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Summary of Question:why we do what we do in a Gurdwara?
Category:Gurdwara
Date Posted:Tuesday, 2/08/2000 4:55 AM MST

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh
I am a student at college and have spoken to many of my peers about the basics of Sikhi and why we do what we do!
There replies have been adequate but not complete so now I ask my internet brothers and sisters questions and ask you to be as deep and full in your answers as possible.
1) Why do we touch the stairs with our hands and then touch our heads?
2) Why do we clean peoples shoes the way we do?
3) why do we cover our heads?
4) Is it wrong to wear patka's like a bandana?
5) why do we take our shoes off?

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REPLY
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1) Why do we touch the stairs with our hands and then touch our heads?
Touching the stairs or threshold at the entrance to the gurdwara is a personal choice. It is an act of humility and an act that brings humility. Gathering the dust of the saints' feet on your fingertips and bringing it to your forehead allows you to feel the humility of being in the company of those who love God and to recognize the light of truth that exists in all humans. You may not always consider all those who enter the gurdwara to be saints, but by this action you experience your own humility and give a prayer for others to recognize the truth within themselves and live as saints.

2) Why do we clean peoples shoes the way we do?
Cleaning shoes is an act of humility as well as a great seva (service). The material ego is a dangerous trap. The spiritual ego, however, is far more dangerous. A person may attend gurdwara daily and read beautifully from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and gain the respect of the sangat. But if they take pride in their own spirituality, if they develop an ego about being spiritual and maintaining an appearance of holiness, then they are walking into the lion's mouth. It is acts of humility and service, such as touching the dust of the saints' feet and cleaning shoes, that allow us to remember that all that happens is by God's will.

3) Why do we cover our heads?
5) Why do we take our shoes off?
All who enter a gurdwara remove their shoes and cover their heads as a matter of respect for the Guru. When Guru Gobind Singh declared the Siri Guru Granth Sahib to be the Guru for all Sikhs to come, he said, "Consider the Granth as my physical representation. Of that, have no doubt." The gurdwara is the home of the Guru, and when in the Guru's home it is respectful to follow the Guru's rules. When you go to meet the Guru, you should strive to be at your best both in your physical presentation and your state of mind. Your dress should be the Guru's bana, given to us that we may radiate the Guru's grace. Removing your shoes and washing your hands and feet before entering help to maintain a graceful environment, free of excessive dirt and dust. Guru Gobind Singh instructed his Sikhs to wear a turban. Whether or not you choose to wear one every day, you should at least wear one when you go to meet the Guru, in his own house.

4) Is it wrong to wear patka's like a bandana?
The patka is part of the bana given to us by the Guru. Bana is a form of self-projection. By our choice of clothing we can project many things - power, sexuality, playfulness, joy, etc. The Guru gave us bana so that we may project grace and beauty. A patka should be tied with the ideal of projecting grace, not with the ideal of looking fashionable or powerful.

Humbly,
Mangala Sadhu Sangeet Singh Khalsa




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