Monday, August 29, 2005

KAD - My mother's new class

Lastly, Teacher's(mom) corner, which is yet to be fixed....for she is gonna do it all by herself. That's all for the KAD's :)

This is Listening center on one end, computer center on another and the Math board on the top.

This is the Diversity board, with Sand table at one end and Art center at another. Because of limited space, mom will have to do a lot of work before and a lot of cleaning after :(

This is at the entrance: The space, to which later all the student names were posted, is the storage space for all the kids. It was very dirty initially, so mom got me to cover eevery block with colourful boards. fun! Oh yeah and teaching colour board at the top. Also, I notice the dull looking but interesting Chicken-chicks welcome poster at the door.

This is actually the Poet's corner, but for now used as a Welcoming board!

This is my favourite center, both cuz of its set up (books with rocking couch...whohoo) and the purpose (yes, I'm a nerd!): READING CENTER

This is the front right corner of the room. Actually, because of a sudden increase in the number od students, this classroom was alloted to Kindergarten. But since it is much smaller in size than grade K is suppose to be, we had to redo the room 3 times to make sure that everything fits right with all the centres and that it still has room for kids to move freely.

Finally, mom's classroom is ready :D. Athough it was fun, by the third day, I was kinda drained out with all the bs - all the stuff that is not directly related to teaching. But I guess it is this stuff that attracts these toddlers to classrooms and keep them engaged. In India, education is so differently delivered. Although I like the approach, it is kinda blinded. But whatever, it was all in good fun! Here are some pics:

This is very strange and of course annoying. Cuz i am trying to post the pics, in a certain order and I want to post comments accordingly...but no, my computer illiteracy must hamper my excitement....oh come on!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Translation (Part I) and My background history

I'll start by translating the first few paragraphs of this article that I was talking about. I think it shall take me about a couple of months to complete this task fully. And lemme apologize for my weak translation...I'll try to improve it with guidance from someone sometime soon:)


Kiv Sachiara Hoyiae
By: Sant Variam Singh

The article starts with three techniques which are called Gian (Knowledge), Dhian (Concentration) and Simran (Repeating the name). Bhai Gurdas ij has said:
Gian dhian Simran jugat
Koonj kuram hans vans vadanda.
Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 16/13

We should do simran like a Koonj. It is popular about this bird that when winter hits and the eastern mountains are covered by snow, these birds migrate to India for summers. But before they leave, they lay their eggs in those mountains and keep them at a safe spot. They live in the water and continuously meditate on their eggs. It is through their intense concentration, simran and devotion to their hatchlings from those eggs, that they teach their offsprings to fulfill their basic necessities of food and shelter. This kind of love is called Vaastal Pyaar (love). This kind of power to do simran is so powerful, as is described in the following verse by Guru Maharaj:
Uddai ood aave se kosa tis paache bachre charya.
Tin kavan khalaave kavan chugave man meh simran kariya.
Panna – 10

The second strategy is that of concentration. Here the author used the example of tortoises. It is popularly known about them that when they lay their eggs, they come out of water and dig a hole in the sand and place their eggs their, and safely cover it and return back to water. The tortoise hatches the eggs through mere concentration on them. The writer says that being able to concentrate is a great power. A person who is able to achieve it is capable of divine actions. These tortoises, through their power of concentration, hatch their eggs and teach their offsprings not to go towards dryness. These turtles naturally go toward the water as their parent intended.

The third strategy is explained with the help of the swan analogy. Swans are popular for their supreme knowledge and judgment. If milk is offered to swans, they don’t drink the water content of the milk. Their beaks are so sour, that when they dip it in the bowl of milk, soon after, the milk breaks down into a solution-substrate mixture where the pure milk concentrates into small balls and the water is left behind. Swans feed themselves on these while leaving the impurity (water in this case) behind. The writer explains that like the mixture of water and milk, our thinking power and the worldly things are intertwined. The wise must alienate the concentration of the mind from the worldly matters and must join his mind and soul into learning about the almighty God. It is through the knowledge he obtains that he can transform his being into the oneness aligned with the will of God.

