August 23, 2006

Well we have internet but it is… moody. It only goes to websites when it feels like it. I think it is a combination of a funky connection, modem, ISP, and me using a MAC.
I am trying to get some photos up, I think it worked and will probably be up before this…
I will have to talk to my brother about how to post them good.

There are a few more people here now. Sada Anand and Jagat Guru and many of the MPA staff. We will be able to play some team basketball now.
I leave for hemkunt on Friday (first to Delhi). I think that trip will be a lot of fun.
I have a bicycle now, which is really cool. I can’t help laughing when I’m riding it because it is a lot different than Angrej bikes. They are taller and more upright, probably better for posture and less strain on your back. They are designed for travel not recreation. They go really fast though, and they don’t have gears.
My car is still defining itself.. I am going to look at a newer model of one of the cars I was looking at before. Then after Hemkunt, I will get my Papa’s take on the cars and single one out.

The past few days (actually the past week) have been really, really slow. I don’t do much and I sleep a lot. It really irritated me at first because I felt so useless not doing anything with my time, but then a few people told me that the month of August is just that way. So that is acceptable.
I think reading a good book is the right activity for this environment so I will see what I can find.


GT Fishies

August 22, 2006

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GT Fishies, originally uploaded by Dharam Singh.

Fish in the Nectar Tank. The Water is so clear now…

Dharam Dunk

August 22, 2006

Dharam Dunk, originally uploaded by Dharam Singh.


An Introduction to this BLOG:

August 19, 2006

I had not originally planned for this blog to be read by anyone; it was more to feel connected with my friends and family in Espanola (and a few other places). So I would like to outline my beliefs as they stand now so you (the reader) might better understand everything else I write about. And also because it’s fun… ☺
First off, I believe that every individual should decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. It is good to take advice from different places, but it must resonate as true in your heart before you take it to heart. In this way, I have found my constant quest for truth, solidifying my identity as a Sikh. I question everything I believe to constantly remind myself of the things that are true to me and to rid myself of things that are not true to me.
I like to have a sense of humor about everything, which can be offensive sometimes, but being very self-conscious, I manage to keep most people happy.
I like to write about everything because it helps me better understand it. It is also creative expression, which is good.
I consider God to be the collective consciousness of the Universe, of which a small but precious part resides in me, giving me breath in each moment. I believe gratitude to be the most valuable and effective form of prayer; and that prayer is the most effective tool we have to create anything on this earth. The most knowledgeable and spiritually advanced individuals on this earth will always tell you that God, the Universe, Life, and everything cannot be explained or understood correctly, and it has been said many times that the wisest people are those that don’t pretend to know everything. I believe that just as the universe is infinitely expansive, the knowledge of the universe can never be contained. There will always be infinitely deeper concepts that we don’t understand, no matter how far we progress in life, so we just accept that and make the best decision we can with the knowledge we have and pray that the rest is taken care of by God (and then be grateful..).

Internet is just now coming…

August 12, 2006

We finally got our house phone hooked up and with a lot of followup and negotiation, the internet modem will be setup in our house on Monday. We made the fatal mistake of using a government internet provider, which resulted in a lot of procrastination and bureaucracy, not to mention paying for everything up-front. All I can say is that internet better be FAST!!

It’s still hot of course. It should be raining a lot more than it is… I think the rains have shifted to other areas. I heard Mumbai broke a record with 37 inches of rain in 24 hours!! I cannot imagine what that looks like. May Guru Ram Das and many other saints help all those in need there.

I finally made it to Parkarma Seva this morning!!! I’m 1 for 14 and counting… I will make it my sadhana to be there every morning. Especially in the summer when it is so easy to be awake in the early morning and the nectar tank is SO nice!!

