Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji and the honeypot
Satguru Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji Maharaj once visited Kashmir. There lived his faithful follower Sewa Das who was always longing to serve the Guru. Sewa Das lived in the town of Srinagar where the Guru planned to so. On the way. however, another faithful follower. Kami Shah, met the Guru and requested him to stay with him in his cottage for some days. The Guru promised to stay with Kattu Shah on his way back. He advised Kattu Shah to sing God's praises day and night.
Kattu Shah was so faithful that from the very moment the Guru departed, he began to recite hymns. He was so absorbed in God's Name that he forgot even sleep and did not care for food. Many days passed, yet Kattu Shah continued remembering God day and night without a break. He became very thin and weak but the Guru's words were still ringing in his ears.
One day a group of pilgrims, on their way to see the Guru, broke their journey at Kattu's cottage. Kattu offered them water and did all he could to help them. He was sorry that he did not have anything else to offer the pilgrims. Kattu noticed a honeypot which the pilgrims were carrying to the Guru and requested them to show him the honey" When the pilgrims showed it to him he asked to have a little on his finger to taste, but the pilgrims refused, saying, "We cannot offer you any honey because it is meant for the Guru only and we cannot offer your leavings to the Guru." Katui insisted but in vain. At last he said, "The Guru never eats the whole of anything himself. He always sends offerings to his Langar (Kitchen)." The pilgrims, however, were not satisfied with Kattu's answer and therefore they refused to part with even a drop of honey. Kattu looked at the honey-pot and said. "I wonder if the Guru will accept your offering!"
The Pilgrims reached the Guru's camp and placed the offerings before him. The Guru looked at the honeypot. Smiled, and called one of the pilgrims to take the lid off the pot. Everybody was surprised to find that the honey had turned rotten and was giving out a foul smell.
The Guru said "Dear friends, the Guru is never hungry for offerings. Whatever you bring to me is distributed among the people. Today, however, I wish that this honey should be given only to those who have brought it." The pilgrims were extremely surprised and curious to know how their fresh honey could turn so bad. They did not know what to do.
They begged the Guru's pardon whereupon he said, "Listen my friends; the Guru does not want to grow fat on tie offerings of his Sikhs. The idea of the offerings is that those who can spare should help others in need. The offerings you bring to me are for the common good. God wants us to help the blind, the lepers, the orphans, the old people and all those who are sick and helpless. With the help of your offerings, Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj started a home for lepers at Tarn Taran. Wherever you find a needy person, place your offerings there and understand that in this way they will reach me. The offerings that do not reach the needy are useless. Take this honey pot away, this is the result of refusing to help the needy in whom is the spirit of the Guru. Go to my kitchen, prepare fresh food and take it to Kattu Shah at once."
The pilgrims immediately did as they were told but one of the Sikhs asked the Guru, "Why. O Guru do You prefer a Sikh to yourself?"
The Guru Smiled and sang his hymn of Guru Ram Das.
"No one knows the secret of the Guru's mind or what
shall please him.
The Guru resides in the hearts of his Sikhs.
He is pleased with him who loves them.
As the Guru tells them, so do they act and pray.
The work of the Sikhs, finds favour.
The Guru works through His Sikhs and none shall reach
the Guru except through the Sikhs.
The Sikhs should work for those who remember God
and serve His people.
The Sikh should have no connection with wrongdoers.
Nanak proclaims that unless men remember God and
help His people. Their labour goes to waste."
The Guru explained his point further by singing another hymn:
"The Guru is a Sikh and the Sikh is a Guru,
They are both one. But it is the Guru who gives instructions.
He puts the spell of God’s Name in his heart;
O Nanak, God can easily be realised through following the Guru."
All the Sikhs bowed before the Guru and understood the right way of making offerings.
"Going from pilgrimage lo pilgrimage Does not wash away doubt. Nor cure The ills of birth and death That beset the entire world; Only God's seat is immune from this worldly sickness, The truly wise worship the Name in prayer and action." (Satguru Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj)