Gurdwara - Sikh place of worship
Khalsa Dharmak Sabha is a Gurdwara. A Gurdwara is the place where Sikhs come together for congregational worship. The literal meaning of the Punjabi word Gurdwara is 'the door that leads to the Guru'.
Today, the Guru is not a person but the book of Sikh scriptures called the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which all Sikhs revere and bow down to.
It is the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib that gives the Gurdwara its religious status, so any building containing the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a Gurdwara.
The purpose of a Gurdwara:
- It's a place to learn spiritual wisdom
- It's a place for religious ceremonies
- It's a place where children to learn the Sikh faith, ethics, customs, traditions and texts
- A Gurdwara is also a community centre, and offers food, shelter, and companionship to those who need it.
Inside the Gurdwara
There are no idols or statues in a Gurdwara, because Sikhs worship only God, and they regard God as having no physical form. Nor are there candles, incense, or bells, or any other ritualistic devices.
The focus of attention, and the only object of reverence in the main hall (or Darbar Sahib) is the Sikh scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is treated with utmost respect. To Sikhs, its the living embodiment of all the teachings of the Sikh Gurus ~ the Word of God. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed on a raised platform (called Takht, meaning "throne") under a canopy and covered with an expensive cloth when not being read.
During a service a person with a whisk or fan (called a Chaur) waves it over the Guru Granth Sahib. In ancient times, royalty / kings were given this treatment as a mark of respect.
Although Sikhs show reverence to the Guru Granth Sahib, their reverence is to its spiritual content (shabad) not the book itself. The book is just the visible manifestation of the shabad ("The Word is the Guru, and the Guru is the Word").
The langar - Free Kitchen
Every Gurdwara includes a Langar where food is served to anyone without charge. The term Langar is also used for the communal meal served at the Gurdwaras.
The food served in the Langar must be simple, so as to prevent wealthy congregations turning it into a feast that shows off their superiority. It is also vegetarian.
The Nishan Sahib - Sikh Flag
Gurdwaras fly the Sikh flag within its compound. The flag is orange/yellow and has the Sikh emblem in the middle.
Read Also: Gurdwara Etiquette (Do's & Dont's)