Visit to a Sikh Temple
By Saboohi Ahmed
The Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council, a branch of the National Interfaith Council, provided an opportunity to its members to visit a local Sikh temple in Santa Ana and learn about Sikhism.
The Council is currently headed by Lane Calvert of the Baha’i Faith and assisted by Vice President Rev. Dr Sarah Halverson, pastor of the Fairview Community Church.
The event was organized by Executive Director of the NMIIC Mrs Farrah Khan on February 11 th 2016 and hosted by the Sikh Temple of Santa Ana.
The guests were greeted by Mrs Sukjit K Dillon who is the President of the Temple and a delicious vegetarian meal “langar” was served to the guests which included members of many faiths, including Islam, Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Presbyterians and Catholics.
An introduction to Sikhism was provided by Mr Avinder Chawla who is secretary of the Temple. His talk touched on all the main aspects of Sikhism including monotheism, charity and honesty. He described how the Sikh Temples provide two meals every weekend to all people for free throughout the year without asking for any compensation or regard for the religion of the visitors. He also discussed the strict dress code followed by Sikhs and the explanation of the turban. The audience particularly enjoyed the demonstration that Mr Chawla gave of tying his turban. Unfortunately, after the events of 9/11 Sikhs have had to suffer greatly from hate crimes and discrimination in the United States as they are sometimes mistaken for persons from the Middle East.
The guests also had the opportunity of hearing from the world renowned cardiologist Dr Harvinder Sahota who is a founding member of the Sikh Temple in Santa Ana. Inventor of the “Sahota Perfusion Balloon” used in angioplasty, Dr Sahota is a great philanthropist and scholar of the Sikh faith. It was a pleasure to hear his account regarding the historical origins of Sikhism in India and how the concept of monotheism and a casteless society was introduced by the first Guru.
The Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council provided a wonderful example of showing how people from different faiths can get along side by side and yet maintain their distinct religious identities.