Bhai Nand Lal ji's langar

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Depiction of the sakhi in Sikh Heritage in Paintings - From the Collection of the Punjab & Sind Bank 1995, page 76.

The following story is reflective, perhaps, of the time before the creation of the Khalsa and the addition of the name Singh and Kaur.

After the martyrdom of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur, many people of differing religions began to flock to Sachkhand Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji to be blessed with the darshan of the next Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Rai Ji. Over many years a non broken sucession of Sikh Gurus had started many Langars (free kitchens), which were run by their beloved Sikhs.

Just as it is today the Guru Ji’s langar was served free to all those who came into the house of Guru Nanak Dev.

In the days after the Guruship was thrust upon the young Gobind Rai, Guru Gobind Rai ji had started many Guru ka Langars (free meal kithcens for any visitors to the Sikh Gurdwaras). A Sikh by the name of Bhai Nand Lal Ji was in charge of one of these kitchens. One day, all-knowing Guru Gobind Singh ji decided to visit the nearby kitchens in disguise. Guru Sahib would go to his kitchens a little bit before langar was meant to be served and then he would urgently tell the sevadaars that he was very hungry. Not recognizing their Guru in his disguise they greeted him with courtesy and affection but they would always tell him to return later on when the langar would be served to all. All of the kitchens the Guru went to gave him a similar response.

The last kitchen that the disguised Guru visited, without his Kalgi adorned turban, was the kitchen run by Bhai Nand Lal Ji. Here the unknown guest to the Guru's kitchen was again told that langar was nearly ready. As the Guru turned to leave, Bhai Nand Lal Ji came running after him with what food was ready and began to plead with the Guru's guest to sit down.

Bhai Nand Lal Ji said:

“The home of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is like no other in this world or the next. No one shall leave empty handed.”

The Guru, in disguise, smiled at Bhai Nand Lal Ji and began to eat his langar.

The next day Guru Ji told the sangat the whole story. Maharaj then told his beloved Sikhs to follow the example of Bhai Nand Lal Ji.

Even today Guru Maharaj comes to his own home in disguise. Do you greet that unknown stranger with love or do you turn them away?