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There's A Sucker Born Every Minute




Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The purported appearance of an image of a khanda - actually, a smudge resulting from bad laundrying! - has turned a number of people in the local community silly.

The image on a rumala in Gurdwara Serdang Lama is being imagined by some in the area as a khanda and some sort of a sign from some god.

The granthi, Gurditta Singh, a recent import from India, proclaims that this is the first time he has seen such a 'phenomenon'. He said he had never heard of such incidents in India or any where else in the world.

The dirt smudge was apparently noticed on the last day of the akhand paatth held in celebration of Vaisakhi earlier this month.

Private tutor Jasvinder Kaur, 38, said she went to the gurdwara on Thursday with a garland of flowers but could not enter as she was not properly dressed.

She handed the garland to a devotee named Manjit Kaur to place it above the rumala. The rumala was presented by another devotee, Kawalpreet Kaur, 57, who had used it for her son's wedding in February.

Legal secretary Jasvinder Kaur, 45, said after the garland was placed, drops of water fell onto the rumala and formed a patch resembling the khanda.

"From about 8.30 pm, there was lightning and thunder as devotees were reciting prayers. As we completed our prayers, I looked up after bowing to Guru Granth Sahib and I saw with amazement the khanda forming on the rumala."

Lightning and thunder in Malaysia? Holy Mackerel! Then it must be a miracle of some kind! 

There was also a smaller smudge on the lower left side of the cloth - which, if you look at it long enough, say a couple of hours, it could look like a khanda too. Well, sort of.

Another unusual incident was the appearance of a black bird in the neighbourhood early the next morning, which flew onto the palki.

A black bird in this part of the world? First the lighting and thunder. And now, a black bird!

It is reported that the bird then bowed ... it was hungry and looking for something ... and then it dawned on it that it was in the wrong hall; it then flew to the langar hall. It had a sip of water before flying off.

Some women promptly proclaimed the bird to be some sort of a messenger.

A 12-hour paatth was conducted thereafter. 

So far, some 300 good souls have flocked to the 97-year-old gurdwara and more are expected to come.

[Based on a news report by Teresa Yong, New Strait Times]

April 22, 2011

Conversation about this article

1: Kiran Kaur (Arizona, U.S.A.), April 22, 2011, 12:31 PM.

What's wrong with these people! If they'd only try and pay attention to what they sing in kirtan, or read in paatth ...

2: Daljit Singh (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), April 22, 2011, 1:03 PM.

I agree with the basic premise of the article and we have to show some common sense. Quite a bit against the tenets of Sikhism to believe in these pakhands. Not that there are not miracles but this one IS NOT.

3: M.K.S. (New York City, U.S.A.), April 22, 2011, 1:19 PM.

While I agree with the point you were trying to make, I felt the tone of the article was to ridicule and belittle. Also, you write, "The granthi, Gurditta Singh, a recent import from India, proclaims that this is the first time he has seen such a 'phenomenon'." Whether Gurditta Singh was a recent import from India or a native born Malaysian is not relevant to the point you were trying to make.

4: Harnam Preet Kaur (Kanpur, India), April 22, 2011, 6:17 PM.

We've got to stop using country bumpkins as granthis in our gurdwaras. I don't know anything about Gurditta Singh, but I do know this much: he should have nipped this thing in the bud, instead of going along with it and giving it traction. Who knows, he might be behind it all - but no one knows much. Somebody should look into his history to see if this sort of a scam has been done before. We owe ourselves due diligence, to prevent this sort of cancer taking hold in our community. I know that scams like this are commonplace in every religion, and around the world, but we need to be vigilant in that it doesn't get injected into our gurdwaras.

5: Manjeet Shergill (Singapore), April 23, 2011, 12:47 AM.

A few questions - were the ten Gurus not enough to enlighten us? Are we not worthy of the wisdom, the poetry, the compassion, the literary and musical beauty of Gurbani - works created by saintly and learned souls? Are Sikhs ever going to get it or are we a bunch of resourceful folks who don't actually give a hoot or have much to save ourselves?

6: Gyani Jarnail Singh Arshi (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), April 23, 2011, 10:06 PM.

