Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji ki Fateh!
As I write these words in the autumn of 2017, I see the struggle between light and darkness all around. These are extremely dark and turbulent times. All over the world people are experiencing confusion, fear and doubt. The line between truth and fiction has been blurred to the extent that the flow of false information and sheer distraction has become the "real world" for many people.
The only way out of pressure and insanity is in. It is a time to go deeper within ourselves. It is time for meditation, self-discipline, prayer, deep cleansing, self-identity and self-control. It is a time to connect with others of like mind and heart. It is time to serve the world in any way we can. Together we are powerful.
To go deeper and stay in touch with truth and love, we can:
By living in chardi kala we can influence the rest of humanity. One candle can light a thousand other candles and still not lose the light it shines in the world. Be that source of light. Elevate every situation in which you find yourself.
I feel grateful beyond words that Guru Ji has blessed me to serve SikhNet which, over the last 30 years, has been a constant source of light, inspiration and upliftment for millions of people all around the world. Thank you for being part of this seva.
By Guru Ji’s grace, SikhNet will continue to serve as a beacon of light in the darkness. Will you please be generous as you donate to SikhNet this year? All gifts come from the Guru’s unlimited storehouse, and some of them flow through your heart and your hands.
Thank you.Guru rakha.
Guruka Singh Khalsa
Chief Executive Officer, SikhNet, Inc.
Please take a few moments right now to support this mission of Light by giving a portion of your Dasvandh to SikhNet. We need to raise $300,000 by the end of the year in order to fund SikhNet’s growth, and to continue serving millions of people around the world.
During 2017, we assembled a team of experts in both Dharmic education and online learning. Our team has spent the last several months developing a transformational learning experience that we plan to launch in the first quarter of 2018.
This six-week course, titled "Developing Your Personal Relationship with the Guru", will offer a blended learning experience. Self-paced videos and articles will guide you and in addition, there will be live, on-line facilitated sessions with teachers who can answer questions to support you in your personal growth, along with an online discussion forum where you can dialogue with others taking the course.
Developing Your Personal Relationship with the Guru will be the first ever online Sikh-related Dharmic experiential course of its kind. Much online learning today focuses on a traditional format - where students learn lessons and take tests, in order to acquire knowledge.
Developing Your Personal Relationship with the Guru will offer something different. The goal of the course is to help you create a renewed sense of connection to your Guru and your life. The six week process is designed to impart knowledge, and to give you the opportunity to create your own journey of transformation.
Note: SikhNet would like to thank the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation, Sikh Dharma International, the Chardi Kalaa Foundation and the Jassal Family through the Kirpal Singh MD Endowment Fund for their generous grants and unparalleled support for the SikhNet Learning Center. We would also like to thank all those who donated to our 2016 Gurugaddi Day Fundraiser. Your support and contributions have made it possible for SikhNet to take the time to develop a course that will positively impact thousands of people around the world.
In 2017 we hired a full-time mobile app developer to assist with creating the next generation Gurbani Media Center app. We have completely rebuilt the GMC app from the ground up and will bring a much improved experience for finding and listening to Gurbani Kirtan. The Apple iOS version will be released in December 2017 followed by the Android version in the Spring/Summer of 2018.
In 2017 We hired a full-time manager for GMC who has been archiving and digitizing rare old Gurbani recordings and curating wonderful new content for all to enjoy and discover.
The Gurbani Media Center on SikhNet is the most popular and, to many, the most impactful service we offer. Over 40,000 hours of Kirtan and Katha by over 800 different Musicians! Each year, more people than ever access this rich online library of Gurbani kirtan and katha. Our free Gurbani Media Center smartphone apps and website have made this resource available to Sikhs all around the world.
In 2017 over 50,000 people downloaded the GMC app and we now have over 27,000 active monthly users. 2.5 million people used the website version of the GMC (Approx 230,000 people per month)
This service allow hundreds of thousands of people to stream Guru Ji’s kirtan anywhere they are. All Gurdwaras are invited to contact SikhNet to have their broadcasts included in the SikhNet Radio Channels.
This year our SikhNet Stories App faced extinction when Apple released its new operating system. Because of the generosity of many donors we were able to raise the money we needed not only to update the iOS app, but also we were able to create a new Android version of the app. On the way, we got a lot of feedback from parents, kids, and folks from all over the world. People let us know how many ways they use our apps. Some people told us about how their kids grew up listening to the stories. Some people new to Sikhi told us about how much they learned about Sikh History and Sikh values from the stories. Others told us fun experiences about what they learned from the stories.
