Degh in Gurughar is also known as Trihaaval, Panchamrit and Karah Parshaad. The maryada of making Degh is very special. Presented below are some saliant features of making Degh:
Candidate for Preparing Degh
The Sewadaar should be a Tyaar bar Tyaar Amritdhari Gursikh who follows the rehit to the utmost. Following are the saliant features of the Rehit that is a must:
1. Abstains from the 4 Bajjar Kurehits (Cardinal sins) namely eating meat, extramarital sexual relationships (fornication and adultery), use of tobacco and other intoxicants and removal of hair from any part of the body.
2. Strictly keeps the 5 Kakaars on the body at all times.
3. Recites 7 mandatory baanis on daily basis: Siri Japjee Sahib, Siri Jaap Sahib, Siri Tvaiprasaad Svaiyay, Siri Benti Chaupaiee, Siri Anand Sahib in the morning; Siri Rehraas Sahib in evening and Siri Sohila Sahib at bedtime.
4. Gives dasvandh (tenth part of income) as charity to the Khalsa Panth.
5. Keeps Sarbloh Bibek i.e. does not eat from the hands of people who are not amridhari or do not keep the above stated code of conduct including dietary Bibek.
1. The Sewadaar planning to make Degh should do Keshi Ishnaan (full body Ishnaan).
2. The Sewadaar should wear Suchay (clean) Khalsaee Bastar (baana, attire). If the sewadaar is a Singh, he should not wear a pajaami. Suchee Pajamee for the Bibi Sewadaar is acceptable.
3. The kitchen area where Degh is to be prepared should be thoroughly cleaned. The counters, stoves, the floor etc all should be cleaned properly.
4. Once the Sudhaayee is done, the area where Degh is to be prepared should be sealed i.e. no outsiders, other than Degh Sewadaars or Langar Sewadaars who keep the same Rehit or Sucham should be present there. Ideally, Degh area should be separate.
Ingredients and Utensil
In Addition to the main ingredient of Naam and Gurbani, following ingredients are necessary for Degh:
1. Whole wheat flour that is stone grind. In Canada the ADM brand is best for Degh.
3. Gheo (not butter).
5. Agni (fire of course)
Quantity of Ingredients
1. Wheat, Sugar and Gheo should be equal in weight (not volume).
2. Water should be 4 times the weight of flour, sugar or gheo. Normally water is not weighed. As an example, if wheat flour was taken as 1 baata, the water should be 4 baatay.
3. Need 2 stoves or chullay - one for flour and gheo and another for water and sugar.
1. A Sarblohi Karaahi for Degh.
2. A Sarblohi Pateela for boiling water and sugar.
3. A Sarblohi Kurchna to stir Degh.
4. A Sarblohi kadshee or khurchna to mix sugar and water. It's not a must to have this second khurchna because you can use one Khurchna for both.
5. A large Sarblohi Baata for taking Degh to Maharaj jee's Darbar.
6. A normal Sarblohi Baata for taking out Degh for Punj Pyare and the Granthi Singh.
7) Couple of Sarblohi Baatas - medium size - for distribution, depending on the size of Sangat.
1. The sewadaars should cover their mouths with their Hazooria to avoid spitting in Degh.
2. The sewadaars should not utter anything other than Gurmantra or Gurbani. Siri Jap jee Sahib and Siri Anand Sahib are ideal baanis to be read during degh preparation.
3. Pour Gheo in the Sarblohee Karaahee and once it melts, pour wheat flour in it. Keep the heat at slightly higher than medium.
4. Right after pouring the wheat flour and mixing it in gheo, place the pateela with water and sugar on the other stove. The heat should be slightly higher than medium.
5. Continuously stir the flour and gheo with the Sarblohi Khurchna, otherwise the flour at the bottom will burn. It is important to continue to stir this mixture.
6. Let the water and sugar mixture boil and mix the two using the khurchana (if they do not mix automatically).
7) When the colour of the flour changes to Brown and that typical smell of Degh starts coming, pour the boiling water and sugar mixture slowly in the Karaahi containing flour and gheo. Make sure that the flour does not become too dark Brown which would mean the flour has burned. Similarly ensure that the water and sugar mixture is not poured in too early, i.e. when the flour has not turned Brown.
8. Continue to stir the new mixture vigorously.
9. When the Degh stops sticking with the karaahee, you know that the degh is ready. Extinguish the fire at this point and continue to stir the Degh for some time.
Bringing Degh to Maharaj jee's Darbar
1. The table or stand on which the Degh is to rest in Maharaj jee's Darbar should be brought in kitchen and cleaned.
2. The Degh must reach the Darbar before completion of Kirtan.
3. The Degh should be transferred to a Sarblohi Baata (large Baata) before taking it to the Darbar. Gursikhs don't recommend bringing the Karaahee to the Darbar. Degh should be transferred to a large Baata.
4. The Degh should be brought to the Darbar carrying it on or above your head. It is a must that Degh is covered with a cloth (preferrably a White one) and some extra pieces of cloth should be brought to cover other Baatas to be used for distribution of Degh.
5. It is a must that Siri Anand Sahib (at least 6 pauris - 1st 5 and the last one) be read prior to Ardaas, if Degh is to be distributed.
6. The Degh should not be too hot at the time of Bhog, nor it should be too cold. It is best if it is warm at the time of Bhog.
