An Enclave of Faith

March 18, 2007


Source: Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

THONOTOSASSA - After sunset, worshippers hold a service in honor of the guru.

They approach the altar with clasped hands, kneel deeply and bow. Some present money. Others whisper prayers.

Someone fans the guru while worshippers sit cross-legged on the floor and sing songs in the Indian language of Punjabi.

"The divine light is within everyone," they sing, accompanied by an accordion-like harmonium and pulsating tabla drums. "You are that light. By the guru's teaching, this divine light is revealed."

The guru, which sits covered beneath a colored vestment and elevated above the worshippers, is not human, though it has its own bedroom and wardrobe of fancy clothes.