Gurdwara – Discipline and procedures
The following books are recommended for references –
* Sikh Reht Maryada, S.G.P.C., Amritsar, 1998.
* Rehtnamae, Piara Singh Padam, Bhai Chatar Singh Jiwan Singh, Amritsar, 1991.
* Gurmatt Martand Part I and Part II, Kahn Singh Nabha. Published by S.G.P.C., Amritsar, 1979. It is a good book to learn about the Sikh faith.
* Sada Itihas Part I, Satbir Singh, New Book Company, Jalandhar, 1971.
A few special persons are invited to sit in the front, and may be on the stage itself in special celebrations. Suitable seats should be there for the handicapped.
A thin mattress covered with a cloth sheet may be used to mark the place for Ragis – devotional singers, to sit, or for a bride and groom to sit there for their marriage ceremony. Ragis may sit on the stage itself. Some places provide a raised platform for Ragis, so that they are visible to the congregation. Such a platform should not be higher than the seat for Guru Granth Sahib.
It is appropriated to introduce to the Sangat the distinguished visitors, guest Ragis (devotional singers), visiting speakers and new comers etc.
Nothing should irritate or agitate the Gurdwara Sewadar (a person serving there). A Sewadar who cannot adjust, should keep off the Sewa.
It is the place of worship in the Sikh way
In a Gurdwara, main worship services are morning and evening, twice a day. Depending on the local needs, arrangements, and facilities, Gurdwara may be open the whole day, or may have some restrictions of the time.
It is called Gurdwara Sahib, which can be literally translated as follows: Gur – of the Guru; Dwara – house; and Sahib – Master, an honorific word. It is “the Revered Gurdwara” – God’s place. Gur is derived from the word Guru which means the one who removes the darkness of mind i.e. ignorance (by giving knowledge).
A Gurdwara has no specific design. Usually, at the top, it has a central bigger dome and smaller domes may be there on its sides.
Identity of the place is that a saffron, triangular Nishan Sahib – the Sikh flag,, with its symbols and a double-edged sword atop, flutters on the building, or in its vicinity – compound. As usual, Deras – establishments of Sadhs (saints), do not fly Nishan Sahib, thereby claiming it to be their personal property.
Gurdwara Belongs to the Guru
A Gurdwara belongs to the Guru – the Sikh Prophets, and Sangat i.e. the Khalsa Panth – the Sikh world (the Sikh community). This is a place for everyone with no discrimination of color, caste, sex, faith, status, or country. Everyone can go there with full liberty within the norms of the Sikh ethics.
Gurdwara – Ideal
An ideal Gurdwara is the one where everyone is welcome, and he or she gets peace of mind and spiritual uplift. It should have the facilities to make it a place where everyone can go with freedom, like an honored guest. A visitor is temporarily provided a shelter, food, bed and bedding, free of any cost. Each Gurdwara may not be able to comply with all this due to local restrictions, or resources.
Gurdwara – Purpose
A Gurdwara is a place to learn every aspect of the Sikh faith, including its Scriptures, history, and practices. Here, we get the lesson of living the Sikh way: an ideal life, tabulated below –
* The love of man – humility, politeness, sweetness. selfless love, selfless service, compassion, protection of the weak and sharing the boons with the needy.
* Sincerity, loyalty, honesty, truthfulness, forgiveness.
* The love for rights, equality, , justice, and liberty.
* Love of the self – Control on lust, anger, greed, attachment to the family and the world, to attain an evolved life.
* Freedom from superstitions.
* The love for others – respect, understand, accommodate others and adjust with them. These are essential constituents of self-evolution, and we inculcate these by listening to, reciting, and singing Gurbani i.e. the Guru’s Word (Scriptures), and humble submission to the Lord for his love, protection, and care through invocation.
* No discrimination of sex, status, color, caste, faith, or country.
* To pray for the well being of everyone, and high morale to be ethical.
* Contentment, peace of mind, happiness through submission to God, His kindness, and by practicing self-restraint.
* The love of God – God orientation.
Submission to the Lord i.e. acceptance of His will.
The Sikhs live a simple life free from superstitions and pray only to one God and to none else. Sikhs believe in liberty, equality and justice.They value their own rights, and honor those of the others. They do not practice discrimination of any kind. For them, men and women are equal.