Sikhism is a community which preaches what they practice. They are the ones who believe in ‘Seva’, and truly work for the welfare of the community. They follow what their guru wrote in the Guru Granth Sahib. Every Seva within the granth is followed and preached by the community. This is the society which feeds the people and provides a lot of community service. Sikhs are known for Langar at Gurudwara and what catches your eyes as soon as you reach a gurdwara is the “Jutta Ghar”, or a place where all deposit their shoes before entering Gurdwaras.

One thing that catches your attention is that people are usually sitting in these” Jutta Ghar’s” and are cleaning the shoes deposited there. Right from small children to old age, everyone is seen giving his/her services. Cleaning of shoes is made mandatory in this place, and irrespective of the position and type of shoe is cleaned.

The condition and makeup of the shoe are not the criteria of the selection among the shoes to be cleaned. The position and bank account are not why the shoe of one person is cleaned, and the other is not.

After seeing this, the question that revolves in one’s mind is,  what and why is this made  mandatory for every Sikh is asked to do the Seva in the Jutta Ghar. The following points can be considered:

1. Removal of Ego: Whenever any person is touching an elder’s feet, he/she surrenders their ego in front of that person. The same happens when we clean some other person’s shoes, it is tough to pick up a shoe covered with dirt and clean it with utmost care and faith. This leads to a reduction in the ego of the individual delivering this Seva.

2. Time to introspect: The time one spends at these Jutta Ghar gives ample time to introspect their condition and position. If an individual is facing any problem the time that he does this Seva, he can introspect the problem and try to find the right solution. Introspection gives courage to deal the problem with calm and active mind.  

3. Time to be mindful:  This is the time which gives opportunities to the individual to be cautious and practice ZEN. They have to emerge in work, resulting in the meditation ultimately.

4. Time to thanksgiving: The process of cleaning shoes gives a moment to thank the almighty for the position that we are in. This is the time we thank for the individual’s material wealth and physical health.

Thus, a simple Jutta Ghar is Gurudwara is not just to collect shoes of the devotees but this is the place which gives more than what the whole gurudwara. It only depends on the person who understand the science behind simple actions.

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Chander OM

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