Everyone asked for more stories. So, for our Fall Fundraiser, we reached out to people to help us fund making new audio stories as well as animated video stories. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated and helped us reach our goal in both campaigns!
KAUR is the world’s first animation focusing on the 18th century legendary Sikh warrior heroine, Mai Bhago. At SikhNet we asked ourselves, “How do you inspire young girls to be a conscious princess, a spiritual princess, a Khalsa princess, instead of a Disney princess?”
KAUR tells the story of a young Sikh girl, Saibhang Kaur, who loves science but feels the social pressure that “girls don’t belong in science club.” Not sure what to do about her dreams, Saibhang Kaur thinks about giving up. But when Saibhang’s grandmother tells her the true story of Mai Bhago, Saibhang discovers her courage.
This year, thanks to Time TV, India, KAUR is is now available with a Punjabi soundtrack voiced by some great Indian child actors. Please enjoy this treat!
In the last two years, over 300,000 people have seen, and been inspired by, the KAUR movie!
This September we sent out a survey in which we asked our Sikh Youth, “What are the questions and concerns that you feel unable to ask your parents or the leadership in your community?” The response was immediate, and it quickly became clear that our youth are really struggling with a host of questions and concerns which range from insecurity around mental health issues to questions about how to handle their own sexuality.
We compiled the top seven questions/concerns to bring awareness to the most important issues that Sikh youth are dealing with today. This sets the stage for a series of webinars we will conduct in 2018, to bring together community leaders to discuss solutions and strategies to help our families and Sangats with these important topics.
In June of this year, Guruka Singh ji traveled to Michigan for two Sikh children’s camps in Troy and Lincoln. The first, Camp Khalsa, was four days and about 200 kids ages 4-18 from Eastern Canada and the Midwest USA. Guruka Singh taught five classes each day (one for each age group) and then an evening class with the parents. About forty parents participated. The second camp consisted of around 100 kids from age 4 – 18 split into five age groups. Guruka Singh taught classes each day with every age group.
The classes were about the Four Pillars of Sikhi: Seva, Simran, Bani and Bana. The classes were very experiential; no lecturing, just discussion, play, chanting, meditation, activities and Q&A. As you can see, the kids had a lot of fun while they were learning.
SikhNet traveled to Patna Sahib to provide live coverage of the 350th anniversary celebrations. With Sikhs spread all over the world, many were not able to attend in person, so the live coverage allowed Sikhs to virtually participate in the celebrations from abroad.
Harijot Singh went to the United Kingdom this year and says of his experience: I was greatly honored to participate in two of the SNA camps in Birmingham England run by Giani Sukha Singh ji. I told stories and stressed the importance of physical health as well as lead morning stretches, breathing and meditation.
I had been under the weather and one morning my throat was so out I almost couldn't talk. I secretly wished that we wouldn't do the stretches that day. I put it to a vote among the children and was surprised that the majority wanted to do the stretches instead of simran. They love simran! Looks like even the youngest among us realize the importance of preparing our bodies for the day which we did despite my weak voice.
I won't forget the shining souls I was blessed to be with. When they meditate it is truly angelic. There were many moments to be remembered, from one boy (about 7 years old) who was so full of love and affection he would hug me whenever he saw me, to a 5 year old child who told perhaps the most passionate Guru story I've ever heard, to a couple of children who, unnoticed and unasked, picked up all the litter from the park while the others were readying to leave.
Endless thanks to Jujhar Singh and Harsimrren Kaur for their friendship and kind hosting and of course the wonderful Giani Sukha Singh, among many other beloved brothers and sisters in England.
On Thursday, March 9th, Ek Ong Kaar Kaur from SikhNet had the opportunity to participate in an interfaith panel on Dharma, presented by John Hopkins University. The interfaith panel included four members, each representing a specific Dharmic tradition. The interfaith panel included Bhupesh Mehta, an active leader in the Jain community; Swami Sarvapriyananda the head of the Vedanta Society of New York; Rev. Dr. Wakoh Shannon Hickey, a priest of Soto Zen Buddhism and a member of the Religious Studies faculty at Notre Dame of Maryland University. The students who helped organize this event said that this was the first interfaith dialogue focusing on the Dharmic-centered religions at the John Hopkin Interfaith Center. Most interfaith events had previously focused on the Abrahamic religions, and this was new ground for the Interfaith Center. View the panel discussion & news story.
