Luckily you have arrived in my court alive. Be quick and agree to be converted to Islam. As Muslim kids you will be provided best comforts of life like princes. You will be living in palaces, wearing silk clothes, eat variety of foods and play with other Muslim Princes and many servants will be at your beck and call, day and night.We are going to ban Sikhism and we will not leave any one alive as a Sikh. If you do not heed my advice to become Muslim, you will be put to the death in a most merciless manner. You will be cut to pieces so that no one dare become a Sikh in future.”
The brave and smart kids of the tenth master while smiling initially at the foolishness of this hot headed Muslim ruler were angrered at the threats held out by Wazir Khan and became more determined than before in their resolve to keep up the honour of their father Guru Gobind Singh.In reply to Wazir Khan’s lecture the brave kids said, “Sikhism is dearer to us than our lives. Nothing in this illusory world can induce us to shed our religion. We are kids of lion Guru Gobind Singh who is determind to infuse courage into the people of all religions to rise against the cruel and tyrant rulers to gain freedom. Our grandfather, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur laid down his life to defend the right of religious freedom for the sake of opressed Hindu community being decimated by tyrant Aurangzeb. Our great great grandfather, Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji submitted gladly to the will of God while facing tortuons death under the orders of Emperor Jahangir, to infuse courage and endurance in his disciples rather than convert as Muslim. We will never bring bad name to the predecessor martyrs of our faith even if we have to face death.”
Those present in the court of Wazir Khan were greatly impressed by the brave reaction offerd to Wazir Khan by 6 yrs old Baba Fateh Singh and 8 yrs old Baba Zorawar Singh.In order to offer some respite and encouragement to the dazed Wazir Khan, Sucha Nand courtier commented, “if these Kids at such an adolescent age can have courage to shun all inducements and threats to their lives, they could pose grave danger to the Mughal rulers when they grow upto manhood. Like their father they would encourage other Sikhs to rise in revolt against the Kingdom. It will be proper to deal with them firmly now and no mercy should de shown to them just because they are small children.
Nawab Wazir Khan, though impressed by the moral support provided and suggestions made by Sucha Nand, was more inclined towards coverting to Islam, the brave young sons of the great Guru Gobind Singh rather than punishing them with death penalty. He wanted to provide an opportunity to the historians to write that the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh preferred Islam to Sikhism. He, therfore controlled his anger and allowed the lads to go back home and consult their grandmother who might advise them to accept Islam to save their lives. Saying this Wazir Khan hurriedly left the court there by adjourning it for the day and thus denying the lads an opportunity to give a benifitting reply to his latest suggestion.
Mata Gujri Ji was immensly pleased to see her grandsons back in high spirits heaving a sigh of relief. She took them hurriedlyfrom the soldiers into her bossem and kissed profusely their bright and smiling faces gave indications of their winning the battle for the day. thereafter, she asked and they told her about what happended in the court of Wazir Khan. They made a special mention about the wicked advice provided to the ruler of Sirhind by Sucha Nand Courtier.
Mata Gujri congratulated her grandsons on their courage and stead - fastness shown by them in the court in the face of hostile attitude of Wazir Khan and his courtier Sucha Nand. She warned them of greater inducements and threats of torture when they went to the court next day. She advised them to remember Bhai Mati Dass,Bhai Sati Dass and Bhai Dayala Ji, who did not flinch in their faith and faced torturous deaths. Thus providing encouragment to her grandsons Mata Gujri went to sleep, keeping the brave young kids pressed to her body.The next day more inducements and threats were held out to the young Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh but none of these could deter them from their firm resolve to stick to thier grandmothers advice.
When on the third day the young Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh left for the court escorted by Wazir Khan’s soldiers, She could visulise that her grandsons would not come back in the evening and that the rulers will carry out their threats held out to the kids earlier. She was, however, confident that her brave grandsons would die happily for their faith. She took them in her bossom, kissed their faces and stroked their backs providing them lot of love and encouragement. She kept staring at them till they disappeared from her view.
Back in her prison cell, the cold tower, she went into meditation and prayed to the Guru and God to provide strength and unshakable determination to thetwo younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh and wished them success in the face of heavy odds they were to face at the court that day, which could in all probability be their final and last day at the court.
At the court, seeing no let up in the firm resolve of the brave sons of great Guru, the Nawab asked them as to what would they do in case he freed them. The young boys said in reply, “We would organise Sikhs and fight to finish against the tyrant rulers to provide freedom to the opressed. We will stick to our Sikh faith under all circumstances and you or others like you will never succeed in deflecting us from our faith.”Nawab Wazir Khan failed in his mission to convert the two Sahibzadas into Islam. He felt dejected and humiliated. He asked his court Kazi to suggest appropriate punishment for the kids. The Kazi promptly suggested bricking alive of the kids and then doing them to death with sword blows as per Muslim law, as understood by him.Shaken by this inhumane punishment for the young innocent children suggested by Kazi, Nawab Sher Khan of Malerkotla protested and said, “Islam does not specify punishment to the children for the guilt of their father. They are innocent and should be freed.” The Kazi lost his temper and told Sher Khan that he (Kazi) was much more conversant with Muslim law than him. Sucha Nand added fuel to fire by suggesting that Cobra’s off springs should be killed promptly lest they create trouble when they are fully grown up.
On this, Wazir Khan approved the punishment suggested by Kazi without any amendment. Nawab of Malerkotla protested loudly at this decision and walked out of the court.
When no one came forward to carry out the punishment pronounced for the young children, two Pathans of Ghilaza Tribe (known for their barbarism) were successfully persuaded to do the job. They made the young lads stand close to each other and started raising a wall around them. Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh started reciting hymns of Guru ji (Gurbani) and meditating on the name of God, remained composed and in high spirits.The Kazi carrying his holy book Koran in his hands continued to persuade the kids to accept conversion to Islam to save their precious lives. The children fully concentrating their minds on the name of God, paid no heed to what Kazi was trying to tell them. When the wall reached the shoulders of Sahibzada Fateh Singh, on a signal from Kazi, the two Pathans promptly choped off the heads of the two kids with the blows of their swords.Mata Gujri was thrown to death from the cold tower by the soldiers after being informed of the fate of her grandsons.
Thus the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh, aged 6 & 8 years respectively, became the youngest martyrs at the hands of barbarous rulers. Their brave deeds will provide inspiration to the Sikhs and their young children to emulate the brave acts of young Sahibzadas of the tenth master whom no amount of wordly attractions and threat could deter from their resolve to stick to their faith and fight against the unjust and cruel rulers. Mata Gujri ji also provided a shining example to all mothers and grandmothers as to how they should imbibe good qualities of religion, sacrifice, faith, in the young minds of their sons and grandsons at tender age, and prepare their minds and bodies to facce challenges they are likely to face as they grow up. The example of Mata Gujri Ji is worth emulating by all mothers and grandmothers.

