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Ascend

In the moments we are alone, we are delusional and dead. Everything becomes separate and nothing flows in unison – we are no longer in touch with the miracle known as life. Then how do we flee such delusion and come back to the plane of content where only One abides? Mindfulness.

Let the breeze be God’s subtle whisper, the rain His cooling touch, the stars His infinite eyes, the sun His glowing truth, the stillness His silent presence, and the people an extension of Godliness. Nowhere can we evade the loving warmth and compassion of the true Lord. How can we ever be alone, especially when God resides within every universe, galaxy, planet, living creature, cell, and atom. God is energy and everything within and out of it. Proven by science – energy can never be created nor destroyed. Energy can never be born nor can it die. Energy is what gives all matter form and vibration. Science has shed light on some of the mystery, but has failed to even come close to God’s limitless grace. Man will never be able to comprehend such an omnipotent power.

Judgment from past conditioning has colored the lens through which we perceive the world. Our innocence and purity has slowly eroded through the corruption of thought. Wrongful thoughts and desires born from rage, ego, greed, lust, and attachment have distanced the pure soul from all perception.

We have neglected the God within for the illusive desires without. Hence, we have robbed ourselves of content and peace by neglecting the beautiful sea of Godliness that flows within our very own soul. We have been imprisoned by our five senses, captives to nothing more than an illusion that is temporary and fleeting. Whatever has come to be, has morphed and recycled into the Earth and greater universe. Why then is man running away from the bright truth by seeking dark shadows under the thorny rose-bush. He will surely be met by ignorance, pain, and suffering for the rose can only provide so much pleasure.

There is sunshine and light everywhere within God’s infinite kingdom, yet we have chosen the path of pain and suffering in the darkness. We were not born in this darkness, but for some reason we have chosen to seek it.

Being mindful of the present moment allows one to put aside previous man-made conceptions of what is. One becomes content with the present no matter what it may hold. Nonjudgmental of the moment, we do not seek pleasure or pain, but only oneness which brings content. Time recedes, space becomes trivial, and desires begin to shrivel in the face of an eternal and immortal moment. Even death runs away. Epicurus once said, “Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not”

Nothing that happens in this life could have been diverted nor is it baseless. Everything that transpires, happens in the realm of God so it cannot be evil, malicious, or cruel. These negatives have only been created in the mind, because the mind is fueled by duality and confusion. A mind that is lost sees only duality, because duality breeds our desire for pain and pleasure, fun and boredom, anger and peace, and birth and death. When we eliminate the duality and the desire for something that is not, we find content.

Whatever is happening should be happening and is happening under the will of the Supreme Lord. We may not understand this with the five senses given to us for we are nothing more than a trillionth part of a dust molecule in the grand scheme of the infinite. However, when we do understand and contemplate that all is immortal and eternal with God within all – we really begin to live and grow as spiritual beings having a human experience.

Only in this moment will you find what you have been looking for your whole life. In the death of desire and fantasy, truth is born and God is revealed. God has provided for all eternity, and His presence has been still.

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I leave my body as the kirtan reaches my ears and rushes through my veins. The human in me dies every time I listen to a verse from the Guru Granth Sahib, and for that moment I dissolve into the infinite. Nothing matters, I am free and unbound by the fake facade of maya, the materialism, around me. The presence of an infinite creator overcomes my consciousness and I merge with content. My soul reaches a state of equilibrium and for that moment, there is no need to strive for anything else. All hunger dies. I listen with my ears not to mere words, but sacred truths revealed through the vibration of cosmic love. There is no language that can translate the ecstasy which overcomes my being. I am a Sikh, a learner, of the true source of creation, God.

I believe in the hukam, will, of Waheguru and pray for His grace and mercy in the lives of all. I am not perfect, but I strive to be a more understanding and compassionate soul. I try to listen and recite the Japji Sahib, Rehiras Sahib, and Kirtan Sohila daily. I understand the importance of implementing the teachings transcribed in the Guru Granth Sahib into my everyday life. I try to gain more knowledge regarding Sikhism by referencing Sikh history, movies, documentaries, and books. I listen to Katha from great Sikhs like Sant Giani Maskeen Ji for inspiration and understanding. I do not intoxicate myself with alcohol or drugs of any kind, and I am a student in medical school with an intent to help others in their time of need. However, some may say that I am not a true Sikh. I have short hair and a trimmed beard. I am not Amritari.

We went to dinner at Uptej’s dorm suite today, and we were joined by another Sikh medical school student, Bhavneet. Uptej is an Amritari Sikh woman who keeps her hair neatly wrapped in a dastaar. Bhavneet also keeps her hair covered and has been waiting to take Amrit for many years now, because she believes it is the most important part of Sikh Rehat, discipline. However, she went a little further saying that only an Amritari Sikh could claim Sikhism their path, because without Amrit a follower is not a true Sikh. However, the Gurus believed that all are created equal and that there is no such thing as a Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, or Jew because all life is One. Many Hindus and Muslim saints are also included in the compilation of the Guru Granth Sahib further illustrating that all humanity is one regardless of race, religion, caste, or creed. We all come from one divine light.