Bhog and Distribution of Degh
1. As per the norm, bhog to Degh is done at the time when the Ardaasiya Sewadaar says "Bhog laavo" or "Parvaan Karo", depending on the maryada of that place. The Sewadaar Singh at that time lifts the cloth slightly and touches through the degh with the clean Suchee Sarblohi Kirpaan.
2. After the Hukamnama, the Sewadaar takes out 5 Gaffay (offerings) of Degh, one for each Punj Pyare and places them in the small Sarblohi Baata. Everytime a Gaffa is taken out, each of the Punj Pyare should be invoked by calling their name (in your mouth i.e. not audibly) starting with Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh.
3. The Degh for 5 Pyare should be distributed in Sangat to Tyaar-bar-Tyaar Gursikhs.
4. The Degh for Punj Pyare should be consumed only when it has been distributed to all five Gursikhs. The ones who get the Punj Pyare Degh first should wait for it to be distributed to all 5 Gursikhs, before beginning to consume it.
5. Next the Degh for the Granthi should be taken out, placed in the same Baata as Punj Pyare. The baata is normally placed under the Peera Sahib of Guru Sahib.
6. Next the Degh should be distributed to the Sangat, by one or more Sewadaars, depending on the size of the Sangat.
7. There should be no talking while the Degh is consumed. At many places the Shabad "Gur Pooray meri Raakh layee" is sung while the Degh is distributed.
The above is based on what this Daas has learned from Gursikhs and books of Gursikhs.
How to Bring Degh in Guru Sahib's Darbar - Karaahi Vs Baata
This section has been added few months after the above section was written.
I have long been of the opinion that Degh should be brought to the Darbar of Guru Sahib in a Baata and not in the Karaahi it is cooked in but recently I had a conversation with Master Jaswant Singh of Siri Amritsar Sahib and he mentioned that during the times of Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee, Degh was always brought in the Darbar in Karaahi as opposed to a Baata.
He quoted Bhai Surain Singh jee who spent a long time with Bhai Sahib and was his gadvaee (personal assistant) and who was strongly in favour of bringing Degh in Karaahi and not in a Baata. I asked Master jee, what was the opinion of Giani Harbhajan Singh jee Shatrana, who too has done Sangat of Bhai Sahib and Master jee confirmed that Giani jee too is of this opinion.
Master jee gave an interesting quote from Bhai Gurdaas jee’s baani to prove that Degh should be brought in Karaahi. Bhai Gurdaas jee has written that when Pir Dastgir asked Siri Guru Nanak Dev jee to prove that there are Lakhs of worlds as opposed to only 14 levels, Siri Guru jee took his son along and showed him countless worlds, in a matter of split second. On their way back, they attended the end part of a Gurmat Samagam (in some other world) when Degh was being distributed. As a proof, Guru Sahib and the son of Pir Dastgir brought a bowl of Degh from the Karaahi where Degh was kept. The Shabad is as follows:
ਪੁਛੇ ਫਰਿ ਤਕਰਾਰ ਕਰਿ ਏਹ ਫਕੀਰ ਵਡਾ ਅਤਾਈ॥
ਏਥੇ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਗਦਾਦ ਦੇ ਵਡੀ ਕਰਾਮਾਤਿ ਦਿਖਲਾਈ॥
ਪਾਤਾਲਾ ਆਕਾਸ ਲਖ ਓੜਕਿ ਭਾਲੀ ਖਬਰੁ ਸੁਣਾਈ॥
ਫੇਰਿ ਦੁਰਾਇਣ ਦਸਤਗੀਰ ਅਸੀ ਭਿ ਵੇਖਾਂ ਜੋ ਤੁਹਿ ਪਾਈ॥
ਨਾਲਿ ਲੀਤਾ ਬੇਟਾ ਫਰਿ ਦਾ ਅਖੀ ਮੀਟਿ ਗਇਆ ਹਾਵਾਈ॥
ਲਖ ਅਕਾਸ ਪਤਾਲ ਲਖ ਅਖਿ ਫੁਰਕ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਭਿ ਦਿਖਲਾਈ॥
ਭਰਿ ਕਚਕੌਲ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਦਾ ਧੁਰੋ ਪਤਾਲੋ ਲਈ ਕੜਾਈ॥
ਜਾਹਰ ਕਲਾ ਨ ਛਪੈ ਛਪਾਈ ॥36॥
Of special interest is the second-last pankiti which mentions that a bowl (ਕਚਕੌਲ) of Degh was taken from the Karaahi (ਕੜਾਈ॥).
After hanging up, I called Bapu jee (Giani Harbhajan Singh jee) and asked him to confirm if during the times of Bhai Sahib, Degh was always brought in Karaahi as opposed to Baata. He said that it is true that Degh was always brought in Karaahi. Bapu jee narrated an incident where Bhai Sahib and other Singhs did a Samagam at a Sikh regiment. A lot of Fauji Sangat attended the Samagam and Singhs prepared Degh in a very big Karaahi that had 4 handles. After the Degh was prepared, the Faujis asked the Singhs to bring Degh in big Sarblohi drums and Pateelas but Singhs said that they would take Degh in Karaahi only.
In the light of the above stated facts about Degh, we are going to try to follow this Maryada and bring Degh in Karaahi as opposed to Baatay.
Bhul Chuk dee Maafi jee.