Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Episode of 8 of India Travels (Part 4): Money, Money, Money

The only DODGEY thing that I experienced during the visit of seeing all the various local Gurdwara Sahibs was at one particular - Gurdwara Sahib (which I won’t bother to mention!). Sat Naam, Waheguru! We did Matha Tekh and did Parkarmaa (circumbulation) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee. As I did Parkarma, the Gurdwara Sewadaar (who is meant to give a short talk about the history of the Gurdwara) asked me "Where are you from?" I said, "England". Then our entire group sat down to listen to the Sewadaar explain the history of the Gurdwara.

The Bhai Sahib explained the history of the Gurdwara very quickly and then he requested for donations to help with Kaar Sewa (the building and renovation of the Gurdwara Sahibs). (We found out AFTERWARDS that all donations placed in the basket in front of the Sewadaar goes to the Sewadaar. All donations placed in the Golak (money box in front of Guru jee) goes towards Sewa of the Gurdwara.)

The Sangat gave money to the Sewadaar and placed it in the basket placed on the table in front of him. I placed some money as well. Then we all got up to leave. As I got up, the Sewadaar called me over. "Come here... Also bring your mother." My mum and I went over to see the Sewadaar (who was still standing in the Darbar Sahib). Everyone else had walked outside to see the Sarowar (pool of water).

The Sewadaar said, "You have come from abroad, Guru jee has had Kirpaa (Grace) on you and blessed you with luxury houses and jobs, yet you have not given anything back." My mum and I were confused. What is he on about!

The Sewadaar took my mum and me on a guilt trip, saying that people in India are poor and implied that we are greedy or something. Rab Bhalla Kare. Chalo, so I put another 100 rupees in front of the Sewadaar (thinking that it was going to the Gurdwara!). The man said "Is this all? Waheguru has blessed you with so much and you only give this?"

The man started to sound AGGRESSIVE. Respecting him as a Gursikh (because he wore a white pagh and white chola) I thought "O dear me". My mum and I felt uncomfortable and PRESSURED with guilt tactics. I ended up emptying my wallet into the basket in front of the man. There were about 500 rupees, which we had brought to do Matha Tekh at the various Gurdwara Sahibs.

The man was still NOT SATISFIED. Waheguru! He stared at my mum's big bag she had with her and said, Mata Jee show appreciation and make donations. Thank Guru Nanak that you live abroad." The bloke didn't realise my mum's "BIG BAG" was full of tissues, wet wipes, and a small towel (to wipe the face). lol. He thought my mum was carrying a "BIG BAG" of MONEY!

He said, "DO an AKHAND PAATH here!" I was shocked that he gave us a PRICE LIST of Akhand Paaths. He asked for 5,000 rupees to do an Akhand Paath. I said, "I am not doing an Akhand Paath. What is the point of paying you to read Paath on my behalf, when I will not be here to listen to the paath, nor will I able to contemplate on it? Instead I can read Gurbani myself!" He replied, "Don't worry I will POST you the Hukamnama". This is totally contrary to Gurmat. A Sikh should read, listen, and contemplate on Gurbaani THEMSELVES and not rely on others to read, listen and understand and expect to reap the reward! Its like someone is feeling hungry and instead I eat a big meal on their behalf thinking that it will satisfy the other man's hungry stomach!

I got fed up and saddened. I said, "Baba jee, don't take any offence but I have emptied my wallet now! I have no more money left to give you! Also, now I have no money left to do Matha Tekh at the other Gurdwaras." He now got ANGRY! He shouted, "TAKE IT, TAKE IT, TAKE IT ALL... Go on; take all the money from the basket." Waheguru, Waheguru. I was shocked! This was the first time I have seen greedy thugs dressed-up posing as Gursikhs in white chola and round white pagh. Deary me!

My mum and I told the Bhai Sahib, "Once a person has placed money in the Golak, how can they take it back. We don't want to take any money back. We are just saying that we have no more money to give you." (However, we were so gullible and ignorant that we didn't know that the money we gave actually goes to the "TOUR GUIDE" of the Gurdwara and not to the Gurdwara itself!). When we shared out story with our relatives. The surprising thing is that when they visited the same Gurdwara a year later they had the SAME EXPERIENCE. But instead they gave the man a piece of their mind and told him that he should be ashamed that he is asking for donations for the Gurdwara but allowing people mistakenly place the money in the basket in front of him instead of the Guru's Golak.

Chalo (O well!). I can say that was the ONLY dreadful experience I had in a Gurdwara. So it was a ONE OFF. It definitely made me realise that we should all respect Sewadaars and especially Gursikhs. However, at the same time be alert and aware of fraudsters and thugs dressed in BaaNaa (religious dress) posing as Gursikhs (like so-called self-proclaimed fake "Sants" and fake "Babas"), who are out there to rob people of their money. Rab Bhalla Kare.

