Celebrating Guru Nanak's 550th Birthday
40 Weeks of “Light of Guru Nanak” Content
Sikh means student and we have to learn. What is the necessity of that learning? The greatest possibility of learning is that we must understand God is in us. God is around us. God is a part of us, and we are a part of God. That’s why Guru Nanak started with Ek Ong Kar – there is One Creator of the whole creation. ~ Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan
This concept is what inspired us as we embarked on a 40-week journey that delved deep into Guru Nanak’s message contained in Japji Sahib. We offered two ways for our community to connect with these teachings. 1) they could subscribe to our “Light of Guru Nanak” email series and 2) they could join our “Light of Guru Nanak” Facebook Group. Each week for forty weeks, we shared inspiring and instructional material about every section of Japji Sahib, stories of Guru Nanak, excerpts from lectures by Siri Singh Sahib Ji about Guru Nanak’s teachings and personal experiences of our global community of how Japji Sahib and Guru Nanak’s teachings have transformed their lives. Soon we will be sharing this content on the Sikhnet Learning Center, so people can benefit and learn from these teachings into the future. You may also find this content on our website now here.
Light of Guru Nanak Yatra, November 2019
By the beginning of 2019, plans were already being made for a yatra to India in November to join the global Sikh Sadh Sangat in Sultanpur Lodhi for the celebration of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birthday. Sikh Dharma International, 3HO and the Dharmic Office of Public Affairs hosted the “Light of Guru Nanak Yatra” which, over a two-week period, brought together almost 100 participants, many first-time travelers to India, to experience the spirit of the place where Guru Nanak lived and taught. The journey included visiting historical sites in Sikh history in New Delhi, Anandpur Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal and Amritsar. Here is a slideshow of photos from the yatra.
Japji Sahib ~ The Light of Guru Nanak for the World
In the spirit of expressing gratitude for the divine teachings and words of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Japji Sahib, we were inspired to create a legacy gift to present to the Golden Temple Museum from the global Sikh Dharma International community. Since Guru Nanak has touched so many of our lives with Japji Sahib and the Siri Singh Sahib ji’s teachings have inspired so many around the world to experience Japji Sahib, we wanted to create an exquisite Volume of Japji Sahib, translated into many languages, that represented the many countries and languages where our Sadh Sangat resides. In its completion, the Volume contains 19 languages, translated by members of our international Sadh Sangat. With a silver engraved cover, embellished with semi-precious stones, this gift was presented to the Sikh Panth in Amritsar during the Yatra at an interfaith event commemorating the life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Here is a photo slideshow of the press conference presenting this historic Volume on November 7, 2019 and at the event where it was given on November 8, 2019.
Celebrating 50 Years in the West
Weekly “Blast from the Past” Subscription Emails
Sikh Dharma International was born of the inspiration of Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji. 2019 marked 50 years since his arrival to the U.S. in 1969. He planted the seeds of this Dharma in the West, which would inspire generations to come to learn, live and share these teachings with the world. These weekly emails highlighted historic and momentous events in that fifty-year history and reminded us of the spirit and depth of consciousness and values that he shared and which we continue to experience today as we travel on our journey from individual consciousness, to group consciousness, to universal consciousness. View the 50 years of our “Blast from the Past” content here.
Baisakhi 2019 in LA
As a tradition begun by the Siri Singh Sahib ji, each year SDI participates in and supports the Los Angeles Baisakhi Kirtan Darbar and Nagar Kirtan. Attended by tens of thousands of devotees from places near and far, the day-long kirtan program and parade brings the spirit of Guru Gobind Singh to the Los Angeles Convention Center and the streets of Los Angeles and fosters an experience of Chardi Kala (uplifting spirit) for all who attend. Find out more about this special celebration and how to participate in 2020.
SDI Educational Events
Values and Virtues Course at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das
The Siri Sikdar Sahiba, Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa taught an extensive immersion course on Values and Virtues over several months during the Spring in Espanola, NM. The study included a deep look at how the values we prioritize in our life, our Dharma values, give us the virtues we need to live a life of total fulfillment.
