Episodes From lives of the Gurus
Story of the Sixth Mahal
The Guru Teaches Etiquette
Once a Diwan of the emperor came to meet Guru Har Gobind. He was a Turk, arrogant because of his position. The Guru was absorbed in some thing, and so did not take notice of him. This indifference enraged the diwan. The idea crossed his mind that he should strike the Guru with his sword and sever his head from the body. The Guru who was all-knowing, saw what was gojng on in the Diwan’s mind. The emperor had commissioned him for a particular expedition, in which he had been defeated and forced to flee. As he thought of using the sword, the Guru looked towards him, and said, "You did not strike when you should have done it. But at a saint's place, where you are supposed to pay obeisance, you want to use your sword. Whence did you buy this advice? Go and return it to whoever sold it to you. This is useless." At this the diwan fell at the Guru's feet and said, “O Guru! I made a grievous blunder. Forgive me for the ignoble thought. You are in reality, the True Emperor. Nothing is hidden from you. You are rightly known as the True Emperor. There is no exaggeration in this. I crave your forgiveness.” Guru ji remarked, “Listen, Diwan, when you go to a saint, regard him as the image of the Creator. Do not take him to be a mere human being. If you approach him with wicked thoughts, your sword will clash with his far more powerful one, which will strike you dead, while your sword is in your hand. Such are the powers of the saints. They are not powerless. I forgive you. But do not forget the etiquette to be observed in the presence of masters. The more you respect them, the better it will be for you. The rest is up to you."
Story of the Seventh Mahal
God Looks After Everybody
Once a householder Sikh came to see Guru Har Rai ji, and narrated his problem thus: “O True King, I had a son who grew into a promising young man. He is dead now. I had hoped that he would take over the responsibilities of the household, and that I will come and stay in your service to earn salvation at your door. But my hopes have been shattered. What should 1 do in such a plight? This is troubling me constantly.”
“Tell me how many members are there in your family, and what do you do to make a living?” asked the Guru. “O True King, there are two younger sons and a daughter, besides their mother. I am the fifth. With regard to livelihood, whatever I earn, is used to feed us all,” replied the Sikh.
“If you are really keen to serve the Guru, start right away. Leave their care to God. He will look after them. You can make your life fruitful,” said the Guru.
“O True King, my thinking is immature. I believe that without me they will perish. You are the Guru. Everything is at your command. Pray, show me something to put faith into me.”
“Do an errand for me. We shall talk about faith, when you return. Deliver a message to my Sikh in 'so and so' village.” “Pray, give me the letter,” requested the Sikh. The Guru wrote a message, instructing that the messenger should be imprisoned for six months, after which he should be released, and that he should be looked after well. The Sikh carried the letter and delivered it. He was detained as per the Guru’s instruction. The Sikh pleaded, “O brother, 1 have four persons to support. They can eat only if I earn. Without me they will starve. Pray, let me go.” The Sikh replied, “Listen brother, it is you who have brought this letter. The Guru at whose command everything happens, has instructed that the man who brings this message, should be imprisoned. You want to be released. Now you advise whether we should obey you or the Guru who is omnipotent. Consider what is proper for you and what is proper for me, and then speak.” “Who am I? You should obey the all-powerful Guru.” “You have understood the situation correctly. Now be patient. Relax for six months, concentrate on the Guru in mind, after which I shall let you go. It is in your interest to obey the Guru. Carrying out the Guru's instructions is in my interest also.” The Sikh acquiesced.
At the other end, the Guru arranged for the sustenance of the Sikh's family in this way. They went without one meal. Their neighbours asked them why they had not cooked their meal. The Sikh's wife replied, “Who earned has abandoned us. God knows what was his consideration. Now our sustenance is in the hands of God. If He gives, we shall cook and eat. Otherwise, we shall bear it quietly.” The neighbours thought it was not proper that the family should stay hungry in their midst, and that some arrangements must be made for them. To start with, each one of them brought one tray of flour for the family. There were fifty houses in the neighbourhood. Thus, fifty trays of flour were collected. Then the inhabitants of the locality gave them employment. The two sons started working as attendants, and earning. A lady took pity and gave the little girl and her mother lessons in embroidery. Thus, their sustenance was no longer a problem. On expiry of six months, the Sikh was released from detention. He immediately went to his family. He had been greatly worried. He was afraid that they would be no more. But when he found them hale and hearty, he was very happy. In fact, he saw that they were better off as compared to earlier times. When his wife told him the truth about the family, it made him all the more happy. He realised that the Guru had arranged all this to put faith into him. He went to see the Guru again, and out of gratefulness, said happily, “O True King, you have taken me out of hell, and brought the reality before my eyes. Otherwise, my entire life would have been wasted worrying about food for the family. Now I have seen that in fact I was a hindrance in their sustenance. When I was away, there was abundance of everything. Now I shall devote my life in the service of the Guru. Because of your mercy I have found bliss.”
“Listen, O Sikh, there were ten doors to the sustenance of your family. When were they without sustenance? God provides it even where there is no door. There is life within rocks. Their sustenance reaches there. There are beings deep inside the earth. God feeds them there. Similarly, there are beings in the sky. Their sustenance is arranged there. Listen to this story of how He looks after His creation. There is a mountain of ferrous rocks in the sea where no fanning is possible. People live there also and need food. They are surrounded by a huge ocean, which man-made boats cannot cross. For them, every year God creates ships and inspires such traders, shows routes to them, so that the ships can reach those mountains, barter iron ore day and night in exchange for food they bring from outside. The exchange does not stop. The people feel that they are drawing their sustenance from the iron ore. So, they love their occupation of mining. Because they are ignorant of the Almighty. They give all credit to their occupation. As God has to provide sustenance to living beings, He creates the illusion that it is their effort which sustains them. Those who know that it is really God who provides sustenance, are attached to Him.”
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2011, All