Shabad Langar

There are two types of Lanagar:

  1. Langar of food (Free Kitchen, ਭੋਜਨ ਸ਼ਾਲਾ …)
  2.  Shabad Langar (Langar of Upadesh, Giaan, Wisdom…)

(1). Lanagr of food

We are familiar with the dinning tradition of Langar (ਲੰਗਰ) in Gurdawaras.

In English, a Langar is also seen referred as ‘common kitchen’, ‘open kitchen’, ‘free mess’, ‘Sikh community meal’, ‘free communal kitchen of the Gurdawara’, Guru Kaa Langar, and so on.

The Langar symbolizes Sikh belief in the community spirit, sharing, inclusiveness, oneness, sameness, the duty to selflessly serving others (particularly those who are less fortunate such as poor, destitute, hungry, etc.), the equality of all people of diverse backgrounds sitting as equals in the Langer (regardless of family of birth, color of one’s skin, caste (Jaat Paat), creed, gender, religion, rich or poor, king or pauper, etc.).

Some Gurdwaras offer Langar 24 hours (every day of the year) to every visitor, traveler, etc. No one is turned away; for we all are the children of the same One Father (Rabb).

It is also served in homes, etc., following recitation of the Gurbani, a religious ceremony, etc.

(2) Shabad Langar

The Langar of daily meals takes care of the need of the gross body.

But, what about the need of the Soul (Aatmaa) or the mind?

The Soul’s needs are different. It needs Spiritual Food — Aatam Giaan, spiritual Knowledge, Virtues, Wisdom, Truth (Sach)…

To take care of this need of the Soul or the mind, the Gurbani recommends Shabad Langar (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲਾ).

This Shabad Langar provides the needed Spiritual nourishment – the Sacramental Food.

It is really strange that the need for the Shabad Langar as asserted by the Gurbani  (Gur Shabad) is NOT emphasized by too many Sikh writers, researchers, scholars, Pujaare-Vaad — Ragi, Bhai, Kathaakaar, Deraa-Vaad (ਵੇਹਲੜ ਲੋਕਾ ਦੇ ਅੱਡੇ), Baabaa-Vaad, Sant-Vaad, Jathedaar-Vaad, Takhat-Vaad, etc.

However, the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) neither forgets it nor it gets tired of reminding us about the need of the Shabad Lanagr:

  • ਲੰਗਰੁ ਚਲੈ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਹਰਿ ਤੋਟਿ ਨ ਆਵੀ ਖਟੀਐ ॥: (In the ‘Hattee’ of Baabaa Nanak) the Lanagar through the Gur Shabad (Upadesh, Naam, Wisdom..) is running, and its supplies never run short. (sggs 967).

Thus, if we seek the Guidance of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), there is clear reference to this Shabad Lanagar (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲਾ – Shabad-Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Guroo’s Wisdom, Aatm-Giaan, etc.).

  • ਖਾਣਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਚੰਗਿਆਈਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਸਦਾ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ਹੈ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਓਹੁ ਊਜਲਾ ਮੈਲਾ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: (O brothers!) Eat the Food of the Shabad (Naam, Upadesh, Wisdom…) and the divine Virtues, eating which (the mind) always remains satisfied. Make the divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues… your) garment, that garment remains ever clean and never gets dirty. (sggs 1092).

The Gurbani indicates that the Shabad is the Sacramental Food (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲਾ), which is equally important (if not more!).

  • ਭੁਗਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਅਸਥਿਰੁ ਕੰਧੁ ਜਪੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੀ ॥੩॥: By engaging in the Gur-Shabad, abide in the Naam – make this your food (i.e. make it the food of your soul). Understanding the Naam of the Formless (Universal Energy, Rabb..), the senses will be saved from swaying towards Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, etc.). ||3|| (sggs 879).
  • ਸਚਾ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਾਮੁ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਗੁਰਮਤੀ ਖਾਧਾ ਰਜਿ ਤਿਨਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: The everlasting spiritual life-giving Amrit-Naam has become my food. Those who follow the Gurmat (Wisdom, upadesh or Way of the SGGS), who eat this sublime food are satisfied and obtain bliss. (sggs 150).

In short, the SGGS indicates that the Shabad Langar (Giaan, Spiritual Wisdom, Divine Knowledge, Naam…) must ceaselessly be distributed freely and open to all seekers (of Truth) without any discrimination of gender, race, nationality, status (rich, poor etc.), education, ethnicity, and so on.

  • ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਸਬਦਿ ਨ ਭੇਦੀਐ ਕਿਉ ਸੋਹੈ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਿ ॥: Until (one’s mind) is NOT pierced through with the Shabad, (until then one does NOT) look Beautiful at the ‘Gurduaari’ or the Guru’s Door (Inner Beauty: state of Bliss or Anand, abidance in one’s Jot Saroop…). (sggs 19).
  • ਏਕੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਨਾਸਤਿ ਕੰਦ ਮੂਲਿ ਮਨੁ ਲਾਵਸਿਤਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: If you focus your mind on that one Shabad (i.e. Naam, Upadesh, Wisdom… without which) no one else (is able to show the Way of life). You (instead) go around concentrating on eating roots, tubers etc. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 155).

5 comments

  1. Anyone who want to have Shabad Langar for his/her soul must visit gurbani.org site daily.
    Thanks and regards
    G.S.

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