Hence, these are the three strategies to give yourself fully to God.

I remember that conversation with mamu (uncle: mother’s brother. Although the term is mama, I modify it to suit his cute and adorable character) about 3 weeks ago. It had been a very long time since I was attracted to Sikhi. It is a long story. I was born and raised in the holy city of Amritsar. And as the truth to all things great, that we do not value them enough when they are so readily available to us. We used to go to the Gurudwara every Sunday – almost. Our favourite family spot was Baba Deep Singh Shaheed’s gurughar. It felt like home. Sri Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) was not that far either, but the routes were more crowded and my parents had a natural affiliation to Shaheedan Vaala Gurughar (Baba Deep Singh’s). The visit to Golden Temple used to happen once in 2 months or every time someone was visiting from outside the city. My mother is the ones who says Japuji Sahib every morning, every since I know and also Sukhmani Sahib quite frequently. We had a HUGE painting of Baba Deep Singh ji’s in our living room. So, I was in touch with religion always. But it was in April 1999 Baisakhi, that I realized what big deal Khalsa saajana is. That was the beginning of my never ending phases of in and out of love or effort. For the first time I wrote a lot about that experience of wanting to be an Amritdhari Sikh in my then personal diary. I guess a few months after the adrenaline rush had exhausted. Since then, come April, I’d be in the same struggle. For the past 3 years, there are 2 main timings: April and Sep. Things took the most serious turn, when I actually moved a real step forward, in the second year at Waterloo University. The first year was fine, not eventful at all, except great regard for Parambir, the then President of SSA. But the following year, I became an active member of SSA and I took a course in Sikhism for a whole semester. It was revolutionizing. Four months of nitnem (only Japuji Sahib, Sukhmani Sahib and Chaupai Sahib), although not fully disciplined was incredible. Then real readings and issues of Sikhism and the diaspora – I was all activated in Sikhism. The members of the SSA were devout Sikhs, all chardi kala. Bhainji Sarbloh was sooo kind and it was an atmosphere I had never experienced before. I had practically NEVER before been with so many Amrit-chak people in my vicinity at any given time (except for Gurughars, but that’s different). I had received Satsangat. I was closer to Waheguru. Then I left Loo and things have never reverted back to that year’s significance. And this year, I don’t know when and how, but I just kept slipping farther and farther from Babaji. I think I might be able to recall parts of it. As much as I am ashamed to say the following statement: I was partly disappointed by some findings about Gurbani. I had always been excited about reading Sri Guru Granth Sahib. But anything I read, the conclusion was only one: Ishq Hakiki: Love with God. I read the English translation of Anand Karaj, and again it is all about attaining God. I, in all shame, guilt and honesty, was disappointed. Where is a statement about this life; about all the other things about daily matters. If this world is a stage and we are mere actors; and if this world is a show, when the purpose behind is vague, divine and hidden, we cannot forget that there is a show no matter what. That show also has rules and the characters their dialogues and roles. I wanted to be a good actor. I wanted to know how to solve problems that happen during the show. I wanted clear responses from the director/producer. But the message I was receiving from all His channels was only about the divine, hidden purpose: Love of God. I was frustrated and hence had almost totally lost touch with Waheguru. Otherwise, I know I have kept the Mul Mantra very close to my swaas on a daily basis, crisis to happiness basis. I had lost the touch of my Lord and it did not even hit me; it did not bother me: My soul was dying. I told mamu about it and then he gave me these three references from this article that was published in a magazine that he is registered to receive all the time, called Aatam Marg (Soul path – my translation is horrible…pardon moi!). And it helped me. It kicked through the hard build of numbness to sensation of Divine Truth and love. I think I was much more firm on holding on to the trust. It is hard to contemplate now, the then shaken up character of mine.

