There are so many moments in life when we react out of pure emotion. Other times, we operate on auto-pilot. Sometimes, we overthink and overreact, while in other cases, we are complacent or indifferent. But how often do we pause and reflect, “What is the Sikh response to this?
It’s this question that prompted Divpreet Kaur to start exploring her relationship with Sikhi and Guru from a new angle in her new, weekly podcast, Gurmat Colored Glasses.
Steeped in Gurbani, tvarikh (history), and the Sikh Rehat Maryada, along with her values of transparency, humility and conviction, Divpreet disucsses topics that she feels need more exploration through the Gurmat lens.
Divpreet sat down with Kaur Life to give us an exclusive look into the inspiration and vision for her podcast.
What inspired you to start this podcast?
In 2015, I attended Sidak (a Sikh leadership development program) for the first time. One of the workshops was designed around the question, “How do we develop a Sikh response?” The facilitators explored this question and explained how any issue, conflict, or question could be answered through the lens of Gurmat. And what creates that lens of Gurmat is the combination of Gurbani’s wisdom with the practical application of that wisdom by our Gurus and Gursikhs, as recorded in our history and codified in the Sikh Rehat Maryada. If we learn to channel our worldview through these filters, if we learn to pause and consult the wealth of wisdom available to us via Guru Sahib and our history, we can not only foster our personal connection with Guru Sahib, but also express that connection through our words and actions in the world.
That question and workshop was so powerful that it stayed with me. Since then, every time something unjust would happen in our community or in the world, I would get the urge to respond in a way that would reflect the Sikh thought process. But I never had the uddam (effort) of making something happen, aside from a short burst of creativity leading me to write a poem, once in a while.
And then there was a spark.
There was an incident earlier this year that brought out a variety of responses from Sikhs all over the European and American diasporas, especially from Kaurs. A video was posted online of a Sikh woman encouraging Kaurs to get laser hair removal before accepting Amrit so, according to her, things would “be easier”. Personally, I felt her message was misguided and not inspired by Gurmat. Viewers’ responses, including mine, were emotional, passionate, strong, and creative. I also noticed that in these responses were undertones of victimhood and self-doubt. Seeing people express a mix of anakh (self-respect) and duchhiti (doubt) highlighted for me a lack of a stable (sthir), strong, voice holding up Guru Sahib’s message and challenging these types of thoughts. There was an absence of a voice saying, “THIS, not what we hear to the contrary, is what Guru sahib has told me about strength, kesh, sovereignty, and true beauty. So, any detractor’s voice saying the opposite, doesn’t matter.”
Finally, the match within me was lit, and I got to work.
What does the name “Gurmat Colored Glasses” mean?
There are a lot of references to color in Gurbani like, “Being immersed in the color of the Divine’s Love.” Such as in this shabad revealed to the Fifth Nanak, Ang 679:
ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Dhanaasaree, Fifth Mehl:
ਜਾ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਗੋ ਇਸੁ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਸੋ ਕਹੀਅਤ ਹੈ ਸੂਰਾ ॥
Jā kao har rang lāgo is jug mėh so kahīaṯ hai sūrā.
That person alone is called a warrior, who is attached to the Divine’s Love in this age.
ਆਤਮ ਜਿਣੈ ਸਗਲ ਵਸਿ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ॥੧॥
Āṯam jiṇai sagal vas ṯā kai jā kā saṯgur pūrā. ||1||
Through the Perfect True Guru, one conquers their own soul, and then everything comes under their control. ||1||
I played on this Gurbani theme and the English idea of, “rose colored glasses”. I feel the phrase gives a clear indication of the purpose of the podcast; we are coloring our vision, our perspective, our outlook, and our existence in this world with Gurmat.
What topics will you explore?
So far, I have talked about kes at Gurmat Colored Glasses, and what guides a Sikh’s determination and relationship with it. I’ve also explored family from a perspective of expectations and obligations, and what a Guru-facing family may look like in how they communicate with each other. Additionally, I’m planning on exploring the concept of friends vs. sangat, romantic relationships, Sukh, and Hukam.
What are your goals, vision, and hopes for the podcast?
For me, this podcast is a way to get better at practicing being Guru-facing, pausing and giving myself time to process any situation through Gurmat Colored Glasses. And then, share my thoughts which, should no longer be mine, but be a reflection of Guru’s guidance. And eventually get to a point where this way of looking at the world, digesting the world, and reacting to the world becomes an innate part of me, that it becomes the only way I operate. And my hope is that people who choose to listen, and engage with the content also connect with this practice and incorporate it in their lives in a more conscious way, if they aren’t already doing so.
Who should listen to your podcast? What do you hope they will get out of it?
Gurmat Colored Glasses is for anyone who is looking for accessible Sikh content. It is for anyone who wants to hear more Kaur voices sharing Sikh thought processes with the world. It’s for anyone who wanted to know what growing up in Punjab was like. It’s for anyone who is looking for vichar and sangat. It is for anyone seeking to grow their connection. It is for Sikh minded folks.
Do you have an opportunity for others to get involved?
I absolutely am open to the idea of others getting involved with Gurmat Colored Glasses. I want to hear from listeners about their way of operating with Gurmat. I want to know what they want explored through this lens and how they practice engaging with the world through Gurmat. As I had shared in the introduction episode, as this podcast grows, I would love to have the opportunity to explore more complex issues and invite folks with a variety of expertise to join me as guests!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’ve had so much love and support from sangat, and I am humbled by it and driven to keep going. I want to thank each and every one who has shown support in their own ways.
May we all rise in Love and stay in Charhdi Kala!
Start Listening Today!
You can start listening to Gurmat Colored Glasses today on Sound Cloud.
Also be sure to follow the Instagram account for inspiration and beautiful art by host, Divpreet Kaur.