Sikh Dharma Academy at Annual Solstice Events
At Summer and Winter Solstices, SDI offers Dharmic Classes during the day, as well as Gurbani Kirtan, stories of the Gurus and Kirtan Sohila each evening. The classes this year included both a five class Gurmukhi and five class Gatka series. Fourteen other classes were taught by legacy teachers and Ministers of Sikh Dharma, with many of the classes centering on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Classes were also offered about taking Sikh Vows and Amrit Sanchar, and turban tying instruction. See a list of our classes at the upcoming solstice event here.
6th Annual Camp Miri Piri at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das
Camp Miri Piri is a practical Dharmic training intensive that gives one the experience of the royalty and divinity of their soul. It is a primer and immersion into Sikh daily practices led by highly experienced teachers. The training includes morning sadhana, daily recitation of banis, kirtan, gatka martial arts., yoga, meditation, fun, food and camaraderie. If you want to nudge yourself to go higher than you think you can and raise your spirit to new heights, you must attend Camp Miri Piri. This event is a beautiful blend of people. Attendees are from all walks of life – some from families who have been Sikhs for generations and some who recently just discovered the Sikh lifestyle. All ages are represented – families with young children to grandparents in their seventies and everyone in between. Our 7th Annual Camp Miri Piri event will be June 12-16, 2020. Visit our Camp Miri Piri page to find out more.
Here’s a fun quote from the Siri Singh Sahib Ji about the saint/soldier quality that this event endeavors to instill:
“Human is a blend of saint and soldier; this is a complete person. If you are not a soldier your sainthood will be kicked around. If you are only a soldier, not a saint, you will start kicking others around.”
Gurdwara Programs at Sat Nam Fest Events
For the 6th year, Sikh Dharma set up and hosted daily Gurdwara at Sat Nam Fest West and Sat Nam Fest East and offered opportunities for learning about Sikh Dharma including how to read from the Guru. At both events, students participated in a Sahej Paath, each taking a turn reading a section from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. For many, this was their first Gurdwara experience. Find out more about upcoming Sat Nam Fest events.
Online Educational Resources
Our Latest How to Video
“How to Make Guru Ka Langar”
Along with getting together in the company of the holy and chanting God’s name (sangat), the practice of sitting and enjoying a community meal together after a sadh sangat gathering (pangat) is one of the core principles of the Sikh experience. This video touches upon many of the basic concepts of Guru ka Langar and its conscious preparation and service. We are blessed to have a enthusiastic group of volunteers who are working to translate this video series into 6 different languages. We expect to have these available in early 2020. View our full “How to Video” series here.
Tools for Prosperity
We continued throughout the year to produce articles, testimonials, meditations, Siri Singh Sahib lectures and quotes and Shabads from the Guru that teach about DasVandh and conscious tools for prosperity.
Our Community Event page and Community Blog and Job Board continue to be valuable resources for our website visitors. View our events here. Sign up for our blog here. View our job board here.
This year SDI published more than 135 articles translated into Spanish, making all the Japji Sahib 40-week posts and “Blast from the Past” posts available to thousands of our Spanish speaking Sadh Sangat around the globe. And more translations are coming in 2020! We are excited to announce that our enthusiastic team of 13 volunteers have been hard at work translating content on our website (including our How to Videos) into 6 different languages. Stay tuned to hear more about this in 2020. Wahe Guru! Also, if you or anyone you know would to join our Corps of Volunteers, to assist with this project, email us at: [email protected]
Trifold Altar Gift Cards
This year we produced another two cards in our series of Guru’s Altar Cards, highlighting special Shabads for meditation and prosperity. This year’s trifolds, featuring Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and Guru Amar Das Ji, make great gifts for friends, family and yoga students. Free copies are made available at both Solstices and other venues and are available to order online. Visit our Altar Card page to order your gift cards today.
Sikh Dharma Ministry
2019 Report from the Office of the Secretary of Religion
Throughout 2019, Sikh Dharma Ministers continued the tradition of carrying the mission of service to humanity. Ministers participated in seva programs, taught Sikh Dharma technology, served as chaplains, counseled on a variety of topics including death and dying, addressed issues of global concern in their work as leaders, and helped to strengthen their local communities and sangats.
This year, our international Sikh Dharma Ministers:
- Served in langar programs (free kitchens) and reached out to the underserved around the world.
- Gave aid to victims of disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes.
- Reached out to members of our interfaith communities, especially after tragedies such as hate crimes and attacks on religious congregants.
- Participated in governmental and activist groups addressing religious freedom and equality.
- Shared their love for the technology of Sikh Dharma via online and in-person classes and by writing uplifting articles for our Sikh Dharma Ministry newsletter.
- Used their Minister credentials to provide Ministerial visits to Sikhs detained in ICE facilities, bringing much-needed upliftment, support, and hope to the inmates.
- Spoke at community gatherings about preparing for death and dying, including sharing about Sikh ceremonies and traditions.
Overall, our dedicated Sikh Dharma Ministers continue to reflect the beauty, grace, courage, and grit of our Guru’s example by wearing bana (Sikh clothing and articles of faith), practicing their spiritual discipline, and showing up to serve selflessly. As the Siri Singh Sahib said:
“To be a Minister means we are the first to step forward, the last to eat, and the last to sleep.”
International Khalsa Council
The International Khalsa Council is a body of Ministers of Sikh Dharma which meets twice a year with the vision of providing leadership and inspiration for our Dharma and global communities. During the Spring meetings a delegation of South American representatives made presentations about the seva projects happening in their respective countries, a Seva Corp Task Force was formed in order to engage the Legacy of Yogi Bhajan family of organizations in coordinating Seva projects worldwide and a Minister Skill Enrichment training took place on the art of developing the skill of compassion.
The Fall session included a dialogue with Asian and African representatives and Ministers which proposed ways of supporting leaders from around the world in building strong Dharmic communities, a report was given by the Seva Sadhana Program Immersion in Espanola and how it provides an Ashram-living experience for it’s participants and a Global Climate Change presentation was given that encouraged members to take real and important action on ‘the crisis of our times’.
With Khalsa Council’s support, our Espanola and Los Angeles Sadh Sangats participated in community Global Climate Strikes on September 20th and langar was served to the strikers in L.A.
Honoring the Legacy of Siri Singh Sahib Ji
Weekly Anandpur Sahib Akhand Paths
For nearly two decades, SDI has sponsored weekly Akhand Paths at Sri Takhat Keshgahr Sahib in Anandpur Sahib, India as a prayer and blessing for our global sadh sangat. The Siri Singh Sahib Ji has taught us that there is nothing more powerful than the power of prayer and the prayers that are consolidated through these Akhand Paths brings us protection, upliftment, prosperity, dignity, and grace through the radiant glory of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, himself. Individual sangat members can sign up to dedicate any one or number of these Akhand Paths throughout the year. This year we began publishing the weekly beginning and ending Hukams for each Akhand Path. Learn how to sign up enjoy reading the Hukams here.
Annual Rumallas Presented at the Golden Temple in Honor of Siri Singh Sahib Ji
When the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan was born, his family was so grateful that they gave the entire village gifts. From then on gifts of food and clothing were given to the community each year on his birthday. Keeping with the tradition and to honor Guru Ram Das, the Siri Singh Sahib would sponsor langar, give sweets and offer new rumallas to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Honoring this legacy, as his students, we have continued this birthday tradition of making an offering of new rumallas, expertly crafted by the renowned Surinder Singh, to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple each year. Our students at Miri Piri Academy who live near the Golden Temple, are present to make this offering on our behalf. You may make a donation towards our 2020 gift of rumallas here.
The Sacred Practice of Dasvandh
Dasvandh is a sacred act of giving; a giving that affirms one’s own direct relationship with the Infinite Cosmos and confirms the trust we experience of living in the Grace of God. We contribute to Dasvandh because our hearts are open and ready to receive all that we need – all that comes from the infinite abundance of the Universe.
We are grateful to all our donors, for their commitment, dedication and generosity in funding the programs and services of Sikh Dharma International.
May our hearts ever be overflowing with love and gratitude and may we all continue to grow and thrive through Good Will to All, Sarbat da Bala and Ever-rising Spirits, Cherdi Kala.
Blessings to All
Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh
The Sikh Dharma International Team