BANISH HUNGER WITH POWER OF DEVOTION IN THE SIKH’S WAY

April 13, 2012

Wars are going on all over the world; population increasing at an exponential rate; food production not increasing at same rate; specter of mass hunger not far; rich eat too much and throw away un-eaten food; poor have to scavenge; homeless and poor frustrated; politicians ever busy playing their self aggrandizement games; unheard of things happening due to hunger and poverty; as long as the belly is full, chances of crime are less.

I heard from a Sikh Saint long time ago, “Peace would descend upon earth when several Langars shall run.” (Langars are kitchens serving free food (vegetarian only) in the Sikhi way -the Sikh code of conduct) Perhaps the time come to divert money from weapons of destruction to free food?

Guru Nanak, the First Guru of the Sikhs, foresaw the future of mankind and started the Langar system 500 years ago.

The Sacrament of Langar has two important features: the Sangat (congregation of devotees of the Guru) and the Pangat (row of seated people in the Langar). ‘Guru ka Langar’ meaning the Guru’s Langar is a symbol of equality, fraternity and brotherhood: the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, kings and paupers, all share the same food sitting together as equals thus creating social equality.

The word ‘Langar’ is from Persian language meaning an anchor; a stay or a rope for the tent; the shrine of the Sufi Order; an alms-house. Punjabi, the language of Punjab state of India, is a mix of Persian words besides Sanskrit and other languages. The word ‘Punjab’ itself is a Persian word meaning ‘of the five waters’: the land is intersected and watered by five rivers.

After the Langar system was started, Guru Amar Das, the third Guru in succession to Guru Nanak, strengthened it and asked the Sikhs to make voluntary contribution in cash or kind as their religious duty. Since then, Langar has been central to Sikhi. And it’s a sin for a Sikh to question a man’s faith and creed before letting him sit and eat there. At every Gurdwara (the Doorway to the Guru as the Sikh shrine is called) howsoever small, a meal is always shared with others regardless of religion, caste, skin-color, creed, age, gender or social status.

Emperor Akbar, the third ruler of the Mughal dynasty who had a secular leanings compared to his diehard Mullahs, once went to meet Guru Amar Das for his blessings. The Guru had stipulated that if someone wanted to behold him for whatever reason, he or she must first sit with the common people to eat food in his Langar. Emperor Akbar was humble enough to abide by the Guru’s dictate. After eating he said, “Never have I ever tasted such a simple and delicious food from my royal kitchen where 36 different dishes are made everyday.”

The largest Langar system in the world is run at Harmandir Sahib meaning ‘the abode of God’ also called the Golden Temple complex of the Sikhs at Amritsar in the Punjab.

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The sublime beauty of Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple

Before I write about the largest Langer system in the world, let me put a few facts in the right historical perspective. Most poorly informed people often mistake the Sikhs for Hindus because of their similar sounding names, which they are not. And others mistake the Sikhs for Muslims because of their turban, which they are not. Turban is an honorable headwear for all men from South and Central Asia. While Hindus and Muslims may not be wearing the turban now for personal reasons, but all practicing Sikhs will wear it forever. And it’s important for my readers to understand why the Harmandir Sahib is called Golden Temple and why the Sikhs are not Hindus? The reason has a historical background.

When Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the Harmandir Sahib gold-plated in 1815 English travelers began calling it the Golden Temple. The word ‘temple’ gives a false impression that the Harmandir Sahib is like the temple of the Hindus, which it is not. The Sikhs do not worship statues and the Harmandir Sahib does not have any statues of gods and goddesses. Sikhism is monotheism and the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs -called Guru Granth Sahib- is the fountain of Gods’ Word. Installed in the Harmandir Sahib on a prominent pedestal the ‘Holy Scriptural Guru’ is read and venerated through out the day as devotees carry out obeisance to it. A team of Kirtanias -professional singers of devotional hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib- sing the praises of God Almighty accompanied by musical instrument: each team performing for a two hours stretch starting at 3 in the predawn hour and carrying on through out the day well into the night.

