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Questions answered by Japnaam Singh on Beadbi of Saroops that were brought via bus from India:
1) How long has Satnam Education Society or Satnam Trust been doing the seva of bringing Guru Sahib Saroops from Punjab to Canada?
Under the guidance of Bhai Sahib Bhai Jeevan Singh Ji, this seva has been ongoing since 1979. As far as we know, SES and ST have been doing this seva exclusively for BC sangat in that time. However, many other Saroops may have arrived in BC in other such ways such as in suitcases, etc. which are not accepted by the community. Saroops have been brought here around 10 times in the past since 1979 including this most recent occassion.
2) Is it true that Saroops arrived last week in BC in a container?
The Saroops did not arrive in a container. The Saroops were requested from Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and they informed that transport by container is no longer acceptable. They also mentioned that they had a new way to transport Saroops. They had a specially refitted bus that was designed to transport Saroops. They offered to send this bus, noting that it had been sent to Italy, Australia and Malaysia before as well. The bus was sent in a special ship that carries vehicles only and arrived here last weekend. This was the most respectful form of transport of Saroops to BC since 1979.
3) Why weren’t the Saroops released from the port faster?
The Saroops were scheduled to arrive on September 27 and arrived as scheduled. After arrival, there is a customs process that takes place. Satnam Education Society was informed that this process would take between 1-2 weeks and so the release date would be between October 6 and 10. Originally, Satnam Education Society had scheduled the Saroop arrival event for October 7 but later rescheduled to October 2 once the Saroops had arrived and feedback from sangat came to bring the bus as soon as possible and also because the customs broker said the release could happen sooner. Unexpectedly, the bus was released from customs on Tuesday September 30 towards the end of the day and so Sevadars went to pick up the bus the very next morning at 7am. The bus was released from the port much faster than anyone expected due to pressure from the sangat and because the port had a number of issues with trespassers. SES is actively working with the Port to investigate which employee of the Port took video footage of inside the bus while likely disrespecting Guru Sahib by touching Guru Sahib with dirty hands, with shoes in, etc. It was also originally anticipated that insurance would be needed for the bus and that this process would take an additional day after release from the port; however, the need for insurance was avoided as the bus was brought to the school with mechanics license plates.
4) Why wasn’t more respect shown for Guru Sahib?
There was a very special event on October 1 for the arrival of the bus at school. There was non-stop Kirtan sung by children; Guru Sahib’s bastars were all changed and Guru Sahib was respectfully put in a specially made Sukhaasin area. Everything was well-planned and executed with the utmost respect for Guru Sahib.
5) Why not bring the Saroops in a private plane?
Some people have suggested that bringing Saroops in a private plane is a better option than transportation in the specially-made bus. Sangat is welcome to try this option and will have the support of Satnam Education Society in doing so. As much respect that can be shown to Guru Sahib, the better it is. However, some question whether this option would be more respectful in the end. The saroops may be subject to invasive inspection by customs and planes are also known to house alcohol and meat which is not acceptable. The truth is that any option of transporting Saroops from India to Canada will have problems. Guru Sahib is forgiving when someone does seva with good intentions and a pure heart.
6) Is it true that there is a price being placed on Guru Sahib?
There have been a lot of misinformation circulating in the community that this was somehow a private “for profit” scheme. No one ever receiving a Saroop from Khalsa School has ever been refused because of financial reasons. Those who are complaining about a suggested (and therefore very flexible) donation of $500 for a Saroop should logically also complain about costs associated with Akhand Paath Sahibs, etc. at Gurdwaras which are offered at fixed costs that are much higher. Again, no one would ever be refused a Saroop from Khalsa School due to financial circumstances. The point of the suggested donation is for the person requesting the Saroop to show that they have some value for the Saroop. If they are unwilling to pay the donation (which would only go back to the education of children), they would still be given the Saroop.
7) Why were there so many Saroops brought?
414 Saroops were brought. Almost half of these Saroops are meant for sangat from America, leaving around 230 saroops for sangat here in BC and surrounding areas. Normally in the past, around 150 Saroops were brought at a time. More saroops were brought this time to avoid having to bring more Saroops again for as long as possible.
8) Why are so many people upset about this issue?
Many people have genuine concerns based on what they’ve heard. We hope that the above answers to some frequently asked questions could dispel some of those concerns. Satnam Education Society Sevadars apologize for any mistakes made and only did this seva with the best of intentions to serve the sangat who wanted darshan of Guru Sahib.