Friday, October 15, 2010

Meat and Alcohol at Weddings...

Baba Harnam Singh Jee (Rampur Khera Wale)

Episode from 'Se Kineya', biography of Baba Harnam Singh Jee (Rampur Khera):

Baba Ji had a devotee who lived near Jalandhar. He was God loving and religiously minded but was nonetheless easily misled by materialistic thoughts. That person arranged his daughter’s marriage to a rich but materialistic family. The day for the wedding was fixed. The gifts and dowry to be exchanged had been agreed. Finally, the menu for lunch was discussed. The groom’s family insisted on having liquor and meat at the wedding lunch. This devotee of Baba Ji raised some opposition to this demand but hesitated, thinking that if he were to flatly deny this demand then the groom’s family may break off the engagement. Influenced by his soon to be relatives, he agreed to serve meat and liquor at the lunch. The wedding day drew closer. The family came to deliver an invitation to Baba Ji and requested Baba Ji to attend the wedding ceremony and bless the couple.

Baba Ji asked them where they had arranged their daughter’s marriage. He told Baba Ji about the family where his daughter was to be married and let slip that meat and liquor would be served because the groom’s family insisted upon it. Baba Ji listened patiently to the devotee’s admission and sighed deeply. He said, “O my good man, to stifle your own conscience under the influence of your relatives, showing your back to the Guru’s principles and doing that which is immoral reflects badly upon you. In doing so, what do we hope to gain in attracting the Guru’s displeasure. Our wise ancestors considered marrying our daughters off as a great and pious act of charity. On one hand, you are to perform a pious act and on the other many innocent animals are to be slaughtered for the transient pleasure of our taste buds. Says Bhagat Kabir Ji:
ਕਬੀਰ ਜੋਰੁ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਜੁਲਮੁ ਹੈ ਲੇਇ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਦਫਤਰਿ ਲੇਖਾ ਨੀਕਸੈ ਮਾਰ ਮੁਹੈ ਮੁਹਿ ਖਾਇ ॥੨੦੦॥
Kabir to use force is tyrannical And the Lord shall call you to account. When thy account is produced from the Lord’s office, you will suffer, your face and mouth shall be beaten. ||200||
(Salok Bhagat Kabir, ang 1375)

After the wedding, your daughter will go to her new house but who will shoulder the sin of slaughtering so many animals? Remember, you will have to carry this burden of sin and repay the debt in this and the next life. If your daughter is destined to be married into that household then she will marry into that family without any doubt. By offering meat and liquor is not going to cement her relations with that family anymore strongly than they are already destined. Neither will her marriage to that family deteriorate if you do not offer meat and drink. If you, as a baptised Sikh, falter in your vows like this, then what hope is there for the rest of the people? A gursikh should not abandon one’s vows or principles. He who abandons his principles is pushed around in this world and pushed out of God’s abode in the hereafter. If, as a gursikh, you behave in such a way, with what face can you or I tell others to abstain from liquor or meat. Only the one who practices moral principles can preach to others. He, who does not practice what he preaches and is thus a hypocrite, is not accepted in the Guru’s house. There is still time to rethink your decision and change your mind. Remember the Guru’s words”:
ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ ਮਨਿ ਹੋਰੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਰੁ ਸਿ ਕਾਂਢੇ ਕਚਿਆ ॥੧॥
They who have one thing in their heart
but do another thing, are accounted as false
(Aasa Bhagat Farid Ji, ang 488)

The devotee listened despondently and with a sense of shame but still asked Baba Ji to attend the wedding. Baba Ji replied that a wedding where so many animals were to be killed for pleasure of the palate and where the Guru’s principles were abandoned in favour of public approval would be difficult to attend.

That devotee sat a while and then left for his abode. The wedding party arrived on the appointed day. On one side, the wedding was being conducted in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and on the other, a short distance away; lambs were awaiting their death in order to provide pleasure for the guest’s palates.

This surreal programme, of joy mixed with sorrow, finished at noon. The guests drank and ate, returning to their homes in a drunken stupor. Next the bride’s relatives had their turn to finish off the remaining alcohol and meat. With drunken people falling all over the place, it was amusing, in that no one needed a bed for the night to sleep in.

Anyhow, the girl went to her in laws and a few days later the Sardar Ji was on his way into Jalandhar riding his scooter when he had an accident and broke his hip. Writhing in pain Sardar Ji was transported by car to a local hospital. The doctors there could not treat him and advised that he be taken to a bigger hospital with an experienced surgeon.

