Reflections From Visiting A Sikh Temple In Fairfax Station Chapter

Length: 2 pages Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Chapter Paper: #22976448 Related Topics: Reflection, Aliens
Excerpt from Chapter :

¶ … Gurdwara in Virginia

While I have attended services of religions different from my own, most of my experiences have been with religions that share a similar background with my own religion. As a result, they seemed to have the same starting point as my own religious services, and, even if they felt new and different, there was something familiar at the base of their services and practices that made them seem less intimidating. However, I did not have that same feeling when I decided to attend services at the First Gurdwara in Virginia, a Sikh temple and member of the Sikh Foundation of Virginia. Sikhism was very alien to my own personal experience, and I actually approached the experience with some anxiety. I feel that it is important to disclose this fact because I do understand that my own attitude almost certainly had an impact on how people related to me during that service, which would have altered my own perceptions of the service and the religion in a way that would probably not have occurred in a religious service that was more closely related to my own personal religious practices.

The outside appearance of the First Gurdwara was very similar to the appearance of a rural Christian


It was a white clapboard structure that was handicap accessible. However, there were outside indications that it was not a church. It had a gold dome, which I learned was actually pure gold plate, something that reflects traditional Sikh architecture. It also had a very tall flag pole in the front of the building, which flew a yellow colored flag that is emblematic of the Sikh religion.

When I entered the building for a service I had seen was called the Sunday Diwan, I expected to be treated like an outsider. Sikh men dress in a very distinctive manner and most of the women were also dressed in clothes that would be considered ethnic or cultural in the broader community, so that my differences were immediately apparent. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was greeted warmly by various people and that I was not the only "outsider" in the building. I was welcomed by a religious leader, though, honestly, I am not certain that I understand his role in the religion. I do understand that Sikh leaders are called gurus, but also that there is a difference between a current guru and the original gurus who founded the religion. Honestly, I could not tell if the leader with whom I spoke was considered a guru or simply a local religious leader. He seemed to fill the role of a normal pastor, being a local religious leader of a local congregation, but not a leader of the broader religious organization. He welcomed me to the temple, told me about the day's events, and offered me an English-language translation of the services. This was very helpful to me, as many of the activities were in a foreign language, which I later learned was called Punjabi.

One thing I found interesting is that most of the people in the temple sat on the floor, unless they were standing as…

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