Bhagat Kabeer jee mentions in his shabad on ang 476 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee that even during his life time in Banaaras (a city in India which considered a religious centre for Hindus), fraudsters manipulated common people by dressing up as men of religion and then took people for a ride.


ਗਜ ਸਾਢੇ ਤੈ ਤੈ ਧੋਤੀਆ ਤਿਹਰੇ ਪਾਇਨਿ ਤਗ
gaj saadhe tai tai Dhotee-aa tihre paa-in tag.

They wear loin cloths, three and a half yards long, and triple-wound sacred threads (i.e. dressed as "men of religion").

ਗਲੀ ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾ ਜਪਮਾਲੀਆ ਲੋਟੇ ਹਥਿ ਨਿਬਗ
galee jinHaa japmaalee-aa lotte hath nibag.

They have rosaries around their necks, and they carry glittering jugs in their hands.

ਓਇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਸੰਤ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਾਨਾਰਸਿ ਕੇ ਠਗ
ou-e har ke sant na aakhee-ahi baanaaras ke thag. 1

They are not called 'Saints' of the Lord - (in reality) they are thugs of Banaaras. 1

Instead, Bhagat Kabeer jee highlights that we should only take the support of Satguru, the True Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee, and be attached only to Waheguru.

ਜਿਤੁ ਕੋ ਲਾਇਆ ਤਿਤ ਹੀ ਲਾਗਾ ਤੈਸੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵੈ
jit ko laa-i-aa tit hee laagaa, taise karam kamaavai.
(What control does the person have?) One is attached to that, to which Waheguru has attached them to, and act accordingly.

ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਜਿਸੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਭੇਟੈ ਪੁਨਰਪਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ
kaho kabeer jis satgur bhettai, punrap janam na aavai. 42
O Kabeer! The truth is that one who meets the True Guru is not reincarnated again. 42

Bhul chuk maaf if daas has written anything wrong or offensive.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

vaheguru ji ka khalsa, vaheguru ji ki fateh

veerji .. there was post on your blog .. i think yesterday .. about the event which is gonna happen in some university .. where there will be a talk about "what is soul, how do we know if we have soul.. etc" .. i asked you if we can read that lecture .. cuz for those people like me who can't attend.. i don't see that post here on your blog any more .. where it is .. gurmukh ji :-)

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

vaheguru ji ka khalsa, vaheguru ji ki fateh

bhenji i deleted the post because the event had happened.

all the talk audios and photos will be uploaded onto www.SweetSikhi.com. So please hold tight, they will be up shortly.

Manvir Singh

msingh said...

"...Don't worry I will POST you the Hukamnama". Lol!

Unfortunately there are always going to some people in all religions who are only too ready to abuse people's faith and sharda for monetry gain. I know of people who've had 'sikhs' turn up at their house or business out of the blue claimimg to be collecting for this sewa or that sewa.

"...be alert and aware of fraudsters and thugs [sometimes]dressed in BaaNaa (religious dress) posing as Gursikhs.."

Well put Manvir Singh ji.

Angad Singh said...

Guru fateh!

well just on yr sants and babas point..look at puratan gursikhs..BHAI Mani Singh not Sant/Baba..or Bhai Jassa Singh Alhuwaliya..or Bhai Santa Singh ..Bhai Samund Singh..Bhai Randhir Singh..these guys served the panth in many ways and never allowed any one to call them sant or any thing..

and now ..whtt a contrast to 20 and 30 olds coming up frm no where and calling themselves sants and maharaj and all..

My 2 cents..

guru rakaha

Anonymous said...

Expose this guy totally. It's not wrong to even say which Gurdwara.

Manvir Singh Khalsa said...

Anonymous jee,

the Gurdwara Sahib in which this particular Sewadaar works is "Nanaksar Gurdwara" which is near Gurdwara Rattan Garh (if my memory serves me clearly).

I was told at Gurdwara Nanaksar, Guru Nanak jee on his travels came there. He met a lepor. Guru jee told the lepor to do Mool Mantr jaap (meditation) and told him to bathe in the pool of water (sarowar) which is next to the Gurdwara.

Bhul chuk maaf.

simran singh said...

gur fateh,
i just now read your post money money money, and it caused such ananguish, pain and resentment...similar experiences have taken place with some of my friends also, although they were not from abroad, just well dressed, and that was enough for some sewadar to cling to them, when i was told about this i was horrified, what kind of image they would have of sikhi, if they had drawn any conclusions from their experience, but thankfully it did not happen that way, for they knew that corruption happens everywhere, and every religion has its share of frauds, but its sad, its really sad...
and yes i agree with angad singh, there is actually a prolifiration of sants these days...no idea how and why it should happen...is it possible that we as people need some person to revere..is it just an ego thing, like every religion has their saints and stuff so we should also have to have some to be at par...i don't know...
good post...such experiences should be there for people to see...maybe one can learn from the experience of others....