| Devotees gather to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary at Gurudwara Singh Sabha in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee |
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 28: Gurubani, kirtan and bhajans filled Gurudwara Singh Sabha at Kharavela Nagar here, as local residents joined devout Sikhs to celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti today.
The 544th birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev, was celebrated with religious fervour. The gurudwara witnessed a heavy surge of devotees, who came from far and near to pay their respects.
The Akhand Path or the continuous recitation of the complete Guru Granth Sahib that began 48 hours ago was completed at 10am today. The celebration of Prakash Utsav, as the anniversary is popularly called, started three days before Guru Nanak’s birthday. After Akhand Path, the devotees sang Gurubani, bhajans and kirtans remembering the tales of birth and beliefs of Guru Nanak Dev.
“Nanak ji merged the virtues of Hinduism and Islam to create Sikhism. Sikhism doesn’t believe in any discrimination among its followers on the basis of caste, gender or creed. Many religions speak of equality, but Guru Nanak ji ensured that it is actually manifested. Langar, where people sit on the floor and eat together, is an example,” said Satpal Singh, member, Gurudwara Singh Sabha.
Bhai Charanpreet Singh, a choir of three kirtan singers, came all the way from Delhi to sing hymns. Along with kirtans, occasional chants of “Jo bole so nihaal, sat Sri Akal” filled the darbar of the gurudwara. Even schoolchildren sang kirtans.
Seva or service, another prominent feature of the Sikh religion, saw elders and youngsters alike managing the entire celebrations. From sweeping and washing the premises of the gurudwara to serving water and food, every task was performed cheerfully.
“We recite Guru Granth Path at home and come to the gurudwara, where all my family members are engaged in seva. Some wash utensils while others look after shoes,” said Tarvinder Kaur, a resident of Lewis Road.
Many youngsters were eager to see the evening celebrations. “In the morning, we witness the Sadh Sangat, which is the holy congregation. In the evening, the fireworks are a big draw. We might get to see some people performing valiant acts with swords,” said Harshdeep Singh, a Class XI student of Loyala School.
Apart from Sikhs, several others thronged the gurudwara as well. “I am an Odia married to a Sikh. On every Nanak Jayanti, we wear new clothes and visit the gurudwara to pay our respects,” said Padmaja Joshi, a dentist married to one Sarabjeet Singh.
“Many people gathered here today are non-Sikhs. It is a matter of pride for us that they have joined in our celebrations,” said Satpal Singh.