Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baba Atal Rai

Sikh Stories for Children

Baba Atal was one of the sons of Guru Hargobind. He was very wise for his age, he was adventurous and loved to play games and have fun. He was very bright and always in high spirits. Some times he would say things and even if he was joking it would happen. The Guru told him though, "Don't use your power, especially for little things." Baba Atal loved to play sports, he and his friends would always play a game kind of like baseball. They would take turns throwing and hitting the ball. One of Atal's best friends was named Mohan. As the played ball all day it sarted to get late. Mohan had his turn to bat and before Atal could take his turn it was getting too late. So Baba Atal said, "OK I'll take my turn tomorrow first thing in the morning." So the next morning Baba Atal and some friends came out to play..... but Mohan wasn't there. They all went to Mohan's house. The parents were crying, "Our son.... he's dead. A cobra snuck in to his room at night and bit him. He's been dead for hours now. Our poor son, he's dead." Baba Atal went over to his friends body which was covered by a white sheet. He said, "Get up Mohan. Don't be lazy, just because you don't want to give me a turn to bat. Wake up, say Wahiguru!" Then the unimaginable happened. Mohan yawned s if he was waking up from sleep. He stretched and said, "Wahiguru." Then he said, "I guess I shouldn't have slept so late. Let's go play, it's your turn." So Baba Atal, Mohan and all thier friends left and went to play ball. The parents were filled with disbelief and they were over joyed. As the children played ball in the field, the adults were making quite stir in the city of Amritsar. "The Guru's son, Baba Atal, he can bring the dead back to life." Many people were amazed by the miracle and happy for the family of Mohan. Guru Hargobind was not pleased. When Baba Atal went to sit on his fathers lap like he always did, something was different. He knew something was wrong. Guru ji said, "You have used your powers as I have warned you not to. Now if anyone dies, they will bring the body to us to revive back to life. Who will you bring back and who will you reject? We should accept the Will of God with a cheerful attitude." Baba Atal felt bad for what he did. He knew what he had to do to equal the account. He took a dip in the sarovar near the Hari Mandir Sahib. Then he walked around the parkarma several times. He sat down and recited the Peace Giving Prayer Sukhmani Sahib. When he finished the Bani he bowed down and left his body. The Guru after hearing this said, "Baba Atal's name shall live forever. He surrendered to the Will of God. At the tender age of 9 he left his body and merged with the One." The Guru ordered the building of a temple in his honor. It stands still today 9 stories high and is called Baba Atal. Blessed are the saints who, merged with the Naam, sweetly surrender to the Will of God.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Judgement of Others

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Here is another video from Guruka Singh, where he talks about fitting in and judging others.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

We are so fortunate to live in a society where we can walk into the hospital and get treatment. Many people around the world, including US and India, have to pay thousands of dollars for operations that are paid for by the government in Canada. If everyone "chipped in" to help the poor areas in countries like India, it would allevisate the health problems plaguing poor families. This help could be financial or physical (volutneering time and skills).

Giving dasvandh, which is giving one-tenth of your earnings back to the community and helping the people in need like the guru taught us to, is practised by many Sikhs in Canada. But one has to ask themselves, am I giving it to the right charity? Is my money going to the right place and helping people? Dr. Avtar Singh is one of the exemplary people who chose to help people regain their sight as a birthday present.

The following article was on Sikhnet
Aged NRI Dr Avtar Singh showed an exemplary way to others to celebrate birthday. The NRI came all the way from the USA to celebrate his 80th birthday by sponsoring an eye camp at Raipur Pir Bux Wala, a remote village of Kapurthala.Dr Avtar Singh, a senior plant diseases specialist (PhD) entomology, in collaboration with Jalandhar-based Bapu Inder Singh Charitable Trust organised a free eye camp at the community centre on Saturday.

His birthday guests were more than 250 patients and 15 volunteers, besides the trust chairman Avtar Singh, president Dalip Singh, secretary Dr Gurpartap Singh and other office-bearers.

