Special About the Golden Temple

What is special about the golden temple?

If one wants to see the romance of early rising, one would do well to visit the Golden Temple (Shri Darbar Sahib), Amritsar in the early hours of the morning when the devotees begin to pour in form 2:30 AM. The whole atmosphere at that time is flooded with religious ecstasy.

The singing of the holy hymns, the recitation of Gurbani and the very attitude of the devotees creates a celestial atmosphere and the reflection of the Golden Temple in the sacred tank gives one the impression that one is in heaven and not on the earth. After all what is heaven but a picture of the noblest thoughts and highest aspirations of the human breast, and the Guru has brought it down to this earth.

During the early hours in Golden Temple when every heart is free from worldly temptations, when evils are yet asleep and the wicked one is yet not awake, the lovers of God see Him face to face. Where there are pure hearts there is holy ground and the morning hours make it holier.

According to Greeks the hero Mammon is the son of Aurora, the Goddess of morning and the real Sikhs too are children of the holy morning. Thoreau found all the glory of the Odyssey in the morning hours, and the Sikhs under the influence of early hours enacted these heroic exploits of Homer.

Types of Sikhs



Sikhs may broadly be classified into following types:

Amritdhari Sikhs


Sikhs who have taken Amrit, their name will mostly ends or contains Kaur for women and Singh for men. Kaur means a princess and Singh is lion or tiger.

Non Amritdhari Sikhs


Sikhs who have not taken Amrit, such Sikhs are born in the Sikh families Keshdhari (keep hair) or Non-Keshdhari (don’t keep hair). Non-Amridhari Sikh may or may not keep the hair uncut, but mostly they support it.
Amrit is the holy drink to induct someone into the Sikh faith, such a Sikh abides by the discipline of Amrit, and one of it is keeping hair.

Sehajdhari Sikhs


They may or may not keep their hair, they believe in Sikh Philosophy, but are free from the bindings of Amrit. They may recite prescribed Gurbani (Nit Nem) full or in part, go to Gurdwara, practice Naam-Jap, do Ardas in their functions and perform their rites in the Sikh way, mostly in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib and Ardas. They take part in activities of Gurdwara and the Sikh world, including its politics. Mostly they are from Hindu families.

Singh


Sikh, whose name ends with Singh, may usually be addressed as Mr. Singh. Name of an Amritdhari male Sikh, mostly ends or contains Singh.

Khalsa


All types of Sikhs taken together, is Khalsa. A congregation of Sikhs is usually addressed as Khalsa. A single Sikh may also be called a Khalsa. Mostly, a Khalsa or Singh means an Amritdhari Sikh.

Sardar


Sardar title is colloquially used to refer to adult male followers of the religion of Sikhism as a disproportionate number of Sikhs have honorably served in many high-ranking positions within the Indian Army. Sardar was used for important political, tribal, military and religious officers rankings by the Sikhs during the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Patit Sikh


A defiled Sikh, as such, no Sikh can become Patit. The Patit Sikh may be the one who after taking Amrit, knowingly does not care to observe its bindings. It should not include an unintentional omission or commission. So called Patit or any other Sikh, can regain his-her normal social status on repentance at Akal-Takht, or before a body preferably of the five cardinal (Amritdhari) Sikhs, re-taking Amrit and serving the (token) punishment. In fact, no Sikh can ever be Patit because the fault can redressed.

Sewa in Sikhism

Sewa or Seva - Selfless i.e. voluntary service.

Sewa is selfless service and it is very important in the Sikh World. Serving fresh, clean drinking water, cleaning used utensils in Langar (Gurdwara kitchen) and shoes of Sangat in Gurdwara, are some out of top Sewas.

Help to clean Gurdwara including its rest rooms, cooking Langar (food) and serving it, and maintaining Gurdwara premises are usual Sewas. Still, an important service in India is serving fresh, clean, drinking water to the people and even to the animals. Water dispensing stand or stall is called a Chhabil. The people render selfless service while reciting the Name of God.

Voluntary service is offered at hospitals or at institutions serving orphans, handicapped and sick. First-aid is provided, the poor and needy are helped, and medicines are distributed. Clothes and blankets are provided free and free food stand are run.

Some give free academic or religious education. Surgeon, specialists, general doctors, engineers, architects, advocates and other help individuals or institutions. Anyone can render Sewa as per individual choice, capacity and ability. There is no end to it. Sewa is part and parcel of the Sikh life.
You may come across a container with the label Sewa it is a Can to put in trash, a Sewa - service.
Especially in the overseas countries, disposable plastic-ware has mostly eradicated selfless service of cleaning utensils, or has pushed it to the background. But still, it is of much use. One can transform it into Sewa of any other kind. Electric fans and air-conditioning has taken away Sewa of manually fanning Sangat (gathering). Still, many avenues of Sewa remain open.

Sewa and Simran (Selfless service and Naam-Jaap) go together. Sewa includes a help to the needy, sharing boons. Selfless or voluntary service is one and the same thing. The words like selfless and voluntary differentiate a devotional from the other (compensated) services.

Sewa should be rendered with smile, humility and sweetness. If one serves, grudges, shows bad temper, feels irritated, it is no Sewa.

