Sunday, June 16, 2024

Vaisakhi and I The Journey

Inni Kaur Darpan, 15 Apr, 2024
  • Vaisakhi and I The Journey

Explore the spiritual journey of Inni Kaur as she reflects on the profound significance of Vaisakhi, drawing parallels between the historical events of 1699 and her path of self-discovery. Embracing the name "Kaur," she finds liberation and self-acceptance. Through trials and triumphs, she discovers the transformative power of love within the House of Nanak, enriching her life with Sabad (Infinite Wisdom).

Vaisakhi & I

For a Sikh, Vaisakhi reverberates with the resounding echoes of 1699, where the 10th Patshah, the Tenth Sovereign, left an indelible mark on Sikh history. This extraordinary event transcends the confines of time, engraving itself deeply into our collective consciousness.

The historic Vaisakhi of 1699 pulses vividly within me, intricately woven into the very fabric of my existence. It feels as though it resides within the genetic makeup of every Sikh, an integral component of our identity. Regardless of geographical boundaries, on this momentous day, every Sikh endeavors to go to a gurduara (Sikh place of learning and worship), immerse themselves in the sangat (congregation), and commemorate this significant occasion.

Our recollections of Vaisakhi vary, reflecting the diverse stages of our Sikhi journey.

Stories of Vaisakhi nurtured me, yet its significance eluded me. It wasn't until despair cloaked me in its shroud that a Voice thundered within:

"You are not a commodity,

You are not someone's property.

You are a spark of Divinity,

Recognize your worth.

I give you the name 'Kaur.'

It belongs to you.

Stand tall, my child.

I am with you."

In that transcendent moment, I embraced "Kaur" with fervor. I grasped, on myriad levels, the profound gift bestowed upon me. It occurred in my forties, an epiphany amidst the mundane.

Before then, "Kaur" and I were strangers.

But now, we are kin.

That moment became my personal Vaisakhi;

A treasure cherished with every breath.

Embracing Kaur unfettered my spirit, unleashing a torrent of transformative freedom. The intensity of this liberation wrought profound changes, stirring tumult within relationships—both cherished bonds and those professing affection. Yet, despite the upheaval, retreat was not an option, for I had savored the divine "Nectar" and yearned for its essence above all else.

Surrender ensued, though I had once perceived it as a mark of weakness. Images of white flags and conquering armies loomed large whenever the notion of surrender brushed my consciousness. Yet, this surrender was unlike any other.

It wasn't merely I who surrendered; it was the very essence of my being that yielded willingly. My head bowed instinctively, my heart unfurled like a blossom in spring, and a radiant warmth of love ensued. I felt cradled, nestled within the comforting embrace of Gurbani.

The Guru says:

ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥

ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥

ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥

ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥

"If you are excited to play the game of love,

come to my street with your head placed on the palm.

Once you place your foot on this path,

do not hesitate to offer your head."

-Guru Granth Sahib 1410

 So, I tread upon this Path, its challenges as intricate as a hair's breadth and its trials as piercing as a double-edged sword.

In the mosaic of my journey, I recall a line from Bhai Vir Singh's "Kalgidhar Chamatkar": “Sikhi is love; Sikhi is faith” (Sikhi piar hai, Sikhi sidak hai - ਸਿੱਖੀ ਪਿਆਰ ਹੈ, ਸਿੱਖੀ ਸਿਦਕ ਹੈ).

I'm repeatedly asked: "Why this path?". The answer is quite simple. The love I've discovered within the House of Nanak is a love that tenderly nurtured me, fostering my growth and flourishing.

Sikhi is indeed love.

I bear witness to that truth.

Love is not a concept but an experience woven into the fabric of relationships. The bond between Guru and Sikh exemplifies this, where proximity to the Guru deepens the connection exponentially.

For me, Guru is Sabad.

Sabad entered.

My life transformed.

The slumber ended.

My eyes opened.

I see beauty all around.

It was always there;

I simply lacked the discernment to perceive it.

Embracing Kaur has given me a guiding light, leading me towards self-acceptance and embracing every facet of myself, including imperfections. In Sikhi, Guru is Perfection, and I am a work in progress.

Vaisakhi transcends its commemorative essence, intricately weaving itself into the fabric of my existence. Unexpectedly, I find myself whisked away to the Vaisakhi of 1699, its significance never distant from my consciousness. When queried, "Who were you before Kaur?" I'm left grappling for words. Often, I feign ignorance, and if pressed further, I simply concede, "I was nothing: I was a void."

I've weathered storms before Sikhi enveloped me in its embrace.

I am now Kaur, and that's the essence of my being.

Perhaps it seems peculiar, or perhaps not, but I believe the Vaisakhi of 1699 liberated me. There's no retreat once you've tasted the sweet nectar of freedom. It all boils down to relationships, and I yearn for this bond to define my existence.

I regard the Gifts as my shingar, my adornments, mirroring the divine reflection of Guru.

