Langar - The Common Kitchen
Langar refers to Common Kitchen
Langar refers to the common kitchen where food is served in a Gurdwara to all the visitors for free. At the Langar, only vegetarian food is served to ensure that all people, whether Sikhs or Non-Sikhs, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can eat as equals.
Originated by First Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev
Serving of food is a long-standing tradition called, Guru ka Langar (Guru’s Kitchen). The first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, first originated around 1521 to eradicate the caste system, which was prevalent during that time. The act of sitting together in the Guru ka Langar was a revolutionary idea.
Even a king and a beggar can sit together, serve and eat the same food, and it’s still a powerful reminder of the equality of all people before God, regardless of birth, age, gender, faith, or status.
Vegetarian Food prepared in the Langar
It is always vegetarian food prepared in the Langar. It is prepared with the highest regard for hygiene and with an elevated consciousness by reciting Gurbani (the Guru’s words) during the preparation, cooking and serving. Before the food is served, a prayer (Ardas) is recited over the completed preparations and it is blessed with the passing through of a sacred knife (Kirpan). All people are welcome to the Guru ka Langar. It is normal to ask people to remove their shoes, cover their heads and sit on the floor in lines to be served.
This tradition of offering free food to anyone is grounded in altruism and egalitarianism at the heart of Sikh beliefs. The virtue of “Vand Chakna” is one of the fundamental qualities of a Sikh; it means sharing what you can with those in need. Also, the practice of Seva (selfless service to others) is a highly valued virtuous activity in Sikh Dharma.
The identity of Sikhs is associated with the seva of service Langar. This noble tradition continues till today all around the world.
Cherdi Kala and Sarbhat da Bhala
When you are blessed to eat in the Guru ka Langar, you experience Cherdi Kala (the feeling of being lifted) and Sarbhat da Bala (the loving intention of wishing the best for all people), and you realize that your stomach is not only being fed but also your soul.