The Manhattan Sikh Center will be a sacred space, similar to a church, mosque, or synagogue, conforming to the Sikh tradition of enabling any visitor to participate in prayer and service.
The Center’s mission is to provide spiritual uplift to the congregation through prayer, community service, and support to fellow human beings. The Center will have paid and volunteer staff to help pursue its mission.
There will be regular services for prayer and contemplation, including paath (reading/listening of Sikh scripture with reverence), kirtan (devotional singing of Sikh scripture), and learning from the Guru Granth Sahib (the sacred book which is now the final and everlasting guru to the Sikhs). The Guru Granth Sahib is composed of the writings/poetry of the Sikh gurus, as well as earlier saints from both Hindu and Muslim traditions. It is largely devotional poetry set to music.
A primary focus of the Center will be to provide langar (communal meals), where any and every visitor will be served simple vegetarian food at all times of the day. Sevadars (servers) will carry out the langar service, with prayer on their lips and humility in their hearts. Feeding the hungry and promotion of fellowship through langar is a pillar of the Sikh religion.
In addition, the Center will have a library and reading room, and classrooms for study of the Sikh religion and kirtan. There will be regular classes once the Center is in operation.