August 21, 1994 – Fifteen Akhand Paaths


An extraordinary reading of fifteen Akhand Paaths (continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scripture) has just ended. The paathis (readers) sat in Darbar Sahib in a rectangle with a slight opening left in front of the door. They sat on small cushions, with fifteen copies of the Words of God covered in new orange and gold cloths. When they began reading on August 19 at 2 a.m., there was a most wonderful atmosphere as they each read the opening hukam from their copy. Then that loving and happy spiritual atmosphere grew and grew as time went on. Everyone was so glad to enter that room and experience the sacred, joyous atmosphere as God’s Word was being read with such dedication and devotion by so many people at once.

Dr. Surjit Kaur Jolly kept exclaiming, “One cannot describe how many devis and devtas (deities) are gathered in that room, enjoying!”  She was one of many who took roll after roll, for to carry out the fifteen Akhand Paaths we should have had at least 75 paathis. Normally one reads for 2 hours and then  has an 8-hour break until the next roll, with 5 people rotating turns on one copy of the scripture.  But on short notice—hukam that came through Maharaj only a few days before—there were basically only 30 people carrying the whole thing. Major Sahib said that after only 2 hours’ rest, the same people would be asked to take another 2-hour roll, and they all agreed.

As I was videotaping the final readings of the Hukam Namas (spiritual guidance from Guru Granth Sahib received by opening the scripture at random), I was near tears, for the spiritual ecstasy, the love for God’s Word was so great in the room. “Ad puran, madh puran, ant puran, Parmeswar hai” came the hukam—“God is Perfect in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end.”(Guru Granth Sahib p. 705) “Mere hire Nam rattan vasiya” –“Nam has been placed like a jewel in my heart.” (p. 696) “Jis ka tan man dhan sabh tis ka soi sugharh sujani (p. 671) – “Body, mind, wealth and everything belong to Him; He alone is all-wise and all-knowing.”

Though not raised as a Sikh, I cherish the Words of God and of the lovers of God  which have been collected in Guru Granth Sahib. It glows with such love from beginning to end. How can this incredible treasure be shared with the world?