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Rehitnama of Bhai Nand Lal

Before Bhal Nand Lai met Guru Gobind Singh near about the year 1694, he was Mir Munsi of Aurarigzeb’s heir to the Mughal throne, Prince Mu‘azzam, later known as Bahadur Shah. Earlier he was Naib Subedar of Multan. He was a great Persian poet, strongly influenced by Rumi and Hafiz, whom he frequently quotes. When he met Guru Gobind Singh, he became his most devoted disciple and the poet Laureate of his durbar. We have already quoted one Rehitnama of the Sikhs, which was under force when Sikhs were baptized by Charan Pahul ceremony; baptism of Lotus Feet. This Rehitnama is called Tankhahnama: Disciplinary Punishment for Moral Offences; literal translation, Wages of Sins. Bhal Nand Lai was also in charge of one of the major Community Kitchen at Anandpur. So we have an unpublished document giving us some of the details and Rules for Guru ka Lahgar, (Open-Kitchen), offering food to everyone free. We shall be quoting from this document also.

Somebody wrote a third Rehitnama in the name of Bhai Nand Lal, published by Dr. W. H. McLeod along with his version of Chaupa Singh’s Rehitnama. This is not Rehitnama of Bhal Nand Lai, but has been written in his name. The very language, expression and style reveal that the great poet never wrote it. Bhal Nand Lal never wrote any prose except in his letters. Everything he wrote was in poetry, bubbling with the light and life. This is sufficient to establish that the third Rehitnama written in the name of Bhai Nand Lal is an act of impersonation to prepare a spurious document.

  1. Bhal Nand Lal asked Guru Gobind Singh, “Tell us Master, what are the deeds a Sikh should do and what are the deeds which the Khalsa should not do?”
  2. Listen Nand Lai, the fundamental moral and spiritual deeds of Sikh should be:
  1. Nam-Simrin: Contemplation of the Divine Name
  2. Dan: Charity
  3. Isnan: Bathing the body with water and the mind with Divine Word
  1. He who does not seek the company of congregation of the Seekers of Truth or while sitting in the congregation allows his mind to wander, commits a serious moral offence.
  2. He who indulges in useless talk while services in the Sikh temple are going on, commits a moral offence. And he who talks in the congregation about anything other than the Divine Word gains nothing.
  3. He who does not show proper respect and reverence to Holy Adi Grahtli can never attain Enlightenment.
  4. He who, while distributing sacramental food, shows greed, continually suffers mental agony.
  5. This is the way sacramental offering (karah prasad) should be prepared. Clean the utensils and the fire place, and take equal quantity of three ingredients. One who prepares it must take bath, and while preparing it must continually utter the Name of God. He should use fresh and clean water. After preparing it in this way, it should be placed on a low table (chauki) near the altar.
  6. He who offers allegiance to the seal of the Usurpers of Freedom (Turks and Despots, as they were called) and he who submits himself to any Hindu superstition, he shall suffer the agony of rebirth in the cycle of animal births.
  7. It is undesirable not to go to the congregation for service, or distribute sacramental food without living according to the Sikh Code of Conduct.
  8. He who looks at women coming to the congregation with an evil eye is doomed. He who abandons himself to anger, or accepts money for giving his daughter in marriage to someone, and he who cheats pilgrims, his religious worship and prayers are of no avail. He suffers the cycle of birth and death in lower animal lives.
  9. Every Sikh should comb his hair twice daily, keep his teeth clean and tie his turban afresh every time he takes it off.
  10. Trust not a person who tells lies or gives nothing in charity out of his earnings.
  11. Blasphemous is the life of a Sikh:
    1. Who does not perform ablution and morning prayers, nor does he perform evening prayers, nor sleeps without saying Bed-time prayer.
    2. Who backbites.
    3. Who gives up righteousness.
    4. Who does not fulfil his promise.
  12. He who takes meat from a Muslim, cut according to Muslim rites, commits an act of apostasy.
  13. He who listens to extremely profane songs is morally doomed.
  14. Such a person will not receive any honour in the Court of God:
    1. Who starts, nay work without invocation prayers.
    2. Who never offers anything in charity.
    3. Who puts on the garb of a mendicant and goes about begging.
    4. Who commits adultery and covets other people’s wives.
    5. Who does not offer anything to the needy.
  15. He will suffer endlessly:
    1. Who does not attend to the services, while in the temple.
    2. Who cheats in his dealings.
  16. He will suffer in hell:
    1. Who misuses religious funds of the temples and other religious and cultural Institutions for his own ends.
    2. Who cheats people in his dealings with them.
  17. He who visits prostitutes or covets other people’s wives is not a Sikh.
  18. He who goes about naked or performs any religious duties with uncovered head and body; he who wanders about in the streets bare-headed or eats his food with head uncovered commits serious offence against moral discipline.