The Guru Granth Sahib is a compilation of devotional hymns to the formless God. The hymns were composed by the Gurus themselves as well as by other Saints from the full spectrum of the Indian society: from the highest to the lowest castes of the Hindus as well as by a Muslim Saint of Punjab. The fifth Guru collected such devotional hymns and compiled them according to their Hindustani Ragas –a complex musical system of melodious notes, rhythms and their meters.

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The Guru Granth Sahib, the eternal Guru

Having briefly informed my readers about the Harmandir Sahib and its devotees, let us come back to the Langar which is located in a building on the southern edge of the Holy Sarovar, the water tank which surrounds the Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple.

At a time over 3,000 people are served vegetarian food on the two floors of the Langar building. On an average, 40 to 50,000 people eat free food every day all the year round. The number exceeds 100,000 on Sundays and special religious days. And despite all the free food, even if people of non-Sikh origion come to eat -which happens everyday- they are most welcome. And there is no coercion or compulsion or proselytizing to influence them to join Sikhism. That is because all the Gurus have stipulated, “Sikhs must live an exemplary life themselves and if others feel motivated on seeing their conduct they may come into their fold if their Karma (deeds of past lives) earns them salvation through the Guru.” All the ancient Indian scriptures stipulate that it is only your true Guru who will adjudicate on your behalf so that God may consider setting you free from the cycle of reincarnation.

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People being served free-food and Langar of the earliest times

For a moment, if we can leave aside our personal religious beliefs and differences, it’s indeed amazing to see the devotion and selfless service of the Sewadars –the permanently employed service-hands as well as a large number of men and women volunteers. They work to knead dough, cook food, serve people, wash and wipe the used utensils and swap the floor before the gates are opened for the next batch to sit and eat.

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Roties being stacked away before serving

With the passage of time an elaborate arrangement has come up to cook and serve food for such a large consumption. There are two kitchens which have eleven large sized Tawis -hot-plates, several gas burners, machines for sieving and kneading dough and several utensils for cooking. On one Tawi 15 people can work at a time. It is a chain process: some make Pedas -balls of dough; others roll them into rotis -Indian flat bread; a few put them on the hotplates; others work with long iron rods to toss them over till they are done and then they are stacked away to be served.

On one Tawi, over 20 kgs (44 pounds) of flour is used in two hours. The kitchen also has a Roti-making machine donated by a Lebanon-based Sikh which is used only when large crowds was expected. The Roti-making machine uses 20 kgs flour in half an hour. To feed dough to the machine, two kneading-machines knead one quintal (100 kilograms) of flour in 5 minutes.

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The Roti making machine donating by a Labanon-based Sikh

With the donated cash, the Management buys raw material in bulk for a two months requirement besides a large voluntary contribution by devotees.

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A normal thali (Indian plate) of Langar food         Langar of Sikhs living out of India

The daily consumption is about 50 quintals wheat, 18 quintals Daal -lentil, 14 quintals rice, seven quintals milk, 6 quintals sugar, 20 kgs tea leaves, 50 kgs Desi Ghee -purified butter, 10 kgs of condiments and over 100 gas cylinders.
A documentary titled “Golden Kitchen” was made by Belgian film makers, Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes. The film impressed audiences at numerous film festivals in Europe. On June 6 2009, it was adjudged ’Outstanding’ at the Festival of Short Films organized at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Critics have praised the film for bringing out the beauty of “an endeavour that is remarkable in scale, the clockwork efficiency with which the kitchen is organized and the fact that all the people manning the kitchen are volunteers who are inspired to undertake the heavy labor by their religious conviction.” It wouldn’t be possible without people who look for no other return except Wahegurus’ –Gods’- blessings.

And the Sewadars keep offering a second and a third helping while at the same time telling people not to waste any food, being a gift from God for our sustenance.

