Peace, Love and Sikhism

February 23, 2007

Author: Maxim Kniazkov

Source: The Washington Times

ESPANOLA, N.M. -- For all intents and purposes, Peter the long-haired counterculture firebrand has died to be born again. Faded jeans, rainbow-colored T-shirts, and sandals and beads went into a trash bin along with LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, pot and other traditional paraphernalia of hippie life.

Out went his birth name, so conventional and fuzzy that it would make him a welcome guest at most American homes. In came a lengthy appellation so foreign that it must give a jolt to airport screeners when he appears with the turban, long white beard and robes flowing like the waters of the Ganges.

Guruka Singh Khalsa, the Pure Lion of Wisdom, is now an important person in the Sikh religious hierarchy. He is a successful no-nonsense businessman, a doting father, a husband married to the same woman for nearly 36 years and a recognized community leader who begins every day with a prayer.

The lost generation of the 1960s and '70s may have found itself here in the New Mexico desert, in its own peculiar way.

The largest compact Sikh colony in the United States comes to life every day even before some big-city revelers go to bed.