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IIGS & Darbar – E - Khalsa

IIGS & Darbar – E - Khalsa Celebrate the 300th Guruta Divas on December 25th 2008 at Walnut, California

The Spirit of Darbar – E - Khalsa Comes Alive Despite Inclement Weather
Dr. Jaswant Singh Sachdev, MD
Phoenix, Arizona

Los Angeles, Dec. 29, 2008
Jagjit Bains

With weather Pundits predicting rain for the entire Southern California on Christmas day, the Sikh Sangat kept on wondering about the attendance at Darbar - E - Khalsa celebrations; yet the spirit of Khalsa Panth rose to a new pinnacle on December 25th 2008. The International Institute of Gurmat Studies (IIGS), the pioneer Sikh camping association has been arranging the event of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Prakash Utsav functions under the banner of Darbar - E - Khalsa on Christmas day for the last several years. These celebrations have always been held at the campus of Mt. SAC College in Walnut California. With a stroke of genius, Capt. Harbhajan Singh, the founder of IIGS as well as the brain and soul behind the organization, added the celebration for the 300th Guruta Divas to the theme of this year’s program of Darbar - E - Khalsa. And then, there was no looking back.

Selfless volunteers of IIGS and many others kept busy inside the auditorium in running a continuous program of melodious Kirtan Seva starting at 6:30 am in the wee hours of morning. The program started with Aasaa dee Vaar, rendered with great Gusto by the famous Raagi Jethaa of Bhai Dilbag Singh Ji. This was the same Jethaa that was recently asked to deplane at Sacramento airport, thanks to the ignorance of the airline pilots about the Sikh identity and faith. After different Jethaas did their parts, the grand finale of divine Kirtan was begun around 3 PM with the IIGS Jetha followed by a group of five Raagi Jethaas together. Interspersed with the Kirtan during mid-day were high cadre speeches by two key-note speakers.

The first speaker S. Mohinder Singh of India Journal explained at-length, the significance of the combined event in a way it had never been done before. “The pre-ordained Hukum of Akaal Purukh to Guru Gobind Singh Ji in passing the Gurgaddi over to Guru Granth Sahib Ji could not have been fulfilled, had Guru Ji not walked away unharmed through an army of thousands and thousands of enemies surrounding him from all sides at the battle of Chamkaur Sahib?” so stated S. Mohinder Singh. Elaborating it further, he said, “Two significant events of Sikh history i.e. the Sirjanaa of Khalsa Panth on Vaisakhi day 1699 and declaration of Gurgaddi for Guru Granth in 1708, though separated by nine years, were indeed inter-connected pre-ordained acts.” Celebrating them together on this day of Darbar - E - Khalsa, thus, made all the sense.

The second speaker, Sardarni Kiranjot Kaur, SGPC member and the grand-daughter of Master Tara Singh, the Uncrowned King of Khalsa Panth for over half a century, had specially flown for this event from India. After being honored with Mata Sundri Award, she spoke to the Sangat offering full cooperation from SGPC to the Sikhs living abroad in promoting Sikh faith and helping their voice to be heard in Sikh religious matters. Two other premier organizations i.e. SALDEF and SIKH COALITION that have been fairly active in this country helping Sikhs who encounter difficulties in maintaining unique Sikh identity were also honored on the stage. The Indian idol Ishmeet Singh, the first Sikh with a complete Sikh identity whose life was cut-short at the pinnacle of his youth, was also awarded posthumously for his singularly unique voice.

While this was all going on inside at the Kirtan Darbar, several Nishkaam Lungar sevadaars continuously served ‘Hot Guru Kaa Lungar’ outside under the tents. Thousands upon thousands braved the incessant rain to partake. The Sevadaars didn’t get bogged down by the torrential rain that continuously kept on pouring as a gift by Indra Devta. Despite the inclement weather, these young men and women Sevadaars kept their promise with the Guru as always and served His Atutt Lungar of Breakfast consisting of hot Chhole-Bhathuray along with other delicacies starting with day break that went on for the rest of the day. And then a free hot lunch Lungar, with equally extended menus was also added on as day progressed. The Sangat members braved the weather and a constant flow of Sangat members kept on pouring in from early morning through late afternoon.

The interior of the hall had been decorated in a way it had never been before. Guru Singasan - the throne of Guru Granth Sahib Ji - the Guru Eternal of the Sikhs was more regal than a worldly King could have ever enthroned or even imagined, thanks to the spirit of 300th Guruta Divas in the psyche of Sikhs. Round perimeter of the Chandoa was encased in a royal style valance from four the corners of which hung flowing curtains embedded with bouquets of flowers in their middle. The regal decoration around and over Guru Granth Sahib Ji was indeed a feast to the discerning eyes. The floor where the Sangat was seated was not merely covered with hap hazardously; rather, full floor length sheets of pure white coverings were very nicely and professionally placed all over. Two very large TV Screens brought two stages, raagis and speakers to life in every nook and corner of the hall. Unfortunately continuous rain did not allow vendors outside to do the brisk business like previous occasions and the ceremonial send-of Guru Granth Sahib Ji in a helicopter ride was not practical given strong rain and wind. Yet the imagination of IIGS Sevadaars left nothing to chance.

While weather did reduce the number of attendees to some extent, yet a great numbers of devotees attached to this one of a kind of event arrived from far and near despite rain and cold for it was the spirit of the event that ultimately had a strong magnet-like pull. The message imparted was strong for the soul, the event was full of divine Kirtan, the aesthetics were above-par and unequivocally superb. The Lungar was sumptuous, tasty and hot.. While turbans, chunnis and feet did get wet, yet the connection of the soul with Guru and God through this spiritual event was as strong and solid as ever. Overall the function was a great success not only because of the combination of two significant events in the Sikh history but because of the overall superb quality of the function. And thus, another pleasant tract of sweet memory was ingrained in the grey matter of the brains of many devotees.







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