Saropa, Hazooria, Kamarkasa


Saropa
It is the clothe of honor, Scarf or cloth of appreciation or honor.
Anyone who does something good, must be thanked and appreciated in one form or other. In the sikh world, hight appreciation is by presenting a Saropa, the clothe of honor, a length of cloth put across (placed over) the neck. It is usually of the saffron color. Though the color code is not essential. White or sky-blue are also common. The cloth may be any material, cotton, mixed or silk. Silk or woolen shawls are also given.

Hazooria
It is a length of cloth placed across the neck as a sign of humility. It is used when a person is in the service of Guru Granth Sahib. A man in Tabia (sitting behind Guru Granth Sahib), one who works the wisp over the holy Guru Granth, Ragi (devotional singer), Kathakar (preacher, a sermon giver), Ardasia (one who leads invocation) etc. Use it.

Kamarkasa
Kamarkasa is a sash bound around waist to hold weapons a essential part of Nihang dress. It is also called cumberband or Belt or waist sash or waistband.

Banda Singh Bahadur

Banda Singh Bahadur, commonly called Banda Bahadur
Birth: October 1670 A.D. at Rajauri, in Kashmir
Father: Baba Namdev (Not Bhagat Namdev)

Original name of Banda Bahadur was Lachhman Das. He did not get much of education, but was an expert horse rider and hunter. He was a Rajput cultivator.

He killed a female dear and when dying, she gave birth to a doe. Deeply hurt, Lachhman Das gave up hunting, and became a Bairagi Sadhu, detached saint with a new name of Madho Das. After some time, he went to Nander in Maharashtra, India and settled there. Hazoor Sahib is at that place.

Guru Gobind Singh visited Madho Das and subdued him by making him powerless to harm him with his supernatural capabilities. Madho Das took Amrit and became Banda Singh Bahadur. Guru ji assigned to Banda Singh Bahadur the duty to lead and organize Sikhs to eradicate injustice, slavery and cruelty. He became very powerful and after winning fights continuously, brought a large area of the Punjab under his control. In one of the bloody fights he destroyed Sarhind, where Nawab Wazir Khan had murdered two younger Sahibzade of Guru Gobind Singh. Banda Singh Bahadur made Sikhs very well organized and powerful. He stamped his own coins, his followers and fans are called Bande Sikhs – the followers of Banda Singh Bahadur.

Fearing the spreading power of Sikhs, Bahadur Shah, the king of the time issued very strong orders to destroy Sikhs. After his death Farakhsear, grandson of Bahadur Shah, became a King.
On the order of Farakhsear, Banda Singh Bahadur was chased and surrounded in the village of Sandhaura. He escaped to the mountains. After some time, he started attacking towns in the Punjab. Banda Singh Bahadur and his fighters, bravely fighting the collective forces of Abdulsamad Khan, Nawab of Lahore, and of Arif Khan, supplemented by others, retreated to Gurdas Nangal near Batala, in District Gurdaspur, Punjab.

Gurdas Nangal was sieged by the force of 24,000 soldiers. Sikhs continued Guerrilla warfare from inside the village. In eight months, the surrounded Sikhs became skeletons due to lack of food. Banda Singh Bahadur and his companions were inside a fortress in the village. Abdulsamad Khan promised not to harm any Sikh if the door of the fortress was opened. On December 7, 1715 A.D. on opening the door, the enemy forces killed 300 debilitated Sikhs, arrested Banda Singh Bahadur, and took him to Lahore with his two hundred companions.

Zakria Khan took Banda Singh Bahadur with 500 Sikhs and heads of 2000 more to Delhi. All of them were gradually put to death. By June 19, 1716 A.D. all of them were killed. Banda Singh Bahadur, was done to pieces in a very severe and inhuman torture.

Baba Deep Singh

About Deep Singh Shaheed.

Martyr Baba Deep Singh was from the village Pahuwind. Hw won many fights along with Banda Singh Bahadur, commonly called Banda Bahadur. He was leader of Shahid Missal (martyr's clan) and was a scholar. He and Bhai Mani Singh made copies of Granth Sahib.

In 1757 A.D., Ahmed Shah Abdali (Ahmed Shah Durran), attacked and looted Amritsar, destroyed Harimandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, and filled up its Sarovar - the holy tank.

Band Deep Singh, with five hundred companions set up to avenge this. By the time he reached Taran Tarn, 5000 people had joined him. Subedar (Governor) of Lahore announced Jihad against Sikhs, sent Jahan Khan with a cavalry of 2000, who was joined by Atai Khan with his force and guns. The two forced engaged near Loh Garh, Amritsar. And Sikhs advanced to Ramsar, close to Amritsar.

The neck of Baba Deep Singh got mortally wounded. A Sikh said to Baba Deep Singh Jee that he had said Ardas to fall at Harimandir Sahib, and that he had laid down there. Hearing this, Baba Deep Singh Ji supported his head with one hand and fighting, he reached Parkarma (walkway around) of Sri Harimandir Sahib, the Golden Temple and fell down there. At that place is memorial to Baba Deep Singh.

Leading Sikh Ceremonies

Leading Sikh Ceremonies are:

Birth, Betrothal and Amrit - Giving holy drink to induct the person into the Sikh religion, marriage and death.

One may observe some common rites like:

  • Celebrating  Pregnancy, Chola (clothing of child).

  • Nam-Karan i.e. Naming of child.

  • Dastar Bandi - Tying turban the first time.

  • Education of Child etc.

There might be some regional ceremonies as well. Sikhs are supposed to keep their ceremonies very simple.

Dastar Bandi Ceremony