THE WORLD AROUND US
 
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib of New Delhi, India (In Punjabi)      
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Today’s The World Around Us will be presented in Punjabi and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Originating with Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the beginning of the 16th century, Sikhism is considered to be a relatively young religion in India. Succeeding Guru Nanak, nine other gurus kept the lineage of Sikhism alive until Guru Gobin Singh, the last living humanGuru, announced the Eternal Shabad Guru in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, also known as the holy book of Sikhism.

Sikhs follow a simple, sincere way of life, which includes adopting a pure vegetarian diet, praying and serving others. From early sunrise to nightfall, Gurdwaras, the temple of Sikh, are open for devotees to come for worshipping to the Almighty God as well as to serve and help others.

In the very heart of New Delhi, India, a vast and marvel building that once belonged to Raja Jai Singh, an India ruler of that time, now stands stately Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, in memory of Guru Har Krishan Ji, the eighth guru of the Sikhs.

There is a soul-stirring holy hymn in the Sikh scriptures which says that “When He (God Hierself or through his messenger or prophet) blesses, a disabled can climb a mountain, and an illiterate foolish person can become the master of the Four Vedas.” This encapsulates two 17th century legendary events involving Sri Har Krishan.

In one of them, five-year-old Sri Har Krishan cured a leper instantly through a handkerchief. And on another occasion, touched an uneducated man on a stick, after which the man began to expound the philosophy of the ancient scriptures.

Every day, more than 7,000 visitors from all over the country and even overseas come to Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. People believe that through coming to this gurdwara, one’s sincere prayers can be fulfilled. The entire complex of this holy place is instantly recognizable with its outstanding sculpted architecture.

You can see the golden domes on the top of the temple, that you can see they are made up of inverted lotus shape. That means right underneath that big dome, the golden temple, you’ll find the holy book.

This temple commemorates the visit of eighth Prophet of Sikhism Guru Har Krishan in a lineage of ten Prophets in the Sikh religion. And just behind me you can see the shoe stall, where people take off their shoes and socks and cover their hair with a scarf, then clean up their hands and feet and straight away go inside.

Why they cover their head is to show respect to go inside a Sikh temple. They cover their head to show respect to the Sikh temple. Now all the people will take off the shoes and socks, and after getting their shoes and socks off they just wash their hands and feet over there, and then they approach to go forward inside the temple.

Before entering the main hall, sincere pilgrims kneel or bend down repeatedly, touching the holy grounds or stairs before the entrance.

The people when they start the journey, before they go inside they touch the stairs, a mark of respect.

In the main place of worship inside the Gurdwara, also known as the temple, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed in the center of the prayer hall under the golden canopy. In the Gurdwara, holy hymns from Sikh scripture are sung and recited all day long.

Around the holy book, there are free spaces where people could sit and meditate or enjoy the holy hymns. Others could walk around the book and offer flowers or Parshad to the temple. Parshad is a blessed vegetarian pudding, half of which is offered to the temple, while the other half is received as a blessed food to share with friends and family at home. The Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is open daily from 3 o’clock in the morning to 9 o’clock at night to any pilgrims, regardless of one’s walk of life.

There is no prescribed time in Sikhism to pray, because we believe that our God is everywhere. So we can pray anytime, anywhere. The sense of coming to the temple is to bring common equality, where the people pray together and they sit down together in the present of the holy book.

So the main concept is sharing the same one goal, together, without any class or color distinction, because in Sikhism we don’t have a difference about god and goddesses, between any other religion and all of ourselves.

We sit down together, man, woman, rich and poor, and we share the same goal together. That’s the main concept.

To the east of the main area of worship, there is a common kitchen, offering langar to all pilgrims and visitors. Langar is the name for the vegetarian kitchen which serves meals daily, free of charge, to any one who comes to the Gurdwara. The idea of langar was originated by Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs. He introduced equality and unity between people, allowing all people. Guru Nanak preached that we should work diligently, recite the name of God, and share with the less of fortunate.

Langar is staffed by volunteers, most of whom are pilgrims themselves. In the kitchen, water is provided in the corner and steel plates and cutlery are available for food. In the Sikh community, the opportunity to do Sewa, meaning voluntary service, is considered a privilege and high honor.

