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Is it Ok to Have Langar on Chairs and Tables?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by etinder, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. etinder

    etinder
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    I m not aware of the practices in the gurudwaras worldwide, but usually its seen that quite a few number of gurudwars in North america have chairs n tables in the langar hall and there is a quite a number of sangat that sits there and take langar.
    so, Is it against maryada to have langar on chairs n tables? why?
     
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  3. Amarpal

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    Dear etinder Jee,

    The institution of Langar was created by Guru Sahib to erase the feeling of caste that was imprinted into the mind of people if India due to historical reasons. The concept of equality is forged into the mind of Sangat by eating together in langar. This concept alone should not be violated.

    If all members in Sangat are treated alike i.e. all eat in langar sitting on chairs with tables in front of them to keep the served plates; this does not violate the concept of equality, it is in order. Under such conditions, there is nothing wrong in having chairs and tables in Langar Halls.

    The question of Maryada does not arise.

    With love and respect for all.

    Amarpal
     
  4. CaramelChocolate

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    I think there should be chairs and tables for the elderly only... and to keep everyone on the same level, the chairs should be on a lower platform so that the seat of the chair is at exactly the same level at the floor.

    This has been done in the actual Gurdwara prayer room at the big Gurdwara in Southall, London.

    ~CaramelChocolate~
    The Little Philosopher
     
  5. drkhalsa

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    I personally totally agree with what Caramel has said, thinking rationally it appears that there is no problem if we take langer on chair but the thing is if we can take it while seated then what is need of chair, off course in case of old, pregnant , and sick people it is additional advantage and this should be ideally available in every gurudwara but for normal healthy individual I cant think of any reason for that more over In some gurudwaras i have seen both facilities are available ( chair and floor) and when some people take langar while sitting on chair s it just gives the reflection of state oftheir mind ( Which i think is personal ego) and what I think is while in gurudwara it is a good chance for every body to spend some time in day without there personnel ego , As such I don’t feel anything against the people sitting on chair but it is kind of personal preference that i would always like to have it while seated on floor
     
  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    IMHO...IT is not a problem of Maryada because on tables and chairs also as long as all the furniture is the SAME - in level height, design, comfort... and there is no discrimination... then it is all the same as on the floor.

    Personally i will sit anywhere there is a vacancy - if achair becomes vacant i will use it and if a place on the floor becomes vacant i will sit there.

    IF anyone sitting on the floor "feels superior" that he is following the Guru's Maryada and looks at the people on chairs as not following maryada..than he is feding his ego..creating more haumaii only.

    Jarnail singh
     
  7. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa
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    IF anyone sitting on the floor "feels superior" that he is following the Guru's Maryada and looks at the people on chairs as not following maryada..than he is feding his ego..creating more haumaii only.

    Dear Jarnail Singh ji
    YOU are quite right in saying so and thanks for your response
     
  8. Sher_Singh

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    The elderly do have a right to sit on chairs as it is not in their physical nature to sit on the floor. But feeling superior sitting on a higher seat to everyone else is only increasing the egoism within yourelf - and God does see that.

    Guru Fateh.
     
  9. truthseeker

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    I definately agree, if some chooses to sit on a chair then that is there choice, but it becomes a problem when they start to buiold up that ego inside them which makes them feel superior to the others in the gurudwara at that time. For elder people it is hard to sit on the floor and that is understandable but it isnt right when people sit on chairs simply because they do not find the floor comfortable.

    Fateh
     
  10. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji ki fateh.


    The problem arose because some people have TWISTED the meaning of PANGAT to mean "sitting on the floor". Pangat actually means IN A LINE, or ROW or Column. LOOK in any dictionary, kosh and you will see that not in a single place is PANGAT defined as "sitting on the floor". I have all the latest and olde dictionaries of Punjabi-English, even the ones on the internet on line, and most importantly even the MAHAN KOSH of Kahn Singh Nabha gives the meaning of PANGAT as LINE ( ktar).

