The moment I saw, Dr Daljit Singh’s Clinic, in Amritsar, I was elated. The name brought memories for the first Sikh sisters in my life, at the boarding school in Shillong. Daljit and Jyoti, were from Amritsar. Jyoti, who was in my class, gave me the first kada, in school and it was a steel one I remember. Ever since, I have worn a kada on my wrist, most of the time. In later years, I met many Punjabis, but the Sikh girls left a lasting impression in my mind.
There was Arvinder Kaur too, later in my life in Mumbai. She had once asked me, before she left to Amritsar – What shall I get for you? I said, get me the Golden Temple.
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, is one of the most profound experience I have had in this life. I arrived very tired from Jalandar to be at Amritsar for a night. I was sure, I wanted to stay at the temple premises and also eat at the langar. A comfortable room, just outside gate # 2 gave me a pillow and a bed to sleep the night. Before I had put my head down, I went to the temple to pay my homage to Guru Granth Sahib.
The golden temple premises and the temple itself are silent. The only sound you hear is the recitation of the Granth Sahib and the sound of the plates at the 24-hours langar. Thousands and millions of people visit every day, but, in groups, waiting and moving, all get to see the temple which houses the Guru Granth Sahib, the only text the Sikhs worship. There are no pandas, no one coming to disturb you with an offer to take you in, through the back door if you pay Rs 1001! Like the belief of the Sikhs, there is only one way that leads to the inside of the temple where the Guru Granth Sahib is worshiped. At every nook and corner, you will find, women and men, doing seva – giving you water to drink, keeping your shoes and luggage, allotting rooms and sleeping places for you to stay. There is no talk, no gibberish going on. Everyone is with the nam on their lips or on their mind. No wonder, for that night and two nights after, I heard only the nam, even in my sleep.
Wikipedia says – “Satnam (Gurmukhi:ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ) is the main word that appears in the Sikh sacred scripture called the Guru Granth Sahib. It is part of the Gurbani shabad called Mool Mantra which is repeated daily by all Sikhs. This word succeeds the word "Ek-onkar" which means "There is only one constant" or commonly "There is one God". The words sat means "true/everlasting" and nam means "name".In this instance, this would mean, "whose name is truth". The word nam in Sikhism has two meanings. "It meant both an application and a symbol of the All-pervading Supreme Reality that sustained the universe. Guru Nanak in his teachings emphasized the need of repeating Sat-Nam to realize the All-pervading Supreme Reality.”
I did not find my friends, Daljit and Jyoti there. I did not find many other friends I have had from the same Sikh religion. I did not seek them too, even the next day, when under the sun of the everlasting sky, the temple, spoke the same language – here, within this hallowed shrine, is the only God and He has a name - Ek-onkar satnam!
Memories faded as I left, some of whom, made contribution to my life, people I have lost in time, but people, who were valuable to my experience of life and made it richer.
Happy Dussera, my dear readers, from across the globe, who have helped this blog to cross way above 100,000 readership.