This morning I did the whole Parkarma seva (one side – they have two groups do half of the parkarma at the same time), and drank chai with some of the other sevadars. Then I bowed, and did all my banis on the Parkarma. I made a friend in Seva too, who I talked to for a little bit and he listened to me do banis. Dipping in the Nectar tank was the most comfortable I have felt since arriving in India. I love to be submerged in Water and I don’t like Chlorine. I really wanted to just swim underwater through the whole nectar tank for about an hour, but…. I intelligently refrained from doing so. 🙂
The sunrise is always so beautiful at Darbar Sahib. I plan to bring my camera everyday so I can get a collection of sunrise pictures (which I will share of course).
I then rode home and sang Raag Bhairav until my throat felt like when you eat mints and drink cold water.
It was what I would call my first Good Morning… I hope for many more.
One thing I discovered as well is that one of the walls in my room gets baked in the sun for a good portion of the day resulting in my room getting cooked for the duration of the night. I opened my door to get some water last night and got blasted by the cold air that everyone ELSE in Amritsar was sleeping in!!! I have concluded that my room needs some serious ventilation if I intend to sleep in there.

The food situation has not really improved that much. Breakfast takes less time and energy but consists of wheat, skippy, and jam, and Juice (from concentrate). We are going to have to work something out in which our cleaning lady/cook comes earlier to make Paranthas.
And… I am getting a better hang of driving so I have to be careful not to be overconfident. I won’t get into that though.. I don’t want my family to worry about it. 🙂
Oh…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NARAYAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha. I bet I beat my brother to that post… It’s only been Narayan’s birthday for an hour in America. 🙂
So today I begin my official preperatory physical training for the Hemkunt trip. I figure I don’t need to worry because I will be the youngest person in the group I am traveling with, but I want to have a really good time. Last time I went was when I was 13 and I raced to the top with a group of my friends. We were basically trail-running up the final stretch. That was fun!!
That’s it for now. Hopefully I will have some pictures up on Monday. Sat Nam.


August 5, 2006

The rain came. I am happy. We have not had power in our house for 2 days (since our fridge arrived) and it has been very hot. Now, Vadhia Mausam Aaiaa or something like that. I remembered all the Punjabi I knew very quickly, but now I have to go past it and progress is much slower. We setup someone to tutor us 5 days a week, but haven’t started those classes yet. I’m really looking forward to it. The University program has not progressed much because we need at least 5 people to commit to the program for them to create it and run it. It seems easy to find only 3 more people, but we haven’t come up with many names of people that could actually do it. If that doesn’t work out, we will likely increase our time with the Tutor and continue that way.

Raag – Gurbani Kirtan studies have been good. Ustad Ji (Narinder Singh) has been teaching many others from 3HO, so I started my classes with him my second day here. My first Raag has been given: Raag Bhairav. The Shabd that I am practicing the raag in is Oothat Sukhiaa Bhaithat Sukhiaa in Teen Taal (16 beat). It is relatively easy, but definitely fun to sing and listen to.

The thing that had initially attracted me to raag and continues to amaze and inspire me is the effect that the sound has on my emotions. I have never experienced sadness, happiness, longing, and other more specific emotions, as intensely as I have in listening to Raag. The ridiculous thing is sometimes Ustad will sing the same notes twice. The first time it will sound dry and dull and there is no feeling at all. Then, he will sing it again and I have tears in my eyes before I can think about anything. And that is something I would love to be able to create on my own and for others. The one thing I realized is that there are half notes and half of half notes and so on and so on and I know that has something to do with how the feelings are created.

Logistically, Harbhajan and I have worked for a full week on setting up our house and we now have a fridge, our internet paperwork is done but it still needs to be setup, we have someone coming for about 4 hours a day to cook and clean, we got a few cholas made and a few turbans, our AC unit is getting installed today (we found a resource for used, inexpensive AC. I hope all goes well with it….), and our program with the University is somewhat underway. Once I have internet at home, I want to get some pictures up here and spend some time setting up this blog, then daily posts will start and hopefully they will be less boring (to me… 🙂 ).

On the 6th day, the mind is troubled…

August 3, 2006

Well, I guess the excitement about being in Amritsar has melted, and I wonder what my purpose is here and who I really am. 🙂 That is just the way my mind works though… constantly questioning things to see how true they Really are to me.