    Secondly there is a FALSE sense of "humility" attached to "sitting on the floor". This sitting on the floor is an Asian Trait...Muslims, Hindus and others also sit on the floor. Does this alone make all these EXTRA HUMBLE as compared to say the Christians ? Have these so called "humble" religion followers KILLED any less people, robbed any less people of their rightful lands, raped and plundered any less than say the Christians ? Are the Snakes, etc who CRAWL along the floor all their life.... any more HUMBLE than say other life forms ??

    GURBANI and our GURUS were above all such "FRAUDALENT" behaviours...like ooch neech, such bhit, khooth such, bathing purity, jaat paat. GURU JI saw what caste divisions were doing to the people... LOW CASTES couldnt eat with the higher cates, they couldnt bathe at the same places as high castes, they couldnt walk at places frequented by high castes, they couldnt drink water from tas and wells of the high castes....THESE were the EVILS the GURUS tried to abolish by providing COMMON LANGGAR ( where everyone regardeless of caste etc ate TOGETHER ) they provided SAROVARS...where EVERYONE regardeless of caste COULD BATHE TOGETHER ( instead of separate wells etc ). IT so just happened that langgars catering to thousands were better served by FLOOR SITTING.. imagine the logistics of thousands of chairs, places to keep such in storage etc especially when Gurdwaras were rudimentary. For example at Holla Mahalla in Anandpur recently nearly 5 million people were fed Langgar daily for a week... fro such huge crowds langgar on the floor is a necessity...NOT GUR MARYADA REQUIREMENT.

    There is NOT a SINGLE LINE in GURBANI or Bhai gurdass Ji's Vaars that REQUIRE SITTING ON THE FLOOR as MANDATORY MARYADA for Langgar...conveneince - YES, Practicality - YES, tradition - YES...BUT STRICTLY MARYADA - NO. In this instance ALL SINGLE LINES are taken out of context and given a twisted meaning...IF the ENTIRE SHABAD is taken as a whole and translated... the meaning will be clearly NOT what the Floor sitters say it is. IF Sitting on the FLOOR was that mandatory maryada the GUrus would have mentioned it more clearly and unequivocally in GURBANI and hukmnamas...BUT surprisingly it IS NOT.

    Our GURUS were stricklers for HYGEINE rather than the brahmin ideas about sucham bhittam.. it is definitley more practical and hygenical to CLEAN and WIPE tables when langgar spills occur....THAN say Tappars and Saffan whcih are impossible to Clean if dal etc is spilled...it is all RUBBED IN for bacteria to spread. Wearing shoes when eating off tables in no way offends any sikhi/gurmat rule...but still no one wears shoes in langgar halls..BUT walking barefooted on tappars filled with dried up daal and kheer of yester years is definitley NOT HEALTHY for anyone...as a lot of DUST is stirred up directly into Thalis. Langgar halls floors and tables and chairs benches are WASHED every DAY...BUT the Tappars and Carpets are rolled up week after week, year after year....
    Now lets us consider a few other relevant points:
    The AKAL TAKHAT - this is NOT a building of bricks and stones . IT is the THRONE of AKAL PURAKH, WAHEGURU as opposed to the Throne of Delhi/any other country. The THRONE OF AKAAL just like the KHALSA of WAHEGURU are entities that are FOREVER...FREE of the shackles of Time, and this WORLD. Individuals, buildings, aikhs that are IN THIS WORLD will go after their time is over....BUT NOT the AKAAL TAKHAT....of the TIMELESS ONE. SO what "HUKMNAMA" will come from this REAL AKAAL TAKHAT - there can be ONLY ONE HUKMNAMA from this Takhat - the HUKMNAMA called GURBANI which is the Guiding LIght of the KHALSA. GURBANI is the ONE thing in this World that is TIMELESS and it comes from AKAAL - WAHEGURU. So we MUST look to GURBANI for guidance...GURBANI has been written ONCE, and it cannot be Changed or altered or Withdrawn or cancelled..IT is TRULY TIMELESS....and GURBANI doesnt say WE MUST SIT ON THE FLOOR for LANGGAR or it is WRONG to sit on Tables for Langgar. The WORD used is PANGAT and that means LINE, ROW, COLUMN...in other words... a ROW/COLUMN/LINE of people of all races, creeds, religions, height/weight/colour/caste/shape...TOGETHER sharing their FOOD so that NO ONE feels left out/neglected/slighted/in any way whatsoever.
    Isnt it totally surprising that langgar on tables and chairs has been INSTITUTIONALISED in Overseas GURDWARAS for nearly 100 YEARS... countless jathedars, sants, priest, granthis, raagis, kathakaars including luminaries like Sant Principal Teja Singh Double MA ( from HARVARD) all VISITED these Gurdwars and ate langgar on tables and chairs and none saw any thing WRONG or anti maryada....until POLITICS reared its ugly head. This "hukmnama" has got to be the ONE that caused the most animosity, clashes, millions of dollars in litigations, police presence, fights and a CIRCUS of SIKHS in the World Media. The RSS and Anti-Sikhs must be Laughing till they fall of their own Tables and Chairs looking at what the Sikhs are doing to themselves.