Sikhism is based upon the universal oneness of the universe and its creator, God, who is infinite and without form. No mortal has the tongue nor the ability to fully describe the intensity of God’s power, benevolence, and beauty within every single atom of the universe in which His grace resides.

Avil Alh nUru aupwieAw, kudriq ky sB bMdy ]

“First God created the Light; by His power he created all people equal.”

eyk nUr qy sBu jgu aupijAw, kaun Bly ko mMdy ]1]

From One Light came the entire universe. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1||

logw Brim n BUlhu BweI ]

“O people, in doubt wander not, my brothers,”

Kwilku Klk Klk mih Kwilku pUir rihE sRb TWeI ]1] rhwau ]

“Creation in Creator, and Creator in Creation, Totally filled in all places. ||1||Pause||”

mwtI eyk Anyk BWiq kir swjI swjnhwrY ]

“The clay is the same, but various ways by the Fashioner.”

nw kCu poc mwtI ky BWfy nw kCu poc kuMBwrY ]2]

“Nothing is wrong with the pot of clay – nothing is wrong with the Potter. ||2||”

sB mih scw eyko soeI iqs kw kIAw sBu kCu hoeI ]

“The One True Lord abides in all; by His making, everything is made.”

hukmu pCwnY su eyko jwnY bMdw khIAY soeI ]3]

“Whoever realizes the Hukam of His Command, knows the One Lord. He alone is said to be the Lord’s slave. ||3||”

Alhu AlKu n jweI liKAw guir guVu dInw mITw ]

“God is unseen; He cannot be seen. The Guru has blessed me with this sweet molasses.

kih kbIr myrI sMkw nwsI srb inrMjnu fITw ]4]3]

“Says Kabeer, my anxiety and fear have been taken away; I see the Immaculate Lord pervading everywhere. ||4||3||”

I understand the importance of the Sikh Rehat of Guru Gobhind Singh Ji and the vital attributes of the Khalsa brotherhood. The Khalsa kept Sikhism strong through the Mughal raj when there was a small bounty for the head of a Sikh. The sacrifice of Guru Gobhind Singh Ji’s sons who would rather die than lose their faith and convert to Islam at such young ages. Sikhism has sacrificed thousands upon thousands of lives for justice, freedom, tolerance, and understanding of God. I cannot even begin listing all the sacrifices in Sikhi. Baba Deep Singh once said, “Sir jaave ta jaave, mera Sikhi sidhak na jaave” (If my head is severed, let it be, but don’t severe my Sikh way of life). These sacrifices cannot be forgotten for the love of God was so strong in these souls.

During the volatile contextual history of Guru Gobhind Singh Ji, it was highly important to distinguish a Sikh from a Muslim or Hindu. If the religion and the message of Sikhism were to survive, a new identity of fearless warriors was to be created known as the Khalsa. However, in a new world of globalization and cubicles that identity is becoming harder to keep especially in Western countries. One must make a harsh decision now, either live and assimilate in the West or keep the roots of the Khalsa and its bana with prejudice. Does Sikhism reside so much in the look or is it more concentrated in the heart and faith of the mind? I personally know the attachment I have to Sikhism in my heart and the relationship that I hold with Waheguru in high regards. There is a very powerful and intrinsic love I have for my people, religion, and faith. If the time ever came to shed my life for  a greater cause, I can most certainly say that Sikhi would be the infinite force behind my passion for justice and truth. No matter if I do not have a pugh or a long beard, in my soul I am a Sikh of the Gurus. I know my relationship, what is yours?

Many Sikh youth question the religion they have inherited, and see it as beautiful but too restrictive. Too many black and white rules, rehats, guidelines, and strict regulations. The passion dies inbetween the thirst for God and the rules and regulations laid by panthic associations such as the SGPC. The relationship between a human soul and God is an extremely personal and inner one, because God is indeed within all creation. We are apart of His divine glory, so who can tell us that this is the way and that is not. The Gurus understood the unbiased lens of spirituality and thus expelled all notions of this way and not that. We are a people lost in a world of trial, and God is the only hand that can guide us but is everypresent if we just take the time to look. I am not going to let society, organized associations, or any giani tell me that my Sikhi does not follow the rehat when indeed my love is only growing for Waheguru everytime I utter His praise or contemplate His glory. No one can take my faith from me, so I follow the path of the Gurus who understood my desperation to surrender. Everysingle atom is Khalsa by birth, and so everyone is joined by a brotherhood blanketing all creation. A Sikh is one who is supposed to understand when he recites, “Nah Koi Bari na he Beganna,” (There is no stranger or enemy).

