by SS Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa, Raasiku, Estonia
2023 (First Quarter)
Life has presented many challenging times in the past three years. We know that hard times follow periods of peace and prosperity, just as there is winter every year, followed by another cycle of summer. Some winters are harder than others—there is no way to predict or to judge. But we can take hard times as a blessing for us to learn how to grow. It is in the darkest times that we can grow the most, reshaping ourselves and realigning with our core values.
Our traditional songs—those written in the early days by Gurudass Singh, Livtar Singh, the Khalsa String Band, Mata Mandir Singh, Singh Kaur, etc.—have been a real source of inspiration for me throughout dark periods in my life. Not only did these musicians channel and crystallize the essence of our path and teachings, but they did it in a loving and inspirational way that continues to touch the hearts of many, regardless of whether or not they belong to our Panth.
We know as a fact that Sound is the ultimate teacher. From Sound comes life and all existence in this Universe. Sound is our Guru and Sound is the way to transform ourselves in daily life. Without the constant Simran of the Naam, we lose the light in the labyrinth. In uttering Waheguru, every breath is an opportunity to reconnect to the essence of Sound, drop our limitations and doubts, and give it all to God. Through personal experience, most of us have known that there is no more powerful tool for creating our reality than our sacred Sounds. Yet the mind can forget we have these tools—no need to feel guilt or shame for that—but we can always rise again and access through our cellular memory the beautiful states of bliss we had once experienced. Sound immediately takes us there.
Every time I listen to “Flowers in the Rain” by Gurudass Singh, I am taken back to the early days of my practice, when these songs were the core and essence of our Sangat—when we were growing, full of hope despite an unknown future, with all of its uncertainty. Little did we know we would be in this position as we are in 2023! Yet the pattern of contraction and expansion is evident throughout the history of civilizations and of the earth. We lose our focus so we can regain it again. Sometimes it is through someone reminding us of what we already knew but had forgotten. Sometimes it is rediscovering our connection to our Guru. Sometimes this may require even more effort, especially when practice becomes so habitual that it loses meaning.
In Buddhist tradition there is a concept called Beginner’s Mind, in which you observe all your actions through the lens of being a beginner. You can apply this as a rediscovery in every single part of your daily routine. The next time you are in a Gurdwara, remember how it was when you entered for the very first time—how you fell in love with the Guru. Recall how magical its sound was when you first heard it. Rediscover what it feels like to bow, to say immensely powerful words like “Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!”… so you can reevaluate the meaning of it all for yourself.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, including—and most remarkably—in the hardest of times. That’s when we can find the treasure of crossing the “terrible ocean” of life. Joy comes from the sweat on our forehead and from doing the hard work. To remember love when it is impossible to love, and to find our passion for life and to serve…after having lost it.
One of the lines that most inspires me to remember and reestablish why I am on this path is the Dohra of the Benti Chaupai:
ਸਗਲ ਦੁਆਰ ਕਉ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਗਹਯੋ ਤੁਹਾਰੋ ਦੁਆਰ ॥
ਬਾਂਹਿ ਗਹੇ ਕੀ ਲਾਜ ਅਸਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਦਾਸ ਤੁਹਾਰ ॥੮੬੪॥
O Lord! I have forsaken all other doors and have caught hold of only Thy door.
O Lord! Thou has caught hold of my arm.
I, Govind, am Thy serf. Kindly take care of me and protect my honour. (864)
In service of the Divine in all,
SS Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SS Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa is a pioneer in the Baltics since 2004, when she was sent there by the Siri Singh Sahib to share the Teachings. Since then she has done extensive work on building up the community, running different yoga centers in Tallinn and building and running the Guru Ram Das Ashram in Estonia.
As an architect and urbanist, Sukhdev Kaur often finds a way to see effective and strategic planning in space but also in life. She dedicates most of her time to the Teachings, in the form of Kundalini Yoga trainings as well as the teachings of Sikh Dharma in different settings and contexts. As an active member of the SDEI board, Sukhdev Kaur also applies her passion and skills to bringing the teachings to the younger generations and rebuilding our inspiring and dynamic Miri Piri Academy.
DHARAMSAAL- School of Kundalini Yoga and Humanology in Estonia
RAJAMAA – Guru Ram Das Institute & Ashram in Estonia