What is ‘Bibek Rehit’ and why are some Sikhs strict about who prepares the food they eat? <DL style="WIDTH: 479px" id=attachment_1283 class="wp-caption aligncenter"><DT class=wp-caption-dt><DD class=wp-caption-dd>Baba Jarnail Singh eating Langar prepared by Amritdharis.</DD></DL> In Sikhi, there is an important concept known as ‘bibekta’. Bibek literally means from two to one. Bibek is a God-given conscience that allows a Sikh to discriminate between right and wrong, i.e. knowing what is good and what is bad. Not only is Bibekta applied in a Sikh’s everyday life – for example, knowing it is wrong to cut one’s hair or that it is right to do Nitnem (daily prayers) in the morning – but it can also be applied to what one eats. Bujjar Kurehats (cardinal prohibitions) and other Rehat Maryada (Code of Conduct) rules come into play here. ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ “O Baba! The pleasures of other foods are false, by eating which, the body is ruined, and wickedness and corruption enters into the mind. ||1||Pause||” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – 16) Keeping Bibek Rehit for eating is not a Rehit made up by individual Sikhs or a group of Sikhs. All Gursikhs keep Bibek Rehit for eating to some degree or another. Guru Gobind Singh Ji states: ਜਾਕੀ ਰਹਿਤ ਨ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਗੁਰਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਨਹੀ ਚੀਤ || ਉਨਕਾ ਭੋਜਨ ਖਾਇਕੈ ਬਿਸਰਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ || “One who has no Rehit (discipline) and does not meditate on the Gurmantar (given by the Panj Pyaare when one receives khande-di-pahul); If you eat their food, you will loose the love for God.” (Rehitnama Bhai Chaupa Singh) A ‘Bibeki’ is a person who adheres strictly to and regulates his life in accordance with the Guru’s commandments. One who truly loves Guru Ji will follow his commandments since it is dearer to Guru Ji than the Sikh itself. That Sikh has truly offered his head to Guru Ji, who only lives to please Guru Ji. However, this rehit will be of no use if one does not maintain Amritvela, perform daily Naam Abhiyaas (practice of repeating the Divine-Name), and keep humility and sincerity, otherwise keeping Bibek will just promote ego. Gurbani clearly states: ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਨੀ ਤਿਨ ਧਿਗੁ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਧਿਗੁ ਖਾਣੁ ॥੧॥ “O Nanak! Those who do not contemplate the Naam, the Name of the Lord – cursed are their clothes, and cursed is their food. ||1||” (Ang 646) Naam is given during initiation. So Guru Ka Langar or food that Gursikhs eat pertains to food prepared by people who have taken Amrit and received Naam. Story of Bheesham Pitama In accordance to Hindu mythology, Draupadi asked the saint Sant Bheesham Pitama, why he had not come to her rescue when she was stripped of her clothing in Duryodan’s court. She queried him, saying that if he was a saint, why did he not raise his voice when evil was going on before his very eyes in Duryodana’s court. He started to cry and said, “Daughter, I shall tell you the truth; my mind became clouded by darkness as I had eaten in Duryodan’s house.” Therefore, this shows how the love of God breaks away from a being as their mind becomes clouded by filth and prevents them from performing good deeds. Gurbani says: ਸਲੋਕ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥ ਚੋਰਾ ਜਾਰਾ ਰੰਡੀਆ ਕੁਟਣੀਆ ਦੀਬਾਣੁ ॥ ਵੇਦੀਨਾ ਕੀ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਵੇਦੀਨਾ ਕਾ ਖਾਣੁ ॥ ਸਿਫਤੀ ਸਾਰ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਸਦਾ ਵਸੈ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥ “Salok, First Mehl: Thieves, adulterers, prostitutes and pimps (i.e. immoral people) make friendships with the unrighteous and eat the food prepared from the unrighteous. Those people do not know the value of the Lord’s Praises (i.e. their internal Naam Jaap stops), and Satan (desires, anger, greed, emotional attachment, and ego) takes residence in the mind.” