May It Become A Principle In Our Life To Respect Our Parents
Author/Source: Panthic.org Staff
In Guru Nanak's house, seva, selfless service, has been given a high status. Until we make our selves pure and clean inside, only then will Naam (the nectar of Waheguroo's name) reside in our body.
In accordance to the Guru's Maryada, tradition, the seva of our parents has been given high recognition and status. If we do not serve our parents and do their seva, selfless service, then the seva we do at the Gurdwara is not accepted, according to Guru Ji.
Bhai Gurdaas Ji says in his vaars (poetry):
"mW ipau prhir krY dwn byeImwn AigAwn prwxI] ... maa pe'o parhar karai daan, beyeemaan agiyaan paraan"
Bhai Gurdas Ji say that one who does not look after his mother and father, but outside he gives charity; he is not a "daani", charitable person but "beyeemaan", a fraud and crook.
A mother and father long to see their son. They are not unfortunate that they live far apart, instead they live in the same village. Fortunate are those who have a mother and father. However, sometimes we come to see that a son considers himself unfortunate. He comes to the Gurdwara and does Ardaas, "O Baba Ji, I can now no longer look after my elderly mother and father. I cannot serve them and do their seva any more. Please look after them."
Bhai Gurdaas Ji has told us in vaars,
"vK hovY puqu rMin lY mW ipau dy aupkwru ivswry] ...
vak hovai put ran lai, maa pe'o da upkaar visaare"
Leaving your elderly mother and father, Bhai Gurdaas Ji says that you have become separate and you have forgotten the love, support and help your parents gave you.
All his life, the father thinks and dreams, that when I get old my son will give me support and look after me. But, he is not happy to even live with his parents.
Let us think. We wish to call ourselves the Guru's Sikhs. We wish to consider ourselves the children of Guru Nanak Ji's house. We seek happiness through doing seva and Simran. But let us have a look inside of us. How much respect do we show our parents?
This is a very emotional and moving incident, a story of bairaag (heart moving). Mehta Kalu Ji, one day hit his son, Guru Nanak Ji. Guru Nanak Ji returned home from doing the true bargain, and was welcomed home by his father with abuse. He was hit and slapped. But Guru Nanak Ji did not speak one harsh word, which insulted his father. He quietly accepted the punishment of his father. Guru Nanak Ji's father Mehta Kalu became upset, but still Guru Nanak Ji knelt his head down to his father and asked for forgiveness.
"jYsw bwlku Bwie suBweI lK AprwD kmwvY ] kir aupdysu iJVky bhu BwqI bhuiV ipqw gil lwvY ] ipCly Aaugux bKis ley pRBu AwgY mwrig pwvY ]2] ... jaisaa baalak bhaaee subhaayee, lakh apraadh kaamaavai. Kar updes jhirkey bahu bhaathee, bahur pithaa gal laavai
Like the child, innocently making thousands of mistakes his father teaches him, and scolds him so many times, but still, he hugs him close in his embrace. Please forgive my past actions Waheguroo, and place me on Your path for the future."(Ang 624)
The way Guru Nanak Ji respected his parents is exemplary.
Baba Nand Singh Ji, a respected gursikh of the past century, used to teach that the person whose head has never touched their parent's feet, which have never bowed to their parents, he will not understand how one should bow before the Guru. He used to refer to Bhai Gurdas Ji's writings, "
hovY srvx ivrlw koeI] ... hovai sarvan virlaa koyee. To have a son like Sarvan is rare"
Let us look at Guru Gobind Singh Ji's life and how he respected his parents. Everyday thousands of Sikhs would bow their head in respect to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and everyday Guru Gobind Singh Ji would bow his head to mother and father. One day Mata Gujri Kaur Ji, Guru Sahib's mother asked, "Oh my son, please don't bow your head and touch my feet. Looking at your face, I see the light of Waheguroo."
Listening to his mother, Guru Ji then placed his head again on his mother's feet. "Oh mother, if you can see the light of Waheguroo in my face, then it is because of your blessings, your boons, your dreams and nurturing." Mata Gujri Ji put her hands together and praised Waheguroo, "Oh Waheguroo, may You give sons like this to everyone."
Look at how much respect Guru Gobind Singh Ji had for his parents.
