The skylight at the entry of Guru Ram Das Ashram in Los Angeles was empty for years. Then suddenly I realized that the 4 white trapezoidal spaces were like canvases. I immediately imagined the inspirational images that were going to populate them: the first 4 Mehl.
I humbly started sketching Guru Nanak, conveying all my devotion to Him, paying homage with this offering to my beloved GRDA, the place that allowed me to first experience Chardi Kala.
Guru Nanak greets the devotees entering the divine space of the Gurdwara, sitting in elegant calmness, engaging and inspiring us to be still in our own essence and beauty. All creatures gather around His radiant presence in great reverence, feeling safe and in harmony with the entire Universe.
The sequence moves clockwise: next panel depicts Guru Angad joyfully inspired, formulating the Gurumukhi alphabet. The letters are flying around carrying the high vibration of the Shabad Guru that permeates the entire space. Devotees are approaching, called by the Naad (myself and my son as well) praying in humble devotion and great expectation. The Ek Ong Kar above shines the luminosity of the Naam, while on the other side the first 2 Mehl walk side by side. Lahna carries a full basket of mustard, not bothered by the multiple stains on his good chola, as he is fully absorbed on his seva.
Third panel: I see Guru Amar Das humbly sitting at the bottom of Goindwal, dispensing fresh fragrant flowers to all of us. The more humble we are the better we can serve each other. He reminds me to always share an innocent heart in a youthful and joyful way. The vignettes above are reminders of his seva and how greatly he served in the light of equanimity, promoting and holding a high status for women.
The panel of Guru Ram Das lies above the Pullki Sahib. He is the Raj Yog, he is the entry, the access to the Golden Temple, as he started this divine project. Royal columns, fragrant blossoming trees and succulent mangos are framing his crystal pure presence. He graciously sits on a lotus, surrounded by the holy water charged with potential miracles. With his gesture, he shows us the way toward the highest path of pure light and beauty: the path of a prayerful heart.
“You, only You Guru Ram Das, can reside in this heart of mine. Today, tomorrow, forever”. This is my daily prayer.
Siri Kartar lives in Malibu, California and is a member of the Los Angeles Sikh community. To see more examples of her work visit sirikartar.com
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