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Joseph Anderson to Bhajan Singh Khalsa

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa ! Waheguru ji ki Fateh !

By the Grace of Sri Guru Akal-Purakh, I greet the sangat today as a baptized member of the Gursikh Khalsa-Panth. On Saturday, April 15th, birthday of Guru Nanak Dev as well as Guru Arjan Dev, I through God's Grace was baptized by Singh Sahib Giani Daljit Singh Khalsa (admin note: Punj Pyare that included Giani Daljit Singh), along with twenty six others at the Gurudwara in Shawnee, Kansas, USA.

On Friday, April 21st, my name was legally changed from Joseph Garland Anderson to Bhajan Singh, with the signing of the court order by District Judge Eric Rosen in the Shawnee County District Court, Topeka, Kansas.

Only two religions hold sacred the sacrament of baptism - Christianity and Sikhism. At the tender age of eleven years, I was baptized into the Christian faith. However, in most forms of Christianity, baptism has unfortunately turned into a rather minor affair, unlike the Gursikh baptism of the double-edged sword, which I am happy to say, remains a sacrament of major significance.

I wonder if there are any here today who have wished, as I have, that they could somehow rectify all the mistakes, all the sins they had ever committed, to make a new begining, to wipe the slate clean, to be "reborn" as Jesus, as well as Guru Nanak Dev, so beautifully put it? Well this seemingly impossibility is, infact, through the Baptism of the double-edged sword! As I was actually being baptized, the divine words in the 'shaloka' from the 'vars' of 'Sarang', came into my mind: "The Glorious Rains have come, for such is the Lord's Will!"

Guru Nanak Dev, said, "If you seek to play the Game of Love, then enter my Path with your head on your palm. But once setting your foot on my Way, then find not a way out, and lay down your very head!". He also said in, 'Rag Ramkali(Sidh Gosht)', "We have taken a New Birth in the House of God, and thus put an end to the cycle of repeated births and deaths." While in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu (India), in the fall of 1977, I was invited to select a sixteen kilogram black basalt Ganapati-Murti, which had been hand-carved - according to the agama Shahtras - for temple worship. For the next seventeen years (1977-1994), I worshipped this Vinayaka with a simplified, but complete Sanskrit Puja.

On my return to India in Fall of 1991, while staying in Bangalore, the Head pujari of the Maleshwaran Vinayaka Temple, along with three other smarta brahmin priests, threaded me on Gokulashtami. Adopted into the Kaundinya Gotra, and given the name Uma Shankara Sarma, I was then instructed to recite the Sandhya Vandana three times a day. After practicing Hinduism for many years, also going to mosques for a few years and studying Buddhism and other religions, I was finally attracted to Sikhism, which included the story, how on March 30th 1699, while standing on the Kesgarh-hill at Anandpur, Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj addressed his Gursikhs and said,

"Let all embrace one creed, obliterating all differences of religion. Let the four Hindu varnas adopt one form of adoration, and thus become brothers. Let no one deem himself superior to another. Let none pay heed to Ganga or other places of pilgrimage, spoken of reverently in Shastras. Rather than adore the many, believe in one Supreme God. Let men from all four varnas receive the Baptism of 'Khanda', eat from one dish, and feel no disgust or contempt for one another. I am the son of the Immortal God, and by His Order, I have been born and established this form of Baptism. They who accept it shall henceforth be known as "Khalsa", and I shall bless them in every way."

Sant Kabirji has said, "First I thought knowledge to be good; then Yoga to be better. Now, however, I cling only to God's Devotion, and let this world say of me what it will."

Fakhruddin Ibrahim, a great Muslim Sufi Saint once said, "The end of the tether is in Your Hands, O God. When You pull me towards Yourself, I shall return."

After practicing and intensely studying all the major religions of the world, I have come to the conclusion that, if Torah is buttermilk; the New Testament, milk; the Quran the cream; and the Upanishads, butter; then for me, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the purest 'Ghee' - the true quintessence.