Thursday, March 23, 2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib.....
My dad who lives in New Delhi, used to tell me when I was in my teens that when he was a teenager, the buses used to pass right in front of the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, where there are stairs now to enter the Gurdwara and it was a road where there is scooter parking lot now. I think it must have been late 50’s early 60’s he must be talking about. All my life when I was in India, I used to visit Gurdwara Bangla Sahib very frequently (in the 90’s) until in 1998 when I moved to Canada.
Over the period of time, the Gurdwara management has to keep up with the remodeling and restructuring of the compound to accommodate the vast number of people visiting the Gurdwara. In that event they utilized the land surrounding the gurdwara to build new structures, bought the school adjacent to the Gurdwara to expand the Darbar Hall. When I last visited in 2003, there was a multi level underground parking being built in front of the Gurdwara. It is good that the Gurdwara management is keeping pace with the changing time and taking action to get ready for the future. Of course, the number of people visiting in 50’s and 60’s has increased many folds in the present time.
According to my Dad, in 50’s and 60’s it was a whole lot greener than it was in 80’s and 90’s when I started going to the Gurdwara. And I guess I’ll say the same that it was a lot greener in 80’s and 90’s than it is now. The floor outside the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and around the Sarovar in 80’s and before, was mostly made of Black marble / stone (as it was not that bad during that time) and as Gurdwara management were aware of the fact that Black marble / stone gets really very hot, they have now changed it to mostly white marble. But it is still hot and I agree with this fact, but they have done their best. I have also seen sevadars spraying buckets of water on the floor around the Sarovar and at the entrance of the Darbad Hall to keep it cool. In order for people to prevent from slipping they have put rugs on which people walk.
But it is not just the loss of greenery due to the expansion of Gurdwara that is contributing to the rising temperatures in Delhi. It is a Global effect that is evident from the facts that the temperatures has become more extreme, i.e. colder climates has seen sever cold and warmer places has witnessed more heat than usual and a lot of the parts has seen droughts with annual rainfall way below what it normally used to be. It is America not honoring the Koyoto accord, China to compete with other countries not enforcing the pollution control laws, Indian manufaturers to keep the cost of production low restoring to illegal means to manufacture goods, that all contribute to the Global warming.
In India besides the remodelling and construction for the Gurdwaras, look at the large amount of construction going on to reap the profits by selling those new flats, shops and houses. Look at the amount of motor vehicles people drive in there. All are not as per the pollution standards operable. People get their vehicle certified and get the pollution under control certificate for a small amount without fixing the problem. There are industries that do not follow the pollution control board (PCB) recommendations. They still use the old methods for manufacturing goods there by polluting the environment by emission of controlled gasses and other by products dumped in the water. Officials from PCB when go about inspecting, you know what happens… bribes and all…. They have been able to close a lot of such industries, but still a lot are out there polluting…
My point is it is good that Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and other Gurdwaras are keeping pace with the increasing numbers of devotees by making suitable changes and new construction. Yes, in that event, they should also replace at least some of the trees that they cut. But I see it this way that it is a lot better than downtowns of a lot of cities in the world, where you cant even have a look at any natural vegetation. It is all concrete jungle. Again, these are my views and I'm not arguing on any thing.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I came across some blog where the Nishan Sahib was a multi colored cloth (White and Green if I remember correct). I am putting this article up from sikh.net that describes the Nishan Sahib.
The Nishan Sahib, or the flag is made of cotton or silk cloth and triangular in shape, symbolizes sovereignty. When we study the verses of the bards that form an integral part of Guru Granth Sahib - the scripture of the Sikhs - we learn that there was a practice of hoisting of flag during the divine ministry of Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan Dev. The color of Nishan Sahib during this phase of the Sikh history was white. Its color underwent a change, from white to saffron, in the hands of Guru Harigobind and it was first time hoisted at Akal Takhat Sahib in the year 1609 A.D.
The Nishan Sahib, that is in use today, is supported by a pole of timber or metal having Khanda - a double-edged sword fixed at its top. The flag has also an emblem put on it consisting of :-
Two swords, symbolizing temporal and spiritual powers;
Khanda or disintegrator - a double-edged sword representing uprooting of an illiusion and ignorance;
A circular ring symbolizing cyclic order of the universe.
Actually, the whole emblem is refered to as "Khanda" as well.This Nishan Sahib, as a matter of religious injunction, must hoist at each and every building of the Gurdwara. It is this Nishan Sahib that is referred to in the daily prayer of the Sikhs asking for its immortality.
PS. Viewer, please donot confuse the "Khanda" emblem on the Nishan Sahib with the sign on the Iranian national Flag.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Joga as a young boy of maybe about 15 came to Guru Gobind Singh Mahaaraj’s darbar. He was so overcome on seeing Satguru ji and Guru Sahib asked “who are you?” He replied “I am Joga” Guru Sahib asked “tu kehda Joga” (who’s joga are you i.e. who are you worthy of?) Joga replied “Mein tera Joga Guru ji, Guru ji mein tere joga” i.e. I am yours/ I am worthy of you; Satguru ji replied, “tu mera Joga, Mein tere joga”. Guru ji asked Joga to stay with Him and become part of the Khalsa thus he became known as Bhai Joga Singh.
Love grew between Guru ji and Sikh and Bhai Joga Singh loved being with Guru Sahib.Several years passed and Bhai Joga Singh’s parents came to take him home, they thought he should now be married as he had come of age. They went to ask permission from Guru Sahib to take him back home and Guru ji gave the go ahead on the condition that Bhai Joga Singh was to return whenever he was asked, he would be called when he Khalsa needed him regardless of where he was and what he was doing he should come. They agreed to this and headed off back to his village.
So the wedding preparations began and sure enough the wedding day itself arrived.During the ceremony, only two of the lavaan had been completed when a messenger from Guru Sahib arrived and presented Bhai Joga Singh with a letter requesting that he return as he was needed by the Khalsa. His family pleaded with him that he stay and at least complete the lavaan as Guru Ji had gave him permission to leave to get married; Bhai Joga Singh was adamant that he would go back to Guru Sahib as nothing was more important than his Guru.
On the way back to Anandpur Sahib he thought to himself how cool he was, how no one else would leave their own marriage just like that, no sooner had he had this thought when he became enticed by a prostitute. He rode towards her house and contemplated the thought of entering. As he was the physical image of the Khalsa, of Guru ji, he thought he would bring great shame to Guru Sahib if he was seen entering the house. On tying to enter he came across a guard standing there so he paused and backed away, he tried four times to enter the building but could not get past the guard seeing him. He realised how weak he was being and rode back to Guru ji.
On entering the divaan he payed his respects to Guru Sahib and heard the sangat commenting on how tired Guru Ji looked. Guru ji asked Bhai Joga to explain where he was last night, as the incident unfolded Guru ji revealed that He Himslef was the guard, and that They were there to stop Bhai Joga Singh from entering and sinning.Bhai Joga Singh fell at Guru ji’s charan and begged for forgiveness. Guru Sahib reminded him of what he had said before, “'Guru Ji mein tere joga” (I am worthy only of You Guru ji). Guru Sahib said “because you belong to me - I belong to you Bhai Joga ji, I belong to you! Mein tere joga!”
Such are the ways of the Master. Once we put our complete faith in him, he does not abandon us.
The Guru confirms:
"As long as the Khalsa remain distinct and intact, I shall bless them in every way; When they detract from the prescribed path, I detest them for ever."(Guru Gobind Singh)
Source : sikhsangat.com