The glimpses of overturning humanities behind the curtains of corruption, poverty, discrimination and yet other social dogmas are no more hidden. The instances of malpractices are growing day-by-day and welcoming a future with darker steps of ruthlessness and selfish behaviour. On one hand, the world has started advancing with its tech-knowledge, yet leaving behind the footsteps of sins. However, on the other hand, a balance has been maintained due to the selfless service of the Sikh community towards humanity through a humanitarian discipline – ‘The Langar’.
The true utilization of human resources is incomplete without a pinch of spirit to serve mankind. India is a diverse nation with a blend of caste, creed, colour and most importantly, religion. Although all religions are based on the conditions of selfless service towards the society, Sikhism is the only one which celebrates selflessness with the taste of happiness. Food and water are the utmost necessities of a person. And they are provided to every person, rich or poor in the grand Langar Halls of every Gurudwara (the pious shrine of every Sikh) for free.
The origin of Sikhism was a divine-made destiny. This pious religion came into the effect during that period of time when people were differentiating themselves in the name of two religions only-Hinduism and Islam. Sikhism was an exception to the preachings and teachings of both these religions. The beginning of Sikhism could be traced back in the holy state of Punjab of the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the world’s youngest religion and stands fifth in terms of its followers. Some people regard Sikhism as a monotheistic religion whereas some regard it as panentheistic. Sikhism is based on the preachings of its founder, Guru Nanak Dev and other nine Gurus. The eleventh Guru, as well as the last Guru of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib or the Adi Granth, stands as the eternal Guru of Sikhs. Each and every Gurus of Sikhism tried to contribute their little efforts for the greater development of the religion.
However, the most remarkable contribution was done by the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev in the form of Langar. After him, all other Gurus respected his thought and continued his legacy for ages. The world recognises Sikhs most of the times by their surnames, and by their selfless service towards humanity. Langar system is the greatest foundation of their service and devotion towards mankind.
The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak had introduced the Langar system due to his deep faith in the brotherhood and oneness of humanity. Food is not a requirement, rather it’s a need. And the Langar system gives emphasis on fulfilling the belly needs of the people without discriminating them on the basis of caste, creed, colour or religion. Langar is an inevitable part of the worship of the Sikhs. As every religion has a specific place for combined worship, the same is also with Sikhism. Gurudwara is the pious place for worship of the Sikhs. Every Gurudwara has a Langar attached to it where food is served without taking any kind of charge for it. The term ‘Langar’ is also used for the communal meal that is served at the Gurudwaras.
There are certain rules that are practised in every Langar:
- The food that needs to be served in Langar must be simple so that neither any category of people can show off nor any category of people will feel low.
- Only vegetarian food is served to the people so that people with any dietary restrictions of their faith can too enjoy the Langar.
- The meal served includes rice, dal, vegetables and rice pudding. Eggs and fish are restricted from the diet.
Langar is a blessing for the poor. The needy people who were not able to fulfil their stomach requirements can now fill their bellies with wholesome food. Thousands of people relish food every day in the Langar. They are able to satisfy their hunger because of this humanitarian principle, The Langar. People are welcomed at any hour of the day into the Langar Halls. Food is prepared and served by the volunteers. There is no sort of aggression or disagreement among the people serving Langar.
IMPORTANCE OF LANGAR:
In today’s world, everyone is running behind their own comforts and happiness. However, the Sikh community is an exception to this context. Humanity and selflessness still continue to exist. The selfless service of the Sikhs is depicted to the whole world in the form of Langar. The eternal Guru of Sikhism, the pious Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of holy hymns and preachings. Every day after the regular worship, a random page is opened from the Adi Granth and is read. That is the lesson for that day. Adi Granth or Guru Granth Sahib is not only a pious scripture but, is the lifeline of the Sikh community. And Langar is the greatest message of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Langar helps in diminishing the differences among the people based on caste, creed, religion, colour etc. It tries to maintain uniformity among people. Providing equal food to all ensures no sort of discrimination. Langar has enabled poor people to avail food and this has also led to an increase in selflessness. Everyone works in the Gurudwaras without any sort of ill thoughts in their mind and soul. Langar develops positivity. Selfless service towards humanity is the motto of Sikhism. And Langar is the inspiration as well as the foundation behind this honourable motto.
A Gurudwara has four doors into it, known as the Door of Peace, the Door of Livelihood, the Door of Learning and the Door of Grace. These four doors are the symbols if anyone with any of the pains in his life enters into the Gurudwara will surely be able to forget those and get out of them.
Sikhism and its related principles are lessons to society. And Langar is a big lesson for those people who don’t even bother to help the needy ones. Helpfulness is the greatest virtue. The importance and credibility of this noble virtue can be understood by Langar. It is a blessing to those thousands of people who slept with empty stomachs due to unavailability of wealth.
It is just that a better thought is needed to improvise the prevailing thoughts. People should realise that their small help can bring big changes in someone’s life. And Langar is the pioneer of such noble thoughts……