The Great Gurus had coined several maxims to motivate the Sikhs into dynamic action. These maxims are part of the daily prayer and devotees recite them as they go about working in the Langar thus blending the power of prayer into the food. No wonder Emperor Akbar said, “Never have I ever tasted such a simple and delicious food from my royal kitchen ……..” The maxims go, “Loh langar tapde rahin” (May the hot plates of the Langar remain ever hot) “Khavo kharcho rall mil bhai, Totth na aawaey vadhdo jayee” (Eat and share with others, oh brothers! It will always increase, never runs short)

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The Gurus had personally set the example of selfless service

How I wish the misguided Islamist and those oil rich countries which give them money to kill innocent people in the name of Allah, could see the documentary titled “Golden Kitchen”. And if they divert the money to run free kitchens instead, I am sure they will go to heaven on the day of Kayamat (the doomsday).

Since other major religions of the world don’t have the Langar system built into their faith, perhaps they may consider diverting money to the Sikhs for free food for everyone. If they do so then Guru Nanak would put in a word to God or Allah -whatever you want to call Him- to send them all to heaven. After all Guru Nanak is revered as Peer Baba Nanak by many Muslims and his wooden sandals are preserved in Mecca. He preached all over West Asia 500 years ago, including Jerusalem, Lebanon, Sytia and Turkey.

If everyone can cooperate with the Sikhs to make the world a happy and content place, Gods’ cause would be better served. And if God Almighty so desires, it shall happen as the Sikh Saint had once predicted.

9 Responses to “BANISH HUNGER WITH POWER OF DEVOTION IN THE SIKH’S WAY”

  1. Sheetal Kumar Soni Says:

    तेजवंत जी नमस्कार,

    अंकल जी ये बताये की जब बाबा गुरु नानक देव जी सउदी अरब और बगदाद तक गये तो उन्होंने वहां के लोगो का अमृतपान कराके सिख क्यों नहीं बनाया ? कृपया जिज्ञाषा शांत करे !

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Sheetal Kumar Soni,
      Since your question is written in Hindi I am translating it for the benefit of others. “When Guru Nanak travelled to Saudi Arabia and Baghdad why didn’t he convert Muslims to Sikhs by giving them Amritpaan?”
      It’s a good question but innocent because you probably don’t know enough about Sikh history. Guru Nanak did not start the tradition of taking Amrit by the Sikhs which is also called the Maryada (code of conduct) of ‘Amritpaan. This Maryada was started by Guru Gobind Singh the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs in March 1699. He created the Khalsa Panth, the ‘Brotherhood of the Pure’ out of ordinary people. By that one action Guru Gobind Singh created lions out of sheep in a fraction of a second. Then he himself took Amrit from the first five Khalsa whom he called his ‘Punj Payaras’ (his five most dear ones) because they were ready to sacrifice themselves when he had his sword out and asked one volunteer to come forward. By taking Amritpaan from them Guru Gobind Singh merged himself with his Sikhs. Then he said, “Wherever Five Khalsa would be present I shall be there.” And after that he left them to take on the onslaught of Islam which was a terror in those times for the majority community of India who were silently tolerating its nonsense.
      Because he said that he would be there wherever five Khalsa are present, that is the reason why soldiers from the Sikh Regiment perform better than others even now in this materialistic world. Even if half the number of soldier are in a Battalion are truly observing Sikhs -as the Khalsa is supposed to be- they would carry the others with them and no enemy can defeat them. I suggest you read all the details in my second post dated April 8th 2010 titled ‘Why do Sikhs Wear Turban?’ at the beginning of the blog.
      Moreover, when Guru Nanak travelled all over 500 years ago, he went the whole length and breadth of India, southern Tibet, South East Asia up to Borneo, West Asia and North West Asia up to southern parts of Russia. He tried to convince people to recite the Name of God (Naam Simran) and do Kirtan which is to sing the praise of God Almighty. Mardana who was a born Muslim follower of the Guru travelled with him to West and North West Asia playing the Rabab as his Master sat singing Kirtan. The Muslims of West Asia did not listen to him but they kept his Khranvan (wooden sandals) which are there even today in Mecca near the Kabah where it’s written on a signboard ‘Peer Baba Nanak’.
      But the Christians of West Asia seemed to have easily understood his message and they started singing in their Churches from then onwards. I have been informed by a person whose ancestors have worked as missionaries in West Asia that they started singing in Churches around 450 years ago.
      If the Muslims of Arabia did not pay attention to his preaching, then they are the unfortunate ones. Those who are destined for Moksha (Salvation) will follow the Gurus’ teachings and those who are not, will ignore him and even criticise him unfortunately.

