While studying in Khanna, Punjab, India
once I went to meet my mother in Lahore (now in Pakistan). At this time
she was working in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. When I reached there, my
mother only thought was that she should take me to pay obeisance at
the Shiv Mandir (Hindu temple) of the locality and Gurdwara Dera Sahib.
At this time I was a Hindu boy named
Ramji Das. I was a follower of Shiv Mandir and was not a Sikh. In the
Shiv Mandir I saw no personal service being done. There was no devotional
singing in praise of deity, no place for the travelers to stay, no free
kitchen, and hardly anyone came to pay obeisance. There was a priest
sitting quietly in a small house. No religious book was being read.
Gurdwara Dera Sahib is one of the most
important pilgrimage center of the Sikhs. When I reached Gurdwara Dera
Sahib I was surprised to see the gaiety and environment of that place.
In the early morning Asa Di War was recited and in the evening Rehras.
Every morning and evening many people would come to listen to the Words
of the Gurus. This Gurdwara is situated on the G T Road running from
Peshawar to Calcutta.
Devotees kept coming throughout the day.
Many travelers would also come to take food from the common kitchen
(Langar) or to pay obeisance at the Gurdwara. The common kitchen opened
at about 10 or 11 o'clock and remained open at night also. Every night
25-30 travelers would come to the Gurdwara to stay; they were all served
food from the common kitchen. This culture of the Gurdwara deeply affected
My Mother's instructions
From my childhood, my mother had asked
me to do personal service to all the creations of God. This tender and
distinct feeling of virtuous tasks was ingrained in my mind. My mother
had taught me to provide water for the animals, plant trees and water
newly planted saplings, offer feed to the sparrows, crows and mynahs,
pick up thorns from the paths, and remove the stones from cart tracks.
This had embedded the Name of the Almighty in my heart. She had entrusted
me to the custody of Gurdwara Dera Sahib and started me on a path of
virtuous living; by following this path your mind can never waver.
For five years she did not spend anything
on herself. She would send her entire monthly earning of Rs.10 (which
converts to 25 cents or 12.5 pence) to me each month. The servants in
the house sometimes have to eat stale or leftover chapattis; my mother
used to eat whatever was given to her. She also used to get old and
used clothes from the house where she was working, so she would save
her entire income of ten rupees and send it all to me by money order.
Memory of my hard working Mother
While at home in the month of Katik,
my mother used to get up early in the morning and go for a bath at the
village pond. My father constructed this pond. Thereafter, she would
recite Japji Sahib, churn the curds, and then prepare the breakfast.
Throughout the day she would sit at her spinning wheel or gin the cottonseeds.
A mother, who would draw water from the
village well throughout the day during summer months for the travelers
and the animals; never sit idle; always keep the Name of the Almighty
in her heart; recite Japji Sahib in the morning; had to put in my heart
fear and respect for God. God has really blessed me that till today
I have been able to keep my vow taken before my mother of remaining
a bachelor with full purity of heart. If I were not to fulfill my vow
it would have been a matter of great dishonor for my life. Curse of
God would have remained over me always. I am thankful to God that the
vow taken before my mother is always in my mind and keeps me alert.