They stand as emblems of love, manifestations of belonging.

My kesh (hair) flourishes with tenderness; I now revere them my tresses.

The kara (steel bracelet) graces my wrist; it's the sole jewel I cherish.

I no longer brandish the kirpan as a mere sword. Instead, it's an instrument of compassion wielded with reverence. I pine for divine virtues to imbue my being before I deem myself worthy of bearing this Gift.

It took time to reach this state of mind. Yet, in Sikhi, the journey is the destination—an ongoing evolution towards spiritual fulfillment. I am cognizant that Sabad's profound presence enriches and embellishes my life.

I genuinely believe that every Sikh shares a profound connection with Sabad, each in their own unique way. Sabad's ineffable beauty leaves an indelible mark on all who encounter its divine essence.

In my mind's eye, I see us all as radiant jewels adorning the crown of Sikhi. Some shine like diamonds, emeralds, and rubies, while others are the solid gold upon which these precious gems rest. Yet, all jewels require refinement to reveal their true splendor, a process gracefully undertaken by the Guru.

We are indeed all jewels in the glorious crown of Sikhi.

This Vaisakhi, let us fervently yearn for refinement.

Let us earnestly aspire to be adorned with "The 5 Gifts."

Let us passionately embody the noble ideals of the Vaisakhi of 1699.

And I wonder, when will the Kirpan embrace me in its compassionate embrace?

About the author: 

Inni Kaur is the Creative Director at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). She has served SikhRI in several capacities since 2010, including Chair of the Board and, most recently, CEO. 

She is a frequent speaker at community and interfaith events, the U.S. Office of the Pentagon Chaplin, and several universities. She is a passionate author, poet, and artist. Her published works include Journey with the Gurus, a children’s book series inspired by the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Sahib, Sakhi-Time with Nani jiThank-You VahiguruDaddy’s Turban, and The Story of Us.

She is passionately involved in transcreating Sabad (Infinite-Wisdom) and the writings of Bhai Vir Singh.

To Inni, every single day is a celebration. Her writing is inspired by that same outlook on life, as well as Sikh thought. While she writes anytime the spirit moves her, she thoroughly enjoys watching the clouds pass her, taking long, mindful walks to appreciate nature’s innate beauty, and painting abstract artwork.

Inni Kaur resides with her family in the United States.












Breaking the Chains: Unraveling Intergenerational Trauma

Breaking the Chains: Unraveling Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma is when traumatic experiences are transferred from parents to children through biological changes in the body or learnt behaviors. Trauma is the emotional response caused by a singular or series of distressing events that are outside one’s ability to cope. These traumatic roots run deep, with events like colonization and the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan leaving profound scars within our community. 

Tackling Cyberbullying Digital Empathy in the Age of AI

Tackling Cyberbullying Digital Empathy in the Age of AI

The rise of social media platforms and online forums has connected people globally, fostering communication and collaboration. However, this interconnectedness has also opened the door to malicious behavior, with cyberbullying emerging as a formidable threat. Unlike traditional forms of bullying, cyberbullying transcends physical boundaries, allowing perpetrators to target individuals relentlessly through the anonymity afforded by the internet.

Balancing Acts The Impact of Work Hour Restrictions on International Students

Balancing Acts The Impact of Work Hour Restrictions on International Students

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation stipulates that international students holding a study permit without a work permit are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week off-campus during the academic session, while they are permitted to work full-time during breaks between sessions. On-campus work has no hourly restrictions. Violation of this work cap, as outlined by the Government of Canada, may result in severe consequences, including the loss of student status, denial of approval for future study or work permits, or even deportation. 

Building Tomorrow Canada's Immigration Plans Amidst Affordable Housing Realities

Building Tomorrow Canada's Immigration Plans Amidst Affordable Housing Realities

In a bold move to shape its demographic landscape, Canada is gearing up to welcome a significant influx of immigrants, with the government's announced targets aiming to bring in 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, escalating to 500,000 in 2025, and maintaining that level in 2026. This strategic push is propelled by the twin engines of economic growth and a compassionate response to global humanitarian crises. 

Community in Crisis A Surge in Local Crime and Safety Concerns

Community in Crisis A Surge in Local Crime and Safety Concerns

In the heart of Surrey's bustling business district, a sense of unease has settled following a series of alarming incidents that have gripped the community. The seemingly business-as-usual surroundings of the Payal Business Centre, home to a myriad of South Asian businesses, have been marred by a recent surge in criminal activities, raising concerns among residents and entrepreneurs alike.

Hunger on the Rise Canadian Food Banks in High Demand

Hunger on the Rise Canadian Food Banks in High Demand

Earlier this year, there were an unprecedented 1.9 million visits to food banks in Canada. This is a 32% increase from 2022 and a 78% increase since before the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, food banks are approaching 2024 with growing concerns as the sustained increase in demand places additional strain on their resources and capacities.