      • Sheetal Soni Says:

        अंकल जी मैंने वो सारी बातें पढ़ी है जो अपने बताई पर इस बात का अफ़सोस होता है की हिंदुस्तान के हिन्दू संतो ने भी हिन्दू धर्म का प्रचार दुसरे देशो में नहीं किया. सिखों ने हमेशा हिन्दू धर्म की रक्षा की है इसको कोई नहीं नकार सकता! मुझे गर्व है हम सब गुरु गोबिंद सिंह, महाराजा रणजीत सिंह, पृथ्वीराज चौहान, छत्रपति शिवाजी, भगवान श्री राम और श्री कृषण एवं गुरु नानक जैसे संतो की संताने है, पर हमारे इन वीर ऐतिहासिक पूर्वजो के इतिहास को भी इस देश में दबाया गया है !

      • tejwantsingh Says:

        Dear Sheetal Kumar Soni,
        Since your question is written in Hindi I am translating it for the benefit of others. “Why didn’t Hindu Saints preach Hindu Dharma beyond the borders of India? No one can deny that the Sikhs have always helped and protected Hindu Dharma. And I am proud to say we all are descendant of Guru Gobind Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and others like Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Rana Pratap, Shivaji, Bhagwan Ram and Krishna. But unfortunately the valorous history of these great personalities has been always suppressed in India.”
        It’s a good question. There are many reasons why Hindu Dharma was not preached outside India and why Buddhism went from India all the way to China and other East Asian countries.
        The first reason is the caste system. It suppressed the society and gave full and unquestionable control to the Brahmin. Therefore whatever preaching of Hinduism took place even inside India was done in such a manner that the Brahmin remained supreme and others were like dirt. The rest of the Indian society –a vast majority- was kept in the dark by denying them education. The only people who benefited from this condition were the Brahmin and the Bania who plundered the uneducated poor people. And when raiders came from outside India they took away whatever was left. So if some Hindus say their Dharma is all universal it means it’s all universal with the Brahmin always on the top. In the modern day value system with international implications this is totally out of place in the modern scientifically oriented world which has become small due to communication.
        The second reason is too many binding restrictions which were enforced when Buddhism gave way to revival of Hinduism. Several restrictions had a negative effect on the mind of the Indian society. The original Vedic Dharma of India was a liberal lifestyle with the Brahmin always controlling everything: even the Kashtriya King. The most prominent restriction was that a Hindu was not supposed to go across the sea. And travel on those times was by sea or land.
        The land route was dangerous towards Afghanistan with tribes who normally looted and killed people. To the north was the cold desert of Tibet. In the east were the inhospitable jungles towards Myanmar inhabited by head-hunters. To the south was the vast sea which was not to be crossed by Hindus.
        Moreover India and China have always been the riches Nations of the world for thousands of years. No Hindu King ever took an army to conquer another country: there was no need because everything was available in India. Those who don’t have enough in their house, they only go to rob from others. And a robber has to be a brave man then only he can rob.
        Since no Hindu King ever went to conquer another countries, we became soft and not interested in dangerous adventure. How many Hindus go for dangerous adventure even now? The usual saying is, “Ghar me baith kar chain kee roti khao”. (Stay home and enjoy your food without tension.)
        The only King who ever went to conquer others was Maharaja Ranjit Singh when he attacked the Pathan country: not to rob them but to stop from invading the plains of Punjab. General Hari Singh Nalwa punished them so much that even now Pathan women shout at their crying children, “Ragle Haria!” This means control your Ragg –throat- or else Hari Singh will come.
        Look at the Europeans: they went all over the world and conquered and plundered other places and discovered new lands. So naturally they became brave and daring. See how they defeated one king after another in India. Just few thousand Europeans used Indian soldiers from Bengal, Bihar, UP, MP, Rajasthan, Maharashra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against other Indians. Wherever they came across a difficult enemy they bribed some traitor.
        Even to defeat the Sikhs the English lost several Generals in the seven battles that were fought. And they took support from the ancestor of present day Dr. Karan Singh and many other traitors: two prominent traitors were Tej Singh and Lal Singh. They were of Gaur Brahmin background and belonged to Ekree village in Sardhana tehsil of Merrut district. They had become Sikhs for employment purpose only. Their uncle Kushal Singh brought them along in the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and they became traitors and did not permit the reserve Sikh army to attack during the Battle of Ferozeshah. The English had run out of ammunition and Lord Henry Harding, the Governor General, who was leading the army, had already burnt all top secret papers fearing capture by the Sikhs. Had the reserve, 30000 strong army been ordered to attack by Lal Singh, the General who was leading them, the English would have lost the first battle. Then his brother Tej Singh, who was leading another part of the army withdrew intentionally which helped the English. Had such traitors not been there, the history of India would have been different.
        There are many real examples but space here does not permit to list them all.
        Lastly Hindu Dharma created selfish people who prayed to ‘this god for this thing’ and prayed to ‘another goddess for that thing’. It has been always me, me and me alone.
        The reason why teaching about them is suppressed: It’s vote bank politics. A politician wants to please everyone and has no Dharma or honesty.
        To sum if up, lot of changes are required in our society and the whole world.

