In the home of Khalsa I live my life and in the footsteps of Mata Khivi Ji, I learn to be independent. As women of the Khalsa Panth we acknowledge that we have lots of responsibilities and lots of different roles but we also realize we have a responsibility towards ourselves, too. Mata Khivi fulfilled all her roles inside the house with grace and her role outside with equal grace. Mata Khivi Ji had the honor of meeting the first Five Guru Sahib Jis, being the wife of the Second Guru Sahib Ji and starting Guru Ka Langar (community kitchen). Mata Ji was able to do all that because she had faith in her husband, taught her children to be good people and was willing to live life on her own terms.
The biggest change in a person’s life is change of religion and that is why we are always taught to never change our religion to please anyone but ourselves. Mata Khivi Ji’s husband Bhai Lhena Ji (Guru Angad Dev Ji) and he after meeting Guru Nanak Dev Ji started following the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Mata Khivi Ji was one of the many people that Bhai Lhena Ji spread the word of Sikhism to and she was also one of the people that loved what she heard and became a Sikh. Mata Ji did not stop her husband from becoming a Sikh when the women around her gossiped that he was becoming a holy man and would leave her. Mata Ji trusted her husband when he was gone for a long period to be with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. She trusted him to do what was best for the family and his spiritual needs. For herself she studied Sikhism and meet Guru Nanak Dev Ji a couple times and became a follower because it felt right for her. Once a Sikh, she started Guru Ka Langar and would feed the people that came to meet her husband with food made from the best ingredients available. Today we are so quick to change our religion to make our loved ones happy and we break marriages if one of us starts thinking differently. We need to look at Mata Khivi Ji and learn to be accepting and at same time confident enough to make our own choices.
Mata Khivi Ji also allowed her children to make their own choices and mistakes. She never had anything forced upon her and never forced upon others. Mata Ji’s daughter Bibi Amaro Ji is famous for inspiring her husband’s uncle so much that he later became the Third Guru, Guru Amar Das Ji. That only goes to show what great up bringing she had given her children. While one child of hers inspired others to be good Sikhs, another claimed the GuruGaddi for himself. Baba Datu encouraged by his friends claimed to be the third Guru. When he started getting horrible headaches, she explained to him that he should apologize for wrongly claiming to be Guru and that with the guilt gone, he will feel better. It was because of her great upbringing, that he listened to her and apologized and gave up his claim without a second question. Mata Khivi Ji could have easily disowned Baba Datu Ji for his actions but with love she made him realize the wrong of his actions. That is why she was respected by all and all listened to her. We need to learn to be like Mata Ji and solve problems with love, not anger. Only then will we earn the respect that will make us successful in our home life and our work life.
Mata Khivi Ji was respected by all and that allowed her to run her life on her terms. She ran Guru Ka Langar the way she wanted to run it. She used just the best ingredients, served the langar to everyone that came and always made something sweet too. She didn’t let anyone dictate how to run the langar; maybe that’s why it was originally called ‘Khivi ka Langar’. For her great service she is even mentioned by name in Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, “Balwand says that Khivi, the Guru`s wife, is a noble woman, who gives soothing, leafy shade to all. She distributes the bounty of the Guru`s Langar; the kheer – the rice pudding and ghee, is like sweet ambrosia.” (p967). Today when we do seva, we look for the tried sevas with fixed rules as not to make any mistakes. We don’t seek out to serve Guru Ji and his devotees independently. We should learn from Mata Khivi JI to be independent when it comes to loving Waheguru Ji.
Nobody can teach us to love Waheguru Ji because love can’t be taught. Mata Khivi Ji teaches us to fulfill all our roles and yet be independent in how we live our life and love Waheguru Ji. Let us all take inspiration from Mata Ji and be good Sikhs and love Waheguru Ji with an open heart.
A request to all the Women of Khalsa Panth don’t abuse your right to be independent. Live the life of a proper Gursikh and fulfill all your responsibilities and your independence will come on its own.