Service is woven deep into the fabric of who Sikhs are. It is one of the 3 core values handed down by Guru Nanak: Naam Japo (praise God’s name), Kirat Karo (earn an honest living) and Vand Chhako (share what you have with others). In this way, a Sikh lives as an inspiration and support to the whole community.
Guru Nanak’s message was that we are all “One”; we are all the Creation of the Creator. Therefore, when one serves others, we are serving God. This concept has become ingrained in the consciousness of Sikhs. Sikhs regularly serve food to people in need all over the world. Whether it’s opening their home to serve and feed guests, preparing food in their local gurdwaras, helping those in need who are facing some kind of crisis, or preparing and serving food at a homeless shelter, service is one of the highest values in the psyche of a Sikh.
Serving food to the community is such an important value to Sikhs that every time there is a gurdwara service, a meal (langar) is served to all. When people are served food as part of langar, they sit in langar lines on the floor and all are served equally, eating the same food and sitting next to one another, no matter what their status gender, race or social class. All are served equally, with the same love, grace and respect.
The concept of service and equality was so important to Guru Amar Das that he made it a requirement that anyone who wished to have an audience with him, must first be served and eat langar. Even when King Akbar visited Guru Amar Das, he was required to first eat langar, sitting amongst the “common” men and women.
Sikhs regularly serve food to people in need all over the world. Sikh Dharma International has a program, “Sikhs Feed People” which:
- Highlights community food service programs around the world
- Inspires others to start food service programs in their communities
- Provides resources and guidance for those looking to set up food service programs to serve their communities
- Shares community food seva schedules so that people in their area can know when, where and how to help
- Provides financial aid to food service programs to help them with their mission of serving food to those in need
This program also has the added benefit of educating the world at large about the Sikh values of service and feeding people. If you know of programs in your community where Sikhs are feeding people, please tell us about them (and include pictures)! You can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Anybody who wants to rise must pay for it. If you want to levitate your personality, then the art of sacrifice has to be mastered. It is only in giving that you receive.” –Siri Singh Sahib~Yogi Bhajan