"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
- Old Testament
We were a group of seven people, including three ladies. We had left for Igatpuri early this morning. Enroute, when we decided to take a break at a food court, a friend of ours suggested that we should stop at the famous Shahapur Gurudwara which was about fifteen minutes away. The rest of us liked the idea and got off our vehicle when we reached the shrine.
The Nasik highway is one of the busiest and most beautiful routes to drive by, particularly in the rainy season… the fields and the mountains are adorned by greenery… The clouds comedown on the mountains to kiss… It is am amazing sight to behold! So, many travellers choose to stop by the Shahapur Gurudwara for freshening up, washrooms and langar… “It is a round-the-clock service,” our friend told us, “Anybody can come here at anytime of the day or night… No one goes back hungry.” We had reached there at 9:30. We chose to have the lovely masala tea served in big steel glasses along with a packet of biscuits… But, most of the people around us, who had travelled from faraway places, were savouring their proper meal… roitis, dal, rice and vegetables… It was steaming hot langar and all of us had to sit down, our legs crossed, to accept what was being served, yes, with our heads covered… and, above all, not without washing our naked feet before walking inside the shrine…
I was a Christian and one of us, a man, was a Maharashtrian Hindu, a lady was a Kerlalite Hindu and three of us – a lady and two men – were Sindhis… only one lady was a Sikh. But, we all felt the divine presence the moment we stepped inside the shrine… We all, in reverence, went around the Guru Granth Sahib… the symbol of divinity out here… We all washed our glasses and plates and placed them where we had to… We all sat down in silence for a few moments before we came out… And, what did we pray in our minds?
When I am humbled… made to realize how small I am… I know I am praying! It can happen to me inside a shrine or outside… anywhere, anytime…
This morning, it happened inside the shrine… Something so vast and powerful was making me feel why I had to wash my feet, cover my head, bend my knees, and, above all, bow my head… I was made to realize, that, like all others, I, too, was just a traveller… a pilgrim, indeed!
I have come back with one more message: If we are earnest, there is a resting place and there is food for our soul and stomach enroute our journey… That, God doesn’t send back any of us unfed or uncleansed!