Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

“How many Gods do Sikhs believe in?” My very curious Christian friend Joe asked with sincerity on my proposal of a visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib en route to Connaught Place.
Religion being a difficult subject for me, I carefully phrased my answer, “Sikhs believe there is only one God.”
“I thought Hindus and Sikhs are the same and have many Gods,” Joe stated.
“Sikh religion originated from Hinduism but it is different on this and some other aspects,” I managed a reply.
“Is that why a Sikh temple is called a Gurudwara?” Joe continued.
“The literal meaning of Gurudwara is the residence of the Guru and Guru means a spiritual guide that leads the way from darkness to light,” I tried to provide a complete answer.
At reaching the Gurudwara, Joe was not sure if he should accompany me inside of just wait for me in the car, “Am I allowed to come in? I am not a Sikh and I am not a member.”
I ensured him the entry in the Gurudwara without anyone asking any question,” Everyone is allowed in Gurudwara.”
“Why are they polishing shoes inside?” Joe asked another question as soon as he deposited the shoes in the locker room.
“It is to pay respect to attendees.”
“Who are these people polishing shoes and do I need to pay them?” Joe asked
“They are people like you and me who chose to dedicate time and you don't have to pay.”
“Some of them look very wealthy to me, “Noticing the clothing of some people inside the locker room, Joe stated.
After covering the head, washing the hands and feet, we entered the Gurudwara and followed a large crowd through the process of paying respect to the Guru Granth Sahib.
“Where are the idols?” Joe whispered realizing chanting of gurubani by narrators and the concentration of listeners.
 “Sikhs don't worships idols or pictures,” I replied back.
“So what is here?”Joe raised his head towards the Guru Granth Sahib.
“Sikhs consider Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book, to be the eleventh guru or the leader that provides direction for day to day living as well as guidelines for the spirituality.”
“When was this book written?”
“It was complied by ten Sikh Gurus from 1469 to 1708AD. It is pretty much during the time of Mogul kingdom in India.”
“So the Sikh religion started during Mogul kingdom in India?”Joe continued asking questions.
“Yes that is correct. Initially Sikhism followed non violence principles, but at the time of Aurungzeb, the Gurus and their followers (Sikhs) took arms to fight against forced conversion of Hindus to Islam. “
At ‘Langar’ (Dining) hall, Joe asked another question, “Is this the place to feed the poor?”
“It is the place to feed the body and soul of the congregation. Attendees have to sit side by side regardless of the caste, rank, financial or social status. Over here Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or his driver Mohan Chand, Reliance CEO Anil Ambani or our peon Anil, they all sit side by side signifying equality and casteless society.”
Joe continued asking questions, “What is the significance of this Gurudwara?”
“In 1664, the eighth Guru, Guru Harkrishan stayed here on what used to be the mansion (Banlga) of Raja Jai Singh. Guru Harkrishan helped sufferers of Small Pox and Cholera by providing fresh water from the well of this mansion. Fresh water, being very important, helped cure many victims. The well is preserved and enclosed in the glass walls and it is believed this water has healing powers and therefore also called ‘Amrit’. While helping Cholera and Small Pox victims, Guru Harkrishan died on March 30, 1664. Later in 1783, a Sikh general, Sardar Bhagel Singh converted it to Gurudwara.“
 “Do you believe in the healing powers of the ‘Amrit’?” Joe asked a very difficult question now.
“Millions of people have faith in it and I have faith in them.”
It is been few years since this conversation. Joe is still a practicing Christian but he tells me, “I don't consider Gurudwara Bangla Sahib to be a mere tourist place. When I go to Connaught Place, I make a point to visit the Bangla Sahib and have a different perspective.”


NRIGirl said...

Thank you for the pictures & the detailed post on Gurudwara. I have always wanted to know too...

Thanks to Joe also for the specific questions.

SG said...

Complete history of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Thanks for the wonderful information. I have been to Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Chandni Chowk.

Chatterbox said...

A wonderful informative post with some beautiful pictures :)
Thoroughly enjoyed it A :)
Keep 'em coming!!

Insignia said...

Liked the picture of the Guru Granth Sahib. Wonderfully narrated. Thanks for sharing the history.

BK Chowla, said...