  2. Sheetal Kumar Soni Says:

    जब गुरु नानक देव जी सउदी अरब और बगदाद की यात्रा पर गाये थे तो उन्होंने अमृतपान करके मुस्लिमो को सिख क्यों नहीं बनाया ?


  3. […] a couple of web entries with more information and photographic impressions of the langar such as here and here and here. I love the sheer scale of big kitchens, such as the plates for the meals in the […]

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Food Never Runs Short in the Langar
      I have often wondered at the magnitude of Sikh religions’ welfare services called Sewa or selfless service. We never run short of anything be it food or construction material for making any project. Material of all kinds magically comes from somewhere: and I know where it comes from.
      I had heard of a Sikh Sant (Saint) serving Langar somewhere. He had got Purries made and covered the container with a cloth. As and when the Sewadars, who were serving the congregation, came to replenish their baskets, the Santji put his hand into the container and pulled out Purries without removing the cloth covering. He carried on doing this and those who had cooked the Purries realized that he had served much more than what they had actually cooked. How?
      I have personally witnessed this ‘invisible power’ in 1986 when I was in the Indian Air Force posted at an Air Force Station close to the western border facing Pakistan. We were a handful of Sikhs and very few had their families there. The occasion was the Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji, the founder of the Sikh faith. We had a small budget and we sat together in the Gurdwara in front of Guru Granth Sahib and decided that we could make food for about 800 people: and that is what we did. Since I was Chairman of the Gurdwara Management Committee, being the Senior-most Sikh officer, I allocated duties: who to cook vegetables; who to cook Dal; who will supervise tea and snack and who will make salad etc.
      On the final day of the celebrations I was sitting inside the Gurdwara along with the Station Commander who was my boss and had been invited: since he was expected to take part in the social and religious congregations of lower ranks of all communities. A Santji had been invited to do Kirtan and he was singing the hymns in his melodious voice and the congregation was enjoying the bliss.
      The person who was in-charge of cooking Dal came and whispered in my ear that though we had invited and expected about 800 people but the open area outside the Gurdwara was full of people which he estimated to be more than 2000. He asked my permission to put two buckets of water in the Dal to increase it quantity though it would be thin. I told him not to do so and he went away reluctantly. But he came back with more concern saying that even other are feeling that looking at the crowd we may run out of food. I told him ‘No’ after staring at him with an admonishing look. He went away and soon the programme came to an end. After the Prashad was distributed I asked the Secretary of the Committee to announce that everyone may please sit in rows so that Langar can be served. When I came out of the Gurdwara I was amazed to see the sea of turbans. The Sikh Battalion in the local Army Cantonment had turned up almost in full strength though I asked its Commanding Officer to send a few men as a token representation.
      I went down the rows and did a head count of two to them and then I counted the number of rows. My rough estimate was there were at least 1700 to 2000 bodies. In my mind I said, “We made the menu and its size sitting in front of the Guru and he would take care of his congregation.”
      Everyone had a fill and still there was food for about a hundred laborers who were working at a nearby building site. He hailed them over and they ate and took food for the night also. Then we sat down to count the cash and take stock of the situation. I asked each person who had been given certain duties and everyone said the quantity of food was just right and was not short.
      When I looked at the person who was in charge of Dal, he looked embarrassed and said, “Sahibji, (honorable sir) I did not pay heed to your order and had added two buckets of water into the Dal.”
      I was surprised and he carried on, “And two buckets of Dal is left and it has strangely gone sour and it smells.”
      My reply, “You should have had full faith in the Great Guru. We made the menu in His presence and he would have taken care of everything.”
      “Khavo kharcho rall mil bhai, Totth na aawaey vadhdo jayee” (Eat and share with others, oh brothers! It will always increase, never runs short)

