544. The Man in Blue – Simran – Meditation – Thinking about

I have written about meditation before and made a YouTube video in which I meditated and explained the meaning of the words of the meditation.

The first word I meditated upon was ‘Vahiguru’, followed by ‘Ik Ongkár, Sat Nám, Kartá Purkh, Nirbhau, Nirvair, Akál Murat, Ajuni, Saibhang, Gurprasád. Finally I sang a short passage from the Jáp Sahib : Gubinde, Mukande, Udáre, Apáre; Hariang, Kariang, Nirnáme, Akáme.

Although these meditations are by different authors, and have slightly different ‘positions’ in the Sikh tradition, they are all about qualities, aspects of God.

Words like God, Allah, Har or Prabh all mean the same: God. They are generic words for God. Words like Vahiguru, Gobinde, the Merciful or the Allmighty represent different qualities of God. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhi are monotheistic traditions, they all believe in the One, but they all use words that describe qualities of God. God is One, but She/He has many aspects.

If you were to know and understand all the words used in the different spiritual traditions to describe aspects of God, you might begin to understand something of the greatness of God.

Nám simran, meditation on Nám, remembering Nám, is about getting nearer to God by understanding and repeating words that try to describe aspects of God.

Wonderful bringer of light into darkness
Ik Ongkar – Satnám – Kartá Purkh – Nirbhau – Nirvair – Akál Murat – Ájuni – Saibhang – Gurprasád
One Omnipresent, All-powerful – True Name – Creator Being – Without Fear – Without Enmity – Undying – Does not die, is not born – No Needs – Guru’s Blessing

Gobinde – Mukande – Udare – Apare;
World Sustainer – Liberator – Keeps Giving – Without Limit.
Hariang, Kariang, Nirname, Akame.
Destroyer – Creator – Without Name – Without Lust.

Simran, Meditation, thinking about God is not a question of saying certain words as often as possible, as fast as possible. Slowly saying a word, in a loving manner, tasting the sweetness of God on your tongue is what I try to do. It is essential to understand what you hear, Guru tells us again and again that we should do vichár.

Nám, godly essence, is in all the shabads of the Guru Granth Sahib. Reading, listening to, trying to understand the shabads and applying what you learned, is also meditation. Think about God with everything you do and you will be honest, you will share and you will see God in all, without which you will not see God at all. It is that simple and that complicated. But it works, results guaranteed!


543. The Man in Blue – Open Masjid day in Southall

On Sunday the 1st of February it was Open Masjid (mosque) day. I knew that this was not something that all masjids had signed up to, but I wanted to go to the local mosque anyway in view of the bad news from France and Belgium recently, showing that I knew that not all Muslims are with Islamic State.

Together with a friend I went to Montague Way and on our arrival it was soon clear that no arrangements were made to receive non-Muslim visitors. A man spoke to us and I explained what we had in mind and he told us to sit in the wudu (ritual washing) area and wait for a committee member.

When I tried to explain that if he came to the Gurdwara he would receive a different treatment, he made it clear that he had no reason to ever do so.

After that I decided to leave, as it was obvious to me that we were not welcome and that the concept of people of other faiths visiting the masjid was alien to him and to a few other people who by then joined in the conversation.

I have to stress that the people we spoke to were not rude, and also that there are enough ignorant people amongst people of other faiths than Islam.

I am convinced that the way forward for multi-cultural societies is to have more dialogue, more visits to each other’s places of worship, more saying to people of other faith: this church/gurdwara/mandir/masjid/synagogue/vihara is also your church/gurdwara/mandir/masjid/synagogue/vihara.

And it is even more wonderful when communities work together on projects in their local area. There is nothing better than cooking together, cleaning up a park together or bring food and warm clothing to the homeless together.

It is good when ‘faith leaders’ meet, but that should result in meetings of the ordinary members of those communities.

I remember a group that came to the Belgian gurdwara where I did seva for three years. One of the members of that group refused to enter the premises.

In the UK an enlightened Human Resources department of an establishment with many clients of non-Christian backgrounds sent new employees as part of their training on a tour of west-London to visit a mandir, a masjid and a gurdwara.

In this case none of trainees refused to enter the Hindu or the Sikh place of worship. But about one third of them did not want to enter the masjid.

There is a lot of work to do, on the level of ‘faith leaders’, on the level of local government and amongst the grassroots of all faiths. I do not think that all faiths are the same, but we have enough in common as human beings, as people who want to live a life based on ethics, to make dialogue and cooperation fruitful.

Central Jamia Masjid, Montague Waye, Southall UB2 5PA

542. The Man in Blue – The Sikh Manifesto

The Sikh Manifesto that was launched on Saturday 31 January 2015 in the Havelock Road Singh Sabha in Southall, is a logical follow-up on the 2001 Sikh Agenda.

The main difference between the Agenda and the Manifesto is that the latter is specifically written with the 2015 elections in mind. And it is aimed both at the politicians and at Sikh voters and their friends.

Our message to the politicians is that those that commit support on all or on a good number of the issues raised, can count on our support. The message to the Sikh sangat is, mind less which party the candidates belong too, look for commitment to the Manifesto.

Many people of religious or ethnic minorities almost automatically vote Labour and that is understandable, because historically that was the party that was more interested in human rights and equality issues.

But there have also been individual Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who were champions of the minority interest, and in recent years both the Greens and Scottish Nationalists have been very supportive.

There also were, and still are, Labour MPs who want the minority vote without being a true representative of the Sikhs or other minority groups. Some of these MPs are of South Asian background. Mostly the Sikh community has been best served by ‘white’ MPs.

As far as the 2015 vote is concerned we are looking for politicians of any background who are committed to at least part of the Sikh Manifesto. Just coming to the Gurdwara and talk about the wonderful contribution of the Sikhs to the UK is not good enough.

We would like to see more Sikhs in the House of Commons, and preferably at least some who look like Sikhs and whose behaviour is in tune with the Guru’s teachings. But for all sitting MPs defending their seat and for all new hopefuls to be MPs the same goes: help us to implement the Sikh Manifesto.

Like with the 2001 eight point Sikh Agenda we do not ‘demand’ politicians to sign up to all ten points of the Manifesto. But if there are more candidates who promise support, we should look at their past record and at the number of issues they subscribe to.

There are Sikhs who are mostly interested in issues belonging to living in the UK, there are others who identify more with the South Asian issues of self-determination and rights of minorities.

Both are welcome, we are interested in their views, in challenges faced by them or their family in South Asia or in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia or other parts of the world.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the Sikh Manifesto, please send an email to