By Shanti K. Khalsa

THE night sky blinked with the tiny lights of a million Stars, Standing outside the Sarkar E Khalsa Gurdwara, high in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, the Amrit Vela hours were cloaked in a robe of soft darkness. In the distance far below this desert sanctuary the lights of the small town ‘of Espanola wink back at the stars. An ambrosial tone is carried on the cool breeze, the hushed sound of “Wahe Guru” is chanted with one pointed devotion by the 23 Amrit Candidates who have gathered here. This morning they shall all be reborn into the family of Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh shall be their father, and never again shall they suffer loss or loneliness.

The SarkarEKhalsa Gurdwara has seen many Amrit Parchar since its opening in 1976. Situated in the high desert mountains of northern New Mexico on a large piece of land known as Ram Das Puri, it has become a center of devotion for the western Sikhs. Each year at the end of June hundreds of Sikhs from all over the world gather for ten days of prayer, yoga and meditation in this powerful and holy environs. And each year at the end of the ten day camp, this blessed Amrit ceremony welcomes with outstretched arms those beautiful Sikhs who can measure up to the high standard of Khalsa.

The Amrit of 1988 at Sarkar E. Khalsa was very extraordinary as we were fortunate to have the Punj Piare from San Jose, California travel to New Mexico to serve the Amrit Ceremony.

Jathedar Gurdeep Singh, Baba Jit Singh and acquaintances brought with them a one pointed devotion which charged the camp with the spirit of the Tenth Master. ‘After ten days of meditation and Gurbani, these 23 Sikhs were ready, even hungry, for the sweet taste of Amrit.

At 3:00 am. The Punj Piare began to interview the candidates. One by one they meet in private with the five Beloved Ones to answer their challenging questions. The Punj Piare is stern yet gentle in their interrogation in Border to determine if this person is ready to accept the difficult life of Khalsa. Can this person read five Banis? Does this person know the Rehit as laid out by Guru Gobind ‘Singh? Is this person sincere in taking this vow to serve as Sant Sipahi even unto death? This day will forever change the life of the Sikh who becomes Khalsa, and this day will not be taken lightly, the candidates are nervous in anticipation of the interview, and they sit together outside the Gurdwara in the darkness, bundled in shawls against the cold predawn air, softly chanting the Guru Mantra.

After all the candidates successfully complete the interview and all are found to be prepared to accept the duties of Khalsa, they enter the Gurdwara to begin the ceremony. The Gurdwara is stark white and the Manji Sahib is decorated with deep blue Ramala Sahibs embroidered in silver. The sanctity of this holy spot in the presence of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib envelopes each person in a web of singular devotion. As the Punj Piare begins the preparation of the Amnit, the attendance of Guru Gobind Singh can be felt in the air.

The taking of Amrit is a personal experience, and the bond between Guru and Sikh that is created through the Amnit is beyond the world of man. Through the Amrit, the string that runs through all of our incarnations is finally tied to the feet of the Guru and you are saturated with the power of such a love that your life remains forever changed.

“Amrit Rasna Pio Piaari. Eh Ras Raati Hoe Triptaari”.

“Oh beloved tongue, drink thou the Amrit. Steeped in this savor thou shalt be satiated”.

As each Sikh comes forward, one by one to receive the Amrit, the metamorphosis into Khalsa happens before our eyes. The Punj Paire then seals the bond of Amrit with the experience of the Guru Mantra, “Wahe Guru”, which is the gift from the Guru to His Khalsa.

As the last Sikh receives the Amrit, the air in the Gurdwara is charged like high voltage electricity. The sun rises, and a very important day has begun on the planet earth. 23 more Khalsas now walk on her soil.

We are grateful for the participation of the Khalsa from San Jose in this Amnit Parchar as it will always stand as an example of Panthic unity. Our Sangats may differ in dress, language or nationality, but throughout the world, Khalsa will always stand as One Khalsa. Anything less than that is unacceptable in the design of Guru Gobind Singh, the one Father of us all who drink the divine Amrit.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988