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I Do Not Have To Know:
Letters from Espanola





It is April, and time for Vaisakhi.

Vaisakhi always gives me a chance to reflect on the Amrit ceremony: what it means to me, and how it has changed my life.

I would have never predicted, when I was younger, that I would have chosen to commit to a particular spiritual path or discipline. In my youth, I definitely had a rebellious, free-spirit. Nobody could tell me what to do, and I guarded that freedom fiercely.

But step by step, day by day, life changes you. Nine years ago, I realized that I just couldn't do it on my own anymore. That I had reached a point in my life where I needed to give it all to a Higher Power, a Higher Guide and let go.

It was a moment of surrender.

Not some spiritually elevated blissful surrender. But surrender from feeling that the weight of life was about to crush me, and I needed more strength than I had on my own to get through.

When I took Amrit, to be perfectly honest, I did not have total faith or trust in the Guru. Like any committed relationship, you start where you start, and then you grow into it over time. Some aspects of the discipline, like not drinking alcohol or not cutting my hair, were easier to keep because I had been living that way for so long before I took Amrit.

Other aspects I keep developing. I do some of the banis every day. And some days I recite all of the nitnem banis. But it has not become a perfect discipline, even after so many years.

However, for me, the Amrit ceremony had less to do with the rules that I agreed to live by, and had far more to do with establishing a relationship with the Radiant Body of Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru never died. He transitioned to a more subtle plane of existence. And somehow, through the Amrit ceremony, a doorway opened between my soul and His soul. Between my life and His guidance.

I do not nderstand it. But I have felt it.

Each year, my understanding of what taking Amrit means,and what that relationship is about, gets deeper. This year, I have been thinking about what it means to give one's head.

The first Vaisakhi in 1699, Guruji asked for a head five times. And the Five Beloved Ones had the unique grace and courage to answer the call. They were willing to die, just because the Guru asked. Those first five opened the pathway for millions to follow. Millions of people over centuries of time.

Each of us, when we have taken Amrit, symbolically give our heads to the Guru, the way the Five Beloved Ones did.

But what does that mean, practically speaking?

To me, my head holds all the ideas I have about my life. How I think it should go. What I think I should do. What I imagine my future could look like. All the beliefs, all the ideas about what this gift of the breath of life could become, under the direction of my tiny little "I."

It can be terrifying to surrender all of that. To say, "My life really does belong to You. It really is Yours to do what You wish with it." I look that fear in the eye, and recognize that this is part and parcel of the Amrit ceremony. My commitment means that it is not up to me anymore. The Guru has my head. The Guru sets the direction.

When Guru Sahib called for a head, the Five Beloved Ones did not negotiate. They didn't raise their hands and say, "Excuse me, but could you explain what you will do with my head once I give it to you?"

The Guru asked unconditionally. They gave unconditionally.

Since I have been translating Sukhmani Sahib, one idea in gurbani has become clearer to me. There is a Cosmic Plan. Hukam. And the One who Sees it All knows how that Cosmic Plan needs to unfold. I, on the other hand, cannot see it all. I can
only see from my itty bitty perspective. The Creator sees more, knows more, and loves life based on Its perspective.

When we take Amrit and we give our head, it is like entering into a new relationship with the Cosmic Plan. We volunteer to serve it. The Guru has control. A General with his foot soldiers. Only the war is not an earthly war for territory or power. The fight
is to bring the heavens to the earth. To give humanity a chance to wake up to its own immortal nature. To live in that kindness, that grace and that dignity.

When I look around the world today, it seems impossible that this fight could ever be won. But when I look at my own life, and see what I have gained through this path over the years, I have to bow and say, "Victory is possible." That fight can be be won.

One heart at a time.

The Guru fights with compassion, for love to win. He knows the real battlefield, and the path of true victory. So to take Amrit is to say - I do not need to know why. You have the plans, You know the way.

My head belongs to You.


April 10, 2014

Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh  (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), April 10, 2014, 4:39 PM.

What a lovely journey of your growing pains and eventual surrender. "My head belongs to You". Please put all your inspired writings in book form as a guide and spiritual travelogue. Ek Ong Kaar Kaur ji, you are blessed.

2: Harpal Singh (Sydney, Australia), April 10, 2014, 11:53 PM.

One word: "Beautiful!"

3: Dya Singh (Melbourne, Australia), April 11, 2014, 2:25 PM.

Beautifully put, Ek Ong Kaar ji. Your sincerity is heartwarming. Yes, one heart at a time. Bless you.

4: Gurdip Singh Chana (London, United Kingdom), April 11, 2014, 4:31 PM.

At times this very thought passes through my head. Am 'I' in control or can I just surrender everything to Waheguru to deal with since we are the puppets and He is the puppeteer? A very thoughtful article - strikes a chord. This is what I call Sikhi - real living Sikhi - questioning life but being ego-less to surrender to His Will.

5: Sukhbir Singh (Hyderabad, India), April 14, 2014, 6:40 AM.

Happy Khalsa Saajna Day. Waheguru di Fateh, always.

6: G.P. Singh (San Antonio, Texas, USA), April 14, 2014, 7:34 AM.

Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing these awesome thoughts.

7: Jagmeet Kaur Chawla (Bhopal, MP, India), April 15, 2014, 7:55 AM.

Awesome. Sometimes we feel something written echoes our thoughts - this is what happened. I felt this is what I wanted to say but you have said it so eloquently and in such a beautiful way.

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