Happy Gur Purab! Jan 5, 2014

Clip_189Gur Purab means a Guru’s birthday, the Guru being any of the Sikh Gurus.

Jan 5, 2014 was the birthday of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the most important guru after Guru Nanak Ji.

Let’s take a peep into his profound teachings, which continue to illuminate the path of the Sikh community people worldwide…

Most of Guru Gobind Singh’s bani can be found in the Dasam Granth. The Dasam Granth, composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself, is also known as Dasven Padshah Ka Granth or the Book of the Tenth Emperor, the second most important scripture of Sikhism, after Guru Granth Sahib. 

The Dasam Granth

The compositions in the Dasam Granth spell out the ideas, thoughts and guidelines for the future of the Nanak Panth as enshrined in the Khalsa. The Jaap Sahib, Tvye Prasad Sawaiye (Amrit Savaiye) and Benti Chaupai, all compositions from the Dasam Granth, are part of the daily prayers or Nitnem of the Sikhs, which also serve as part of the Sikh initiation ceremony, Khande Di Pahul.

Quotes From the Dasam Granth

Clip_1861. Consider the whole human race as one.

2. Whoever calls me God, shall go to hell.

3. When all else fails, it is permitted to take the sword into one’s hand.

4. Do not strike the helpless, otherwise the Lord will strike you.

Shabads of Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh Ji was known for sayings, and these are known as shabads…let’s check out the famous ones:

O God, grant me this that I may not hesitate from performing good actions.

The Courage To Fight Without Fear

I may not fear the enemy, when I go to fight and assuredly I may become victorious.

Instruct The Mind

And I may give this instruction to my mind that I may ever utter Thy Praises.

Die Fighting

When the end of my life comes, then may I die fighting in the battlefield.

Only True Devotion Makes Sense

Without the power of devotion, they cannot realise the Lord. Though they perform havens, hold yagyas (sacrifices) and offer charities, without the single-minded absorption in the Lord’s name, all religious rituals are useless. Only those who have loved, shall attain the Lord.

Love Of God Leads To Salvation

Clip_192I tell the truth; listen everyone.

Only those who have Loved, will realise the Lord. Guru Gobind Singh, in verse number 9 of Tav Prasad Saviaye of the Dasam Granth, lays great emphasis on the concept of love leading to salvation.

Tav Prasad Saviaye is one of the five banis of a Sikh person’s daily Nitnem routine of reciting the Guru’s words.

In this bani, the Tenth Guru covers many aspects of human living, which one needs to inspect on a daily basis.

The central message is to practice “Love of the Lord and his creations” and to constantly “remember His Name”. If you do not feel any love for God’s creations, you will not feel any love for Him, either, and vice-versa.

Love And God Are All Pervasive

The message of Love and Longing is evident on all pages of the Sikh scriptures. The Love for God and His creation is easy to see in Gurbani; the Lord is referred to as “Husband”, “Beloved”, “Immaculate”, “Great”, “Merciful”, etc. – affectionate words for a tender, caring and powerful being.

However, God is not seen as an external entity; God is said to be present in all places; in every living thing; literally, everywhere. Gurbani tells us, “The Lord Himself is within the self, and outside as well…; the Lord Himself is fully pervading everywhere” and also “You are the Great Giver of all souls; You are the Life within all living beings.”

Khalsa Mahima

Khalsa Mahima literally means praise of the Khalsa.

It is a short poem by Guru Gobind Singh inserted at the end of the 33 Savaiyya in the Dasam Granth. The language of the poem is in Braj Bhasa or medieval Hindi of the Mathura/Agra region. Incidentally, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was not born in Punjab, but in Patna…

The Story Behind The Poem

The poem recounts an incident which had occurred during a Diwali feast hosted by Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Anandpur. On that occasion, the former head of one of the discontinued Sikh manjis, the Hindu Pandit Kesho Gopal, a Brahman who had not taken amrit, was not invited to eat, until the Khalsa had feasted. Kesho felt slighted, because being a Brahman who had held a post as the Guru’s masand, he felt that he should have been served first and definitely not after the Khalsa had been feted.

Exalting The Khalsa

In response, Guru Gobind Singh recited this hymn exalting the Khalsa: “I have won my battles through the favour of my Sikhs, Through their favour I have been able to dispense largesse. Through their favour, my troubles have receded. And through their favour, my prosperity expanded. It is through their favour that I acquired knowledge. Through their favour, I subdued my enemies. Through their favour, am I exalted. There are, otherwise, millions of such humble persons as me. So, let my body, my mind, my head, my wealth, and all that is mine. Be dedicated to their service.

Mittar Pyare Nu

Mittar Pyare Nu, Haal Mureedan Da Kehna is a beautiful and well-known shabad by Guru Gobind Singh, recited by the guru in Machhivara forest. The Shabad finds mention in Dasam Granth Sahib.

The Guru sang the shabad on a cold winter evening after the Guru had earlier in the day led Khalsa forces in the battle of Chamkaur, where the Guru fought a huge army of the enemies of the Khalsa Panth. It was day when his own sons were martyred. But, as the shabad reveals, the Guru remembers the Lord Waheguru inspite of his extreme hardship.

