About 125 members attended the meetings. We were happy to see many of our international members and next generation members, and we look forward to an increasing number of members as we go forward.
Overview of the Agenda
The development of the Khalsa Council agenda was a collaborative effort, with submissions from members of the Khalsa Council and the Sangat, and the assistance of the KC Executive Committee. One of the desired objectives of this meeting was to re-establish the vision, the identity, and the mission of the Khalsa Council; to assess where we are now and what the needs of our Sangat are, and to reflect on our vision for the future how as a leadership body we can best serve our global community.
The Khalsa Council meetings were also an opportunity to hear reports from and give input to the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation and each of our non-profit entities and the East West Tea Company. It was truly inspiring to hear about the great work that each of our entities are doing, and to have the opportunity to interact and give input. We invited the CEO of EWTC, Conrad Myers, to visit the meetings, and he and the EWTC board invited the Khalsa Council to a reception following Friday's meeting. We were also introduced to LaVerne Woods, the non-profit governance and tax expert who is working with the SSSC and our non-profits.
The meetings were also an opportunity to meet based on those focus areas which were identified as being important to our Sangat and our communities, such as: Governance; Building Trust, Unity and Healing through Connecting our Global Sangat; Building and Growing Dharmic Businesses; Security and Preparedness; Organizational Interface with our Non-profit Entities; & Seva Projects.
We incorporated our dharmic technology into the meeting schedule, with meditations and chanting interspersed throughout the agenda. Each day began with a musical version of a bani, and the recitation of the Hukam, and each day we listened to an inspiring lecture of the Siri Singh Sahib addressing the Khalsa Council. Highlights of Day 1 - Thursday, April 25, 2013
On the morning of the first day, the Khalsa Council members were welcomed by the Secretary General, and the Siri Sikdar Sahiba and the Chairman gave inspirational opening addresses. The Council had a "Check-in" process and then listened to one of the Siri Singh Sahib's Khalsa Council lectures.
In the afternoon, we began a process of visioning about the Khalsa Council, led by SS Pritpal Kaur, MSS Guru Raj Kaur, MSS Krishna Kaur and MSS Guru Singh. We used the following quote of the Siri Singh Sahib to guide our discussion:
"The Khalsa Council embodies the sovereign, spiritual, status of the Sikhs. In action it is the parliament of the Sarkar e Khalsa. It is the leadership. It is a body that lives in the divinity, nobility, and grace of God. What comes through the Khalsa Council is simply projective kindness, compassion, divinity, nobility, and grace. It is the very embodiment of the grace, radiance, lifestyle and projection of Guru Gobind Singh." SSS Ji
Both In small groups and in full body open microphone sessions, we discussed:
- What does the Khalsa Council represent to you?
- What does it means to you to be a member of the Khalsa Council?
- How can we, individually and collectively, manifest and deliver the Siri Singh Sahib’s vision of the Khalsa Council?
We reviewed the by-laws regarding the role and membership of the Khalsa Council, and then in small groups and full body open microphone sessions, we discussed:
- What role should the Khalsa Council play that best serves our Dharmic mission?
- How can the Khalsa Council represent Khalsa consciousness in the world?
- Based on our vision of the role of the KC, how can we expand our membership to best serve the future of the Dharma?
- How can we create a representative leadership body?
- How can we make the KC a truly international body?
The Secretary General gave a presentation about the structure of the Khalsa Council, the Sections and their function, and the role and duties of the KC Executive Committee.
Presentation from the European Khalsa Council (EKC)
SS Satya Singh and the European members of the Khalsa Council, on behalf of the entire European Khalsa Council, presented a beautifully written and framed Proclamation offering gratitude to the Siblings of Destiny for upholding their faith and courage, and for standing for righteousness in the face of the challenges to Sikh Dharma over the past few years. It was a very sincere tribute to the Sangat and was gratefully received by the Secretary General on behalf of the Siblings of Destiny.
Highlights of Day 2 - Friday, April 26, 2013
Transition Update - SS Avtar Hari Singh presented a powerpoint transition update, reviewing the time-line of events related to our legal actions and to regaining the administrative control of our Dharmic entities and our assets. He spoke of the contributions of so many members of our Sangat in carrying on the process and reaching our successful resolution, through prayers, time, donations and other efforts. He spoke about the Nishan Sahib from the Golden Temple that flew at the first Siblings of Destiny meeting when the Khalsa Council flag wasn't accessible and how it is now flying at the 2013 Khalsa Council Meeting.
Siri Singh Sahib Corporation Presentation - The members of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation addressed the Khalsa Council with a very open and sincere presentation of the journey and experience of serving on the SSSC board. The board realizes that it can never fill the shoes of the man known as the Siri Singh Sahib, but that it must continue to do the work he started. They trust that the Siri Singh Sahib is still guiding us all, individually and collectively. Each person spoke from their heart about the honor of serving on the SSSC and the responsibility and commitment it requires, and they asked for the continuing prayers of the Sangat in serving with integrity and devotion.
They spoke of their efforts and commitment of communicating with the Sangat and of sending out quarterly updates, to continue working on by-laws to address the concerns of the Sangat, to getting the boards of all the entities functional and examining ways of repopulating the boards with qualified Sangat members, to working with the legacy non-profits and the continuation of the grant process, and to incorporating organizational best practices into our Dharmic structure.
After the presentation, the KC members were invited to an open microphone session, where they could make comments, share their perspectives and ask questions.