Sahibzada Ajit Singh Ji & Jujhar Singh ji

The eldest of the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, Sahibzada Ajit Singh was born at Paunta sahib on 7th january 1687 A.D. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh the second son of the tenth Guru, was born in March 1689 A.D. at Anandpur Punjab. The two were aged 18 yrs and 16 yrs respectively when they achieved martyrdom at Chamkaur Sahib. Because of their heroic deeds at such a young age, Sikhs reverdly call them “Baba”, expressive of their highest regard and respect for these brave sons of the GuruThey underwent training in physical ftness,riding,and use of weapons apart from getting formal and religious (Gurmat) education from competent Sikhs and their father right from their childhood.
Sahibzada Ajit Singh performed deeds of great courage during various battles that took place around Anandpur Sahib between the forces of Hindu Kings & Muslim rulers on one side & Guru’s forces on the other side.Under the ablest guidance and leadership of Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs started hunting Tigers and other wild animals in the jungels around Anandpur Sahib by learning the use of all sorts of weapons including the latest weapens. Casteless society, i.e., Sikhism raised hopes of equality for all and freedom from tyrant rulers of the time. Ever increasing numbers of Hindus and even Muslims adoping Sikhism, alarmed both Hindu kings of Hill States adjoining Anandpur Sahib, and the Muslim rulers who thought that if Sikhism is allowed to grow at this rate they would not be able to control the opressed for very long, the Hindu Hill State Kings through persistent complaints alarmed Emperor Aurangzeb about the growing strength and influence of Guru Gobind Singh which according to them could one day endanger the rulers of both Hindu and Muslim communities.
Thus the Muslims rulers in Delhi, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir joined hands with the Hindu rulers of Hill States around Anandpur Sahib, to destroy the growing influence of Guru Gobind Singh forever. Their combined fighting forces marched towards Anandpur Sahib and encircled it completely. They cut off supplies to the besieged Sikh community in the Anandpur Sahib Fort.
The Sikhs besieged in Anandpur Fort had to undergo extreme hardship due to non-availability of rations, water and medicines. On the other hand , seven months of unsuccessful military venture had also demoralised the leaders and soldiers of tyrant rulers. As a result they started to find a face-saving device to please Emperor Aurangzeb.They swore on Geeta and Koran assuring Sri Guru Gobind Singh that in case he vacated Anandpur Fort alongwith his Sikhs, they would not attack him and his soldiers. After this evacuation, they would also go away and be in a position to show their faces to the Emperor Aurangzeb. Guru Gobind Singh Ji decided to evacuate Anandpur Sahib on the advice of Sikhs although he had no confidence on the promised made by the adversaries and told them about his views.
Guru Ji, accompanied by Sikhs and his family members evacuated Anandpur Sahib in December 1704 A.D. They had hardly reached the bank of rivulet Sirsa, when the enemy forces attacked them from behind without caring a bit about the promises made by them earlier in the name of their Holy Books.Sahibzada Ajit Singh and part of Sikh forces kept the attacking enemy at bay by engaging them in a fierce battel till Guru Gobind Singh accompanied by others crossed the rivulet, which was in spate due to heavy rains upstream. Later Ajit Singh and the remaining Sikhs too crossed the rivulet sirsa & joined Guru Gobind Singh later. The enemy forces were deeply impressed by the fighting & leadership qualities shown by the eldest son of Guru Gobind Singh. The flooded rivlet took a heavy toll of Sikh lives.
By evening of the follwing day, Guru Gobind Singh accompanied by his only two elder sons and forty surviving Sikhs arrived at village Chamkaur, thoroghly exhausted. They quickly got themselves setteld in fortess-like house of chaudhary Budhi Chand and decided to face the approching enemy forces there.During the night, enemy forces encircled this fortess in large numbers. Their numbers swelled to lacs by day break. When the enemy attacked the fortess in the morning, Guru Gobind Singh, and his disciples kept the enemy at bay with the help of deadly arrows inflicting heavy casualties. When the stock of arrows started dwindling and the enemy forces starting coming close to the fortess, it was decided by Guru Gobind Singh to send Sikhs outside the fortess in batches offive toengage the enemy soldiers in hand to hand fight. Imagine 5 Sikhs, daring to take on lakhs enemy soldiers! This amply proved to the world how fearless the Sikhs of the Guru were and had love not for their lives, but the orders of their master.
When groups of Sikhs started going out of Garhi (fortess) and fought bravely in afflicting heavy casualities before laying down their precious lives, Sahibzada Ajit Singh sought permission of his father to also allow him to go out to fight side by side the brave Sikhs.Guru Gobind Singh was immensly pleased at this and embraced his son. He himself armed his son and sent him out with the next group of five Sikhs whomhe considered no less dear than his own sons, to prove Guru’s saying that he would be worthy of being Gobind Singh when he would make a Sikh so brave and fearless that he would fight with one lakh and quarter enemies alone.
