by SS Harsimrren Kaur Khalsa, Birmingham, United Kingdom
2022 (Second Quarter)
Bhai Khanayia Ji was one of those gentle souls who exist ‘behind the scenes’; but his actions would cause tidal waves in our collective psyche for generations to come. He was part of the sangat during Guru Tegh Bahadur’s time through Guru Gobind Singh’s time on earth. Bhai Khanayia Ji had something profound to share with us.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji was fighting to protect Anandpur Sahib. The supply chain into Punjab had been disrupted by the Moghuls in order to try and stifle the Sikhs. Food and water were running low. After battle, Bhai Khanayia Ji would give sustenance to wounded soldiers –both Sikhs and Moghuls. When he was brought in front of Guru Sahib to answer for his actions, he said, “I see You in every person. How can I deny them food and water?” It is the following shabad of Guru Arjan’s brought to life:
This to me is the epitome of what a Sikh is: One who lives on a path narrower than the edge of a sword. One whose identity is bound anatomically to that of the Guru but does not use that as a platform to differentiate between themselves and others who don’t look or act like them. We see beyond the mere physical, to the light of the being; because that is all we see – nothing else. As the Siri Singh Sahib said, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” No easy feat in this modern hyper-polarized world.
The past couple of years have been difficult, trying to raise a young family in the midst of Covid and the breakdown of our community. Rifts presented where love once stood. I’ve struggled with the departure of some dear friends from the Sikh path. These were friendships that were beyond familial; bonds within which I was hoping to raise my children. But it seems that is not what is meant to be.
We are so polarized in our views and it has broken our community apart. But don’t be fooled to think things ‘just happen.’ Nothing happens outside of the Divine’s will. “Hukmay ander sab ko, bahar hukum na koi.” Everything and everyone exists within the will of the Divine.
However I feel that there is still a gift to be found here on the macro level, like the much feared wildfire that enables new growth. One thing we know is that the future will not look like we once thought it would—that is our hubris. For this Dharma to grow and evolve into its destiny, we have to learn to accept and celebrate the differences between us. Some of our beloved brothers and sisters may look different now, as they choose to drop the outward appearance of a Sikh.
But… instead of cutting ties we need to double down and bind them again. They may look and feel different, but that’s okay. We are all Siblings of Destiny, no matter what path we take to get there. Bhai Khanaiya Ji saw God in all, even in the people trying to kill him. There’s a profound lesson for all of us in that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S.S. Harsimrren Kaur Khalsa was born into a devoted Sikh family that has been carrying the Guru’s torch for generations. From a young age she was steeped in Gurbani and seva, and mentored by her famous grandfather, Giani Mohinder Singh Khalsa of Malaysia. Through the blessings of Kundalini Yoga, Harsimrren Kaur has deepened her connection with the Guru and is inspired to share the householder/saint’s way with others. She is an accomplished tabla player and is currently learning vocals from Kirit Singh. Her prayer is that Gurbani continues to be recognized for its universality and is made more accessible to all people of all paths, as per Guru Nanak’s mission.
Sikh Art by Bhagat Singh Bedi – https://www.sikhiart.com