WJKK WJKF Manjeet ji, pray all is well. Firstly thank you for the continuous messages, explanations on bani and Shabads to help ease the current situation. I really appreciate it and am very grateful.
I need a small favor. The sanggat does a homeless langgar sewa monthly here in Virginia. My daughter is one of the community members.
One question from many others is requesting quotes from SGGS and how it pertains to this sewa. We need the Angg, quote and English translation. This is a request from the American Sikhs as they want to highlight on their website the reason and link to SGGS with regards to langgar.
The question is- Do you draw inspiration from Sikhism (stories about the gurus, quotes from the SGGS, or other sources) when doing sewa? Can you provide an example?
Kindly advise. Thank you 🙏🏽
Bhai Manjeet’s response:
Naam is the central message of the Sikh Gurus.
But Naam is not merely for recitation. As you take to Naam you must live the wisdom of Naam.
Naam is essentially attributes of Nirankar. We get these attributes (gunn) from the Satguru. As these gunn abide in you, you must also live those gunn. On the path of bhagti (loving devotion to One Formless, Nirankar Ji), you must put into practice whatever gunn you are blessed with. Bhagti is not a mere intellectual exercise.
Without practicing these gunn, there can be no real bhagti. Guru Nanak Dev Ji tells us in Japji Sahib.
“Vinn gunn kitay bhagat na hoye”(pauri 21-SGGS Ang 4).
ਵਿਣੁ ਗੁਣ ਕੀਤੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥
(Without practicing virtue there can be no true devotional worship of the Lord).
So, Sikhi is dynamic and pragmatic. We must live a life of service to humankind, whilst being attached to God within ourselves.
From that premise springs the Sikh institution of langgar.
The Sikh Gurus from the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji encouraged the concept of the Guru’s Kitchen where Guru Ka langgar was served.
This was served in a revolutionary setting. It did not matter which caste you belonged to. All sat at the same platform and ate a common meal. Women were treated as equals and sat in panggat to eat Guru Ka langgar.
In SGGS Ji we are told of the langgar which was served during the Gurgaddi of Guru Angad Dev Ji.
We are told.
“Langgar chale Gur Shabad Har tote na aavi khatiye”(Ang 967)
ਲੰਗਰੁ ਚਲੈ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਹਰਿ ਤੋਟਿ ਨ ਆਵੀ ਖਟੀਐ ॥
( The Gurus Kitchen was open. Shabads were read. The supplies never ran out).
We are also told of Mata Khivi Ji (mahal of Guru Angad Dev Ji), who helped and supervised the operations of the langgar.
“Balwand Khivi nek jan jin bahuti shaoo patrali” (Ang 967)
ਬਲਵੰਡ ਖੀਵੀ ਨੇਕ ਜਨ ਜਿਸੁ ਬਹੁਤੀ ਛਾਉ ਪਤ੍ਰਾਲੀ ॥
(Balwand says Mother Khivi was a kind woman who gave leafy shade to numerous people)
(In utter humility Nanak seeks the company of the lowly, the lowest of the low; I keep their company; why should I seek out the mighty; where the lowly are cared for, there You shower Your Glance of Grace).
We are told of the sakhi during the times of Guru Hargobind Ji.
A Sikh, Bhai Sewa Das brought a pot of honey when he went to meet the 6th Satguru Ji.
To his surprise, the Satguru refused the pot of honey. Upon enquiry, Guruji told Bhai Sewa Das that along the way he had refused a request by a hungry Sikh for some honey. Bhai Sewa Das had told the Sikh, Bhai Kattu Ji that the honey was only for the Satguru and he would not share it with anyone else.
Guruji told Bhai Sewa Das “Gareeb ka mooh Guru ki golak” i.e. feeding the mouth of the hungry and poor is truly putting your offerings into the Guru’s golak. The Sikh Gurus practiced what they preached and declared any offering as useless if it did not help to relieve the needs of the poor and hungry.
In a stirring Shabad at Ang 656, Bhagat Kabir Ji addresses God. Bhagat Ji tells God.
“I love to do Your devotional worship; But I cannot do it if I am hungry : Here, take Your Rosary away”
“Bhukhe bhagat na kijje : yeh mala apni lijje”.
ਭੂਖੇ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥ਯਹ ਮਾਲਾ ਅਪਨੀ ਲੀਜੈ ॥
In Raag Gond at Ang 873, Bhagat Kabir Ji says thus.
” Dhan Gopal Dhan Gurdev”
ਧੰਨੁ ਗੁਪਾਲ ਧੰਨੁ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ॥
(Blessed is the Lord of the World : Blessed is the Divine Guru).
Then Bhagat Ji says that the grain which feeds the hungry is also Blessed. Food helps them to blossom forth.
“Dhan anadh bhukhe kaval tehkev”
ਧੰਨੁ ਅਨਾਦਿ ਭੂਖੇ ਕਵਲੁ ਟਹਕੇਵ ॥
Bhagat Ji then says it is God who provides the grain (food).
“Aad Purakh te hoye anadh”
ਆਦਿ ਪੁਰਖ ਤੇ ਹੋਇ ਅਨਾਦਿ ॥
And as you relish your food, you should lovingly recite His Name.
“Japiye Naam ann ke saad”
ਜਪੀਐ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਨ ਕੈ ਸਾਦਿ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Bhagat Ji concludes the Shabad by saying that Food is indeed blessed by which faith for the Lord wells up in your mind.
“Dhan anadh Thakur man maaniya”
ਧੰਨੁ ਅਨਾਦਿ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੪॥੮॥੧੧॥
Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Asa Ki Vaar tells us we should be in shukrana with every morsel of food. Guruji scolds those who do not express their gratitude to God for the food they receive.
“Jit mukh Naam na uchre bin Naave rass khaye : Nanak eveh jaaniye tit mukh thooka pahe” (Ang 473)
There are some sakhis about Guru Nanak Dev Ji. One sakhi says Guruji was given some money and told by His father, Mehta Kalu Ji to do some business. Guruji came upon some hungry sadhus and spent the money on them. In Sikh lore this is known as “Sacha sauda”, the True trade. There is a grand gurdwara at Churkhana (now in Pakistan), where this Sacha sauda is said to have taken place.
Feeding hungry souls is embedded in the Sikh psyche’. But it is important to remember that sharing langgar is sewa of the Satguru. Sewa of the Satguru is done in utter humility. One should be grateful to be part of Satguru Ji’s sewa. This is known as “nishkaam sewa”, i.e. just being happy to serve in the Guru’s Cause with no motives in mind.
I have confined my comments to langgar sewa. Guruji’s sewa is not limited to langgar only. Sewa of the Satguru has numerous forms.