Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Epitome of Equality

First of all This is not to demean any religion..
I am a Hindu by birth, but yes I respect all religions .I offer my daily prayers , fast on holy days , but there was something that was disturbing me .
God as per me was a Friend, someone who was by my side always , someone who was a dear friend , but this is not what everyone else thought , for others he was the Judge who gives his verdict always and punishes anyone and everyone .

Walk into any temple and you would see , if you have money , you will be treated in a way as if you are the ONLY disciple of the God . I have had too many experiences where I was treated as a second class citizen in the temple . Why? Well I could not afford giving thousands as donation. This is not how it should be , God looks at each one of us with the same divinity .As I mentioned God for me is a friend, so tell me, do we chose friends based on their bank balances? Do we give our verdict on them ? then how can God do it?
I know many of us would say that Friends do judge us , blah blah.. But You know true friends are those who accept each others differences , they do not try to change each other , they do not judge each other - they just ACCEPT each other . Same is for GOD :)

There are beliefs in Hinduism ( many of them are controversial ) like only men can do puja of Hanuman ji, why such partiality . There are also many other practices in other religion as well , which pinch me , but I refrain from writing about those as my knowledge in those religion is limited.

I happen to visit a Gurudwara , very close to my Institute , and I must say I am not only impressed but mesmerized . Let me describe my first visit a bit meticulously .

It was guru nanak jayanti , at around 12 pm , I and my friends decided to visit the Gurudwara.
As I entered I saw a man helping all the devotees keep their shoes , very generously , looking at his attire , I was confused , as generally in Hindu temples , which I have visited, the one doing this job is paid by the trust, and he just does this mundane job in exchange of salary .
But things were different here , completely different ! .I walked in after washing my hands and legs, and as I entered , the main hall where people offer prayers .As I walked in I saw a lady siting on the Dias and reading the The holy Granth . I was more than sure that she must have been a priest or someone on similar lines ,(My knowledge was based on my experiences in temples - Where only the authorized person "Pandits" are allowed to perform puja . )

As I walked put of the hall, towards the place arranged for the "langar" . My friends enlightened me about the assumptions I had made . :)
The person who was helping with the shoes was not doing his task ( as in not as a job) , but was doing "SEWA" , helping the mankind . I was surprised - little did I knew there was more to come.The Lady reading the Granth was no priest she was just like us - in Gurudwara anyone could read the holy book - so unlike the temples .. How beautiful isn't it ?

As I walked towards the sitting arrangement, I realized that men and women were equal there. Everyone had their head covered , unlike temples which I had visited where only women were suppose to cover their heads...
During the next 15-20 minutes I was served with the most delicious food by the most humble people .The people serving food were also doing sewa :) In fact the food was cooked by people doing sewa . There were also people washing the soiled utensils all for sewa . :)

It's amazing ! people irrespective of their religion, their social standard, their attire , their bank balances were together - and all they were doing was SEWA ! they were ONE as if a Divine force had glued them together .

The entire environment was amazing , people helping each other , serving food to each other ,cleaning others soiled utensils, managing the shoes of others .
There was no special treatment for the rich, everyone ate together under one roof , served together , no partiality.None at all !

After that one visit to Gurudwara , I must say I am addicted to it , I try to visit it every Sunday and do sewa .I look at it now as a epitome of Equality , where all are treated as one .
The best thing was there was no condition like " only Sikhs allowed " - it was open to all .Anyone who wanted to seek blessings of Baba , and do sewa to mankind was welcomed there .

We as a society should learn from this, and help each other , instead of hating each other , instead of judging others on the basis of partial knowledge - we should love everyone , we should look at each other with uniformity . We should help the mankind and that would only give us solace .

Sewa is one of the most difficult yet Simple things to do. But once done it would leave us with a feeling divine enough to wipe away all the negativity , a feeling powerful enough to bring a lasting smile on the face .
:)

30 comments:

parthiban said...