Guru Nanak believed, “Truth is HighHigher Still is Truthful Living”. In the Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak says that God only understands the language of love and that comes from the heart with true devotion. We must not branch, divide, and corrode the message of compassion in the Guru Granth Sahib but instead we must unite and accept with love all who walk the path of the Guru and those who do not. Sikhism has many enemies like the RSS, and many fear that a more liberal perspective of Sikhism will create dangerous Hindu influences, but we must not forget that the journey to God is a personal voyage and not a political one. In terms of spirituality and personal growth, we must stand united as a sangat to different views and accept the appeal of the Gurus who opened the door to oneness without a need for rituals, superstitions, castes, creeds, and such. They understood Waheguru’s depth so they were open-minded for they comprehended the vastness of His creation.

Every human reaps what he sows within the reason and will of Waheguru’s will. Those who do good will be taken care of in this life and that after, no matter if the person is a Sikh, Muslim, Christian, or Jew. All men are created one and all the labels that have been created just build more walls hindering the light of divine’s present within the heart and mind. We must learn to see the stars we lay under as everyone’s all the same. I make it a spiritual practice to respect every soul no matter the view or the ideals. Within all resides His creation, so who am I to judge.

Sikhism should no longer be exclusive but rather all inclusive as it was meant to be. Maryada is a must, but tolerance which preaches righteousness and truthful living is more important. Let people follow the path as they will without judgement, lest you be judged by your own actions. Lets stop dividing and instead begin uniting as humanity with justice, valor, integrity, courage, and love within our hearts.

What do you think? Who gets to be a Sikh? What if someone is not ready for Amrit? Many shaheeds during 1984 came from the West with cut hair and died in the fields of Punjab for justice, were they any less brave or Sikh? Will loosening the definition of a Sikh make Sikhism weaker as a panth? How do you see the future of Sikhism? How do we prevent secluding Sikhs without kesh by current Sikh definitions?

I believe these questions must be answered in a changing world desperately in need for the words of the Guru Granth Sahib appealing to a universal truth. Ek Oankar, God is One.

George Clason published, The Richest Man in Babylon, in 1926 to enlighten Americans with telling parables from the ancient city of Babylon. Surprisingly, the basic principles of gaining and maintaing wealth are the same today as they were in the lustrous city of Babylon many centuries ago before the birth of Christ. The acquisition of gold has tantalized man since the beginning of civilization for it has brought respect, honor, pleasure, safety, and security to many who have sought it. Even today, everyone must work to make a living. Each individual makes his share to spend, save, or invest. Making money is a means to survive in society, and it has been such since the beginning of cooperative society. Work is symbolized with the $ symbol, whether we like it or not.

In the book, Arkad, the richest man in babylon, explains his desire for wealth:

In my youth I looked about me and saw all the good things there were to bring happiness and contentment. And I realized that wealth increased the potency of all these. Wealth is a power. With wealth many things are possible. One may ornament the home with the richest of furnishings. One may sail the distant seas. One may feast on the delicacies of far lands. One may even build mighty temples for the Gods.

And, when I realized all this, I decided to myself that I would claim my share of the good things of life. I would not be one of those who stand from afar off, and enviously watching others enjoy. I would not be content to clothe myself in the cheapest raiment that looked respectable. I would be satisfied with the lot of a poor man. On the contrary, I would make myself a guest at the banquet of good things.”

If we all must work to make a living, why not work hard and smart. There is nothing wrong with hard work where the fruit of our labor is wealth. Arkad makes a great point by saying that he would not settle for less than what he was capable of. Every human being is capable and has the potential to do many great things with the infinite energy of passion, desire, and purpose. Money is an ends to a mean which makes life easier to lead without the clout of living bill to bill.

As being a Sikh, I am taught from religion and commonsense that money will not bring eternal satisfaction, contentment, happiness, or peace. It is but a trap of falsehood in the overall illusion of Maya, and I do agree with this point. However, Guru Nanak strongly believed that a spiritual life should not be led in isolation. It is important for a person to raise and care for family while working for an honest and truthful living. Hard work has never be denied nor looked down upon in Sikhism as long as the individual remains free of greed, attachment, or ego. Humility is the main ingredient to success in all aspects of life.

Socially, culturally, and mentally money plays a large role in the ease of life. It does not make life free of struggle, but a surplus of money makes it more bearable; many doors and opportunities swing open to the whims of wealth. Hence, it is in the interest of wise men to learn the fundamental laws of gold. Those who receive money without guidance or wisdom lose it quickly, because the source is not renewing. Wealth comes from an ongoing stream of funds from income, investment, and interest.

Arkad had five vital gold (wealth) laws :

The First Law of Gold – Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will save not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.

( One tenth or more of one’s income should be set aside for investment. A budget should be instated to constantly keep one dollar out of every ten for investments to ensure future security and wealth. It is extremely important to skip out on some of life’s appealing lures, in order to ensure a future of wealth gain. Discipline is the difference between a fat purse or a lean one.)

The Second Law of Gold – Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.

(The money saved must be working for you. It must become your working slave through investment. The principle will begin to multiply in sound investments giving rise to new generations of wealth who will also work with you to make more. Do not divert this wealth for spending until the money has become an army working for you. Each dollar created is one more dollar working to create more through effective measures. The stream must be large and fast enough to feed itself.)

