Jump to content

Are gurudwaras like Punjabi social clubs in Canada? What is the reason to attend one?

Guest Gurmukh

Recommended Posts

Guest Gurmukh

I was deeply touched by the words of Guru Nanak when I researched it online. I love the method that he teaches, although maybe I don't understand it entirely. But it's fine because there are lots of methods, and I have access to the One just by turning to Him, without the guidance of any teacher. I think we can all agree that once we are in the state where this is no distinction between ourselves and the rest of this universe, it doesn't really matter how we got there. I want to know more about his method, but I am content following another way, such as Gautama's way.

I wanted to learn more about Nanak's way, so I visited a gurudwara here in Canada. What I saw at that gurudwara was not focused on teaching his way. As I understood it, the Sikh gurus taught in multiple languages, but the gurudwara where I went (and I think all of them around here) only provide service in Punjabi. So it seems that in a country where everyone speaks English (including almost all of the Punjabi-Canadians), it would make sense to spread the way of achieving mukthi to the most people, at least part of the time. This was my first indication that the gurudwaras are a Punjabi club, after the fact that people heavily identity with how they look and what they wear on their heads.

I came to sit cross legged, meditate and listen to hymns, even though I can't understand the language. Most people were staring at me (none with smiles), maybe because I look different. In the whole temple, there was not a smile or look of elation on a person's face, even though when one bathes in the nectar of God it is clearly shown in their eyes. People didn't even look happy.

The process was useless to a non-Punjabi speaker (which is why there weren't any other non-Punjabi speakers ever in attendance at these places, in a country that is 99% non-Punjabi speakers) so I went to take a look at the langar hall after about an hour of meditation to hymns. There was some food being served that I couldn't eat due to gluten allergies, so I just waited around for a few moments before I went home. From what I understand about the langar hall, they were created in Northern India hundreds of years ago where people actually had problems getting enough food. And the food in the langar hall is often vegetarian in India, because there are so many Hindus there.

I didn't see Sikhs serving food to people desperately in need. I saw Punjabis sitting down together to have a Punjabi food meal, with other Punjabis. Canada is the country with the highest median income in the world, so Canadians aren't starving and there is little purpose for a langar hall like that if one wishes to engage in service to the community. Also, the year is 2017 and not 1700, so we have eliminated starvation issues. I saw was obese and diabetic Punjabis getting fed more food to make themselves more obese and diabetic. So the problem today is the opposite (too much food) and the best thing for these people would have been to fast, shut down the langar hall and donate the money to African aid.  I believe that the Sikhs who started langar halls would not start them in a country like modern Canada where the main problem is actually our obesity, not hunger. It would have been cool if there was at least a pretense of wanting to serve other people, such as having an English menu listed on paper on the wall, or a sign IN ENGLISH that directs hungry people toward their gurudwara, but I have never seen anything like this at this gurudwara nor another one I went to years ago.

The gurudwaras appear as unwelcome places for outsiders, and seem to be useless for those who seek spiritual enlightenment. It's not a problem for me--it is just a practical issue that Sikhs should probably be alert to. I asked my friend who immigrated from India about going to the gurudwara after the experience, and he said that people just go to these places to gossip, which might be true in his experience.  I love what Nanak has written but instead of studying Nanak's way alone, I can study Gautama's way. There are no English speaking Sikh sangats around me where the members focus on mukthi, but there is a Buddhist sangha near me where we focus on achieving enlightenment. I can get social help that way if I need but, but really the process is personal and inward and nobody else is needed.

