A Journey to Waheguru
-The Broke Backpacker
Guru Nanak Day Greetings !!
It was one of those memorable days, where you pack everything a 75-liter bag could hold, board a train with your friends to somewhere far away from your comfort zone. After the 10 days’ trip through the Solang valley and experiencing first snow the year, we moved to the pentapotamia, a place which is home to five converging rivers, Punjab. A place where you can’t see a single person without a roof over his head or in search of food because they will find their needs satisfied in the house of Waheguru, in Gurudwaras.
Like most of the backpackers, I really wanted to visit Golden temple one among the major shrines of Sikhs. I had another crazy backpackers Thamjeed and Sachin accompanying me. We reached there around 8 pm after a long journey from Solang valley. The streets which lead to the temple were lit with yellow lights with shops preparing to close as we were speeding through the streets to see this sumptuous architecture. When we reached the entrance I was not that impressed, to be honest. I washed my feet at the gate and covered my head with a saffron cloth; that’s when my feet touched the soft and white marble and without a second thought my head was upon it I could already experience a weird sensation. A flight of stairs took me to the water body (Sarovar) and in between those smooth and calm water stood temple with all its majesty. The reflection of this majesty in Sarovar could bring a sense of peace to even the most disturbed minds. Even though I had a camera I opted not to click pics, I felt it as a distraction. I sat near the Sarovar like a kid watching the beautiful golden fishes swimming around my feet as though in search of something.
After a few hours, one of my friends reminded me to take photos. Through the zoom lens, I was examining all the minute beauty of this place trying to catch the perfect beauty of this place through an imperfect eye. The pattern of the marble changed continuously beneath my feet. The Sikhs were dipping in the Sarovar, men submerged underwater chanting something and keeping Kripan (knife) over their head. Seeing this I had a childish wish to do the same but then I was not sure if people from other religions were allowed to perform this and I was well aware of the sharp look of the security guards who walked with a spear in their arms. I enquired about my doubts to one of the Sikhs who just finished his ritual. As he heard my childish interest his expression changed, this guy was at least a foot taller than me and I knew the expression was definitely not something good, then he said: “ You are not aware of Sikh history right?” I confessed my lack of knowledge. He continued “The foundation stone of Sri Harminder Saheb Gurudwara was done by a Hazrat Mian Mir, a Sufi saint. A Musselman”. He gave a small laugh and brushed my hair with his huge palms. I took a photo for him with the golden temple as background, before he left he sang
“ Ik onkar satnam karta purakh nirbhau niravir akaal moorat ajooni saibhan”(There is but one God. True is his name, he is the creator, he has no fear, he has no fate, he is omnipresent.)
After finishing the photo sessions we slept beside the Sarovar, the cold marbles gave a chill in the spine but somehow warmed my soul. I was staring at the ber tree as I tried to sleep. It was the place where gurus meditated, as my eyes fell again on Golden temple sleep conquered my eyes.
The next day we got up around 3 am since the Sikh rituals were about to start. It was a custom to bath before the rituals. As I walked half-naked into the pool I shivered and stood there watching the golden fishes around me…. for a second I forgot everything and dipped myself in the pond; such a serene feeling which words fail to explain. As I walked out of the pond my friend Sachin had already taken a picture of this, which I treasure to this moment. The rituals of taking the Guru Granth sahib from the room kept at night to the main hall at the start of the day had already started. The book is placed on Manji Sahib, a raised platform under a canopy, Chanani when not read.
We had our morning breakfast from langar after doing a bit of service in the kitchen. I was stunned seeing the number of people they fed every day completely free of cost finishing the chapattis with great satisfaction we left the place to our next destination. As I left gurudwara I had great respect for the religion which upholds equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, gender or social status. A religion that taught and practiced the ethics of sharing, community, and oneness.
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