Afternoon - Day 2Election of Chairpersons
- The current KC Chairperson and the chairpersons of the Sections were recused from this portion of the meeting. The KC discussed whether or not to hold an election for new chairpersons. The Chancellor explained that chairpersons are elected for a two-year term (4 meetings). Due to the suspension of the meetings, the current chairpersons only served for one Khalsa Council meeting prior to the current one. A discussion was held and various perspectives were expressed. SS Kirpal Singh then presented a motion that the elections for Chairpersons be held at the Baisakhi 2014 meetings, allowing the current chairpersons to serve their full terms. The vote was taken and the motion passed. The current chairpersons will continue to serve for one more year. The two sections which did not have chairpersons held elections. Siri Chand Singh was elected the Chairperson of the New Millennium Section; Nirbhe Kaur was elected the Chairperson of the Council of Nominees. Meeting of Focus Areas:
The following groups met and then reported back to the full body the highlights of their meeting:
1. Building Trust, Unity and Healing through Communications, Inclusion and Connecting our global Sangat - SS Dharam Singh
- Focused on communications - need a way for people to share perspectives and experiences
- Start a newsletter to express the voices of our Sangat
2. Building & Growing Dharmic Businesses - SS Siri Vishnu Singh & SS Siri Pritam Kaur
- Seeding new businesses - placing youth in businesses and having mentors
- Forming a business association - utilizing the power and synergy of our community
- Training and teaching about models and forms of business management that include SSS's business teachings
- Identifying new products that are congruent with our teachings and values
3. Corporate Structure and Governance - SS Gurujodha Singh & SS Kirpal Singh
- Sense we are going in the right direction
- Discussion of role of the Khalsa Council - discussion of the consciousness of the KC
- What does it mean to be an advisory body? How can an advisory body have significant influence?
- Leadership vs. rulership
4. Organizational Interface – The interface and collaboration of our non-profits – SS Pritpal Kaur
- Desire on part of non-profits to work together to support each other and to collaborate - Strategic level and operational level
- Opportunities for collaboration - Solstices, European Yoga Festival, portal website with links and info to all of our non-profits
- Relationship of SSSC to non-profits - what role does the SSSC play in relation to non-profits
5. Security & Preparedness - MSS Amrit Singh
- Small dedicated group discussed creating a blueprint for security strategy for our communities and events
- Inventorying our communities and assessing security needs and infrastructure analysis
- Developing a corps of volunteers to begin addressing basic preparedness
6. Seva Projects – OngKar Kaur
- Building a culture of seva - being known for our service - teaching about seva and outreach
- Identified various projects and programs that we can participate in
Reception with Conrad Myers
MSS Daya Singh introduced Conrad Myers, the CEO of our East West Tea Company, who addressed the Khalsa Council. After the meeting was adjourned for the day, the KC and the Sangat were invited to a reception with Conrad Myers, during which he spoke and answered questions from the Sangat.
Highlights of Day 3 - Saturday, April 27, 2013
SS Avtar Hari Singh introduced LaVerne Woods, our non-profit Governance and Tax expert. She was invited to visit the Khalsa Council meetings and to meet with the SSSC to learn more about our non-profit organizations, and she led a workshop for the SSSC on the following day.
Beads of our Divine Mala - Reports from our Non-Profit and For-Profit Entities
The focus of the Saturday meeting was dedicated to our Non-profit and For-profit entities. We invited each entity to make a presentation to the Khalsa Council and to include: their successes and challenges; avenues of participation and channels of communication with the Sangat; efforts at collaboration with the other non-profits; and the vision of their organization for the future.
The following entities gave a report.
- 3HO – Jaap Kaur & MSS Tarn Tarn Kaur
- IKYTA – Guruprakash Kaur
- KRI – Library of the Teachings – MSS Nirvair Singh
- Humanology and Health Science Inc. - White Tantric Yoga® - SS Satsimran Kaur
- 3HO Europe – SS Satya Singh & SS Sat Dharm Singh
- SDEI - Saraswati Kaur
- Sikhnet – SS Gurumustak Singh & MSS Guruka Singh, Gurujot Singh
- Sikh Dharma International (SDI) / Dasvandh – SS Gurujot Kaur, OngKar Kaur, SS Gurusangat Kaur (Brazil), SS Satwant Singh
- SDI Ministry – SS Sat Kaur & SS Shanti Shanti Kaur, SS Sarb Nam Kaur
- Legacy of Yogiji Foundation (LYF) – SS Jai Singh
- East West Tea Company (EWTC) - SS Siri Atma Kaur
After the presentations, the Khalsa Council had an open microphone session to reflect on how we can move forward in unity to carry and deliver this Dharma.
To end this session of the Khalsa Council meetings, we did a group solidarity meditation and then our closing ceremonies, Ardas and Hukam.
It's not really possible to describe in words the energy of a Khalsa Council meeting. It is a 3-day experience of elevated consciousness. We come in service. We come to merge into collective consciousness and to work together with our Dharmic brothers and sisters to advance the fulfillment of our global mission. These few precious days of meeting together as a leadership body of the Dharma are dedicated to carrying on the legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib and fulfilling our collective destiny. It is a blessing, an opportunity and a privilege.
Please join us at the next meeting, which will be September 25 - 28, 2013.
Please see the slide show of the Baisakhi 2013 Khalsa Council meeting below.
With gratitude to God and Guru, and with deep appreciation to all the members of our global Sangat who are serving to uplift humanity through the sacred technology of Sikh Dharma and Kundalini Yoga, may the divine guidance and protection of Guru Ram Das be with you always.
Blessings to all,
SS Gurujot Kaur Khalsa
Sikh Dharma International