Are there any others out there like me--those who loved the words of Guru Nanak but find becoming a Sikh or engaging with a "Sikh" community as rather useless? Is there a reason that someone already on the path to enlightenment should travel to these gurudwaras?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They're not Social clubs, most of them have Libraries, and TV's that shows Sikhi History, people do Seva and can eat in the langar regardless of who you are, there should be a English translation in most Gurdwaras nowadays, you should watch Basic of Sikhi if you're a English Native, The Langar is for everyone regardless of their wealth, and they all have Donations and Donation Boxes for African Aids and India and other things, there is many times where a Local Gurdwaras raises money for a cause, and you will notice a lot of events for charities during festivals. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • It's not even about religion anymore. Most of us are trying to survive out here in the West.  Myself dont care for Sikhi as much as I use to. Everything is in waheguru ji's hand whether or we will survive in the coming years.  
    • Is it the end of SGPC? I mean there’s one in Punjab, one in Haryana and Delhi.  Recently Hazur Sahib removed 2 members of it. It was a British creation in the 1920s.
    • In the uk we have Ramgharia gurdwaras, in some places ther are called Ramgharia sabha! However, I think most gurdwaras and even sikhs calling themselves "Ramgharia" are scamming us as they have weak or no connections to Ramgharia misl, and are just using the fact that they are tarkhans they can use the Ramgharia term because Jassa Singh Ramgharia was from tarkhan background. Please prove me wrong!   Also, I have been observing gurdwaras since I was young. I remember when I was a child in the 80s and 90s, Singh Sabha gurdwaras still allowed shoes and langar was eaten on tables, in the times when the adults used to work all the time, doing double shifts etc. However in the 2000s we can see a change in Singh Sabha gurdwaras as well as some other gurdwaras, where shoes are no longer allowed, and we have a lot of space to sit on the floor and do pangat in langar.  It's really strange to see so many tables in gurdwaras after seeing langar done exclusivily on the floor gurdwaras in Panjab and India. Just look at Harimandir Sahib, 4 takht, and many other gurdwaras back home. Now, across London, Slough and Berkshire, midlands, I have noticed Ramgharia gurdwaras allow shoes into langar and have little or no accommodation for sitting on the floor. It is bizarre to see in Ramgharia gurdwaras, the sangat coming from doing sangat or matha tek in divan hall, and then putting on their shoes to go to langar. Like we are going to a restaurant or something! What is this, is it some kind of kenya/east africa sikh colonial army era tradition to keep doing this, even after the other gurdwaras have moved back to giving satkar and respect for langar maryada? Then we come to the scam, in the Ramgharia gurdwaras, there seems to be more links to East Africa sikhs than Ramgharia misl. There are more trim Singhs with Kenya paghs on Ramgharia gurdwara committees compared to more sabat surat Singhs on Singh sabha committees, from my observations in these England regions. You will find more kenya pagh and trim or fixo darhi, than bana walay Singh in these gurdwaras, again the Ramgharia label is scamming us, as Ramgharia is used for sabat soorat Singhs from the misl, especially those tuned to bana (and open beard is part of bana). Also, I have listened to Rehraas Sahib in some Ramgharia gurdwaras, and they read the disfigured bhasauria SGPC style of Chaupai Sahib (such as the way performed at Harimandir Sahib the past 100 years), skipping arril and the last lines of kabyo baach benti, which makes them more like a Singh Sabha gurdwara and far removed from being Ramgharia due to having similar disrespect towarda bani as Singh sabha gurdwaras, as Ramgharia misl would respect dasam bani and read the full kabyo baach benti. So the langar thing is bizarre, and now I think of it it's disrespectful. And the use of Ramgharia sikhs and Ramgharia gurdwaras term is a scam as they are anything but, as there is so much disrespect to be associated with the practices of Ramgharia misl! Even the fact they celebrate Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgharia's birthday doesn't allow them any forgiveness or courtesy! This goes double for the Slough Ramgharia Singh Sabha, as they have a statue of Jassa Singh Ramgharia, and yet are their actions related to actual Ramgharia? Yeh, let's not fall for the scam! and sikhs that are sangat in those gurdwaras, really need to step up and get in those committees and change things for chardi kala! We need to see more chardikala Singhs running things, not trim Singhs and fixo Singhs!
    • Japji Sahib can be done anytime within 24 hours, but ideal time is before breakfast.  Ardaas after is optional but if you can make it necessary will be ideal. When it comes to paat more the merrier.  Meat / alc should be in separate rooms to Gutke Sahibs. It is possible no matter how small the house. WAIT! Isn't all food in the kitchen??  You can still do paat after meat n alc. Nothing wrong there... just wash yer hands! (Obviously). 
    • Apparently he's now on Grindr   https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0y2fmFsd_z/?igsh=MWc2c3NxNHl5cnIwZw==
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use