Gurdwara in Gothenburg: Community Service, Hospitality, Spiritual Discipline

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ATHENA Ethical MEDIA

Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha is the place of worship for Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus in Gothenburg. The place of worship is where the adherents of Sikhism gather, but anyone can visit this Gurdwara to worship or to listen to kirtans or to partake a meal in langar that is provided free of cost which is the defining and unique aspect.

 

Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha is the local Gurdwara Sahib of Gothenburg: where Sikhs meet in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib ji (the religious scripture) to sing and understand Gurbani Kirtan, and listen to religious discourses, and to recite Waheguru (Lord Eternal Amlighty). For Sikhs, it is imperative to establish a Gurdwara where ever Sikhs live.

Langar is the kitchen in a Gurdwara where a free meal is served to all the visitors irrespective of one’s social and religious identity: religion, caste, gender, economic status and ethnicity. The food served in Gurdwara is always vegetarian, and one has to sit on the floor and eat together.

At the Gurdwara in Gothenburg, there is a dining table in a corner of the dining hall where elderly members of the community sit for they cannot sit on the floor. The serving of meals for the visitors is maintained and serviced by the patrons of the community and helped by volunteers. The place of worship offers services for the community, and people belonging to other faiths.

Prayer meeting in remembrance of Mohnish Togare

PRAYER MEETING: Gurdwara also helps people from other communities to visit and hold some ceremonies. For example on Saturday, 8 February 2020, a prayer meeting was held in remembrance of Mohnish Togare. His family, friends and colleagues from workplaces attended the ceremony in remembrance of him.

GURU GRANTH SAHIB: Guru Granth Sahib ji is the main religious scripture. It is regarded as the living Guru for eternity (a lineage of the ten gurus of Sikhism). The teachings of Gurus are present in the form of Shabad (religious hymns contained in Sikh scriptures) and it spans over 1430 pages of Bani (word of the Guru).

In the autumn of 2018, Gothenburg Kirtan Smagam for Sarbat Da Bhala was celebrated for which Prithvipal Singh Khalsa from England attended. During those three days kirtans, Rensbai kirtans, reflections, Q&A, Asa di vaar, and training in archery took place under the guidance of Prithvipal Singh Khalsa, a spiritual teacher. He also spoke about how to live and practice the faith in the West.

Prithvipal Singh Khalsa (middle): Imparts spiritual discipline and gives guidance to Sikhs in the West

Prithvipal Singh Khalsa said to practise Sikhism outside in India is not difficult: “Actually, it is very easy. Because you know Guru Khalsa has given simple things. He said earn your living, not to get benefit from government –,” he said, “out of the money one earns one can donate to help others.” He observed the importance of simran and Waheguru: “Get up in the morning, shower, sit cross-legged, keep your back straight and do simran and meditation…remember God, Waheguru!”

SIMRAN refers to a continuous flow or to go about such as a soul fall in love with God, and continuously remembers, chants, cries, longs for, sings, writes, about being with God.

WAHEGURU: Waheguru is the God, the Almighty, the Supreme Soul, the Creator, the Supreme Being as Universal, the Wondrous Enlightener. The literal meaning of Waheguru is: The wondrous Lord dispels the darkness of ignorance and bestows the light of truth, knowledge and enlightenment. Waheguru is a call to the divine light to remove spiritual darkness. Among yoga practitioners, Waheguru is changed as a mantra such as in Kundalini yoga to elevate the spirit: Waheguru (or, Waheguroo, Vaheguru, Vaahiguroo).

Prithvipal Singh Khalsa tours different countries in the West, and he is aware of the cultural inferences drawn out of a male Sikh who has a long bear and wears a turban. After 9/11 in the US, a Sikh was killed assuming him to be a Taliban. “It is about awareness, how much you want to get connected with other people, if you don’t get connected don’t specify yourself,” Prithvipal said. “But you have to show that Sikh doesn’t shave any part of the body but a Muslim does (neatly cut) and the Khalsa the turban is different too.”

Gagandeep Singh is a doctor by profession and he is married to a Norwegian, together they practice Sikhism. Gagandeep is aware of the mistaken identity drawn out of a Sikh that he is a Taliban or extremist from the attire or the facial hair. He said, “It is ignorance…now there is an awareness programme going on. It is also our fault as well Sikhs never tried to reach about our religion because we don’t believe in converting. We believe that this is a blessing from god that you come into a specific religion. So we never tried to tell or teach about our religion … it is a time we shout…”

In order to raise awareness about Sikhism and Sikhs, a group of Sikhs observe ‘TURBAN DAY’.

ADDRESS:

Gurdwara Singh Sabha

Blixtgatan 8

Angered

424 35 Göteborg (Gothenburg)

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