My nightly havan duty is 2 to 4 a.m. Last night I had cleaned the ghee pot with samagri at the end of my roll, so I didn’t want to go inside Darbar Sahib (the place of the sacred scripture) to do Chaur Sahib of Guru Granth Sahib and the pictures of Baba Siri Chand, Guru Gobind Singh, and Jesus as I usually do before going back to sleep, for my hands were much too dirty. So with a deep sense of apoplogy and loss, I just bowed my head on the floor outside the door. As I did so, I could feel a hand being placed on top of my head, as if in blessing. It was a warm hand, a large man’s hand, a soft and loving pressure on top of my head. I didn’t know Whose hand it was. I would have stayed there enjoying that blessing for a long time, but Bhagat Ji and Bibiji were singing Asa di War next to the door and I began to feel as though I should leave, even though the hand had not been removed. When I went to bed, I could still feel its imprint, and had a most spiritually sweet sleep.
This morning I did Chaur Sahib inside Darbar Sahib at 2 a.m., the time of the first morning Ardas, instead of after my havan roll. Therefore I was inside when Bibiji read the Hukam Nama—the spiritual order for the day from Guru Granth Sahib. She told me afterward that she will never forget it, for it was the wak that came when she was married. It is Rag Todi Fifth Guru, p. 711 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib:
Forgetting God, one is always ruined.
How can one be deceived who has Your protection?
Without God’s remembrance, one lives burning like a snake.
Even though one may rule over the nine regions of the earth,
At the end he leaves, having lost.
He alone sings the praises of the Lord, the Treasure of Virtues, on whom is His Grace.
He is blessed with and serenity and contentment who sings the Lord’s praise.
Nanak is a sacrifice unto him.
The part about the snake seemed to imply something about what it is to live like a snake. I went to old Hardit Singh, the pot washer, for clarification. As he patiently scrubbed the black soot off a large pot with sand and cold water, he told me that a snake is always burning with poison inside. It accumulates until he finally bites someone to get some temporary relief. But he has no inner peace. “In the same way, “ he said, “a person may be a wealthy ruler, but he has no peace of mind. That’s why the king comes to the fakir, who has no worldly things, to get the peace of mind which the fakir has. Once I went to a Raja—in those times there were many Rajas. He told me that each door of his house has three doors, for protection, and he and his family do not give the keys to anyone for fear they will be murdered. He said, ‘We do not even trust our servants, for people are greedy. We do not tell them we do not trust them, but we keep shifting rooms all night. We sleep two hours in one room, two hours in another, and then move to another, so that they will not know where we are. We sleep in fear. A poor man is richer than we, for at least he has sound sleep.’”
Here in Gobind Sadan we bathe in cold water and eat sitting on the dirt, but we meditate in a paradise of lights, enjoy each other’s company, and sleep sweetly at night, by the great blessings of God. And our daily lives are blessed again and again with the sweetness of remembrance of God, by Maharaj ji’s grace. We are protected and warmed by His loving hand.