Bhai Sahib was an amazing and a rare Gurmukh who was blessed with profound Bibek Budh. He had a deep understanding of Gurbani Viyakaran and was probably one of the more learned scholar of Gurbani Viyakaran at this time. He had very deep thinking. Sometimes when he used to express his understanding of a certain Pankiti, I used to get Vismaad at his unique and deep understanding of Gurbani.
Learning Gurmat Bibek in Sangat of Gurmukhs
In the late 1990s, Gursikhs along with Bhai Jagtar Singh jee got together and read Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee’s article on Sarbloh. This article appears towards the end of Bhai Sahib’s book - Gurmat Bibek. Along with this we read the pamphlet written by Bhai Kaur Singh, on this subject. These articles were read in Sangat form and it had a profound effect on everyone. Everyone present there seriously started thinking of keeping full Sarbloh Bibek.
From books one can grasp the overall idea of Gurmat but Gurmat in detail is learned only in the Sangat of Gurmukhs. This is why doing Sangat is indispensable as far as spiritual growth is concerned. From books one can understand what dietary Bibek is but the details on how to implement Bibek is learned only in Sangat. As an example, how the Sudhaayee (cleaning) of utensils, counters, stoves etc. should be done when cooking Langar can be efficiently learned in Sangat only. The ones who keep Bibek without guidance from senior Gursikhs, often omit many important steps while cooking Bibeki Langar or Degh. This is why it is essential to practically learn the implementation of Bibek from senior Gursikhs who have been practicing it for years.
Before reading the articles stated above, many of us kept Bibek (not Sarbloh yet) but there were so many flaws in our implementation of Bibek that it is horrible to imagine at this time. By the extremely kind mercy of Guru Sahib, we were blessed with Sangat of Bhai Sahib Jagtar Singh jee who meticulous led our way as far as keeping Gurmat Bibek is concerned. We learned many subtle features of Gurmat Bibek that we could have never learned on our own.
How Bhai Sahib ate at our Home
One day many Gursikhs including Bhai Jagtar Singh jee blessed our home with their Charan dhoor. We were under the impression that we were pure Bibekis and as such prepared Samundar (hot milk) and snacks for Singhs. All Gursikhs consumed the Langar we prepared but Bhai Sahib came to kitchen and very lovingly asked Shrimati jee (my wife) some Gurmat related questions. It so happened that we were not up to the par as far as lofty standards of Gurmat were concerned. Bhai Sahib did not eat anything that day. The dhil (weakness) was big and clearing the dhil was very difficult because it had implications that went beyond us. In spite of the difficulty in clearing the dhil, Shrimati jee, there and then promised that she would clear the dhil, whatever the consequences would be but Bhai Sahib still did not eat that day and said that if the dhil got cleared, he would consume the next time.
Shrimati jee took a big step and cleared the dhil. Many near and dear ones were upset but she stayed strong. A very short time later, Bhai Sahib again came to our house along with Singhs and at that point as soon as he entered the house, he went straight to the kitchen and showering love through his eyes and mouth, said to Shrimati jee that he was very hungry and wanted to eat. Shrimati jee was so happy that her feet were not touching the ground. That day, when Bhai Sahib ate at our home it felt even greater than how humble Bhilni would have felt when Siri Raam Chandra ate berries from her hand or Bidar would have felt when Siri Krishna ate his humble Saag rejecting the Kheer of the Kuru prince Duryodhna.
(Great old memories with Bhai Sahib. This picture is from 2004 or so)
Is Brahmgyaan possible without Sarbloh Bibek?
About keeping Sarbloh Bibek, I once spoke to Bhai Jagtar Singh jee, while standing near the entrance of Weston Gurdwara Sahib. The scene is very vivid in my memory and I can still see it at will. I asked him a very direct question – “Is it possible to get Brahmgyaan without Sarbloh?”
His answer was “No”.
In my next question, I named a number of famous Gursikhs who were not Sarblohis but had reached great spiritual Avasthas. At this Bhai Sahib said that there are many spiritual Avastha and one gets the spiritual Avastha in accordance to one’s input. He used a particular Punjabi saying that he used to use a lot of times, “Jinna Mitha paavangay, unna hee Mitha hona hai” (it will be as sweet as much sugar we put in it). What he was trying to say was that the results will be as sweet as our efforts to obey Guru Sahib’s Hukams will be. More effort we put in place to obey Guru Sahib’s Hukams, better the results will be.
Then Bhai Sahib asked me, how did I know what spiritual Avastha the Gurmukhs I named, possessed. I could not say anything since I was not high enough to know anyone’s Avastha. At this Bhai Sahib said that he doesn’t know anything else but the fact that unless we attempt to obey all Hukams of Guru Sahib, we cannot become Brahmgyani. To become a Brahmgyani, all conditions have to be met i.e. perfect Guru, perfect Sikh, Naam, Gurbani, Rehit etc. Nothing can be left out. One cannot intentionally obey one Hukam and leave out the other. Our duty is to keep all Rehit and not judge which Rehit is important and which one is less important. What we need to ponder upon is whether Sarbloh is Guru Sahib's rehit or not. If it is Rehit, then it cannot be omitted. If Sarbloh was not a Rehit, then why did Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh jee keep it under such difficult conditions? Was he doing all this for his Haume? No. He sustained all hardships because Sarbloh Bibek is Guru Sahib's Hukam. So Rehit includes Sarbloh and it cannot be ommitted if we want to reach the highest spiritual state.
After this conversation with Bhai Sahib, this Daas including his family kept Sarbloh Bibek, with the kind mercy of Guru Sahib. If Daas starts counting all the benefits that Daas has derived from Bhai Sahib's sangat, a huge book would be required. Daas feels extremely lucky to have done Bhai Sahib's Sangat for almost two decades. Verily, Guru Sahib is merciful.
More to come later…