Irrespective of religion caste or color, they come over here, inside the kitchen, and they are sitting down on the floor. It usually contains the Indian bread chapatti, and dahl (beans) and some vegetables sometimes and rice also. You’ll see they are sitting now, 10-15,000 people have free food from over here every day, two times a day. The kitchen starts serving up till 3-4pm in the evening, then again from 8pm in the evening till 10 or 11 at night. So two times a day, free food is provided to all.

In Sikhism, only vegetarian food is allowed in any public occasions, including gatherings or social events.

Keeping the environment in mind, we have a lot of respect for the environment and for animals also, whichever animal it is. So we don’t kill any animals.

When we return we’ll go around to the east part of the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib complex, and hear the story of the young Guru Har Krishan’s caring and courage for the people. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to The World Around Us on Supreme Master Television. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, India, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib was once the holy residence of Guru Har Krishan when he came to Delhi by the invitation of the king in the 17th century.

Originally a traditional style single storey house, it has been renovated to a place of worship for over several thousands of sincere pilgrims every day. When Guru Har Krishan, the eighth Sikh Guru, came to Delhi, he lodged here as a guest of Raja Jai Singh, an India ruler.

This temple commemorates the visit of the 8th prophet, of the Sikh Guru Har Krishan. He came over here in the 17th century, 1664, at the request of the Hindu King Raja Jai Singh. He came over here and stayed over here in this place for a couple of months.

Guru Har Krishan was young in age but mature in spiritual wisdom. At the time, an epidemic of smallpox and cholera was spreading and causing much suffering among the people of Delhi. With the compassion of a Master, Guru Har Krishan decided to help.

Looking at the suffering and sorrow of people, he went to the desert areas in and around Delhi, and blessed the people, giving them new clothes and blessings.

During his visits to the afflicted area, a person asked Guru Ji why he chose to risk his life, going into dark streets and contacting people with illnesses? The Guru replied that if a child is sick, if the child is suffering, can the mother have a sound sleep at that time? Wouldn’t she be worried about her children? He said that it was his responsibility that when human beings were suffering, he must take care of them as a mother would her child. Thus, he carried out true Sewa, or service to people.

When he arrived in Delhi, Guru Har Krishan was only seven years old. He met thousands of visitors and devotes daily giving aid and fresh water from the well of Bangla Sahib to cure their ills. Therefore the water in the pond is now being revered as holy water having healing properties. Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is famous for its pond of holy water, the Amrit.

So we are just standing next to the holy pool. Usually in every Sikh temple we find the holy pool. We call them the sarovar. The sarovar is called the place where a lot of water is collected in one position. You’ll find this is used actually for purification of mind, body and soul.

People, irrespective of religion, show equality. People go inside, take a holy dip together. That means no caste, no creed, no color. All men and women are treated as equals when they go inside. This thing is not done on special days or timings, each and every day and each and every time is a sacred one.

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is now a sacred place for pilgrimage for the Sikhs. The sincere God seekers throughout the world come to pay their respect to Guru Har Krishan in the Gurdwara, to pray from their hearts, and bring back holy water as a blessing to their homes. Ultimately, Sri Har Krishan himself gave the supreme sacrifice when he contracted smallpox from having contacted so many people, and left this world at the tender age of seven.

The well known verse, “Sri Har Krishan Dhiaiyai, jis dithay sabh dukh jae,” means remember or pray to Sri Har Krishan, seeing whom all suffering vanishes. This verse is a part of the formal ardaas (daily prayer or supplication) of the Sikh religion, and thus, this young eighth Guru is remembered by the Sikhs as one who alleviated the ill and suffering.

Blessed viewers, thank you for your company today. Coming up next is World of Wisdom after Noteworthy News, so please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. May the Love of God be in your heart, always.

There is no other music quite like the Iraqi Maqam. That is why it is called Maqam, which indicates a high and exalted status.

Only a few of the gifted are able to sing Iraqi Maqam. Fewer still convey more than the music.

We want to say to the whole world that our tradition is not only about music, it also means peace for the whole world.

Mary is mine and my eye My heart is wounded and needs her ointment

Join us this coming Tuesday, July 21, as we meet acclaimed Iraqi artists Ms. Farida Muhammad Ali and Mr. Muhammad H. Gomar, on Supreme Master Television’s Enlightening Entertainment.

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