Fremont Gurdwara Has Van Custom-Built For Transporting Scriptures

June 14, 2006

Source: SikhNet/Mercury News

On June 14, 2006 Mercury News reported, "The Sikhs in Fremont have a new van. It's a gleaming white Ford that seats 12. But this is no ordinary $33,000 vehicle. It transports the community's holiest document, the Guru Granth Sahib, from the majestic onion-domed temple at the foot of the East Bay hills to people's homes for special occasions. Handymen recently installed a metal altar inside the van. It has a special parking spot. And on Tuesday, a Santa Clara sign maker affixed the outside of the van with yellow and blue lettering so it is now ready for use. All the fuss is meant to ensure that passengers feel safer traveling with their ancient scriptures propped up on white pillows and securely tied down, instead of clutched on their laps, as has been the practice. The Guru Granth Sahib is considered the 'supreme spiritual authority' of the Sikh faith. So, making sure it gets to where it needs to go -- without being dropped -- is an important task. 'It's very exciting,' said Sukhdev Bainiwal, 39, of San Jose, a software engineer and a lay leader at the Fremont Sikh temple. 'This is just giving the Guru Granth Sahib more respect.' The Sikhs aren't the only religious community to treat holy writings with respect. If the Jewish Torah is dropped, it's a custom to fast for 40 days. Jewish prayer books and the Muslim Koran are placed above all other books in a pile and even kissed if they touch the ground. Catholics pay special respect to the Book of the Gospels, which is used for readings during Mass. The Sikhs are unusual though, in that they transport the Guru Granth Sahib with the utmost of care. Even a Torah, which is often decorated in velvet and silver, can be wrapped in a prayer shawl and put in the trunk of a car for traveling."