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The Blessings of Langar

By Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa

There is a simple and beautiful tradition, established about 500 years ago in India, in which all people regardless of caste, religion, race, or gender, sit together as equals and share in a blessed meal. No one has special seating or dishes. All sit on the floor and are served together. This is called Langar.

At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, over 10,000 people are served every day in this way! The food there is simple, usually dal (spiced lentil soup), chapattis (whole wheat flat bread) and chawal (rice). Its taste and vibration are very divine because it is prepared and served with constant chanting and prayer. All of the food and labor are donated. It is considered a blessing and privilege to contribute in any way.

We can easily bring this tradition into our communities. If you are beset with a difficult challenge or wish blessings for a special event, whether it be dealing with a great personal loss, a stressful important decision, or a family celebration...say a prayer, make some food, and find some people to serve. You might invite friends over, bring the food to work, or share it with your neighbors. The act of preparing and serving food with love and prayer is very potent! Such an offering brings power to your prayer, a deep sense of fulfillment, and the hand of the Divine into the resolution of your affairs.

One day my husband, Gurujodha Singh, came home and said he wanted to start serving langar to the homeless every Saturday. He made a few phone calls; I rounded up a few pots, and the next thing we knew we were preparing food for 200 people every week. We did this for over a year, and served it at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles. As word spread of what we had undertaken, donations came in to help pay for the food and two 60-quart stainless steel pots “manifested.” A local market donated fresh vegetables. Someone donated baking trays (we made cornbread every week) and in no time it became a community project.

This is to say that it doesn't take a lot for you to make a difference. When you do something with goodness in your heart, it generates more goodness. Who knows what lives you may touch? Even the smallest bit of love and kindness goes a long, long way toward making this world a finer place.

Siri Ved Kaur has been a part of the 3HO/Sikh Dharma community since 1971, when she served as Yogi Bhajan’s personal cook for several years. She has authored three cookbooks (Conscious Cookery - 1978, From Vegetables with Love – 1989, and From Vegetables, with Love: Recipes & Tales from a Yogi’s Kitchen - 2015) and written numerous columns for Beads of Truth, Aquarian Times, YogaMint, and HealthWorld Online. Mother of three grown daughters, she now resides in Bakersfield, California with her husband, Gurujodha Singh.