2016 was the year I came to the realization life no longer had joy. On the outside life was satisfying from every metric society would measure success by. Internally there was a discontentment with life. After a series of difficult personal events I decided to take a year off work and assess what was lacking in my life.
My experiences have taught me, when your intentions are purposeful life holds your hand and guides you.
When I was young, I had fallen in love with the Bani in the Guru Granth Sahib. I had developed what had felt like a unique understanding of Gurbani. An understanding that spoke of love. Only love. During my year off, I realized I have been neglecting a deep desire to move closer to my Guru and I decided now was the time to learn more about the content of Gurbani.
My brother in law told me about a gentleman named Harinder Singh and an organization named SikhRI if I wanted to learn more about Sikhi. The day I visited the Sikhri website was the day enrolment for Sidak 2016 was opened. I saw information relating to a course named Gurbani 101 which read “Gurbani 101 is a survey course that familiarizes students with the structure, languages and themes of the Guru Granth Sahib.” I was floored! Finally! A source of meaningful content. Finally, I could embark on a journey to learn more about what I believed along with an understanding of Bani. I registered for Gurbani 101 immediately.
The experience of Sidak has been an integral part of my journey and reflections. The Sidak 2016 group was a diverse group with diverse ideologies, identities and life experience. This diversity built a bond between the participants since everyone had something to learn from their fellow participants.
The location could not have been more perfect given the intent of the program. You felt like you were closer to nature and removed from the noise of life. The morning Divan was a peaceful way to wake up to the world and awaken the world.
For me personally, I have always felt lack of worth in speaking or connecting with the Guru Granth Sahib in a Gurdwara settings. I grew up with a reinforced belief that I just didn’t look the part to be able to take Hukam from the Guru Granth Sahib or actively participate in Divan.
I am what many individuals refer to as a “Sehajdhari” Sikh. However, at Sidak there weren’t groupings of Sikhs. We were all Sikhs; our identities were shaped by our life experiences and there was no critique of our beliefs. There was no discrimination to subtly state that someone was “not Sikh enough.”
I loved taking my first Hukam! Most importantly I loved the support of the instructors in assisting all the students with Kirtan practice, taking Hukam, and doing Ardas. It was a safe atmosphere to learn.
I loved our Gurbani 101 class. The personality of our instructor Surender Pal Singh was instrumental in relieving the pressure the students felt of not knowing enough. His candor, and relaxed personality is what made learning fun. The organized, articulated and focused approach of class instruction allowed the class to exceed all expectations.
What made Sidak a remarkable experience was the leadership of those running the program. Enough cannot be said of the warmth and grace Inni Kaur exudes without saying a word. She made every student feel at ease.
I walked away from Sidak with the understanding that Sikhi is love and it is the foundation of our connection with the divine and our own life. Most importantly I have walked away with relationships that have become a part of my life’s journey.
Jasdeep Kaur Sidak Alumni