WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1: It’s the anniversary of a unique faith leader today for Sikhs, as they honor Adi Granth—the holy Sikh scriptures—on First Parkash. Sikhs view their holy book as the living embodiment of all 10 gurus (enlightened Sikh leaders) who contributed to it. (Read more at SikhismGuide.) Today is the 406th anniversary of the day the fifth guru took the book—which he had compiled from the hymns and compositions of his predecessors—and placed it in the Golden Temple. “First Parkash” means “Opening Ceremony,” and today’s opening ceremony was for the installation of the first edition of Adi Granth.
The Adi Granth today is complete with words from the remaining five gurus, but this sacred day is still held in high esteem. Today’s Adi Granth contains 5,864 verses—and not just from Sikh gurus. The fifth guru also invited Hindus and Muslims to tell him the words of their teachers and, thus, the Adi Granth contains hymns from Sikh, Hindu and Muslim teachings alike.
Today honors the fifth guru’s placement of the holy book in the Golden Temple, and the Golden Temple remains the most holy site in Sikhism. (The BBC posted a photo of Sikhs worshipping in the Golden Temple, among others.) The Golden Temple is more than just a beautiful structure for worship, though—and it serves a daily purpose of feeding tens of thousands of Indians. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the community kitchen at the Golden Temple serves free food to any visitor of any faith, and on the average weekday, 80,000 people come for a meal. (Weekends see an average of 160,000.) Since Sikhs believe in equality, they carry out their beliefs through this Golden Temple service.
(By ReadTheSpirit columnist Stephanie Fenton)
(NOTE: To see more short articles about upcoming holidays, festivals and anniversaries, click the “RTS Magazines” tab at the top of this page and select “Religious Holidays.”)