The Risen

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

The Risen

Photo credit: sikharchives.com

Photo credit: sikharchives.com

As we approach the second anniversary of the Oak Creek shootings in Wisconsin in which a white supremacist opened fire and killed six Sikhs before taking his own life, perhaps it’s time to first take a step back and look critically at where we as a diasporic community stand and where we wish to be in the near future. As we bare witness to more violent episodes that will be chronicled (or forgotten) as Sikh history, let us reflect on what our tradition, both of Guru Granth and Guru Panth, tells us on how to be resilient and how to actively remember the risen (yes, the risen, labeled in common parlance as the ‘fallen’)–those whose tales raise our spirits beyond measure.

Guru Granth Sahib

Guru Arjan Sahib writes, “The Guru has advised me with the unshakeable jewel of Naam; it does not fall, it does not shake; it is steadfast; this satiates me.”

Guru Panth

Just over two hundred years ago, 60,000 of us gathered in Amritsar after the Abdali regime all but once destroyed the physical structure of Darbar Sahib. Two years later in 1762, Abdali attempted to enter Darbar Sahib again to inspect if the spirit he had tried to crush remained suppressed. As the spirit of Sikhs in time immemorial reflects, a fraction of those many thousands, 30 sovereigns, guarded the complex with heads held high, ready for the next challenge.

(Narrative taken from Sirdar Kapur Singh’s work, The Golden Temple: Its Theo-Political Status)

Photo credit: gurliv.com

Photo credit: gurliv.com

Oak Creek was not the first time Sikh identity and spirit was challenged, nor will it be the last. Though we don’t know at what point in time we will be challenged again (aside from our daily struggle with that which separates us from Ik Oankar), we ought to think back to Panthic history and memories to elevate our spirit to move forward to stand as tall as those 30 in whose minds and bodies resided the strength and spirit of 60,000. Looking back at the risen, we march forward to rise.

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

 

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