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The Golden Temple Amritsar This is the special holy temple of the Sikh. It is in India and it is the center of their religious tradition, parallel to.

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Presentation on theme: "The Golden Temple Amritsar This is the special holy temple of the Sikh. It is in India and it is the center of their religious tradition, parallel to."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Golden Temple Amritsar This is the special holy temple of the Sikh. It is in India and it is the center of their religious tradition, parallel to Mecca for the Muslims, or Jerusalem for the Jews. The Temple was begun by the fifth Sikh Guru. It has four doors to differentiate it from other temples in India. The four doors express an openness and welcome to all. Hospitality is a fundamental value of the Sikh faith tradition. Guru Nanak (1469-1539) began the Sikh faith tradition. The word, “sikh”, means disciple or student.

3 The Gurdwara This is the Temple or Gurdwara of the Sikhs the Ville Lasalle area of Montreal. Gurdwara means “home for the Guru”. This Gurdwara is large, for it is the only one in the area and people of the Sikh faith travel for miles to come here or to drop in to pray before going to work. Note the golden minarets on the corners of the Gurdwara. Gold is always the symbol of God. Inside there are two main floors which are mainly open spaces, and a third floor that forms a balcony around the place of prayer. One area of this balcony is the bedroom, where the holy scriptures are laid to rest at night. The bed is surrounded by tulle curtains, and this gives the room an aura of gentle, reverent, and private space. The Scriptures, called the Sri Guru Granth Sahb, are covered in bed at night because they are considered the last and eternally living Guru for the Sikhs. The place of prayer is on the main floor. The lower level, called the langar, is the place of hospitality. (Shown and described in other pictures).

4 The Throne Before entering the place of prayer, you take off your shoes and wash your hands and feet, and put on a head scarf or a turban out of respect for the dignity of this place. The room is open and empty except for the decorated and canopied throne which is the central focus. People sit on the floor, or prostrate themselves (bow deeply with their head to the floor). Here you can see a man sitting under the canopy reading the scriptures. The Scriptures, which are called Sri Guru Granth Sahib, are considered a living Guru - filled with wisdom. Looking up, you can see a gold onion-shaped capula or dome that signifies God’s presence over the place where the scriptures are read; and above that, a red canopy to signify holiness.

5 Sikh Man Reading the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Here you can see a Sikh man reading the sacred scriptures. Note that he has on a turban and a chartreuse (yellow/orange) vest. Whoever reads the scriptures puts on a piece of material or a scarf in this colour. After reading the scriptures, the man puts a white material cover over them, and reverently swishes the Chauri over them. The basic concepts of the Sikh faith tradition are: There is but one God and He is all pervading. His Name is everlasting, He is the Creator, and present throughout His Creation. He fears none and He is without Enmity (evil thoughts). He was not born, does not die, and so he is immortal. He is self-illuminated (he is aware and knows all things). He is realized through the grace of the Guru. There were Ten Gurus. The last Guru proclaimed the Holy Scriptures to be the last and everlasting Guru, the living source of Spiritual light. The scriptures, called the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, are treated like a living person.

6 Guru Waving a Chauri Over the Holy Scriptures The reader of the scriptures is called a “guru” with a small “g” in contrast to the initial ten Gurus and the eternal Guru Granth Sahib. Here you can see the guru waving a chauri over the Sacred Scriptures ( Guru Granth Sahib) as a way to honour them. On the blue throne are symbols special to the Sikh faith tradition: The Khanda – in the center is the double-edged sword that represents the divine power of God. It is surrounded by a circle symbolizing that God has neither a beginning nor an end. This sword and circle are enclosed by two crossed swords (kirpans) representing a Sikh’s responsibility to God and community.

7 Kirpan The Kirpan is the sword worn by any man or woman over 13 who has dedicated himself or herself to the Sikh faith (been baptized). It expresses the person’s willingness to fight for the Sikh faith and to protect anyone in need. In this country it is wrapped and worn under a person’s clothing. The Kirpan is one of the Five Kakars which are essential symbols of a Sikh’s identity. These are: 1. Keshas - unshorn hair (uncut hair symbolizes strength) 2. Kangha- comb (cleanliness of body) 3. Kara- an iron bracelet (the infinity of God) 4. Kachhaira- specially tailored underwear (faithfulness to God and spouse) 5. Kirpan - sword (worn only if baptized) In the Sikh tradition one is not baptized as a baby. One needs to commit oneself to daily prayers, rules, and voluntary service to others.

8 The Langor After visiting the Gurdwara, one goes downstairs to the langor to have a treat or a meal, for hospitality is a fundamental virtue of Sikhism. The langor includes the kitchen and a large open area with long meter-wide carpets placed about two meters apart and running almost the width of the room. Pictures of the ten Gurus as well as special events in the history of Sikhism hang on the walls.

9 Sikh Men Eating in the Langor Here are three Sikh men eating while sitting on one of the long carpets in the langor, the basement kitchen area. These long meter-wide carpets spaced about two meters apart run almost the width of the room from the kitchen. It is fundamental to the Sikh religion (and counter to the ancient Hindu caste system) that all people are created equal. Thus hospitality is an important virtue that is expressed concretely. Everyone is received and fed treats and a refreshing drink. Sikhs and visitors are invited to sit on the long carpets. You will be offered coke or tea with your food, and you may be offered some fruit to take home. Pictures of the nine Gurus line the walls, and there is an apartment on this level that is available for anyone who wants to stay for a few days. Notice the turbans which cover the men’s hair. Hair is considered a gift from God, so it is never cut.

10 The Throne in White – from Above This gives you a view of the Throne taken from the second floor. The colour of the cover on the Throne changes throughout the year.

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