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Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Jogindar Singh Kaur, May 27, 2005.

  1. Jogindar Singh Kaur

    Jogindar Singh Kaur
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    Sat Sri Akal!

    I promised DrKhalsa I'd explain my name. I'll do that later. :)

    First, the long and winding story of how a 42 YO lesbian living in San Francisco became a Sikh.

    I'm sure all of you know the story of Balbir Singh Sodhi. He lived in Phoenix but he originally immigrated to the Bay Area. When I heard his story and how he was murdered it stupefied me. By all accounts he was a great guy, and his murder was one of the most ignorant, senseless act in a day full of ignorant, senseless acts, and it made me want to learn something about Sikhism.

    Fast forward to late 2004, and me and my partner of 12 years have had the most hellish year of our lives. Her brother, who we both loved dearly, had advanced cancer and was dying. She had lost her job. Among many of the other hurts was losing one of our cats suddenly to liver failure, me coming down with herpes zoster and the both of us struggling with severe relationship problems that we were struggling to work through. I was depressed, on medications and suicidal.

    Late one horrible night I was reading through some old links that I had collected because of Singh's murder, and I encountered the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Now mind you, I've read the Bible, Koran, a good chunk of the Vedas, plus plenty of Buddhist and Neopagan writings. However, the SGGS was the first religious work that brought me to tears, and I mean hardcore tears.

    At the time I could not forgive myself for falling for someone else and hurting my partner. I never cheated on her physically, but even simply wanting to can hurt your partner badly. At the time she had already forgiven me, the person I was attracted to had forgiven me (and fortunately for her, had moved on with her life), my friends forgave me, but I could not. I hated myself. When I read the SGGS that night, reading as much as I could, I could feel... something... forgive me. I never cried harder than I did that night. For the first time in a long time I could love myself again due to the Guru's grace. For the first time EVER I realized that the True God existed and that s/he loved me beyond compare.

    From that moment on I have been a Sikh. I have not been a very good Sikh at times, but I am becoming better at it. There is still nothing that can move me to tears the way the SGGS can, and there is nothing that hits me harder than the infinitesmal glimpses of naam I get during meditation. By the Guru's grace... Akal has me for life. I am Akal's servant forever.

    I joined a Unitarian-Universalist congregation for the simple reason that I knew that they would support me in being a Sikh and, among other things, being a lesbian in a committed relationship. I do plan to attend a Gurdwara here, and I do continue to read the SGGS plus any other literature I can get my hands on. I just recently finished Guninder Kaur's incredible essay _The Guru Granth Sahib: Its Physics and Metaphysics_. Beautiful stuff.

    I do wear the 5Ks when I feel worthy of them and I've let my hair grow out, although it looks horrible now. I'll let the Guru tell me when I am ready to take Amrit. For now I am content to be a student of Sikhism and to get to that point on Waheguruji's schedule, not mine.

    Now for my name:

    Jogindar means "establishing union with God." I did a hukamnama for myself and got the Gurmukhi letter "Jujja". Jogindar just felt right. I feel that I am still such a novice at this, that I am still "establishing" a relationship with God, and that this will always be a path without end as long as I am in this particular life.

    Now why "Singh Kaur"? For some very personal reasons related to what I went through in 2004, I feel I needed to integrate both my male and female sides. Therefore I took the Singh as my middle name and, because I *am* biologically female, Kaur as my last name. I know this is unusual if not downright strange, but it fits and it feels right to me.

    Thank you for this website! I have read many threads with great interest, and I am very much looking forward to being an active participant.
     
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  3. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa
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    Dear Joginder

    you are most welcome on this forum :)

    YOUR story is really inspiring to me ,there are infinate ways in which Akal bless us and with Akals grace you may achieve goal of your life

    your active partcipation will help all of us grow more

    Jatinder Singh
     
  4. UnstoppableSingh

    UnstoppableSingh
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    Welcome to SPN.......

    Beatiful thread..... only one thing i don't know.... What is YO? (i'm very bad with all this new short forms) it took me a very long time to find out what LOL ment back in the early 90s.
     
  5. Neutral Singh

    Neutral Singh
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    Welcome Dear Joginder,

    Thanks for sharing your heart warming story with us. DrKhalsa Ji summed it up beautifully... there are infinate ways in which Akal can bless us...

    Hope to learn a lot from your life experience... Have a nice time and enjoy your stary over here...

    Chardi Kalaa
    Aman Singh

    ** off-topic ** YO i think means Years Old...
     
  6. Arvind

    Arvind
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    Dear Joginder ji,

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

    Thanks for your presence here. We look forward to your active participation here.

    Best Regards, Arvind.
     
  7. NamHariKaur

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    Sat Nam; Jogindar Singh Kaur Ji;

    I have taken the liberty of highlighting and underlining the portions of your post which move me to respond.


    For several reasons I feel a kinship with you after reading your story. My own experience of the Guru also involves wonderful tears - blissful tears and healing tears and tears of compassion for those I see in physical pain or who suffer deeply in other ways, and tears of relief at having been brought to the Guru's feet after struggling with many issues in my own life for 55 years. (I came to the Guru in April of 2004 - 15 months ago). I was told by one of our long-term Sanghat members that the SGGS is sometimes called the greatest psychiatrist in the world.

    For me also, experiencing the power of Gurbani and the Naad convinced me that God was not the impersonal non-intervening Force/Causer that I had thought he/she to be, but in fact very present at all times in our lives.
    As you have stated - many of my intense experiences occur during meditation. I attend the hour of kirtan from 5am to 6am often and chant along for 10 or 15 minutes and then dissolve into a deep quiet meditation for the rest of the hour. (This is largely a 3HO community so we have a daily sadhana from 4am to 6:30am).

