The Thirst Quenchers-Story of Chabeel

When Sarso da Saag met Sambar-Vada

You might have listened to or watched people in Punjab as well as many parts of North India serving rose milk to travelers in highways, streets, markets and what not. Now what is this service called and what is its significance? Is it a social awareness act? Is it some publicity stunt? Is it that people have some mental problem so they are spending money and energy on what others don’t even ask for?

No, no and finally no.

This is none of it what you think of. This service of distributing rose milk, water or any other refreshment drink is known as “Chabeel Sewa” and “CHABEEL” is the place where it is done. It is generally served during Death Anniversary of Fifth guru Guru Arjan Dev in summer season.

Chabeels are organized all over Punjab and Northern India by Sikhs as a remembrance of the torture meted out to their Fifth Guru, Arjan Dev Ji. The story goes like this…

The torture went on for five long days. A Sufi approached the guru and requested the Guru to allow him to undo the burns with his mystic powers. Guru Arjan Dev told him that one must accept the will of God; not a leaf moves without his will.

All of this torture was because the Guru had declined the marriage proposal of the daughter of one Chandu Shah, a successful banker with the Mughals. When Chandu’s daughter-in-law heard about the torture, she bribed the jailor and came to the prison with sherbet and other delicacies to serve the Guru. The Guru declined to accept anything from Chandu’s house but blessed the lady for her faith and devotion.

When the tyrants did not know how further to torture the Guru who had borne all of it with complete equanimity, the Guru asked for a bath in the river Ravi by the side of the Mughal fort in which he was imprisoned. Thousands of his followers watched the Guru walk to the river with tears in their eyes. His bare body glistened with blisters. There were blisters on his feet and he couldn’t even walk properly “Sweet is Your will, O God; the gift of your Name alone I seek.” said the Guru again and again.

Chabeel marks the remembrance to the torture meted out to Guru Arjan Dev Ji and finally the relief that river Ravi provided to him. On any other Gurparv, Langars are organized but it is Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s martyrdom day when Symbolically, Sikhs setup Chabeels on the roadsides to provide relief from the hot scorching sun to travelers.

~ Source: U4Uvoice

Water not only quench your thirst but also your ego.

Water has the power to quench not only your thirst but also your ego. During the time of “CHABEEL SEWA”. Everyone be it a man with a BMW car or be it an old lady with a HERO cycle, are considered the equal and unanimous homo sapiens with genes and blood rushing in body. The same body which requires food and water to perform everyday hush-bush tasks. Here is a glimpse of my experience:

What makes you happy can never be destroyed nor created

As we know, Chennai is like the favorite tourist spot of SUN in the month of April, Chabeel seemed to be a brilliant idea. So, my friends got the permission and in the morning we started doing the preparations. All you need for this is not money but a selfless feeling of “SEWA” (service for welfare of others). I am not talking about becoming Mother India but helping others in the every bit you can afford and apply and term for this is called volunteering.

As we grow, we start appreciating little things in life which is what makes us more mature. The amazing heart melting moment when you see the destitute (the poverty stricken people) feeding their tummies with “Rose milk*” and “Samosa**” is the best feeling which gives you some kind of inner peace leaving Goosebumps all over your body.

Serving others is the means to serve thy lord, the guru or the faith you believe in.
















*Generally the rose milk contains 4 parts water, 2 parts milk and 1 part Roohafza syrup. Ice is for the effect. This is the most child & refreshing drink which protects your stomach from acidity and internal heat.

**Samosa is an Indian food consisting of vegetables, spices, wrapped in pastry and fried.

One more twist to the story was that very few people knew Hindi in Tamil Nadu, so it provided a very funny flavor to the event as we were asking people like “Waheguru ji, come to chabeel Anna(or Akka), try samosa ma ”
Many and I really mean many of them liked this very concept and volunteered in serving which was helpful to us to communicate with other Tamilians.

Autowalas, Rickshawalas, Security guards, maids, labour (men as well as women), hospital workers, students and teachers were integral part of this successful event. “Thirst Quenchers”-as somebody referred to us was quite a big compliment and it really felt good to see that what makes us smile are these little actions which defines us each day and can change the way we see the world today & tomorrow.  All which drives us to do such little actions is our trust, our believes and our faith.
I want to end this on one  quote of Buddha –

“If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.”

P.S.- I am really thankful to all the people- juniors, mates, management of college who empowered this initiation and make it a huge success. If you are more curious do ping me for more details.

3 Replies to “The Thirst Quenchers-Story of Chabeel”

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