Saturday, July 17, 2010

What an example for Sikhs everywhere!

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

As many of you know, I am both a doctor and huge fan of sports. Unfortunately in our North American diaspora many Sikhs are facing the "battle of the bulge". I think targeting this issue starts with how we educate our youth. One of the best ways to do this is to lead by example. Bhai Fauja Singh Ji is doing just that. Let's get off our couches and start moving! Once we stop making excuses and start doing it is amazing how much things seem to get better.... (stop watching tv, and spend 30 minutes in meditation, for example). I know, easier said than done, but as Nike says, Just Do It!

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

--
Singh Really IS King!
October 8, 2009 Source: gconnect.in

He replaced David Beckham as Adidas’s new poster boy. On the Adidas 'Nothing Is Impossible' advertising campaigns billboards, spread across London, he was sitting cross-legged; as if cooling his heals after a day’s work out, peeping over Londoners, tired and overworked, telling them the secrets of his unfailing energy.

Fauja Singh, Britain’s most popular Sikh is 98 now, and the oldest runner in the London Marathon.

He is threatening to break his own world record of 5.40 hours in the 90 plus age bracket that he set previously. While running Marathon races in London, New York and Toronto, he raised thousands of pounds for various charities promoting Sikh culture around the world. He has also raised money for B.L.I.S.S., a charity dedicated to the care for premature babies. He describes it as the ‘oldest running for the youngest.

Fauja’s jogging skills were developed on an Indian farm in Punjab, and then at the magical age of 81, when he moved to the UK, his love for the sport became more “serious."

Fauja Singh (born April 1, 1911) is a Sikh marathon runner in his nineties from India who is a world-record holder in his age bracket. His current personal best time for the London marathon is 6 hours 2 minutes, and his marathon record, for age 90-plus, is 5 hours 40 minutes.

Fauja Singh shot to fame, when aged 89, he completed the gruelling 26.2 mile distance in 6 hours and 54 minutes. This knocked 58 minutes off the previous world best for anyone in the 90 plus age bracket. The career of this extraordinary Marathon runner is closely supervised by his personal trainer Harminder Singh. He says ‘he can still run for a few more years. And perhaps he might be the oldest man to run a Marathon.

Fauja Singh came to London in 1992 to live with his son after his wife’s death in his village in Jalandhar. He says ‘Sitting at home was really killing. Most elderly people in Britain eat a rich diet, don’t move about and only travel in cars, and that makes them sick’. He wasn’t prepared to go the same way. So he took up jogging initially to beat the boredom of sitting at home.

I never thought of running a Marathon then. But slowly it grew.’ What surprises many is that he supports his eight stone and six feet tall body frame with a very simple vegetarian diet. ‘I am very careful about different foods. My diet is simple phulka, dal, green vegetables, yoghurt and milk. I do not touch parathas, pakoras, rice or any other fried food. I take lots of water and tea with ginger’.

And that smile is eternally fixed beneath his silver haired beard. Perhaps that’s the reason behind his strikingly inspiring and positive attitude. ‘I go to bed early taking the name of my Rabba [God] as I don’t want all those negative thoughts crossing my mind.’ Doesn’t he find it difficult to cover 26 miles at this age? ‘The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for last six miles, I run while talking to God.’

Adidas signed him up for its ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ advertising campaign. He won’t reveal how much money the deal involves, but says that a large part of his earnings goes to charity.

Fauja Singh has stated,”I won’t stop running until I die.. The next target, God willing, is to be the oldest marathon runner ever.

Fauja Singh returns this year to attempt to break the record for the oldest marathon runner - presently held by a 98-year-old Greek athlete.

His profile as found in Facebook:

•Born: 1st April 1911 in India
•Former Occupation: Farmer
•Running Career: Rediscovered at the age of 81
•Diet: Ginger Curry
•Marathons: London (5), Toronto (1), New York (1)
•Marathon Debut: London, 2000 aged 89
•London Marathon Personal Best: 6h 2m
•London Flora Marathon 2000 6 Hours 54 m
•London Flora Marathon 2001 6 Hours 54 m
•London Flora Marathon 2002 6 Hours 45 m
•Bupa Great North Run (Half Marathon) 2002 2h 39m
•London Flora Marathon 2003 6h 2m
•Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2003 5h 40m
•New York City Marathon 2003 7h 35m
•London Flora Marathon 2004 6h 7m
•Glasgow City Half Marathon 2004 2h 33m
•Capital Radio Help a London Child 10,000m 2004 68m
•Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon 2004 2h 29m 59s

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The 1001 Ways we Know God

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!


Just wanted to share a beautiful article on the multitude of ways our faith understands the entity that sustains us.


From http://www.sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=703&cat=19, an article by Sardar T. Sher Singh... please check out the link for the full article!

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!


--

"I love the relationship we Sikhs have with God. He - or She, if you will - is "tu(n)", not "tusi" or "aap". We address Him with a tu and not a vous, as some other traditions do, as well.


I like that.


I like the informality. I like the absence of rules and boundaries. I particularly like that there are no rituals.


It is all left to the individual - purely personal, one-on-one - to determine the terms of endearment.


I love the freedom we have been given to refer to or address God as whatever we want, in whatever language we choose.


It makes sense, because if He is infinite, then surely, if we add all that each one of us in the world comes up with in describing Him, the sum would still fall short of the whole.