  4. Raghav Says:

    Dear Tejwant Singh,

    in early times all the historical events were not captured anywhere and it passed to us by the word of mouth .
    I respect every religion and every belief.

    I have few question from you.
    1) If Temple is for hindus and Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave it name as Golden temple , then why is it called Hari-Manidir Sahib.
    Which in hindi means ‘Hari ka mandir’ Temple of God.

    2) I know certain fact that before 1909 there was God Vishnu Idol present in the Temple & was also preached.
    For this I have a link to share

    http://hindustan.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3383

    • tejwantsingh Says:

      Dear Raghav,
      Sorry for the delayed reply. I had to visit Amritsar to find out correct information.
      Everything that is written on the internet is not necessarily the truth. Let me take this golden opportunity to feed you some genuine and historical information.
      Guru Arjan Dev, the Fifth Guru, got the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib laid in 1588 from Mian Mir, a Peer Baba and his Muslim friend from Lahore, now in Pakistan. Mian Mir’s gaddi is still active in Lahore and due to this noble association with Guru Arjan Dev, sometime back the present Peer came and visited Harmandir Sahib.
      When the building started by Guru Arjan Dev was ready he installed the Granth Sahib on 1st September 1604: Which he had compiled by collecting all the compositions of the previous four Gurus and several Saints of the Bhagti Movement which included a Brahmin, a Rajput of Chauhan lineage and the lowest being a Chamar. He appointed Baba Buddha ji as its caretaker and first ‘Granthi’ -meaning ‘Reader’. Ever since then the building has been called the Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib meaning the Court of God Almighty.
      By the way, the day the Granth Sabib was installed in the Darbar Sahib it was called Granth Sahib or Pothi Sabib. The status of the eternal Guru to the Holy Scripture was bestowed by Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Guru, in October 1708 at Nanded in present day Maharashtra one day before he left for his heavenly abode. And he said “Sab Sikhan ko hukum hai guru manyo granth; jo prab ko mill voch hai khoj sabad mai lehm” meaning “All Sikhs are ordained to believe in Guru Granth Sahib as their Guru. Those who wish to seek God Almighty, they will find Him in the Shabad” (writings or the words of Guru Granth Sahib).
      This is as recorded by people who were on the spot. Since then Granth Sahib became Guru Granth Sahib: The living Guru for all the Sikhs and anyone else who maybe lucky enough to be bestowed with its Sewa –as per his or her Karma (not everyone gets a chance).
      When Maharaja Ranjit Singh won a major battle against some strong Pathan stronghold in Punjab he sponsored marble inlay, gold plating, and gilding of the Darbar Sahib. Work started in 1803 and was completed in 1830. By then many foreigners had been employed by the Maharaja and many Englishmen came to see the kingdom including some Christian Missionaries. That is the time the English called the Harmandir Sahib or the Darbar Sabib by the name Golden Temple. You are under the wrong impression that Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave it this name.
      While the Maharaja ordered the inlay, gold plating, and gilding of the Darbar Sahib, he simultaneously ordered the same for Jawalamukhi Temple in present day Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. He also offered to get the dome of Shahi Masjid in Lahore done up but the Muslim clergy thanked him and declined the offer saying that it was not customary in Islam.
      And it is completely false information with you –willfully planted by some Anti-Sikh elements- that the statue of Vishnu was installed. And the site you have referred to says that the statue of Guru Hargobind was also installed. This is ludicrous and totally false and I have verified this by going to Amritsar and checking with the Dharam Parchar Committee and the Historical Research Wing of the SGPC (Shromani Gurdwara Prabandak Committee).
