First of all This is not to demean any religion..
I am a Hindu by birth, but yes I respect all religions .I offer my daily prayers , fast on holy days , but there was something that was disturbing me .
God as per me was a Friend, someone who was by my side always , someone who was a dear friend , but this is not what everyone else thought , for others he was the Judge who gives his verdict always and punishes anyone and everyone .
Walk into any temple and you would see , if you have money , you will be treated in a way as if you are the ONLY disciple of the God . I have had too many experiences where I was treated as a second class citizen in the temple . Why? Well I could not afford giving thousands as donation. This is not how it should be , God looks at each one of us with the same divinity .As I mentioned God for me is a friend, so tell me, do we chose friends based on their bank balances? Do we give our verdict on them ? then how can God do it?
I know many of us would say that Friends do judge us , blah blah.. But You know true friends are those who accept each others differences , they do not try to change each other , they do not judge each other - they just ACCEPT each other . Same is for GOD :)
There are beliefs in Hinduism ( many of them are controversial ) like only men can do puja of Hanuman ji, why such partiality . There are also many other practices in other religion as well , which pinch me , but I refrain from writing about those as my knowledge in those religion is limited.
I happen to visit a Gurudwara , very close to my Institute , and I must say I am not only impressed but mesmerized . Let me describe my first visit a bit meticulously .
It was guru nanak jayanti , at around 12 pm , I and my friends decided to visit the Gurudwara.
As I entered I saw a man helping all the devotees keep their shoes , very generously , looking at his attire , I was confused , as generally in Hindu temples , which I have visited, the one doing this job is paid by the trust, and he just does this mundane job in exchange of salary .
But things were different here , completely different ! .I walked in after washing my hands and legs, and as I entered , the main hall where people offer prayers .As I walked in I saw a lady siting on the Dias and reading the The holy Granth . I was more than sure that she must have been a priest or someone on similar lines ,(My knowledge was based on my experiences in temples - Where only the authorized person "Pandits" are allowed to perform puja . )
As I walked put of the hall, towards the place arranged for the "langar" . My friends enlightened me about the assumptions I had made . :)
The person who was helping with the shoes was not doing his task ( as in not as a job) , but was doing "SEWA" , helping the mankind . I was surprised - little did I knew there was more to come.The Lady reading the Granth was no priest she was just like us - in Gurudwara anyone could read the holy book - so unlike the temples .. How beautiful isn't it ?
As I walked towards the sitting arrangement, I realized that men and women were equal there. Everyone had their head covered , unlike temples which I had visited where only women were suppose to cover their heads...
During the next 15-20 minutes I was served with the most delicious food by the most humble people .The people serving food were also doing sewa :) In fact the food was cooked by people doing sewa . There were also people washing the soiled utensils all for sewa . :)
It's amazing ! people irrespective of their religion, their social standard, their attire, their bank balances were together - and all they were doing was SEWA ! they were ONE as if a Divine force had glued them together.
The entire environment was amazing, people helping each other, serving food to each other, cleaning others soiled utensils, managing the shoes of others .
There was no special treatment for the rich, everyone ate together under one roof, served together, no partiality.None at all!
After that one visit to Gurudwara, I must say I am addicted to it , I try to visit it every Sunday and do sewa.I look at it now as an epitome of Equality, where all are treated as one.
The best thing was there was no condition like " only Sikhs allowed " - it was open to all.Anyone who wanted to seek blessings of Baba, and do sewa to mankind was welcomed there .
We as a society should learn from this, and help each other , instead of hating each other , instead of judging others on the basis of partial knowledge - we should love everyone , we should look at each other with uniformity . We should help the mankind and that would only give us solace .
Sewa is one of the most difficult yet Simple things to do. But once done it would leave us with a feeling divine enough to wipe away all the negativity , a feeling powerful enough to bring a lasting smile on the face .