Anandpur Sahib and the Blessings of The Tenth Master
Sat Nam. It was about a five hour bus ride from Amritsar to Anandpur Sahib. Around thirty of us were in two busses, and most were in good spirits. A few were dealing with serious intestinal upsets. We arrived in the early evening, were served some langar (dinner) then went to bed. A number of us rose early in the ambosial hours to sit, meditate, and sing the Gurus’ hymms at the Keshgar Sahib Gurdwara. We had spent the night in their quite large guest house. The region in and around Anandpur Sahib is a place where the 10th Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh lived and spent much time in the late 1600’s until 1708.
While sitting, meditating and singing the kirtan that was being played I was feeling a powerful presence. It was an experience that was hard to describe and very tangible at the same time. I have since described this as feeling like Guru Gobind Singh came and sat down inside of me. A number of us felt this kind of presence which we shared later. Several brothers and sisters who have visited this Gurdwara during previous yatras (pilgrimages) related to me this extraordinary experience also.
Some of the weapons that the Tenth Master used in battle to protect and defend the weak and innocent during this time of severe religious persecution are kept in a room in the very center of this Gurdwara. There is a walkway around this room and one can view these weapons from a relatively short distance. Later in the morning, our group was given a private showing of these weapons. An elderly Sikh gentleman, Gurubaksh Singh, who spoke perfect English served as guide and translator to assist us in understanding how and when the 10th Guru had obtained and/or used these various weapons. Some of us took closeup pictures and video footage. In the back of my mind I was thinking that I really wanted to handle these and I also concluded that I wouldn't be attached to this happening.
Gurubaksh Singh continued to be our guide for the rest of the morning. We drove our bus to several of the reconstructed forts and the home of Guru Gobind Singh (all were destroyed by the Moguls) around Anandpur Sahib. We returned to the Guest House for lunch. I was feeling that I wanted to revisit the meditation experience that I had had early that morning. I sat in the Gurdwara and turned my attention inside, a voice told me to ask... ask to hold the weapons of the Tenth Master.
I got up and approached a Sevadar to try to convey to him what I wished to do. Since no one spoke English, one of them conveyed to me that he would go and get someone to translate for me, and that I should sit and wait for the translator to arrive. I sat down to meditate and reflected again that I’d not be disappointed if not allowed to handle these sacred objects. Gurubaksh Singh came in and I felt a little badly that they had to trouble this old man to come and be my translator. Earlier in the day he had shared with me that no one was allowed to handle the weapons and that twice a day they were brought out and shown to those interested in viewing them.
So... I proceeded to tell him that I made knives, kirpans and swords for a living, that a number of these were in the Archives of Sikh Dharma in the USA. I shared that recently I had made two special kirpans for Head Jethadars, one from the Golden Temple, and one of whom had spoken to the Keshgar Sahib Sangat a few hours earlier. Gurubaksh Singh then graciously agreed to approach the man who appeared to be the Head Sevadar and tell him my request. I then sat back and endeavored to meditate, leaving the decision to God, Guru and two Sevadars. I was drawn out of myself by a verbal exclamation that sounded like a startled Head Sevadar at the request that was before him.
By the Grace of God, shortly thereafter he got up from sitting behind the Guru and motioned for me to approach the rear of the room where the weapons were stored. Gurubaksh Singh walked with me, and as the sevadar opened the doors, Gurubaksh Singh put his arm around me. It felt like he was just praying that I wouldn’t drop anything. The Head Sevadar began passing me the weapons one by one. It is difficult for me to describe the feelings that I was having while holding the various weapons. It felt like something very special was happening to me.
Since I make and handle edged weapons regularly, I felt that this opportunity was for something far beyond just handling the weapons. It was the power and consciousness which the Guru had infused in these weapons that I believe my soul longed to touch. I thanked the Head Sevadar warmly and Gurubaksh Singh as well. Gurubaksh Singh received prashad and shared it with me. I told him that I hoped I would see him again on our next trip to India. I returned to where I knew our lunch was being served and found many of our group still eating.
I sat down to be served, began to share my experience with some of them and found myself overcome with emotion in the process. It was at that point that I began to sense the power of what had just occurred. It seemed a powerful blessing to handle those weapons (including the Khanda that stirred the first Amrit ceremony) and that some karma might have been removed from my path.
My wife, Harbhajan Kaur, and I felt that it was a great privilege and blessing to go to India on this Yatra. Spending time sipping, dipping, singing Gurbani and meditating at the Golden Temple, as well as being in Anandpur Sahib, one of the homes of the 10th Master, were precious.
In service, I remain,
Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa
Jot Singh Khalsa, Master Knifemaker
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