Character of the Khalsa

Khalsa soi jo nida tiagai.

Khalsa soi larai hoi agai.

He is the Khalsa who gives up calumny.

He is the Khalsa who fights in the forefront.

He is the Khalsa who destroys the five passions.

He is the Khalsa who burns his past karma.

He is the Khalsa who renounces pride.

He is the Khalsa who keeps away from undesirable women.

He is the Khalsa who covets not other people’s wealth.

He is the Khalsa who is absorbed in His Name.

He is the Khalsa who is devoted to the Word of the Guru.

He is the Khalsa who is prepared to encounter

The sword of the enemy courageously.

Knowing the people (khalaq) to be creatures of God (khalaq) Let no one cause sorrow and suffering to the people.

He who wilfully tyrannizes over the people Will be destroyed by the wrath of God.

He is the Khalsa who helps the poor.

He is the Khalsa who destroys oppressors.

He is the Khalsa who contemplates the Name of God.

He is the Khalsa who attacks the wicked people.

He is the Khalsa who is absorbed in His presence.

He is the Khalsa who keeps a war horse.

He is the Khalsa who is ever ready for the battle.

He is the Khalsa who destroys oppressors.

The drums of the glory of God will beat.

No one will dare to abuse and insult God.

The trees and mountains will ring with His Name.

The three worlds will sing His glory.

Sovereign Spirit of the Khalsa: Raj Karega Khalsa

Suno Nahd Lai eho sack, pargat karaun apno raj.

Char barn ik barn karaun. Vahiguru ka jap japaun.

Listen, Nahd Lai, We declare the Truth:

We shall in time establish our Sovereignty,

We shall blend four castes into one,

We shall inspire people to utter the Name of God.

We shall ride the steeds of freedom.

We shall fly the falcon of royal sovereignty,

Seeing which the oppressors shall fade away.

I shall make one Sikh strong enough To fight a hundred thousands,

I will exalt the Khalsa spiritually.

When they fight relentlessly for righteousness,

The spears of glorious victory' will arise aloft;

The royal elephants shall carry fluttering flags,

Then thousands of cannons will be fired for freedom.

The Khalsa shall be victorious from east to west.

The Khalsa shall be free and sovereign, and will rule.

No one will dare to resist its mighty power.

After suffering from internal conflicts all shall unite.

He alone shall be saved who takes refuge in His Presence.

Rules for Conducting Langar: Community Kitchen and Dinning

These words were addressed to Bhai Nand Lal by Guru Gobind Singh:

  1. The kitchen should be clean, and clean and fresh water should be acquired.
  2. Shoes, dogs or birds like crows etc. should not be allowed to enter the kitchen.
  3. No stale vegetable, and nothing having any dirt and no unclean thing should be used.
  4. The mind should be in peace and without prejudice for anyone.
  5. No one addicted to drinks, or no one eating meat should be allowed to prepare Guru ka langar: Food of the Community Kitchen.
  6. No meat of any kind should be used in Guru ka Lalgar: “bakra jhatka bich kare; avar mas nah langar dhare. ”

Author’s Note: Meat-eaters were prohibited from preparing Langar for fear that they may wilfully introduce meat into Langar just as some Nihang Jathas have introduced not only meat but even marijuana: bhang, which they erroneously call sukh-niddhan. This has been their undoing. Ninety percent of the present day Nihangs have lost their self- respect, their religious and spiritual dignity, and their will to contribute something solid to the cause of the Sikh community.

  1. Tobacco, bhang (marijuana leaves) and those who use them should be kept away from the place, where Guru-ka Lahgar is prepared.
  2. All food prepared in the Community Kitchen should first be offered to the Guru through prayer. Then it becomes sacramental food.
  3. All people— rich or poor, high or low, men and women should be asked to sit in a row. There should be no discrimination of caste, colour or faith.
  4. Food should be distributed equally to everyone without favouring the rich and high. Equal respect and equal treatment should be given to all.

Source - The Turban and the Sword of the Sikhs by Dr. Trilochan Singh