Sikh Youth Australia

Posted on 15/04/10 by Devpaal Singh | Category: Sikhism

The True Meaning of Vesakhi

This poem was inspired by its author’s participation in a celebration known as a Seder (derived from the Hebrew word for “order”), a festive communal dinner, rich in symbolic meaning, that plays a central role in the commemoration of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The meal is interleaved throughout with prayers and songs highlighting God’s bountiful blessings and remembering pivotal people and moments in Jewish history.

In this regard, these recitations share close thematic and structural parallels with Ardaas, the Sikh standard prayer, which not only praises and expresses gratitude to God, but also sequentially evokes the names of the Gurus and their precious legacies, as well as refers reverentially to personages, places and events of Sikh significance.

Shukrana: A Song of Gratitude

by Jessi Kaur

O Lord our God,
Gracious and kind Waheguru,
Today is the beginning of the month of Vaisakh.
We, your children, gather here to thank You
For bestowing so much upon us, on this day of Vaisakhi.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
Wondrous Waheguru
Father and Mother of the Universe
Who dwells in us,
And blessed are we, Your children
Chosen by You as the Khalsa,
The pure ones, Your very own – we thank You
On this day of Vaisakhi for bestowing so much upon us.
You have given us
This season of joy and festivity.
In Punjab, the land of our fathers,
The farmers are rejoicing for a bounteous harvest.
And wherever we, Your children, live
Across the five continents,
You have kept us in prosperity and chardi kalaa.
Blessed are You, O lord our God
Who has granted us life and sustenance
And helped us in our daily tasks.
O Father and Mother of the Universe
Who dwells in us,
We bow in gratitude to You
For sending us ten great Gurus
That blessed the earth
With the glorious examples of their lives
And taught us to live in grace and appreciation.
You sent us Guru Nanak,
Who sang of Your glory and
Through whom You delivered to us
The great hymn of Japji
So we may contemplate the wonder
Of Your Creation.
Your bard, our first great Guru
Stripped the veil of ignorance
So the Truth could be heard.
The Truth of Your existence,
Of the oneness of Your creation,
Of the universality of Your presence.
The truth that had been shrouded
Shone again through Your son, Guru Nanak.
You sent us Guru Angad,
Who exemplified humility and seva
And gave of himself so unreservedly
That we could learn to give
And give without expectation
And yet be humble.
O Lord, our Waheguru
We thank You for this lesson of life
And ask of You that we not forget
What You taught us through Guru Angad.
You sent us Guru Amardas,
Also dedicated to service
And humility, so we could yet again
Learn the hard lessons of selfless love and seva,
So difficult for humans, so freely flowing from You
Through yet another great Guru.
We thank You, O Waheguru,
O Lord our God, Father and Mother
Of the Universe
For the Great Guru Amardas
Who became the hope of the hopeless,
The home of the homeless,
The shelter of the shelterless!
Guru Amardas, who forbade the women
From hiding their light
And gave them their rightful place beside men.
You sent us Guru Ramdas,
Who gave us the Harmandar and Amritsar,
The temple of God and the pool of immortality,
So we keep our sight on our true destiny.
Guru Ramdas taught us
Birth and caste are of no avail;
It is good deeds that make us Godly.
You sent Guru Arjan Dev,
Who sang beauteous songs of love.
Who showed us
That the path to liberation
And to You is through love.
Love of You, our Waheguru
And the love of Your creation.
And furthermore taught us
To love ourselves enough;
For each one of us is Your child
And worthy of love, too.
We thank You for Guru Arjan Dev,
The fountainhead of Gurbani,
Your greatest gift to us!
Guru Arjan sang of Your glory
And of flowing with Your Hukam,
Even as he sat on hot griddles
Tortured by the tyrant Mughal.
You showed us, through his great sacrifice,
To face the pain and sorrow of life
With sweet grace and equanimity.
To live in gratitude
Even through times of difficulty and strife.
Help us, dear Waheguru, O Lord our God,
Father and Mother of the Universe,
To remember this tough lesson
As we go through our days.
You sent us Guru Har Gobind,
Who showed us how to live
In the eternal balance of spiritual
And temporal power – miri and piri.