All the eye patients were examined and given free medicines. As many as 35 cases were selected for the cataract operations. Laboratory tests were conducted on the camp venue. About 22 patients were transported to Jalandhar where stitchless cataract surgeries were conducted and intra ocular lenses implanted.

All patients were transported back to their villages the same day after the operations. The rest of patients would be operated in the next few days at Jalandhar.

There is an interestingly story behind Avtar Singh’s decision to celebrate his birthday in the novel way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cool Science

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh Cool
Science from Steve Spangler on the Ellen Degeneres Show * Don't try this at home

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Turban Tying

Here is a cool video- Sikhnet Film Festival

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sikh Spiritual Model of Counseling

News Source:

Despite the rich linguistic flexibility of Punjabi, it is telling that we do not have a single term for ‘depression.’ Mental health has been an ongoing conversation since the inception of the blog, repeatedly highlighted by Sundari and others. Often treatment is not sought and if it is sought it is usually terminated early as clients do not feel health professionals understand their world-view.

While we have numerous issues facing the Sikh community, there are few channels for those seeking mental health assistance. Thus, I was happily surprised when I came upon a medical article, titled “The Sikh Spiritual Model of Counseling.”

I reproduce the abstract in its entirety:

In accordance with the holistic principles of modern medicine, this paper will present the Sikh religious and spiritual view of mental health. With the continuing migration of a large number of South Asians, especially the Sikhs, to Western countries, mental health professionals should be aware of their clients’ world-view and cultural/religious specifi c models of counseling. Use of Sikh spirituality can reduce stress; help in treating psychosomatic disorders; and improve mental health of the individual and of the community. This paper will conclude that as the Sikh religion is a universal religion, everyone can use Sikh spirituality.

Dr. Kala Singh, the author of the article, is a physician that works as a multicultural mental-health liaison at Vancouver Coastal Health. I also want to personally thank the author for sending me a copy of his article!

In a previous interview, Dr. Singh, cautioned that:

“A lot of people believe that mental illness is not a doctor’s problem but a supernatural problem,” Singh explains in a telephone interview. “They’ll worry about the ‘evil eye’ and might go to a priest for help.” (The evil eye is a metaphor in some cultures for disease or misfortune.)[link]

While here on TLH we have discussed such scams in the past, Dr. Singh does give a prescription for a competent counselor:

be aware of his/her own assumptions, values and biases;
understand the worldview of the culturally different client; and
develop appropriate intervention strategies and techniques (Sue et al., 1982).
Dr. Singh pushes his Sikh patients to live their life close to Sikh practices. He writes:

Sikhism does not believe that mental illnesses are caused by spirit possession or violation of some religious principles and healing done through supernatural powers or rituals. In fact the third Guru made hospitals to treat the sick, the fifth Guru treated lepers and the eighth Guru treated smallpox patients. I use this to counsel clients who are superstitious and think that their problems are due to witchcraft and do not take medicine.


Guru Nanak Dev conferred dignity on women and raised their status in society…I use this in counseling couples presenting with spousal abuse.

These are definitely needed reminders and it is wonderful that even in a clinical setting, Dr. Singh can be effective with his Sikh patients. It also seems that he is achieving results:

Sikhs, like other South Asians, do not believe in talk therapy. However, the number of clients seeking counseling has shown a manifold increase since the author started using Sikh religion and spirituality as the basis for counseling.

Dr. Singh provides successful case studies where invoking Sikh spiritual self-realization, practices, and history worked with both practicing and non-practicing Sikh males in cases of domestic violence and depression.

Dr. Singh sees the usage of Sikh spirituality principles extending to far more than just the Sikh community. He concludes:

Mental health professionals should use cultural/religious specific models of counseling. As the Sikh religion is a universal religion, this model can be used in conjunction with Western counseling for everyone. There is also great scope for the use of Sikhism in the preventive, promotive and curative aspects of mental health. With all these qualities, the Khalsa (Baptized Sikh) is the ideal future international hope for humanity. The need of the day is to enable these principles to reach mankind all over the world.

I was enthralled to read the article. I hope others share my excitement and would love to hear your thoughts.