History of Mata Khivi ji
Khivi ji was born to Karan Devi and her husband Devi Chand of the Khatri Clan. Her hometown Sanghar was in what is now the modern day Sindh district of Pakistan.
Marriage and Family:
At about age 13, Khivi was married to 16 year old Lehna of Harike, who like his father Pheru Mal was a devotee of the Goddess Durga. Lehna grew to be a prominent citizen and Khivi enjoyed a life of ease. The couple had a son Dasu and daughter Amro by the time they met Guru Nanak. Later on they had another daughter Anokhi, and a second son, Datu.
Introduction to Guru Nanak dev ji:
Khivi heard about Guru Nanak dev ji from her friend Mai Bihari. Lehna overheard the hymn of Japji composed by Guru Nanak ji. The couple became interested in meeting Guru Nanak. They stopped over to meet the Guru while on a pilgrimage to worship Durga. Impressed by all they saw and heard the couple and their two children ended up staying with Guru Nanak and devoted themselves to the Guru’s service.
Langar: free kitchen in Sikhism
Khivi became very involved in organizing, providing and serving meals to whomever came to see Guru Nanak. Her husband Lehna was an ardent devotee of Guru Nanak who named him Angad Dev and appointed him to succeed as second Guru. In her role as the Guru’s wife, Mata Khivi carried on making sure only the best and tastiest foods were served from the Guru’s kitchen. After her husband’s demise she served with Guru Amar Das and helped him to establish langar as a permanent institution in Sikhism. She continued to be active in the langar for the remainder of her life serving along side both Guru Raam Dasji and Guru Arjun Dev ji.
Praise for Khivi in the Guru Granth sahib ji:
Mata Khivi is revered in the Guru Granth Sahib ji for her selfless devotion and service in the guru’s communal free kitchen. She lovingly and impartially gave comfort with her own hands in sustenance of langar, providing nourishment for both body and soul. The minstrels Sata & Balvand wrote:
Balvandd kheevee nek jan jis bahutee chhaao patraalee||
Balwan declares that Khivi is a noble wife who provides to all the soothing shade of her leaves.
Langar doulat vanddee-ai ras anmrit kheer ghiaalee||
From her kitchen, she distributes the wealth of ambrosial nectar in her rice pudding made with ghee. SGGS||967
Important Dates and Corresponding Events:
• Birth: Sanghar – 1506. Khivi is born to mother Karan Devi and her husband Devi Chand of the Katri Clan.
• Marriage: Matte di Sarai – January 1520. Khivi (13) marries Lehna (16) son of Ramo (Daya Kaur) and her husband, Pheru Mal (third son of Gehnu Mal) of Harike.
• Children: Khivi and Lehna have a son, Dasu (1524), daughters Amro (1532), Anokhi (1535), and son, Datu (1537).
• Meets Guru Nanak: KartarPur – About 1532. While on pilgrimage to worship goddess Durga, Khivi and Lehna meet Guru Nanak and become his ardently devoted to his mission. At about age 26, Khivi first takes part in organizing the Guru’s langar kitchen.
• Inauguration of Lehna as Guru Angad Dev: Kartarpur – September 18, 1539. Nanak appoints Khivi’s husband Lehna his successor, and names him Guru Angad Dev. At about age 26, as the Guru’s wife, Mata Khivi carries on with the organization of meals from the Guru’s communal free kitchen. She personally takes over distribution of food made sacred by her prayerful preparation.
• Inauguration of Guru Amar Das: Khadur – April 16, 1552. Guru Angad Dev appoints Guru Amar Das his successor. At about age 45, Mata Khivi continues her service in the langar working with the Guru to develop pangat and sangat, the concept of nourishing first body and then soul. Mata Khivi helps to bring about the permanent establishment of langar in Sikhism.
• Inauguration of Guru Raam Das: Goindwal – September 1, 1574. Guru Amar Das appoints his son-in-law Jetha as fourth guru and names him Guru Raam Das. At about age 68, Mata Khivi continues to over see the provision of langar.
• Inauguration of Guru Arjun Dev: Goindwal – September 1, 1581. Guru Raam Das appoints his son Arjun Dev as his successor. At about age 75, Mata Khivi manages the Guru’s langar along side Guru Arjun Dev for the remainder of her life.
• Death: Khadur – 1582. Mata Khivi dies at about age 76.