It was an honor for me this weekend to join in the celebration of Neeru and Supandeep’s joyful celebration. A typical Indian wedding is a glorious, colorful spectacle of devotion to God, family and friends. Celebrated with music, dance and fabulous food, no one who participates can help but feel the thrill and promise of bride and groom in their life together. But this time, sitting in the presence of these two wonderful children and their loving families was a truly moving experience. It was 20 years to the day that Neeru’s great uncle Kirat Singh offered his advice at our son’s marriage. So it was especially meaningful that I was asked to do the same after Neeru’s ceremony. For those who requested it, I am posting my remarks below this recipe. Daal Makhani is an iconic Punjabi wedding dish also enjoyed at the fabulous banquet of  this loving couple. Swirled with cream, or served without, black lentils are high in protein, but they also take time to cook; a pressure cooker is helpful.

Black Lentils with Cream Daal Makhani

1 cup whole black lentils (mahan dee daal aka urad daal), picked over and rinsed

½ cup dried red kidney beans or chana daal, picked over and rinsed

1 tablespoon salt

For the tardka:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2-inch piece ginger, minced

¼ cup ghee or canola oil

1 long green chile, seeded and thinly sliced

1 medium/large tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)

¼ cup sliced cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

            Soak the lentils and beans overnight in 1 quart of water. Drain, rinse and put in a pot with 6 cups of water and the salt. Tightly cover, bring to a boil and simmer for about 4 hours, stirring and adding water if needed until the lentils are creamy. Or cook for 50-60 minutes in a pressure cooker.           

         After the lentils have cooked, in a medium skillet sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger in the ghee or oil until lightly browned. Add the chile pepper and tomato and sauté until the tomato is cooked and the oil begins to separate. Add the garam masala and sauté a minute more. Stir in ¼ cup cream and add the mixture to the lentils. Simmer until just heated through. Place in a serving bowl, swirl with a spoon of cream on top and sprinkle with cilantro.


Remarks of 5/26/12 –Singh/Dosanjh Marriage Ceremony:

Waheguruji ka khalsa Waheguruji ki fateh!

   Heartfelt congratulations to Neeru and Supandeep, to their parents, family and friends. What an important day for all of us who love and admire you! Each of you, alone, has been a force for good in this world. Now, united in marriage, Wow! A power couple extraordinaire!

   The great power you possess is no secret. It is expressed so eloquently in your eyes and it radiates from your very being. This energy engages all who know you-- pure joy! Each of us is born with it. Yet, the expression of it is our choice. It is born from the source of light and love that is within each of us. We choose, in our daily habits of mind, to be bathed in that light or to turn it off. For those of us who sometimes forget to shine, it is wonderful to see the light glowing and blooming in the love you both feel for one another. Neeru and Supandeep your love is a great blessing and reminder. It is one reason we want to be here with you today. For innately we realize that shining here too, is God’s love for us.

    How do we stay “in love”, that oceanic feeling of oneness? Guru Amar Das ji sings:

      “They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. They alone are called husband and wife, who have one light in two bodies.”

     Long-lasting love is certainly a matter of choice, a habit of mind. Ask your radiant Auntie Kulwant Kaur ji and your wise Uncle Kirat Singh ji. They will tell you that it is a daily choice. And the battery that charges them daily is their connection with God, Waheguru, the wonderful teacher! The inspiration for helping them to make the choice to love, to be of service to one other and to the community; the inspiration for their elevated thoughts and virtuous actions is found in that connection.

      All couples long to experience that oneness. Only a few achieve it—and not for lack of trying! The key is found in the philosophy of the Tao, also expressed so beautifully in the Guru Granth Sahib. Very simply, in order to reach forward, move back a little first. In order to be one light in two bodies, be aware of the light within you, or maybe sometimes the lack of it. Spend some time each day reviewing your own actions and motivations. Shine the light of awareness on yourself.

      Once I become aware of my own faults, see that anger arises in me, not because of something someone else does, but maybe because I’m feeling helpless, maybe because my ego is bruised, maybe because I want to be in control. (I’ve found many, many reasons!) Once I have understanding and compassion for myself, I extend it to my partner and to others.

       So spend some time each day connecting with the divine light within. You will find that “enlightenment” is not impossibility, but a great adventure that you share with your partner.

       Thank you Supandeep and Neeru for reminding us so beautifully of divine Light. And May Waheguru continue to bless you and give you the Grace to shine on as one.

     Waheguruji ka khalsa! Waheguruji ki fateh!