When going to Australia last month, I had opportunity of going to Griffith in New South Wales to do a talk at the newly built Gurdwara Sahib. The Gurdwara Sahib opened in July 2015. Whilst in Griffith I stayed with Bhai Avtar Singh Ji and their family at their orange farm. During the stay Bhai […]
When going to Australia last month, I had opportunity of going to Griffith in New South Wales to do a talk at the newly built Gurdwara Sahib. The Gurdwara Sahib opened in July 2015. Whilst in Griffith I stayed with Bhai Avtar Singh Ji and their family at their orange farm. During the stay Bhai Sahib told me that opposite their house on the farm lives a husband and wife who are Highlanders (natives of New Zealand) of Christian background. They are the main workers at their orange farm. Both husband and wife are very hard working and sincere.
The couple didn’t have children for 18 years or so. The lady was getting older and losing hope of having any children. The doctors told her two years ago that she had some sort of cancer or disease in her womb, which meant that they would have to operate and remove the uterus. This removed any hope of conceiving a child. Both were very sad and upset about this.
One day, Bhai Avtar Singh Ji was going to the newly built Gurdwara Sahib in Griffith. The Gurdwara had not yet opened. Bhai Sahib was going to do the gardening and clean the grounds of the Gurdwara Sahib. Unfortunately no one else from the Sangat had come forward to help with the cleaning and gardening. Bhai Sahib was going alone. That day the sun was out and it was very hot. The Highlander, who called Bhai Sahib ‘Papa’, said, “Papa, where are you going?” Bhai Sahib explained that he is going to the Gurdwara to do some seva. The Highlander replied, “Papa I want to come with you and help you.” Bhai Sahib tried to persuade him not to come as he had been working on the farm from very early morning and it was very hot. He felt he needed rest and that it was unfair to ask him to help clean the Gurdwara and do gardening when no Punjabi person had come forward. However, the Highlander insisted on coming along with Bhai Sahib.
Arriving at the Gurdwara, Bhai Sahib again insisted on cutting the grass, however the Highlander refused to allow Bhai Sahib to do this. He said, “Please Papa, let me cut the grass. You rest.” Despite the burning sun and hot temperature, the Highlander tirelessly cut the grass, dug up the weeds and cleaned the grounds. Bhai Sahib looked at the Highlander sweating and working tirelessly and thought, “this man is a Christian, a person of another faith, and yet doing seva in the Gurdwara. Punjabis have not turned up to do seva, yet this young man has come forward himself to do seva when he has nothing to gain from it.”
Near the end of completing the seva, the Highlander was putting the waste into the bins, when the bin how some how went over the Highlander and he was covered from head to toe with the garden waste and dirt. Seeing this, Bhai Avtar Singh felt awful how a non-Sikh is doing so much seva and also getting dirty. Feeling sorry for him, he said, “I am sorry. May God bless you for your helping today.”
ਕਰਉ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਮਨੈ ਮਾਹਿ ਅਪਨੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਤੇ ਪਾਵਉ ॥
ਦੇਉ ਸੂਹਨੀ ਸਾਧ ਕੈ ਬੀਜਨੁ ਢੋਲਾਵਉ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
“The hopes which I cherish in my mind – my God fulfills them all. With my broom, I should sweep the home of the Guru, and wave the fan (over the Sangat). ||1||Pause||”
(Bilaaval M:5, 813)
A few days later, the Highlander comes to Bhai Sahib to tell him that his wife is pregnant. His wife gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Realising that the child was a blessing from doing selfless service at the Gurdwara Sahib which Bhai Avtar Singh allowed him to do, the Highlanders decided to name their child ‘Avtar Singh’. The child loves hearing the word ‘Vaheguru’ and begins to smile. Whenever his parents want him to stop crying and calm him they say ‘Vaheguru’. The child loves the company of Bhai Sahib and Mata Ji.