Rehat Maryada

Why do some Sikhs believe that Langar prepared by a Patit (a Mona, an adulterer, or tobacco smoker etc) is not acceptable for the Khalsa of Guru Sahib? Surely, anyone who prepare Langar with love is all that matters?

If this person has prem (love), why is this person not listening to Guru Sahib and keeping his or her hair? The excuse of Prem is not that once a week this person works in Langar and then expects everyone to eat from his or her hands. If this person truly wants Gursikhs to eat from his or her hands, then it is imperative that this person give his or her head to Guru Sahib and takes Amrit. To force and coax Gursikhs to break their Maryada (code of conduct) and eat from them, without first reforming themselves is an irresponsible thing to do.

The measure of Prem is obedience to Guru Sahib.

Guru Ji says:

ਸਲਾਮੁ ਜਬਾਬੁ ਦੋਵੈ ਕਰੇ ਮੁੰਢਹੁ ਘੁਥਾ ਜਾਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਦੋਵੈ ਕੂੜੀਆ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਕਾਈ ਪਾਇ ॥੨॥
“One who offers both respectful greetings and rude refusal to his master, has gone wrong from the very beginning. O Nanak, both of his actions are false; he obtains no place in the Court of the Lord. ||2||”
(SGGS 474)

If one does not obey even the most basic hukams (edicts) of Guru Sahib, such person cannot be a Premi (devotee) of Guru Sahib. Yes, there are some ignorant but innocent persons. Such persons should be told about Guru Sahib’s maryada but if even after finding out the Maryada, they still insist on doing those 4 Bajjar Kurehits (cardinal taboos), then it is safe to assume that such persons have no Prem at all, but mere show.

ਰਹਿਤ ਪਿਆਰੀ ਮੁਝ ਕੋ ਸਿਖ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਨਾਹਿ ॥
“I love a Sikh’s disciplined way of life, not the Sikh.”
(Rehatnama Bhai Desa Singh)

True humility lies in obeying hukams (edicts) of Guru Sahib and not in the kind humility of bowing your head for no reason.

Thus in trying to follow this Maryada, many Gursikhs eat Langar only prepared by Gursikhs simply because they wish to follow the edict of Gurmat in respect of food and not out of any superiority complex or hatred for others.

ਭੋਜਨਾਦਿ ਮੁੰਡਿਤ ਨਾਲ ਛਕੇ ਤਨਖਾਹੀਆ ॥
(ਭਾਈ ਦਯਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ ਰਹਿਤਨਾਮਾ, ਪੰਨਾ ੭੨ – ‘ਰਹਿਤਨਾਮੇ’, ਸੰਪਾਦਕ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਪਦਮ)
“One who eats food with a Mona/non-Sikh, is guilty of a breach of conduct”
(Bhai Daya Singh Ji Rehitnama – Piara Singh Padam’s Rehitnamay pg. 72)

ਗੁਰੂ ਕਾ ਸਿਖ, ਸਰਦਾਰ ਹੋਵੈ, ਸ਼ਾਹੂਕਾਰ ਹੋਵੈ, ਮੁਸ੍ਨਦੀ ਹੋਵੈ, ਆਪਣੇ ਲੰਗਰ ਰਸੋਈ ਵਿਚ ਸਿਖ ਰਖੇ ॥
ਹੁਕਈ, ਟੋਪੀਆ, ਭਾਦਣੀ, ਚੋਰ, ਯਾਰ, ਜੂਏਬਾਜ਼, ਕੁਰਹਿਤੀਆ ਨਾ ਰਖੈ ॥
“A Guru ka Sikh…should keep only a Sikh in his langar and kitchen. Smokers, hat-wearers, shaven people, thieves, gamblers, kurehitees should not be kept”
(Rehitnama Bhai Chaupa Singh Ji – Piara Singh Padam, pg. 85)