MY GURDWARA – A Reader of Sikhivicharforum.org comments on the 5 part Article Are Our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional ?
The gurdwara is pivoted upon the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) that is installed in the Darbar (Court or Throne Room). Sikhs maintain the sanctity of the Darbar at all times. Royal respect to the SGGS is accorded via the palki, chandova and chaur.
1. In the Darbar the SGGS ji is supreme so respect is only for the saroop of SGGS and none other. Hence the entry requires removal of footwear and a head cover for both males and females.
2. In the Gurdwara, our salutation and bowing (salami and matha tek) is to the sachey patshah (true King) SGGS) and not to the nishan or flag! The nishan is akin to a sign hoisted to announce that this premise is a gurdwara. A Sikh bows only to the SGGS, not the sign.
3. Sikhs enter the Darbar with humility, hands folded, and metha tek (bow to the ground). This is a sign of the surrender of our will to our ONE SGGS ji and the acceptance of the messages therein.
4. The Sikh comes not to GIVE but to GET. Above all the Sikh aspires to get Gyan (enlightenment) from the SGGS ji. As a king, the SGGS does not accept a bribe in any form. The Sikh comes to the Guru to be enlightened with the message and the true way of life.
a. Sikh form of worship is the reverence of SGGS as their only sovereign embodiment of the Shabad) and NOT as an object of worship as an idol.
b. True worship of the Shabad is therefore to sunneye (listening), vichareye (reflecting), manneye (accepting) and baneeyeay (imbibe, become like) His message.
c. Examples of worship practices originating from Hindu practices are offerings – mostly as bribes: cloth covers, rations like atta and ghee, flowers and garlands, lighting incense and diyas (artee with lamps), repeating/ chanting of selected mantras, doing penance by cleaning/ washing/ parkarma or circumambulation; picking up dust, getting holy water, feeding others or donating cloth, making manat (bargain in exchange) etc.
d. All these rituals are very strongly denounced in SGGS as unfruitful and wrong. So when we practice any of the above we are in fact openly disobeying the SGGS ji. Let’s not be HYPOCRITES of the worst order! Let’s be true to the Gurmatt (teachings of the Guru) enshrined in Gurbani!
5. We can contribute money for rumalla, prasad, langgar, maintenance of premises, and for any charitable and educational needs BUT all monies have be incorporated in ONE single community chest (guru kee golluck) and the GMC will use it for ALL purposes as and when required including for Karah Prasad/Degh from the whole sangat and NOT as a donation from any individual, family or clan.
6. That is how we can become a proper sangat/ pangat as per Guru Nanak’s ideals. This first step towards UNITY among the Guru’s beloved Sikhs will need only ONE Sanjhee (common) ardas (supplication) for the thanksgiving and blessings of ALL mankind.
7. As per practice during the Guru Kaal (Time), the Gurdwara is to remain open to ALL regardless of race, religion or status, so everyone is part of the sangat and pangat and welcome to contribute and participate in all activities.
8. Sewa or service is not limited to cooking, washing and serving of meals in the Gurdwara. True sewa is one that is extended to assist the underprivileged in society. We can serve the disabled, homeless and others (all needy people) of any origin, by providing money, effort and time.
9. We are true sewaks only when we display our humility instead of feeding our haumai (ego) by sponsoring feasts or overpriced decorations. There are countless ways to be involved in the service of not only mankind but also the environment and all living creatures, the Creation of Akaal Purakh, the Creator. All one needs is to open one’s heart and mind.
My dear respected readers, the first step in Sikhi is the acceptance of the Guru as your mentor so please read and listen to Gurbani by yourself and then you will agree with the pointers above.