A good one but things like this dont exist in many places...thats y i don't like donations to Tirupathi...the most common place where people go and give there money...for WHAT?

its good that you are doing your best...

Towards reclamation said...

nice post .. i noticed u r a member of jagruti .. i think this post deserves to be posted there as well ..
:)

aboli said...

good friends accept differences no doubt but when the change is for the better, nothing wrong.
gurudwara part i have seen the sewa and done it myself, its a nice experience.

Arnav said...

@ siddharth :
Thanks
ok posting it to jagruti . :)


@ aboli :
see by differences I mean the difference in attitude , the difference in approach towards life , the difference in likings/ Dislikes ..
yes the sewa truly is a magical experience :)

Arnav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaya said...

Well arnav, to me it sounds more like a fairy tale in today's world...n if its true then I must say its a true place of worship..

Arnav said...

@ Jaya
It definitely is True..
Try going to a Gurudwara whenever you get time .. You would feel the difference ...
or ask any Sikh friend :)

Prasoon Joshi said...

@Parthiban:
It does exist in many other places, all Sai Baba's temples have the same concept, many smaller (and not all that famous) temples which are maintained by various housing societies do the same as these temples are not 'rich' enough to 'employ' people.
@Arnav:
More than religion, it is a 'social structure' which Sikhism is all about. Religion at the end of the day must be a private affair. Period.

Arnav said...

@ Prasoon
True it is a social structure but thats what their religion teaches them , it teaches them the uniformity which should me maintained in the society.
Religion rightly said is a private affair ,but if this private affair involves helping others , making others smile. I think it would make world an mazing place .

Kartz said...

Yep, damn true. I have heard abt it too - reading the Granth Sahib at the Gurudwara.

And regarding the "only men do pooja" stuff - Lemme share a couple of things I ve noticed here.

1. In some Shakti temples down here, women perform poojas.

2. The current CM put fwd a new rule. One needn't be Brahmin to qualify as an Acharya at the temple.

- I will post this to Jaruti. Just saw u guys having a discussion.

Good to see you active on blogger, dude. Keep 'em coming.

Peace.

Arnav said...

@ kartz .

. thanks..
Actually dude thanks to you I am now addicted.. :)
my Final end sem exams from next week . yet everyday I spare minimum 30 mins . and go through blogs posting comments ..and posting on my blog too :)
all credits to you :)

Arnab Majumdar said...

I recently went to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, in Delhi... and even I felt that feeling of sweet release from the tensions of the world while I was there. It really was a beautiful feeling, and I'm hoping to go there again sometime really soon.

It's important to understand the equality amongst all men, as only then can we truly appreciate the beauties of mankind.

Great post, blogrolled you.

Arnav said...

@ Arnab :

THanks..

Pallav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arnav said...

@ Pallav
Why did u delete the comment ?
First of all I am sorry for the inconvenience but the thing is , if the internet speed is slow you would see only a plywood background , and hence makes it difficult to read . the thing is the template has a light creme color background which takes some time to appear .. hence the inconvenience ...
Well I am looking for another template , would change it as soon , as I get an attractive one :)

THanks for the visiting :) keep visiting :)

Pallav said...

First of all I regret I m late for comment
Arnav I can easily relate wid you after reading this.
I really would like thank u at least somebody has thought about this.
Unfortunately here we are culprit . I have seen whenever if I go to bhandara in temple, they always treat well, the upper class- those who pay hefty amount as donation and charity. I always say why there is need of feeding the rich people, instead of them you should feed the lower class, who don’t know whether they will have one time meal or not.
I feel very bad and disgusting when I see their partial behavior wid people and you have to pay to have Bhagwan ka Prashaad .
There is nothing wrong wid any relgion, we are wrong, we amend are rules and regulation as per our ease.
Sewa for sikh this word means them a lot, I have seen people who ride in Octavia, they wipe floor when they go to Gurudwara, so I think one should have this kind of feeling, paying back should be there, not what you are getting, everybody has already got and getting as per their destiny, it’s their fate to be a beggar and an industrialist.
Very well pen down…

P.S: I wana read your blogs but everytime due to some technical issues my computer hangs, I think that is because of your blog template. I would appreciate if you kindly change it little bit, moreover it is not that Easy to eyes…. I mean it gives pain while reading… ..
Please dont mind it was just a suggestion.

