Thursday, October 30, 2008

NZ's First Turbaned Sikh Police Officer performs the Haka!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur

Rangley Sajjan - The Imbued Ones
Bhai Sahib Bhai Randheer Singh Jee
Translated by: Bhai Jaspinder Singh Jee

Chapter 11: Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur

Here is a tribute to the great Sikh, wife of the Late devout Vir Simran Sardar Joginder Singh Ji of village Raipur. Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur Ji belonged to the ancient Gurusikh family, devoted to Faith generation after generation, from Daudpur. Her paternal uncle, Sriman Sant Hira Singh Ji, was a leading light of the Jatha. His devotion to Nam Simran and Godly love was exemplary. This young girl was born and brought up and greatly influenced by the high spirituality of her uncle. At the time of her birth saintly Bhai Hira Singh Ji prophesized that she was destined to be great devotee and her strong Sikh Faith would be worthy of emulation.

When she attained a marriageable age, as a consequence of Sant Bhai Hira Singh Ji's blessing, she got married as per the Anand Karaj rite to Sriman Bhai Joginder Singh Ji. It was indeed a great blessing that such devout spiritual seekers got united in marriage. Though their economic condition was bordering on poverty, they enjoyed enrichment of Nam Wealth. Their spiritual flourishment together was truly exemplary. Their minds got focused on pure Gurmat as soon as they got baptized. With their total reliance on the Efficacious Nam, they never cared much about worldliness. The handling of household duties of Bibi Harbans Kaur was so auspicious, that soon everything was transformed. The hard days ended with a sense of great prosperity. The talents of Bhai Joginder Singh Ji came to be recognized and rewarded by Patiala State. Though worldly riches now abounded, humility of spirit was retained. Sister Harbans Kaur Ji was the living embodiment of Gurusikh living in thought, word and deed. Her head was always adorned with a light bluish turban. She had a strong healthy body and with turbaned head she carried herself with great dignity, worthy of great devout Sikh lady.

She personally attended to all the household chores. The sound of Nam Simran became automatic all the time while attending to her normal activities. It is rare to find such faith in personal life. She would always take full head to toe bath. She followed this practice even soon after delivery of a newborn, not caring for medical advice against this. The blessing of such firm faith was, that she never suffered even a slight sickness throughout. She always eagerly looked forward to serve holy ones and her kitchen was always open for this service. She prepared food and served all by herself. The visitors were always fully satiated. This auspicious service never experienced any shortage.

She was very adept in reading the hidden meaning of actions of devotees. Once she was serving prepared food to the great spiritualist, godly Bhai Atma Singh from Moga. It so happened that suddenly Sri Bhai Atma Singh Ji went into trance and stopped eating from his plate, yet kept chewing with his mouth. His eyes were rolled back and his face shone in Divine splendor. Bhai Joginder Singh Ji was sitting close by and was perplexed with this strange goings-on. In amazement, he enquired the meaning of all this from his wife, that without taking food from his plate Bhai Atma Singh appeared to be partaking of invisible food. Bibi Harbans Kaur Ji replied, 'There is nothing to wonder. Bhai Randhir Singh is offering him morsels from Narangwal.' Hearing this, Bhai Joginder Singh noted the time of the occurrence. At that very time I was served food by my wife, Srimati Kartar Kaur at Narangwal. I had taken only a few morsels and then stopped eating even though my hands took food from the plate.
My mother sitting by my side noticed this strange occurance. Puzzled by this, she enquired from Kartar kaur and explanation of this wonderment. Srimati Kartar Kaur could also read through the strange happening as Bibi Harbans Kaur could. He promptly came, 'There is nothing unusual or surprising about it. He is feeding his Sarablohia friend (sharing commonness of eating from Steel utensils) Bhai Atama Singh Ji, who is being served by sister Harbans Kaur at that house of Bhai Joginder Singh at Patiala. 'When I came out of my trance, I too noted the time. After few days Bibi Harbans Kaur, Sant Hira Singh Ji, the great devout Ascetic Bhai Atma Singh Ji and Bhai Joginder Singh Ji visited Narangwal. The mutual query was secretly answered and the events found to coincide.

Sri Bibi Harbans Kaur was such, so outstanding and assertive, that all wives of Patiala high officials and chieftains acknowledged her overpowering religious influence. The consorts of ministers and royal queens all held her in awful respect. They used to send for other ladies to the palace, but none ever dared to ask Bibi Harbans Kaur. She was without a parallel in her chastity.

