Today we share with gratitude that we have completed 40 days of Parkarma Seva at the Golden Temple. It has been our privilege and honor to serve with the sangat and contribute a small part towards keeping the marble floors of the Parkarma clean and shining for all those who come to bow their heads. It has been such a blessing to spend so much time in that sacred place and to begin our day in such a way. This has been an amazing, uplifting and healing experience.
We have been doing our Sadhana in this way every day, rising at 2:00AM during the Amrit Vela, the ambrosial hours. This is the most beautiful time to be awake, to meditate, to pray and to serve without expecting anything in return. It is a challenge to approach this sadhana with the best possible attitude, beyond the tiredness or coldness, which we started to experience particularly in the final days, and in that challenge we have grown together. This seva is something powerful and an unforgettable experience!
Daily waking up at 2:00 in the morning to get ready, tie your turban, make sure to be warm enough, go to formation (in some cases running to make it on time), finding a seat on the bus, driving a half hour, arriving and walking towards the temple, leaving your shoes at the shoe check-in, passing through the water pond to enter with clean feet, bowing at the Guru’s feet, taking some quiet time to prepare for seva, waiting until the head sevadars bring out the buckets, and then at 3:00 stepping inside the sarovar to fill the buckets while others carry them out to all the corners and splash the floors, followed by the sweepers who scrub and push the water into the drains. After going around each of the four corners, the sevadars stand together and throw buckets of water onto the place where the Guru used to sit and supervise the construction of the Golden Temple. Then there is a final ardas and a cry of victory from the sangat as the task is completed together.
Students have time to go to the Langar Hall to have some hot chai, a sweet reward after they have completed their service. Others go inside the Temple and sit for a while to meditate with the kirtan, recite their banis, and have some prashad to embrace the sweetness of the Guru’s bani. Some sit around the Parkarma to do their meditations, lay down to rest for a little bit, or share their experience with each other. One group of students takes a dip in the holy waters while reciting Japji Sahib each morning. They go through any block or resistance, praying together through their trembling, especially as the winter has grown cold.
Then we start to get ready to get back into the bus, making sure to be there on time without delaying everyone else. We drive home through the dark for thirty minutes, a special time to transition from the divine to the mundane, and to let the energy of seva settle inside of us. This is a special time to contemplate our inner selves and how our feelings move, to examine our experience, to come to a place of a deeper and meaningful connection with our spirituality and ourselves, to strengthen our bond with God and Guru, and to have a deeper appreciation of life and all of the gifts we have been granted to fulfill our purpose.
It is a beautiful feeling to go through the process and serve side by side with the community, both those who have traveled from far and the local sangat who have been doing parkarma seva for many years! As the parkarma is being cleaned it cleanses you from the inside out. It gives you the chance to think about life or to not have any thoughts at all, and to enjoy that wonderful state of shunia, contemplating with mindfulness. It also gives you the opportunity to see how everyone works together to keep the Golden Temple shining and clean in the face of many thousands of visitors per hour.
Our 40 day seva happens with a certain rhythm. It runs smoothly and keeps you present, as it brings awareness and gratitude into your consciousness. The end of 40 days Parkarma Seva represents a new beginning in the life of the students, going back to the regular schedule for the winter season with a deeper understanding of themselves and how they were able to keep up with it! They will remember it for the rest of their lives and by the time they graduate from Miri Piri Academy and continue with their lives, as they grow up into adulthood, they will always have that strength and that courage to defeat anything that comes in their way.
Enjoy the video and the photo gallery. Sat Nam!