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Emperor Akbar Visits Guru Amar Das

Emperor Akbar had heard favourable accounts of Guru Amar Das. When it was time for the Emperor Akbar to make his periodical visit to from Delhi to Lahore he decided to visit the Guru. Having crossed the Beas he made a detour to Goindwal, and accompanied by a large escort of Mughal and Pathan soldiers the Emperor made a state visit to the Guru.

The Emperor, out of respect for the Guru, walked on the bare ground as he approached his residence. He learned, however, that he could not meet with the Guru until he had partaken his food in the langar. The Emperor inquired of what the food consisted, and was informed that it was coarse unseasoned rice.

Langar Before Meeting The Guru

We know what the practice was in the Guru's kitchen. People of all castes and religions had to sit side by side on the floor and take their food. There was no special place for the rich or the high. The rich and the poor, kings and beggars, hindus and muslims, masters and servants, high and low, brahmins and shudras, all were treated alike.

All had to take the same food, sitting side by side. No special dishes were prepared for anyone, not even for the Guru. As a matter of fact, the food served to the Guru was far simple than that served to the public.

Emperor Akbar knew all this. But he was eager to see the Guru. So he went to the Guru's kitchen. He took his seat on the floor like all others. He took the same food as was taken by all others. The food that day consisted of coarse bread, rice and pulses. The Emperor found it very tasty. Rarely ever before had he tasted anything so sweet and nice. He made a hearty meal. All his soldiers did the same.

The Emperor Offers His Support

Emperor Akbar saw that a large number of people were fed from the Guru's kitchen. He said to himself, 'A very large quantity of food is freely distributed here every day. It must be difficult for the Guru to provide so much food. I should help the Guru in this noble work.' When he met the Guru the Emperor asked him to accept his service and his offerings. He added, "I would like to give you some good fertile land and villages to help reward and pay for your langar."

Guru Amar Das replied, "God has given me everything I need. My Sikhs freely provide their services in running the langar. They keep a part of their honest earnings for this purpose. Whatever comes daily is spent daily, and for tomorrow my trust is in God."

The Emperor pressed on him the acceptance of several villages, but the Guru was firm in his refusal. Guru Amar Das said, "Emperor, you are good and kind. Your intentions are noble and high. But I am unable to accept your offer."

The Emperor then said, "I see that you desire nothing for yourself. Still I want to do something for you. I need your blessings. I wished to give you a grant of some villages. You refuse to accept it. Instead I shall grant them to your daughter Bibi Bhani. After all, she is like a daughter to me."

The Emperor then signed a grant of the villages in Bibi Bhani's name. The Guru gave the Emperor a saropa or dress of honour. The Emperor went away highly pleased. Baba Budha was appointed to manage the villages granted by the Emperor. The produce from the said villages was used for the good of all the people.

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