by SS Siri Bandhu Kaur Khalsa, Ottawa, Canada
My childhood was spent roaming the smooth, rich, rounded ancient hills of Appalachia. I was the little girl with the big laugh. The mountains’ wealth of flora and fauna ranged from red and black raspberries (not blackberries, but black raspberries) to crawdaddies, wild lynx, snakes, birds and bears, all hidden behind a profuse population of trees.
I knew every forest flower by name and location. I loved the profusion of early summer Indian Pipes and the rare species of Lady Slippers dotting the forest floor. I would proudly show my discoveries, but never ever would disturb these precious plants.
There was a fat old Beagle who would compassionately listen to every word I had to say. There was a white boxer who would dig for fat juicy night crawlers. He would shake them in his mouth, toss them airborne, and catch them on the descent with one chomp.
“Ewww, Mommy, Skipper’s eating worms,” I would yell with childhood delight. There were cats, rabbits, chickens and several sheep, one of which followed me to school one day. The playground was agog with joy. Father would catch raccoons, groundhogs, and even a baby fawn with his bare hands to bring home to the delight of all of us.
Then it was on to junior high school and marching band. The senior high school marching band could march “8 to the 10 yard line.” Ornate marching shows were presented at the games. School was school. It was pumped full of the hopes and angst of youth.
The Promise of Light
How does this tale relate to “from darkness to light,” you ask? The sun rose late and set early from behind the mountains. Life was lived behind the silver grey Appalachian mountain mist and all of the dirty little secrets it hides.
The promise of deliverance arrived in the form of university and grad school. It was evident that higher education would be my salvation. The sun shone all day there away from the mountains. It was oxygen to be in the company of like-minded friends.
How does one define darkness? As a lack of light or the elusiveness of brightness when you know it is near? The darkness lurked even closer waiting to engulf me in a quagmire of boredom, negativity and unpleasant people.
Eventually, I worked as a geriatric social worker. The woman I replaced was Siri Neel Kaur Khalsa. My friends knew her and everyone at work knew her. Everyone knew Siri Neel, except me, and I knew Everyone!
I phoned her in late spring about a Kundalini Yoga class. She told me to call back in the fall as classes were late in the session. My abrupt reply was, “I don’t know where I will be in the fall, but I can assure you, it won’t be in your Kundalini Yoga class.” In her infinite wisdom, she had me attending her very next class, which was Nabhi Kriya! (Why waffle?)
I attended Summer Solstice in 1976 and a few months later entered the Toronto ashram. Within an hour of arrival, I was reading in the Akhand Paath. The Granthi asked me what I thought about the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. I replied, “It’s True.” Today I understand how rare it is to find the Truth for support.
The Siri Singh Sahib’s teachings have brought me to bow my head at the Lotus Feet of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. I live my life in service (seva) to inspire the highest in humanity and all beings. (We all need assistance at one time or another.) I have become the light and live therein.|
When I am aware of it all, it surprises me. I am grateful for my many gifts, which I love to share. These opportunities are presented in a myriad of forms: food, communication, teaching, example, prayer, consultation, commerc, and laughter.
When people ask, “How are you doing?” I reply, “The best I can with what I’ve got.”
About the Author
SS Siri Bandhu Kaur is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister from Ottowa, Ontario Canada. She joyously serves in the teaching, healing, and business fields. She and her husband SS Harimander Singh have married over 1,450 couples in their business “Weddings Your Way, A Perfect Wedding.” She lives in Gratitude to the Divine for a most blessed life.