by SS Guru Simran Kaur Khalsa, Espanola NM
“Standing Under Those We Serve” perfectly captures the true spirit of all our Gurus as well as Siri Singh Sahib’s teaching, “If we can’t see God in all, then we can’t see God at all.”
The literal meaning of Dharma is “a righteous way of life.” To me, the beauty of our Dharmic lifestyle is that it is really practical on a day-to-day basis, not just a philosophical concept. Our Gurus have shown us by their actions, how to practice the Dharma of a Gursikh. This causes me to ask myself, How can I practice that?
Take the example of Bhai Kanhaiya. In the time of Guru Gobind Singh, there were many battles the Sikhs had to fight, as the Emperor had set a price on the head of every Sikh. Literally. People were offered gold coins for bringing in the head of a Sikh. That was a lot of money in those days and most people were very, very poor.
The Emperor sent entire regiments of his soldiers out to find and kill every Sikh. On the battlefields, many lay dying on the ground—Sikhs as well as Muslim soldiers. And here comes Bhai Kanhaiya, bringing water to all who were dying. The Sikhs were upset to see this and complained to Guru Gobind Singh that Bhai Kanhaiya was supporting the enemy as well as the Sikhs.
Guru Gobind Singh called Bhai Kanhaiya in and questioned him about his actions. Bhai Kanhaiya said to the Guru: “You told us to see God in All. That is what I am doing. I see God in all of them who are dying on the battlefield. I don’t see a difference.” Guru Gobind Singh was very pleased that Bhai Kanhaiya truly understood his teachings.
Serving Every Day
So the question is, “How do I, a simple person living in a small place like Espanola, New Mexico, bring this consciousness into my daily life, at least in a small way?”
I started volunteering with the American Red Cross in 2010. When a stranger, a family, loses their home in a fire and I get called, I go to help them with some Red Cross support.
It doesn’t matter who they are. It doesn’t matter if they are legally here or not. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor they are, nor does their religion or sexual orientation matter, nor does it matter whose “fault” the fire is.
A colleague and I go to supply them with a few essentials like a toothbrush, soap, comb, etc., sometimes a blanket; and then some funds to purchase the basic essentials, like socks, underwear, food, etc. And if they have nowhere to go, also some funds for a place to sleep for just a few nights. Nothing fancy, but at least they have a place to be while figuring out where to go from then on.
Of course, this is nothing compared to what Bhai Khanaiya did. Those dying on the battlefield were not just strangers, but the actual enemy. But serving with the Red Cross is a step I can take in my daily life as a Sikh of the Guru, by trying to see God in all. We don’t promote any religion or world view. We just stand under those in need to help them get back on their feet. This to me is the consciousness of “Standing Under Those We Serve.”
About the Author
SS Guru Simran Kaur Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. She trained as a Red Cross local responder and has been serving with the Red Cross as a volunteer since 2010 and is currently serving as the supervisor for the Rio Arriba County American Red Cross. As a Minister, she began the Food for Kids program in Espanola as part of her participation in the Journey into the Heart of Sikh Dharma course. The Espanola sangat helps to provide weekly food bags to elementary school children. Guru Simran Kaur has served as the custodian of the Siri Singh Sahib’s Ranch in Espanola for many years. She is also a volunteer with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters and is on the board of the Rio Arriba Adult Literacy Program.