GURDWARA – DISCIPLINE
Organization, Management, Sangat
Trustees – Responsibilities
It is duty of the management to take care of and watch that the discipline in the Gurdwara is maintained according to the set ethics. For applying and watching these effectively, at least some trustees should attend all the Gurdwara proceedings. One or the other trustee should be there throughout the program, and participate actively.
The trustees and management, individually or as the group, is responsible and answerable to the Sangat or to its individual members. The members of management should have enough time to devote to their assigned –duties.
It is a general feeling that the Sangat or its members enjoy the liberty of questioning the management, its members, or any one else responsible for the working of Gurdwara.
Anyone, who is performing there (in the Gurdwara) i.e. Kirtanya (devotional singer), Kathakar (preacher, sermon giver), or a speaker etc. can be questioned with permission of the management. Such things should be after the worship proceedings are over, may be in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, open or closed.
The questioner should get the permission to speak, if the cause is genuine and right. Every thing should be in humility, observing discipline, politeness, sweetness, and there should preferably be no insistence to reply, or any argument.
Decisions for observing formalities are local and mutual. The Sangat or its members have the right to be kept satisfied with the working of Gurdwara.
The management should try to involve the maximum number of Sangat – members of congregation, and share their minor as well as major responsibilities with them. This will reduce burden of the trustees, Sangat will take the Gurdwara as its own, and the members will develop eagerness to participate and regularly attend it.
The approach should be of humility, understanding, tolerance, accommodating others, compassion, and of politeness, to win the confidence, respect, and commitment of the Sangat. This will also promote mutual respect in the members, and dedication to Gurdwara.
It is very important to involve the youth. This is the only way to create in them an eagerness for the faith, and love for Gurdwara. Sangat should be responsible for inculcating in them the pride of faith to save them from going astray. This can be effectively achieved by teaching them history of the faith (Sikh history), Scriptures, and by their actively participating in the activities of the Gurdwara and community. Of course, they need role models to imbibe the reality. It is essential that we join in to make it our priority to teach faith, and provide its canopy (protection) to our children. Only this can save us, and them.
Senior’s – Involvement
It is in no way less important to involve the elderly members. At least some of them might be somewhat aware of at least a few aspects of the discipline and procedures practiced in the faith. They may be able to provide some useful guidance.
Sangat – Responsibility
Guru Granth Sahib is the living Guru – the Word, that is immortal. The principal responsibility of the whole Sangat is to maintain the serene, calm, respectful, devotional, and holy atmosphere in the Gurdwara.
In the Gurdwara, everyone has to be clean, properly groomed and dressed. The body should be covered ideally. One should be humble, polite, sweet, and mentally in communion with Gurbani. The mind should be above negative traits, malice, and animosity – elevated and pure state of mind. One should go to the Gurdwara with full surrender to the Guru and God. We have to humbly beg the Lord for His mercy, spiritual enhancement, and to evolve in an effort to become an ethical entity.
Gurdwara is a Chatsal, School
Chatsal is a school, to learn the Sikh discipline, and Gurmukh-Jiwan – spiritually (God) oriented life. As well, this is a place to learn recitation and correct phonation of Gurbani (Scriptures), Sikh history, and basics of the Sikh way of life. If not in a Gurdwara, then where to learn all this?
We should try our best to learn correct recitation of the Scriptures. The people, without realizing or caring for their incorrect phonation, sit down even for an Akhand-Paath – continuous recitation of Guru Granth Sahib. The Gurbani recitation should be correct. It is great that someone reads the Holy Book, may be incorrectly, but this is justified for the learning stage only, and not forever. One should aim at learning its correct recitation.
The corrections are usually made by a monitor, and mostly when one is reciting the Scripture. This is the practical and standard method. Afterwards, nobody has time to attend to such things, and as well it becomes much less effective. A correction made at the spot goes home well. This method should be fine in a limited, casual gathering, more particularly set for this purpose, and is not for a formal, regular Gurdwara session, or a function. The local Sangat can decide on the method to be adopted.
Maintenance of Records
Maintain the records of Gurdwara. Attention has to be paid to the property-documents, construction-records, different types of contracts, maintenance-records, stock-registers, accounts, and contributions. It is important to keep detailed records of the employees.
Minutes of the meetings of management, its sub-groups, and its committees should be recorded. It is a useful idea to keep the summary of talks, and information about the speakers. Diary of Gurdwara sessions may be maintained.
It is meaningful to keep records of marriages, and all other ceremonies performed in the Gurdwara. Marriage certificates should be issued, preferably to both of the bride and bridegroom.
Facilities for Children
If possible, arrangements for indoor and outdoor games, and training for hobbies should be made. Lessons in self-defense (Gatka – fencing), first-aid, etc. are useful. The Sikh art gallery, the Sikh museum etc. are good visual aids for learning. Such things will create love for Gurdwara.
Introduction and appreciation of the visitors, guest-speakers, Ragis (devotional singers) and Kathakars (preachers) create love for the Gurdwara and Sangat (the people there). It is rewarding to appreciate those who render dedicated selfless Sewa (voluntary service) of any type, to Gurdwara or Sangat.