dangerous compassions

I call you / from the comet's cradle

Thursday, November 17, 2016

langar at the Sikh temple

Yesterday I was so sad.  But then last night Ming really wanted to go to the Sikh temple for their langar, and I gave in.  We picked up our friend C and traveled to the other side of town.

We took off our shoes outside in back of the temple, and I was surprised because if it had been raining, our shoes would have gotten soaked.

Some women in saris were entering the building before us.  I felt like a weirdo in jeans and my new tiedyed teeshirt.  I wore something on my head.  Ming wore something on his head, and C too.  It's required.

We went into the worship hall and some music was being played on harmonium and drums.  Men sang.  It sounded good.

There was a kid who seemed maybe developmentally disabled who kept staring at me.  I was sitting on what seemed to be the men's side of the room and felt weird about it.

We were all sitting on the floor, and there were no cushions.  My legs took turns falling asleep.  I stretched them out and got some circulation back.

It was interesting and boring at the same time.

My favorite part was when they handed out handfuls of sweet prasad.  I was given a lot.  It crumbled as I tried to eat it.

Then one of the main guys came up to us when it was over and told us we were not supposed to sit with our feet pointing toward the guru or have cigarettes in our pockets.  I apologized about sitting wrong, and he said, "Don't apologize.  You didn't know."  We assured him that we didn't have any cigarettes.  He introduced us to the temple's president, who seemed blase.

Then was food time.  We went into another room and got styrofoam trays and were served food.  I refused the sweets.  The food was good vegetarian Indian food.  It was served to us from buckets.

Then we got C and left.  An old lady said goodbye to us awkwardly.

Ming and our friends had gone to several langars, but this was my first.  I don't really want to go back, but it was bloggable.


  • At November 17, 2016 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love you !

    I am sorry you were feeling sad. I so appreciate you going to the langar, and I know C was very appreciative. We made it possible for him to go, as it would have been very difficult for him to have gotten there otherwise.

    Sorry it was awkward for you to be in the worship hall. I really appreciate you going and being there.

    I love you !

  • At November 20, 2016 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Laura . Read your blog about Langar in Gurdwara. I would like to share something about Gurdwara.
    1. You wanted to go there only for Langar, having your free meal outing. So rather be thankful for that you are trying to find things you didn't like there.
    2. It's nohing to do with you only which you like or NOT. This holy place is for everyone, all religious , people can come here they all are welcome . Otherwise you couldn't even enter there.
    3. You went there put your feet towards holy book, its common sense not to show disrespect. Even old man came to correct you and told you its not your fault because you didn't know. But don't you even know that if you will put BIBLE or any religious book under your foot it is Mental. Anyway they didn't make any issue. So why you even mentioning it. May be he couldn't make you understand he introduced to the manager to whom you saying is blase.

    4.there were no cushions ? Really is that a point ? You went to holy place or picnic ? In my opinion there are few small soft cushions which you may haven't noticed. And always been offered from gurdwara who have got some disability issue or got some serious health issue. They may be did think you look healthy and can sit down like others so didn't ask.
    5. Lady said goodbye AWKWARDLY...?? are you a JOKE. she only said GOODBYE Didn't swear at you or cursed you or abused you. Is that a crime to say GOODBYE TO SOMEONE. you didn't even mentioned that you was happy or delightful to have a free meal. Either unthankful person. Who looks lie a sick and trying to make an issues unreasonably. On the other hand you should not even go there at all. because like you people don't even deserve that. So sit home and write your BLOG. Because everywhere you. Ant make it BLOGGABLE.

  • At November 20, 2016 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, I am taking the above comment as a person who took offense at Laura-Marie's recounting of her experience and reactions to something she did during her day.

    First off, she went to help me and C. So I will respond to the above comment. She did not "go there only for Langar", the meal served after a religious service. To say such is a misunderstanding of her intent and purpose of going.

    She was not blaming the Sikh's for not having a good time. It was a religious experience that was, on the initial take, not to her liking.

    Even the helpful explainer and the President of the Gurdwara knew that she was not trying to show disrespect to the Guru, but that she did not know the customs and protocols of the Sikh temple and customs. Or even who the Guru was. It was a teaching moment that caught Laura-Marie, C, and me by surprise. Laura-Marie chose to write about it, not as a sign of disrespect to the teaching but as her reaction.

    It was an unusual experience, new to her, that there would be sitting on the floor, for a period of time. The lack of cushions was something that made sitting difficult and contributed to her discomfort. She was going to the service for the aspect of helping me to this service that I was going to, to show respect to the Sikh's and the Guru.

    The lady was saying bye to us, in a formal manner. I have the idea that they do not get many visitors coming to their service and she was trying to be friendly, but still seemed stilted in her mannerisms. Laura-Marie was making her observation, and wrote about it.

    My goal in responding to the above commenter, should they want and read this comment response to their comment, is that no disrespect was intended or taken. That Laura-Marie was writing and sharing about her experience on this, her personal blog. My request is that the commenter know that while comments are welcome, assumption of good faith and compassion is also welcome.


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