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All images are detailsfrom paintings by Amrit & Rabindra Kaur Singh. Copyright: The Singh Twins (www.SinghTwins.co.uk)

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Princess is My Middle Name

by FELICIA KAUR JODHKA

 

From as early as my preschool years, societal norms had engrained into my mind that I would grow up to become a beautiful princess who would find Prince Charming, marry him, and live a wonderful life.

Whether it was the tale of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or the timeless, enchanting classic of Snow White, the end result was always the same - a "happily-ever-after" ending.

Twenty-one years later, at the age of 27, I find, surprisingly, that the expectations are no different. With many of my high school, university, and medical school classmates now engaged or married, I realize that the time is apparently appropriate.

Furthermore, now that conversations with friends and relatives are saturated with questions and comments regarding where the marriage will take place and whether my parents are "actively seeking," I have no doubt that the time, my time in particular, has inevitably arrived.

There's just one problem - I haven't found Prince Charming yet.

And so, I've created a mental list of traits and characteristics that I am looking for; that is, a bearded, turban-wearing, vegetarian, educated, compassionate, tall, handsome, teetotaller Punjabi-American Gursikh with whom I can spend the rest of my life. It's every Sikhni's dream come true.

But for some reason, the thought of marrying just a Gursikh doesn't satisfy my desires, nor does it live up to my fantasy. That's because I have always envisioned "happily ever after" with my Guru by my side.

As far back as my pubescent years, while my teenage friends were gushing and fantasizing over becoming the brides of the Leonardo DiCaprios and the Justin Timberlakes of the time, I was in awe of Bibi Bhani and regarded her as the luckiest bride in the world.

To have married the Guru is to have married perfection itself. Bibi Bhani was the first female Sikh to have humbly and gracefully desired it, and to subsequently have successfully attained it. And it was officially and eloquently confirmed by her father, Guru Amar Das, when he sang the original fourth and final lavaan (Sikh marriage hymn) in sole honour of their heavenly bond:


The Lord God, my Lord and Master, blends with His bride, and her heart blossoms forth in the Naam.

The servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the fourth round of the marriage ceremony, we have found the Eternal Lord God. ||4||2|| [GGS:774)

If that isn't a happily-ever-after ending, then I truly don't know what is.

Their love for each other is the epitome of any fairy tale. It is what affirms her resolve as she sees the images flash before her of her future son, Guru Arjan Dev, being tortured and martyred on a hot, seething plate of fire.

With tears of love in her eyes, she clutches the palla even tighter and dwells on her Beloved, Guru Ram Das, standing before her. Clearly, it is her grace, her internal feminine beauty, her sacrifice, and her passion for her Guru that allows for the existence of such an exquisite matrimonial bond.

In fact, the beautiful shabads that flowed from the mouths of our Gurus in the romantic prose of Shingaar Ras are a testament to what Bibi Bhani's "true love" entails. In each shabad, it is the compassionate, humble, loving soul-bride adorned with ornaments and garlands who eagerly awaits the union of her Beloved Guru and who ultimately experiences true spiritual bliss:

The soul-bride is called to the Mansion of His Presence, and her Husband Lord ravishes her with Love [GGS:57].

What intense passion and fervor! No doubt, the soul-bride plays a tremendous role in demonstrating the dynamics between the human soul and God. Marriage becomes the medium of capturing the beautiful union and its essence.

And so, while I keep a list of traits and characteristics of potential future suitors tucked away in the far recesses of my mind, I also, more importantly, attempt to keep and nurture an ever-evolving relationship with my Guru in hopes of experiencing that "happily-ever-after" ending, (or is "beginning" the more appropriate term?), that I‘ve always fancied.

It seems right. After all, Princess is my middle name.

 

June 1, 2009

Conversation about this article

1: I.J. Singh (New York, U.S.A.), June 01, 2009, 12:53 PM.

Beautiful. Very well put!

2: Sukhmani Kaur (Placentia, California, U.S.A.), June 02, 2009, 8:25 PM.

Wow! I love your article! You are like my role model; I now look up to you! You have made me more confident about being a Sardarni and a Kaur than I ever was. Thank you so much!

3: Amardeep (U.S.A.), June 03, 2009, 8:44 AM.

With such aspirations, the soul bride is indeed a lucky one.

4: Pritam Singh Grewal (Canada), June 03, 2009, 10:52 AM.

What a wonderful depiction of traits and characteristics of the dream prince of a Sikhni! I believe the lavaan is a shabd by Guru Ram Das - Soohi Mahalla 4.

5: Felicia Kaur Jodhka (California, U.S.A.), June 03, 2009, 10:53 PM.

Indeed! The Shabad is by Guru Ram Das, as it was meant for his own marriage. Thank you for pointing that out, Pritam Singh Ji! And, thank you all for the encouragement!

6: Dharamveer Singh (Mumbai, India), July 13, 2009, 7:26 AM.

I am glad to have known something I was totally unaware of. I keep discovering more and more everyday and that is why I like to read sikhchic.com. But Singh ji, there is one thing I want to point out: the last picture on the right side. It shows Zee TV, a liquor bottle which seems like a champagne bottle due to its cork. I just wanted to point it out that maybe in one of a million chances you probably missed the details. It might be an OK picture but it outshadows the beauty of the photos above it. Just a humble suggestion, dear editor :-) [Editor: We assumed that it was non-alcoholic champagne, which we get here in North America, and which many of us we imbibe on at parties.]

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