by SS Sarb Nam Kaur Khalsa, Espanola NM
Our teacher said, “So, it is a privileged day today, it’s the sixth, we celebrate every sixth, the day of the Akal Takhat, and it’s a day of the dish and wish and it’s a promise by the Guru. It dawned on me and that is what Guru Ram Das said, on this day, the saddest day, celebrate. I said, ‘How?’ Guru Ram Das said, ‘Let anybody prepare with love a dish, bring it with a wish and I shall grant it,’: and it has become our regular feature, it has become our regular fact. Today, we don’t only bring money, we bring Ras, we bring Roras, we bring something on which we survive, we bring the choicest thing, our life.”—Siri Singh Sahib, March 6, 1993
Ever since the attack on the Akal Takhat on June 6, 1984, sangats in many parts of the world have commemorated the sixth day of each month with a special Gurdwara. The Siri Singh Sahib requested that this be a day of remembrance for the martydom of the holy throne of the Sikhs and for all those whose lives were lost or altered in the aftermath of that attack. He also asked for it to be a day of prayer and gave us the gift of “Wish and Dish” to share our personal wishes through feeding the sangat.
“…please understand, once for all, we’ll continue celebrating the day on every sixth of the month, wherever we are, in memory of deed, what they did to the Akal Takht and we shall not rest and we will do our best, all the time, to come to an understanding that we will bring the time, when Akal Takht shall never be attacked again. We shall walk under the sound of the hooves of our horses, the trumpet will sound and the drums of victory will be heard.”—Siri Singh Sahib, April 6, 1992
Gathering and Remembrance
The 6th of the month Gurdwaras held every month in Espanola provides a cozy, family space for gathering and remembering. We hold our gurdwaras in the evening after Rehiras Sahib is recited. I look forward to these gurdwaras with a different feeling than our regular Sunday Gurdwara.
I try to arrive early, to feel the vibration of calmness and peace inside the gurdwara. Then, a few Sikhs gather and we begin the Prakash ceremony, carrying out the Guru and reciting the five shabds of Guru Ram Das. Then we take the hukam.
I often do chauri (wave the hair brush) over the Guru and then enjoy sitting behind the Guru. Something shifts in me as I sit there…I am no longer “me” but all the disciples who have attended on the Guru. We are holding a space in the court of the Holy Nam. I watch as the people come in, after their long day’s work.
“It is a day of the Akal Takhat. There is certain information which I would like to share with you. And I hope you bear in mind, you carry on the tradition with me and you carry on the tradition without me. That is the Khalsa way. We are left with no choice. ‘One man turned us to lions.’ We have no choice but to live as the Khalsa of the Guru, or we can die as the Khalsa of the Guru. We can’t go back and become what we were. I’m not saying many have not. Because there is always going to be a fight between destiny and fate. So long as man will have the strength of his soul, he shall walk the path of destiny. The day destiny shall betray him, fate will take its toll. And then there’s no return. That’s how it is happening, will happen or was happening in the past. There’s no way out.”
(Excerpt from a lecture by Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, Beads of Truth 19 Vol. II)
I feel the peace and presence of the Siri Singh Sahib Ji. I meditate on the beautiful image of the Adi Shakti and the mural of the Gurus and the Holy Mother in the back of the Gurdwara. People present themselves and their “wish dish” to the Guru.
We are blessed in Espanola with SS Shanti Kaur Khalsa, who is our Sikh Dharma historian. She tells beautiful, uplifting stories about the Gurus…special stories for the gurpurbs and about the Akal Takhat. We listen to the Siri Singh Sahib’s recorded Gurdwara lectures from past 6th of the month events. It is a special time.
I asked our granthi, MSS Hari Dharam Kaur, what she enjoyed about these Gurdwaras. She noted that these are very cozy times and that she often encourages people who don’t usually participate in the various aspects of gurdwara to read the hukam (in English) or serve prasad.
Many people come with their families and children…we sit together and chant and then we pray. We listen to Guru’s Word. We sit down to eat together, enjoying the beautiful dishes prepared with love that day by each person who took time to remember the gift and the sacrifice. I hope we get to keep meeting every month like this…for many years to come.
About the Author
SS Sarb Nam Kaur Khalsa serves as the Executive Assistant to the Office of the Secretary of Religion. She is the Sikh Dharma Ministry website developer and Ministry newsletter editor. She took her Minister vows in 2004 and has been on the Sikh path since meeting the Siri Singh Sahib in 1981. She lives with her husband, Aradhana Singh Khalsa, and son, Fateh Singh Khalsa, in Espanola, NM. She is a member of the International Khalsa Council and serves as the Recording Secretary.