I agree the piece by Daljit Kaur is slightly "harsh" - but to call a spade a spade, it is sometimes necessary to be harsh - or harsh reality becomes lost as it is here in the case of this so called "miracle". When we are all dressed up in our best and ready to go out to face the world, especially on a day like Vaisakhi, and we spot a "stain" on our shirt/ tie/ kurta, what do we do? Without a second thought, we REMOVE the offending wear and change into a new one. But what happened here? A stain appeared on the rumalah covering our Living Guru on The Royal Throne ... and we rushed to not only observe and point it out, but also invited others to come see this stain! We forgot that a stain is a stain! How can that be a miracle of any sort? The detergent manufacturers advertise their wash powders as "MIRACLE STAIN REMOVERS" ... and this 'miracle' stain surely cannot withstand the removal power of the miracle stain removers. Then what shall we say? The miracle detergent is more powerful than our miracle stain? Where does that leave us? We needlessly opened ourselves to being the brunt of jokes? 2) The granthi in the article is indeed lacking (if what he said is true) and yes, its important to mention that he is an "import" simply because it's fast becoming the norm to source our granthis from India and if this is the material we are importing then we do ourselves and our future generations a disservice - a serious disservice. The other day a person wrote into an online forum that he has done many paatths very diligently over the years, but he suddenly realized that on page 841 in Vaar Bilawal Satvaar, ghar 10, the mention of SUNDAY was missing? He says he went to the gurdwara and spoke to the granthi who was equally puzzled! Now here is what really puzzled me. The Vaar is about the seven day week, and the very first shabad is all about Sunday - because Sunday is the main day of the week. This person read Somvaar, then Mangal, Budh, Veer, and so on..and found that the Vaar concluded after Saturday. Perfectly logical, as the Vaar is about the week. But this person was looking for Sunday there, and not finding it, he sort of panicked and went to the granthi to ask, and the granthi was equally puzzled! When the Sunday verse was pointed out, the reaction was ... Oh, I didn't know the word for Sunday was 'Aaditvaar ... i was looking for 'aetvaar'! My point in relating this here is in relation to the qualifications of granthis that we are employing to serve us and our families. The 64 million dollar question is: are we getting what we pay for? (or are we paying peanuts and getting monkeys?) and where is the shortcoming? The granthi is the fulcrum of the local sangat ... the 'gyaan da soma' - fountian of knowledge. He is supposed to convey the Guru's message in its true form to us. If he fails to do that or worse, if he conveys the wrong message, then we are on the way to many many more 'stain miracles' ... already this is a serious stain on our community!

7: Gurbux Singh (Chatsworth, Los Angeles, U.S.A.), April 24, 2011, 12:59 PM.

Wouldn't "Eternal Guru", instead of "Living Guru", be the more appropriate way of describing Guru Granth Sahib? A living thing is born and therefore eventually dies. We bow our heads to the writings and not to the Book. Doesn't calling it a 'Living' Guru encourage some people to treat it as an object of worship. Am I wrong in this interpretation?

8: Mukhtiar Singh (Sydney, Australia), April 25, 2011, 7:19 AM.

Gyani Jarnail Singh's comments are commendable. Our learned Gurus raised Sikhs to be visionaries, free from superstitions which the Brahmin pandits created to prevent the masses from raising themselves spiritually. Guru Gobind Singh is very clear in the Dasam Granth on p 126 re: his father Guru Tegh Bahadar refusing to perform a miracle and chosing martyrdom: "Naattak chaettak keeeae kukaajaa/ prab logan keh aavath laajaa" - 'Leave aside mimicry, miraculous actions and misdeeds. The devotees of the Lord feel ashamed even to mention these malpractices.' Aren't we feeling ashamed of this "miracle"? Guru Arjan was said to have told Mian Mir to control himself for saying that he can use his miraculous powers to destroy the tyrants. Guru Sahib rejected miracles. Guru Teg Bahadar was similarly asked to perform a miracle but he too refused. How many more "miracles" do we need to convince the world that Sikhi is one of the most enlightened religions known to Man? I sincerely and whole-heartedly beg all the Sikhs to read and understand gurbani as there is condemnation of such beliefs throughout. Please be so spiritually enlightened just as our Gurus have blessed us to be so that our beliefs remain solid and are not shaken by such superstitions and "attacks" on Sikh beliefs and philosophy.

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