The Third Law of Gold – Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

(Invest with the advice of those who are successful and honorable. Trust is a shaky word, but let their checkbook do the talking for the man. An experienced man in any field will be the one to seek during times of investment. His advice is free and worth much money and future safety.)

The Fourth Law of Gold – Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in bussinesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.

(Do not invest in some area where you have no experience or prior knowledge, because loss will be your lesson. Stick with what you have learned and studied through experience. A man who studies the body for ten years, a doctor, should not invest blindly into making a new restaurant chain unless he is also a chief.)

The Fifth Law of Gold – Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers who trust it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

(Amazing returns and unbelievable profits are fit for disaster. Something that sounds to good to be true is probably just that too good to be true. Let the Madoff scandal during this year be a reminder not to fall for the stairs. Be safe and keep your money bound to consistency and security. Safer margins for growth are much healthier in the long run than blind faith in huge profits. Huge risk = HUGE LOSS or miraculous luck.)

Be smart with money, and let it work for you. Patience is the key along with the right eye to see opportunity when it comes knocking on the door. If you save that one tenth you might just have the capital it takes to take advantage of the lifetime opportunity when it comes.

Let ninety percent of your income be the chips unto which to enjoy and cherish the goods of life, and let the remaining ten percent go to work for the future wealth for yourself and the family. Make yourself a guest to the grand banquet of life, and enjoy all their is to offer by playing smart and wise with wealth or else be left watching others enviously. For myself, I am not the type to watch.

                   Biology class is finally over and learning human anatomy has really made me think about being a human carnivore. Strip the human of the outer epidermis, the skin, and within you see the flesh of any other animal. We are animals with a higher consciousness, but the main ingredients are very much similar. From the genetic code to the actual flesh there is little difference between a human and another organic living creature. The grand exception comes from the ability to consciously be aware of time, existence, and emotion. We are superior only because of a highly wired and intricate highway system of neuro-pathways that shoot across millions of paths each second.

               I was watching a video of a human dissection and it was truly fascinating. The cadaver looked fresh and the whole body was in amazing condition. The face had an expression of awe with the mouth drawn open and the eyes peacefully closed on the chopping board of sorts. The presiding doctor who was doing the dissection began picking away at the different levels of tissue to get into the organs as the face remained composed and cold. I was sure he was dead when the doctor chopped out the heart for closer inspection. I guess that clip inflicted more pain on me than the dead father, son, or grandparent laying on the dissection table. The fate of us all may not be in an itunes video about dissection, but death is surely an inevitable and inescapable ticket. It made me think in a deeper perspective of the daily ego we so easily stride around carrying high and heavy. Perhaps the animals we munch on for dinner have a clearer conscious and unity with the universe than the ignorant man who appears to dine with superiority. 

                 Every cell in the human body lives to function and survive for the overall good of the system. The cell if damaged or dysfunctional may even kill itself for the survival of the greater tissue it lives for. There is no weekend or coffee break, as my professor says, for the cell and like a horse it works until its demise. Regulating organelles, ions, division, particle immigration, and thousands of other jobs each cell makes Obama’s job seem like a piece of cake. Dividing generation after generation to create a linage of function and work. We could learn a thing or two about life by just taking a small glimpse inside the universe which lies within the depths of the skin we feel so insecure about. The flesh which traps our souls in the physical plane of time harbors secrets of a greater truth if one takes the time to introspect the intricacies of life itself.

                All matter is composed of atoms and within every atom ninety-nine percent is empty space. Scientists are still debating whether electrons are real components or mere wave like particles of energy. Hence, empty space constitutes the great majority of the earth as we see it. The human eyes magnify the world through a lens which sees the mosaic of atoms as objects, people, stars, planets, and so forth. However, if we were to see the world at the level of the atom we would be exactly where we are now. On a planet, an electron, orbiting the sun, the nucleus, while only seeing vast distances that we call space. The universe is infinite in the scope as seen by NASA, but the distance is purely relative to the size as seen with the smallest building block of matter, the atom.

            Distance is relative to space, space is relative to size, and size is relative to the perspective of the beholder. The universe may be found and realized without ever opening a book or traveling millions of light-years away, for the vastness within every single breath of awareness reveals time at a standstill. The world freezes the moment we reach into ourselves and cease the exact moment that exists in the now. Freedom, liberation, peace, solitude, God, ourselves, and the universe can all be revealed in the silence of the mind. When the mind is tamed and the world stands still and we are in harmony with it, we become immortal. Death no longer exists, mysteries no longer matter, life seems plentiful, and worldly attachment seems foolish. The immortal window to reach God is in this exact moment for the next breath is never assured and the breath before the the one we took no longer exists. The past becomes a lie, the future becomes false, and the present becomes just that a present from God to unite with the universal truth of His grace.

                 The flesh disappears, the body no longer cages the soul, and the vibrancy of every atom begins to match the frequency of the universal one – God.

