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 .