Coming out of the fortess Ajit Singh, the brave son of the Tenth Master, attacked the enemy soldiers like a lion leaping on a flock of sheep to be cut to pieces. Many enemy soldiers were both astonished and terrified on seeing the fighting calibre and methods of attack of this young boy. The accompanying Sikhs prevented enemy soldiers from other sides from encircling the brave Ajit Singh. After the brave son of the Master exhausted his arrows, he attacked to enemy with his spear. However, the blade of spear which had penetrated into the chest of one of the adverseries piercing his steel dress, broke inside the body of the enemy solider, when Sahibzada Ajit Singh pulled his spear back. Taking advantage of this delay caused by stuck up spear of Baba Ajit Singh, the enemy soliders were successful in injuring his horse, which fell dead. The Sahibzada swiftly dismounted the horse and pulling out his sword from its sheath, engaged the enemy soldiers. While he was cutting the adverseries to pieces by lightening attacks with his sword, an enemy soldier successfully attacked the brave son of Guru Gobind Singh with a sharp spear. This spear pierced deeply into the bady of Baba Ajit Singh. The brave son of Guru Gobind Singh was fatally injured and his youthful body fell on ground. He attained martyrdom under the watchful and appreciative eyes of his great father. Scores of enemy soldiers bodies were lying in heaps around the fallen body of brave Ajit Singh.Guru Gobind Singh was watching the brave acts of his son in the battle field from the fortess. He had been keeping the enemy at bay by his arrows thus providing his son a chance for prolonged fight with the enemy soldiers.The Guru was immensly pleased at the courage shown by his son and the tactics employed by him for inflicting heavy casualties on the adversaries.
Guru Gobind Singh thanked God for helping, Ajit Singh to live upto his father’s expectations. The Guru thus proved that for the cause he was fighting, he would not hesitate to offer his own sons for sacrifice, while demanding supreme sacrifice from his Sikhs. The Sikhs were as dear to him as his own sons.Thus fell the brave son of the Great Guru providing inspiration to the Sikhs for generation to come. The Sikh community will keep remembering this young martyr son of the tenth master for all times to come.
Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, the second son of Guru Gobind Singh had been keenly observing from the fortess Chamkor the heroic fight put up by his elder brother, Sahibzada Ajit Singh against overwhelming number and better equipped enemy soldiers. The brave fight put up by his elder brother filled Sahibzada Jujhar Singh with happiness and courage.
No sooner did Sahibzada Ajit Singh fell martyr, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh requested his dear father Guru Gobind Singh to grant him permission to accompany the next batch of Sikhs to repeat the heroic acts of his elder brother. He assured his father that he will not let him down and that he would attack the enemy soldiers and drive them away as a shepherd drives his flock of sheep.
The Guru Father was filled with immense pleasure at the determination of his 16 years old second son. He armed his son with weapons and allowed him to go out with next batch of five Sikhs.Once outside the fortess, the young Jujhar Singh fearlessly attacked the enemy soldiers like a lion, while accompanying Sikhs formed a protective ring around him. Guru Gobind Singh was watching his brave son’s deeds of valour and appreciated his courage and swordsmanship from top of the fortess. Even the enemy soldiers could not help appreciating the ferocity and smartness of the young boy. They had never seen such bravery performed by anyone at such a young age against mighty enemy forces. Sahibzada Jujhar Singh using arrows spear and finally his sword felled numerous enemy soldiers. Headless bodies of enemy soldiers were piling up around him. The accompanying Sikhs were likewise putting to death many more enemy soldiers while keeping a protective ring around Sahibzada Jujhar Singh.
After a long drawn battle, the enemy soldiers attacked the young Jujhar Singh from all sides in large numbers, breaking the protective ring around him.Under the appreciative gaze of his father and the accompanying Sikhs, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh put up a brave fight but was ultimately fatally injured and fell martyr on the ground encircled by heaps of dead bodies of the enemy forces.
The way both the elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh achieved martyrdom upholding the principles for which their father had been actively mobilising his disciples, the Guru was able to show to all the Sikhs and enemy the he did not value his own sons more than his Sikhs and that he would not hesitate even to sacrifice his own sons for the Sikh cause.
On seeing his second son falling martyr like his first-son, Guru ji thanked God for enabling his sons to live upto his expectations. There is no parallel in the world when a father had thanked God, instead of weeping, on the death of his sons in front of his eyes.The heroic deeds of these two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh will keep inspiring the young Sikh generations to rise to the occassion when ever called upon to fight for justice and rights against injustice and cruelty for all times to come.
Thus, Guru Gobind Singh, sacrificed his dear and brave sons, only to prove that when it comes to making sacrifices for Sikh cause, he would not hesitate to offer his own sons to show to the world that the Sikh ideals alone, and not his own sons, were more dear to him

