Episodes from the Lives of Sikh Gurus
Episode No. 27
Wealth is of No Consequence
Once a Sikh made an offering of gold bangles studded with pearls to the Guru, and said, "O True Emperor, kindly wear these bangles in my presence. I want to see them on your wrists. Pray fulfil this desire of mine." The Guru obliged and put the bangles on his wrists, acceding to the Sikh's desire. Later the Guru went to the river for a bath, where he lost one of the bangles. This made Mata ji unhappy. The bangle was very precious. Every effort was made to recover it. Boatmen were commissioned and divers called. A large number of swimmers also tried in vain! Eventually, Mata ji took the child-Guru to the site saying. "My son, show me the bathing spot of the river where you lost the bangle." The Guru took the other bangle off his wrist and tossed it into the river, saying, "Mata ji search this place. Where this bangle has dropped, there must be the other also." Aghast, the mother said, "My dear son, what have you done? You have lost the second bangle also." "Ujri, these bangles had to go, so what if instead of tomorrow this has happened today? What are you lamenting? Go home and relax," said the Guru. The mother's name was Gujri. By way of a joke the Guru called her 'Ujri' (homeless). The mother returned, having lost the second bangle as well. (27)
Episode No. 28
Guru Above Pleasure and Pain
Once the Guru was engaged in a prolonged war with the empire. In this, war all the four sahibzadas (Guru's sons), Jujhar Singh, Ajit Singh, Ranjit Singh and Fateh Singh fell martyrs. A large number of Sikhs also died. The treasury, the horses and the entire wealth were plundered by the enemy. All this happened at Anandpur. When the Sikhs had to evacuate, they started bewailing.
"Brothers, why do you bewail? The Guru has lost nothing," said the Guru.
"O True Empcror, all the four sahibzada have become martyrs; treasures, horses and wealth have gone; Sikhs have died. That is why we mourn."
"Sahibzadas will keep coming for the sake of faith. The treasures, horses and properly were all the creation of God. Under His Will these were acquired. Under His Will these disappeared." The Guru asked the Sikhs to draw lines in the dust with their hands. The Sikhs drew lines in the dust with their hands, and rubbed them off at the Guru's command.
"Do you feel sad or happy over drawing these lines or rubbing them off'!" asked the Guru.
"O True Emperor, we have felt nothing of the kind."
"Just as you did not experience any happiness or sorrow over the drawing or obliteration of the line" in the same way the Guru did not feel happy or sad over the acquisition or loss of material possessions. Grasp this thing in your hearts firmly. The Guru is above happiness or sorrow."
"O True Emperor, the losses run into hundreds of thousands."
"But you have gained an insight which is worth tens of millions," said the Guru. (28)
Episode No. 29
MYTHICAL GODS NOT WORTHY OF WORSHIP
Once the Guru reached the Lakhi jungle. It was summer time, & there were a lot of ripe penjhu fruits. Many Sikhs started plucking & eating them. That made the Sikhs very thirsty, & they requested the Guru. “O True Emperor, we have eaten penjhu fruits, & we are very thirsty, but there is no water.”
“Give Indra (god of rain) seven shoes on his head. Then you will get rain,” said the Guru. The Sikhs dealt seven shoe blows on Indra’s head. And Lo! It started raining heavily, which lasted a long time, & the Sikhs felt chilly. The Sikhs again approached the Guru & prayed, “O True Emperor, due to heavy rain the Sikhs are feeling cold.”
“Again give Indra seven shoe blows on his head. The rain will stop,” said the Guru.
The Sikhs obeyed, & the rain stopped. (29)
Episode No. 30
FIGHTING PROWESS OF THE GURU
Once the Guru was camping on a hill. Armies of the rajahs came to engage him in a battle.
"Khalsa ji, go and fight the rajahs," ordered the Guru. At the Guru's command the Khalsa proceeded to fight the rajahs. The rajahs, however, far outnumbered them and the Khalsa could not hold its own against them. They sent a horseman to the Guru with this report, "The Khalsa is retreating under pressure of the rajahs." The Guru at once took the bow and arrow in his hands, stood on his cot, touched the earth with his arrow on the four sides, and in a loud voice recited the sloka: "Degh Tegh Fateh Bedrang Simrite Guru Nanak Fateh Guru Gobind Singh." ("Victory in battle, and prosperity; Concentrate on Guru Nanak, victory is with Guru Gobind Singh.") Reciting this he pulled the bow string with all his might and shot the arrow into the sky. The sky echoed and the mountain shuddered. All men standing on the hill fell to ground because of shuddering, and repeatedly beseeched the Guru to protect them. The hills shuddered for some time. Soon it was calm again. The Guru sent the horseman back to the Khalsa with the message, "Go and fight the rajahs without any fear. Victory will be yours." At this command from the Guru the Khalsa pounced upon the rajahs, and won. (30)
Episode No. 27
Here, Sewa Das demonstrates the indifference of the Guru towards worldly possessions, when he throws precious bangle into the river.
Episode No. 28
There is a minor confusion in the names of the Sahibzadas, which is understandable, since ‘Ranjit’ and ‘Ajit’ were considered synonymous in the literature of the times. It would be fair to accept this and avoid assailing Sewa Das’s sense of history. While the two elder sons of the Guru became martyrs in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib, the two younger Sahibzadas fell into the hands of the Nawab of Sirhind, who sentenced them to be bricked alive. Sewa Das does not give these details, and reports that all for of them were killed in battle. The author appears more concerned about the accuracy of the doctrines and the greatness of the Guru, the message in this story is that the Guru is, also his Sikhs should be, above the pleasures and pains of this world.
Episode No. 29
The story may be as mythical as the traditional, gods and goddesses. The message is, however, clear that in Sikhism there is no place for them. Even Indra who is believed to be the chief among gods, is shown to be following the dictates of the Guru’s Sikhs.
Episode No 30
This story is more of a tribute to the fighting powers of the Guru than actual description of any particular battle. The arrow of the Guru is shown to shake the mountains and cause thunderstorms, which terrified the enemy.
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