spiceoflife Ideals from a heavenly place of worship Dr Kirti Dua
During the recent Dussehra holidays, we planned to pay obeisance at Harmandar Sahib in Amritsar and stay the night there. We reached in the evening and as we entered the main gate, the illumination and serenity left us spellbound.
The Gurbani was being recited and its meaning was being displayed on big screens at the shrine’s parikarma, making it a meaningful experience for people like me. Around 10pm, there was ardas (prayer) at the Golden Temple and we were told that it was time to take Guru Granth Sahib from the Sachkhand (sanctum sanctorum) to Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs.
We occupied a place on the parikarma near Darshani
THE GOLDEN TEMPLE LANGAR HALL IS THE BIGGEST COMMUNITY KITCHEN, WHERE 1 LAKH DEVOTEES TAKE MEALS DAILY. THERE ISN’T A SINGLE INSTANCE WHERE FOOD HAS FALLEN SHORT OF THE REQUIREMENT
Deori from where we could see the ceremony.
Soon, the journey of Guru Granth Sahib started from Harmandar Sahib in a beautifully decorated golden palanquin with a sewadar (caretaker) blowing a trumpet in front. Guru Granth Sahib was taken inside for sukhasan (night stay) at Akal Takht.
A rush of devotees gathered to catch a glimpse of the heavenly splendour.
Thereafter, we decided to partake of langar (community kitchen) in the hall. At the entrance of the langar hall, there was a long queue and a sewadar in his seventies was distributing thalis (plates) enthusiastically, chanting “Bol Wahe Guru”.
His energy and devotion were awe-inspiring. After 15 minutes, the doors of the langar hall opened and we sat in pangat (a row). In no time, langar was served by disciplined sewadars.
People from all walks, from far and near, partook of the langar. Milk was provided for children.
Said to be started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, the tradition of langar began in 1481. It is the same place where Mughal emperor Akbar had his langar sitting in pangat (row) with common people when he visited Guru Amar Das.
Maintaining this tradition is simply beyond words.
The Golden Temple langar hall is the biggest community kitchen in the world, where nearly 1 lakh devotees take their meals daily.
There is not a single instance where it has fallen short of the requirement. It took 15-20 minutes to serve the langar.
Once the visitors were done with their meals, the langar hall was cleaned meticulously. A group of enthusiastic sewadars took our utensils for washing.
We headed towards the serai (inn) for the overnight stay.
The number of devotees was far more than that which could be accommodated in the serai. One could find people settling down along the parikarma and passages.
At 4.45am the next day, the journey of Guru Granth Sahib started from Akal Takht to Sachkand.
Devotees showered rose petals on the palanquin.
Despite the rush of devotees, the shrine is absolutely clean. The government has chosen the shrine as an iconic place under the Swachch Bharat mission.
Golden Temple teaches us lessons in equality, humility, generosity, cleanliness and enthusiasm towards duty.
A visit to the holy place will be meaningful only if we adopt these values and make them a part of our daily life.