Once Akbar camped at Lahore. He stayed there for more than a year. He had a large army with him which had to be fed. As a result, the prices of foodgrains and eatables went up. When he decided to leave Lahore for Agra, Guru Amardas feared that the prices of foodgrains will crash and peasants will suffer greatly. To pay land tax would be difficult for them. When Emperor Akbar met the Guru, he pointed out the difficulties of the farmers.
Akbar immediately decided not to levy land tax that year. That good deed helped many peasants.
Guru’s idea of serving food in the community kitchen had a very deep meaning. It was a great leveller between rich and poor, high caste and low caste. All dined together without any distinction. ‘
Guru did not encourage the idea of hoarding. The food was cooked for each meal, utensils emptied completely at the end and cleaned before cooking began for the next meal. Community welfare was commended not hoarding.
If food was left over then cows, horses, bulls and the buffaloes were fed. If anything still remained the disciples took it to the river, and feasted the fish with it.
Through actions Guru conveyed that food should be eaten for nutrition and health. It should be clean, health promoting and obtained through just and fair means.
Equality to Women
Guru Amardas preached against
superstitions and social evils. He advocated that no women should come to the sangat with her face veiled. When the king of Haripur visited the Guru, his queens were all veiled. He discouraged this custom openly in the presence of the king. This way he made an effort to remove purdah system among women.
In those days, sati was a common practice.
Women used to burn themselves in the pyres of their husbands. Guru chalked out a vigorous campaign against this practise. He said sati is an insult to human dignity, and should be condemmed.
Through Guru’s efforts women began to receive the respect and honour they deserved.
Some more reforms
During his tenure as Guru, Amardas made many reforms for the community. They were as follows: one must avoid evil company, one should not be conceited and should not glorify oneself. One should eat and work according to one’s capacity. One must give a little of one’s earnings in charity. One should associate with virtuous people. Thus, Guru advised clean living, and serving people in a spirit of humility and devotion to God.