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No Other Choice but Chardi Kalaa

Share Your Story: Why Did You Choose Sikhism?

By simayanan

No Other Choice but Chardi Kalaa

A Cartoon of Me With a Macaw

No Other Choice but Chardi Kalaa

A Photograph of Me With My Turban

What Was Your Life Like Before Sikhism?

I was born into a mostly Sikh family. My mother was a Catholic and an attempt to raise me as that failed when I confronted a priest at Confirmation age and got thrown out of the Church. My life was very happy except for this one problem.

My mother's family has never forgiven me, poor dears!

What Do You Like Most About Sikhism?

It is a way of life that gives me "something to lie for, great enough to die for." It is the meaning and anchor of my life; it gives me the answer to every curve that life throws me (and life has thrown me some curves).

And, of course, it teaches me NAAM (keep reading for explanation)

What is Your Greatest Challenge?

To remain in chardi kala (high spirits, but it means so much more!) no matter what happens; to remember that it is all the Hukam of Vaheguru (the Will of God, sort of).

Being polite and respectful to Christians trying to convert me is near the top of the list.

What Are Your Goals?

Ultimately, I want to return home and merge with Akaal Purakh (infinite being), of course.

Meantime, I am educating people about what happened to us in 1984 and clearing up misconceptions about Sikhi.

Since I will change the world (we all do), I hope I change it for the better.

Why Did You Choose Sikhism?

I always wanted to be Sikh. I guess I'd have to say that formally I became a Sikh when I formally left the Church at age 12. I always was inwardly, but the definition of a Sikh says you can't also belong to another religion.

I loved the chardi kala of the family around me; I loved the words and darshan (vision) of Guru ji; I loved the look and the feel of Sikh things. I wanted/needed to be a part of it.

Actually, no other choice was possible for me; although no one is really born a Sikh, in my case, it was very close.

Even when I tried to leave Sikhi after 1984, it just didn't take and I came back. That's another story.

How Did Choosing Sikhism Change Your Life?

"Something to live for, great enough to die for." The shaheedi (martyrdom) of my husband and son is the most dramatic effect, although having my husband and son in the first place was a great benefit.

My husband and son were murdered because they were Sikhs. I fell apart and Guru ji put me back together again. I purposely, methodically broke most of my Khalsa vows - and was welcomed back when I returned. There have been consequences, however. Mostly crazy with my own grief, I stepped off a spiritual cliff and gravity did not care why. When you step off a cliff you fall. And fall I did - into the loving arms of my Guru. I was not uninjured, but I was healed.

When I talk about being a Sikh in this section, I am referring to having been blessed with Amrit, the initiation into Khalsa. Any Sikh who has not done this is missing out on the power and benefits of being a Sikh. My first Amrit was a deep, meaningful experience for me; my second was deeper and even more meaningful.

One unspoken benefit of Amrit is that an infinite well of chardi kala is given along with everything else. It is possible - not easy but possible - to face whatever life deals with a smile on the face and love in the heart. I can be killed; I cannot be defeated.

And I have NAAM. Sukhmandir ji, you simply must write in depth about this; it is too important and big to describe in a few words here. I'll try. Naam, in its simplest, smallest meaning is the Naam of the Supreme Being (SB). To jap Naam is to consciously repeat and meditate on the Name. Sikhs use the title "Waheguru." Naam is also the presence of SB with in me. Naam is also the presence of SB in everything else. Naam is the presence of SB that is beyond everything else. I am explaining this very badly, inaccurately. In the end, Naam cannot really be expressed; it must be experienced.

Lessons Learned

  • Everything that happens is the Hukam of Vaheguru. The universe is perfect. I am a vital part of that perfection. And so are you. Who could ask for more? I cannot usually see this because I am small and this universe - one among many - is very big. My vision is currently limited.
  • "If I have to I can face anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am...a "Khalsa" Princess!
  • And I can, must do it with a smile on my face and love in my heart.
  • YIPPEEEE!!!

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