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Guru Nanak Blind Missionary Society

Guru Nanak Blind Missionary Society was founded in 1988 by four blind friends, Avtar Singh Mann, Gian Singh Surjit, Rajinder Singh and Sital Singh Sitara, who had a dream to set up, in Punjab, India, a residential music academy and training school for blind children.
The dream quickly became a reality and the Guru Nanak Mission Neterheen Birdh Ashram and Sangeet Academy - the Ashram started teaching its first students in 1989.

Today, the Ashram goes from strength to strength due to the hard work of all the wonderful people involved. Sadly, two of our founders are no longer with us. Rajinder Singh passed away in 2003, and Gian Singh Surjit recently passed away on 20th October 2006. All the founders have worked tirelessly raising funds around the world to provide a source of financial, educational, and emotional support to our blind children - to ensure that they grow up to be confident, intelligent, self-respecting and talented musicians.
In Phagwara, Punjab, North India - on the famous GT Road- stands the Ashram. The Ashram is the only project of its kind in India - a residential music academy and training school for blind children founded, funded and managed by blind people.The Ashram accommodates 80 little blind people, and fifteen paid staff, including, teachers, music professors, administrators, medical staff, and many wonderful volunteers. There is also a Sikh temple, the 'gurdwara', within the Ashram grounds.
The histories of our little blind people are often tragic: orphaned, discarded, or worse.The Ashram exists for these children, to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment in which the children receive an invaluable education, learn to cope with their blindness, integrate into a sighted world and flourish there. As part of a program to ensure that blind and sighted children learn to be perfectly at ease with one another, the Ashram also accommodates a number of sighted orphans living in the complex, and pays for their education at a local school for sighted children. In the evening they return to the Ashram to play, sing and laugh with their blind friends. The Ashram’s children are profoundly happy and joyful beings, they are respected and understood, and they learn skills which will ensure them a far brighter future than their circumstances in India would otherwise have allowed.
The charities trustees are: Avtar singh Maan, Ranbir Singh Rai, M S Vilkhoo, Anup Singh, Ravinder Singh Khera, Amrik Singh and Sundeep Kaur Sitara
The charities accountant is Jatinder Singh Gulhati.
Guru Nanak Blind Missionary Society is supported and funded by genoruous donors, volunteers, individuals and organisations involved in our sponsor a child programe and by funds raised at reguluar fundraising events.
Over the next twelve months, were are planning to expand the Ashram to include an on site eye clinic and a separate building to accommodate our school girls. We’ve just purchased an adjoining plot of land for this project, and we now need to raise alot of money to complete this project.
We are lucky to have a small army of wonderful people who work tirelessly to help the charity achieve its aims. Needless to say, we would welcome you with open arms if you would like to become a volunteer just visit

Sikh Youth of The Month For December

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sachkandvasi Bhai Avtar Singh Ji

