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Sikhism Coursework - Describe and explain the main features of a Gurdwara.

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Introduction

Sikhism Coursework a) Describe and explain the main features of a Gurdwara The Gurdwara is the Sikh place of worship. Gurdwara means 'the Guru's door' thus it is God's house. The Gurdwara is a place where all people are welcome as it is God's house. The Gurdwara is also a community centre and many events take place there; such as Punjabi lessons for young people. Outside the Gurdwara building, there is a flag called the Nishan Sahib. It is orange with the Sikh symbol on it (the khanda). The Nishan Sahib is replaced each year during the festival of Baisakhi. The main title of the Nishan Sahib is to show that the building it surrounds is a Sikh place of worship. The most important thing in the Gurdwara is the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh Holy book). This holy book is treated with the respect of a living Guru, as Sikhs believe it has the Guru's spirit within it. It is placed on a platform to show respect. This is where a human Guru would stand so that more people could see and hear him. ...read more.

Middle

These began to be held in people's homes and eventually temples began to be built by the Gurus in the places that they visited and in places of special significance. These temples were what are now known as Gurdwaras. The Gurdwara has played a large part in the development of Sikhism. To begin with, they were a place for the first followers of Sikhism to meet and share ideas. This allowed the religion to grow and develop. During times of persecution, Gurdwaras allowed people to meet up and talk about their beliefs. It also offered sanctuary to them from their persecutors. The Gurdwara also offers the chance for people to demonstrate some of the principles of Sikhism. For example, the Langar allows people to show their belief in equality and by serving in the Langar, Sewa (service to others) is practised. The fact people all sit together in the Diwan Hall again shows the Sikh teaching that everyone is equal. It also shows that those who visit the Gurus are nourished physically and spiritually. When the Guru Granth Sahib came into being, it gave Sikhs a place to keep it and hear people reading from it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sewa (service to others) could be done anywhere and Guru Nanak also said that God is everywhere. When Guru Nanak was rebuked for sleeping with his feet towards the sacred Kabba in Mecca, because it was seen as disrespectful, he replied "Please turn my feet in a direction which the House of God is not". When his feet were turned in the other direction, the caretaker who had scolded him was astonished to find the Kabba in the same direction. Nanak said "You can now see that the House of God is in every direction. He dwells in every place." so therefore the Gurdwara is no more holy than anywhere else. The Guru Granth Sahib can be moved so people could meet at others' homes, which would still give a sense of community and keep the feeling of belonging. In conclusion, I would say that a Gurdwara isn't really necessary to Sikhism, as everything which is done there could happen elsewhere, but I also think that a Gurdwara is a good thing to have as it gives the community a focal point in which many community events can happen in. It is also easier for things to be arranged for the community if they have a central base, which the Gurdwara provides. Gurpal Gahir 11M ...read more.

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