I am not a Sikh,but I follow Sikhism.My belief is that a visit to the Gurudwara is an experience by itself.It is my personal experience that "mannat" works at the Gurudwara.

Renu said...

wow !! I unique way of imparting knowledge.I learned so much about this gurudwara.

Bikram said...

Wow I am sure and convinvced with all those answers I hope Joe is too... We went to india a few years back with a few of my white friends and i had to go through the same situation but its fun telling them
and now a few of them who work with me know eactly what and how and its amazing the views they have or HAD...

good one "A" :)

R. Ramesh said...

hey wonderful post ya..enjoyed reading this and cleared some doubts fact i was just telling that i luv to wear the "kada" (or ring worn on hand) from the golden temple and bog friend mr BKC promised to get one..hehe..coincidence..thanks for sharing this buddy

RiĆ  said...

Nice post n lovely pic to go with it. Wud love to go to the golden temple someday.

Vijay said...

dropping in to a nice blog here

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jump on to my blog
drop comments

follow if u really like it means

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play as per ur wish on my blog..

Sapna Anu B.George said...

Good to see you in Blogs, thanks for the peak into my blog

Urmi said...

Thanks for your lovely comment.
I appreciate for your wonderful post with beautiful and detailed description with marvellous pictures. I have been to Golden Temple, Amritsar 4 years before and wish to visit again.

sm said...

like the way you explained it all

Amrit said...

NRIGirl, SG, Insginia:- Thanks for constant encouragement. I like to hear from you.

Chattebox:- It is always pleasure to read your comments.

BK:- I am glad to know about your faith in Gurudwara. Thanks for the comments and sharing this fact.

Renu:- Thanks. Keep visiting.

Bik :- Thanks. I look forward to read your detailed comments.

Ramesh:- I am glad you like Kara. Thanks for your comments.

Ria:- Thanks. Nothing like pics on your blog.

Babli:- Thanks. I love your poem.

Sapna:- Thanks for stopping by.

Maubery:- Sure.

SM:- Thanks.

Swaram said...

Luved reading this post. It's so nice to know about all the different practices we have and the significance.

chitra said...

It was interesting to read about the Gurudwara and the presentation is superb. Till date I haven't seen one.

kiran sawhney said...

great post. I believe that, Amrit has healing power there.

Anonymous said...

So informative. I used to go to a Gurudwara, once a week, every week, for quite some time with this Sikh friend of mine. I found the place very peaceful and calming.
Thank you for the post. I knew so little...

Readers Dais said...

wow! that was a real piece of information friend, and u did it wonderfully, cud be referred to be added to school syllabus:)

Kavita Saharia said...

My cousin took me to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib when i was on a trip to my 'mayka'(my parent's home) .I was childless then ,my cousin suggested me to ask for a 'mannat'-which i did .I had promised a full day of seva to the Gurudwara which i wish to fulfill next time i visit Delhi.

Daljit Singh said...

Nice overall article Amrit. Liked the simplicity and presentation.

Want to comment on couple of thing from article..

1. “Sikh religion originated from Hinduism but it is different on this and some other aspects,”

Sikhs did not originate from a specific/selected group. It originated from the society of that time. Of course religion of majority was Hinduism at the time. People from all religions and faiths embraced and followed Sikhism since its origination from Guru Nanak.

2. the Gurus and their followers (Sikhs) took arms to fight against forced conversion of Hindus to Islam. “

Sikh Gurus, Sikhs and Sikhism did not take up arms to protect or fight forced conversion of any specific religion from any specific religion. It just happened to be the Hinduism was the religion of majority in that part of the world at that time. It was a fight against oppression, forced conversion and tyranny in general. Sikhs still stand for those values for any religion.

Unknown said...

Really it is a great post having huge information about gurudwara.You can buy rumala sahib for gurudwara in delhi.

Dimpy Roy said...

Nice post. I really liked your post. Thanks for sharing. This former bungalow of Raja Jai Singh was renovated into a gurudwara, famously known as Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. A popular religious destination of Delhi, this gurudwara can be seen even before you actually reach it, from the golden dome that shines through the heart of the city. Check out all best places to visit in Delhi.

Thats Me said...

Beautifully compiled !

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Prime Property Realty said...

You definitely clarified lot of things not known to followers or sikhs of Delhi.

Unknown said...

True mannat works here