After guests finish eating, I follow them outside where they are greeted by a human chain: men standing side-by-side, passing dirty plates from the first person to the last. The items are emptied of any leftover contents before entering the washing stations. The clank, clank, clank of stainless steel plates, bowls, and spoons pounds into my ears. It is a symphony in its own right. Every dish and utensil is washed through five different stations by volunteers. The cycle repeats as clean plates, bowls, and spoons are stacked and stored, ready to be handed out to the next wave of incoming guests.
This visit to the Harmandir Sahib reminded me of man’s great capacity for compassion. In our daily lives, it’s very easy to forget the good in this world where “Love Thy Neighbor” seems more wishful thinking than reality. But everything I witnessed this December day reaffirmed my faith in humanity, humility, and service. These vivid memories will stay with me, no matter how many times I visit again.