This article is courtesy of Journey into the Heart of Sikh Dharma and written by Adi Nam Kaur
For the last few weeks I have been meditating on commitment, and what it means to me. How am I able to make, and more importantly to keep, the commitments in my life? I have been having an intensive reflection on that, including how it manifests in different parts of my life.
Since my first introduction into the Sikh Dharma, I have been blessed in meeting and spending much time with many Khalsas. Less than one year ago, I caught myself thinking how “Adi Nam Kaur Khalsa” would sound. I found myself being excited about that. At some point during my participation in the Journey into the Heart of Sikh Dharma course, I realized that the excitement came from my ego – because of the title that it wanted. Now, I slowly start to understand the commitments and importance of taking the Sikh vows, and even more, the commitment of Amrit Sanchar. Am I ready for the Amrit vows now? Or would I be more ready in the future? What would it mean to me?
As the mind tends to fluctuate a lot, there are days when I get on the wave of it. That brings many doubts and fear into my awareness. Taking the vows would be the statement to my mind: “ No matter what you are trying to tell me, I remember the True Identity and am staying on this path.’’ When I read about the process of Amrit Sanchar, I found it so sacred and spiritually powerful that I wouldn’t dare to break the vows.
I am also aware that the influence of others on me has been strong, and most of my life I have been listening to the others more than to myself, and comparing myself to them a lot. The process of taking the vows itself is not bringing the inner power to stand up for what I believe. Maybe first I could work on that. But since this course started I began to share more with others about the Guru in my life, feeling more comfortable talking about that with others. I slowly began to commit to keeping Kesh (Sikh practice of allowing one’s hair to grow naturally as a symbol of respect for the perfection of God’s creation.)
I added some of the bhanis (Sikh prayers) into my daily practices – Kirtan Sohila and Anand Sahib together with Japji Sahib. So I have been taking small steps forward in devoting myself to the Guru.
Taking the Amrit vows equates to the commitment to let go of all the layers of the ego. That is how I understand the meaning of “giving my head to the Guru.” It is like bowing to the Guru’s feet and saying: “I am going to accept everything You will send to me and I am going to serve You. I will serve others in Your Name as well”.
When I heard the Baisakhi story the first time, I thought that Guru Gobind Singh was testing the people by asking them to give their heads to him. I feel he was sure that these ones (the Panj Piare) would appear. And this was an example to show the ones left in the crowd to have faith in the Guru, and that if you fully surrender, you will be rewarded. I like the end of the story the most, the part when Guru Gobind Rai asks the Five Beloved Ones to give him Amrit and be baptized himself, showing that they are all equal. The Guru and his servants, receiving the same family name of Khalsa.
Guru Nanak says, “Weed out negativity, selfishness and lies – leave them behind you, and let your soul meditate on God. When chanting, inner heat and self-discipline (Jaap, Taap, Sanjam) become your companions, then the lotus blossoms forth and the Amrit trickles down.”
From my perspective, these lines mean that Amrit vows are not about drinking the sugary water, though it is a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. But most important is your discipline – performing daily sadhana and keeping the lifestyle of Sikh Dharma.
Guru Amar Das says, “O my mind, walk in harmony with the True Guru. Dwell within the root of your own inner being and drink in the Amrit; you shall be filled with peace and the presence of the One.”
I wonder if I keep disciplining my own mind, would it one day become fully still with no efforts?
Daya, Dharam, Himmat, Mukham, and Sahib – these Five Beloved Ones embody mercy, righteousness, courage, strength, organization and mastery – qualities that everyone might consider developing before taking the Khalsa vows.
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.