Day 2: Gurdwara/Service

0803151213Monday, our second full day in Delhi, was a day for visiting sacred spaces. We spent some time in the morning preparing for our visits by talking about our own sacred spaces, and then we went to two of the great places of worship in Delhi–the Gurudwara, a Sikh Temple, and the Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India. The visit to the Gurudwara in particular made this a very powerful day for our group.

As a tourist, it can be very hard to really connect with people in the country you are visiting. That’s one reason that our visit to the Gurudwara was so special. It gave us the opportunity to connect to people through serving.

After taking a tour of the white marble temple and its reflective pool, we went to the kitchen, where volunteers prepare free meals around the clock for over 10,000 people a day. We spent some time rolling and grilling chapatis (Indian whole wheat flatbreads), then we served food to several hundred people in the dining hall, and finally, we took our turn being served. Working side-by-side with other volunteers and waling up and down the rows serving food we crossed the lines that normally separate tourist from native, and we got a glimpse of how Indians see life in Delhi.

Everyone found his or her niche, whether it was Kyre becoming a master chapati-roller, or grill masters Francisco and Andre, or Selena serving chapatis.

The tour of the temple also struck many of the students, because we had such an engaging guide. He explained that the Sikh religion was about how we learn to work as a team for nature, and not in conflict with it, and how we can anticipate and coordinate with others in order to create a good society. In our evening wrap-up discussion, several students remembered the things the guide had said. A favorite quote was: “If you wish to love God, you must love all his creations equally and serve them, for service is the practical application of divine love.”

0803151239dOur guide also taught us the “true” meaning of the princess and the frog, which is that boys are immature and girls need to be wary. (Think about it.)

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