Sri Bhai Joginder Singh Ji was then a member of Shromani Gurudwara Prabandak Committee (S.G.P.C). The agitation against British Rule by Akali-Panth was at its peak. Almost every member of S.G.P.C suffered imprisonment due to participation in this agitation. Bhai Joginder Singh did not have good health those days and had grown weak. However Bibi Harbans Kaur aroused his religious fervor like brave wives in Sikh history and encouraged him for the sacrifice of courting arrest and jail. However at the moment of his departure, unintentional tears came to her eyes. Bhai Joginder Singh was astonished at this and asked the reason for this show of weakness after putting up a brave front thus far. Bibi Harbans Kaur smiled and replied that the possibility of an early reunion was remote. We seem to be destined for a long separation. Sardar Joginder reassured her that he was fine now with her blessings and there was nothing to fear.

In fact Bibi Harbans Kaur had envisioned her own death, though she never revealed this to him. By the time Sardar Joginder Singh returned after his tern of imprisonment, Bibi Harbans Kaur had left for her Heavenly Abode-Eternal. He could not cope up with the pangs of separation from his faithful godly wife. His health deteriorated fast. Though Bibi Harbans Kaur completed her life sojourn successfully as the very embodiment of faith, the family left behind suffered incompletion of its household affairs. The acceptance of the Divine Will of Bhai Joginder Singh was unique in bearing this terrible loss.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wonderful Naam

Why is it so important to remember God's Name (Nam Simran)? It seems like a pretty strange thing to do - I mean Nam Japna means saying the same Name over and over again, day and night , seven days a week for all of your life? Perhaps this will make it clearer:

The human body is like a wedding car. The mind is the chauffeur and the soul is the bride sitting in the back seat. She sat in the car thinking that she would be driven to the marriage ceremony at the tenth door (dasam duar) where God Himself would be the Husband. Then He'd take her away to Sach Khand (Realm of Truth : God's abode) and they'd be living in wedded bliss happily ever after.

But soon after sitting down, she found the chauffeur was a very cunning driver. He opened all the doors so that his 5 friends called Anger, Greed, Lust, Attachment and Pride could have their wicked way with her. She just couldn't get out and instead of driving the car to Sach Khand, he pushed it around slowly and awkwardly in any direction he wanted depending on where his 5 friends wanted to go. He just couldn't be bothered to get to the wedding at the dasam duar, not that he even knew where it was - I don't think he even had a map and none of his so-called friends knew where to go. The strange thing is that everyone in this world is pushing their cars with the bride trapped with the 5 strange thieves and no-one thinks it's strange because it's what they are used to - I mean everyone’s been doing it like that for thousands of years and they're all lost. They're number plate reads: 'M A N M U K H'.

All of a sudden a car speeds by with a chauffeur sitting in the driving seat driving normally. His number plate is 'G U R M U K H'. ManMukh stops and talks to him, 'Excuse me, why do you drive your car while others push them?'.

He replies, 'Well, I used to be a MAN-MUKH pusher like you, but I met a very spiritually gifted holy man who told me that I was driving my car all wrong. I used to love my car and I didn't like it when he said that. My car was the best car in the world. It had fluffy dice and go faster stripes. It had wheels that would bounce the car up and down; I'd even fitted a £10,000 music centre into the boot. My car was beautiful and everyone used to tell me how beautiful it was. ‘

‘The holy man then told me that if I wanted to know how to drive fast then I'd have to go to a special place called a Gurdwara-Nam-Petrol station where I'd meet the Supreme Being, called the Guru Granth Sahib jee and that if I became a disciple and promised to follow the Guru's instructions then I too could be whizzing around to my true destination. ‘

‘Of course, I didn't believe him at first and my pusher friends all laughed at the absurdity of it whoever heard of someone driving their car? They just wouldn't believe that I'd seen this 'G U R M U K H'. Anyway, I met the 'G U R M U K H' again and I went to the Gurdwara-Nam-petrol station and I saw lots of people driving really fast just like him. I was so exited, I had a tingly feeling in my stomach - I just couldn't wait to meet the Guru Granth Sahib jee.’

‘Then I drank the amrit-nectar and became a disciple. I promised I'd obey my Guru's instructions and I wouldn't do all the silly decorations that I'd done to my car. The first thing Guru jee told me was that this hole in the top of the car, called the mouth was for a special reason. He told me I'd been pouring the wrong kind of fuel in it. I'd been saying so many useless words but they weren't helping me at all. The real fuel to pour into the mouth was The Name of God: Waheguru. If I kept pouring this Nam-petrol into my car day and night then I'd have the power to reach God the Husband.’