      Over a period of time, after the Gurus had departed this world, some statues were installed in the corners of Harmandir Sahib by the hereditary Mahants who had been appointed by the Gurus but nothing was installed during the time of the Gurus. Slowly and slowly certain statues came to be installed even in the Prikarma. Installing statues of gods and goddesses is against the philosophy enunciated by Guru Nanak right from the beginning. All these statues were gradually and very peacefully removed by the SGPC when it began to run all the historical Gurdwaras in Punjab after the Gurdwara Act 1925 came into force for which the Akali Dal agitated peacefully. Many men and women gave up their life peaceful for the success of the movement.
      For that matter the Sikhs were the first to use peaceful agitation starting with Guru Arjan Dev during the time of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and by Guru Teg Bahadur, the Ninth Guru, during the time of Emperor Aurangzeb. For full information you must visit link at https://dontmistakemeforamuslim.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/why-did-guru-gobind-singh-go-to-nanded-and-what-happened-next-5/
      Later on, after the British annexed Punjab, the Kuka Sikhs or the Namdhari sects of the Sikhs agitated peacefully from 1870 to 1872 to boycott English goods. Many of them were blown with canons and their leader was exiled. Mahatma Gandhi just copied the Sikhs and he is not the originator of this idea.
      And this clever man who had been labelled a Mahatma was anti-Punjab. The partition was his fault because he was too weak and could not stand bullying by Jinnah. He never visited Punjab to see how many people were being killed while we suffered the maximum. He was all the time worried or pretended to be worried about Bengali Muslims.
      Sikhs take up arms only when all other means fail. We don’t go aggressive as some people have been spreading all kinds of lies about us.
      I hope you are at peace after reading this. Get some books about the Sikhs and read how we have saved Hinduism from extinction: The way Muslim rulers and in particular Emperor Aurangzeb were going about in a systematic manner you would have been by now known as Rehman and not Raghav. In fact in a village where the head was a Muslim Malik or Chowdhary, it was the norm by his order that among all the Hindu households when a bride came she had to spend the first night in his house (bed). This is how conversions took place in north India. No one dared to stop this except the Sikhs once they were authorised to use the sword by our Tenth Guru.
      While the Hindus worship gods and goddesses we worship God Almighty who created all the 33 crore or 330 million gods and goddesses. While the Hindu are dialing to speak to their gods and goddesses to ask for selfish favors we Sikhs are dialing God Almighty to request Him to give us the gift of His Naam (Name) which we can recite to attain salvation. By virtue of doing this the
      Sikhs are positioned at a higher level than all other worshipers of whatever faith they may follow. To understand this aspect read my articles about Langar and Kar Sewa which are an example of selfless service. No one else in India or anywhere else in the world does this: Where else do you have the largest free-food system in the world except at Harmandir Sahib?
      If you have not seen it then I suggest you make a trip to Amritsar. And you will also see –if you are lucky enough to plan a trip- that the number of clean shaven people visiting Harmandir Sahib is much more than turbaned or Keshdhari Sikhs: These people could be anyone –clean shaven Sikhs from the north or could be Hindus or even Muslims.
      If you can’t find books about the Sikhs then read the other articles in this blog. And read comments by other readers which show how much they have learnt with an open mind.
      Tejwant Singh


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