Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi (also spelled Baisakhi) is the festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community known as the Khalsa. It is celebrated on April 14 each year. On Vaisakhi day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh summoned Sikhs from all over India to the city of Anandpur Sahib. At this gathering, the Guru called upon Sikhs to uphold their faith and preserve the Sikh religion. Guru Gobind Singh then lifted his sword and asked that anyone prepared to give his life for his faith to come forward. There was a big silence, but the Guru went on repeating his demand. One Sikh finally came forward and followed the Guru into a tent. Shortly after, the Guru reappeared alone with his sword covered in blood and asked for a second volunteer. Another Sikh stepped forward and again the Guru took him into the tent and reappeared alone with his sword covered with blood. This was repeated until five Sikhs had offered their heads for the Guru. Finally, the Guru emerged from the tent with all five men dressed piously in blue. Guru Gobind Singh called the five Sikhs the Panj Pyare, the Five Beloved Ones.

See:  http://www.sikhismguide.org/vaisakhi.shtml

The Victory Of Good Over Evil

Objective:
To read the reading of the Sikh story of Diwali and to think about how we can apply the principles in the story to our lives. The Sikh New Year occurs in April, but they too observe this popular festival of Diwali in ways very similar to Hindus. In Sikh homes, divas are lit, presents are exchanged and children enjoy fireworks and bonfires.

These festivities are used by Sikhs, however, not to remember the victory of Rama and Sita over evil, as is the case with Hindus: Sikhs use the festival to celebrate an important event in Sikh history, which actually happened at the time when Hindus were celebrating Diwali.

The Festival Story – GURU HARGOBIND
In the days of the fifth Guru Arjan, times were hard for Sikhs living in northern India. The Muslim emperor who ruled over India was called Jehangir; he arrested Arjan, who died while still the emperor’s prisoner. Arjan’s son, Hargobind, took over the leadership of the Sikhs in 1606. He established friendly relations with the emperor for a time since they both happened to be found hunting. It was not long, however before Hargobind was suspected of treachery because he had gathered an army together and constructed a fort in the city of Amritsar which later was to become the famous centre of Sikhism. Hargobind’s enemies told the emperor that the Guru was calling himself a king and was planning revenge for his father’s death. As a result, Guru Hargobind was imprisoned in a fortress at Gwalior.

At this time there were fifty-two Hindu princes being held in the same prison. They were badly treated and given little food because they had conspired against the emperor. Hargobind gladly shared with them whatever food he was given. Sikhs used to come to the prison every day. They were not allowed to see their leader so they simply stood outside the prison walls and prayed. This protest went on day after day and, each day, there seemed to be more and more Sikhs standing silently outside the fortress. Eventually, the emperor was told of this protest at the prison and he decided to investigate personally the charges against Hargobind. Finally he pronounced that the Guru was innocent and ordered his release: officers were sent to tell Hargobind that he could leave as a free man.
When the fifty-two princes heard the news, they were pleased for the Guru but felt rather sorry for themselves for there was no suggestion that they would be released and they would now be denied the extra food, to supplement their poor diet, which Hargobind had passed on to them.

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Becoming a Sikh Chaplain

If you can answer yes to the majority of questions, please contact us for further details of how you might be able to get involved as a Sikh Chaplain.

  • Are you aged between 18-75?
  • Are you sufficiently fit to meet the physical and emotional demands of hospital visiting and be able to satisfy occupational health screening?
  • Are you able to relate warmly and simply in a relaxed manner?
  • Do you have a good knowledge of the Sikh faith with habits of prayer and public worship. Are you able to speak confidently about your own faith?
  • Are you open minded and able to be non-judgemental?
  • Are you able to keep confidentiality and adhere to a code of conduct?

Birth of Khalsa

GURU Gobind Singh, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs founded the Khalsa (Servants of God) at the Vaisakhi gathering in 1699, at Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur, where he had arranged for followers to meet him at the Vasakhi Fair in Anandpur. On that day Guru Gobind singh asked for a man to step forward from the congregation, who was willing to die for his cause. One man Daya Singh stepped forward, and followed Guru into his tent. When Guru came out of the tent, his sword was stained with blood; and asked for another volunteer. One by one Dharam Singh, Himmat Singh, and Sahib Singh came forward. One after another they entered Guru’s tent, and the Guru emerged alone with his blood stained sword. The crowd was nervous, until five men then emerged from the tent, and were nominated as Panj Piares; or the five beloved ones.

