“It was the greatest sacrifice, which was offered. Guru Arjun offered himself against tyranny. Guru Teg Bahadur offered himself against injustice and Akal Takhat offered itself against the treacherous scheme of ungodliness. The throne of God itself put itself on the line. The martyrdom of the Akal Takhat is a living symbology, it is very subtle symbology, for all of us who understand the soul, the heart and the living principle of the universe. Those who believe in peace, also believe not to disturb the source of the peace.”
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji from the January 6, 1987 gurdwara lecture featured in “The Awakening of the Khalsa” video series debuting April 2009 on www.sikhdharma .org and on JUS Punjabi Cable Television.
“The Awakening of the Khalsa” video series, produced and developed by Sikh Dharma International in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple, explores the martyrdom of the Akal Takhat, the holy Sikh throne of temporal sovereignty in Amritsar, India. This 10-part video series debuts in April 2009 on JUS Punjabi TV, the first American-Punjabi cable television station; as well as on Sikh Dharma International’s website https://www.sikhdharma.org/. The programs feature the gurdwara lectures of the late Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, PhD, who bore the ministerial title of Siri Singh Sahib of Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere.
The lectures were given by the Siri Singh Sahib from the mid-1980’s until his death at age 76 in October 2004. He spoke at monthly gurdwaras commemorating the attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the Indian government on June 6, 1984. On that day, a part of the temple complex known as Akal Takhat (Undying Throne of God) was destroyed, followed by years of strife and bloodshed in the Punjab region in which thousands of Sikhs were killed.
“During the time when the Akal Takhat martyred itself and in the aftermath, the Siri Singh Sahib held a very unique space of helping the community understand and deal with a really incomprehensible tragedy that befell the Sikh community in India,” said Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa, Creative Director of Sikh Dharma International.
“He spoke from the perspective of Gurbani; that everything that happens is orchestrated by the hand of God. Therefore, he spoke from a very spiritual perspective that said there is a purpose for why this happened. He gave so many beautiful lectures during the sixth of the month gurdwaras where he explained that the Akal Takhat is not just a building; it is a consciousness brought to earth. It is a throne that rules people who want to live in their Infinity and their deathlessness. It is a profoundly mystical, sacred place.”
According to Penny Yogiraj Sandhu, founder of JUS Punjabi TV, English-language programming for Sikhs in the West is growing more popular. “Parents are excited to have spiritual programming for their children, which is why we contacted Sikh Dharma International to find out if they could provide some educational material for our audiences,” Yogiraj Sandhu noted.
“There was a synchronicity in the development of the ‘Light of the Shabad Guru’ gurdwara videos, which eventually led to the ‘Awakening of the Khalsa’ series,” said Ek Ong Kaar Kaur. “It was around the time of the 300th anniversary of the Guru Gaddee and we wanted to find a way to preserve the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib about the technology of Shabad Guru. At that time Penny Yogiraj contacted Sikh Dharma International about providing spiritual programming and our project was born.”
The Akal Takhat gurdwaras began after the attack on June 6, 1984 and continue today on the 6th of every month as a regular commemoration in Espanola, NM as well as Los Angeles, CA and other cities. Siri Singh Sahib’s inspirational talks were videotaped and required digital re-mastering in order to be utilized for cable television and website broadcast.
The project involved many hours of technical and editorial effort by different parties in order to come to fruition. The lectures were selected and reviewed, followed by a very sophisticated process of digital preservation and sound re-mastering. Finally, the videos were remixed and prepared for broadcast at Convivial Studios in New Mexico, owned by two of Yogi Bhajan’s (Siri Singh Sahib’s) yoga students.
“He spoke from the perspective of Gurbani; that everything that happens is orchestrated by God…he gave so many beautiful lectures during the sixth of the month gurdwaras where he explained that the Akal Takhat is not just a building; it is a consciousness brought to earth. It is a throne that rules people who want to live in their Infinity and their deathlessness. It is a profoundly mystical, sacred place.”
The first video series of lectures by the Siri Singh Sahib that was made available for broadcast was titled “Light of the Shabad Guru.” This series contains 23 lectures that are now preserved for posterity in archival format and are available to view here: Light of the Shabad Guru Series. Many donors contributed to this project, including individuals and businesses from the Sikh community as well as members of the International Khalsa Council, a leadership body of ministers founded by Siri Singh Sahib to serve the growing Khalsa spirit around the globe. A grant from a Sikh Dharma funding organization also supported this project.
The Awakening of the Khalsa is the second video series of lectures by the Siri Singh Sahib created for broadcast. This series commemorates a poignant and devastating time in Sikh history. In times of difficulty, the Sikh Gurus called upon their followers to rise above the challenges and to see God’s actions in all. During this season of Baisakhi renewal there is again a hope for peace and understanding as offered by this timeless series of talks by a spiritual teacher whose life bridged both the Eastern and Western cultures.”The Awakening of the Khalsa” premiered in April 2009 on JUS Punjabi.
SS Sarb Nam Kaur Khalsa resides in Espanola, New Mexico. She is an ordained minister of Sikh Dharma and a student of Siri Singh Sahib since 1982.