    The PRINCIPLES of RELIGION cannot be changed....but traditions, maryada, rrules, regulations etc can be changed and are changed according to time and period and society we live in. At one time every jatt in Punjab ate his luch under a tree in his khet itself..now a days many if not all come home to eat luch seated on a manja with an electric fan to cool down. Punjabi schools used to have classes on the GROUND outside under trees...now there are very few schools that do this. At one time all Rural wedings usd to take place in the village homes....and langgar used to be seved on khes and chadran...then came the Marriage palaces and CATERERS...no more cooking, no more khes and darrian...Times change and so do people..NO ONE can hold back such changes especially when they are NOT AGAINST GURBANI or the PRINCIPLES of GURMATT.

    Jarnail Singh
     
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  11. etinder

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    gyaniji
    i have seen people wearing shoes in the langar hall and sitting on tables and chairs? whats ur opinion regarding that ?
    bhul chuk maaf
     
  12. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki fateh.

    IF some people had their way..SHOES would be BANNED as soon as you entered the Gurdwara Compound.....LEAVE THEM AT HOME...these people would say....
    But as matters stand shoes are only banned in the DARBAR SAHIB where GURU JI is parkash......and FROWNED upon in other places of the Gurdwara especially the Langgar hall.

    This is NOT a matter of MARYADA...the SIKH REHAT MARYADA clearly states that even when CARRYING SROOP of GURU JI on your head....IF the place underfoot is muddy, dirty, in any way YOU ARE FREE TO PUT ON YOUR SHOES. It would be totally STUPID to take off your shoes for an ardass for example and get your feet all muddied up !! but some people are 'sticklers" for "tradition" and end up making their cars dirty as well..let them be is my motto.

    Similalry IF the langgar Hall floor is dirty/muddy ( fat chance with marble gurdwaras)...you "can" wear shoes..BUT my thinking is wearing shoes INSIDE a building is NOT our custom. SO if we dont wear shoes in OUR HOME KITCHEN/DINING HALL...why should we inssit on wearing shoes in the Gurdwara Langgar hall. IN my localGurdwara, signs have been put up saying: NO SHOES Please....BUT some diehards still INSIST on coming in shoes...and after a few fist fights and scuffles...the issue has been let things be...IF someone wants to wear shoes..let him..GURU JI will "punish" him ( but I dont beleive that will happen)

    By now Etinder Ji you would have got my "drift" as the Cowboys say in hollywood westerns... Let People BE.... IF some want to walk barefoot in mud...OK its their feet....IF others want to wear shoes on a washed marble floor... well its their gurdwara too.
     
  13. etinder

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    gyaniji

    what if somebody comes to darbar sahib or where there is prakash of gurusahib

    whats ur stance on that?
    bhul chuk maaf
     
  14. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    NO SHOES in the darbar Sahib/ Parkash Asthaan of Guru Granth Ji....Under any circumstances.

    Jarnail singh
     
  15. etinder

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    gyani ji! i humbly ask please state the reasons for ur statement too?
     