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – 790) Note: According to Gurbani those who drink alcohol are ‘husbands of prostitutes’ (ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਮਦੁ ਜੋ ਪੀਵਤੇ ਬਿਖਲੀ ਪਤਿ ਕਮਲੀ || Ang 399); those who don’t Jap Naam are called ‘murderers’ of the soul (ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਜਪਹਿ ਤੇ ਆਤਮ ਘਾਤੀ ||੧|| Ang 188); those who eat meat are called ‘thieves’ (ਸਿੰਘਚ ਭੋਜਨੁ ਜੋ ਨਰੁ ਜਾਨੈ || ਐਸੇ ਹੀ ਠਗਦੇਉ ਬਖਾਨੈ ||੨|| Ang 485). Story of Bhai Lalo Ji and Malik Bhago During Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s time, there was someone named Bhai Lalo Ji who earned his living by honest work. Bhai Lalo Ji once got lunch for Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his companion, Bhai Mardana Ji to have. Bhai Mardana Ji asked, “This meal tastes like nectar. What has been put in it?” Guru Nanak Dev Ji replied, “That was the taste of truthfulness and honesty that you tasted. This taste is above the taste of worldly delicacies.” There was a high government official of the city called Malik Bhago who gave a general feast and also welcomed Guru Nanak Dev Ji. However, Guru Ji refused the invitation and said, “We are fakirs, what have we to do with your feast?” He was then asked again; therefore, Guru Nanak Dev Ji took Bhai Lalo Ji with him and went to Malik Bhago. Malik Bhago said furiously to Guru Ji, “You are dishonouring Kshatriyas by eating dry chapaties in the house of a low caste carpenter. My feast will offer you delicious food. Why do you refuse to eat it?” Guru Nanak Dev Ji then took Bhai Lalo’s chapati and Malik Bhago’s fried sweet pancake. When he squeezed Bhai Lalo’s chapati milk dripped out from it but when he squeezed Malik Bhago’s fried pancake, blood dripped out from it. Guru then said, “Look Malik Bhago, wealth gathered by cruelty and corruption towards the poor is like sucking their blood which you have done. You had invited me to partake of blood, leaving food pure as milk. How could I accept it?” This showed that Bhai Lalo was the symbol of honesty and hard work. Therefore, the story shows how food from the faithless cynic is nothing but poison, just how Gurbani mentions that Maya is just like sugarcane which is sweet from the outside but inside Maya is just poison which only leaves pain in the end. ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਦਾਨਾ ਰੂਖਾ ਸੋ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਧਾਨ || ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਸਾਕਤ ਛਤੀਹ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਬਿਖੂ ਸਮਾਨ ||੨|| “The dry bread of the Saints is equal to all treasures. The thirty-six tasty dishes of the faithless cynic are just like poison.” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – 811) Story from the early life of Guru Amar Daas Ji Gurbani says: ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਈ ਨਿਗੁਰੇ ਕਾ ਹੈ ਨਾਉ ਬੁਰਾ ||੧੩|| “Without Satguru, there is no Guru at all; one who is without a Guru has a bad name (i.e. has no honour).” (Ang 435) Before Guru Amar Daas Sahib Ji became the third Nanak, he met a Saadhu (holy man) who once ate in his house. On leaving, when the Saadhu realised that Baba Amar Daas Ji was without a Guru, the Saadhu became angry and told Baba Amar Daas Ji that, by eating with him, he the Sadhu had lost all his spiritual wealth which he had earned after many years of meditation. Baba Amar Daas Ji cried the whole night. This shows that if one eats from someone who is without a Guru (has not taken amrit) and does not recite the Gurmantar, one looses their profit of Naam. So how can they ever cross over? By