Guramukh janam savaar dharageh chaliaa Spending this life fruitfully gurmukh goes to the other world. Sachee dharageh jaae sachaa pirr maliaa There in the true court (of lord) he gets his true place.
Bhai Avtar Singh ‘Raagi”, born at Saidpur in the erstwhile state of Kapurthala, passed away on November 24, 2006, after a brief illness in Delhi. He and his brother Bhai Gurcharan Singh were the sons of the legendary Sikh kirtania, Bhai Jawala Singh. They were the 11th-generation flag bearers of the original style of shabad singing of Sikh Gurus in the medieval Punjab. The compositions they sang date back to the period of the Gurus and some of them were sung note by note as the Gurus sang them. For 60 years they performed kirtan. They were accompanied by their nephew Bhai Swaran Singh, an accomplished artist of tabla. Bhai Gurcharan Singh, the elder brother, is still living but he has not sung kirtan for over a decade. With the younger brother’s death, another generation has passed into history.The brothers were apt in singing all the raag variants, lores (dhunian) and the other variants of the music forms incorporated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. At least for the last half century their kirtan was regarded as a standard against which gurmat sangeet of shabad reet parnali (traditional compositions/ kritis) singing was to be measured.Gurmat sangeet, or shabad kirtan, was not mere singing of gurbani in raags, rather it was a unique fusion of shabad raag and tal. Shabad-reets are compositions of the Guru period. Some of them were the originals sung by the Gurus themselves. Besides other achievements and their contribution to this art form, the two brothers did a great service to the world of musicology by recording 500 of their original medieval compositions (48 hours) and annotating them before donating the same to Punjabi University, Patiala. The two volumes, Gurubani Sangeet-Pracheen Reet Ratnavali, were published in 1976. This was a unique gesture in itself as very few artists of repute would easily share the core of their art with outsiders, leave alone documenting and donating the same to an institution.They extensively disseminated their art in the UK, North America and Canada - both in the community and outside. In fact, there seemed to be more admirers of this tradition of kirtan outside than in India.Bhai Avtar Singh and Bhai Gurcharan Singh were perhaps the only kirtanias who reflected the original intent of the Gurus in their kirtan. Their work is a cherished heritage of the sacred music of North India.The tradition has been passed on to the next generations in the family. Kultar Singh, son of Bhai Avtar Singh, a mechanical engineer by profession, joined Bhai Avtar Singh’s jatha in 1999. Since then he has been practising the family tradition with his father and carrying it forward. Bhai Baldeep Singh, rooted in the family tradition and a grandnephew of the senior Bhai Sahib, is an accomplished musician, researcher, preservationist and a musicologist in his own right carrying the heritage into the 13th generation.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji

Guru Ji whose original name was Tyal Mal (Master of Detachment) spent his childhood at Amritsar. In his early years he learnt Gurmukhi,Hindi, Sanskrit and Indian religious philosophy from Bhai Gurdas Ji, and archery and horsemanship from Baba Budha Ji while his father Guru Hargobind Ji, Master of Miri and Piri taught him swordsmanship. At the age of 13, a brave young warrior fought alongside his father in the Battle of Kartarpur. When the victorious Sikhs returned home they praised their latest hero and Tyal Mal Ji was renamed Tegh Bahadur Ji (True Ma ster of the Sword). He was married to Mata Gujri Ji at Kartarpur in 1632. When his father nominated his grandson Har Rai Ji as his successor in 1644, Tegh Bahadur Ji moved with his wife to the village of Bakala.
For the next 20 years the Master of Detachment spent most of his time in an underground room absorbed in meditation. Guru Ji also went on missionary tours in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. Before Guru Har Krishan Ji passed to God’s court, he indicated that his successor would be found in Bakala. When the Sikhs arrived in the village they found 22 false Gurus claiming to be Baba Bakala. A wealthy Sikh called Makhan Shah came to Bakala. He bowed to each Guru and gave 2 gold pieces; each Guru was pleased and blessed him. But Makhan Shah was unhappy, then he learnt of a holy man meditating in an underground room. Again Makhan Shah bowed and placed 2 gold pieces. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji said: “Why have you broken your promise ?, when you prayed to God to save you and your ship from the terrible storm you promised 500 gold pieces to the Guru”. Makhan Shah was overjoyed, he gave the rest of the gold as promised and ran to the roof shouting “The True Guru has been found, O Sikhs come seek his blessing”. The false Gurus all ran away.
After a short time oppre ssion and intolerance reared it’s ugly head. The Moghal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Hindu temples to be destroyed and that idol worship was to be stopped. He had a temple converted into a Mosque and slaughtered a cow inside it. He also had Hindus sacked from their government jobs and employed Muslims instead. Aurangzeb also ordered Gurdwaras to be destroyed and expelled many missionaries from the main cities. Despite some resistance after many years of persecution people were being forced to take up Islam.
Aurangzeb being clever, decided if he could convert the leaders of the Hindu religion then millions of followers would also convert. He started persecuting and harassing the Hindu Pandits of Kashmir. The Pandits overcome by panic came in a delegation to Anandpur Sahib and requested Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s help. At this time Guru Ji’s 9 year old son Gobind Rai Ji told his father that “Who would be better than you to defend the poor Brahmins”. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji decided to stand up for the right of freedom of worship and told the delegation he was ready to sacrifice his life to protect the Hindus from mass conversion.
Guru Ji nominated Gobind Rai as his successor and left for Delhi with 3 other Sikhs, Bhai Sati Das Ji, Bhai Mati Das Ji and Bhai Dayal Das Ji . Along the way all were arrested and taken to Delhi were all accepted death by torture rather than give up their ideals and convert to Islam. Guru Ji was beheaded on 11 November 1675, Bhai Jetha took Guru Ji’s head to Anandpur Sahib were it was cremated and Bhai Lakhi Shah carried Guru Ji’s body to his house, which he then set on fire to cremate Guru Ji’s body.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji had a versatile personality, a warrior, family man with social commitment and a preacher of great understanding and vision. His martyrdom broke the myth of Aurangzeb’s religiosty.
The achievements of Guru Tegh Bahadur are remarkable;
• During the last period in Guru Ji’s life, Guru Ji founded a new town called Anandpur Sahib (City of Bliss) and went on missionary tours to UP and Bengal. Guru Ji also initated welfare projects all over northern Panjab.
• Guru Ji symbolised the triumph of good over evil, Guru Ji’s martyrdom unique in the history of mankind, inspired many Sikhs to lay down their lives for noble causes and moral values.
• Guru Ji was also a versatile poet and embodied a message of freedom, courage and compassion; “Fear not and frighten no“