My Guru jee also told me to sing my daily prayers so I'd I find the directions and to serve the saints so I'd get the hints and tips of their blessings. And look at me now, I'm whizzing around like nobody's business. It was hard at first, but now I'm used to it and I'll soon be at God's Door and this Divine marriage of Bliss can take place. I tell you, I can't believe I'd been such a fool for so many years. My friends still don't believe me, but I don't hang out with them anymore.’

‘Plus my Guru jee gave me this new Number plate 'G U R M U K H' it means the one who has got his face towards the Guru - I follow my Guru now, before I used have my face towards my own minds desires and cravings so I was a 'M A N M U K H'. So if you're interested in learning how to drive your car then come and meet the Supreme Being - Guru Granth Sahib jee. He'll help you just like he helped me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

manmukh? Short Story

There were two Sikhs; Jaku and Bhagta who went to see Sri Guru Nanak sahib
ji in kartapur. They asked guru ji what would be the distinguishing signs of
a manmukh - person who is a slave to the mind.

Guru ji replied the first sign of a manmukh is jealousy. It is however wrong
to assume jealously is less conspicuous in educated people. In fact, it can
become a predominant in educated people. A manmukh craves for all happiness
in this world which he has conceived in his mind, such as wealth, property,
etc. If he sees somebody's beautiful house, he suffers pang in his heart,
becomes distressful and fills himself with sorrow.

Next he thinks everyone is his enemy for no logical reason. He never thinks
of doing good deed at anytime. Then he becomes egotistic has no feeling of
sympathy or mercy for anyone in distress.

Then they ask how does this ego originate?

Guru ji says that when such a person observes somebody with less wealth or
property or who is materially in poor state, the egotistic person laughs and
ridicules the poor person instead of helping him. Then he may assume that he
is intellectually a superior person and that others are way below him in

Then again, such a person may make it a habit of making derogatory remarks
about others and listen to gossip about others.

A manmukh likes to praise someone who is above him in material wealth but
talks bad about someone poor and hold them in low esteem. When he hears
somebody getting praised, he gets jealous. Guru says, this attitude is not
good: getting jealous and creating enmity with a person of equal standing
and talking ill of him; telling another that he is nobody and that you are
everything; well educated and very wealthy.

Recession and redundancy: your rights

A useful article in the current climate I recived in an email.

Recession and redundancy: what are your rights if your company lets you go?
Jane Bell

With the credit crunch biting businesses and rumours spreading of a recession that could be as bad as the 70s, all of us are starting to get concerned about the future. Should an economic depression hit hard, then many of us could be in a situation where our jobs hang in the balance.