Meaning Of Mittar Pyare Nu

Guru Gobind Singh Ji says, “Please tell our dear friend, the Lord, the plight of his disciples. Without the Lord, rich blankets are a disease and the comfort of the house is akin to living with snakes. Our water pitchers appear like stakes of torture and our cups have edges like daggers. When God neglects us, it is like the animals who suffer at the hands of butchers. Our Beloved Lord’s straw bed is more pleasing than living in furnace-like mansions.

Quotes From Dasam Granth Explained

Some are Hindus, others are Muslims. Someone is lliifazi, or ashiah, or renouncer-follower of Ali; and another an Imam-Shafi or Sunni, adherent of the Prophet, but in your eyes, all human race is one. 

I’m Not God, But His Servant 

Whosoever shall call me the Lord, shall fall into hell.

Consider me as His servant. In this do not have any doubt.

Keep the Sword For the Last

When all other methods fail, it is proper to hold the sword in hand.

Never Strike the Helpless 

Do not be rash in striking your sword on helpless, otherwise the Providence will shed your blood.

Panj Pyare 

Guru Purab Celebrations are marked by processions, with five Sikhs dressed as ‘Panj Pyaras’ participating. The holy book of the Sikhs – The Guru Granth Sahib – is also carried in a decorated palanquin as part of the procession. Sikhs also perform acts of fire and ‘gatka’ during the procession. Gatka is a weapons-based martial art.

People Visit Gurudwaras

Prakash Parv

Gur Purabs are also known as Prakash Parvs, or festivals of lights.

Temples like the Golden Temple, Amritsar are worth a visit on these auspicious days as they resemble the night of a thousand lamps.

Listen To Kirtans

Kirtans or religious hymns sung by temple choirs form an important part of Sikh culture. Listen to kirtans in your nearby gurudwara and be mesmerised.

DSC00330Sikhs feed people daily even in rich countries, what to talk of the poor ones.  You will never see a sikh begging any where. Your life is inherently rich on many levels, and yet your own negative thoughts and feelings can cover up that richness. The more negativity you let go of, the more goodness you allow into your experience of life.

Let go of your need to judge, your habit of fear, and your desire to take offense, and uncover the richness. Choose to forgive, to act with courage, and to understand, and feel that richness as it fills your life.

Stop struggling to justify and express your negative impulses. Instead, enjoy floating freely and peacefully in your own sense of goodness.

Delight in your own richness by giving of it to your world. Experience the extent of your good fortune by living it with love and generosity.

Instead of obsessing over the moment’s shortcomings, celebrate life’s richness. Look beyond your minor concerns and see your major positive possibilities.

The immense richness of your life is always within your reach. Let go of the little negative things and experience that richness in big and wonderful ways.

Kitchen that feeds 100,000 daily

Free kitchen in India run at the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, Golden       Temple at Amritsar, produces 200,000 flat breads and 1.5 tons of lentil soup daily.

200,000 Rotis – Chapattis (Indian flat bread), 1.5 tons of Daal (lentil soup) and free food served to 100,000 people every single day are what makes the free kitchen run at the Golden Temple in Amritsar stand apart. The food is vegetarian and the expenses are managed through donations from all over the world. The yearly budget of the langar runs into hundreds of millions. One has to see it to believe.The meal served is hot but simple: comprising roti, lentil soup and sweet rice.

By all measures, the kitchen (called Langar in Punjabi ) is one of the largest free kitchens to be run anywhere in the world. The concept of langar was initiated centuries ago by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion.

At the Langar, no one goes hungry – and everybody gets a hot meal regardless of caste, creed and religion. All Sikh Gurudwaras (places of worship) have Langar.

“Anyone can eat for free here and on an average we serve food to 100,000 people. On weekends and special occasions double the numbers of people visit the langar Hall. The langar never stops and on an average 7,000 kg of wheat flour, 1,200 kg of rice, 1,300 kg of lentils, 500 kg of ghee (clarified butter) is used in preparing the meal every day,” says Harpreet Singh, manager of this huge kitchen.

“The free kitchen uses firewood, LPG gas and electronic bread makers for the cooking and we use around 100 LPG cylinders and 5,000 kilograms of firewood every day,” he adds.

The kitchen is run by 450 staff, helped by hundreds of other volunteers. Sanjay Arora, 46, from New Delhi, comes to volunteer at the langar two days every month. “This is KAR-SEVA (do-service) for me. I feel happy after doing this service. It’s is not just free food, here you forget all the differences that separates humans from each other,” he says.

DSC00329Volunteers also wash the 300,000 plates, spoons and bowls used in feeding the people.The utensils are washed in three rounds to ensure that the plates are perfectly clean to be again used. 

Women play an important role in the preparation of meals.

Volunteers make stacks of Rotis that will be served at the free kitchen.

Langar teaches the etiquette of sitting and eating in a community situation.


The lines of status, caste and class vanish at the langar. Everybody, rich or poor, is treated as equals.