Excerpt from Chapter 1, Sections C-H, “The Sikh Ministry”, pages 6-8, of the book, Victory and Virtue
The Functions of a Minister of Sikh Dharma
A MINISTER of Sikh Dharma is a shining light, a radiant son or daughter of Guru Gobind Singh who lives to be healthy, happy and holy, and who inspires others to live so.
A MINISTER lives with an open heart, open ear and open eye in order to feel, hear and see the needs of people around him or her.
A MINISTER serves the needs of individuals and the collective Sadh Sangat with an attitude of gratitude, because these beautiful beings are God’s creatures and the disciples of the True Guru.
A MINISTER uplifts anyone wavering on the path of Dharma, helping to turn doubt into faith, loneliness into fulfillment and weakness into strength.
A MINISTER is the embodiment of Charhdi Kala, keeping up in high spirits through opposition, difficulties, pleasure and pain, and all tests of time and space.
A MINISTER is continuously and consistently striving toward perfection, consciously working on herself or himself.
Qualities Which Help a Minister Fulfill His or Her Functions
- Accept Siri Guru Granth Sahib as the Word of God, as Living Guru
- Honesty in relationships and business
- Servicefulness as an attitude and in living practice
- Ability to keep up
- Ability to confront unrighteous situations, and inspire others to righteousness
- Justice and neutrality
- Willingness to sacrifice
- Sweetness of speech
- Graceful behavior
- Applied intelligence: comprehensive, comparative, intuitive mind
- Faith in the mind, Truth upon the tongue, Love in the heart
- Common sense
- A sense of humor
Areas Which will Facilitate Consistent Growth in Awareness and Consciousness
- The practice of a regular group Sadhana, or regular individual Sadhana, if no group Sadhana is available.
- In addition to Yoga in morning Sadhana, the practice of Kundalini Yoga on one’s own.
- Regular participation in community and Ashram seva, such as free kitchens, Yoga classes, karma yoga, community services and special courses.
- Regular participation in Sangat and Pangat Gurdwara services, solstices, town meetings, kirtan, reading in Akand Paath, and group meals, if available.
- Consistent maintainance of the Bana as given by Guru Gobind Singh, maintaining neatness and cleanliness of appearance.
- Living according to the Rehit Maryada of Guru Gobind Singh and taking the Amrit of the double-edged sword as given by Guru Gobind Singh.
- Regular payment of Dasvandh.
Suggestions to Add to Your Goals as a Minister
- Teach at least one Kundalini Yoga class each week, and attend one as a student.
- Study some form of self-defense.
- Maintain a regular program of vigorous cardio-vascular exercise, in addition to Kundalini Yoga
Your Function as a Teacher
- In order to serve the Sadh Sangat effectively, a minster will need to be able to answer questions regarding the Dharma. Questions may arise regarding pronunciation and understanding of Gurmukhi and Gurbani. Questions on Gurdwara protocol will certainly arise. As a Minister, it is important to help those in the Sangat feel relaxed in the Presence of the Guru, and distinguish between Reality and ritual. Specific areas of competence include:
- The Philosophy of Sikh Dharma, the concepts of the Soldier-Saint, Jivan-Mukt (Liberation while yet alive), the purpose of life, the Nature of God, the concept of Maya, karma versus dharma, the concept and reality of Guru, etc.
- Gurdwara protocol and understanding of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
- Understanding of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib as the Embodiment of the Shabad, the Word of God.
- Knowledge of the history, structure and contents of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
- An understanding of proper conduct in Gurdwara, how to take a hukam, conduct marriage ceremonies, administer last rites, administer an Akand Paath and a Sahej Paath, perform Prakaash and Sukhaasan, and the ability to organize and administer a Gurdwara service.
- As a Minister of Sikh Dharma, a clear understanding of your own relationship with the Siri Singh Sahib of Sikh Dharma, and a clear understanding of the relationship of the Spiritual Teacher to the student.
- A basic understanding of the Ardas, and the ability to recite it at any time.
- An on-going study and practice of Gurbani Kirtan.
- The ability to accurately read the daily Nit Nem Banis.
- An on-going study to understand Gurmukhi, the language of the Guru.
Counselor, Support & Inspiration
A minister functions as counselor, support, listener and an inspiration in order to help members of the Sadh Sangat go through their growing pains gracefully and successfully. New students who come into the Dharma lack not only knowledge, but sometimes a basic understanding of what questions to ask. A minister can reach out and help in areas before they become too big to handle, while respecting the individual’s right to privacy and power over his or her own life.
The technology of communication techniques and counseling may be found all through the Siri Singh Sahib’s teachings; these may be studied on an on-going basis. Read and re-read his Ph.D. thesis on Communication (See Bibliography). Know that the Yoga of Charhdi Kala, Kundalini Yoga, can solve problems. Learn to listen. Be attentive and receptive. Many times, people simply need a receptive ear, and will be able to answer their own questions as they talk and listen to their own minds.
Recognize yourself as a minister of Sikh Dharma. Dharma is the acknowledged path of spirituality where you must test yourself and judge yourself so you can liberate yourself to experience Infinity. Dharma is an experienced path of virtuous living. Remember that you represent a set of principles of life, a history, a spiritual path, thousands of people, and a future.
As a minister, you must be strong in your commitment to your own Dharma, and understand every aspect of your lifestyle, so that you do not feel insecure about yourself. You shall meet with opposition, negativity, misunderstanding and, perhaps, even ridicule and abuse. But, remember that a person’s negativity is his own pain, his own ignorance and cry for help. When negativity is directed towards you, it is your opportunity to serve, to radiate love, to stand for what you believe in. It is an opportunity for you to build bridges. Be alert and active, not reactive. Turn curiosity, fear, anger and animosity into understanding, love and tolerance.
The virtue of all virtues is to uplift a person who is falling on the spiritual path.
Your physical strength, your mental clarity and perception, and your spiritual awareness will carry you through. Always call on God and Guru to guide you.