I remember getting the phone call from GuruGanesha, my band mate: "Siri Gobind Kaur of Barcelona, Spain rented a 950 seat church and she says she's gonna fill it!"
I was in dismay. At the beginning of our music touring days those kind of numbers were just unheard of. We were lucky to fill a 300 seat venue at best. In fact, there were times when we sang to empty halls. The sound of my voice saying "good evening!" to 50 people in a 500 seat auditorium still echoes awkwardly in my mind. I keep that memory available because it was that night that I really grew up - realizing that even if a hall was empty I still had to deliver the essence of myself.
Well there I was, my back leaning against the wall in the priest's quarters of an ancient church in Barcelona, hearing the sound of 950 people talking as they waited for us to go on stage, wondering exactly how I was going to deliver the essence of myself. The large stones of the wall were cold, yet soft to the touch, perhaps from the years and years of praying. I drifted into a prayerful space, almost kind of dreamy. I was transported to a conversation I had with Siri Gobind Kaur earlier that day.
As the band sat down to a Spanish breakfast of churros (donut like pastries) and melted chocolate in ceramic bowls at her large dining table I asked her,
"How did you do it? How did you fill the church that we are going to sing in tonight?"
I thought she was going to reveal this amazing marketing plan that we would give to our other producers who had been struggling to fill much smaller venues.
She was this beautiful Spanish woman, with a lioness like smile. She didn't speak very much English and I didn’t speak much Spanish. We managed with a mixture of both languages, and within minutes of meeting each other, had dropped into a deep friendship where we could share the longings of our souls. Just then, a bird flew in from the open double doors that overlooked the garden. Circling around us, it found its way out within seconds. Siri Gobind Kaur looked at me for a brief moment, and shrugged her shoulders as casually as the bird had come in and out and said in a very matter of fact way,
"I asked Guru Ram Das to do it." Her accent was kind of strong and so I wondered if I had heard correctly.
I looked inquiringly at GuruGanesha and he seemed to have heard just fine.
"She asked Guru Ram Das," he said with a knowing nod of his head.
Still not quite getting it, I continued on,
"Did you have a team of people, did you do advertising?"
She looked at me, quite solemnly and said,
"I didn't know how we were going to do it, so I asked Guru Ram Das and he filled every single one of those seats."
So that night, as I prepared for my biggest concert to date, with my back against the thick stone walls softened by many years of human prayer, I decided to ask Guru Ram Das for help.
May people feel uplifted.
May people feel the blessings of chanting God's Name.
May people feel the energy of love and light.
As fourth Guru of the Sikhs, who embodies the energy of compassion, healing, and love, I felt the delivery and promise of Guru Ram Das in the many moments of prayer and joy during that evening. This was not at all a surprise for me because I had experienced it many times before. The shift for me was that I asked Guru Ram Das to come through, not with a heart of doubt that my inquiry would be received, but with absolute faith, that it would be delivered.
That was the first gift that Siri Gobind Kaur gave me; faith.
From that time forward, my challenges and rewards would only get bigger. In fact, the next time I was to see Siri Gobind Kaur, she rented a venue and filled 2800 seats. This time I was smart enough not to ask her how she did it. Waiting to go out on stage, I was just as nervous as our very first concert, if not more. I looked down at my outfit, wishing that it was more glamorous. I had my best outfit, a Sikh style dress, my turban and chuni (or veil), and my brightest turban pin jewel, but nothing seemed adequate for the grand theatre.
She must have known my thoughts. She took my hand, just as it was time to go on, and lifted my arm into the air, as if I were the queen of Spain herself. She elegantly escorted me onto the stage, strewn with rose petals. I was swept into her confidence, mimicking her every move breath and feeling - brought into the royalty and the courage of my soul's strength with each stride.
As we reached the center of the stage, with a slight twirl and lift of my hand she presented me to the audience. I never knew before and never forgot after that, how to present myself in full radiance and confidence to whatever audience God placed before me.
Radiance was the second gift that Siri Gobind Kaur gave me in my life.
The last and final gift, was humility. The last time I saw her, she waited for me to finish a conversation with a videographer. I felt so ashamed that I kept her waiting. She was struggling with cancer, yet she waited. When I arrived, she gave me her beautiful lioness smile and a kiss on the cheek. (See the photos) Soon after she passed this earthly life.
I hope you can see how blessed I have been to have met such a woman. I pray that I can be this woman for someone else, and that we can support each other as fellow human beings to find these three beautiful gifts within ourselves; faith, radiance, and humility.
To find Siri Gobind Kaur's yoga studio and event listings being beautifully carried on by her son Kumar, please visit, Shunia Yoga.