eating by someone who is unrighteous, they too become unrighteous. When we eat from a faithless cynic, this affects our Naam. It influences the five vices and thinking. Just as when people say, “you are what you eat” due to physical health, this also includes for our spirituality. Sai Mai Mir Ji and Guru Arjan Dev Ji Sai Mia Mir was very close to Guru Arjan Dev Ji. However, Guru Sahib didn’t even consume food from Sai Mian Mir even though they were very close since Sai Mian Mir was a Muslim (non-Sikh). Sai Mian Mir prepared different utensils to be used for Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji for cooking and eating food from. Whenever Guru Sahib and his Sikhs stayed over with Sai Mian Mir ji, these utensils were used to cook and eat langar from. Also, even different utensils were used to cook food for Guru Arjan Dev ji and Guru Sahib’s sewadars. This proves that Sikhs and Guru Sahib himself did not take food cooked from those who were not Sikhs. Story of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Bhai Dayaal Daas One day Guru Gobind Singh Ji went to Bhai Dayaal Daas’ ( descendant of Baba Aadam Ji) village and told Bhai Sahib to take Amrit. Bhai Sahib did not take Gurus Hukum seriously and ignored the request. Some time went by and Bhai Sahib had a strong desire to meet Guru Sahib at Sri Damdama Sahib. When approaching Guru Sahib he greeted Guru Sahib but Guru Ji ignored him. Bhai Raam Singh a devoted servant of Guru Sahib asked Guru Sahib why he had ignored Bhai Dayaal Daas knowing that he was descedenent of a Gurmukh (Baba Aadam Ji ) who served the fourth Guru. Guru Sahib responded “He is without a Guru, he has not taken Amrit”. Dayaal Daas responded “I am a Sikh. Sikhi has been in my family since the fourth Guru. I don’t smoke, drink or eat meat. I dont cut my hair”. Still Guru Sahib did not embrace him. Bhai Ram Singh Ji told Dayal Das “We will be apporaching your village in some time prepare langar for the Guru.” When Guru Ji approached the village ( Bhuchey) Guru Sahib’s horse was thirsty. There was a nearby pond in the village; however, Guru Sahib’s horse did not drink from the pond. When the Sangat asked Guru Ji as to why the horse refused the water from the pond. Guru Sahib said that in this village there is a ‘nigura’ . Dayaal Daas then requested Guru Sahib to come to his house and bless the langar. Guru Sahib responded: ਅਸੀਂ ਮਰਯਾਦਾ ਪ੍ਰਪਕ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਬੇਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਈਏ ਦੇ ਘਰ ਚਰਣ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਉਣੇ ਨਾ ਉਸ ਦੀਭੇਟਾ ਤੇ ਨਾ ਲੰਗਰ ਹੀ ਪ੍ਰਵਾਨ ਕਰਨਾ ਹੈ “I have made the Maryada firm that I will not bless the home of a non-Amritdhari, and neither accept their offerings or Langar.” (Gurpartap Surya – translated into Punjabi by Baba Katar Singh Bhindranwale: pg 229, Khalsa Jeeva athe Gurmat Maryada) Meaning the food can be only blessed if prepared by a Sikh of the Guru. Guru Sahib further stated: ਸਿਖ ਉਹੋ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ ਹੁਕਮ ਮੰਨੇ , ਹੁਕਮ ਮੰਨ ਤਾ ਸੇਵਾ ਪ੍ਰਵਾਨ ਹੋਵੇਗੀ “He is a Sikh who obeys the Gurus Hukum. One’s service is only accepted if they accept the Gurus Hukum.” (Gurpartap Surya – translated into Punjabi by Baba Katar Singh Bhindranwale: pg 229, Khalsa Jeeva athe Gurmat Maryada) Guru Sahib then quoted the following Gurbani line: ਸਲਾਮੁ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਦੋਵੈ ਕਰੇ ਮੁੰਢਹੁ ਘੁਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥ “One who greets but then doest obey has gone astray from the start.” (Ang 474) Meaning their greeting is insincere. http://www.sikhanswers.com/rehat-ma...-strict-about-who-prepares-the-food-they-eat/ Is this an extremism ? Or does it not fuel haumai and give brahmin status ? The amritdharis that practice it, refuse to believe so !