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kirtan Darbar in memory of Bhai Gian Singh Ji Surjit

"The God-conscious being lives forever, and does not die."

Keertan Darbar in memory of Giani Gian Singh Surjit
Kirtan darbar is on SATURDAY 18th NOVEMBER from 6pm - 10pm at Gurudwara Dasmesh Darbar, East London 97-101 Rosebery Avenue, Manor Park, London E12 6NQ. Ragis jathas that are attending are below:
Bhai Amarjit Singh Ji Gilligham Wale
Bhai Amarjit Singh Ji Nanaksar Wale
Bhai Daya Singh Ji
Bhai Sital Singh Ji Sitara

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Kirtan Darbar in memory of Giani Gian Singh Ji Surjit

Spending this life fruitfully gurmukh goes to the other world. There in the true court (of lord) he gets his true place.
In memory of Bhai Sahib Bhai Gian Singh Ji Surjit there will be a Kirtan Darbar on Saturday 11th November 2006 from 6:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m at Shri Guru Nanak Darbar Gravesend Kent. Ragi Jathas that will be attending are:
· Guru Nanak Komal Sangeet Acadmey, Gravesend
· Bhai Waryam Singh Ji
· Bhai Sital Singh Sitara
· Bhai Ajit Singh Ji Bilga
· Bhai Sewa Singh Ji Lalli
· Bhai Harbans Singh Ji Suraj
· Bhai Gurmail Singh Ji Manakpuri and Jathedar Tirath Singh

Please attend and remember this great Gurmukh Pyara through Kirtan. The Kirtan darbar is being held by Guru Nanak Komal Sangeet Acadmey Gravesend to support Guru Nanak Mission Neterheen Birdh Ashram GT Road, Sapror Nangal Phagwara ,Punjab, India.

For further information contact the numbers below:
Parvinder Singh – 07817695042
Bhai Sital Singh Sitara – 07877743341
Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar Gravesend – 01474 534121

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Funeral of Bhai Gian Singh Ji Surjit

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa Vaheguru ji Ki fateh
'Spending this life fruitfully gurmukh goes to the other world, There in the true court (of lord) he gets his true place'

Humble benti to all sangat to attend the funeral of Giani Gian Singh Surjit who gave a lot to the panth he taught keertan across the world and done a lot of seva for the sikh panth. Bhai Sahibs funeral will be on Monday 30th October 2006 body will arrive at Guru Nanak Education & Sports Complex, Khalsa Avenue (Trinty Road), Gravesend, Kent DA12 1LU at 10am following onto Medway Crematoruim at 1pm. Back to Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, Clarence Place, Gravesend, Kent. DA12 1LD at 2pm. All details will be avaliable in this weeks main punjabi newspapers. Bhai Sahib Gian Singh Surjit gave the sikh panth a lot of his valuable time, he taught kirtan to hundreds of people our families, us, our children. I am sure for all that time Bhai Sahib spent we can all spare at least one day to pay our final respects to such a diamond of the panth that gave all his life doing seva for the sikh panth.

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa Vaheguru ji ki fateh

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bhai Sahib Bhai Satvinder Singh and Bhai Harvinder Singh

Bhai Sahib Bhai Satvinder Singh and Bhai Harvinder Singh

Bhai Sahib Bhai Satvinder Singh, Bhai Harvinder Singh and Bhai Manjit Singh (Goldy) will be doing Kirtan on Sunday 1st 0ctober 2006 from 6:45 p.m to 8:00 p.m at Shri Guru Nanak Darbar Gravesend Kent. Please attend and enjoy Bhai Sahibs Kirtan.
For further information contact the numbers below:
Parvinder Singh Lalli – 07817695042
Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar – 01474 534121

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quote of The Week - Saajanra Mera Saajanra