Tis true: The life has several challenges, souls several musings and the world several distractions. In spite of all this, there is a purpose, a supreme connection that cannot be forgotten – the basis of all that is. I go to shopping for a few hours, school for a day, or move out for 2 yrs – I never forget how crazily I love my parents and family. Waheguru is the giver of those characters for my affiliation in this world drama. How can I not thank my director every second to keep me in the safest and kindest hands?

Many a times, things don’t go right. Maybe we have exaggerated expectations of painless, our short-term-goal-fulfilling, easy life. I hate when dissatisfaction creeps in and doubt takes over. I want to love Satguru unconditionally. I know that all is happening in his will and for my good. I also know that dissatisfaction shall cease to exist when I accept his Hukam in peace and entirety. Yet, I stumble, again and again and yet again.

I don’t know why I become the girl who forgot her own primary statement in the Sikhism class @ Uni:
“You do not trust, if you ever doubt it.”
Moreover Faith is a tight word, with no space for doubt.
Waheguru, take me back and this time don’t place me down, away from your arms. If you do, hold my hand. And if that aint possible either, never let your feet be far away from my mustak. And babaji, if I lose it all, let not Your footprints be erased with time – for you are kind and I shall rise someday to walk up straight on your chosen path, without having my feet or mind stumble.

Waheguru! Waheguru! Waheguru! Dhan Waheguru!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

All this time, I couldn't wait to start on my path of enlightenment and when I finally succeeded through the first step, I stumble on several unexpected hurdles...I guess hurdles, almost always are unexpected! Well, as silly as it sounds, I forgot my username. Maybe that is misleading....cuz in reality, I thought I had a certain something as my username, until much later when I discovered, that it aint true - felt very weird [confirms that I should never be used as a prospective substanital evidence for any trials.] And now, I'm kinda busy with Mom's starting her new class. My mom is a teacher and she is going to start teaching Kindergarten. I could have never imagined how demanding this task is. She has some welcoming/introductory party for the kids and the parents on the 30th and God! there is so much to accomplish until then, which she has asked me to help her with. It was fun though. I visited her school today. God, I loveeee kids. It's fun, well if not under such queer eye of observance and strangelled by limiting grade expectations... But anyhow, we did lotsa shopping and did I go crazy or what!! I wish the school would fund you for all these requirements, but whatever! All shall be worth it, if mom excels in her endeavours :D

On the path to Sikhi: I have finally finsihed reading 3/4 articles that Mamu sent me. It is quite a painstaking task to read in Punjabi and to keep your attmetion focussed through it all. But mum's strategy definitely speedened the process: Read Aloud! It helps. The first article, which was mainly about meditation and Naam Jappana was INCREDIBLE. It shall be quite a task to translate it to the max in English, which by the way is my starting goal for this web site. English translation, although hard, shall make it very easy for me to refer to it as often as I'll like!
Also, I was counting the number of Gurudwaras in Toronto and vicinity - we counted till 11, which I think is nice! This is another of my goals, to visit them and write about them. This is one of my big things. I am fascinated by Gurudwaras - the Gurughars: House of God. I have recently realized that Sikhism truly is a world religion and by having gurudwaras around the world, without a history to it (like the ones in India and Pakistan), they make a statement about Guru's Sikhs. Its incredible. Psychology, religion, spirituality and people are my interests. And the Houses of God, which His disciples bring to life, to have Waheguru close to thier life, close to their hearts to rescue them and support them. I wish to visit all the gurudwaras in the world. Spiritual monuments of divinity - God on earth.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Finally, The Beginning

Finally, I've been able to set up the blog. I could not, for the longest time figure out the URL thing...ugh

I'm really excited and I am hoping to use this space to make more space for Sikhi in my life and me. May Waheguru bring me very close to Him and keep me there. This blog has given me a medium, more like a drive to start afresh on the path toward/of Sikhi.

I wanna make a note of how and why I decided to start this blog: It all started with Sikhnet and most importantly from the religiously disciplined reading of Gurumustak Singh Khalsa's blog. I can't thank him enough to bring me at least to the right doorstep, all excited to cherish the blessing I am born with, that is Sikhism. I'll always owe him!

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru ji ki Fateh!!!