Author Archives: heartsandhandsnm

Sat Purkha Singh – Los Angeles

May 6, 1952 – May 15, 2011

“Answering the Call” by Gurprasad Kaur Khalsa

On a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, my dear brother Sat Purkha Singh went home to take his post-langar nap. He shared a duplex with my husband, son and me–we lived downstairs; he lived upstairs. During that nap, without any fanfare, Sat Purkha, True Being and “the Real Deal” as he liked to call himself, quietly slipped out of his body at the age of 59, and went Home for his reunion with Akal Purkh, Eternal Being—the Really Real Deal. It was an ultimate departure, the likes of which the rest of us can only dream. He left in total alignment with the true Yogi and servant of the Guru that he was, putting in his day of selfless service, starting with Ishnaan Seva in the Amrit Vela; single-handedly carrying carpets back inside as an unexpected rain began to fall; pausing at the back of the Gurdwara to join in the meditation for victory in our lawsuit; assisting in the first Prakash of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji for the day; and finally, setting up, serving, and cleaning up after langar. With his work done and his mission complete, he consciously drew his last breath, completely whole and intact, unquestionably in Cherdi Kala, and easily returned to the One.

Since the moment when I ran upstairs to call him to dinner that night and discovered that he had kept a far more pressing appointment with Azuriel, the angel of Death, I have deeply pondered over his life and more importantly, his final merger. The desolation and sadness that I felt in being left behind without the big brother that I’d always counted on to show me the way, was at first unbearable. I was lost without my friend and mentor who knew and understood me inside out because we shared the same family of origin and ended up together in our true family as Khalsa. Grief has gradually been replaced with peaceful acceptance of his breathtaking passing and wonder and awe at who he was in his life and who he had evolved into before he left this earthly plane. I live day by day, moment by moment, in the memory of his legacy of always paying attention to– and most importantly, hearing– the Call, and then being ready to answer the Call, no matter what, come what may. That is truly how he lived; it is certainly how he died.

Sat Purkha Singh was a big man in all ways. Tall and physically massive, he always took on more than ever seemed possible for one man to do. He had huge successes and huge failures in his life. He was brought to his knees more than once. Yet he always maintained that true success lay only in experiencing failure and in being able to get up and walk in faith after losing everything. Sat Purkha Singh loved and venerated the Siri Singh Sahib with fierce devotion and wrote to him frequently. The responses he received were his model for the highest consciousness one can aspire to. He lived from breakthrough to breakthrough in his meditation and in his business, which he approached as a meditation. He was continually reaching for new levels of awareness and understanding, kindness and compassion. He was the most devoted practitioner of these teachings that I have ever been blessed to witness. Time after time he would tell me, “It was the best Sadhana I have  ver had!” and he meant it. It made him so happy that he would cry tears of delight when describing his experience with the Lord of the Universe. And it was surely in that deep longing in his heart for merging with God that his prayers were answered. God tested his heart with His touchstone and found it to be pure. And reclaimed him as His own.

Sat Purkha’s life, like the lives of many of the unsung heroes that form the backbone of this precious Dharma, was made up of quiet, unrecorded daily deeds that were full of grace and humility. He didn’t have throngs of students and he never recorded an album. But he was the one who—after learning that his sister had just mistakenly poured out a bucket with 2 cases worth of coconut water that he had laboriously and painstakingly extracted from the coconuts, thinking that it was dirty water—simply responded, “that’s OK.” He was the one who, at the drop of a turban, rushed to Guru Ram Das Ashram for overnight Sevadar duty when the scheduled person was stuck in traffic, or was not able to make it due to a last-minute change of plans. He was the one who always said yes to driving someone to the airport; yes to serving in any capacity, no matter how difficult or inconvenient. He was the one who only worked for the commonwealth, the “common wealth of all,” with never a thought of enriching himself. He was the one who, after surrendering everything to God, was ready to move to New Mexico to serve his dying wife, Nav Jiwan Kaur. And instead silently departed himself–to simply show her how easy it was to let go. Nanak says such a one and all the ones “who have meditated upon the Naam and departed after having toiled by the sweat of their brows, O Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Court of the Lord, and many are liberated along with them!” I say, “Sat Purkha Singh, it was an honor and privilege to be your sister in this lifetime and may we all live in the example that you leave us.”

Wahe Guru ji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru ji ki Fateh!

Sat Purkha Singh is survived by his children, Abinashi Singh and GuruParkash Kaur, his sister, Gurprasad Kaur, and brother, Bob Frye.

Guru Meher Singh, SS

By Guru Meher Kaur Khalsa

“God takes His saints at His own choosing and His saints are not attached to coming and going. Just as a fish cannot live without water, a saint cannot live without God.”

~Siri Guru Granth Sahib

These are the words that are etched on a simple brass plaque hanging on the inner walls of Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Gurdwara in Española. Directly above is a black and white photo of a man serving prasad to the sangat. This man was SS Guru Meher Singh Khalsa.