Competition

 

 

            The whole semester was a frantic flurry to finish and maintain high grades. The mind was continuously bustling from subject to subject as the fear of failure remained ever so near and present. Always on the back of each student’s mind – the innate drive to compete and beat the others. Firing complex questions, one waited for the other to stumble in order to expose one’s Achilles’ heal. Weakness in intellect or theory exposes one’s downfalls, and makes the other more confident and vicarious. There is no room for mistakes for the one who carries the flag of victory is the one revered with success. There is no end for the world will keep on trying to get ahead.  

            From my peers, there was a respect for the high grades I achieved; however, with respect came an instinctual drive to destroy. Any ounce of uncertainty in my eyes became the chance for my demise. Although the pressure kept me strong to fight, it also led me to see those who despise. Expectations were blown in my face for they would say, “Oh he will surely get an A.” There was no doubt that it was my goal, but for others it was just another load for me to carry alone. I would remain composed as stone on the outside, but inside I was being swallowed by my own tone. The tone that harshly hushed me into submission for the burden of riding every condition.

           Men have always envied those who run in first place. They too have practiced for hours, conditioned in the blistering sun, and dealt with many hardships; however, that one man in front always seems to fly on ahead. May it be destiny or chance? Most men leave it to chance and wait for the other to descend. It is the intrinsic nature of man, from the times of primitive survival, to compete for ultimate success. We wear suits on the outside to appear civil, but the battles within are nothing more than that of primitive survival. The man who lives for himself will only help others for recognition and fame. Francois de la Rochefoucauld once said, “We should often feel ashamed of our best actions if the world could see all the motives which produced them.” Selfless men are hard to find for they may only be a concept to rekindle the light of hope within us all. Those men, if they even exist, are as rare as lost ancient gems that have fallen into the murky sea. For certain, I know that God is the only Being that illuminates perfection. Mortal men are merely looking for immortality through their outward actions. Few have made that ambition a reality, but those who have cut out a name in the condensed chapters of history are, nonetheless, never perceived as perfect. Our vices are our shovels used to dig our own graves. We have all dug our own, and are just waiting to be pushed in when the time comes. 

            I sit alone in my dorm in silence. The scurrying feet, running water, clanking bottles, turning pages, and banging doors have ceased. The quiet has left me without purpose. I have been longing for this moment – the light at the end of the tunnel. Through hard work I have arrived and the light has dimmed. I always needed my own space amidst people in my face for four months straight. No time to breathe without affecting someone else, I never sat in solitude. Time never permitted. I am now liberated in space – just floating. This is not the liberation I truly seek, because true liberation will come only when I have finished the journey and see land on the distant shore. Until medical school is over, I shall count my blessings which are many, and embrace the men who share words, but glare silently in envy. These men have taught me to sail forward looking ahead but never forgetting to glance behind. I am not completely innocent of this crime myself, but I am more vigilant of my feelings after I became the subtle target of conspiracy.

             The highs and lows of a university student are many, and the need to perform at one’s best can be draining. Nevertheless, the reward of achieving with humility and honor, the glow of success is the ultimate gift of an education. Admittedly, money has always played a rather big role in my decisions for the future but experience is beginning to make that shed. I still want to live a comfortable life through hard work, but I also want to reciprocally make a difference in people’s lives. As a young man, I am sick and tired of looking for leaders within religion or life itself, so I want to discipline myself to lead. I want to lead not on the pulpit but on the terms of my own actions. I want to bury my vices before they end up burying me. I desperately want to live my life without an ounce of guilt, so I have nothing to bow my head to other than God. My ambitions are many, but I want to manipulate them for the right reasons. Like a sculptor I want to chisel my mind into that of greatness by the grace of God and not by ego. I would rather be a mediocre man with humility than a man with money and arrogance. Being a student has taught me more than formulas and concepts, because I have primarily learned that learning happens until the last breath and heart beat. I am a Sikh, a learner, until the end.

Tonight after everything that has happened, I have reaffirmed my greatest intuition that God does, indeed, listen. Please no matter how bad the storm gets; do not leave God. He is always there and listening. Let Him lead for He will find.

– God bless

Avil Alh nUru aupwieAw, kudriq ky sB bMdy ]

“First God created the Light; by His power he created all people equal.”

eyk nUr qy sBu jgu aupijAw, kaun Bly ko mMdy ]1]

From One Light came the entire universe. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1||

logw Brim n BUlhu BweI ]

“O people, in doubt wander not, my brothers,”

Kwilku Klk Klk mih Kwilku pUir rihE sRb TWeI ]1] rhwau ]

“Creation in Creator, and Creator in Creation, Totally filled in all places. ||1||Pause||”

mwtI eyk Anyk BWiq kir swjI swjnhwrY ]

“The clay is the same, but various ways by the Fashioner.”

nw kCu poc mwtI ky BWfy nw kCu poc kuMBwrY ]2]

“Nothing is wrong with the pot of clay – nothing is wrong with the Potter. ||2||”

sB mih scw eyko soeI iqs kw kIAw sBu kCu hoeI ]

