The mission of Chardee Kala is to promote diversity and cultural
competency as taught by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, thereby bringing to
the fore issues of color and caste for the purpose of uplifting people
who have a history of being marginalized, using social media and other
means as platforms to inform various communities of the life experiences
and concerns of marginalized people with regard to the necessity for social
change, social justice, inclusion, compassion, tolerance, cultural literacy,
and growth in our human relations going forward in order to better facilitate
the current worldwide shift in global consciousness from tribalism, instability,
and extremism, to harmony, cooperation and enduring peace. And furthermore,
we welcome and support other organizations that promote the transformation of
consciousness as taught by Guru Nanak Dev Ji throughout his life and travels.
Our ultimate mission is to afford every person in our community
opportunities (see example) to explore the sensitivities of the human spirit
to where each person is inspired to (a) teach and interact with people while
maintaining a keen appreciation for their longing for inclusion, the innate longing
to belong within our human nature; (b) respond with compassionate consideration
and sensitivity to those racial, cultural, religious, ethnic, economic, political, social, ethical, psychological, and philosophical differences that exist within every community.
Nanak Naam Chardee Kalaa,
Tere Bhane Sarbatt da Bhalaa
In the Naam, all people are blessed with cheer and prosperity.
Chardee Kala, aka Chardi Kalaa, Chardhi Kala, Cherdi Kala, is a Sikh expression. Chardee Kala is the exuberant exclamation of boundless optimism, the exalted
and positive attitude towards life and all mankind. It means living a life of service to the community. An example of the Spirit of Chardee Kala is the practice of 'Free Kitchen' as originally instituted by Guru Amar Das,* and sponsored since then globally by the Sikh community. See The History of Chardi Kala.
NOTE: Sikhs contribute 33% of total income tax and 67% of total charity funds in India. Sikhs make up 45% of the Indian Army and maintain over 59,000 Gurdwaras (temples), which serve Langar to approximately 5,900,000 people everyday. All of this while Sikhs represent only 2.4% of the total Indian population.
*Guru Amar Das instituted Langar
aka Free Communal Kitchen
Guru Amar Das Ji 1479 - 1574
The tradition of Langar expresses the ideals of
equality, sharing and the oneness of all mankind.
Guru Amar Das Ji began his adult life as a very religious Hindu who spent much of his life performing the pilgrimages and fasts of a devout Hindu. It was not until his old age that Amar Das met Guru Angad Dev Ji and adopted the path of Sikhism. He eventually became the third Sikh Guru, at the age of 73, succeeding Guru Angad Dev.
Guru Amar Das instituted the Free Communal Kitchen called Langar among the Sikhs. The Free Kitchen was open for service 7/24. Although very rich food was served, Guru Amar Das lived simply on coarse bread. The Guru spent much of his time personally attending to the cure and nursing of the sick and aged. Guru Amar Das made it a rule that those seeking his audience must first eat in the Langar. See Langar At The Golden Temple.
This video captures a night of service at Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.
This service takes place at this location every Monday evening rain or shine.
You are welcome to participate by registering on our website Shareameal.net and
showing up at 7:00p to any of our weekly service locations. See website for more details.
An essential part of Sikhi practices is serving Langar or Free Kitchen.* Here the food is
cooked by members of the Sangat (congregation) and is served without discrimination
to all. After the Sangat has participated in any ceremony, they are served the Guru’s
Langar. The tradition of Langar expresses the ideals of equality, sharing, and the diversity yet oneness of all humankind. See The 12 Aspirations of the Sikhs.
The idea is that a person or religious body should serve selflessly, no thought of reward,
nothing to do with proselytizing or sharing a philosophy or belief, and without regard for culture, religious affiliation, ethnicity, race or gender, just service to all.*
In the spirit of the Sant Sipahi
Service with a Saint's eyes and a Warrior's heart
Sat Nam. The food prepared in the Guru ka Langar is always vegetarian. It is prepared with the highest regard for hygiene and with an elevated consciousness by reciting Gurbani (the Guru's words) during the preparation, cooking and serving. Although it is common to serve food based on Indian cuisine because most congregations are predominately of Indian origin, it is perfectly acceptable to serve good quality food based on any other cuisine or tradition.