I came to Española to meet my husband-to-be in December of 1973. He was remodeling a new building that was to become the Golden Temple Restaurant. Guru Meher Singh had originally come to New Mexico from Toronto, Canada to attend the Summer Solstice celebration in Española. However, when his talents as an architect became known, he was immediately employed to help with the Golden Temple restaurant remodeling in Santa Fe. This is where I first me him and where my destiny was to change and we were married in five days. In November of 1975, we gave birth to our son, Guru Darbar Singh.

His work in the community continued and he founded the Khalsa Construction Company. His work included designing the ashram’s new Health Food Store, remodeling living quarters on the ashram property and creating beautifully routed wooden signs for businesses in Santa Fe.

Siri Singh Sahib spoke with him the day before his death. He noticed that Guru Meher was cleaning the rifles for Khalsa Women’s Training Camp and asked him what he was doing. Guru Meher Singh responded that he was cleaning the rifles for his class and this would be his liberation. Siri Singh Sahib scolded him and told him not to speak that way. But subconsciously Guru Meher knew in his soul that this would be his destiny.

Memories of Guru Meher bring immediate thoughts of service. He lived and died serving others. It was his joy in life. However, when things didn’t go exactly right, he had a light and playful sense about it. He would say it was just God’s funny sense of humor. When things were hard and trying he would just say, “there is no rest for the wicked.” He was admired by the community for serving without hesitation and always with a smile.

Building the Siri Singh Sahib’s Dome was another one of Guru Meher’s act of selfless service. He spent endless hours toiling to design and create this space for his spiritual teacher. On the wall by the door there is a ceramic tile that designates this building as Dhyan Nivas and by the gate is a similar ceramic tile that read, “The Dome.” To the left of the front door is a glass case that holds the rifle that brought Guru Meher to his liberation.

Liberation is dying and leaving the planet with no connections to hold you back. A martyr is a liberated being that meets his destiny because his last act is in devotion to his creator. In serving Khalsa Women’s Training Camp he gave his last breath in instructing women to defend themselves. As he was instructing a woman in riflery, the bolt in his old English rifle gave way and the metal splinters severed the throat of this young English man of only 29 years. He died almost instantly.  

Guru Meher used to tell me he was never going to be liberated because he enjoyed eating too much. He was really a very simple man and had no time to question his existence. He lived according to the Guru’s teachings, had a good sense of self and shared what he had with others. He was humble in the sense that he never questioned God’s will. Siri Singh Sahib told me on the day of his death that God came down and plucked one of his most beautiful flowers. His life became an example because of his selfless acts, his gratitude for simple things and because he livlived and died serving others. It was his joy in life. However, when things didn’t go exactly right, he had a light and playful sense about it. He would say it was just God’s funny sense of humor. When things were hard and trying he would just say, “there is no rest for the wicked.” He was admired by the community for serving without hesitation and always with a smile.

Sat Purkha Singh, SS – MO

October 28, 1950 – January 12, 2022

by SS Krishna Singh Khalsa, Espanola NM

SS Sat Purkha Singh Khalsa (along with Guru Singh, the Siri Singh Sahib, myself, and several others) were the founders of Sunshine Brass Beds in Los Angeles in 1972. It was the first multi-million dollar 3HO business, where during our first year of operations everyone earned an average of 13 cents an hour!

He and Baba Singh were outstanding punsters, providing humor while the 10-hour days wore on. Sunshine Brass Beds provided the seed capital for starting a waterbed manufacturing plant in Espanola in 1975.  Sat Purkha Singh was the operations foreman of that business.

Sat Purkha Singh was a great tabla player and often played with MSS Vikram Singh. At the time, the best available place for developing tabla skills was the Ali Akbar Khan School of Music in the Bay Area. Sat Purkha Singh would travel there frequently to receive teachings.

He was also a strong practitioner of Shotokan Karate. In the late eighties he became a chiropractor while living in the Kansas City (MO) ashram with his wife (my sister, SS Sat Purkha Kaur Khalsa), and their daughter Sopurkh Kaur.

Sat Purka Singh passed on January 12, 2022, in Kansas City, Kansas after an extended illness. His ashes will be spread on the land at Guru Ram Das Puri, here in New Mexico, where the dust of saints will live in memory forever.

Rajinder Kaur, SS

SS Rajinder Kaur Khalsa died of cancer at her home in Taos, NM, at the age of 62. Her name personified her demeanor: ‘Raj’ means royal, noble, one who governs wisely and is in tune with the divine flow. ‘Inder’ is one who dwells in divine consciousness. Rajinder Kaur was blessed with the capacity to guide and counsel others with kindness and wisdom. As a Montessori teacher for 27 years, she had the gift of reaching children and uplifting their hearts and souls and directing them to their own victory. For over 30 years she was a steady presence in Sunday Gurdwaras—as a teacher to the children and as a powerful tabla player.

Rajinder Kaur’s service to all, her humble personality, and her strength to meet her last challenge, all defined her. She is survived by her husband, SS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, who currently lives in South America.