392.Man in Blue – First Hounslow Youth Kirtan Darbar (YKD) Evening Programme

Friday October 30 was the first time that the YKD team was in charge of the early evening programme of Rahiras, Ardas, Kirtan & Katha. This will take place from 18.00 till 20.00 every last Friday of the month for the coming year. On every first Sunday of the month from 11.00 till 12.00 there is a further katha in English and kirtan programme.

This first time the Rahiras was read by Jaswinder Kaur and me, the ardás by me and the Vák by Jaswinder Kaur. This was followed by about 30 minutes of kirtan by the young kirtanis studying with Santokh Kaur Bhain-Ji and after that I did half an hour of simran and katha in English.

I did simran on Vahiguru, on the ‘Mul Mantr’ and on Gobinde, Mukande from Jáp Sahib. In my katha in English the main theme was the definition of a Sikh as found in the Rehat Maryada, followed by the leadership of the Sikhs by the Guru Granth Sahib.

Pritpal Singh looked after the projection of the shabads and Ardas on the screen, and Gurkamal Singh was in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib.

We demonstrated that we are able to deliver the programme. Our challenge is to involve more and more young members of the sangat. We do have sufficient kirtan contacts, with the students of the kirtan class and older kirtanis who do kirtan in rág.

It should be easy to involve youngsters in the reciting of Rahiras, first sitting with us and later taking the lead. We are not worried about mistakes, but I do not want the sort of superfast recitation that you hear too often. Same goes for the ardás. There is no need to know the ardás by heart, we can read from my prepared sheets or from multi-lingual or Panjabi gutké.

For the vák we use the shabad that came up first thing in the morning, which makes it possible to become familiar with the text to be recited.

Finding people who are confident to do katha in English will be more difficult. I had a chance to ‘practice’ in the smaller Gurdwaré in Belgium and the Netherlands. I am gaining confidence in doing this, but it takes a lot of preparation to come to full understanding of any shabad.

In all this we try to stick to letter and spirit of the Rehat Maryada, which means that Rahiras starts with So Dar, as it does in the Guru Granth Sahib, and ends with Mundavani and the final slok.

This is a good chance for young Singhs and Kaurs to learn Sikh skills. We should be less dependent on granthis, ragis and kathakars, I think the Gurdwara should be run by the sangat under the guidance of the granthi.

386.The Man in Blue – Hounslow Singh Sabha Youth Programme

As part of the celebration of 300 years of the Guru Granth Sahib as Eternal Guru of the Sikhs, Hounslow Singh Sabha last year launched a year long programme of various activities highlighting our eternal Guru.

One of these activities was a monthly kirtan with kathá in English for and by the Gurdwara youth on Sunday afternoon, and on Sunday September 20 it was already the last one in the series (and one of the best !).

Recently we had a couple of meetings looking back on the last year and forward to the next. We concluded that we have a small group of volunteers who can run this type of programmes in the Gurdwara. Although one of them is a greybeard, the others are young enough to call him dada.

We have also found out that Sunday afternoon is not the best time to put on a programme. There was always some sangat coming in and going out, but it was in trickle and never a stream.

The following ideas have been accepted by the committee. On the last Friday of the month the 6 pm Rahiras, Kirtan and Kathá programme will be organised by the volunteers, using as many naujawán as are able and willing. We will follow the Rehat Maryádá and we will also encourage sangat to take part in the reciting of the Rahiras and in the kirtan.

We hope that the sangat will stay with us for the Sukhasan and accompany the Guru Granth Sahib on its way to the Sach Khand.

On the first Sunday of each month the usual kirtan hour done by the children of the Gurdwara will be extended till 12.00. In that hour the more accomplished students of the kirtan classes and other non-professional kirtanis will come on stage.

In that hour there will also be a presentation on Sikh history, particularly on the lives of our Gurus, demonstrating points of gurmat.

The katha in English on the evenings of the last Friday of the month will combine simran realising the meanings of words we meditate on, with simple explanations of sabads. We will link Guru’s teachings with life in the 21st century in the UK.

All members of sangat, from toddlers to centenarians are welcome, all are encouraged to take part, all are encouraged to share their love for Guru. Sádh Sangat, the True Congregation, is where we will find the strength to continue on Guru’s way. Sikhí is not what you do on Sunday morning in the Gurdwara, Sikhí should be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (And you should have heard the kirtan on the 20th of October !)

381.The Man in Blue – Hounslow SGSS Sponsored Walk

On Sunday 19 July the Hounslow Singh Sabha held its annual sponsored walk. As I am useless at fund raising I volunteered to be a marshal.

The weather forecast for the day was poor, but it turned out to be a much better day than predicted. There were two ‘sant-babé’ performing in Hayes and it seems that many people prefer sants over a walk with sadh sangat.

The route of the sponsored walk is simple : turn left into Hanworth Road towards the centre of Hounslow and keep going in that direction, along the London Road until you come to Busch Corner. Here we turned left, walked past Syon Lane Station and again left at Gillette Corner into the Great West Road.

From there it is straight on past Osterley Station and Lampton Corner to turn left into Sutton Lane, which after crossing the Bath Road becomes the Wellington Road North. At the Staines Road we turned left and then after a few hundred yards right into Hibernia Road, which brings you to the side entrance of the Gurdwara.

Being a marshal means that you do not just walk the walk, but also check that other marshals/the police are in place at road crossings and that the walkers are all right. On the first stretch to Busch Corner I was in the vanguard and then waited till all had gone past. I then left taking big strides hoping to overtake all before we got to Sutton Lane.

I did not quite manage that, but saw a lot of the walkers who stopped at the free ice cream van. By then I took off my right shoe and noticed that I walked a sizeable hole in my sock, and had the beginning of a blister where the hole was.

I took off both socks and finished the last stretch at a more sedate pace, still overtaking many walkers. Between having long legs and not having a car I am in reasonably good nick in spite of being of the 1947 vintage.

I like walking, I love walking, it is a wonderful way of getting from A to B ! Of course if the heavens open and rain comes pelting down I am not entirely happy. But it is part of living in the UK, it is part of living a natural life. The best part of walking is that you do not need any special kit.

I have seen French ladies go up a rocky mountain path in stiletto heels and smart clothes. I would not advise people to follow that example, but ordinary decent shoes are fine for ordinary walks, ordinary decent clothes, suitable for the climate and the season will be entirely suitable.

Walking with sangat and taking exercise made me feel nearer to God, nearer to Creation. Walking to me is simran, meditation where you do not necessarily have to repeat words that remind you of God. I was on a spiritual high at the end of the day, which was helped by the big chunk of watermelon I was given.

Published in: on July 27, 2009 at 6:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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