In my three year love affair with Indian and all it holds, I fantasised it in my mind’s eye as a stairway leading to a mughal audience hall, through an ornate archway. In the audience hall was a dancing festival of gods, spirits, and men. Ganesha was leading the wild dance. As my knowledge of India grew I felt that I was vacillating on the threshold of the hall. Sometimes taking a step forward, sometimes spinning in wild dance with the assembled masses, and sometimes turning away, in direct relation to the storm of emotions and relationships that were effecting me in the ‘real’ world. As time passed Hanuman, and then Sikhs, joined the dance. This day I stand in the empty hall, strewn with the faded flowers and related debris of the festival. The dance has moved on. Into tapestry-shrouded side chambers. From the hall I gaze out over the fortress walls and on to all of India. The differing strains of music, ancient and modern, echoing about me from the adjacent chambers. Underscoring the choices that now confront me. Highlighting emotions and discourses of the learned. If I follow one of the groups into the side chambers, will I be trapped there in? Will I be cut off from the other dancers. If I follow the bhangra dancers and become a keshdhari, will I loose the other aspects of the dance that is India? Maybe it is best to remain alone in the empty mughal audience hall and just listen to all that is India from a distance. In the emptiness, where my heart is safely armoured.
I have abandoned the armour,
Embraced my friends,
And taken the turban.
Sat Sri Akal
Last month we all lost a dear friend and a fine Sikh. This time of grief and sadness brought home to me how precious and how short life is, and that you must grab it with both hands while it lasts. Because of this I have taken a step that I was hesitant to undertake. For Yanee Singh (Jrn.), for my friends upon the path, and for myself, I have taken the turban and am Keshdhari.
This is a joyous time for me.
Phil J. Gray
The turban of a Sikh is both a crown of honour and a guard against injustice...
I am most proud and privileged to wear such a raiment.
God is of spring sunshine...
Warm, comforting, and full of promise.
No cold and sterile illumination is the creator.
But a golden radiance,
That envelopes and protects,
All who realise the Word.
When I was young, I wondered what power stirred in the night breeze
What magic danced in the twilight haze at the close of each day
Now I know it is Akal Purukh
And I am stronger for that knowledge