It’s tradition here…
On the morning of Guru Nanak Sahib’s Gurpurab, shortly after the conclusion of Asa Ki Vaar, the entire sangat makes its way outside for a short nagar kirtan around the parking lot led by the Panj Pyaaray, concluding at the Nishaan Sahib.
After a short ardaas, sevadaars leap to the base of the Nishaan Sahib and hoist a beautiful new flag, replacing the weathered one, to the sounds of bellowing jakaaray.
I’ve seen it dozens of times
Sometimes I take it for granted
But this morning, I wanted to see it
And despite the cold, I wanted my children to stand with us and watch it too.
I wonder if other faiths celebrate their founder’s birthday by hoisting a flag.
I don’t believe Guru Sahib created the order of the Khalsa for us to be mere spectators
Simply reciting prayers, sitting in sangat – then watch the rest of life go by
He did not create a religion for us…he created a way of life
He gave us his uniform and the inspiration to move mountains
He gave us this unique look and identity, not to isolate ourselves from society
But to provide us a sense of discipline and a code to live by
So we can in turn give back to humanity
To me, this Nishan Sahib means that we are to live a life bigger than ourselves
To serve a greater cause
Why did I stand out there to watch the flag being raised?
Because that greater cause often comes at a price.
There have been so many sacrifices…
Those who gave their tomorrow for our today
So we could live our lives…
Often times we look back at our history and take such inspiration from the sacrifices
But rarely look any further
Sometimes I wonder…what was it?
What made the Chhotte Sahibzadey, a 7 and 9 year old, give their life before giving up their faith?
What drove Baba Deep Singh to march in to his final battle win the Afghans?
What made Bhai Mani Singh endure being cut limb by limb before renouncing his faith?
What made Bhai Taru Singh choose to be brutally tortured before giving up his Sikhi?
History tells us why they did it
But what motivated them?
What inspired them?
What gave them the courage?
I believe it is the Guru’s Shabad that allowed them to live such extraordinary lives
And give their life in such extraordinary ways
To live and die with dignity
And empower ordinary people in the process
The Guru’s Shabad…the Word…has given our people courage for over 500 years.
So how fitting we raise the flag on the day we remember Guru Nanak
Who revealed the word to the world.
I’m not sure what kept us out there in the cold watching the Nishaan Sahib flying high
But I couldn’t stop looking at it.
I wanted my children to see it
And hold that image close
So it stays etched in their minds forever