In yoga practice, it is necessary to surrender the finite sense of self to the Infinite. For those practicing Sikh Dharma, this relationship to the Infinite is experienced through the Guru. “Gurdwara” means “gateway” or “door” to the Guru and refers to a place that houses the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Living Guru of Sikh Dharma. All are welcome to participate in the Gurdwara ceremony.
Gurdwara may seem like it is “mostly for Sikhs,” but really, it is for everyone so that we can each recognize the mastery of the inner Self. When each of us comes to bow before the Guru, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, we are simply bowing to that brightest divine light within ourselves. A short Gurdwara service is held each day at the end of morning sadhana. A formal Gurdwara ceremony is held on Sundays. We can all experience naad (sacred sound current) at morning Sadhana and Gurdwara. Morning sadhana and Gurdwara are a celebration of love for the Divine Self that we can all share together.
We approach the Gurdwara with reverence. Remove your shoes and cover your head. Participants bow and give a donation before the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Although a donation is not required, it reflects an exchange of energy.
Bowing at the Feet of the Guru
We bow our forehead to the ground before the Siri Guru Granth Sahib as an act of humility and reverence, acknowledging that there is an Infinite Power which pervades all. When we touch our forehead to the ground at the Feet of the Guru, our destiny is activated. We bow only to the Word of God, not to any earthly power or human.
The Gurdwara Service
The Gurdwara service is a joyous mixture of Kirtan—devotional music and singing in praise of God, and traditional Sikh prayers. Everyone is welcome to join in and sing and meditate together. Following Kirtan are the Song of the Khalsa, Anand Sahib (the song of joy and ecstasy), Ardas (our group prayer and projection for the day), and Hukam (an inspired selection from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib). To conclude, Prasad—a sweet made from honey, ghee, water, and flour is served. Then Gurdwara ends and Langar is served.
Sequence of Events:
1. Gurbani Kirtan—the singing of Shabads and inspirational songs
2. Song of the Khalsa
3. Anand Sahib—first five Pauris and Slok of Japji
4. Ardas, the traditional Sikh Prayer is offered
5. The Sangat bows, then stands again to recite the Words of Guru Gobind Singh, “Aagee-aa bha-ee akaal kee ”
6. The person reciting the Ardas makes the call: “Bolay so nihaal” (The one who speaks shall be blessed). The sangat responds: “Sat Siree Akaal” (The Great Truth is undying).
7. The Sangat then bows and sits, and the Granthi, sitting behind the Guru, will open and read the Hukam, the Guru’s message to the Sangat
8. If the Hukam is read in Gurmukhi, a translation in English (or the local language) is read immediately thereafter.
9. The Sangat then sings, “Sabh sikhan ko hukam hai . . . guru maanee-o granth.”
10. Guruparshad is distributed to all members of the Sangat
11. Guru ka Langar is then offered and shared.
Bole So Nihaal
“Bole So Nihaal—Sat Siri Akal” is a call of victory. “Bole So Nihaal” means, “The one who speaks shall be blessed. “Sat Siri Akal” means, “The Great Truth is Undying!” This call is made by the person reciting Ardas at its close, and the Sangat returns the call in a spirited prayer to the Creator that the Truth may prevail through His servants. This call and answer is also sent up at other occasions when a unifying affirmation on the part of the Sangat is desired.
More Information about Sikh Dharma and Gurdwara
The Akhand Path is a 72-hour continuous reading of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. You’re welcome to participate. Sign up early!
Rehiras is the evening prayer to take care of living conditions and environment and to bring prosperity.
Kirtan Sohila is a bedtime prayer to soothe your mind, protect you through the night, and bring a beautiful dawn.
Sikh Vows: At Summer Solstice we offer you the opportunity to take Sikh vows, the vows of the Sikh way of life. If you are interested, please contact a member of the Gurdwara Team.
Amrit Ceremony: The Tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh, created the Amrit Ceremony as a way to give his Sikhs a unique identity and form. Today, Sikhs who seek a deeper connection with the path experience the same ceremony and keep that same identity and form that was given over 300 years ago. If you would like more information, please contact a member of the Gurdwara Team.
During the last night of Summer Solstice, you may choose to have the sublime experience of Rensabhai, all-night devotional music. Bring your sleeping bag or blanket to the Gurdwara and join the whole camp for this cozy and divine night. You may lie down or sit up and listen or sing along with us.
After the Gurdwara service, Guruka Langar is served. This is food served in the Name of the Guru. All who come to this house of God shall be offered both physical and spiritual nourishment.