Help us, dear Lord, to forever be just,
Not get swayed by the winds,
But be centered in everything we do.
You sent us Guru Har Rai,
The merciful one, who showed kindness
To the meek and the sick and
Taught us to be humane.
He took the wounded birds
Under his care and for the suffering
And ailing populace he, in his great generosity,
Offered free care and medicine.
He taught us to be kind, not just
To our fellow humans,
But extend our warmth and caring
To the birds and animals,
For they are part of Your kingdom, too.
And we, Your children, must be merciful
To Your entire creation.
You sent us Guru Harkrishan,
The great healer, who lived
And died serving the sick.
In his great example, You showed
That wisdom, service and spirituality
Have nothing to do with age.
You sent us Guru Tegh Bahadur,
Another chosen son,
Who made the supreme sacrifice of his life
For the great principle of freedom of worship.
You are infinite, O Father
And Mother of the universe.
And there are infinite ways
Your children worship You.
Through your chosen son, the great Tegh Bahadur,
You spoke loud and clear
For everyone’s right to worship
The way they choose.
We thank You, O Lord our God Waheguru,
The Father and Mother of the Universe,
For giving us a large-hearted
Acceptance and respect for those
That choose different ways of worshipping You.
We thank You for the wisdom of
Tolerance in our thoughts and deeds.
As if this was not enough –
You sent us a King of Kings
A prophet par excellence,
A poet so supreme –
Our tenth great Guru, Gobind Singh!
He bestowed upon a downtrodden people
The spirit of joy,
To face adversity with courage
And to be fearless at all times.
He made the sparrows fight the hawks
And the meek take up swords
To crush tyranny.
On this great day of Vaisakhi,
Through the gift of Amrit
He brought about the reversal of our fortune,
Turning us into human lions
Who are compassionate at heart.
He created the Khalsa
As part of Your Will,
And proclaimed each one shall be
The supreme man or woman –
Unfailing in courage,
High in integrity,
Steeped in divinity,
Unparalleled in valor,
Undaunted by challenges –
A being so supreme
That he or she is unique –
God’s Own –
The Khalsa.
He asked for five heads
And he got them one by one:
Bhai Daya Singh,
Bhai Dharam Singh,
Bhai Himmat Singh,
Bhai Mohkam Singh,
Bhai Sahib Singh.
It was no coincidence
That each of their names
Exemplified a trait that
The Khalsa must embody:
Compassion, principle-centered living,
Courage, dignity and princeliness.
O Lord our God, Waheguru,
Father and Mother of the Universe,
We are eternally grateful to You
For giving us our tenth great Guru
And his five beloved ones,
So we may forever remember
The virtues we must inculcate.
As if this was not enough –
You gave us a nurturing Mother
In Mata Sahib Kaur,
Who bade us to maintain
Sweetness in our life.
We thank You, O Lord our God Waheguru
For the great sons of Guru Gobind Singh:
Sahib Ajit Singh, Sahib Jujhar Singh,
Sahib Zorawar Singh, Sahib Fateh Singh,
Who lived as princes
And died like kings.
Let us not forget the bravery, dignity
And valor of ones so young and tender.
And the magnanimity of the father,
The tenth Guru himself,
Who let them be sacrificed
For a righteous cause.
Let not their sacrifice be in vain.
Let us never shirk our duties as parents.
And finally, the gift of all gifts –
Through Guru Gobind Singh,
You gave us Guru Granth Sahib.
Our living Guru,
The voice of Waheguru,
To guide us and to nurture us,
To sustain us at all times,
To give us hope,
To be our guiding light,
The beacon of our life!
Need we ask for more?
Can we ask for more?
You have blessed us,
Our fathers and mothers
And our future generations.
For how can we want more
When we have a living Guru,
Our Guru, the center of all bliss and blessings?
So let us thank and praise,
Extol and adore,
Applaud and honor You,
The Lord our God Waheguru,
Father and Mother of the universe,
For the multitudinous blessings
You have showered upon us.
We thank You on this Vaisakhi Day
For rebirth and chardi kalaa,
For our Gurus and our gifts,
For Gurbani and for music,
For our food and our arms,
For self-sufficiency in every realm.
For joy in every heart
Through the practice of Simran.
And, most of all, for being
Our Father and our Mother –
So gracious and kind,
So giving and sublime.
We thank You today
And always, dear Lord Waheguru!

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