Friday, February 03, 2006

Episode Five of India Travels - Celebrating Gurpurb


On the eighth day my mum and I went to Jalandhar to stay with my mum’s Mami jee and their family (maternal uncle’s family). My mum and I were introduced to the Granthi Singh of the local Gurdwara. The Gurdwara Sahib was just on the backside of the house where we were staying.

The Granthi Singh was a very “happy-chappy.” He was always smiling, making others smile, laughing and making others laugh, as well as talking about Gurmat. It was very nice meeting him.

On Saturday 5th July (day 10 of the trip) it was Sixth Nanak, Siri Guru Hargobind Sahib jee’s prakaash diwas (birth day) gurpurb. So the whole family went to the local Gurdwara Sahib.


There was “Missi-Roti” (ਮਿੱਸੀ ਰੋਟੀ) da Langar, roti prepared from wheat flour mixed with gram flour, with onions to eat (marking the fact that Mata Ganga jee (Guru Hargobind jee's mother) served the elderly wise Gursikh Baba Buddha jee with the simple meal of Missi-Roti and onions when asking Baba jee to do Ardaas to Waheguru asking for a gift of a child). As the Diwaan (programme) finished the Sangat made its way outside to eat Langar.

Just near the entrance of the Darbaar Sahib I saw some clean-shaven young men which were college age, who were wearing caps. I folded my hands and did a benti (request) to the young man, “Bhaji, please don’t take offence but could you kindly tie a rumaal (handkerchief) instead of wearing a hat.” He said, “O sorry! Yes I will do it.” Chalo, teek hai. I sat down to eat Langar. Ideally when doing sewa one should wear a turban, as its the Guru's Nishaani and gift. If we serve in the name of Guru Nanak, then its ideal to serve in the image Guru jee expects from his Sikh.
ਜਿਨਿ ਜਨਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਤਿਸੁ ਘਰਿ ਦੀਬਾਣੁ ਅਭਗੈ
jin jan gurmukh sevi-aa, tis ghar deebaan abhgai.
That humble being, who, as Gurmukh (one who has his face turned towards the Guru), serves the Lord, has the Support of the Imperishable Lord Waheguru in the home of his heart.
(Ang 1098)



Sat Naam. As I am waiting for Langar the person giving out the Roti was the clean-shaven young man who was STILL wearing his cap. Waheguru! I folded my hands and said, “Bhaji could you please tie a rumaal. Wearing a topi in the Gurdwara or while doing sewa is not accordance to Gurmat.” He again said “O okay. I will do it.” Waheguru! The group of young men who were clean shaven throughout the whole time at the Gurdwara continued to keep their caps on. What else could I do? How can someone do sewa of Langar and distribute Langar wearing caps. However, there were some younger children distributing Langar who were also wearing caps but they responded positively when I requested them to tie a rumaal on their head instead.

The ParDhaan (President) of the Gurdwara Management Committee was sitting in front of me eating Langar. I told him that Langar should be distributed in accordance to Gurmat Maryada (tradition) and that people are roaming the Gurdwara wearing (baseball) caps and hats and no one is kindly telling them they can’t wear caps in the Gurdwara. I was shocked the elderly ParDhaan was not very interested, and said “Teek hai, chalo” (Its okay. O well). Waheguru!

In the evening the Granthi Singh came over to the house. I shared my concerns with him. He agreed, but said he once told some people not to wear caps and hats and the Committee and the boys’ relatives came and told the Granthi Singh off, and asked him not to say anything to their sons, and that his job is only to read Paath and do sewa. The Granthi Singh is a very friendly chap and gets along with everyone regardless of whether they are practicing Sikh or not. I was amazed how someone could find what he said as “offensive.” Rab Bhalla Kare.

Chalo, the conversation turned light hearted and we were laughing with my younger Mama jee (my mum’s younger cousin) about getting married. He is clean shaven. He asked me to look for a wife for him but I said that it would be hard for me to find a wife like he wants unless he wants to keep Kesh and marry an Amritdhari or religious-minded girl (as the majority people I know are religious natured people). Lol. We laughed and had good fun. My Mama jee said “Manvir, when you go to the Gurdwara today, do Ardaas for me that I get married and find a wife.” I said teek hai, I can do that.In the evening I went to listen to Sodar Rehraas Sahib. Afterwards there was nice Keertan. Then came back home. My elder Mami jee (my mum’s elder cousin’s wife) told everyone that today when she went to the Gurdwara Sahib an aunty jee asked her who I was and offered a marriage proposal for her daughter to me. Sat Naam. Firstly she was 14 or something! Waheguru! And I was 18, and yes - too young to get married.

Did I hear the last of this? Sat Naam. It was a good excuse for everyone to have fun and fill their bellies with laughter. Everyone joked that I went to the Gurdwara to do Ardaas for my Mama jee to get married and instead I ended up getting a marriage proposal. Rab Bhalla Kare! :)

5 comments:

Angad Singh said...

Paaji..your lucky u only had a proposal come yr way..one of my friends nearly got married off..the girls side like came with shagun and all tt stuff and the poor fella din know wht was happening..is cousin aunt arranged the entire thing..the poor fella had to run for his life..

guru ang sang!

Singhstah said...

India is on scary place lol...

deep kaur khalsa said...

lol...manvir pajee...i can to relate so much about what hapens in the panjab..my pooa ji also lives in Jallundhar and theres a Gurdvara Sahib right behind ner their house...people really don't show much respect, only a few..chalo.

the marriage proposal, haha...Welcome To India! :)!
vahegurujikakhalsa, vahegurujikifateh ji.

Anonymous said...

very funny lol

ur india diaries are very true and remind me of the days wen i went to india :D

they were good. but one thing i truely regret :(
i wasn't much in2 religion then and i didnt realise the importance of all of the gurdwaras we saw... now i wish i had paid more attention then complaining about the machar :'(
i feel really bad as we saw many gurdwaras n i cant even remember their names i feel really guilty :'(

newyas God Bless You!!!!
Fateh :D

Anonymous said...

Manvir,
from Malaysia with love. I truly admire your humour and your approach to issues at hand. I liked reading the mama jee and the ardaas. I too travel to Punjab every year and love visiting as many Gurdwaras as possible. One sad thing though is to see young Sikh boys cutting their hair with their parents blessings , what will happen to Punjab when all these vulgar and corrupt singers and setting a false precedence. Keep up with your good work and I hope we will meet someday
Gurfateh
Sewa Daar