The Real Hustle
Over the years a surge of holy men, gurus and spiritual leaders have impregnated Punjab, and large parts of the world. But who do I believe and where should I actually go? Who is telling me the truth and who is in it to make a quick buck? Do these Gurus actually of fer anything different and do they all come from the real Guru’s school of teaching?
One thing I’ve realised is that this is nothing new. It’s actually a blast from the past. In Guru Tegh Bhadhur Ji’s time there were 22 fake gurus, all asking for gold coins. It was only until the Guru revealed himself to Makhan Shah Lubhana did the world come to know of our ninth Guru.
Like Makhan Shah it is actually our desperation and desire that leads us to our Guru. Our needs of marriage, family problems, and financial difficulties to name a few apply a burden of pressure on our shoulders, sometimes burdens that are too heavy for us to resolve ourselves. We are led to believe that only with the intervention of a supreme being can it be resolved. This is what leads to an explosion of fake gurus, who supposedly have all the answers and cures.
Punjab has been flooded with so-called religious men, who apparently hold not only all the cures but also all the votes in their local areas. Aushotosh from Nurmahel, Radha Swamis, Nirankaris, Darshan Dashis to name a few. But what is the common denominator? It is the exploitation of the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib Ji for their own personal gain, just to draw in naive followers.
The holy scriptures of Guru Granth Sahib Ji seem to be the marketing tool of choice used by most self proclaimed gurus, either by giving somebody a line to repeat or maybe just repeating the core message. So why are a lot of people turning to these gurus if their core message is just duplicated from Guru Granth Sahib Ji? Are these fakes therefore really needed?
I’ve realised that the message of Guru Granth Sahib Ji can be difficult to understand, without putting in time and effort to understand what’s being read. Somebody explaining to us the divine messages within Guru Granth Sahib Ji is attractive and captivating, as I’ve been drawn
in on many occasions. So when somebody explains a line or verse, it is so appealing that we are sucked in. These fake gurus of today are passing on the message of Guru Granth Sahib Ji as their own, hence the overflow of people turning to the little dera (their building or communal area). Once duped, the overall messages of these gurus then change, all to suit their own personal needs.
The messages in Guru Granth Sahib Ji are universal, simple and straight to the point. The Guru Granth Sahib promotes a moral teaching that we endeavour to live a life of truth, respect for others, and high moral standards. It gives us answers to our problems and day to day scenarios, all we need to do is research the answers ourselves rather than fall under the trap of a common day fake Guru. Have we tried opening ourselves up to Guru Granth Sahib
Ji rather than an inferior cheap imitation? In other words, why use a middle man when we can go direct to the source?
Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the divine message, the truth and there to guide our lives. If only we let Guru Granth Sahib in......believe and achieve.
Mum’s friend aunty Gurmito came to our house and told mum that aunty Gejjo’s daughter from the local Gurdwara is getting married. I see mum sitting around anxious all night.
My mum has been harassing me once again about getting married. I’ve only been looking for 8 years, and I’ve tried to explain to her in western terms that’s nothing. But she’s told me, she’s had enough of me waiting for my Brad Pitt and she’s taking me to India to get blessed, by whom I don’t know. We’re flying out next week.
The stress of marriage is now getting to me. Maybe it’s me, that’s why I can’t get married. Mum told me Aunty Gejjo’s daughter was blessed by a Baba in Nurmahal, and that changed her fortune to get married. We’re flying out tomorrow, and I’m really not looking forward to my 2 week trip to Punjab, even though I haven’t been for 10 years.
Our suitcases are overweight. Don’t ask me how or why, but my mum’s packed these bags. I’ve told her we’re only going for a few days, but she doesn’t listen. Punjab here we come...
What a day! I’m tired, cold and the food is dreadful. Living with mosquitoes, lizards and hearing the cows mooing all night long was not what I had in mind. But the peace, tranquillity and sense of belonging I gained from going to the Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib) is one that I’ve never experienced before. I’ve seen pictures and heard stories, but never before had I felt at home like that.
