HAPPY 550th GURPURAB – SRI GURU NANAK DEV JI (1469 – 1539)
When I was younger, I didn’t really understand the concept of the Sikh faith I was born into. I didn’t get the routine of my family going to a Gurdwara (temple) each Saturday and the occasional Sunday, praying and chanting to hymns (Kirtan). I used to run out of Punjabi class because I didn’t quite get it, and go cry in the toilets, ha. I thought I’d respect the family ‘tradition’ and not over question it and continue going. But of course you get older, you question things. It was a couple years back, sitting in a prayer hall at one of the Gurdwaras, that I noticed the projector up on the wall translating the scripture from the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) from Punjabi to English, as it was being read by the Gianni (Sikh priest). It was around this time I was exploring the subject of Philosophy on a deeper level, and realised many of the things mentioned on the screen were things that really connected with me, in a ‘non-brainwashy’ way, just a more mindful, healthy way. It was then I really explored more, especially about Guru Nanak – a teacher, a philosopher, a scholar, a wondering soul – the founder of the Sikh faith who united Hindus & Muslims as oppose to division, and talked of ‘Oneness’ amongst all races, creeds, religions and faiths. He embraced equality, brotherhood & humanity as basic principles of living. He travelled extensively on foot, blessing places and people all over the world with his wisdom. The more I learned, the more I realised I had already adopted many of his teachings throughout my life – through my artwork, the community projects, daily acts of connection with others etc – it was this level of personal awareness and faith, that has continued to shape my path. I now actively attend the Gurdwara each Saturday, more so as a space to switch off, connect and ignite fresh energy through my art with the younger people who attend, and hopefully help change the perceptions of how enriching Gurdwaras / Philosophy can be to younger audiences living in a pretty over-loaded techy world (as we all are), only IF we’re able to translate the culture in a more digestible way within these spaces – NAAM JAPO (pray), KIRAT KARO (work), VAND KE CHHAKO (share) > BLESS UP!