An inspirational story
I came in from the fields and found my wife sleeping, her head was down on the table, and there was some papers in her hand. Without disturbing her I gently removed them and read what she had written.
“Everything has been changing so suddenly, I don’t know who to tell, there is no one to tell, but I must tell someone, so I am just writing this to myself to try to organize my thoughts, to try to find some sense, to all the changes, recently, in my life.
My husband had been acting so strangely, weeping and talking about sleep and death. Then he met this unusual man, Sat Kartar Singh. This man is a Sikh. He wears a beard, and has uncut hair which he keeps bound in a turban. After this meeting my husband was much calmer, less disturbed, happy even, but still nothing has ever been normal again in the usual sense.
We went for keertan, to this Singhs home. The music was very beautiful, it wrenched my heart, and made me want to weep, I didn’t say anything, because I felt so strange, and the children’s father seemed so happy I didn’t want to break the spell.
Then a few mornings later he went running from the house. When he returned he seemed calmer, he told me we were going to a sikh gathering.
The smagham had the most unusual effect on me. It is hard to describe, but I must try. It has changed my whole life…
I met a very unusual woman there. She was a Singhni. I think she was the most beautifu l woman I have ever met in my life. Her face was radiant and glowed with sach light. Her eyes had sach depth, when I looked into them it was as though the universe opened up its mysteries to me. This woman Bibi ji, was unlike other woman, her face was covered with hair like a young man, soft black and curly. She sat quietly and greeted me quietly and softly. From the very first I was drawn to her. So many were staying at that gathering, she asked me to come and sleep with her and the other ladies. My husband joined the men, and children went off with others their own age.
Bibi ji slept completely covered with a black lo-ee. Or I was never sure that she was sleeping, she was so still. I found myself yearning to be like her. Like the Singhs she also kept her hair bound in a turban. I thought of all the women in my village, with their jewelry, make up lipstick, and nail polish, silk dresses, and artificial finery, none were so beautiful as Bibi ji. She had only 2 changes of clothes, very simple, one blue, and one white, and the ever present black lo-ee.
In the morning everyone began getting up very early, I heard strange sounds, as though there were many lovers, I was frightened and covered my face with my blanket. I slept very late. No one disturbed me. Later Bibi ji came to take me to the langer. I saw my husband there. He greeted me “Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fateh” I had never heard these words spoken before. I smiled and nodded.
I asked Bibi ji what the words meant. She said this is how Singhs greet each other.She told me when Guru gobind Singh the father of the Khalsa gave Amrit, he told Singhs to greet each other in this manner. I was even more curious. She explained about Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Nanak. I asked her “How does one become a Singh?” She said they must be given Guru jis Amrit, that is baptized.
Just then a very fierce looking Singh, carrying weapons, entered the langer. I must have looked alarmed, She said not to be afraid. He was our protector. Then she explained about the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. There was so much to learn. But I was so thirsty to hear everything. I can’t explain even now, to my self what was happening to me. It was so bewildering. I just knew I did not want to leave Bibi jis side.
She said “Lets go to the keertan.” She did keertan for one hour, the same 4 lines over and over,
Gurmukh pi-aaray aa-e mil, main chireen vichhunnay raam raajay. Mayraa man tan bahut bairaage-aa, har nain ras bhinnay. Main har prabh pi-aaraa das gur, mil har man mannay Haon moorakh kaarai laa-ee-aa, naanak har kammay
“I am unworthy. I am unworthy of your love.”
She was weeping. I was weeping. A beautiful young girl wiped the tears from her face as she sang. I wondered where her children and husband were. It was obvious to me that she was in some sort of deep mourning. I thought she must have lost a child. I learned later that this was mourning was called “vairaag” by the sikhs. It meant deep and urgent longing for the guru. I felt so much love for her.
That evening when we went for sleep. I asked her if she would wake me too, in the morning. She agreed, then, disappeared beneath her lo-ee.
I was sleeping face down, I heard “waheguru waheguru” just as I turned, she touched me, I gasped. An electrical current shot though my body shocking me. “Are you ok ?” she asked. I replied only that I had been startled. How could I explain?
She led me to the showers, “isnaan”, she said. During her bath she kept on some of her clothing. I was surprised, she said these are kachara, and kirpan, they are a part of me given to me at baptism I can never be separated from them… She explained more about the baptism, how one never removes hair and must keep a comb, and kara also, with one at all times. Her hair, kesh, fell to her knees gleaming as she washed, oiled, and combed it.
Beside her I felt utterly filthy, to my soul. I started weeping, I couldn’t stop my self, “No amount of water can ever clean me,” I sobbed. She put he r arms around me, lovingly and said, “Guru can wash you clean in an instant, when you receive His Amrit.”
We went to join the others. “Waheguru Waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru” Every one together, in once voice was calling “waheguru”; it was very comforting.
When I met my husband again , I said,” I want to take the Amrit.” He looked deeply into my eyes and smiled. It felt as though he touched my soul.
The thing is since baptism I have undergoing so many changes. Nothing has been easy, everything has been very difficult, and sometimes a real struggle. Those three hairs, I had plucked from my chin before, have turned to fifty. All my facial hair has gotten darker and much heavier. I don’t know what to do. I feel so hideous, and yet there is my Masters face looking back at me when ever I look in the mirror.
Some of my closest former friends are shunning me. I know it is not because they do not love me., They are uncomfortable, and so am I. But my farmer comes in from the fields happy now. He looks at me and says, “I feel so alive.” He tells me I am beautiful and the daughter of Guru Gobind singh, but it doesn’t stop the shame. The singhs give me so much love and treat me as their sister. But inside I see the beautiful smooth faces of other women, and I feel disfigured. Bibi ji was special, she had courage, I am not like her. I want to cover my face in shame. I weep into the ramalas and plead with Guru ji, for what? To make me like other women rather than like Him. I can’t ask for that, and so I just weep and feel ashamed. I feel like I am being punished for all my past misdeeds. Sometimes, I don’t know how I can bear it.
We went to another smagham. A young girl was washing feet. I heard her say, “Who is she she? She is so beautiful.” Later she met me and said, “They say you practice a different kind of Sikhism.” I replied, “There is only one Waheguru, What is different? We both love Him. Sikhism is Sikhism.” I wanted to tell her , “Yes, do AMrit vela, do wahegur u waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru. Do Naam simran.” But I couldn’t say anything.
I felt beautiful, but I know that I am not. It’s just vanity , this body is corruption, and it is rotting away. Nothing matters to me any more but Naam, and my Kakars and Paath. I can’t be separated from them, it would kill me. Literally I would die. Slip back into a partial person, not fit to be called human, consumed in pain, always trying to anesthetize myself with fruitless activities.
It is a struggle to wake up and do Paath. Sometimes we are so sleepy, we want to go for the bed, but we look at each other and remember how it was before, that is enough to wake us up again. I envy those born to this path, so pure and innocent, they don’t feel the traces of dirt…”
I put the papers down, and woke my wife, I pulled her into my arms, and looked in to her eyes, *HE* looked back at me.
“I didn’t know, you should have told me. I have been so selfish, thinking everything was me all this time. I thought you just did this for me. Forgive me.”
We both started weeping in to each others arms. “It will be ok, we’ll get through this with waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru.” Then we were weeping and laughing together.
The children came in and found us. They just looked at us like we were crazy,
“What’s for langar?” the little one asked.
‘Visar Nahee Datar Apanay Nam Deho’
‘Forget Me not O Giver, Give me your Name’