This year as we approach the spring festival of Vaisaki on 13th April, there is an air of optimism, possibility and collaboration.
The past year has meant that we have grown accustomed to using technology to connect virtually. International students from the University have joined the Lincolnshire Sikh Society (LSS) and we have connected through our WhatsApp group. It is truly heart-warming to have this year’s Vaisaki celebration as an opportunity for everyone to come together as a community to celebrate, to give thanks and to rejoice virtually.
The quote by Viktor Frankl helps to sum up the need for deeper connection “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” Over the past year we have all been navigating what life expects from us and managing our expectations of what we expected from life. When we feel a sense of disconnection it can seem that we need to search for something outside ourselves, however what we are really searching for is the journey within. It is a pathway home to our true selves to merging with Waheguru (the wondrous Lord/divine teacher that dispels the darkness of ignorance and bestows the light of truth, knowledge, and enlightenment).
Vaisaki is about that journey. Vaisaki is the Spring Harvest Festival in India and has significant meaning for Sikhs as in 1699 the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji initiated the Panj Piarey (Five Beloveds), who were from across India and from different backgrounds and were willing to surrender completely to the Guru, into the Khalsa (Pure Ones). The Khalsa is immediately recognisable by Panj Kakaar (Five Ks) which are the kangha (comb), kara (steel bangle), kesh (uncut hair, covered by a turban, and beard), kirpan (short sword) and kuccha (a pair of shorts), instilling within them the spirit of Saint Solider to stand up against tyrant and for the oppressed.
So at Vaisaki we are asked to look beyond what has happened, beyond the circumstances we have been given. It is about transformation from fear and doubt to love and trust, from homay (ego) to haukam (acceptance of the present moment) from resistance to surrender. Vaisaki is a celebration of the birth of the Khalsa. It is about opening to vulnerability and trusting that we are held. It is about faith that we can surrender to something higher than ourselves, that we are not our bodies or our minds and that in this surrender through the Guru’s grace is our path to liberation.
It says in Gurbani ‘Nanak dukhia sub sansar’ that the whole world is suffering. So Vaisaki reminds us that our journey is from the fearful self to the heart space of trust of truth that is timeless. It reminds us that we are here to transcend not only our own suffering but to be a beacon of light for the whole world. To walk upon the path without fear of anyone and without instilling fear in anyone. This is the path of the Khalsa the pure ones.
Gurbani guides us to cultivate an inner path of connection to the divine through meditation (naam Simaran), through serving others (selfless sewa) and earning an honest living. It teaches us to walk the path of commitment and purpose of unity and equality beyond social status, beyond background. Vaisaki is about endings and rebirth, for each moment is a rebirth in which we can recommit to serving those in need, to act against oppression and to radiate as a beacon of light in the world.
“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”
— Jack Kornfield
This year we will be having a virtual celebration in Lincolnshire on Sunday 18th April at 4 pm.
Zoom join in details
Topic: Zoom Vaisakhi Celebration by Jasmine Sodhi
Time: Apr 18, 2021 04:00 PM London
Meeting ID: 837 9717 8319
The celebration will begin by coming together in meditation. The students will be bringing the vibe of an Indian Vaisaki mela (fair) to the celebration with Bhangra music and a dance tutorial. Everyone is very welcome to join and all those attending are invited to dress in traditional Indian clothes or to wear bright colourful clothes and have a head covering such as a scarf for the meditation. We are really looking forward to joining with you all and collectively creating the energy of hope and the joy of celebration.
For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org