Pallav said...

hey ur that fastt..
yar i have tried to write it again and was trying to post from last 4 hrs but everytime my computwer hangs as soon as i click on ur blog....

thanks for that immedaite replyyyy...
tk crr , n hv funnn

Arnav said...

@ Pallav

Thanks... Will change the template soon :)

Jeet said...

That's really true..the reason being the sikh religion like this is the novelty of the religion.All others religion like hinduism and islam are tens of centuries old while this is just almost 300 years old.It has the all new transitions of the modern world.So precisely thats the reason its useful and free of baseless superstitions. :)

Arnav said...

@Jeet
Thanks for visiting my blog .. :)

Agreed that the Sikhism is a modern religion . But what is disturbing is , that we are stagnant , we accept the traditions the way they are - why don't we question them ??? We should really question the practices and thus refine the religion . They say , " Change is the only thing constant" so why shouldn't we incorporate this in religion also..

Jagjit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jagjit said...

Having born to a sikh family and going to gurudwaras since childhood, I take that atmosphere for granted. But it was a nice experience to see it from your eyes. It's people like you who can make a difference. I mean you didn't thought that you are a Hindu and shouldn't write good things about other religions. I, myself see different religions equally. All of have different merits and that should be respected, and more importantly shared. I am moved by your post. I should do a post on my likings for other religions. That would be least for me to do. Welldone boy.

Arnav said...

@ Jagdit -

Thanks a lot .
We all should look at each religion with equality. I truly feel we need to extract things rather than follow them blindly . All religions have some traditions which were made ages back and are not practically applicable today , we need to shed those practices and accept those which are more humane .

The Sewa at the Gurudwara really moved me.It was truly a very practical approach to life . A practice which bought everyone to equality , and thats is what we need today Equality ...

Saquib said...

Hey Arnav, here u are contradicting what u earlier said in "God, A father or friend"

Arnav said...

@ Saquib

I am sorry but I beg to differ . In "God ,A Friend or Father " . I was talking about - The way we perceive GOD , the way we look at him, irrespective of our religion . It was my perception where I looked at him as My friend, and I wrote down reasons as to why looked at him as friend .THere I wrote about the inequality prevailing in the society , and hence questioned the bias present in the religious system .


Here I am particularly talking about Sikhism , about Gurudwara , and how they differ from temples .I am not talking about "the way we perceive god " , but the way we (Mankind) has twisted religion to the advantage os some and hence the bias traditions . Where as Sikhism being a relatively modern religion was more about the humane way of life .
This is more about the religion and not "God" ...

Saquib said...

I was not talking about the entire post and its meaning.. i was only pointing out that in one of them you said that god as per you was a friend... in other you said that you do not think of god as a friend or parent but a divine power... and that He should not be personified...

Arnav said...

@Saquib

well Literally u r right ..
I shouldn't have framed contradictory sentences .. Sincere Apologies ..

But c in "God a Father or Friend " . I was trying to explain the various way in which people look at god .
And I happen to believe that he is a Friend yes but he also has divine powers :)

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Ekam said...

I second Jagjit here. Being born as a Sikh, I have seen , experienced all this in my life. But experiencing it through your post was a different feeling.
Sewa is the most divine thing one can feel. Just being in Gurudwara Sahib/temple/mosque/church or anywhere.. its just so divine.
I loved your post:)

Arnav said...

@Ekam


THanks :)
Ya sewa is the most divine thing .. but I have witnessed it only in a gurudwara ...
In temples it has somehow become very money oriented ...though I am a strong believer of God ,I pray my style :)