Before the food is served, a prayer (Ardas) is recited over the completed preparations and it is blessed with the passing through of a sacred knife (Kirpan). All people are welcome to the Guru ka Langar. It is normal to ask people to remove their shoes, cover their heads and sit on the floor in lines to be served.
Clearly, Guru Nanak must have known the adage that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. This tradition of offering free food to anyone is grounded in the altruism and egalitarianism at the heart of Sikh beliefs. The virtue of Vand Chakna is one of the fundamental qualities of a Sikh; it means to share what you can with those in need. Also, the practice of Seva (selfless service to others) is also a highly valued virtuous activity in Sikh Dharma.
The seva of serving Guru ka Langar has become widely associated with the identity of Sikhs and this noble tradition continues to this day all around the globe wherever there is a gurdwara or there are Sikhs. At the Harimander Sahib (the Golden Temple) in Amritar, which is the most revered of all Sikh gurdwaras, over 50,000 people are served in the Guru ka Langar every day, with over 100,000 people being served on popular holidays.
At the 2004 World Parliament of Religions conference in Barcelona, Spain, Sikhs made a huge impression by serving Guru ka Langar to all the participants. It was a palpable manifestation of the virtues of diversity, humility and loving service to all.
Today, there are some people who look to the example of the Guru ka Langar as a way to ease the huge problem of hunger. Whether the hunger is caused by geo-political struggles or by social inequality, Guru Nanak's Guru ka Langar demonstrates how when charity, humility and service lead the way, our humanity toward each other can overcome even the greatest challenges. See Bhai Sahib Satpal Singh Khalsa's Langar, A Sikh Tradition.
When you are blessed to eat in the Guru ka Langar, you experience Cherdi Kala (the feeling of being lifted up) and Sarbhat da Bala (the loving intention of wishing the best for all people) and you realize that your stomach is not only being fed, but also your soul.-- Pritpal Singh Khalsa
Points To Ponder
About The Golden Temple
. The Foundation of The Golden Temple Was Laid Down By A Muslim Saint*
Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru in 1588 planned to build a temple in the centre in Amritsar which would be open to people of all castes, and climes; thus he invited his friend and great contemporary mystic and Muslim savant, Mir Mohammed Muayyinul Islam, popularly known as Mian Mir, to lay the foundation stone of the temple. The tension between Hindus and Muslims in the 16th century was evident and the Sikh prophets desired to level down these barriers with a view to discover and provide a common spiritual ground for the two, Hinduism and Islam, thus was born the idea of the Golden Temple.
*Some historians claim that Guru Arjan Dev actually laid the foundation and that Mian Mir was merely present.
. The Temple Is Made of Marble But Plated With Real Gold
The Gurdwara is constructed with white marble overlaid with genuine gold leaf. In the early 19th century, 100kg of gold were applied to the inverted lotus-shaped dome and decorative marble was added to the structure.
. The Pool Surrounding The Golden Temple Is Known As Amrit Sarovar
The water surrounding the temple is a sacred pool known as the Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar). Devotees who visit these shrines will bathe in these pools as Sikhs believe that spiritual and worldly benefits are gained by immersing in the holy waters of these sarovars. Legend has it that a dip in the holy water of the Sarovar surrounding the temple can cure people of many ailments. It is said that once a leper took a dip in the holy water and got cured of his leprosy.
. Around One Lakh People Are Fed For Free Everyday At The Golden Temple Langar
The largest langar of all Gurdwaras is organised everyday at the Golden Temple, where around 100,000 people a day are fed for free by temple volunteers, but the number double during special occasions. Around 12,000 kg of floor, 1,500 kg of rice, 13,000 kg of lentils and upto 2,000 kg of vegetables are consumed everyday. The langar caters to people of all castes and creeds. See Kitchen of The Golden Temple.
. At The Langar, All Diners Have To Sit On The Floor
Everybody sits on the floor, irrespective of caste, status or creed, symbolising the central Sikh doctrine of equality of all people. According to legend, around 500 years ago, Guru Nanak introduced the idea of langar where everyone regardless of religion or social status, could sit on the ground together as equals and eat the same food. The philosophy behind this free meal was a radical departure from the prevailing norms, where caste hierarchies decided what you ate and with whom you ate it. (See Pluralism.) -- Source.