by SS Sat Jagat Singh Khalsa, Brooklyn NY
I have had two unique experiences while serving at the Golden Temple that have helped me to excel with the Guru.
First, I took a rag and started polishing the walls in the stairways inside Harimandir Sahib. I thought I was doing a really good job; my rag got very dirty and I was very proud of myself. I thought, “nobody has ever done a better job on this than I!”
I dipped my dirty rag in the sarovar to rinse it. A sevadar with a spear came and yelled at me; he showed me that there was an urn for rinsing the rags and said that the sarovar must not be contaminated with dirty water. That blow to my ego was lesson number one.
Lesson number two: One night I was on the parkarma of the Golden Temple near the Akal Takhat. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib was about to be taken from the Harimandir Sahib to the Akal Takhat. Ram horns were blown, and a huge crowd gathered. It happens every night, but I had never witnessed it before. A crush of people rushed to touch the Guru. A mob of men pushed in for a turn to carry the palki sahib on their shoulders for a few seconds.
I watched with amazement and some judgmental condescension. I loved my Guru, but I didn’t need to touch my Guru. I was thinking that my Guru is in my heart and these people are nuts and it’s dangerous and crazy to be part of this mob. Indians are way too emotional.
Just as I was having these thoughts, some guy grabbed my arm and pulled me through the crowd to the palki and put me in position so the Guru’s palki was on my shoulders next. With the Guru on my shoulders, I lit up with energy. My body tingled. My whole being was smiling. This experience lasted only a few seconds, but its impact has stayed with me ever since. I laughed for a long time and I smile as I write this. It remains a touchstone for my motivation.
I may think I am kind. I may think I am compassionate. I may think I serve. I make a big mistake if I do all this with judgment and a superior attitude. Remembering the moment of my Guru on my shoulders and how my Guru took away my bad attitude and knocked down my ego serves as my touchstone for true kindness, compassion, and service.
Our mission as Sikh Dharma Ministers is to serve the Guru’s mission. We bow our heads and dedicate our service to the Guru so that our work becomes part of the Divine flow. Each of us puts a unique and beautiful face on our service, out of love for our Guru.
Bowing to the Guru, placing myself under the Guru, gives me the incredible joy of having the Guru’s genuine kindness flow through me. So, I am grateful for any excellence I may have. It belongs to the Guru.
About the Author
SS Sat Jagat Singh is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. He shares, “I am grateful to be a Minister of Sikh Dharma, and do my best to build community as a member and secretary of the 3HO Board of Directors. I love my seva of leading the kitchen missal at Summer and Winter Solstices. I attend Khalsa Council to support the sangat. Through the Hari Simran Foundation, I am working to give young people more opportunities for seva and leadership. My wife SS GuruSurya Kaur and I have a yoga studio in our home, where we host a monthly Gurdwara program and Sunday morning Sadhana and Gurdwara. The Guru makes this all possible through GRD Construction, Inc. We work with our clients to create beautiful homes and apartments.”