    Your feeling of "Union with God" mirrors my own experience of having surrendered my life to God's Will during an intense experience at home while playing Gurbani chanting and doing the salutation to the sun - hatha yoga. It was the 28th pauri of JaapJi that was being sung/chanted and many months later I found this statement about that pauri by Yogi Bhajan: "the 28th pauri of JaapJi is the most powerful combination and permutation of words in the world. It unites you with God." When I read that, goose bumps covered my entire body. Ironically it was when I did a search two months ago for the 28th pauri that I was brought to this forum - where someone had just posted their own interpretation of that pauri.

    For the 15 months of my own journey into Sikhism I have found very few people who speak as you do about their experiences -all the tears and intensity of healing / transforming. That is what most makes me feel a kinship with you and awakens a desire to connect with you.

    Your "unusual singh kaur" name. Surely you are aware of the Sikh chanting recording artist named Singh Kaur - a 3HO Sikh that passed away in about 1998? She was perhaps the first 3HO sikh to record many chants. Her most famous early works are collected on a CD recently digitally remastered and titled "Peace Lagoon." It can be found at www.a-healingways.com and probably also at www.spiritvoyage.com. As it happens one of the chants on that CD is of the very first Hukham that I ever heard - commonly called "Crimson" which begins with "My eyes are wet with the nectar of the Lord." Another of my favorites begins "I would make myself a slave, to the one that can take me to meet my true Guru." In my case, it was Snatam Kaur that showed me the way to the Guru's Feet, and I have forever offered my services to her should she ever have need of my gifts.

    You might like that CD. I think you can listen to clips of some parts of it at the sites above.

    The other thing you mentioned about your name is dear to me also. Due to circumstances of my early life, and a lot of struggling in this life due to events during that time, I can fully relate to your statement about needing to integrate your feminine and masculine aspects of your nature. I respect and honor your courageous choices to be open about so much of yourself.

    Finally, I have seen your wonderful posts on homosexuality in another area at SPN. That is where I first took note of you. You posted with eloquence and with courage, and I was very impressed and have wanted to contact you since that time. I have two gay women Sikh friends and am bisexual myself, with a strong preference for other women. None of us have been entirely "open" with Sanghat members at large about our sexuality although I have spoken of it to my closest Sikh friend. While she reacted negatively at first, our own friendship has been so healing for both of us that I think she has no longer has any judgements about me.

    I am thinking that the time is soon coming for at least the 3HO Sikh community to acknowledge and accept homosexuality and bisexuality as just other ways of being spiritual beings having human experiences.
    As we come out within our sanghat's we may need a support group. That is the another big reason that I am posting here in reply to your story. I hope that we might become acquainted and that I can learn more about your own experiences and journey - especially as they relate to the acceptance / rejection of your sexuality within a Sikh community.

    I was going to post much of the above content to you in a private message, but have decided that nothing I have said needs to be kept from others, and that it might in fact continue to build in others, the spirit that is needed to bring about the acknowledgement and acceptance of being gay or bisexual - or any other human permutation of qualities or physical states of being.

    Thank you for posting your story. It moved me deeply and made me feel again more at home in my own new life.

    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene, Oregon
     
  8. Arvind

    Arvind
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    Whenever I read abt personal experiences, it takes me to an entirely different world. Thanks for giving those wonderful moments .. Nam Hari ji, and Joginder ji.

    Sarbat da bhala.
     
  9. NamHariKaur

    NamHariKaur
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    Sat Nam dearest Arvind!
    It pleases me that you too are so moved upon reading of the works of the Guru.
    Blessings and Light to You!
    Nam Hari Kaur
     
  10. Jogindar Singh Kaur

    Jogindar Singh Kaur
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    Sat Sri Akal!

    Thank you both! I'm really honored.

    Namhariji, I had heard about those Kirtan singers, but I haven't heard their voices yet. I'm definitely going to go check them out. This Sunday I'm planning on going to services at the local 3H0 ashram (the closest service to me; the second closest is the Hayward Gurdwara). Maybe they'll also have them for sale there.

    I've been suprised at how many GLBT people really respond to the Sikhism once they hear the philosophy. It makes sense-- NOT because of our sexuality, but because we're a group of people that have for the most part been figuratively, and sometimes literally, cast out of our childhood religions, labeled "immoral" and "intrisically evil." No wonder we've cried so much; finding out God really does reside within us and that we are worthy of the True Guru's glance as any other human being is an incredible experience. Now that I've felt this amazing love, no one can ever take that away from me.

    I like what you said about tears & compassion for the suffering. I'm finding that the more I keep my heart on the Guru, the more compassion I have, even in the little things.
     
  11. Hukum Kaur

    Hukum Kaur
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    This post is a query as to where all the places I can go near San Francisco are. I grew up ín San Francisco, on lower haight street, but I never ran into the ashram on ashbury. Could you please tell me other places you know of.
    I have a memory from 6 yeas back, when my soul sister and I would go to the drum cercles on hippi hill (the pan handel) by the childrens playground.
    One evening Morgan and I stayed till six, and a Singh arrived with an oboe\flute instrument. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. He played for us and we belly danced together on the grass. Not the showey shaken belly moves, the more gracefull subtle steps. Looking back, I now know that this man with the long white beard was sikh. The first sikh I ever met. I hope to meet more in San Francisco, so the information will help and save time...Thank you for your time, Sat Naam
     
  12. Jogindar Singh Kaur

    Jogindar Singh Kaur
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    Here is the SF 3H0 website, but it's mainly about their yoga classes:

    http://www.idoyoga.com/yogaWelcome.html

    They have Gurdwara services on the first Sunday of the month at 10:30 AM. The local number is the best way to reach them:
    [SIZE=-1]415-863-0132


    [/SIZE]
     

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