But what are your rights if your company wants to let you go? Do they need good reason and how much compensation do you deserve? Here are Lawpack's redundancy FAQs.
In what situations can my employer make me redundant?
  • The business is closing down or relocating.
  • Your job is unnecessary because of new technology or a new system.
  • The business no longer has a need for the kind of work which you were employed for.
  • Your employer needs to cut costs and so they need to reduce the number of employees.
What is the procedure?
You should be selected fairly and your employer should consult you about the redundancy. They should give you redundancy pay and the right amount of notice (which is stated in your contract). They should also consider any alternatives to making you redundant. If a method for deciding redundancies has been agreed with a trade union, your employer should follow it.
'Fair' reasons may be last one in, first one out, or they may initially ask for volunteers. They could also base it on disciplinary records or by evaluating their employees' skills, qualifications and experience.
They may select people by asking their staff to reapply for their own jobs. You should remember that this is still just a way for the employer to decide who to select for redundancy. If you decide not to apply (or are 'unsuccessful'), you're still in employment until your employer makes you redundant.
What happens if my employer offers me an alternative job?
If you decide to take an alternative job, then you have the right to a four-week trial period in a new job and if you need training for this new job, the period can be extended by written agreement. If you decide it isn't suitable, you can give notice during the trial period and this won't affect your right to statutory redundancy payment. If you haven't given notice by the end of the trial period, then your right to statutory redundancy pay ends.
Am I allowed time off for job hunting?
Yes, you're allowed a reasonable time off for interviews and training, as long as you've been working continuously for the business for two years. Your employer only has to pay you up to two fifths of a week's pay for it (e.g. if you work five days a week and take four days off in total during the whole notice period, your employer only has to pay you for the first two days).
What can I do if I've been offered a new job before my notice expires?
Try and negotiate with your employer for early release without losing your redundancy pay, as employers will often try to make such arrangements. If they say they cannot let you leave early (e.g. they need you to finish a project), you can give them 'a written counter notice', which states when you would like to finish. They should then write back to you to let you know whether they accept your offer. If you do decide to leave early without their permission, then you may risk losing some, or all, of your redundancy pay.
What should I do if I feel that I have been unfairly selected?
Write to your employer outlining why you believe the decision to be unfair and explain how you would like the situation to be rectified. If they do not heed your complaint, you can then appeal against the decision to an employment tribunal. The redundancy procedure will be definitely unfair it it's discriminatory; for example, because you're on maternity leave.
Am I entitled to compensation?
You're entitled to a statutory redundancy payment if you're over 18 and have had at least two years' service at the company. It's also due if your fixed-term contract of two years or more expires and the company doesn't renew it because of redundancy.
How is the payment calculated?
It's calculated by the company considering your age, your length of service at the company and your gross average weekly wage. Each completed year of service, up to a maximum of 20 after the age of 18, counts for payment on the following scale (with the maximum of £330 for a week's pay):
  • If you're over 18 and below 22, half a week's pay.
  • If you're between 22 and 41, one week's pay.
  • If you're over 41, one and a half week's pay.
Statutory redundancy pay isn't taxable.
What can I do if I haven't received the right amount of compensation?
Your employer will normally pay you either on the last day of your notice period or shortly afterwards, or on your next pay day. If you haven't been paid, or you don't think it's enough, you should write to your employer explaining the problem. They should then give you a written statement outlining how the payment has been calculated.
If this doesn't work, you can raise a complaint with an employment tribunal, but a claim must be made within six months of you receiving the payment. This time limit can be extended for a further six months, if it has been approved by the employment tribunal.
If the company has gone insolvent and can't pay you, then you may be able to get the money from the government.
Are there any situations where I wouldn't be offered compensation?
You're not entitled to Statutory Redundancy Payment if, before the existing job ends, your employer offers you (verbally or in writing) employment on the same terms or suitable alternative work, beginning within four weeks of the ending of the original employment. If you unreasonably refuse such an offer, or during a trial period for the new job (which you can opt for) you unreasonably terminate such employment, you lose the right to receive the payment.
Where can I get further advice?
If you need more information, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) can help. You can get free and confidential advice on employment issues by calling their helpline on 0845 747 4747.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Can We Take The 5ks Off?

Question : Should the 5 Kakars be kept with you during sleep and head covered during sleep?

When Guru Gobind Singh Jee stood infront of the ocean of Sikhs holding the mighty curved sri sahib above his head asking for a head, he created an army called the Khalsa. Khalsa Akal Purakh Kee Fauj.

But this army of khalsa soldiers was not merely fighting the battle against Moghuls, Hill Rajas and thieves and bandits. These Khalsa warriors had the more important life of death struggle against the 5 enemies inside them to fight as well.

Every army has its code of conduct, reporting structure and uniform. All these items maintain discipline within each warrior and unite each individual with one another into an army. Like one finger is weak, but a 4 fingers and a thumb combine into a fist.

The external uniform is the 5Ks and a covered head, if every Khalsa soldier wears the same uniform then they are united like a fist. A soldier in any other army will go to his bed at night and remove his uniform. His daily external battle is over, he can relax for the night.

The Khalsa warrior on the other hand has no time to rest. The 5 enemies never sleep, they dont allow the Khalsa warrior the luxury of relaxing for the night and then resuming the battle at sunrise.

If the 5 enemies don't get tired of attacking us, then the Khalsa doesn't get tired of fighting them. I can't be in the warrior frame of mind if I'm not wearing my Khalsa Uniform. My discipline has gone, my defences are down, the front door is open for the 5 enemies to conquor me in my dreams and in my bed.

Visar Nahee Datar Apanay Naam Deho
Gun gava din raat Nanak Chao eho.

Never Forget me Giver, Give me your naam
May I sing your praises day and NIGHT this is Nanak's desire.

Being Khalsa is not a day job - it's my life, every moment I am tested...night and day I have to think did I remember naam or did the 5 enemies get the better of me?

So it is not acceptable for a Khalsa warrior to let their defences down by removing the 5K uniform and uncovering their head at night.