I was born in UK, and have one elder brother. He always had kesh, and i was a
mona. My father in 1987 kept his kesh, and a year later both my mother, who now
started wearing a keski, and father both took amrit. Both have always kept good
amrit velas, and it changed the atmosphere in the home. They were always ideal
role models for us.
When I was 11, I wanted to keep my kesh, but with no sangat of my age, I found
it difficult. As I grew up, all my friends were into drinking, later smoking
and spliff. None of this attracted me, and I only drank infrequently, and only
small amounts. We used to go to gigs alot, but always there were fights, between
us and other groups of punjabis, or muslims. I was about 16 then. The last straw
for me was when at one gig. I saw a lad, who I did not know, got jumped and
beaten severely. All of his mates ran away. I felt sorry for him, so I hauled
off the boys who were beating him up. His head was cut, and the bouncers put
him out. He was lying there on the floor. I said to him I will take him to
hospital, but he would not have it. So I took him home. All my mates said
leave him, he is not our concern. But I took him by myself. After dropping him
off, I went home on the tube. I looked down at my clothes, they were covered in
his blood. I just thought, what is this rubbish, and what am I doing in these
crowds. I never went to a gig again.
A few months later, my father took me to my first youth programme in watford hall.
Shivcharan Singh was doing a talk, which was good. Then a young lad came up to
me and gave me a leaflet for Khalsa camp 1992. He was a mona, just like me, and
he said come, it will be a laugh. So I signed up. The khalsa camp was excellent,
it was the first time I had met young sikhs. I met people from my town like Onkar
and Hardip there for the first time. During the camp, on one day, during the
lectures, a message came thorough. Apparently a really famous Singh in India had
just become Shaheed. The Singh doing the lecture, who was in full bana, almost
came to tears. The whole room went quiet. I did not have a clue what was going
on. Then one singh said there will a rainsbhai tonight in memory. I did not
know what a rainsbhai was, but the guy next to me told me it was his first aswell,
and they are meant to be really good. The rainsbhai was fanatastic, we got there
at 9, and the next thing I knew it was 6 in the morning. It was my first experince
of keertan, and I got addicted. For the first time, I had felt such inner glow.
After the camp, I went back to my friends. I never thought about keeping kesh,
it just automatically happened. I just never shaved again. All my friends tried
to stop me from keeping kesh. They would spend hours talking to me, telling me,
I had everything they wanted. I had the clothes, the car, and all the girls
they wanted were friendly with me. But I said, it always never meant anything
to me. The girls would say to me, its just a phase, we will get you back.
None of them understood. That lifestyle is not what makes me happy inside.
At weekends instead of going out with them, I was now going to keertan programmes
wherever I could.
After I had not been out with them a few weeks, they all started on me. Plus
I was now wearing a small dastaar. They said I have to go out with them that
weekend. After much pressure, I agreed. We went out, a large number of us.
Tradition was after a night out, everyone went to this shop where they did c
hicken kebabs. We had done this for years. Sitting there surrounded by all my
friends, watching them each chicken, for the first time, I felt a deep pain
inside. The kind of pain, when you know something is wrong, or someone in
front of you is swearing or doing ninda. "So I said to all of them, I think
I will leave. I do not wish to spoil your pleasure, but I cannot sit and
watch you eat meat. It hurts me. " That was the last time, I ever went out
with them. All of us are close even till today. We all went to the same uni,
They wanted me to stay with them in their house. But I never wanted to impose
my rules on them, so I commuted instead. We all had an understanding. They
knew, whenever I was around, they could not smoke, drink, eat meat, swear,
talk about girls or boys in wrong way, or do ninda.They knew I never said
anything, I would just walk away, but they did it just to make me stick around.
I never left my friends, I just changed the way we interacted with each other.
They knew never to ask me to go anywhere against Gursikhi.
I now came across Bhai sahib jis autobiography. I always used to read, it was a
passion of mine. I read alot of books on sikhi. But this was revelation for me.
I had never realised that this level of thinking, and calibre of Gursikh ever
existed. It pushed my own perception of sikhi higher ten fold. Bhai sahib's life
brought home to me how imortant a jeevan actually is, and not just ritualistically
going to gurdwaras. Never had my mind contemplated going into sikhi so deeply
I spent most of my time in sangat. In Uk, we have a youth scene, but I always
found them hard to understand. I saw the same thing in them that I saw in elders
generally. They all talked about not doing it, politics, backstabbing,
powertrips, but did it anyway. Plus I was not into sikhi for that, just into
it for keertan, my mun, sangat, and Panth. I saw many youth coming into sikhi
going from pillar to post. One day in jatha, the next with a sant, the next
with taksal, the next with feds, etc. I thought this was like in gurbani,
what we say "patak the". Searching and going everywhere, yet obsessed by
staying neutral. They all say we do not get into politics, we are neutral.