It was an early start. Mum said we haven’t got long if we want to make the most of this holiday. Well, not much of a holiday, it sounds like it’s going to be more of a business trip, with the business being me!!! We went to some man in Nurmahal; I think he is also called the Leettaa Vala Baba (Baba with lights!). Anyway he blessed me apparently, after a big donation. I was surprised by the amount of men with guns and personal bodyguards. The thought did cross my mind: Is this really a holy man?
Suit shopping was great in Phagwara.
Only got 18 suits today, so hopefully should be off to Jalandhar in the next few days.
Today we went to Beas. There was a Baba here too. I don’t remember his name, but that place was huge. It’s so weird that all these religious places have so much security. After going through what felt like customs, I was allowed through to see the Baba who whispered something in my ear, some magic word or something. He told me I can’t tell anyone, as it’s only for me. But I’ve already forgotten what it is. Oh well, I suppose it couldn’t have that much magic behind it.
Apparently I’m too sweet as I have mosquito bites all over. The creams, sprays, and light switch things are not working. Diarrhoea has kicked in like everyone said it would, so I’ve not eaten or drank anything apart from the desi remedies. I spent all day at home, and I’m going to the pind doctor tomorrow.
The doctor wanted to give me an injection. I said no, so he gave me a prescription of 8 tablets, which seemed weird. But I do feel a bit better. My mum took me to some little place in the fields, or a Jagga as they were calling it. My mum said my ancestors have been going there for years and I was made to bow to it too, even though it did seem pointless.
I went from house to house to house. I met people I never even knew existed, but apparently they are all related to me. I had people give me money, old suits and I haven’t drank so much sweet tea in my life. This could be the day I get diabetes.
Today was interesting to say the least.
I had the opportunity to meet some more holy men. This time I had a man read my hand and tell me that I should be getting married in the near future (all for a small fee of course).
Apparently I’m also blessed to have 3 children (which made my mum smile - including a boy). All I have to do is say a prayer that this man gave me for 40 days, and everything should be sorted. If only all our problems could be resolved so easily. I wonder why the UN havent used him to solve the worlds conflicts?
Saying the prayer that Baba Ji gave me all seems surreal. I’m considering going back to ask him to give me one to get a new job, and maybe even for next weeks lottery numbers, but nevertheless I’m still going to do the it. Well, my mum’s going to force me to do it. I went shopping again today, bought another 4 suits. The tailors are taking way too long to sew my other ones and my mum is getting stressed out.
I had an argument today with my mum. She wanted me to go see some other Baba. I said no! I’ve been to too many already. I told her “If I haven’t been blessed by now, I never will”. All the stresses of marriage are coming back, so instead I went to the pind Gurdwara.
The Giani introduced me to the Chaupai Sahib. He said it’s a small prayer which will protect me through all times.
I said I’ll research it. But surprisingly, he never asked me for any money which was a bonus, it’s always good to save during the credit crunch.
I think chilling at home in the pind was desperately needed.
1 day to go and now we need to pack.
Somehow our suitcases are still over weight. My mum says we’ve got one more Baba to see on the way back to Amritsar. Apparently he’s got a huge following. But I’m more concerned about how much it’s going to cost me, the UK pounds dropped against the rupee again!
This Baba was called Baba Santa.
Baba Santa Claus I think was his full name, apparently he gives to people all over the world for nothing but a glass of milk, he asked me if I’ve been a good honest person. I wasn’t going to say no in front of my mum was I? But he said he will see me at Christmas as he’ll be coming to the UK – he obviously doesn’t care about his carbon footprint.
Again, another costly adventure, I don’t know what all the hype was about. On the way back we go to The Golden Temple. Again, the tranquillity is amazing. Looking forward to going home and sleeping in my own bed and not getting stung by mosquitos.
I spent the day relaxing and researching the words, Shabads and blessing that the Babai gave me. I’ve found they all come from The Guru Granth Sahib Ji apart from one from Dasam Granth Sahib Ji (Guru Gobind Singh’s writing). My search for Brad Pitt continues, I really hope this works, for mum’s sake more than mine.
