Langar at Anandpur Sahib
Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth in succession from Guru Nanak, was installed to the Guruship in 1664. he spent some time at Bakala communicating instructions to his Sikhs. He then went to Kiratpur and langar was also shifted there along with him. The Guru did not live there for a long time. As he was plagued with the jealousy of the Sodhis, he sought rest on some land about six miles from Kiratpur, which is later on purchased from the Raja of Kahlur. There Guru Teg Bahadur laid the foundation of Anandpur in 1665, and subsequently the Guru’s free kitchen was also introduced there and everyone was served with meals, with the same old traditions, which were established by his predecessors. Leaving Anandpur, the Guru passed through many villages and towns preaching. He stopped at Dhamdhan in the Ba’gar tract. There was scarcity of water in that area. As the Guru always spent the money that came as offerings for charitable purpose, he got well sunk at different places. In the town of Dhamdhan too the Guru supplied funds to the villagers to sink a well saying:“There is no higher and better course of life than to serve others and dedicate one’s whole life to the service of the world.”
There was a servant of the Guru by the name of Mihan. He was very devoted to the Guru and performed many services, such as brining water for the guru’s bath, cleaning the kitchen utensils, and cooking food and serving the devotees. By fetching and carrying water-pots, his skull became sodden and finally the head festered and became full of sores. One day by chance the mother of the Guru noticed the state of the man’s head and informed the Guru about it. The Guru was touched by the devotion of Mihan and sent for him and made his remove the cushion which he kept on his head for carrying water-pots and other loads. The Guru blessed Mihan and he was healed soon. The Guru also gave him a robe of honor. Once the Guru was asked what a great deed could be? He replied, “To give away what one has for the benefit of others is a great deed.”
The Master continued, “One should accumulate the wealth of the Sacred Name within. What material wealth one may have should be shared with others and given away in charity, and the body should be kept clean by ablutions.” Again at one occasion the Guru said to his Sikhs, “Think not of your good deeds, for thus the merits you acquire by visiting sacred laces, by penance, by giving money in charity, are in vain. If pride comes into your heart then the purpose of al charity is defeated. Know your unworthiness, keep aware of your own short-comings and your many imperfections; else all your endeavour after spiritual life would be vain-yea, vain like the elephant’s bath, for the moment the animal gets out of water it scatters dust all over its body.”
The Guru so often helped those who wanted to help the poor and the needy. When he went to Dhamdhan he presented the Chaudhary of the village with funds to construct a well and a Dharamsal for the reception of the travelers, where the wayfarers could only spend comfortable nights but also get meals. Similarly when the Guru went to Karha, he induced an agriculturist to dig a Baoli for the benefit of wayfarers. When Guru Teg Bahadur dwelled in Anandpur it had become a place of pilgrimage for all the Sikhs and devotees and those who loved spirituality. The Guru received the people three times a day: morning, mid-day and evening. Hundreds of people were thus fed everyday from the guru’s Langar.