I recently celebrated a important milestone in my life when it comes to Birthdays where a Gurmukh celebration turned into a Manmukh celebration within minutes. I learnt an important lesson on this day that trying to act in a Gursikh fashion is not enough, one has to bring the change from within. I have been trying to focus my life on Guru Ji and Sikhi as much as possible and thought it would be great to bring in a new year of my life in a Gursikh fashion, since that is what I want to be. Instead of a perfect Gursikh birthday, my day was an example of how to ruin a perfect Gursikh birthday.
The trouble started the night before the big day with the arrival of presents or should I say one special present? In recent years with all my birthday parties turning out to be complete busts, I had taken to celebrating on my own by wearing a new special suit/lengha for the special day. That and going to the Gurudwara Sahib with my uncle whose birthday falls on the same day. Back to the dress, this year I got 6 dresses to choose from my aunt who just got back from India that week. Suddenly, I became ungrateful. The dresses were all very beautiful and will picked out by my aunt but none appealed to me. I couldn’t decide if I was just so spoiled or if I had become so unattached; that upset me. I didn’t pick out a dress and my moodiness upset my mother and we got in a row about me being ungrateful.
Upset with my attitude my mother forbade me from staying up all night and doing Path to bring in the new year of my life. She said I was spending enough time with Waheguru Ji the next day and this was just going over board. I am not the kind to be daunted, I snuck out of my room once everyone was asleep to go to Guru Ji’s room. I started Simran shortly before midnight and end shortly after midnight. All the tension over stupid clothes, just couldn’t let me concentrate on Waheguru Ji’s name for too long. I went back to bed and fell into uneasy sleep, hoping rest of the plans work out better.
First thing in the morning I head to Gurudwara Sahib Ji with Parsad (prepared for the first time, all myself) and a Ramalla Sahib to offer Guru Ji and thank Him for the life He blessed me with. It sounds great thing to do and it is but the way I did it, is the wrong way. I don’t have a great relationship with a relative that is currently visiting and she was actually felt the need to ask if I would allow her to come with me to the Gurudwara Sahib. One should never turn down or make anyone feel they need to get permission to go to the Gurudwara Sahib. Its not right but I had that effect on someone and that upset me. I think it upset Waheguru Ji also because I didn’t receive a Hukam from Guru Ji. There was Akand Path and Guru Ji was busy. I felt very dejected, Waheguru Ji was not pleased with me trying to do everything like Gursikh, instead of from my heart.
In a grumpy mood I came home and put on a chef’s jacket and began to prepare langar for the ladies that would be coming for Sukhmani Sahib Ji Path to be held later in the day. My mother and my aunt called to offer to come early and help me, i turned it down. Langat had to be made by myself right? My relative that had gone to the Gurudwara Sahib with me was disappointed in not being allowed to help. Nobody understood, I have to do this myself. Did they forget about Mata Ganga Ji and Baba Budda Ji’s refusal to accept food not made by her? I didn’t want Guru Ji to reject my seva but at same time I couldn’t bear my relatives reaction, I let her help peel and cut the carrots. Its still mostly my seva, right? She only helped with one thing? I filled with pride of working so hard to prepare all the langar that it upset when my mom came home and looked at me in horror for not cleaning the house. I was in tears, why didn’t she see the seva I did do, not just the work I hadn’t gotten time to do? I was filled with kordh for my mother and hankar about the langar. Not a good combination and Guru Ji agreed, Guru Ji did not accept my langar either. While I was out picking up some serving plates, the ladies arrived and one of the started eating without checking if ardass had been done. I was fuming with anger by now.
Time for Sukhmani Sahib Ji Path arrived shortly after the langar incident and there was no way I could concentrate. I sat down with the aunts to do path, trying to ignore the little kids running about. Guru Ji must have known I couldn’t concentrate because shortly after Path started i was called away to go pick up my sister-in-law. At this point I just gave up, trying to do everything in Gursikh way on my birthday.
This not so perfect birthday was a perfect lesson for my daily life and any future birthdays, once I got over being upset that none of my grand plans worked out. Its not about how much you do, or what you do, its about how much love you do it with. Anything done with love for Guru Ji, he accepts. Anything done for the sake of doing, like my ‘gursikh’ birthday, is not accepted because you can’t just imitate gursikh actions, you have to mean it, you have to feel it.
Next year, no manmukh activities, where I forget Waheguru Ji even while trying to serve him. No need to go overboard, simple actions filled with love is all that is needed.