So what does it matter if we call Him God, or Waheguru, Allah or Yahweh, Om or ... whatever. Equally, I think it is even okay to call Him "nothing", or that "God Does Not Exist". They're all merely parts of the whole, the pieces of an infinite puzzle."

Monday, February 22, 2010

If I had my life to live over

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

I found this very life-affirming... some may say it is manmukh to live in the present, but I think that is just as much part of being a Sikh as is working towards an ultimate union with Waheguru.

===


If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love yous".. more "I'm sorrys"... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it...live it...and never give it back.

- Erma Bombeck

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shabd: Hoey ikatr milo mere bhaee

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!
Another favourite shabd, translations provided courtesy of SikhNet.com:

(1185-10)
basant mehlaa 5 ghar 2 hindol

ho-ay ikatar milhu mayray bhaa-ee dubiDhaa door karahu liv laa-ay.
Come and join together, O my Siblings of Destiny; dispel your sense of duality and let yourselves be lovingly absorbed in the Lord.

har naamai kay hovhu jorhee gurmukh baishu safaa vichhaa-ay. 1
Let yourselves be joined to the Name of the Lord; become Gurmukh, spread out your mat, and sit down. 1
inH biDh paasaa dhaalahu beer.
In this way, throw the dice, O brothers.

gurmukh naam japahu din raatee ant kaal nah laagai peer. 1 rahaa-o.
As Gurmukh, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord, day and night. At the very last moment, you shall not have to suffer in pain. 1Pause

karam Dharam tumH cha-uparh saajahu sat karahu tumH saaree.
Let righteous actions be your gameboard, and let the truth be your dice.

kaam kroDh lobh moh jeetahu aisee khayl har pi-aaree. 2
Conquer sexual desire, anger, greed and worldly attachment; only such a game as this is dear to the Lord. 2

uth isnaan karahu parbhaatay so-ay har aaraaDhay.
Rise in the early hours of the morning, and take your cleansing bath. Before you go to bed at night, remember to worship the Lord.

bikh-rhay daa-o langhaavai mayraa satgur sukh sahj saytee ghar jaatay. 3
My True Guru will assist you, even on your most difficult moves; you shall reach your true home in celestial peace and poise. 3

har aapay khaylai aapay daykhai har aapay rachan rachaa-i-aa.
The Lord Himself plays, and He Himself watches; the Lord Himself created the creation.

jan naanak gurmukh jo nar khaylai so jin baajee ghar aa-i-aa. 4119
O servant Nanak, that person who plays this game as Gurmukh, wins the game of life, and returns to his true home. 4119

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting used to the gazes

When people ask me about my long hair, I tell them that I have never cut it because of my religion.

That is true about the hair on my head, but not about the hair elsewhere on my body. That is - I have shaved, waxed, and threaded. Does this make me a bad person?

I am not sure. Clearly, 98% of the rest of "my world" - particularly the females - remove their body hair. And most of these people are not, necessarily, "bad".

Do I feel guilty about it? To be honest - not really. It was something I went through to fit in. But my actions were still in line with Sikhi: nam japna, vand chakna, kirt karni.

About 2 years ago, after much meditation, I slowly stopped these hair-removing processes. It wasn't something that I woke up and immediately decided. It just kind of happened. And with Guru's grace, I have been entirely okay with it.

The only thing that has taken some getting used to is the stares. I generally keep my body covered, but I also like to swim. My swimming suit, if you will, involves shorts and a t-shirt. A lot of people - especially women - stare at my legs. It's as though they are willing me to feel bad about my choice to keep my hair.

Yet I do not give in to their desire to make me feel ashamed. I actually find my choice liberating and motivating, not to mention economical. Sikhs are supposed to be leaders - leaders do not care about what other people think when they know what they are doing in their heart is right. I am also saving money on these "cosmetic supplies" - money that adds up when you notice that the "treatments" are lifelong. Is there a reason that our hair keeps growing back no matter how much we try to stop it? Why not give in to the way Waheguru has made our bodies?

The most exciting part about this, however, is the opportunities it brings up to educate my brothers and sisters. When I catch people, especially children, staring at me, I look back and smile. If these people ask me questions, I have this golden chance to explain to people that I am a Sikh, and talk about the basic principles of our religion.

Several years ago, when I did shave my legs, I did not have this confidence. Now, ironically, when I am subject to public scrutiny, I do believe - in myself, in humanity, in Waheguru.

Utar gayo mere man ka sansa

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!

Another beautiful shabd... [translations courtesy of sikhnet.com]

(1218-16)
saarag mehlaa 5.

thaakur tumH sarnaa-ee aa-i-aa.
O my Lord and Master, I have come to Your Sanctuary.

utar ga-i-o mayray man kaa sansaa jab tay darsan paa-i-aa. rahaa-o.
The anxiety of my mind departed, when I gazed upon the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan.

anbolat mayree birthaa jaanee apnaa naam japaa-i-aa.
You know my condition, without my speaking. You inspire me to chant Your Name.

dukh naathay sukh sahj samaa-ay anad anad gun gaa-i-aa.
My pains are gone, and I am absorbed in peace, poise and bliss, singing Your Glorious Praises.

baah pakar kadh leenay apunay garih anDh koop tay maa-i-aa.
Taking me by the arm, You lifted me up, out of the deep dark pit of household and Maya.

kaho naanak gur banDhan kaatay bichhurat aan milaa-i-aa.
Says Nanak, the Guru has broken my bonds, and ended my separaation; He has united me with God.