Over 3500 devotees gathering for guru langar at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission on his 143rd birthday! The preparations and cooking that go on behind the scenes are no small feat! While words are inadequate to impress the efforts and devotion that go into it, here are a few glimpses into how the guru langar prasad is prepared.
A day in advance the Mission is fused with activity. Volunteers also called sevadars to come in large numbers and erect a pandal for devotees to comfortably sit and have meals the next day. Chairs and tables are set up in neat rows. A laborious task, it is all done by the volunteers, and no agency is involved. It is all a part of ‘kar seva’ or seva by hand.
The next day is a busy day at the Mission’s kitchen. Anyone walking by can hear holy chants, prayers, and bhajans echoing from the kitchen. Volunteers gather as early as 5 am to prepare meals! They are all divided into small groups, one that sorts the vegetables, another that chops the vegetables, and one that assembles it all to cook a delicious meal. The menu was decided, a sumptuous spread of sai bhaji and kadi, both of which are Sindhi delicacies. These are coupled with rice, chapatis, and pav. Sweet boondi is freshly sourced and served.
Preparing chapatis is one huge task in itself! Again, volunteers are divided into groups ¬ one does the kneading, one makes the chapatti balls, one rolls the chapatis, and one cooks them.
Speaking to a few sevadars, we find out how they manage it all. “It’s not we who do it, we are instruments. On any given day to think of preparing such a huge meal would be unimaginable. But this is made possible solely because of the Master’s grace,” said one of the volunteers, Hoor.
Another volunteer, Jaya, quipped, “There are shabads (hymns) that are sung all along the preparation time. The atmosphere is entirely divine. All of us are immersed in thoughts of God, our Beloved Masters and it gives us the energy.”
We also spoke to the ones who are closest to the cooking fire where the heat and temperature is very high and yet they are seen smiling. “It’s a fortune that amongst so many who love the Master we have the opportunity to be here. It is in no way tiring. I would love to come again and again and partake in the sevas,” said Sajni.
With all the preparations complete, one can see mammoth utensils filled with hot, freshly cooked langar prasad. Another set of volunteers are designated for serving.
As devotees begin to arrive, the activity at the serving team is high. As rows after rows get filled, volunteers with buckets filled with sai bhaji, kadi, rice, and baskets with chapatis, and pav are seen making rounds and serving. Their eyes are constantly on a watch – no one must be waiting for the next serve!
Soon it’s time for washing the utensils. This too is done in the most organised manner as singing hymns, sevadars wash one utensil after another.
Once washed, all utensils are neatly wiped and stacked for the next langar seva. Finally, the seva comes to a close. But only until the next guru langar, which devotees and volunteers look forward to alike!
Guru Langar Seva - https://www.instagram.com/reel/ClXq6avqrOL/