Table of Contents
In Celebration of Guru Ram Das Ji
The birthday of Guru Ram Das Ji is a beautiful time to be in the city of Amritsar. Each year MPA students participate in thecrowded and lively Nagar Kirtan, demonstrating Gatka and raising the spirits of the sangats. Older students brave the crowds at Darbar Sahib to see the Golden Temple bathed in bright lights and the candles of the devotees surrounding the Parkarma, and to offer their own prayers at this blessed time. The whole school begins to prepare for the start of forty days of Parkarma Seva in the Amrit Vela. As the day gets closer, there is a lot of work to be done in preparation, and we are inspired to remember the example of Guru Ram Das Ji:
Guru Amar Das, the third Guru, had two daughters. One’s name was Bibi Dhani, and the other was Bibi Bhani. Bibi Dhani was married to a man named Rama and Bibi Bhani was married to Bhai Jetha who the Guru gave the name Ram Das. The Guru was very old and people were always wondering who he would pass the Guruship on to, it must either be Rama or Ram Das. The Guru decided to test both of them in front of everyone so people understood who was more worthy. During this time the Sikhs were digging out land for the tank of Harimandir Sahib. Guru Amar Das ji went to both of them and ordered: “I want you to make a platform for me to observe the digging. I want it….” and he told exactly the size and shape he wanted it. So both men quickly went to work making the platform just as the Guru asked. They got the best wood they could find, they got nails, hammers and saws. They both worked very hard building the platform just the right height, the right width, the right length, just as the Guru asked.
The next day both were ready and Guru Amar Das came to Rama. Rama said “Holy father, I have prepared this platform just as you have asked and I offer it to you.” Guru Amar Das just looked at it and said, “No, it’s not really just how I want it, it needs to be better. Why don’t you try? Take it down and build me another one.” Rama wasn’t happy about this and went to make it again, grumbling. When Guru Amar Das came to Ram Das, he said the same thing, “It’s no good. Build it again and this time try. Take it down and build one how I like it.” Ram Das bowed his head and quietly did as the Guru said. The next day both men made another platform, working all night to get it done in time. They both added extra designs to add beauty to their already perfect work. This time the Guru said the same thing to these men, “I don’t know why you aren’t trying. Why don’t you do something right? Tear it down and build it again.” Rama was really upset this time. He thought, “The Guru is saying different things on different days. Maybe he’s going crazy.” He protested some, “This doesn’t make any sense! How can I possibly make it even better than this!?” But Rama, even though he was frustrated, listened again to the Guru and started making another one. Ram Das didn’t protest and accepted what the Guru said without question.
The next day again Guru Amar Das saw what they had made and just shook his head in disappointment. “Tear it down and build it again.” He said as he was walking away. Rama couldn’t take it this time. “I’ve tried my hardest, I build three platforms. I made them perfect and then even more perfect. If you don’t like this last one, than you’ll never like what I make. I won’t make you a fourth!” The Guru came to Ram Das and did the same thing. Ram Das however cheerfully tore down his platform and started again for the fourth platform. The next day the Guru again saw it and just said, “NO! Do it again!” Ram Das continued attempting to perfect his design. Nothing could satisfy the Guru. Every day Ram Das would build a platform, working very hard without sleep and the Guru would reject it. He built seven platforms. With each of the seven platforms built and torn down, the layers of his ego were torn away and the humility of Ram Das was polished to perfection.
After the seventh, when Guru Amar Das said, “It’s no good, tear it down and build it again!” Ram Das fell at the Gurus feet and said, “My Guru I have failed to understand your order, please bless me with understanding that I can serve you.” Guru ji made him stand up and gave him a big hug. Then he announced to the Sikhs, “You have seen with your eyes who is the real servant. Ram Das has passed my tests and has stayed devotional. He is fit in every way to take my place as Guru. He is a perfect man.” The next day Guru Amar Das had him clean up, get dressed in the nicest clothes and come in front of all the Sikhs for a ceremony. Guru ji announced to everyone: “Guru Nanak has made the rule that only the most worthy will sit on the throne of Guruship. I have found Rams Das to be the most worthy of all.” The Guru had Baba Budha ji put a tilak on Ram Das’s forehead to show the honor and responsibility he has received. The Guru got off his platform and sat Ram Das on it. He put a coconut and five pennies in front of him to remind him to be soft on the inside and to share with even the poorest. He told his family and all the Sikhs to bow to him as Guru. Guru Amar Das showed by example. He bowed to Ram Das and walked around him three times. From now on he was known as Guru Ram Das, the Guru of Miracles, the fourth King on the throne of Guru Nanak.
This story was adapted from Sikhnet.com, and was originally posted in their wonderful “Kids Audio Stories” section at http://www.sikhnet.com/story.
A Prayer for Peace
September 21st is the International Day of Peace. It is organized by the United Nations (http://internationaldayofpeace.org/) and celebrated all over the world. The International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982.
On September 21st our students, teachers and staff participated in the International Day of Peace Celebration to give Mother Earth their blessings for world peace. Their participation was included on the official UN Day of Peace listing of events. First, everyone joined together to make the HUMAN FLAG OF PEACE, Roerich Pact, 1935. The International Symbol of Peacecomposed by three circles surrounded by another bigger circle. The meaning of this symbol is the UNION of Art, Science and Spirituality. The union of these three elements gives the chance to create a Culture of Peace. This ancient symbol was redrawn by the Russian Artist Nikolai Roerich who was one of the major promoters of the international Peace Pact in 1935.
When the symbol was ready everyone meditated, specifically for peace, as taught by the Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan, who was always very involved in the promotion of peace around the world and instituted his own Peace Prayer Day celebration.
Afterwards students recited poetry on peace in their native languages, which included Mandarin, Dutch, German, Spanish and Russian. This was followed by a painting activity where each student could draw his or her own interpretation of peace on a 12”X12” square canvas.
According to the Principal of Academics, Kirandeep Kaur, the spirit of this day was for Miri Piri Academy students and staff to express their creative energy and to give all their love, blessings and prayers to their home and environment, mother earth.
A team of MPA alumni were invited and sponsored to attend an international Kabaddi tournament in Queens, New York a few weeks ago. The girls had a great time representing Miri Piri Academy and playing a great game. They lost to the opposing players by a mere one point, and in true Punjabi style were awarded medals and a trophy for second place. The tournament was featured in a New York Times article and in a New York Times slideshow that included a picture of our own Guru Surya Kaur Khalsa. Here are some of our own pictures of the event:
What’s Happening at MPA
- Students begin 40 days of Parkarma Seva on October 11th. The daily schedule will change, with school starting at 9:00AM and ending at 2:15PM, including monitored study time, to ensure adequate sleep for everyone during this Sadhana.
- We invite you to subscribe to the newsfeed of our official MPA Blog so you can stay in touch with what the children are doing!
Highlights from the Blog
For many years our focus on creative and performing arts has taken the form of extra-curricular classes in the evening hours. For the first time this year, however, we are shifting our program to increase the level of rigor and accountability, and to make the creative arts an even more integral part of our academic […]
Students gathered in the Gurdwara to hear from Kirandeep Kaur, our Academic Principal, about our expectations and hopes for their education this year. Students were introduced to our teachers and were able to ask questions and get to know the staff who would be helping them learn all year.