Religious ceremonies including Kirtans, discourses by leaders or eminence and lore and sports featuring Soccer, Volleyball and Kabaddi are a part of the Eighth Anniversary celebrations of Sri Kalgidhar Sahib Gurdwara based in the South Auckland suburb of Takanini.
The anniversary celebrations, which began on March 10, will conclude on March 17.
Thousands of men, women and children are attending the sporting events and nightly programme of religious and social events.
Among the special guests at these celebrations are Bhai Kulwinder Singh, the main Ardasia at the Golden Temple, Pinderpal Singh, who was recently honoured with top award of ‘Bhai Sahib’ by the Superior Seat of Sri Akal Thakhat, Golden Temple, Amritsar in Punjab and Bhai Harjinder Singh, popularly known as ‘Sri Nagar Wale.’
Bhai Kulwinder Singh is one of the most important officials of the Golden Temple, the most sacred place of worship for Sikhs from all over the world.
As the ‘Main Ardasia,’ he has been entrusted with some of the most important duties at the Temple for the past 28 years.
According to the Sikh belief, priests had some fixed duty to perform and were called according to their duties, e.g., the man who lit the lamp was called ‘Charagi’ (‘Charag’), lamp in Punjabi and so on.
Their descendants still retain the old designations. The duty of the person given by the ‘Ramgarhia Misl’ was to perform the ‘Arda,’ (prayer ceremony at start and end of ceremony); his descendants are also called ‘Ardasias.’ As the ceremony is performed, the ‘Ardasia’ stands respectfully with his face to the Granth and distinctly repeats the name of the ten Gurus in the prescribed manner and then says that such a person has brought such and such a thing as an offer to the Guru, may the Guru purify his soul and grant his prayer.
Bhai Pinderpal Singh, the charismatic Gursikh Kathavachak, was born in the village of Tharva Majra in Karnal District of the North Indian State of Haryana, India.
His ancestors belonged to the village of Choodkan in Sheikhpura District, now in Pakistan, where the religious site of Sacha Sauda of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is located.
His family moved to the Indian side of the border after Pakistan was created in 1947.
Born in July 1966 to Sardar Hardial Singh and Balbir Kaur, Bhai Sahib received his initial education at his village after which he studied at the Gurmat Missionary Collage in Ropar.
He has travelled extensively throughout India and many countries around the world, spreading the message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Model of Sikhism
During his visits to the US, audio recordings of his Katha on various Banis were done and uploaded by sevaks to various sites.
He has been the anchor Kathavachak at Gurdwara Kalgidhar Sahib for many years.
The appeal, charm and novelty of his Katha lies, amongst other things, in is his strict adherence to Gurbani and the writings of Bhai Gurdas Ji and Bhai Nand Lal Ji.
The illustrations and examples that he provides during the course of his Katha are from Gurbani, not external sources.
He is a model of Sikhism, as he leads a simple, unassuming and humble life.
Practicing what he preaches, Bhai Pinderpal is considered a great role model for the Sikh youth today.
He is always conciliatory in his approach and believes in convincing others through discussion rather than applying any kind of force.
The magic and conviction of his Katha lies in the deep passion and love with which he speaks, quoting Gurbani extensively.
He attributes his success as a Kathavachak to Guruji’s ‘bakshish.’
Unlike many other Kathavachaks, he is always positive in his approach and does not use the stage at the Gurdwaras to be critical of individuals, committees or issues.
Bhai Pinderpal stays above petty political frays and never involves himself in the local politics of any city or town that he visits.
He is one of the most inspirational and motivational Sikh preachers today.
His Katha is telecast daily in Punjab by the ‘ETC Punjbai’ channel.
He has been appointed to do the ‘Katcha’ duty at Gurdwara Manji Sahib in Amritsar, a task preciously performed by the last Sant Singh Maskeen.
He lives with his wife, children and parents in Urban Colony, Ludhiana, Punjab.
Bhai Harjinder Singh
Bhai Harjinder Singh is a well-known ragi, recognised by most Sikhs globally.
Born in 1958, the self-taught ‘Bhai’ has been performing Kirtans from an early age. His mission is to unite all Sikhs worldwide to the Guru’s path through his special style of Shabad Kirtan.
Harjinder Singh is the elder brother of Bhai Maninder Singh.
Both are exceptional vocalists and harmonium players.
Bhai Jatinder Singh used to play the Tabla with the jatha (group). For almost three decades the jatha has enlightened Guru-ki-Sangat in all parts of the world.
In 1975, he was he was assigned by Sant Giani Kartar Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale, where he stayed with their jatha and developed as a ragi.
He started his Kirtan career in 1980 at Sri Nagar and formed a jatha with his younger brother Bhai Maninder Singh and Bhai Harnaam Singh, who is now huzuri ragi and Sri Harmander Sahib, on Tabla.
They performed at Sri Nagar for three years before arriving in Ludhiana in 1983.
They performed at Sabji Mandi Gurdwara. This was where the Sikh Sangat came to be known as ‘Sri Nagar Wale.’
He has more than 100 albums consisting of over 600 Gurbani shabads to his credit.
His jatha is a mix of classical and modern ragas.
He is the lead vocalist, supported by Maninder Singh, his younger brother, who now has his own group.
Their style is slow, mellow and conducive to Gurbani Kirtan, with a huge following throughout the world, especially India, UK, Australia and US.
“I am merely a singer of the Guru’s praises of the Guru’s words; I am a humble servant of the Guru and if anyone is to be praised it is the Guru Granth and the Guru Panth. It is only by the great fortune blessed upon me by Guru Ji and the Sangat that I am where I am today,” Harjinder Singh said.