  16. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki afteh.
    Veer Ji etinder ji,

    Here too although no maryada/religious injunction explicitly bans shoes per se, SIKHS follow the social traditions of removing the shoes when entering some one's house and the parkash Asthan/Darbar sahib is GURU JI's House as normally accepted. It is of the utmost importance that the place be completely clean and hygenic as everyone normally sits on the floor and the place is carpeted and air conditioned...This concept is completley alien to the westerners....but then westerners even go to bed wearing shoes.. So basically it is just a tradition that we all follow and as such a time when the majority decides it can be dispensed with we can all go along with that.

    Here may i also state categorically that Sikhi and Gurmatt places NO MERIT whatsoever on the NANGE PAIREEN ( Barefooted) pilgrimage/procession/penance/climbing steps of mandirs on bended knees bleeding all over the steps... etc etc that Hindus sometimes do to the mandir etc to show reverence/penance etc. Following this we have the story of mata ganga Ji, the wife of Guru Arjun Sahib jee shown going to Baba Budha Ji, BARE FOOTED to ask blessing of a Son. ( Apart from this story being a Fairytale as the theme of the story is blatantly Anti-Gurmatt and against the GURBANI of GURU ARJUN JI..but that is another story alltogehter and too long to repeat here). Since going barefoot is not of any merit there is no reason for mata ganga ji to go barefoot anywhere.

    jarnail singh
     
  17. etinder

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    gyani jii humbly ask forgiveness again , i m lil confused, above here u said that we shudnt wear shoes becoz of tradition..i have few questions here
    • shud we consider guru's place only where there is asthaan or parkaash of guru granth sahibji or the whole gurudwara, if we go as per tradition dont we leave shoes at dehleej or just after entering?
    • why we can go to langar with shoes on, but not at darbaar sahib,where gurugarnths parkash is there?
    • on one hand u r saying thts its eastern or asian tradition for nange paireen not western and they sleep n go to bed with shoes on, so why r we following their tradition of sitting on chairsn tables at langar, isnt it picking n choosing as per convenience that we choose to follow their tradition in langar but not the tradition of service of mass sitting on chairs n tables with shoes on at darbaar sahib?
    please explain, i m so much confused :confused:
    bhul chuk di khimaa mangde hoye

    guru fateh
     
  18. Tejwant Singh

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    Sikhism, Hinduism, Budhism ~~~> Worshippers sit on the floor.

    Islam- A semitic religion ~~~> Worshippers sit on the floor.

    Chrisanity, Judaism -Semitic religions like Islam ~~~> Worshippers sit higher on some furniture.

    Does anyone know how it all started and why? And Why is it considered disrespectful having chairs in the langar room or in the main hall?

    Input from all will be appreciated.

    Tejwant
     
  19. drkhalsa

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    Very nice point raised what i think is yes you are right that NRI sikhs are choosing are according to convenience but at the same time take care it may not hurt anyone or violate grmat and I think it is only way to evolve as per your needs( personally I dont think there is any need to evolve in these things and I would prefer it as it was in gurujis time :) )

    What I think is any body following or tying to follow any religion try to do it two ways
    1) keep his lifestyle as a basic thing and look for where the religion fit in
    2)keep his religion the basic thing and look for where your lifestyle fit in

    When you keep following your religion as a basic thing in your life I dont think there would any question or dilemma about such things
    I would also like to mention that it is very personal kind of thing and every individual should think and decide it for himself and not a thing to be follwed by looking at others or be imposed on others

    So gurudwara is place where we all meet to share our goodness and clean our mind and every kind of people are welcome there so it all depend on kind of people visting there if they think it is more convinient to take langar on chairs then chairs should be there .
    Similarly other kind of problem like this should be agreed on collectively by the sangat visting the gurudwara

    BUL CHUK MAF
     
  20. CaramelChocolate

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    NO WE DONT!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  21. etinder

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    dear john

    i know westerners don't but here gyaniji was trying to make a distinction between eastern n western cultural norms abt the importance n relevance of removing shoes in both cultures.
     

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