He required major surgery, which involved replacing his hip with a steel prosthetic implant. The family members asked the doctor’s to relieve his pain until he could be taken to another hospital. The doctors attached a weight to Sardar Ji’s foot and laid him to rest. Five or six days were spent crying with excruciating pain. Only he knew how painful the fracture was but any visitors who came heard his blood curdling cries of pain. Contrary to the advice of the doctors the family brought Sardar Ji home and asked a local quack to fix his fractured hip instead of taking him to the specialist hospital. For three months, he was unable to move and being bedridden had to relieve himself whilst on the bed. He was utterly dependent on others to help him. By the fourth month, he was well enough to sit on the bed. Whoever visited him during these days would be told by Sardar Ji that he had been punished for killing those speechless animals. “To appease my daughter’s in-laws I ordered the killing of these animals and in return, I have been punished and must endure this extreme suffering and pain.” In the early days of his recovery, he had sent word to Baba Ji to come and visit him. He sent a message apologising to Baba Ji for not listening to his advice. As is the gentle, forgiving nature of Saints, Baba Ji decided to visit Sardar Ji. Baba Ji sat me beside him in the car. As soon as we arrived, the devotee started crying inconsolably, repenting his mistake and begged forgiveness. He confessed, “I abandoned my Guru’s principles under the influence of my new found relatives. Please forgive me Baba Ji." Baba Ji replied, “Sardar Ji you are mistaken to ask for my forgiveness, it is the Almighty who forgives. Pray for his forgiveness and repent your mistake in front of him alone. I only petitioned you take a particular action which you ignored. Are those people now sharing your pain for whose sake you earned and took upon such a sin? They made merry, ate and drank, then vanished off to their homes. You however must carry the burden of sin. They only came to enquire about your health once or twice. The pain you suffered is but a partial payment for your sin, there is more yet to repay because Gurbani says…
ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਕਰੇ ਸੁ ਅਹਿ ਕਰੁ ਪਾਏ ਕੋਈ ਨ ਪਕੜੀਐ ਕਿਸੈ ਥਾਇ ॥੩॥
In this age as we act, so are the rewards we receive;
no one can take the place of another. ||3||
(Aasa Mohalla 5th Guru, ang 406)

Whatever deeds you have performed or are carried out at your command, you alone will have to answer for them. No one else can repay your debt or suffer for your sins. The Lord is beneficent and forgiving. In front of his grace, these sins are washed away like straw in a flood of water. Bhai Vir Singh Ji has mentioned a beautiful anecdote in his poem “Necklace of waves” that time, which has elapsed, cannot be recalled. The present time cannot be utilised by repenting our sinful deeds in remorse. Try to ask our friend the Almighty Waheguru to forgive our trespass. In the future, try to avoid making mistakes by acting upon the Guru’s’ advice.”

For nearly a year Sardar Ji was left bedridden and even today, he limps on one leg when walking. To this day Sardar Ji guides people by giving them the benefit of learning from his experience, telling them of his traumatic experience.

We must forever be vigilant in our lives because situations can arise when we stifle our moral intellect, ignoring the guidance of Gurbani and doing something sinful. In so doing, we suffer agony in this life, pain in the hereafter and endure separation from our Lord Waheguru. Great Guru Ji has alerted us to stay vigilant from deeds that are immoral…

ਐਸਾ ਕੰਮੁ ਮੂਲੇ ਨ ਕੀਚੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਅੰਤਿ ਪਛੋਤਾਈਐ ॥
Do not commit such a deed
For which you may have to repent in the end.
(Raamkalee Anand 3rd Guru, ang 918)

So, Guru Amar Das Ji tells us not to commit any act that one will repent later because…
ਮੰਦਾ ਚੰਗਾ ਆਪਣਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਕੀਤਾ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਹੁਕਮ ਕੀਏ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਦੇ ਰਾਹਿ ਭੀੜੈ ਅਗੈ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥
We will reap whatever we sow in this world and the next.
Man himself obtains the fruit of bad and good deeds One may issue one’s heart desired commands here But he shall proceed by the narrow road hereafter.
(Aasaa di Vaar 1st Guru, ang 470)

ਫਲੁ ਤੇਵੇਹੋ ਪਾਈਐ ਜੇਵੇਹੀ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਈਐ ॥
As are the deeds, we do
So is the fruit that we obtain.
(Aasaa di Vaar 1st Guru, ang 468)

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਲੋੜੈ ਦਾਖ ਬਿਜਉਰੀਆਂ ਕਿਕਰਿ ਬੀਜੈ ਜਟੁ ॥ ਹੰਢੈ ਉਂਨ ਕਤਾਇਦਾ ਪੈਧਾ ਲੋੜੈ ਪਟੁ ॥੨੩॥
(Just as the farmer sows a seed in his field, he can expect to harvest whatever he has sown. It is a fallacy that man sows one type of fruit and expects to harvest something else:) Farid the farmer plants a thorny tree And desires the grapes of Bijour He goes about spinning wool But he wishes to wear silk
(Salok Bhagat Farid Ji, ang 1379)

Bhagat Farid Ji gives us a beautiful example. As a farmer wishes to harvest the finest grapes but in fact plants the seed for an acacia tree, it can never come to pass that the farmer will harvest grapes in fact he will get bitter pods and thorns from the acacia tree. Similarly, one cannot expect to get silk by weaving with wool. So, one’s actions will determine what we earn. Guru Nanak Dev Ji tells us clearly that…
ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਮਥੈ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿਆਸੁ ॥
As you sow, so shall you reap.

(Baarah maha 5th Guru, ang 134)

Before taking any action, any thought or any word spoken, we should verify that it agrees with the righteous path laid by our Guru’s. If it fits with the path illuminated by Gurbani then it is worthwhile proceeding with the action:

Leading a life according to the edicts of Gurbani is blissful…
ਸੋ ਸਿਖੁ ਸਖਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਜਿ ਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਆਪਣੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਜੋ ਚਲੈ ਭਾਈ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਚੋਟਾ ਖਾਵੈ ॥
He alone is the true disciple, friend
Kinsman and brother, who walks in Guru’s will He who walks according to his own will O brother is separated from the Lord and bears blows.
(Sorath 3rd Guru, ang 601)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article
Mandeep Singh