On business ded­i­ca­tion: Every start guided by the Lord

Sun Star Bacolod - - ‘Yuhom! -

Clunks of metal smashed against each other, creating a bell-like sound that re­ver­ber­ated through­out the en­tire room. A bearded man with a tur­ban was singing on the top of his lungs, lift­ing him­self to the Almighty. With the man was a drum­mer who melod­i­cally banged the in­stru­ment to cre­ate an up­beat feel. Most im­por­tantly, the har­mo­nium elevated the mu­si­cal at­mos­phere. The crowd sat in re­li­gious piety.

God was in the room. All were singing and de­vot­ing them­selves to Him.

In Sikhism, this is known as a Kir­tan, a re­li­gious hymn. In this par­tic­u­lar occasion, the Kir­tan was sang, in the Ba­colod Sikh tem­ple, due to a new In­dian bou­tique shop be­ing opened by Rawinder Singh, a Pun­jabi Sikh. It is be­lieved, by the Sikhs, that in every new con­struc­tion of a build­ing, there must be a prayer to en­cap­su­late God’s essence in the new lo­ca­tion. Thus, in ac­cor­dance with the Granth (the Holy Book), a re­li­gious priest, baba-ji, will con­duct this prayer.

Af­ter the Kir­tan con­cluded, all were in­vited to the com­mon din­ing area, called Lan­gar, to share a free meal. Once one sat on the floor, volunteers quickly grabbed buck­ets of lentil stew, dal, and plates of In­dian flat­breads, roti. Peo­ple quickly sat on the floor with their metal trays, which be­came filled with food.

In Lan­gar, anyone, re­gard­less of race, caste, gen­der, re­li­gion, and other so­cial dis­crim­i­na­tors, can eat food for free. This sys­tem was es­tab­lished by the Sikh gu­rus hun­dreds of years be­fore to elicit the open­ness of Sikhism and its de­vo­tion to mak­ing the world a bet­ter, health­ier place for every­one. As one sits and chats with hun­dreds of peo­ple along­side him or her, all of whom come from dif­fer­ent walks of life, one can’t help but smile at the

inclusivit­y of this sys­tem.

Once the Lan­gar was fin­ished, every­one re­turned to their homes. Mr. Singh was ea­gerly await­ing the next morn­ing, which would fi­nally be the day that he opened his shop.

As the sun rose, all were once again in­vited to the tem­ple for a fi­nal prayer. Then, every­one went to 888 Chi­na­town Square, the mall in which the new shop would be opened. As one neared the shop, one could not help but no­tice many In­dian peo­ple gathering in front of the store, es­pe­cially with the priest at the fore­front.

The priest, with his white kurta pajama, tur­ban, and re­li­gious sword, said a fi­nal prayer in front of the store, which was blocked by a cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon.

Af­ter the priest said his last hymn, the In­dian crowd in uni­son ex­claimed at the last word, Wa­he­guru: “God is one.”

Mr. Singh pro­ceeded to call his chief guests, his sis­ter, Jaswinder Pal Kaur, and his brother-in-law, Davin­der Singh, to cut the rib­bon to for­mally open the shop for business. As Mr. Singh and Mrs. Kaur cut the rib­bon, the crowd erupted in cheers. The shop, af­ter two solid days of pray­ers and de­vo­tion, was fi­nally open.

Asked about the im­por­tance of the series of pray­ers be­fore the open­ing of his shop, Mr. Singh said, “What­ever we start, we need to take the or­der of the lord. We need his ad­vice. We need his bless­ings and guid­ance.”

Most im­por­tantly, Mr. Singh em­pha­sized that this cer­e­mony was deeply sym­bolic of his de­vo­tion to the re­li­gion. He said, “You need to ap­ply the or­der of God into all as­pects of your daily life, in­clud­ing your work.”

In the eyes of all the Sikhs that were at present, God had fi­nally en­tered the store. He was bless­ing it and keep­ing guard of it.

Day in, night out.*

PHO­TOS FROM DHRUBHAGAT SINGH

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