By Sat Nirmal Kaur Khalsa
A cold, clear night in Espanola. Summer is over. The sky is black. No clouds. No visible moon. The sky is carpeted with bright, shiny stars.
At 9:15 pm the call came. The phone call we had been expecting for some time. The Siri Singh Sahib had left his body at 9:05pm.
A group of ministers were meeting at that time, discussing logistics and organization of the event that we knew was coming soon. We chanted ‘Akal’ and then held hands in silence. We weren't sure what to do because the SSS had requested that we not start calling people for 2 and 1/2 hours after his last breath. More phone calls came. We tried our best to focus. This is the test of leadership. A few of us went to the ranch to see if we could be of some service. We were unsure if this was the appropriate action to take at the time, but what happened at the ranch that night will go down in our history as one of the most powerful, defining events in our lives.
The door to the dome was open. In the living room, residents of the ranch and several other sangat members were sitting in a circle chanting beautifully and harmoniously to Guru Ram Das. Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das Guru. This is the mantra the Siri Singh Sahib asked that we chant for 2 ½ hours after his departure. The room was lit with candles. I had never seen any sight so beautiful.
My husband was sitting and chanting. He looked up at me and told me to go into the bedroom to see the Siri Singh Sahib. I hesitated. He said ‘go’. I walked through the kitchen and into the hallway, holding my daughter’s hand. That beautiful hallway, with those magnificent swords covering both walls. The hallway felt narrower than I remembered. The walk felt much longer and seemed to stretch for miles to the bedroom door.
The door was closed. I took a deep breath and opened it. The room was very dimly lit. Bibiji was sitting beside the Siri Singh Sahib. His children and other family and staff were surrounding him. He was lying down with his head raised slightly. We stood at his feet, hands folded and heads bowed. We whispered “Sat Nam, Sir” as we had done so many times before. We lightly touched his feet, bowed our heads again, then turned and retraced our steps back to the living room.
We sat down and joined the sangat. More and more people came in to pay their respects to the Siri Singh Sahib and to chant to Guru Ram Das. The 2 ½ hours were completed and it was close to midnight. The room was filled with sangat. There were many tears. I cried and thanked God and Guru for the greatest gift, to have seen the Siri Singh Sahib that night. And then, a miracle happened.
Bibiji announced that all of the sangat should be called to come and see the Siri Singh Sahib. We walked outside into the cold night air. Cell phones were quickly produced. Tiny green and red lights dotted the dark night. It looked like a twinkling Christmas tree. I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to reach everyone, but Guru was in charge.
In just a few minutes, the sangat started to arrive. One by one, they walked into the Siri Singh Sahib’s bedroom, that sacred space where he meditated for so many years. They filed past him and paid their last respects to his physical presence. It was a magnificent sight. There are so many of us! It felt like a tantric meditation, watching each blessed human go into the dome. It was close to 1:30 am by the time we were done.
We stood outside the dome. The ambulance came to transport the Siri Singh Sahib to the funeral home. The EMT crew were all family as well. It was like a microcosm of the entire world, standing there outside the dome. The security staff stood outside his door. We waited for him, as we had done so many times before. We chanted to Guru Ram Das.
The Siri Singh Sahib was carried out on a stretcher. He was wrapped in warm, beautiful shawls. Our EMT family escorted him along with the bodyguard team, who held swords in his honor. We were witnessing the last escort. We kept chanting, holding hands, staying close together and trying to keep warm. The Siri Singh Sahib was lifted into the ambulance and his family followed him.
In a state of Cherdi Kalaa, the sangat roared ‘Bole so Nihal, Sat Siri Akal!’ as we watched the Siri Singh Sahib leave the ranch for the last time.
The Siri Singh Sahib’s Hands
By Sat Nirmal Kaur Khalsa
Your beautiful hands hold my heart;
we both know, we will never part.
We have been together many times;
through all the tests, cruel and kind.
Within these hands, I am safe;
my soul, my heart are yours with faith.
And when it is time for us to go home,
we’ll still be together, never alone.
Now on the earth as I write these words,
I pray to express that my love is heard.
In your beautiful hands, there lies my heart;
Eternally, forever, never to part.
For Siri Singh Sahib ji with love from
Sat Nirmal Kaur Khalsa
44th Birthday - August 19th, 1997
Hacienda de Guru Ram Das