Day 11 of my trip. It’s
People were sitting in the house and outside on the floor listening to the conclusion of the Paath. Guru Sahib’s Prakaash was inside one of the rooms. First of all we had Chaa Paani and ate few Pakoray etc. It was “help yourself style,” which I am not too keen on. However, I was assured that everyone is washing their hands and touching food. Fair enough, so I tuck into a few pakoray and one or two barfi pieces. Felt hungry so I am thinking of going back to get some more Pakoray.
Shock horror! An aunty who was sitting nearby and eating with her hands and putting her hand in her mouth went to get some Pakoray. Instead of asking someone to pour her some, she went straight for the bowl and shoved her hand RIGHT TO THE BOTTOM! She started lifted Pakoray from the bottom (probably thinking she didn’t want to eat Pakoray touched by other people’s dirty hands!!). I felt bit queasy and sick! Perhaps it’s a good way to keep off the calories (just watch how unhygienic things are and I am sure it will put you off having second helpings!)
Washed my hands and then we go to do matha tekh (bow down) to Guru Jee. I was shocked at what I saw. Sat Naam, Waheguru. Probably should say Waheguru few more times to get over the shock.
Where should I do Matha Tekh? Infront of Guru Sahib there were photos of the deceased elderly lady. So basically everyone who did Matha Tekh to Guru Sahib ended up doing Matha Tekh to these large photos of the elderly Mata jee who had passed away.
I couldn’t believe how the Amritdhari looking Paathis could allow such Manmat (contrary to Guru’s teachings) things to happen. Chalo, I walked to the side of Guru Sahib and did Matha Tekh rather than doing it from the front.
The programme finished and Guru Jee was carried with reverence back to the Gurdwara Sahib. Everyone then went to eat “Langar.” Well it wasn’t exactly Langar because it wasn’t cooked by the “Sikh Sangat” or “Saadh Sangat,” instead it was cooked by “Halwayee” or cooks. And it was served like a buffet style (again!).
I refused to eat "Langar" because I could felt uncomfortable eating. I told my cousins that I eat in steel plates and that there’s no “sucham” (hygiene) in buffet-style “Langar.” My cousins said, “Don’t worry! Amritdharis don’t eat there. You and the Granthi Singhs will be eating Daal Sabji straight from the pateelaa (cooking pot).” I was thinking to myself, “O mind! Am I hearing this correctly? There is separate langar for Amritdharis and separate langar with anyone who doesn’t mind eating in dirty plates and buffet-style “langar”.” I couldn’t believe it.
I told them that why don’t you give everyone steel plates and why don’t you make everyone sit on floor and do sewa of sangat by distributing langar. They agreed that there is no hygiene and that it is contrary to Gurmat tradition. However, their excuse was “this is how everyone does it in
Had my langar and went on the look out to find the Granthi Singh incharge so I could have a word with him about why there was a large picture of deceased elderly lady resting on Guru Granth Sahib jee. I found the Granthi. He was pleased to see a Singh from abroad. When asking him about the photo he said, “Yes it is Manmat and totally wrong. It should not be there and is considered “Bipran Kee Reet” (contrary to Gurmat).”
If we read, listen and contemplate then we learn many inspiring and deep things in our Nitnem (daily prayers). People say "Why do Nitnem?" For me Nitnem is a Sikh's "daily inspiration," which every day links us back to our Guru and helps to tune our mind to Gurmat (the Guru's teachings). Every morning we read in Tva Prasaad Svaiye (early-morning Nitnem prayer composed by Guru Gobind Singh jee):
ਕੋਉ ਬੁਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਤ ਹੈ ਪਸੁ ਕੋਉ ਮਿ੍ਰਤਾਨ ਕੋ ਪੂਜਨ ਧਾਇਓ ॥
ko-oo butaan ko poojat hai pas, ko-oo mritaan ko poojan dhaa-i-o||
Some fool worships the idols and someone goes to worship the dead.
ਕੂਰ ਕਿ੍ਰਆ ਉਰਿਝਓ ਸਭ ਹੀ ਜਗ ਸੀ੍ ਭਗਵਾਨ ਕੋ ਭੇਦੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ॥ ੧੦॥੩੦॥
koor kriaa urjhio sabh hee jag, sree bhagvaan ko bhed na paa-i-o||10||30||
The whole world is entangled in false rituals and has not known the secret of Lord-Waheguru. 10.30.
He then said, “Well actually the family wanted the photo there. We couldn’t tell them not to put it there and go against their wishes in such circumstances like a funeral.” Rab Bhalla Kare!
ਇਹੁ ਕੁਟੰਬੁ ਸਭੁ ਜੀਅ ਕੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਭਾਈ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾ ਸੈਂਸਾਰਾ ॥
ehu kuttamb sabh jee-a ke banDhan bhaa-ee bharam bhulaa saiNsaaraa.
All of these relatives are like chains upon the soul, O Siblings of Destiny; the world is deluded by doubt.
ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਬੰਧਨ ਟੂਟਹਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰਾ ॥
bin gur banDhan tootteh naahee gurmukh mokh du-aaraa.
Without the Guru, the chains cannot be broken; the Gurmukhs find the door of salvation.
ਕਰਮ ਕਰਹਿ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਮਰਿ ਜਨਮਹਿ ਵਾਰੋ ਵਾਰਾ ॥੨॥
karam karahi gur shabad na pachhaaneh mar janmeh vaaro vaaraa. ||2||
One who performs rituals without realizing the Word of the Guru's Shabad, shall die and be reborn, again and again. ||2||