Gurdwara - Essential Services
Purpose of a Gurdwara is to cultivate the peace of mind. This holy place is an important instrument for achieving this by helping to evolve the inner self by God orientation. For this, it leads the people on the easy path of worshipping God, and provides the following services -
Worship of only one God is carried out in the set and standard (traditional) Sikh-way, in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh Holy Book. Singing of the Holy Hymns, sermons, and an invocation (humble prayer) to God for His mercy (blessings), and well being of everyone, is the established way.
community food, served equally to everyone without any discrimination of faith, place, color, sex, status or position etc. This helps to learn equality and brotherhood of the human beings. This is an absolutely free and selfless service. Langar is always vegetarian and dishes never have any meat, eggs etc. The religious gatherings serve only water, sodas, milk preparations, and never any sort of intoxicating drinks
3. Sikh Faith - Promotion
Promotion of the faith is achieved through –
* Ethical Living
The Sikh faith does not resort to conversion. Most important way of its promotion is through personal example of ethical and God oriented living. Their elevated living encompasses all the qualities of an ideal living tabulated above. It is supported by -
Preaching of the Sikh philosophy plays the major role. All are preached to be understanding, accommodating, adjusting, and hard working. It teaches equality, freedom from discriminations, and worship of God. Women are considered equal to men in every respect, religious, social, or political. They equally share the worship, its discipline and procedures. These enjoy the equal human values and rights.
Holding Amrit Ceremony. Amrit is the holy drink
Amrit-Sanchar, Amrit-Parchar, Amrit-Chhakaanaa, or Khandae-Baatae Dee Pahul Daenee, is to promote drinking of Amrit.
Amrit is given for inducting the people into the Sikh faith. The people take it with their own free will, impressed by the Sikh-living and philosophy of the faith. It is not forced on anyone.
* Religious Teaching
It is very important to hold religious classes to attach the children to their faith - Gurbani (Scriptures), Guru, God, and to develop them as ideal peace-loving and law-abiding citizens, aware of their rights and duties, and a keen desire for liberty.
Library of the Sikh faith is imperative for the Gurdwara. It should have sufficient collection of important reference, history, and other books, to promote the knowledge of the faith, and of original culture including their language. Anyone who does not know and practice his or her faith is like an unprotected child. Unaware and ignorant about his or her faith, he or she will have no value or dignity of it, and will hate, talk bitterly, and derogate it. He or she will be ever ready to fall into the lap i.e. trap of conversion, when mislead by a clever member of any other faith. Evidently, ignorance about the faith is the path of uprooting and destroying one’s own self.
Gurdwara - Selfless Service
Prayer, Langar, and selfless service, is closely linked to attain a living of high level. Everyone is equally welcome to the prayer hall and to the Langar i.e. dining hall. All these services are without any obligation.
Selfless service of any sort in the Gurdwara, Sangat (congregation), and community, or out in the public has its own importance. If anyone, may be from outside the community, needs a proper service urgently, it should be rendered with top priority. Such a service has to be selfless, and free from any discrimination .
The days of manually fanning the Sangat are gone, but still it may be needed sometimes. Any imaginable right service can be provided to the Gurdwara and Sangat.
Care of Shoes
Care of the footwear of the visitors to the Gurdwara is taken as an important service. It teaches humility. A Gurdwara has a place to keep the shoes. The people do selfless service at such places. They humbly collect shoes from the visitors, keep them respectfully in the shelves, and politely return them when their owners come back. Some, reverently pick up the shoes, bow to them, clean, even polish, and keep them properly arranged. Mostly, this service is rendered with great devotion.
Gurdwara Yard Service
It is one of the superior services
An essential selfless service provided with a smile and dedication is to dust, wipe, wash, and keep the Gurdwara building and its surroundings clean and tidy. This involves maintenance of the Gurdwara yard and parking lot as well.
Water stands to provide drinking water to the needy are essential. It is the real need of India where the plains become burning hot in summers. Water fountains are useful.
Gurdwaras do need all essential facilities like electricity for light, sound-system, air-conditioning, fans and electronic facilities. It should have kitchen, restrooms, bathrooms, store, place for the caretaker to stay, and if possible some rooms for the visitors etc. Gurdwara Sahib Sacvi has a lift.