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  In the Guru's footsteps
In the Guru's footsteps

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: In the Guru's footsteps:

The Right Offering

The Right Offering

Guru Har Gobind once visited Kashmir. There lived his faithful follower Sewa Das who was always longing to serve the Guru. Sewa Das lived in the town of Srinagar where the Guru planned to go. On the way, however, another faithful follower, Kattu Shah, met the Guru and requested him to stay with him in his cottage for some days. The Guru promised to stay with Kattu Shah on his way back. He advised Kattu Shah to sing God's praises day and night.

Kattu Shah was so faithful that from the very moment the Guru departed, he began to recite hymns. He was so absorbed in God's Name that he forgot even sleep and did not care for food. Many days passed: yet Kattu Shah continued remembering God day and night without a break. He became very thin and weak but the Guru's words were still ringing in his ears.

One day a group of pilgrims, on their way to see the Guru, broke their journey at Kattu's cottage. Kattu opened them water and did all he could to help them. He was sorry that he did not have anything else to over the pilgrims. Kattu noticed a honeypot which the pilgrims were carrying to the Guru and requested them to show him the honey. When the pilgrims showed it to him he asked to have a little on his finger to taste, but the pilgrims refused, saying, "We cannot offer you any honey because it is meant for the Guru only and we cannot offer your leavings to the Guru." Kattu insisted but in vain. At last he said, "The Guru never eats the whole of anything himself. He always sends offerings to his Langar (Kitchen)." The pilgrims, however, were not satisfied with Kattu's answer and therefore they refused to part with even a drop of honey. Kattu looked at the honeypot and said, "I wonder if the Guru will accept your offering!"

Gharib Da Muh - Guru Ki GolakThe pilgrims reached the Guru's camp and placed the offering before him. The Guru looked at the honeypot, smiled, and called one of the pilgrims to come and take the lid off the pot. Everybody was surprised to and that the honey had turned rotten and was giving out a foul smell. The Guru said, "Dear friends, the Guru is never hungry for offerings. Whatever you bring to me is distributed among the people. Today? however, I wish that this honey should be given only to those who have brought it." The pilgrims were extremely surprised and curious to know how their fresh honey could turn so bad. They did not know what to do. They begged the Guru's pardon whereupon he said, "Listen my friends, the Guru does not want to grow fat on the offerings of his Sikhs. The idea of the offerings is that those who can spare should help others in need. The offerings you bring to me are for the common good. God wants us to help the blind, the lepers, the orphans, the old people and all those who are sick and helpless. With the help of your offerings, Guru Arjan started a home for lepers at Tarn Taran. Wherever you find a needy person, place your offerings there and understand that in this way they will reach me. The offerings that do not reach the needy are useless. Take this honeypot away, this is the result of refusing to help the needy in whom is the spirit of the Guru. Go to my kitchen, prepare fresh food and take it to Kattu Shah at once."

The pilgrims immediately did as they were told but one of the Sikhs asked the Guru, "Why, O Guru, do you prefer a Sikh to yourself?"

The Guru smiled and sang this hymn of Guru Ram Das :

"No one knows the secret of the Guru's mind or what shall please him.
The Guru resides in the hearts of his Sikhs,
He is pleased with him who loves them.
As the Guru tells them, so do they act and pray.
The work of the Sikhs, finds favour.
The Guru works through the Sikhs and none shall reach the Guru
Except through the Sikhs.
The Sikhs should work for those who remember God and serve His people.
The Sikh should have no connection with wrongdoers.
Nanak proclaims that unless men remember God and help His people,
Their labour goes to waste."
The Guru explained his point further by singing another hymn :
"The Guru is a Sikh and the Sikh is a Guru,
They are both one, but it is the Guru who gives instruction.
He puts the spell of God's Name in his heart;
O Nanak, God can easily be realized through following the Guru."
All the Sikhs bowed before the Guru and understood the right way of making offerings.
"Going from pilgrimage to pilgrimage
Does not wash away doubt,
Nor cure the ills of birth and death
That beset the entire world;
Only God's seat is immune from this worldly sickness,
The truly wise worship the Name in prayer and action."
(Guru Granth Sahib)
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