On Sunday we had a delicious langar prepared by the kitchen staff and volunteer students to honor the Legacy of our Founder Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji. Langar is a beautiful tradition that was started by Guru Nanak Ji, and developed into an institution by Guru Angad and Guru Amar Das Ji. A revolutionary, Guruji designed an institution in which all people would sit on the floor together, as equals, regardless of caste, creed or class. Everyone sits in the same pangat (literally “row” or “line”) to share and enjoy the food together. Such food is generously provided. The tradition of Langar expresses the ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind.
The Siri Singh Sahib brought this beautiful tradition of service with him when he moved to America and established it as one of his main teachings in the global community that he founded.
“The art of happiness is to serve all, and all shall serve you.” -Yogi Bhajan
Jugat Guru Singh Khalsa, School Principal, recited a prayer, Ardas, before we started to serve the food to our workers and their families who were our special guests. Volunteer staff members and students served everyone with a smile on their faces. The fact that the people who work here everyday came to join us with their loved ones was truly touching. It was a beautiful day to sit together and honor the Siri Singh Sahib’s memory, and was capped off with sweets to embrace the kindness and compassion he always portrayed.
Before Langar we went to sit at the Gurdwara for half an hour to be all together and present for a small part of the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, to listen to our holy scripture and everlasting Guru, during the Akhand Path ceremony that was taking place. The students did great with keeping up and took care of all the details, like lighting the incense and the candles at the altar, staying there throughout the night to make sure every hour was covered and of course taking turns reading. They would run to get the next reader for the ambrosial hours specially, when it is hard to wake up sometimes, and maintained an attitude of profound devotion and respect the entire time.
The next morning, Monday, we celebrated a Bhog Ceremony, the successful completion of our Akhand Path, with sublime pleasure and took the opportunity to listen to different stories of the Siri Singh Sahib, which Jugat Guru shared with all of us. He told us how the Siri Singh Sahib was extremely involved with the school since its foundation, how he would put everyone under stressful demanding situations just to make them realize that if they could bear that experience, then they would be able to face any challenge in their lives. His purpose was that they would gain more strength and become conscious about what other people are facing. To gain such strength you have to apply yourself daily. He told us how strict, but that at the end he would do crazy things like order pizza for everyone at school, which back then would require a 10 hours trip back and forth. He shared how he would deal with people to bring them into their higher self, defeat their ego and be more humble, and those inspiring stories to remind the students how fortunate they can all feel to be here and to value the fact that we live this legacy.
In the Hukam at the closing of the Akhand Path the Guru’s message was:
“She who knows her Beloved in her parent’s home, through the Guru, comes to understand the reality and meditates on her Lord. Her coming and going is ended, and she is absorbed in the True Name.”