by SS Meher Kaur Khalsa, Phoenix AZ
Several months ago, I took out the folder of the letters the Siri Singh Sahib sent me over the years. I had not read them in a long time and was surprised to read in one of the letters that he had requested that I report to him on what was going on in the Phoenix community.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine the other evening and she reminded me that years ago the Siri Singh Sahib had designated her and me as the secretaries of the Phoenix ashram.
Fast forward a few decades, and I find myself, if not in that official capacity, very much someone who connects and communicates with different parts of the Phoenix sangat. As I think about building the community here, I consciously note how many people call on me for answers, connections, and suggestions regarding community affairs.
Back in the day, we could pick up the phone and call or write to the Siri Singh Sahib, and we would get a solid directive. Now we have to do it for ourselves. When the Secretary of Religion honored me by requesting that I become the Regional Minister Coordinator (RMC) for Arizona, I felt unequal to the position. But now I see that connection, coordination, and uplifting circumstances are how I naturally view whatever situation I encounter.
This year, I am focusing on helping people in our community put their affairs in order, or at least increase the awareness of the need to do so. I organized a successful Ministers’ meeting along with a Sikh Dharma Minister who works as a chaplain in a nearby hospital. A dynamic discussion occurred at that meeting, and I am planning a follow-up to continue to bring the information to our community-at-large, with the help of our Ministers.
A Vehicle for Community
Almost 24 years ago, my husband and I started our Friday night tradition of chanting to Guru Ram Das for 31 minutes at our home. Over the years, it has served as a great vehicle for community connectedness and cohesiveness.
For many years I have had the responsibility of counting the donation money after Sunday Gurdwara. I invite various members of our Gurdwara community to join me in this seva. It is uplifting to have very young children come to help, and watch them weekly as they grow. The money-counting group has a very cozy energy. Those who help not only improve their English; they also make connections with people they might never have had the opportunity to know.
A group of us women get together every few weeks for mutual support, as well as to plan Equinox and other events for the community. This gives me the opportunity to hear about things that are happening as well as help with things that need to happen.
The inspiration for my dedication to building community is encapsulated by the Siri Singh Sahib in a lecture on September 15, 1978: “We started a way of life where we will give people not only the hope but the discipline, not for the discipline but the technology, not for the technology but experience, not for the experience but we will live as a family. There’s nothing more precious than that.”
About the Author
SS Meher Kaur Khalsa became a student of the Siri Singh Sahib in 1973 and took her Sikh Dharma Minister vows in 1978. She serves as Regional Minister Coordinator for Arizona and has been a part of the ashram communities of Ottawa, Toronto, New Haven, and Phoenix. She and her husband Soul Singh have hosted Guru Ram Das chanting in their home every Friday night for 24 years. Meher Kaur is a Certified Veterinary Technician, working with animal shelters and blessing animals at various events. She also serves as a staff member at the 3HO Summer Solstice celebration in New Mexico.