I personally thought these neutral pople are more into politics that anyone
else, otherwise how do they know what is neutral and what is not.
I personally felt very lucky, that Maharaj gave me a path where I avoided
all politics, double-mindedness, controversies, groups, etc. Guru Maharaj
himself took me from day one to the source of Gurmat, Shabad guru, keertan
and path. Never have I ever felt the need for anything else. I am truely
content with bani. No sants, youth leaders, keertanis, jathedars, have ever
attracted me, neither have I ever ran after anyone. Bani is my Guru, and
all I ever needed.
One day, a friend said to me, there is a amrit Sanchaar in Slough. Are you
not going to take amrit. I had never even considered it, but after much
thought, and reading Amrit ki Hai, by Bhai sahib, I thought now is the time.
So I got prepared. On my interview first, the Panj asked me alot of questions
to see if I was ready. Alot of youth at uni age were doing wrong things,
and they wanted to be sure that i was strong in Gurmat. The Panj set me a
condition, the once I got Naam, I would got to a Gursikhs house who lived
near me everday for 3 months and do Amrit vela with him. I agreed.
Outside the Amrit Sanchaar, Bhai Rama Singh ji came and sat with me. he
smiled and said he was happy I was taking amrit. He was getting pesh,
because he had just had his heart transplant. He spent alot of talking to
me about Amrit, priceless thougths, and then said, the more bhagtee we do
now, the more impact amrit will have on us. We sat there doing moolmantar.
After many hours we were called in for amrit. bhai sahib said to me, when the
Panj Pyare prepared amrit concentrate on the bowl, while listening to the bani.
Do not move your eyes from it. So I did. It was very hypnotic. Amrit was a very
powerful emotion for me. Things happen that I cannot describe, twice I fell
unconscious. Such was the strong energy inside, but the complete peace in my
mind. I felt sad, when I hear of youth, who tell me they went and took amrit
from sants, and felt nothing. They did not know Gurmantar, and did not value
Amrit. I felt so fortunate that maharaj gave me everything, I never had to
search for it.
The condition of the Panj was excellent. For 3 months or more, I did amrit vela
with this Gursikh. He took me to spirtual highs I can never describe. Some days
I felt lazy,and he would phone, encouraging me to come as soon as possible.
It was only then after this period of abyass after amrit, that I realised how
amazing Naam and how powerful it is.
The youth around me used to tell me amazing stories about sikhs they had met.
I had never met anyone. So one night I did ardas, Maharaj let me have darshan
of all your choosen sikhs. Not to follow, because bani was everything, just
out of interest. I had already met Bhai Rama Singh, a most amazing soul. Within
weeks, i met bhai Jeevan Singh, Giani Nahar Singh, Bhai Raghbir Singh. I went
to Canada, and met so many amazing souls, and also to India, in particular
Delhi Smagam. The magnetism of naam in India is just profound. There are
so many special jeevans in the Panth, it is just a shame, we spend most of
lives with our eyes closed, and not realise their existence.
For many years, everything was perfect. I was surrounded by sangat, keertan,
and Naam. Eventhough we were always involved in panth, politics never affected me,
because of this shield of naam. Praise was everywhere, and I felt invincible.
Not out of haumai or pride, just because I always felt Guru jis hand on my head.
Then suddenly, something happened which changed everything. I did not feel I
had done anything wrong, just the circumstances and environment Guru i put me
in, had changed. At first I felt deep depression, because I had never been
away from sangat. But then I realised, this was just another test, a very hard
one, something to overcome. Guru maharaj had showed me sikhi in a certain way,
now i was been shown it in another. I realised how unimportant I am, and never
to expect anything from anyone. Guru Tegh Bahadhur Ji bani said so much to
me about what I was gong through. Bani was the only thing I had ever felt
faith in, and it was always there for me. Maharaj walked me through that time.
I learned more about Gurmat, my inner self, my failings through this than
anything else. Now in hindsight, I am glad I went througth that. It made my
faith so much stronger. It took me nearer to what I wish to achieve and
become. Maharaj is so amazing, one can do nothing but submit in front of him.
Two years ago, I met a friend, a muslim who converted to fundamental islam,
when I got into sikhi. He said he was surpirised I was still into sikhi.
I said why, and asked why he was not into islam anymore. He said "I went
into Islam, because it was cause for me. Chechnya, Palestine, etc. Muslims
being killed everywhere. After time it faded. The prayers are good but it
faded." I replied "we have causes in sikhi aswell. But sikhi was never a
cause for me. It is a lifestyle. Sikhi is about becoming a better person.
That is something that will take all of my lifetime to do. I am in it for
life. One can never stop being a better person".