Wednesday 13th April was the 317th Sikh new year. If you’d like to read more about Vaisakhi, you can do so in my blog post on Arjun’s first Vaisakhi.
The fundamental teachings of Sikhism by Guru Nanak Dev Ji that I outlined last year are outlined below. Instilling these teachings in Arjun from a really young age is so important to me. I know he’s only little but I believe you’re never too young to learn. On my journey of trying to teach him, I’m also teaching myself.
• Kirat Karo: Work hard and honestly. I always encourage Arjun to be active and hard working. Though he’s too little to have a job in its realist sense, it matters to me that he’s not lazy. We always encourage him to help us in whatever we are doing (as long as it isn’t too messy! Ha!). We’re lucky that he enjoys helping and getting involved and is quite an active little guy be it helping with putting the shopping away, takin care of Bruno or cleaning! When we go to the Gurdwara, although it’s usually quite a quick session, he had his own little piece of cloth that he uses for seva to clean the windows and railings at the Gurdwara.
• Naam Jappo: Always remember God throughout the day in your mind and soul. If you follow us on Instagram and Facebook, Arjun’s videos of him doing Simran, playing tabla and listening to kirtan won’t be an unfamiliar sight. I really do believe he has a special little bond with God that he was born with. He’ll often say “Waheguru” randomly and he associates it with calm.
• Wand Ke Chhako: Share what you have with the needy – this extends out to langar being offered at Gurdwaras (Sikh temple) for free – one of the most prominent traits of Sikhism. Everyone is welcome to come and eat. Sikhism also strongly emanates equality believing that there are no differences between men and women, races, religions or castes and everyone sits on the floor together and eats – King or beggar. Though he’s not quite mastered the art of sharing his toys, he’s really kind and giving where it comes to food. He’ll always offer his food to whoever is around – it’s really sweet (even Peppa and her family!).
This year, we ended up going to the Gurdwara the day after Vaisakhi as Vaisakhi day ended up being quite hectic with nursery and work. Arjun really enjoyed doing seva and actually lasted longer than 30 seconds (40 seconds is still longer than 30!!) and he understood what to do as soon as he saw his little cloth which is reserved especially for Gurdwara seva. We enjoyed langar and even got to see Nana Ji who was hosting a Gurdwara tour at the same time. I always feel proud of my dad when I bump in to him at the Gurdwara during his Gurdwara show arounds. He does them for tiny tots all the way up to mature students. Seeing the letters written from the little children to say thank you is the sweetest thing. I’m super proud of my dad and once Arjun’s a little older, I can’t wait for him to learn from my dad. He’ll love hearing the stories my dad tells about the Gurus. He’s bursting with knowledge and I’m so grateful I have such easy access to it.
We let Arjun pick his Vaisakhi gift this year – we knew it would be Peppa related! He even took Grandpa Pig and his train to the Gurdwara with us.
This year our Vaisakhi craft session was using Arjun’s current favourite material – any sort of writing device! I cut out a flag and coloured it orange and let him doodle with a navy blue sharpie (very brave of me!) and he loved it. He was so proud of his little master piece and held on tight to it for most of the morning.
Last Sunday, Arjun and I went to the Nagar Kirtan and he appreciated it so much more this year than last as he’s now walking and is so much more aware of his surroundings. We went along with my sister Harv and our family friends Pavan and her mum. He totally loved having his Masis at either side of him.
I don’t know why, or if it’s even relatable to anyone else, but every Nagar Kirtan I always find myself totally overwhelmed with emotion – especially when I see the main float with Maharaj (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – our current Guru). The beautiful floral decor, the gold domes, the echoing sounds of kirtan bursting through the streets of Southall, the Panj Pyareh donning the Guru’s uniform, the hundreds of stalls serving food and drink, the sevadars clearing the streets to ensure no litter, the tens of thousands of people that have gathered for the procession. I find it all so overwhelming and I’m so proud to be part of a religion that is so giving. That welcomes all regardless of gender, age, race or colour. I felt complete and calm as soon as we’d done matha tekh (although it was chaotic!). Arjun enjoyed cholleh bhattureh after he’d watched a gatka display – a Sikh martial art which includes all ranges. The little children looked especially cute in the Sikh uniform. Arjun loved watching the bright colours and sea of people slowly float past us as we watched the procession pass. He was in awe and really enjoyed it.
We had a lovely Vaisakhi and I’m already looking forward to next year where Arjun will have even more of an awareness.
Hope those of you that celebrated had a wonderful and blessed one x