Jack of all trades, Master of Sum

This edition of my musings is dedicated to my father and my wish if only I could be ten per cent of the man that he is given his qualities since he is almost seventy and tonight was like no other. My shift timings are 6:30 pm to 3:30 am IST which basically means I stay up at night more often than not but dad being the man he is, did not sleep the entire night which was after as far back as I can remember to celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birthday which falls on 11/24/2018 this year and the whole Sikh community celebrates it as one. Over to you dad.

Prabhat Pheri

Guru Nanak was born on Kartik Poornima falling in Oct-Nov 1469. Guru Nanak’s father was Mehta Kalu and Mother Mata Tripta and his elder sister were Bibi Nanki. Right from his birth, he behaved unusual, not like an ordinary human and created his presence differently both amongst Hindus and Muslims. As time went by, he got married and had two sons,  Sri Chand Ji and Lakshmi Chand Ji besides, he also served as an employee of Sultanpur Lodi

Once enlightened, he remained underwater for three days. He devoted his entire life for the upliftment of the society by making it casteless and removed the myth and superstitions from the day -to -day life. Bibi Nanki was the first lady who could see the superpower in her younger brother and became the first to accept him as a direct messenger of God/ Nirankar.

He left his family on four occasions known as Udasis and travelled more than 30,000 km as far as Ceylon, Burma, Russia, North-East, Bihar, Orissa, Karnataka, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iran so on and so forth. His philosophy and dharma have the following three principles:
1. Kirt Karna (One should work)
2. Wund Chhakna (Distribute among others, what one earns)
3. Naam Lena (Remember God by creating a clear mind)

Some of his beliefs and sayings are as follows:

Ek Onkar ie there is only one god for the entire universe having no colour, no shape, doesn’t take birth or die but the entire world works under his command

Manas ki jaat sabhe, ek hi pehchaan bo(there is no difference in the human beings such as a caste which is a creation by man when one is born) Therefore, the entire human race is a casteless society.

Nanak naam chad di kalan, tere bhaanein sarbat da bhalla which means that one should always pray for the well being of all which implies self also but others come first

Based on the principles of Guru Nanak, the concept of langar ie Community Kitchen to serve and feed humans is a prime principle adopted and accepted by all his followers. Therefore, in every Gurudwara, there is a provision for langar for all those who visit, irrespective of his caste, colour, creed and financial status. It is also accepted by his devotees to do kar seva. Thus, maintenance of Gurudwara, preparation of langar, distribution etc is being done by one and all. It is also a system adopted by his disciples to spread his message of peace, love, to gather in the morning 10-15 days before his birth and recite his words in kirtan and move in the localities so that everyone is reminded of the principle of Guru Nanak and the society remains balanced, cheerful and happy. Where their mun (heart) remains on the ground and Mut (wisdom) remains high.

This creates a situation of tolerance, acceptance of views of others so that society does not get disturbed with trivial or serious matters.

Thanks, Dad. So, on the auspicious occasion of Guru Nanak’s birthday, on the 19th of November, there was Prabhat Pheri which is a congregation to spread the teachings and recite hymns in honour of Baba Nanak which was hosted in our house on behalf of my father. The subsequent photos will try and depict the story how it unfolded on the anointed time.

Dad, Prabhat Pheri, Coriander or Dhania
Coriander or Dhania Cutting

Step 1: Dad started burning the midnight oil by cutting the Coriander or Dhania as a first step in the preparation of the chickpeas or safed chholey.

The Chickpeas, Safed Chholey, Utensils, Prabhat Pheri, Food for the congregation
Pots and Pans

Step 2: The pressure cooker from the halwai or sweetshop was defective and dad had to prepare for the contingencies.

Kitchen, Pressure cooker, Pressure Cooker as a bucket
The Pressure Cooker

Step 3: The sheer enormity of the vessel dwarfed any other concerns that I had and it was 1 am and the congregation was expected at 6 so the time was running by.

Whistle podu, cooking the entire night
Segregation of the Chickpeas

Step 4: The air was leaking from the main pressure cooker and the chickpeas had to be segregated into smaller ones that we had for our household chores.

Pressure Cooked Chickpeas
Pressure cooked Chickpeas

Step 5: The pressure cooked chickpeas were separated and the masala or curry was being made in the meantime

Utensils, curry being prepared
Preparation of the masala or curry
Step 6: Preparation of the masala or Curry
Chickpeas Curry
The mixture of Masala & Chickpeas

Step 7: The amalgamation of the curry masala and the pressure cooked chickpeas which were a finale as far as the dish was concerned.

Curry Masala
Curry Masala

Step 8: Dad emptied the curry masala to mix it with the chickpeas and the portion was fit to feed at least 50 people or enough for the congregation.

Sheer size, chickpeas for 50 people
Ready to roll

Step 9: Top view of the chickpeas.

Final touch

Step 10: Final touch to the chickpeas being given by dad before ready to serve.

Kulche(bread), kachori, paper plates, glasses, shukker parre
Food for thought

The chairs were loaded with goodies for the expected crowd which consisted of paper plates, disposable glasses, a pack of laddoos, kachori, shukker parre, kulche(bread)

This is what 40 liters of milk looks like
Let there be milk

This is what 40 litres of milk looks like wherein each pack consisted of 12 litres in three separate trays plus four additional litres.

The vessel to boil the milk
The vessel

The vessel to boil the milk which weighed more than 45 kgs alone and took two persons to carry.

Ground Pistachios
Ground Pistachios

Ground Pistachios to enrich the milk.

Kadha Parshad, Gyani Ji
Kadha Parshad

Gyani Ji making the Kadha parshad in preparation of the expected devotees.

Pistachios and Cashew Nuts for the milk
Pistachios and Cashew Nuts for the milk
Bifurcation of the chickpeas
Bifurcation of the chickpeas

The chickpeas were separated into two separate containers for the devotees who would be assembling in the house on the first floor and others who would be getting together in the park in front of our house.

View from the top
View from the top

View from the balcony on the first floor and the preparations being set in the park in anticipation of the congregation which went by smoothly.

Guru Nanak before leaving the world entrusted the Guru Gaddi to Bhai Lehna Ji named by him as Guru Angad. The subsequent eight Gurus have the same thoughts/ philosophy till Guru Gobind Singh Sahib who in turn directed the Sikhs to have no other living Guru except Guru Granth Sahib which would remain the sole criteria for obtaining solace, happiness or solution to all their problems once they sit before the Guru Granth Sahib to obtain the answer. Therefore, Guru Granth Sahib is being respected as a living Guru having a citation from various noble souls(Sants) be it Muslim Fakirs, Baba Fakir, Kabir Ji, Ravidass Ji, Naam Dev Ji and many others.

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