Every faith has been given by the Creator as a gift to humanity. This year we celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the birth of the Khalsa, and we are being asked to reflect upon the Khalsa spirit and its significance as it takes its place in the world psyche, and on the world stage.
If I were asked “What is a Khalsa?” I would have to say, “A Khalsa is a friend of every soul.” This is the reality, the identity of a Khalsa. A Khalsa vibrates the purity within himself or herself so genuinely that he or she inspires the purity in others, and lives to steadfastly recognize and stand for the purity and noble spirit in all.
The first Guru, Guru Nanak, presented the message of the Oneness of all creation under God, imploring humanity to recognize that “If you don’t see God in all, you don’t see God at all.” Each of the ten Gurus expanded this message into a deliverable reality. This was the reality of Guru Ram Das, the fourth Guru, when he disguised himself to go into the town and wash the feet of the poor who were coming to bow to him.
When Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru, sacrificed his life for the right of the Hindu people to worship freely, he didn’t say , “Well, sorry, I only sacrifice my life for Sikhs.” No, he did it for those whose freedom to worship was being threatened.
When Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth and last in the line of Sikh Gurus in human form, came on the scene, it was a time when it was obvious that living a life of service was not very convenient. He challenged the Sikhs, giving them a concrete discipline, a lifestyle, a technology to follow to maintain nobility and grace in the face of it all. He gave the message that you need to be strong as steel to keep a heart of gold. He taught that we need a way to maintain that commitment to moral values; the intention is not enough. We need concrete ways to stay connected to the Infinite, to the sacred, to that flow of the life force within us, so that when it is not convenient to serve, we can still answer the call. He gave us a way to deliver commitment.
In this way, the revelation of the Sikh experience was completed and given to the world, and the Khalsa was born. The Sikh experience can be expressed in the four aspects of living a life of faith: bani, bana, simran, and seva.
How do I stay connected to my soul? I do this by creating a living, dynamic relationship with the Word of God and Guru, embodied in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Shabad Guru, which was elevated from a “scripture” to the Guru for all time. This is bani.
What is my identity? As a human on this earth, how do I maintain my identity as a spiritual being, and not get stuck? Do I represent myself as a noble son or daughter of God and Guru? I do this with bana.
Simran is personal meditation, and recitation of mantra. How do I nurture that ecstasy very personally, so that I can experience the sweetness of God’s realm, and not want to give up, or not be able to respond when the call comes?
Seva, which means selfless service, gives it all meaning. How do I express that ecstasy and respond to others, with a social conscience, and answer the call? Answer the call, even when it is difficult to do so. It calls forth grace, and it asks God to come through. Vibrate with, and defend,the purity, dignity, and grace of all people.
The Khalsa spirit lives in all – the Sikhs do not own a monopoly over it. And at this time in history, when there is inner pain and emptiness gripping so many hearts, all people who love God are being called upon to expand themselves, and ignite the light of every soul, for it is in serving each other that we serve God. How lovely to support each person to be the best that they can be, and truly become friends of every soul. Let the Khalsa lead the way.
S.S. Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa
Vancouver BC, Canada