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day at sri harmandir sahib (golden temple --- part2----)

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continued from last posting-----------


He carries it to its customary place of honor beneath a velvet canopy richly brocaded with the silver and gold, and carefully sets it on velvet cushions and silks placed on a manji sahib. As the Sangat (congregation) stands in hushed silence, the head priest seats himself in front of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, ceremoniously opens it, and reads aloud the vaaq, or Lord's message, for the day.

The recitation of Asa di War, which had been in progress here since a little after three a.m., had stopped as the Siri Guru Granth Sahib was carried in. Sung always at this predawn hour of the morning, the Asa di War also, like all other compositions recited here, is taken from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

After the vaq is read, the singing of the Asa di War continues. As it ends, the entire Sangat and the sewadars of the temple stand up for the ardas, a prayer that is recited at the conclusion of each service. After the ardas, the shabad kirtan, the vocal and musical renditions from the sacred verses, are resumed. The shabad kirtan will be sung throughout the day and late into the evening by a succession of ragis.

Har ki Pauri and Darshani Deorhi

The early morning worshippers now step out of the Harmandir, walk on the inner parkarma that encircles it, and stop on its southern side at the Har ki Pauri. Here, marble steps descend into the sarowar, so that visitors may cup the water of the sacred pool into their hands and sprinkle it on their heads. Some take a small sip of it as well. Tradition has it that Siri Guru Arjan Dev himself gave this place its name.

Continuing around the Harmandir, on the inner parkarma, the devotees once more bow in the direction of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, then make their way back over the causeway, through the Darshani Deorhi and onto the main parkarma. As they proceed along the parkarma, towards the stairs by which they had entered, some pause by the Ber Baba Buddha, popularly known as the Tree Shrine. Baba Buddha, the first head priest of the Harmandir Sahib, is said to have sat under this tree as he supervised the construction of the Harmandir Sahib.

Before leaving the Darbar Sahib, once more the early morning worshippers turn to face the Harmandir with folded hands and touch their foreheads to the marble floor of the parkarma in farewell. As they ascend the stairs on the way out, they feel renewed, invigorated and reinforced by the knowledge that the hand of the Divine will guide them through the day.

The Daylight Hustle and Bustle

With daylight, the pace of activity at the Darbar Sahib quickens. Groups of visitors and pilgrims steadily arrive at the main entrance, in tongas, scooters, cars, buses, trucks, tractors, trailers and on foot. Unlike the predawn devotees who had come to pray or to participate in the early morning rituals, these people have come from longer distances for the pleasure of a pilgrimage whose purpose is both pious and festive. Some will stay in the sacred precincts for a day or more.

This colorful flow of visitors continues all day and late into the night: executives in business attire; farmers in their working clothes; women in a myriad variety of dress and personal adornment; and children in clothes specially made for the occasion. All ages are represented, from those who have already made the better part of their journey through life, to newlyweds come to seek blessings for the life that lies ahead - brides in scarlet and gold wedding finery, the grooms in crisply tied pink or red turbans.

People are spread out everywhere. Some are in the Harmandir listening to the shabad kirtan on the ground floor, others are absorbed in the words of the akhand path in the quiet of its upper floors. Some visit the Akal Takht where the swords and personal weapons of Siri Guru Gobind Singh are enshrined.

Many join the line in front of the special kitchen where karah parsad is prepared. They make a contribution of money for this sacramental food and carry it into the Harmandir Sahib. They give it to the attendants stationed at the door specially to receive it. The attendants in turn pass it on with God's blessings to those leaving the sanctum.Some devotees sit in quiet contemplation in the shrine of Baba Atal, built to honor Siri Guru Hargobind's remarkably gifted son who died young, or in the shrine built in Siri Guru Tegh Bahadur's memory. Since voluntary service is the very essence of Sikhism, a continuous stream of visitors makes its way to the Siri Guru Ram Das langar, to help prepare the food that will be served to the thousands who eat there daily.

Rahras & Arti

As the sun sets, and the time for evening prayers nears, there is a perceptible change in the nature of the people who now enter the Harmandir. These devotees come to sit and listen in rapt attention to the evening recitations, and to enjoy the beauty of the verses and the ragas in which these prayers are rendered. Just as in the morning, prayers began with the Asa di War, in the evening, prayers end with the Rahras, the Arti and the shabad kirtan, concluding with the ardas at 9:45p.m.

When the prayers end, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is reverently closed, wrapped in fresh layers of rich silk and muslin, and ceremoniously carried to the palki waiting outside. As in the morning, so also now, the palki is shouldered by devout Sikhs and taken to the Kotha Sahib where the Siri Guru Granth Sahib will rest for the night.

The massive silver and rosewood doors of the Darshani Deorhi are shut and a group of volunteers inside the Harmandir starts the ritual cleansing of the shrine with milk and water in preparation for the next day. In a few hours, the doors of the Darshani Deorhi will once again be opened to worshippers, and the Harmandir will be ready to receive them so they can welcome the arrival of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and seek its spiritual guidance for another day.

Seeing the glow of the lamps and their myriad reflections in the pool, hearing the melodic chanting of hymns, tossing handfuls of rose petals before the procession of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and feeling the intensity of the love and reverence that attend each ritual, are experiences that will always be remembered.

Day after day, the Harmandir Sahib, the abiding symbol of the Sikh faith, continues to inspire and uplift those thousands who come to it. It is, in a sense, the heart of the Sikhs, for wherever beats a Sikh heart, there throbs the sentiment of undying devotion for this holiest of all Sikh shrines.

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Wow, nice stuff, if you include some pictures of the place it would be great...

btw if anyone is intereseted in seeing some pictures of golden temple with flowing water, here are some of them i made long time back.





http://khalsa82.tripod.com/golden5.htm this last one is my favorite =)

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