The Golden Temple at Amritsar
Amritsar, in the Punjabi language, means ‘the pool of nectar of immortality’. The 4th Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, founded it in 1574. The Golden Temple’s reflection glitters on the water, which surrounds it. This amazing site is the supreme spiritual center of the Sikh religion. The Taj Mahal deserves its ranking as the top site to visit in India, but the golden temple, located in the Punjab of Northern India, rivals the Taj for its beauty and impact.
Devote Sikhs make regular pilgrimages to this holy shrine to worship. It has four doors, one facing each direction. These doors represent the openness to all people, regardless of religion, colour, caste or sex, who wish to enter and worship the one God. Thousands of people flock to the temple daily to worship and take part in the communal meal.
Both pilgrims and tourists are required to follow the rules of this holy site. So, shoes come off, feet are washed and then your head must be covered before entering the complex. Once inside, you simply meander around the marble walkway that encircles this glittering pool of bliss.
To enter the temple you must first cross the Guru’s Bridge causeway. People are not in a hurry so it takes awhile to cross. It’s best if you just embrace to the slow pace and relax into the peace. Mantras being performed within the inner sanctum are broadcast on speakers, so we just joined in and felt the uplifting energy of the crowd carry us along. Once inside, we visited the main temple and then explored the other buildings and temples within the complex. True peace abounds within this holy of holies. Flower mandalas and stone inlaid marble walls add to the magnificence of the golden wonder. A simple meal of chapattis and dhal is provided in the great dining hall for all who visit.
Each morning sister Shabad Dev and I would arrive early to the Golden temple to attend morning prayers; this would energize us for the afternoon walks and evening prayers. When you are within the complex you can literally feel the spiritual energy all around you. At then end of the day there is a special ceremony to put the holy book to bed. This book contains the sacred writings and teachings of Guru Nanak and other holy writings. Late one night, after the holy book was put to bed, I explored the outer galleries where two entire floors are lined with small alcoves in which devotees can sit and contemplate the holy scriptures twenty four hours a day. I was truly touched by the devotion of these people; I felt a deep kinship with these pilgrims knowing that they have devoted their lives to these holy teachings just as I had devoted my life to the teachings of Yogi Bhagan. The ethereal beauty of this golden refuge with its flower gardens, lofty domes and eastern architecture combined with the uplifting energy of the worshipers left me without words to describe it’s beauty. The experience touched me so deeply that I can say it reached to the depths of my inner being.
My top lifetime dreams were one, to train at an ashram in India and two, to walk where Yogi Bhajan had walked in the Golden Temple. He had washed the floors with milk as part of his daily ”seva”. Being in the holy space of my Guru was a profound spiritual experience for me. I felt I had come home, and was one with myself an