Raamakalee mehalaa 5 shha(n)tha
Raamkalee, Fifth Mehla, Chhant
Ik oa(n)kaar sathigur prasaadh
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru
Saajanarraa maeraa saajanarraa nikatt khaloeiarraa maeraa saajanarraa
Friend, my Friend - standing so near to me is my Friend
Jaaneearraa har jaaneearraa nain aloeiarraa har jaaneearraa
Beloved, the Lord my Beloved - with my eyes, I have seen the Lord, my Beloved
Nain aloeiaa ghatt ghatt soeiaa ath a(n)mrith pria goorraa
With my eyes I have seen Him, sleeping upon the bed within each and every heart; my Beloved is the sweetest ambrosial nectar
Naal hova(n)dhaa lehi n saka(n)dhaa suaao n jaanai moorraa
He is with all, but he cannot be found; the fool does not know His taste
Maaeiaa madh maathaa hoshhee baathaa milan n jaaee bharam dhharraa
Intoxicated with the wine of Maya, the mortal babbles on about trivial affairs; giving in to the illusion, he cannot meet the Lord.
Kahu naanak gur bin naahee soojhai har saajan sabh kai nikatt kharraa
Says Nanak, without the Guru, he cannot understand the Lord, the Friend who is standing near everyone. 1

Monday, August 14, 2006

Serving Humanity - Seva

Seva is a key part of Sikhism. Seva is selfless service done for the benifit of others without ego and no expecation of reward.

Sathigur kee saevaa safal hai jae ko karae chith laae

Fruitful is service to the True Guru, if one does so with a sincere mind
All the Gurus showed us how to do seva correctly from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Arjan Dev Ji for example feeding the hungry and Guru Amardass Jis seva of ishnaan. Guru Arjan Dev Ji writing the Shabad Guru Shri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj this was service for the benifit of others. Guru Hargobind Ji to Guru Gobind Singh a great amount of seva was done Guru Har Rai Ji built hospitals for the sick, Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji going through Cities and Towns healing the sick. Guru Tegh Bhadar Ji giving his head for the Hindus this was selfless service to keep the Hindu faith going so all the Hindus were not converted.

Other examples of Serving Humanity in sikhi are Bhai Khanaiya Ji is a great example; he gave water and first aid to everyone in the battle feild not creating divsions if they were low caste or high caste or if they were Muslims or Sikhs that is Serving Humanity. Another example of Seva is Bhagat Puran Singh who set up the world famous Pinglewara helping the poor, disabled young children up to old aged men and women. Seva is somehting you do by hand like Bhagat Puran Singh who founded Pingalwara by doing Seva himself of the poor and sick.

Sathagur kee saevaa gaakharree sir dheejai aap gavaae
It is very difficult to serve the True Guru. Surrender your head; give up your selfishness

I think that the Sikh panth is is not doing as much seva as it could we should try and play our part and do as much seva we could, look at our history to get more inspiration on how and where to do Seva and what Seva is. Seva in the mordern world is being done by Khalsa Aid and United Sikhs who go to the scenes of natural disasters and they supply food water and shettle and rebuild peoples homes that were demolished by the natural disasters.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pilgrimage to Hemkunt

The shrine Shri Hemkunt Sahib stands apart from all other Sikh shrines, it is related with our tenth master Shri Guru Gobind Singh. Were Guru Ji contemplated on the one divine God in meditation. Hemkunt Sahib is connected to the previous birth of the guru when he meditated. The Guru writes in his autobiography –

“Thus I narrate the tale of my own life
How the lord sent me forth to this world
While I was busy with austerities
There I was by Hemkunt ‘Receptacle of Ice’
Amid the seven snow – clad mountain peaks
Out of my contemplation, the lord God
Summoned me to his presence
And sent me hither to his world
It wasn’t my desire to come hither”

- Bachitra Natak: 103, 28-30
The shrine is also unique in its location. It stands over 15,210 feet above sea level. No other is located at such a height nor is any other gurdwara so hard to get to as you have to walk a great deal before you reach the holy Gurdwara. When you reach the holy shrine first you have ishnan in the holy lake where pilgrims usually recite Japji Sahib whilst bathing in the holy lake. The roof is unique the roof is the shape of an inverted lotus flower. Pilgrims go and bow to Shri Guru Granth Sahib in the Darbar and then sit and there and feel peace and want to meditate in such a quiet and calm environment. Ardas is performed and then the pilgrims go to the langar and then they do their return journey back to the bottom.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Garden of Simran - The Name

Guru Nanak is ‘the Name’ we sing as the birds sing the joy of the new dawn. Guru Nanak, Guru Nanak, we say and we pass on. We look neither to the left nor to the right, with our lips sealed with honey of the name, with our eyes enraptured by the dream of a greater, nobler universe of the Guru’s mind. We go muttering even mechanically our life – mantram and we pass undisturbed and undisturbing into the heart of men and things. We go mingling like a good thought in the blood of the universe, ‘the Name! the Name!’