I got pretty sick tuesday night, and spent a good portion of the night tucked into a ball trying to ease what felt like a burning hot brick in my abdomen. I realized that not only should I be careful drinking milk in India, but I should also take a moment to look at the expiration date before drinking it. 🙂 I found my only refuge in relieving my stomach of it’s contents as much as possible. Yesterday, I just rested the whole day and ate only a few bites of fruit with yogurt. This morning I got up and went to Darbar Sahib. I was too late for parkarma seva, so I just sat and went through the doubts my mind was presenting to me: why am I here in India, what is my focus, and what will make me happy… It really came down to discontent with the tools I had for happiness and a cloud that had come over my mind and was keeping peace of mind out of my grasp. My thoughts never really got anywhere, just took me around in circles. Eventually, I dipped in the nectar tank and drove home. Immediately, all worries were disappated and I felt totally confident with myself and what I am doing.
Time is running again… 55 seconds….
So here is my update on my mental outlook. I will present more technical details later.

It’s Hot and we don’t have a Fridge!

August 1, 2006

The first few days were not so bad because it had been raining for a while before we arrived in India. (By the way, ‘We’ refers to Harbhajan and I. It was a little unclear at one point if this trip would be two brothers tackling India together or alone… but we chose the former for obvious reasons.)

Well, I should probably cut to the chase in the five minutes I have left in this internet cafe. Our house is Awesome! It has four bedrooms, a dining room/living room, two bathrooms, and a relatively big kitchen. One of the bedrooms will be a gurudwara, and the other is not yet decided. The kitchen is full of dirty dishes because we haven’t re-hired our cleaning person yet and we don’t have a fridge (motivation). The power has been on for most of the time so far, but when it does go out, sweat pours out like you wouldn’t believe. Uhh… one minute left, better post this….

Till next time…

The Beginning…

July 25, 2006

has yet to manifest itself. 🙂

I am still in New York City for another 20 hours or so. I figured I would get a blog setup before I am there so I don’t lose track of it. I have a lot of feature browsing to do.

Firstly though, I would like to send Gratitude to Bro Gurumustuk for encouraging me to write of my journey in the City of Nectar – Amritsar. I will now write what my plans are so I can come back and smile at how amazingly unaware I was of the great things that God and Guru had planned for me:

I will be in Amritsar by Thursday, and will spend the whole first day napping to deal with the heat. I will struggle without a personal mode of transportation to take care of the things I need to setup when I get there. I will buy a car quickly and be happy with it. I will, immediately upon arrival, go sit at Darbar Sahib for many hours and cry for joy of being at peace in my heart. I, excuse me… We (Harbhajan and myself) will talk to the Vice-Chancellor at GNDU, and he will give us the opportunity to apply ourselves to the college programs there. I will be roughly fluent in Punjabi within a month, and totally fluent by the end of the year. I will write in this blog daily, given that Guru Ram Das provides access to DSL from my house, otherwise posts may be a few times a week.

I know how important it is for me to stay connected to friends, family, and just about everyone. It keeps me present, aware, and intelligent. I have accepted what I used to see as a weakness, as a simple part of who I am and what I exist to be – inter-dependence on community. Any time I try to do my own thing or prove that I can tackle life alone, I end up driving myself crazy. So this is my method of staying in contact with the global community and keeping myself sane in the midst of what I know will feel like solitude.

I have two main ‘sadhanas’ that I plan to do daily under any circumstances (besides maybe travel): The first is Parkarma Seva in the mornings. I love to be there in the morning and always loved the energy of washing the marble. And the second is to post on my blog. Between staying up late to post on the blog, and getting up at 2:30 everday for seva, I should guarantee myself very little sleep and a very good time structure to build on.

My Sadhana will still consist of Banis, Sat Kriya, Exercise of some kind, and some other meditations. I would do Yoga sets, but I have found that doing them alone actually makes me tired…

I also did not mention in my plans to become involved in the Yoga Center in Amritsar in whatever capacity I can, and begin teaching yoga classes. I have this idea that I am going to love it once I get some practice doing it.

Now that the prologue to the beginning has begun, I will get some rest before my last day in America for many months… lots to do.

My prayer is that Guru Ram Das will carry me across any struggles I may have in writing in this blog each day. May I be granted the facilities and opportunities to grow and learn in Amritsar in many ways, and share what I learn with many, many people – friends and strangers alike. May my travel to Amritsar be uneventful and my setup there smooth. Sat Naam.