Kids Corner


The Power of Ardaas






Growing up is a struggle for everyone.

We constantly seek the acceptance of our peers and modify ourselves to fit into the crowd. But being a Sikh and staying a Sikh in this modern world is definitely a lifetime challenge on a whole other level.

I was born and raised in Singapore; a country which publicizes itself as a cosmopolitan and multi-racial society.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that racism does not exist.

Blending in was never an option for me; I would go to school every day with my hair in a long and oily braid: compliments of my mother. While I do not have any memory of being ridiculed or bullied as a kid, I do remember the curiosity of my classmates as they would ask me why I did not cut my hair.

I would always respond with a practiced reply, “It’s not allowed in my religion.”

As a child, I rarely questioned what my parents taught me about Sikhism. Since most people believe that inquisitiveness is a sign of intelligence, I would probably have been labeled as naïve or dull-witted.

I, however, would call myself innocent.

My innocence allowed me to have faith in the saakhis my mother told me every night before I slept. I was proud of being a Sikh because our Guru Sahibs were like real-life superheroes who saved lives and risked their own.

Soon enough, science or what we call “logic” got in the way of faith and the saakhis seemed more like childhood fables. Reality became cruel and so did people.

I encountered a girl in Primary School who occasionally threatened to cut my braid off just because it irked her to see me have such long hair. I was too afraid to face up to her or get my parents involved. That’s when I took my chances and turned to the last resort I had: Ardaas.

I bowed my head and put my hands together and stood in prayer in front of the Guru Granth Sahib every morning before school and asked for Baba ji to help me through this problem.

Sooner than I could have imagined, the girl stopped bothering me and school life became more bearable as I made friends with people who had no issues with Sikhism and didn’t pressurize me to stray from it.

Doing ardaas became a daily routine and it has kept me strong when life has tried to throw me off my feet.

I can count on Baba ji whenever I need him.

I won’t claim that I have unwavering faith; that would be a lie. There are times I break down and want to give up and I wonder how Baba ji could possibly get me out of my troubles.

But he always proves me wrong and I can never thank him enough for being the only solid rock in my life.

May 31, 2014

Conversation about this article

1: Jasmeet Singh Gill (Perth, Australia), May 31, 2014, 7:14 AM.

Very nicely written. Reality, I believe so, as well. Ardaas has kept me out of trouble in my life and I have had all the things I wanted, sooner or later. Makes me believe that everything happens for a reason. Times have been when I have broken down only just to find out whatever happened was for my own good. But your article definitely escalates my belief in ardaas.

2: Sangat Singh  (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 31, 2014, 8:23 PM.

Harneet ji, Ardaas is the key to the Sikh religion. 'Jaa ka-o muskal utt banai dho-ee ko-ay na day-ay / sabho bhajai aasra chukai sabh asraraa-o / chit aavai os parbrahm lagai na tatee vaa-o [GGS:70.60 -- "When you are confronted with terrible hardship and no one offers you any support, when all support and hope has been lost, that is the time for ardaas. When a beggar appears at our door, we normally chase him away and shut the door in his face. But, when you are a beggar at Waheguru's Court what happens? 'Jay dar maangat kook karya mahlee khassam sunay" [GGS:349.12] -- If a beggar cries out at his door, the Master hears it in His Mansion". That's the power of the ardaas.

3: Mohan Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 01, 2014, 10:23 AM.

When engrossed in Naam, you don't even have to formulate an ardaas. Guru Amardas says: "He knows everything, without being told; unto whom should we offer our prayers? [GGS:1420]

4: R Singh (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), June 02, 2014, 2:04 AM.

The word 'ardaas' is derived from the Persian ARDHASTH - petition.

5: Birendra Huja (Hawaii, USA), June 17, 2014, 2:51 AM.

It is a very good article for one whose faith in Waheguru helped her to overcome the difficult situation. growing up as a minority and growing up sometimes in a hostile environment. Sikhs are a minority everywhere and often it creates doubt, the fear of being alone, wanting to be accepted, desire to be like others and to survive with our own insecurities we give up our identity. Like this young lady, if most young people understood the reason of their creation and the strength derived through the Grace of God they will stand out and be proud to be counted. They will march on with purpose, without fear of consequences, like many of us have done over the decades. One cannot fail in the true calling. I like to read the origin of the word 'ardaas'. I try to think of it a "arz of the daas", thus a supplication. In another meeting of the minds we should have a forum on how Sikh immigrants who grew up in alien lands have met the idetity crisis, if we have not already done so. Many succumbed but many more have thrived.

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