During Vaiskahi weekend in April 2017, Ek Ong Kaar Kaur gave a talk at both the Gurdwara Nishkam Seva in Irving, Texas and the Sikh Temple of North Texas in Richmond. At the Sikh Temple of North Texas, Ek Ong Kaar Kaur’s comments focused on how we as Sikhs can truly experience the Guru for ourselves. She drew on the writings of the respected Bhai Nand Lal ji for inspiration. Read a copy of the speech
Every service SikhNet provides is designed to uplift and inspire. SikhNet is a non-judgemental space open to everyone who wishes to share their positivity and inspiration. It makes each person’s spiritual journey relevant in the context of the modern world and provides support and online Sangat to everyone who wishes to participate. Here are SikhNet’s core services:
In addition to English Katha on the Daily Hukamnama, the SikhNet Sri Guru Granth Sahib Katha smartphone app allows people to learn and understand the meaning of Gurbani from Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It currently features over 600 hours of Gurbani Katha in Punjabi by Giani Thakur Singh and Giani Harbhajan Singh, USA, with plans to add additional Katha audio as we go forwards.
We are grateful to feature more original content this year. We have an outstanding collection of over 20 new regular contributors contributors and the quality of their writing along with the breadth of material has been a successful addition to our Lifestyle and News section. Our topics are now organized under such headings as: “The Pulse of the Panth,” “Spirituality,” “Identity,” and “Wellness,” which archives and highlights articles of lasting interest. With this we are able to provide a valuable research and learning tool for the Sikh community.
This year SikhNet published over 40 new videos. These videos bring peace and hope to countless hearts around the world. Some of the most popular were: Jagraj Singh speaking about his Experience of Simran, Baljit Singh from Basics of Sikhi telling his life story, Gurumustuk Singh sharing tours of the Golden Temple and the 350th Prakash celebrations at Patna Sahib, and Guruka Singh talking about what happens after we die.
This year we took a hiatus from the Film Festival so that we could re-envision it for next year. Team members Gurujot Singh and Hari Mitar Singh will be working on this project, investigating old and new methods, parameters and ideas, and we will let you know in 2018 how things have developed.
For many years now the SikhNet staff have made themselves available as seva to all who ask for personal counseling, usually via the phone, facebook or via Skype or WhatsApp. Callers are dealing with issues such as domestic abuse, sexual abuse, depression, sickness, death in the family and even suicidal thoughts. Adults and youth alike contact us from around the world looking for support, advice and inspiration. Every call and every message is answered and as much time as necessary is spent with every caller.
SikhNet has had a Youth Question and Answer Forum since 1999. This is a place where youth can ask any question (anonymously, if they wish) and receive guidance from Gursikhs based on Gurbani and their own life experience. The panel of dedicated sevadars regularly handles questions ranging from Sikh lifestyle to acute depression and even suicide. No question goes unanswered on the Youth Forum.
SikhNet offers a wide range of inspiring services to connect people with our beloved Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Tens of thousands of people receive the Daily Hukamnama from Harimandir Sahib in Amritsar, delivered via our website, on Facebook, Twitter, via email or through the Daily Hukamnama smartphone app, and even by a telephone call. We have more than 11,000 active users receiving Guru Ji’s Hukamnama every day.
38 channels, 30K listeners from 150 countries
We have integrated the SikhNet Radio app into the GMC App so you no longer need two apps. SikhNet Radio is the default screen when you open the GMC app and it has exactly the same functionality as the old standalone radio app. SikhNet Radio can also be listened to over our website and offers a range of pre-programmed Gurbani channels along with streaming live channels from Gurdwaras worldwide including Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, India, and is available 24/7 through the website, the GMC app or the old standalone Radio app.
Please take a few moments right now to support the work of SikhNet. Our goal is to raise $300,000 to cover our core work for 2018. Will you join us by donating $101, or any amount you can, to support SikhNet's seva?
If you come to SikhNet regularly, consider becoming a monthly donor. Thank you.
SikhNet, Inc is a tax-exempt IRS registered 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization.