A Dip Into Sikhism

Feb 5, 2005

About ten of us crowded in a car to head to the "Golden Temple", a temple of Sikhs that is truly made of gold. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe visit the temple every single day; some come to heal themselves, some come to pray, some come to thank God for abundance.

You first wash your feet -- in warm water, thank God! -- touch your head to the ground, and proceed through the front gate. In the center is the huge Golden Temple, surrounded by a big lake on all three sides and a walk on one of them.

We walk the periphery of the lake and come to a tree that has been there for hundreds of years. Papaji, Guri's grandfather, shares a story of how a leper went in and came out healed; some of your sins are said to be washed away if you take a dip in these Ganges of the Sikhs. In Western terminology, the river carries a powerful vibration that realigns your subtle vibrations.

The Guru Granth Sahib, Sikh scripture, asks all devotees to take a dip everytime they're there. And in the summer, everyone is more than willing. But this is c-c-cold winter. I was with nine Sikhs, and none of them were about to step in. Out of the thousands and thousands of people, few folks stepped in and a couple souls braved the chilling water to dive in!

Guri and I got our feet wet and I really wanted to jump in. Actually, I was about to jump in but then, I heard echoes of rational voices from behind us -- "It's cold," "You didn't bring an extra pair of clothes," "You'll get sick." Actually, they were right. So Guri and I stepped out.

Walking a few meters ahead, Papaji tells us that it isn't a big deal -- just ask for forgiveness and that you'll do it next time. He just casually mentioned it but that was the last straw for me. I immediately threw away my rational reservations and declared to everyone that I'm going in.

Instead of arguing against it, they all surprisingly came together as a team. One of the Aunts busts out a towel from her purse, Harjit and Sonu start strategizing about where the water would be warmest, Guri herself is nodding her head thinking, "Will he ever listen to me?" and Papaji watched on with a silent gaze ... all slightly proud of this crazy non-Sikh. :)

We somehow managed the logistics. With just a towel around my waist, I timidly walked in the water. C-c-c-cold. No doubt. All of a sudden, the water started looking dirty, I started visualizing pneumonia, and I admired the wisdom of the many devout Sikhs who were walking *around* the lake. :) But then again, if rationality could get the best of me, I would've responded to another 500 inspiring emails today.

I throw myself in, head first. Hoooya. Awesome.


Sikhs have always rolled through for me in my time of need. Harkirat Bassi, Harinderpal Deol, Sukhdeep Singh Chugh, and Gurinder Kaur Grewal: this dip was for you.

(P.S. I felt warm, energized and pumped-up for rest of the day. If you've ever at the Golden Temple, don't forget to take a dip.)

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