I read the translation of Chaupai Sahib today. The last line really hit home.
Is what I have been doing the last few days really going to help me get married, or even enhance my spiritual experiences? Time to reflect I think.
Sagal duaar kau chhaad(i) kai gahyo tuhaaro duaar.
Ba(n)hi gahay kee laaj as gobind daas tuhaar. (ANG 864)
O Lord ! I have forsaken all other doors and have caught hold of only Thy door.
O Lord ! Thou has caught hold of my arm; I, Govind, am Thy self, kindly take (care of me and) protect my honour.
It made my mum happy, but all I got told by these babai and everyone else was “it’s my sanjoog” (written destiny) as to when I will get married, so why did I need to go to see these babai in the first place? What I realised is that even though I went to all these Babai they all SOLD me different things from Guru Granth Sahib Ji, apart from the giani, who gave me the words of Guru Gobind Singh Ji for free. Everything I need is in Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it was pointless of me going from Baba to Baba when I could have got everything they offered me directly from my Guru.
Saturday 31st October 2009
The smell in the air is distinctive. It is 2.05pm to be precise and as I walk around Aldersly Leisure Centre, sweat and sinew fills the air.
My thoughts go out to Kamaljeet Kaur, a female reporter from the Sikh Channel who has been filming all day. Does she appreciate the high standard of football on display?...
sexist you might say… what do you expect from a straight talking Yorkshireman? It was the first time that I had the opportunity to watch the teams in action.
Again the response has been awe-inspiring. Over seventy of the very best teams from all over the country were in attendance…and it was evident what it meant to them all.
Even the junior section was a highly contested affair with no quarter given. The spirit of the Gurus having been infused in them all, following a poignant talk on issues affecting Sikhs all over the world and the Ardaas.
Before the talk, the teams, managers and supporters all tucked into scrumptious samosas, washed down with traditional desi chaa…none of that watery rubbish here! The sevadars at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Sedgley Street, getting up even earlier than their early dawn breaking Saturday morning start, to fry well over a thousand samosas. It didn’t stop there, they spent the rest of the morning till midday preparing langar for well over 700 hundred people.
Meanwhile Uppal Sweet Centre was busy preparing a donation of hundreds of samosas which were very kindly received. A note for next year…don’t forget the chutney, particularly as we always forget the tomato ketchup!Samosas had followed the registration of teams, obligatory mugshot and an explanation of the tournament rules by the FA approved referees. Khalsa Aid was present to share the invaluable work they do around the world in the spirit of Bhai Kanhaiya Ji. Also in attendance at this charity event were Promise Dreams, raising money for terminally ill children. The SEEQ team were clearly visible in their unique pink signature logo. Hosting such a huge event takes Swiss-like precision planning and timing. Thankfully we have a mass of family and friends who know us better and were there to support the event in a multitude of ways. Someone famously said ‘If you are first, you are first. If you are second you are nothing’. This quote came to roost as two teams who knew each other very well reached the open age final. ABD Senior team (Slough) versus the young ABD pretenders. When serving langar I got chatting to one of the young pretenders to the SEEQ Five-a-side Football Tournament crown – the senior ABD having won the crown again last year. Apparently every week both teams would play each other with the youngsters coming out on top every time. He was worried that sod’s law would dictate that they would lose the final. He needn’t have worried as they cruised to victory. Smethwick Sikh Temple running out as the under 12’s winners and Punjab United coming out on top in the under 16’s section. The presentation gave us the opportunity to thank our sponsors without whom the event could not take place. Notwithstanding this, the commitment of all the teams, sevadars and supporters cannot be understated. Trophies fit to grace the most elegant of fireplace mantels were awarded to the Winners, Runners-up, Most valuable player and for Fair play. Money raised from the event, a hefty £1000, was donated to Khalsa Aid.
Look out for the next tournament later this year…you’ve got to be in it to win it!
By Guru Ji’s grace you will.
By Mangal Singh