2019 Winter Solstice Minister Gathering Report
by SS Pritpal Singh Khalsa, 2019 Winter Solstice Ministers’ Gathering Facilitator
The sun was shining and the tropical warmth of Central Florida created a welcoming atmosphere at the 2019 Sikh Dharma Ministers’ Gathering at Winter Solstice.
We started out talking about what it means to stand under each other and about how it takes compassion, patience, and acceptance. We used the example of Guru Ram Das as the ideal manifestation of these qualities. Reviewing the details of the life of Guru Ram Das helped to remind us of his path to becoming this ideal example. To invoke the presence of Guru Ram Das, we practiced the meditation called, “Removing Fear of the Future” which uses the shabd Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur.
Minister Addresses Legal Conference in India
Report by SS Hari Nam Singh Khalsa, Mazatlan Mexico
On February 1, 2020, I had the honor and privilege of addressing an international law conference hosted by the Bar Association of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in honor of the 550th Birthday of Guru Nanak Ji. There were approximately 2,000 judges, attorneys and law students in attendance from all over India, in fact, from all over the world.
For my part, I spoke on various topics: 1) my lengthy experience as an attorney while maintaining my appearance and values as an Amritdhari Sikh; 2) the importance of representing our faith and profession with honor and excellence; 3) the role of social activists we take on as attorneys and judges, especially in regard to our relationship to the teachings of Guru Nanak, and 4) the particular issues of inequality and injustice that we are faced with in the world today.
I felt that my words were extremely well received, especially by the law students who are about to enter this most honorable profession. This was no surprise, as my comments were largely addressed to this segment of the audience.
Many spoke to me following the conference, expressing much appreciation and solidarity with the sentiments I shared. They promised me that they would maintain their high ideals even when pressured to abandon them for personal interest.
There was one aspect of the conference that was very noticeable to me and has stuck with me ever since its conclusion. Of all the speakers and dignitaries on the stage, I was the only one wearing my articles of faith, and to be honest, the only one who unabashedly showed himself to be a person of strong religious orientation and affiliation.
Everyone obviously made mention of the teachings of Guru Nanak, especially in regards to his teachings on social activism, but mostly in academic, historical and philosophical terms.
Actually, this was to be a preview of scenes to come, as I become cognizant of how fewer and fewer men are wearing turbans and maintaining their uncut hair these days in the Punjab. This is especially true among the younger generation, who now appear to be increasingly looking to the West for their values. But then again, as I was being driven to the airport on the day of departure, my twenty-something driver assured me that the young are starting to come back to the faith, now finding disillusionment with the false promise of alcohol and tobacco.
I left Chandigarh with a conviction that those of us who came to Sikhism through the influence of the Siri Singh Sahib will play a major role in reigniting the faith in its birthplace. All in all, this short trip to India proved to be quite an exciting and enlightening experience for me.