This week marks the 6th anniversary of Basics of Sikhi Katha at Southall, a charity I’ve learnt a lot from and have got involved in Seva with and Southall, I visit so often it has a place in my heart.
I’ve put together 6 things I’ve learnt from Basics and you can find more on Instagram using the hashtag #basicstaughtme.
Throughout the post I will mention Jagraj Singh the founder of Basics of a Sikhi as a lot of videos he personally featured in that I watched in my early journey, I will include links to some. I appreciate the efforts of all speakers and if you know me, you see me at anyone’s Katha because I have no preference to speaker, I go to learn more on Sikhi.
If you haven’t been to a Katha yet anywhere and your into your Sikhi a little, starting to discover more or been living a life of a Sikh for a while now – GO! You’ll find out more on that and my story on point 6.
1. Who is Guru Nanak? – The first thing I learnt that was Guru Nanak the 1st Sikh Guru and how the Mul Mantra came about, it interested me. Along with the principles of humility, compassion, equality.
2. Wearing a turban and Kirpan reasons and rights – I started watching videos and would replay them to take the information in, I wanted to know what wearing a turban actually meant for a practicing Sikh, learning it’s a crown, sign of sovereignty, easy indentifier for anyone who needs help, covers our tenth gate and helps to live in line with the Gurus teachings. I also like the passing remark Jagraj Singh made that your able to go Gudwara any time without spending time re doing your head cover. The parchar video of British man arguing about kirpan then learning more about the ceremonial dagger that’s worn be people to defend themselves and anyone in need of all other communication and defence fails. Then agreeing with the Sikhi team was priceless, I’m so glad they filmed it. Parchar videos are great to watch as you see people learn and learn with them, it’s raw footage.
3. Everyone starts at the beginning – Jagraj Singh openly shared his own journey, along with Baljit Singh and more. On learning that though from a Punjabi family he learnt about Sikhi when older especially about Simran, meant I could relate that being from a non Punjabi family I too could learn in my twenties from where I was. Everyone starts at the beginning and everyone is always learning.
4. There are Sikhi camps, what you do there (and what you do not) – Jagraj Singh was blessed with Amrit soon after visiting a Camp and would talk about them and at them often. One of the most wonderful things I heard was ‘Do not go to Camp looking for your life partner’. Why? Because I was newly single and staying away from relationships? Well yes and no. It made me laugh out loud and meant the the whole time was on spent on learning. That’s good news for a Gurbani geek. Seva, Sangat and Simran are what you go for and they are so worth every penny and time. I’ve also written about lessons in love from Katha and relationship advice that opened my heart.
5. Let Gurbani guide you in life and you can’t go wrong – I don’t think I would have dived in to learning Nitnem, different shabads and Sikhi stories without Basics. Or made Gurbani my driving force on decision making on life’s turbulence. I could see and feel that the whole hearted ness from speakers and that spoke volumes about the true word of Bani.
6. Turn up to Katha with Basics you don’t know where it might lead – onto my last point, when I started going to Katha locally, the gracious Singh who showed me around did Katha and spoke 5 words of English to many Punjabi words. I like it, I kept going holding onto those few words and the Gurbani that was being said.
I saw a flyer at my local Gurdwara for a Katha in English by Basics of Sikhi in Southall, 1 hour on a Sunday. I weighed it up, a 1 and a half hour journey (back then I didn’t drive to London areas) there and back for a 1 hour talk. It didn’t make sense to go, but I thought if there is a shot to learn more and it may be in a bit more English than I have now, I should take it.
So one evening I told my family I was going out to a Sikhi talk and I’d be back late. I got to Park Avenue a little after 6pm on a Sunday and even at the shoes area I was wondering why I was there and I messaged a friend joking I had come all the way to Southall for a Katha that could be mostly in a language I didn’t understand yet. I was putting my shoes away and I could here a Singh speaking English on the mic though couldn’t quiet believe it. When sat down in the Darbar I listened to who I now know as Sukhdeep Singh talking about Sikhi in a way I actually understood. I thought I had entered another realm. I realised I actually had to listen and pay attention!
After a few times of going I found out there was also a Q n A upstairs from 7.30pm onwards so I wasn’t just going for an hour but almost 2 and a half, I also started driving there which takes half the time, so all worked out.
From going to Katha, I’ve heard Sikhi stories, the basic principles repeated, the importance of Simran and been uplifted in my Sikhi weekly that would not have happened without getting out and interacting with Sangat in person whether it be conversations in the Langar hall or in group discussion.
Another amazing thing is even if I don’t learn anything knew one time, I will get incite on something, be inspired in some way or have a deeper than usual spirtual related conversation with someone. Going to Katha and Q n A is one way my Sangat grew from zero.
It’s worth the effort as there is a lot of value from going.
So bottom line. Go to Katha. If I can drag my introverted self (I am not so much anymore, Sikhi has helped that) out to it from 30 miles away you can get there some how too.