The Sikh Experience
Religion plays a key role in our lives and in the world in general, as it takes up a major portion of our reality, and manages our convictions and how we act towards other individuals. Despite the fact that all religions have distinctive convictions, it is the center estimations of that religion that shape the way we go about as individuals towards different people, plants and creatures. In light of this realization, I set out to attend a Sikh religious service in a bid to experience the religious diversity.This paper therefore explores my Sikhism experience and in so doing, illustrate the religion’s beliefs and practices, and a conclusive synopsis of the religion.
Growing up in a Christian family, I came to comprehend and embrace the origin, doctrines, and all aspects of Christianity. I pride myself in being a member of the largest religion in the world. Christian faith is based on a set of morals and beliefs as outlined in religious texts and scriptures such as the Bible. The Bible is a holy book that is believed to have been authored by holy people inspired by God, a supreme being. Preservation of Christianity is based on the core principles such as dogma that is a set of rules that are universally believed to be incontrovertibly true. Visiting a Sikh temple was very instrumental in understanding the religious diversity and cohesion in the world. To be able to comprehend the diversity, I had to pick a religion that was not as close to Christianity.
At first sight, the modest dress code observed all those present at the temple was impeccable. The temple is regarded as a sacred place that was reflected in their dress code. Most people were in less fitting outfits. At the entrance of the temple, there was a reception area where visitors and new members were ushered. It is at the reception that I came to learn that it is customary for everyone entering the temple to cover their heads with a special cloth. The representatives at the reception lent me one since I had not brought one along with me. These agents were eager to enlighten me on the basics of the religion and answer any queries. He also explained to me that the place of worship is referred to as the ‘Gurdwara.’
In the Gurdwara, all men were in turbans with all women wearing headscarves to complement their traditional dresses. The temple also had a fountain next to the reception where we all removed our shoes and washed our arms and feet. This customary habit is meant to bring a feeling of peace as one enters the Gurdwara. Upon entering the temple, smooth and comforting traditional music filled the room. I could see people sitting on clean mats spread on the floor as they prayed and meditated. Others were presenting offerings that they had brought along. The representative I had met at the reception had cautioned me not to plug my feet or my back towards the sacred book that was placed on a high platform. There were different sections for men and women on either side of the room.
After the service, I was ushered into a kitchen that was situated towards the end of the hallway opposite the main hall. The kitchen was busy and almost packed. I joined a group of people seated at corner and was served to a plateful. To my amusement, the food was all vegetarian. As we conversed through the meal, I gathered that the food was referred to as ‘Langar.’ During each service at the temple, a group of people volunteers to prepare and serve the meal. The meal complements a portion of purified food we were all served with as we entered the temple. The meal is called ‘Prashad’ and should be consumed using the right hand, a custom I was forced to adhere to when I attempted to receive it with my left hand. I came to understand later on that it is considered rude to turn down the offer, at the very least on should pack it and eat it later. The level of commitment was palpable throughout the actions of the hundreds of people present on that particular day. The degree of the organization through all these activities was admirable. Most of them were native Sikhs that was maybe the motivating factor behind their passion for singing, prayer, and other activities.
It is through this experience and interaction with the people that I came to understand the principles and origin of Sikhism. Similar to Christianity, it is monotheistic that is they believe in the existence of one God. Synonymous to the scriptures in Christianity, Sikhism is fundamentally based on teachings of Guru Nanak. Their activities and rituals at the place of worship portray their communism spirit and advocacy for equality. Their teaching pushes for atrue and honest living. Sikhs are fond of visitors. They welcome visitors having even set aside a reception section to usher them in. The doors of their places of worship are synonymous to churches are open to people from all walks regardless of their race, ethnicity or religious background.
In conclusion, it was quite an amazing experience. Their devotion was reflected in every activity and ritual. I would love to go back. Although the religion strives to achieve equality, roles and positions in the religion are based on gender. There distinct roles specifically assigned to men and women with men taking up most leading roles. Women tend to be more submissive.Although not conclusive, I could gather that the Sikhs upheld their traditions to the core. Social issues such as homosexuality and abortion are shunned. Despite extending a welcoming hand to new members, they are rigid in adopting new practices and embracing new cultural values. New members are expected to adhere to the existing Sikhism principles. The temple is regarded to as a sacred place of worship. It is customary for all people to bring gifts to present as offerings at the temple. The offerings are presentedon the platform where the holy book sits. This portrays their spirit of Thanksgiving. In synopsis, the aspect of gratefulness is conspicuous and is expected off all members. Once one truly starts to comprehend different religions precisely, one is in a position likewise to welcome one’s religion. This gratefulness results from having the premise to comprehend the uniqueness and specificity of one’s convention. Since one sees so obviously that it is not by any means the only judicious or convincing alternative, one can see what particularly about one’s custom is by and by applicable and convincing. Obviously, the energy about alternate keeps examinations from getting to be harmful correlations looking to allow relative worth. Contrasts are just noted and acknowledged as a major aspect of the striking quality of the wonderful world. Diverse religious experiences are essential in taking into account both grateful responsibility to one’s convention and on precise, sympathetic comprehension of different customs, a procedure of shared change can start.