The Guru put water in a bowl for sprinkling over the five in a simple initiation ceremony. He said prayers as he stirred the water with a short steel sword; symbolising the need for strength. The Guru’s wife, Mata Sundri, then came forward and placed some sugar crystals into the holy water or amrit as a reminder that strength must always be balanced by sweetness of temperament. After completing his prayers, the Guru then sprinkled the amrit over the five.

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How did it all begin?

In 1959, well-respected people now had come to England to earn a living which was very hard for them. First of all, they had to find a place to live, which was very difficult because as people saw the face of the person they were going to rent a room to, they turned them away.

Finally, they received a place to live. Then they decided to build a Gurdwara for the generation to come, as there was only one Gurdwara in the country at that time. They searched for land and finally received some in Southall on Oswald Road. Where they purchased the land (in 1969) there was a laundry, so a lot of hard work had to be put in to turn the old laundry building into a Gurdwara.

There was no one to pay the workers so everything was done voluntarily. The construction of Ramgarhia Sabha started in 1970. The workers worked hard voluntary on Sundays and after work and made the making of Ramgarhia Sabha their main priority.

After a while, Ramgarhia Sewak Jatha started in 1974 and the Ramgarhia Education and Music Academy.

An Old Rectory site was purchased in 1989-1990. Three acres of land was purchased for a £1 million. The Old Rectory was to be used for sports and educational development.

Ramgarhia Sabha appeared in the news, which proved a lot of progress had been made. Some of the articles are: Sikhs on target £1 million Sports Complex self-help Sikhs build new temple etc. …

In 1971 the building was completed, it had taken just one year for voluntary workers to complete this building in their spare time.

After the opening, the Gurdwara turned out to be small. Therefore several houses were purchased; one to extend the size of the Gurdwara, and one was and is lent to a family in need.

A house at the back of the Gurdwara is now used as a library. Ramgarhia Sabha then purchased a hall, in 1971, activities started at the hall in 1974. You could do, karate, table tennis, hockey, badminton and also have meetings for all etc.

The Role of Women in the Sikh Faith

Author: Barjinderpal Kaur Lall

The role of women in the Sikh faith is clearly defined by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the Guru Granth Sahib (reference p.473):-

  • “In a woman, a man is conceived,
  • From a woman, he is born,
  • With a woman he is betrothed and married,
  • With a woman he contracts friendship,
  • Why denounce her, the on from,
  • Whom ever kings are born,
  • From a woman, a woman is born,
  • None may exist without a woman.”

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Battle of Amritsar

The Battle of Amritsar took place between Guru Hargobind and the forces of the Mughal army and was fought on the 5 June 1628 (22 of Jeth, in Bikrami 1685). Jahangir had died in 1627 and his son Shah Jahan had become his successor. Adding to Shah Jahan's worries over the increasing influence and power of the Sikhs, those who harboured ill-will against the Sikhs renewed their conspiracies and incited him to turn against Guru Ji.

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Mool Mantar

Ik Onkaar
There is only one God.

Sat Naam
Truth is his name

Kartaa Purakh
He is the creator

Nirbhao
He is without fear

Nirvair
He is without hate

Akaal Moorat
He is timeless and without form

Ajoonee Saibhang
He is beyond birth and death, The enlightened one

Gur Parsaad
He can be known by the Guru’s grace

Jap
Embrace His meditation

Aad Sach.
He was present in the beginning

Jugaad Sach
He was present before the Yugas (ages) began.

Hai Bhee Sach
He Is present now

Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach. ||1||
(Guru) Nanak (Dev Ji) says that he shall certainly be present in the future.

Nishan Sahib

The Nishan Sahib is a Sikh holy flag made of cotton or silk cloth and is generally triangular in shape, with a tassel at its end. The word, Nishan means symbol, and the flag is hoisted on a tall flagpole, outside most Gurudwaras. The flagpole itself covered with fabric, ends with a two-edged dagger (khanda) on top. The emblem on the flag is known as Khanda, which depicts a double-edged sword called a khanda in the centre, a chakkar which is circular, and flanked by two single-edged swords, or kirpans.

Traditional symbol of the Khalsa Panth, the Nishan Sahib can be seen from far away, signifying the presence of Khalsa in the neighbourhood. It is taken down every Baisakhi, and replaced with a fresh flag, and the flagpole refurbished.

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