As the babe knows the mother and nothing beyond, we know our Name and nothing beyond. They ask a mere child what is God and where? How could the little babe talk? The baby laughs. The babe hath not yet learnt language, nor thought. Do you believe in God or do you no? What impertinent questions are these and those? Enough, under the garment of the Guru I am concealed and blessed in my garment of the Guru I am concealed and blessed in my joy that knows no answer to these questions.

So you cannot fight the battles. You are seeking the peace of the soul without a body. And what is a soul without the body. No, I have a friend divine that saves me and saves all. If I am to be I shall be of his command and he knows more than you and I. I believe he makes his servant manifest in a day, in a moment. Greatness is all his. Great men are but mediums of his inspiration. He who is filled with the will of the father is great. None else, none else. Greatness is of the service. He gives to his servant to do. The bird on the bough that chirps a nascent note of the morn is a hero to that extent. We believe that man is as powerless as the babe, as the calf, as the bird.

Extract from Spirit Born People
Puran Singh

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quote of the day - Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi

....."Some people think if they can argue, they can win. Nobody can win with arguments. Logic and reason is not the way of life. The other person is not interested in being convinced. When you try to convince somebody, somebody tries to get out of it. This is a normal reaction. If you relay from the heart center, you will always have victory with you." Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi, March 16, 1982.....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gur Ka Bachan - The story of Bhai Mona

"Dhanaasaree Mehalaa 5 ghar 8 dhupadhae
Dhanaasaree, Fifth Mehla, Eighth House, Du-Paday:

Ik oa(n)kaar sathigur prasaadh
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

Simaro simar simar sukh paavo saas saas samaalae
Remembering, remembering, remembering Him in meditation, I find peace; with each and
every breath, I dwell upon Him.

Eih lok paralok sa(n)g sehaaee jath kath mohi rakhavaalae
In this world, and in the world beyond, He is with me, as my help and support; wherever I go, He protects me.

Gur kaa bachan basai jeea naalae
The Guru's Word abides with my soul.

Jal nehee ddoobai thasakar nehee laevai bhaahi n saakai jaalae .rehaao
It does not sink in water; thieves cannot steal it, and fire cannot burn it. Pause

Niradhhan ko dhhan a(n)dhhulae ko ttik maath dhoodhh jaisae baalae
It is like wealth to the poor, a cane for the blind, and mother's milk for the infant

Saagar mehi bohithh paaeiou har naanak karee kirapaa kirapaalae
In the ocean of the world, I have found the boat of the Lord; the Merciful Lord has bestowed His Mercy upon Nanak."

There was a sikh called Bhai Mona who was serving in the langar of Guru Angad Dev Ji Maharaj. Mona was extremely arrogant and greedy. Some people complanied to the Guru the insulting behaviour Bhai Mona displayed whilst serving langar. The Guru called him for an explanation. Bhai Mona said that he was the servant of the Guru and would do anything for him and that he was not a servant of the others.

The Guru than asked him to go to the nearby forest, chop some wood, make a pyre and cremate himself. Without understanding the consequences of the Guru’s orders he went to the forest, cut the wood, makes a pyre and lit it. On seeing the blazing fire he became scared and was reluctant to jump in the fire. Meanwhile a thief arrived and asked Bhai Mona what he was going to do. Bhai Mona told him the whole story. The thief thought that he had an opportunity of wiping out the sins of his past life. He accordingly said to Bhai Mona that he would give him a bag of jewels if he would let him die on the pyre and get salvation. Bhai Mona happily agreed.

The thief jumped in the fire and was taken to the heavens by the Guru himself. Bhai Mona on the other hand was arrested for the theft of the jewels and was hanged. On hearing this the Guru said that a sinner could get salvation by believing in and obeying Guru’s orders no matter where he had lived; whereas the pride and vices like anger and greed would destroy the result of all the service, even if one had lived near the Guru.
If someone just clings onto the word of the Guru they will be saved, through the Guru's grace ... Gur Ka Bachan....

Quote of the Week - Dalai Lama

………“The truth of suffering is that we experience many different types of suffering. The three categories are: suffering of suffering – this refers to things such as headaches; suffering of change – this is related to the feeling of restlessness after being comfortable; and all- pervasive suffering that acts as the basis of the first two categories and is under the control of karma and the disturbing mind.”……….

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Guru Ramdas Rakho Sharnai...

ham avagun bharae eaek gun naahee a(n)mrith shhaadd bikhai bikh khaaee

I am overflowing with sins and demerits; I have no merits or virtues at all. I abandoned the Ambrosial Nectar, and I drank poison instead.

maayaa moh bharam pai bhoolae suth dhaaraa sio preeth lagaaee

I am attached to Maya, and deluded by doubt; I have fallen in love with my children and spouse.

eik outham pa(n)thh suniou gur sa(n)gath thih mila(n)th jam thraas mittaaee

I have heard that the most exalted Path of all is the Sangat, the Guru's Congregation. Joining it, the fear of death is taken away.

eik aradhaas bhaatt keerath kee gur raamadhaas raakhahu saranaaee 458

Keerat the poet offers this one prayer: O Guru Raam Daas, save me! Take me into Your Sanctuary! 458