Another story that demonstrates respect for one's parents. One day Dasam Pita, Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj, was sitting with the Sangat and having a discussion. He stopped and asked, "I feel thirsty. Kindly can someone go and get me some water." One Singh stood up and offered to go and get the glass of water. He was tall and handsome and looked as if he was the son of a wealthy home.
First of all the Singh washed his hands. Then he washed a glass. With great cleanliness and hygiene he brought forward a glass of water to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
The all-knowing Guru Sahib asks him, "Have you ever given water to drink to anyone else?" He replies, "Maharaj, in our house we have a lot of servants and maids." "That means you have never given your mother water to drink?" asked Guru Ji. "Maharaj!" He replies. "I haven't even ever given my father something to drink. We have a lot of servants. Serving my parents water is on the side. I don't even have to get water for myself, the servants do that for me."
Satguru Guru Gobind Singh ji replies back, "If you have never ever given your mother water to drink, then I will remain thirsty, but I will not drink the water given to me by your hands." Guru ji is thirsty but he gets the glass and places it to the side. "Oh innocent one, your mother and father are 'rab da roop', they are the image of Waheguroo. If you have never given water to your parents, then that is fine. I will then remain thirsty and not drink the water from your hands."
The boy put his hands together and asked forgiveness from Guru Ji. "Satguru, I will now serve my parents from now. I made a mistake unknowingly and out of ignorance. Today I promise you, that from now on I will serve my mother and father." Satguru Ji gave his blessings and said, "O Gursikh, if you do seva, then Guru Nanak Ji will fill your home with happiness."
If you wish to summarise the story of Waheguroo's love in two words, then those two words would be 'mother' and 'father'. Saying two words, 'mother' and 'father' completes the story of Waheguroo's love. If we were to summarise Waheguroo's love in one word, then that word would be, "Maa", mother. Then the explanation of Waheguroo's love would be fulfilled.
If we read Gurbaani, we realise that in place after place Guru Maharaj has explained the love of Waheguroo through the example of 'mother' and 'father'.
" qUM myrw ipqw qUMhY myrw mwqw ]
too mera pitaa, too-hai mera maataa. You are my Father, and You are my Mother" (Ang 103). And in many more shabads, Guru Jee uses the example of a mother and father to express the love of Waheguroo.
"hir jI mwqw hir jI ipqw hir jIau pRiqpwlk ]
har jee maata, har jee pitaa, har jeeo pratepaalak. The Dear Lord is my mother, the Dear Lord is my father; the Dear Lord cherishes and nurtures me. " (Ang 1101)
If we think, the nature of Waheguroo matches that of a mother or father. However foolish a child is, a mother and father still embrace their child in their arms. We say that a son can say that I am no longer your son, but a mother and father cannot say that they are no longer your parents.
In the land of India, millions of saints and devotees of Waheguroo have taken birth. But there has been such a devotee of Waheguroo, who did not live a life dedicated to the devotion of Waheguroo but people still call him a 'bhagat', a devotee of Waheguroo. So why do people call him a 'bhagat'? Because all his life, he dedicated exhausted all his life to do seva of his parents. Who is this person? Bhai Gurdas Ji says in his poetry
"hovY srvx ivrlw koeI ]
hovai sarvan virlaa koyee To have a son like Sarvan is rare" (vaar 34). That's why parents pray to Waheguroo, "O God, please give me a son like Sarvan."
Sarvan's mother and father were old and blind. He used to carry them on baskets held on his shoulders. He would say, "No problem. My mother has no eyes to see. She can use my eyes to see. My father has no eyes to see. He can use my eyes to see. No problem mother and father, if you wish to visit any place of pilgrimage or a religious place, I will carry you on baskets and take you there."He used to carry his blind parents on baskets. Hence, parents use such good examples as the ideal son.
We pray to Waheguroo, "O Waheguroo, my the principle of our life become, may it become part of our way of life that we also respect our parents, we look after our elders." Because until we respect our parents and care for our elders, our seva in Guru Nanak's Darbaar will not be accepted at all. It will not be accepted. When we take responsible of our seva and duty, when this becomes part of our way of living, then Guru Nanak Ji will happy. People will also show us respect. And our Simran we have done will be enshrined within us.