“The One True Lord abides in all; by His making, everything is made.”

hukmu pCwnY su eyko jwnY bMdw khIAY soeI ]3]

“Whoever realizes the Hukam of His Command, knows the One Lord. He alone is said to be the Lord’s slave. ||3||”

Alhu AlKu n jweI liKAw guir guVu dInw mITw ]

“God is unseen; He cannot be seen. The Guru has blessed me with this sweet molasses.

kih kbIr myrI sMkw nwsI srb inrMjnu fITw ]4]3]

“Says Kabeer, my anxiety and fear have been taken away; I see the Immaculate Lord pervading everywhere. ||4||3||”

This is truly a gorgeous shabad song by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, one of the greatest punjabi singers of all time. Bhagat Kabir Ji composed the hymns, and they are presented in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Guru Nanak Dev Ji realized the most fundamental religious universal truth of all, God is in everything and within everyone. His presence and sweet nectar is found everywhere. We are all endowed with the light of God, so who is to say that one is right or wrong. We are God’s men and women. What a powerful message.

You can feel the powerful gravitational pull of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan singing from the heart. I was moved when I heard this shabad by him. He came to a gurdwara to pay his respect to a great message of peace and love by the Guru Granth Sahib. There is no Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Jew, or Muslim because we are all one in the same. No barrier exists in the creation of such immaculate love and beauty.

Everyday I find a new jewel in the vast mounds of Sikhism’s infinite treasure chest. This video and the symbolism it brings of Muslims and Sikhs coming together to praise God in peace really brings a settling reason to hope. Enjoy the video; there are two more parts that are on youtube.

(“Sansar Samundey Taar Gobindey” – Please carry me across the world-ocean, O Lord of the Universe – Kirtan sung by Bhai Manpreet Singh.)

Man runs into many walls in the worldly nature of society. We are continuously stabbed and pinched by the jagged wrath of society judging, sneering, and gossiping our every move. The experiences of life and the way in which it substantially molds our perspectives strengthens the notion that life is not easy. There are many struggles and too many dead ends. When the road finally straightens and all seems serene, right then life surfaces and reminds man that nothing here is pure bliss. Beyond our control or liking, life continues to happen. Some may call this destiny, kismaat, or others may believe that our decisions lead us to our goals. Neither is known for certain, but one thing that remains unquestioned is that life is not a script written by us. We did not choose our birth nor our inevitable death; hence, we have control over very minimal attributes in life itself.

The life we have been given is a chance beyond that of impossible, so I call it a miracle. No two men are handed the same fate at birth. Some are born to families where loving parents honor parenthood, others are given a meager life of survival. Some are born to the riches of an empire of kings and queens, others are born in shanties of poverty and starvation. Some are born to the whims of prosperous times, others are born to die in the hands of tyranny, genocide, and evil. Some are always thinking of ways to help others, while others are always plotting the destruction of foes. Countless are given a healthy body that functions to do work, others are born vulnerable to handicaps and death. Countless are seeking God in caves, statues, books, and churches. Countless diminish the power of God and drown themselves in their own egos. However, throughout all of these infinite differences one component is universal and that is the pursuit of happiness. Every single soul on Earth seeks happiness, but the way to achieve it is perceived by each man separately. No two people on Earth share the same thinking, because each has unique experiences that have sculpted their minds. The perceptions begin setting in stone and begin crystallizing over the years. Whether the crystallization of ideals hardening into stone helps man or hinders him depends on the quality of life experienced and the thoughts materialized thereof.

“dukh daaru sukh roag paaya jaa sukh taam naa hoi” (Pain became the medicine, and happiness the illness).” In the Rehras Sahib, a Sikh prayer, the Guru warns that pain is a vital component in remembering God. Man begins to drown in his own fallacies if the pain and sorrow of living never existed. There would be no betterment of the spirit as the Earth would become the ultimate Heaven of bliss. Pain and suffering bring man to his knees, and he silently begins to surrender as he realizes that his place in the universal power of God is very small and minute. I never understood and I still have a hard time fully understanding how man can be so arrogant and egocentric when he is but an atom in the size of infinity. However, our existence has a purpose; no matter how small our effect on the universe. The life we lead day in and day out is lived for a reason, because our desire to keep on moving through even the worst proves that we are not ready for the final transition – the transition of death.

“Nanak dukhiya sabh sansaar (Guru Nanak, a man of such high spirituality and Godliness was not spared from pain and suffering and neither is the rest of the world).” Life keeps us on our toes. We somehow believe that our future is still in our own hands endowing ourselves with power and authority. However, what stops a car from ramming you on the highway on the way home? What stops a close member in your family from getting an illness that proves fatal? What stops the wildfire behind your home just a few feet away? It just happens faster than a blink of an eye – life. Some were lucky enough to question how they survived, others had no opportunity to ask as they were swiftly taken. Appreciate your transient senses in the present moment with all there is to be thankful for. Plan for the future and make proper precautions, but never forget that at the end of the day, life does not wait. No one is ever ready to battle the stringent winters and cold throws of despair. God becomes the hand, man so desperately seeks, for guidance across the massive ocean of mental and worldly gaps. We will never truly know everything or become perfect, so we merely surrender and pray for His mercy.

The Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, continually warns man not to leave the world behind to find happiness. A man will not find happiness away from the world in which he lives. Running to remote caves, islands, and other areas will not help man find peace and content. He should live a balanced and disciplined life with God always on his lips and mind. I had at one point decided that I would lead my own life, and leave the people around me far away. I somehow believed that I was more righteous than them. The whole time I forgot that everyone has the God of light within, and every positive thing I do for someone else I am doing for God. Positive energy reciprocates into a positive lifestyle that sheds all the vices that make us so cruel and human. Actions speak louder than words, and positive actions are the real visible products of a pure soul. I decided that each man and woman on Earth was going to be a family member. I will respect every soul, because hatred will only cause me to hate myself. I will grow infinitely as a person accepting and loving all. Words hurt a lot less, because I smile a lot more. Backstabbing still pinches nerves, but no longer leaves me on the floor with blood squirting out of my heart. Like a bullet proof vest of love, I ward off the negative energy of the world and continue walking down the universal path of God.

In a recent movie called, Into the Wild, a young man leaves his seemingly perfect life in the pursuit of freedom and happiness away from the people he grew up with. He gets into Harvard and on the surface he has a perfect family life. However, he has grown up through rough times. He drives his new car for hours into the desert until he runs out of gas. He then burns his car and his wallet, leaving his identity and life behind. He was sick of the world, and how it so fatally butchered happiness. There was more to life than materialistic fulfillment, because the void within is so much deeper. He runs in countless circles on his voyage to the wilderness of Alaska. When he finally makes it, he starts going through depression and aimlessness. Life just becomes primitive and alone. There is no one else just him and nature. One day he accidentally eats a poisonous herb and begins to slowly die as his stomach and digestive system stop functioning. Too far from civilization, he stays in his shelter. In his notebook in his final days he wrote, “There is no happiness alone, it only exists in the company of others.” The movie was based on a true story. Life is meant to share, explore, and sail through in the company of fellow men dealing with the same journey in different ways.

Attachment begins to recede as one embraces God and his will. Surrender breeds selflessness in His submission. The limited time I have with those I love is minimal. All too soon it will be over. The moments I share with those whom I love dearly become precious treasures in a temporary life. We are all simply guests waiting in a room questioning what is on the other side of the wall. A barrier of dimensions shall sprout when death finally comes, but it will be nothing to mourn but rather to rejoice. A life well lived is a life emerged in the light of the Lord, Waheguru. Uniting with the supreme power and energy is the last hopeful stage in the soul’s progressive journey into the infinite unknown.

Be happy this very moment. Breathe and remember how grand the gift of living is. Be thankful. Look into the sky and reflect on the stars billions of light years away, and whisper to them that this life is beautiful. Just as they radiate from the depths of darkness in space, radiate your own life in the midst of worldly coldness. Warm the cold air in which you live every moment of the day. The choice is simple, “Be the candle to guide yourself and others or be the darkness of despair?

Life is unfair in many ways to many souls. No matter how good one tries to become, the world is still a very cold and contentious place. People morph into duality carrying faces that beckon more than two different sides. Everyone is doing their best to deceive each other and get ahead. The cliche that the world is a dog eat dog place is no lie as it sums up society as we know it to be. No one waits to help someone up when they fall for that becomes their time to quickly run ahead. The falling man becomes vulnerable and desperately alone, but within this time of despair a thick coat begins to grow. Indifference and numbness begin to severe life as one becomes slowly a stone. Other people are blocked from coming into our lives, and alone we wither away. Every friend, acquaintance, and person becomes suspicious as the world grows wary in our eyes. Adaptation to the environment allows survival in primitive beings as well as in humans. Evolution of adapting to harsher environments ensures that only the strongest survive and flourish. The same is true for life as we must evolve into stronger beings in order to adapt to any situation or environment, because if we do not mold ourselves we slowly begin to die within.

This whole week has been a harsh downward spiral in my life as I have been deceived and betrayed. I felt alone at one point, and I could not resist those strong feelings. However, I have come out of this whole situation a much stronger person. Every single experience in life is a lesson learned. My goals are high, my expectations many, my aspirations infinite, my heart open, my mind growing, and my soul still intact. I have everything I need within to succeed. Life will surely continue to hurl many thorns and obstacles in my path. I will be challenged, stopped, and tried at every step of the way in all my endeavors; spiritual, academic, and personal. If life were easy, I guess it would not be worth all the struggle.

