When I went to New York last year to attend Camp Chardi Kala 2014 I was fortunate to meet Bhai Jatinder Singh who does seva with UNITED SIKHS in New York. He was a sevadaar the camp. Bhai Jatinder Singh shared some really inspiring personal stories about Sikhi with me. I have previously shared one story and now wish to share another.
Bhai Jatinder Singh was visiting the Home Depot store in New Jersey. When he entered the store a white American lady saw him and said, “Vaheguru Jee Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru Jee Kee Fateh!” Bhai Sahib was pleasantly stunned by the random white American lady saying Guru’s Fateh.
Bhai Jatinder Singh asked the lady how she knew the Guru’s Fateh and about Sikhs. The lady picked up her phone and showed her phone screen. The phone screen had a picture of Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar. The lady explained that her father had passed away, and after his death she had reoccurring dreams of her father. Her father would come to her in a dream and whilst looking at her would say, “Nitnem!” Every day she would have her father visit her dream and say “Nitnem” as if he was telling her to do something.
Being a white American Christian lady, she was not sure really sure what her father was saying and thought perhaps her father is saying ‘Nitwit’ (which means a ‘fool’ or ‘dumb’). However, her father was clearly saying “Nitnem” time and again.
The lady had attended some Yoga classes when she was nine years old, where she was exposed to the sounds of Gurbani, but she left the classes short after. At that time she didn’t know about Gurbani and the Sikh religion. She didn’t think much of her father’s reoccurring dreams at first, however, over time after meeting different people and different things happening in her life she kept thinking why her father was repeatedly telling her “Nitnem”.
On the Internet she discovered ‘Nitnem’ refers to the Sikh daily prayers. She downloaded a special Gurbani Nitnem application on which she can listen to Nitnem. Now, she listens to full morning Nitnem when waking up, before she goes to work; listens to Rehraas Sahib in the evening after work; and listens to Sohila Sahib before going to bed.
The lady’s father was a Christian, however in the reoccurring dreams he repeatedly told her daughter “Nitnem” as a signal for her to do Nitnem. Perhaps the father was signalling to do the daughter that in the world beyond only Nitnem-Gurbani will take you across, so he wanted her to do Nitnem.
ਕਹਤ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੋਡਿ ਬਿਖਿਆ ਰਸ ਇਤੁ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਨਿਹਚਉ ਮਰਣਾ ||
ਰਮਈਆ ਜਪਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਾਣੀ ਅਨਤ ਜੀਵਣ ਬਾਣੀ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਤਰਣਾ ||੨||
“Says Kabeer, give up the pleasures of corruption, or else you will surely die of them. O Mortal! Remember and meditate the Lord through the Gurbani, which shall give you eternal life. In this way, shall you cross over the terrifying world-ocean. ||2||”
(Siree Raag Kabeer Jee, 91)
After hearing this amazing story, Bhai Jatinder Singh pulled out his camera phone and asked the lady if she would mind saying something about the story of her father’s dream and Nitnem for him to record.