India is a land of rich cultures and traditions, a symbol of unity where every religion is celebrated and treated with equal respect and dignity. Sikhism was established by Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, also called the ‘guru’ or the teacher of Sikhism, and people who followed Sikhism are known as ‘Sikhs.’ They believed in One God and eliminated the Hindu traditions like sati and the caste system. It’s the fifth-largest religion in the world.
The holy and pious worship place for the Sikhs is Gurudwara, where people assemble and pay their respect to one God with all their hearts. Guru Nanak Dev was against Hindu ideologies and their cast-based division of people. He established this sect to bring all the people into one community and help each other. He also established ‘langar’ or ‘free-food service’ so that no one goes to sleep on an empty stomach.
Here are 15 facts about Guru da langar:
1. The ideology
Langar is a community kitchen run by the Gurudwaras, where people can eat and suffice their hunger in these kitchens that provide a variety of food items, including the prasad. The ideology behind the langar system is to feed whoever is hungry despite his caste, religion, or social status.
2. Importance of langar
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a divine soul and was born to a Hindu family who believed in one God and one religion. He discarded the Hindu beliefs of casteism, sati pratha, etc. He believed in unity and togetherness. The concept of langar was started in 1481 to feed everyone irrespective of their caste, gender, and financial status. He started this service and made sure that no one would go to sleep on an empty stomach.
3. Mass of devotees
There is a large mass of devotees that you will find in the Gurudwaras. People from different castes, religions, and even from different countries show their respect and love toward God.
4. Kada prasad
The main prasad of Gurudwara is known as ‘Kada prasad,’ which is basically a ghee-dipped halwa made of flour, ghee, and an ample amount of sugar added to it. This prasad is so delectable that people visit Gurudwaras, especially for this wondrous prasad.
The langar is prepared by people or sewadars who wish to participate in the cause. The kitchens are large halls where large-sized utensils are used for cooking like big tawas and burners are used. A roti-making machine is also assembled in the kitchen that can make enough rotis at one time.
The langar food consists of daal, aloo ki sabzi, rice, chapati, kheer, or any special dessert in one thali. The best part is that it is also an unlimited food service that is served by Gurdwaras.
7. Langar hall
The hall where the langar service is rendered is huge, where a large number of people gather, and that can serve up to 50,000 on weekdays and up to 1,00,000 during weekends.
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8. Seating culture
The people are made to sit on the floor, and no one is given better treatment than any other one. Every person is served food on the ground, close to earth and God.
The devotion of the devotees is intense and meaningful, which is the reason why people, irrespective of their caste, gender, or sexuality, gather at the Gurudwaras to pay their respect and affection. In the very same way, before starting to prepare the meals and before having the meal too, the devotees and the volunteers join their hands and pay their respect to God.
The people who volunteer at Gurudwaras wash utensils, clean the tables and corridors, cook food, etc. Anyone willing to serve can participate in the service. It is said that serving to feed the people is a moral act of kindness, and one should do it once in their lifetime. People in the Gurudwara share their responsibilities and keep the temple clean and peaceful.
11. The act of kindness
The famous belief of caste-based treatment is completely discarded in the Sikh community, and everyone is treated equally with equal respect and togetherness. The people who participate as sewadar do the service with no personal profit or greed but as an act of kindness. People completely devote themselves to the service of God and follow his principles.
12. The faith of devotees
Some people prefer to participate in the service of sewadars or by devoting a good amount of money as donations for langar service. There are various ways one can volunteer in Gurudwaras by cleaning utensils, doing chores, serving food, etc. Every person in Gurudwara is treated equally and with equal dignity and respect.
13. Tea service
Outside the Gurudwaras, they also provide free tea service to all the people. You can take as many refills as you like, which is absolutely free.
14. Special occasions
During special occasions like Guru Nanak Jayanti or Baisakhi, special food is served to all the people in unlimited amounts. Special dessert items are prepared in large quantities to celebrate the occasion with all the people.
15. Epitome of brotherhood and love
The whole concept of togetherness and treating everyone with equality quite explains why there is such a huge number of followers of Sikhism. The amount of love shown to each and every individual irrespective of their social status, is certainly magnificent.
This wonderful service by Gurudwaras can’t be put into words. You should visit your nearest Gurudrawa and encounter the beauty of that place, the feeling of togetherness, and the devotion of the people towards God and his principles of oneness.
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