Sikhs in London conduct prayers and religious rites after Gurdwara fire Punjab Newsline Network Saturday, 21 March 2009 London, UK: Sikhs will congregate for prayers in London this weekend in the aftermath of a fire that gutted the Sikh Sangat Gurdwara ( Sikh place of worship) in Harley Grove, Bow, London, which housed eight Saroops of the Sikh eternal Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The weekend programme will comprise continuous recitation of the Sri Guru Grant Sahib Ji, which started this morning (Friday), until Sunday, followed by religious rites for the Saroops that could not be removed before the fire gutted the Gurdwara. See information below and at http://www.sikhacademy.org A message circulated by the Mata Sahib Kaur Sikh Academy said: "Upon instruction from the Akal Thakt Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, the saskar of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji's Saroops will take place at Khalsa College Chigwell on Sunday 22nd March." "It is time that every Gurdwara has designated panj pyarae (Five beloved initiated Sikhs) to lead the sangat for the seva of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji after a man made or natural disaster hits a Gurdwara," said UNITED SIKHS director, Harsharen Kaur, who attended the scene of the fire on Tuesday. She recalled, "During Hurricane Katrina, the saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji could not be removed before the hurricane hit the Gurdwara in New Orleans and was removed by UNITED SIKHS volunteers and a rescue team engaged by us." The details of this weekend's prayer programme in London are as follows: Friday 20th March 10.00am - Mata Sahib Kaur Sikh Academy - Aramb Sri Akhand path Sahib ( Continuous recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji begins) Sunday 22nd March 10.30am - Mata sahib Kaur Sikh Academy - Bhog Sri Akhand path Sahib ( Conclusion of the continuous recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji) Sunday 22nd March 12.00pm - Saskar Sri Guru Granth Sahib JI - (Religious rites) Khalsa college, Chigwell The organisers of the programme have sent the following message: "There has been an overwhelming concern from the Sikh Sangat nationally and internationally. Coaches are being arranged from around the country to allow the Sangat to attend the programme. If one of our family members leaves this physical world we all make time to pay our respects. Our living Guru has given shaheedi of 8 pavitar Saroops. It is wholly appropriate that all of the Sangat attends. We expect Sangat to attend in unprecedented numbers. This programme can only happen with the blessings and support of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Guru Roop Sat Sangat. If you can help with sewa over the weekend please come to the Academy or phone 07951431053, 07809650776 or 07958581555 . Sewadars are needed for a whole range of tasks including helping with langar, pathis and stewards." Harsharen Kaur said the following about the community's feelings at the scene of the fire on Tuesday night: "'Beautiful' is the word to describe Guruji's pyaari sangat (congregation) of about 70 people, young and old , who gracefully sat on the green in front of the Gurdwara Sahib recite Guruji's bani ( prayers), braving the cold night. Beautiful was the ardaas and dohiraa and jakarai - keeping the spirit alive as the nishaan sahib ( Sikh flag) stood mighty and intact, and beautiful was the kirtan in the chapel at Queen Mary's College, nearby- Dhan Guru Granth, Dhan Guru Panth! - Even those who were there in thought and spirit, if not physically. We were truly humbled by you. Chaupai sahib paaths (prayers) were recited instead of kirtan sohila (as advised by a Gurmukh Gyanji). After the ardaas, we learnt from the gurdwara's sangat that the remains of the 8 maharaj's saroops ( Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) were recovered from the building and are now in sachkhand at Mata Sahib Kaur academy in Newbury Park. Great are the firefighters who put out the fire, and risked their lives to recover our guruji's saroops. May everyone's prayers, presence and seva be parvaan (accepted), and may we continue to come together in ekta, with nimrata & pyaar, (unity, humility and love) hopefully in less tragic circumstances."