This article is courtesy of Journey into the Heart of Sikh Dharma and written by Siri Didar Singh
I took Amrit about 40 or so years ago at Summer Solstice in NM. At the time I was still in the beginning stages of transforming my identity, and to me it simply seemed like the logical next step. I was already practicing the 5 K’s, so that part didn’t really faze me back then—for me it was more a way to really solidify my commitment to the Dharmic Lifestyle, to put in place in my mind barricades against what I guess you could call spiritual recidivism.
When I read in the Akhand Path a phrase from the Guru always pops up and never ceases to bring me back to myself: “He hugs close in His Embrace those who shatter and reform their beings.” (Shalok, Third Mehl, page 3251 Dr. Sant Edition) For those of us who come from a typical American or Western upbringing, usually in the Christian tradition, taking up the Sikh lifestyle can indeed entail a “shattering and reforming” of our being.
This transformation can involve alienating or even forsaking family, friends, colleagues, and encountering all sorts of resistance and discrimination and even hostilities. The overwhelming force of Maya, in the form of peer and cultural pressure especially, can bring down even the best of us, as the Guru constantly warns. It requires an adamantine resolve to leave behind one’s old identity and stay the course. When I joined an Ashram, I left behind all my possessions, and not too long after that I had to leave behind my fiancée and eventually even my best friend to keep up on the path of Sikh Dharma. Such leave-takings can be heartbreaking, and force you into questioning your commitment.
But the Amrit ceremony gives birth to the soldier-saint. The duty of the soldier in us is to protect the saint in us—in other words, to protect our purity and innocence, and it is to our own purity and innocence, our saintliness that we made this commitment in the first place. When we are confronted by our own doubts and our own questioning mind, we can use the kirpan of our discriminating mind to cut through our own fear and ignorance.
I personally love questioning, because with each question that I resolve with the sword of the discriminating mind, I strengthen my commitment. Questioning keeps me honest, questioning keeps me learning—we should never be afraid of questions. I can actually say that questioning brought me to the Sikh lifestyle, to forsake my old identity, and consequently to take Amrit, to forge a new identity. Because I am open to questioning my concept of Sikhism and Sikh Dharma has deepened and expanded over the years and so made it more impervious to the assaults of Maya.
Journey into the Heart of Sikh Dharma is a small group class, meeting together via telephone biweekly with an expert presenter and the course facilitator.
This course will allow you to delve more deeply into a relationship with your spiritual path, and will also enrich your practice and understanding of Kundalini Yoga – it is a perfect complement or follow up to Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training.
The course involves an investment of time leading up to each session. Short reading, experiential, and written assignments are given. In addition, between classes, you are invited to explore your relationship with the material with another participant in your section. Your assignments are sent to the facilitator before each class. Highlights from each person’s reflections are shared during the class for learning and feedback.
Also, all students choose seva projects to do during the course as an offering to integrate the learning to the living experience.