My family has been a strong and enduring pillar throughout my many trials and tribulations. My peers are also always there to cheer me up when I am down, but family has its own special place. Speaking to my parents is a great gift from God as I see them every night appear on my computer screen. My mother is a deep sea of comfort within my life, and she is always there to share a good laugh or sad moment. I can shed a tear and a smile with my mom during any time of the day. She is always there for me. Her eyes speak a million words and there is no need to say anymore. She reads me before I speak, and knows my insides when they sink. On the other hand, my father is the type of man that commands respect with his graceful and calm temperament. He listens with an open mind and lays out ways to reach my goals without being sidetracked by the insignificant attributes of life. His words propel me towards the finish line in order to pursue my goals. He has been through many rough challenges throughout his own life and he is constantly there to remind me that I can do it. Struggle is a right of passage in a successful life and my dad and mom are a true testament to that. I am uplifted every night I see them by my side although I am thousands of miles away.

My older sister also guides me as a mentor who has been through the many rigors I now endure. She recalls growing up and going through college and all the ups and downs it entailed. I confide with her my heart and soul. We may fight and degrade one another more than an Obama-Clinton debate, but she is always there for me through thick and thin. Her rhetoric is strong and her stance unwavering. Her strong morals have kept us on the right track. For living the relatively few years she has lived, she has seen a lot. She has always been the warrior creating paths through the rough although the easier alternative was always near. A source of continuing inspiration and motivation for me to be driven by passion and ethic. Never does she blink an eye when the time comes to drop her own life down to help another. A strong willed woman, I really look up to.

The other night I was able to talk to my aunt and cousin from Canada over Skype, and memories of my childhood came flooding back. My massi has a strong presence and always instills lessons within me that she has learned throughout her own life. I have the utmost respect for her intelligence and grace unto which she speaks such inspirational words. She is a soldier and always has been in life, and I see her in no other light than that of another mother of mine. I miss those good old days when I used to sit in their car after a party, and rant to my uncle and massi about my future goals in life. They could have said calm down kid, life is not as easy as you assume. However, my massi always told me not only that I could, but that I would. I would sit next to her on her waterbed for hours before she went to sleep talking away the minutes. She has always listened and been there to support me. She taught me that there are no limits. I have learned from her that life is not easy and it will most probably never be, but the most important thing is to be true to yourself. One of the strongest women I have ever known in my life without an ounce of doubt. I love my massi and I was so glad to see her a night ago. Distance disappeared as she appeared on my computer screen. I felt I was home.

My Nana, grandpa, is my best friend and almost like my highly respected elder brother. We talk for countless hours about the things that matter most in life. We can stroll together through the orchard while walking the dogs and allow silence to exist. There has never existed an awkward moment with my Nana. Over the years our bond has grown immense, and his constant encouragement and inspiring presence has uplifted me into a positive mindset hard to break. I have learned that age and time is a mere illusion, because every time I look into my Nana’s eyes I see a passionate young man speaking. The wrinkles all fade away and a best friend emerges only slightly older than me, but one who is a lot more wise. I love him so much and the gift of him being in my life is incomparable to any amount of money available in the world. He is priceless and the time I share with my Nana is the special time in life that is infinite.

I have truly been blessed by having so many great people to guide me in this life. It is nothing short of a miracle in itself. I have witnessed the world’s many colors and the dark tones of many fellow beings, and so I constantly remind myself that I have nothing to complain about, but instead only things to cherish.

Next time I tell myself that life is not fair, I will stop and think for a long moment or two. I will remember that I am breathing, and that my legs and arms still work. My mind is able of thinking logically and processing many complex tasks. I will remember all the great people God has blessed me with in this temporary life, and I will stop dead in my tracks. I cannot help but feel ashamed at that moment. I have been given too much in this life, and all I ask for now is happiness in everyone’s life because they have done so much to bring happiness in my own. I would never hesitate for even a slight moment to take all the sorrows of theirs and make them mine. I am indebted for all of eternity for all God and those I love have done for me. I have now forgot why I ever felt that life was unfair.


“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.”
— Dennis Wholey

Life is not fair; get used to it. Bill Gates

“Adapt or Die!”
– Andrew Grove (Founder of Intel)

“Life is tough. Life is tougher if you’re stupid.”
– John Wayne

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.
– Author: Don Wilder

Opportunity follows struggle. It follows effort. It follows hard work. It doesn’t come before.
– Author: Shelby Steele

Unfortunately this earth is not. . . a fairy-land, but a struggle for life, perfectly natural and therefore extremely harsh.
– Author: Martin Bormann

mks-ardas-ii1

Today I found a site which allowed me to legally download must every single audio recording of Sant Giani Maskeen Ji ever. I downloaded a little over two gigabytes of Maskeen Ji’s katha, and on my itunes it is calculated that I have about six days of continuous katha from Maskeen Ji. This site is a treasure of Sikh knowledge on the internet. Maskeen Ji was a jewel to the Sikh faith and his teachings and understanding of both the Sikh lifestyle and discipline are extremely deep. I have learned a lot by listening to Maskeen Ji who spoke fluent Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and Farsi. He was a devout and pious man, and I know that his soul is now at peace with God. I wish these lectures were translated into English for the younger Sikhs and those not originally from Punjab. The site where you can download the katha is, http://www.maskeensahib.com

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