Updated: Jun 24
ਨਾਨਕਨਾਮਚੜ੍ਹਦੀਕਲਾ॥ਤੇਰੇਭਾਣੇਸਰਬੱਤਦਾਭਲਾ॥ - Nanak Naam Chardikala tere bhane Sarbat da Bhalla…
Just stepping over the threshold of our ‘Guru’s House’ fills our minds with the chardikala that empowers us when we articulate those last few words of Ardaas. I’m sure I’m not alone in missing the utterances of these words in the presence of our Guru ji at our beloved Guru Ghar. A place where we not only take a moment or two out of our busy and hectic lives to give pause, and empty or ‘degauss’ our minds of stress of everyday life, take solace, but also a place where we give our thanks for what life has given us and for what we are about to give back.
It has been a sobering few months for us all, EVERYTHING has changed, our daily routines, work, thought processes, well-being, both physical and mental; how we shop, play sports, interact with our fellow human beings. We have been missing so much of what we had previously taken for granted. And our Guru Ghar is no exception; our ‘bazurg’, our elders, and our beloved sevadars, who are there day in, day out, early in the morning at Amrit Vela all the way to our evening services. These are the people that keep our Gurdwara functioning… my Dad asked me every single day, “When is our Guru Ghar going to open…” My first reply was “I don’t know”, and secondly, I assume when it is safe to do so. At first, I get annoyed by the constant update requests, but then it dawns on me how much the Gurdwara means to the sangat and also how entwined and immersed it is within our community soul.
The thing is, not only are our ‘bazurg’ missing their Guru Ghar, they have they been sorely missed, the pain of not being able to pray at our Guru Ghar has been felt all over. Our Guru Ghar is a place of worship, a place where we feel part of a community, to give to the community, to impart knowledge and wealth of Sikhi.
Yes, that is a long pre-amble to this particular blog entry, it’s an important one, and a reminder of what it means to the people of Gravesham and beyond. Alas, our most important responsibility has been to the Sangat. We are thankful to our Gurdwara Sevadars in acting quickly as the Covid-19 crisis escalated in March. Under Central Government directives, our Mukh Sevadar, Manpreet Singh Dhaliwal, in consultation and unanimous agreement with the Committee took the unprecedented decision to close the gurdwara doors to the sangat for the first time in our history.
With the grace of Waheguru ji, this had not stopped our sevadar teams in their tracks. IN a matter of days, Mukh Sevadar's call to action, led to the set up ‘squads units’ made up of smaller numbers of sevadars to take responsibility for different types of seva in a more agile way, acting quickly in response to sangat needs and thus ensure the Guru Ghar was and is still connected to the sangat.
Check out the Digital & Technology team’s blog updates for details of what they have been up to set up live streaming of path during important times of the day, giving our resident Giani ji’s training on streaming technology so that they could carry out these services on digital platforms.
#Langar seva, free kitchen, is one of the primary pillars of Sikhi, the pandemic crisis created a huge problem for the vulnerable in our community; the cold facts of this pandemic have exposed and emphasised the fundamental flaws in how our society operates and political systems. How when our community is stopped in its tracks, the ones that need and feel that community find it the hardest to cope without it. The Gurdwara has been the fabric of our community for a couple of generations now. People from all walks of life can come to the gurdwara and have a hot meal; Sarbat da Bhalla.
The ensuing lockdown announced by the Government in March made it extremely hard for many to cope with mealtimes and the logistics of shopping Guru ka langar provided well needed nourishment on a daily basis for many. We’ll look back at various elements of seva during lockdown in some upcoming blogs… as the youngsters would say ‘stay tuned…’
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh.