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32. "Do Your Duty, Note Mine"

A unique and touching experience kept in my heart for many years may now be shared.  I called a Sikh friend in Detroit Michigan, USA, whose son attended the Sikh camp the previous year.  I suggested to him to get his son registered for the camp.  In great anger, he uttered many discouraging words to me and to the organizers of the camp.  I was hurt after listening to him, particularly when he told me that his son cut his hair after coming home from the camp last year.

The reader would have read in this book many episodes regarding the positive lessons learned by the youth at the camps.  It was the first negative report candidly told to me.  Without mincing words, the father of the youth held us responsible for his son’s action.  After putting the phone down, I went out for a walk.  His words continued to ring in my ears and they gripped my soul so hard that I sat on a bench in the park and started to virtually cry.

I do not know how long I sat there hurt, depressed, and disheartened.  I could not get over the feeling of guilt in case I had said something, which made the boy believe that keeping long hair was an unnecessary burden.  These thoughts took many forms in my mind.  Finally a message consoled me and I returned home.

I ‘heard’ God telling me, “Gurbaksh Singh!  You are suffering from the most virulent disease, ego.  You think that you can make the youth change the path of their lives by your teaching.  No, you cannot.  Listen!  You do your duty, and not Mine.  You should serve the youth sincerely as your conscience directs you but without making yourself responsible for its success or failure.  You wrongly assumed that the success belongs to you and, therefore, you thought the failure was also yours.  Don’t play God, be a devotee, and leave the outcome to me.  You have nothing with you.  How can you give anything to anyone?  That is My job, leave it to Me. This does not mean that you should sit like a stone waiting for Me to act. Remember that you must do your job with the knowledge and competence gifted to you by Me. 

Don’t you know that the duty of a gardener is to nurse the plants, water them, fertilize them, and protect them.  However, he cannot make the plants flower or bear fruit. Neither can he make the fruit to be sour or sweet.  The fruit may fall down even before they are ripe.  Making a plant flower or bear fruit is not in the hands of a gardener.  Therefore, it does not mean that he should not take care of the plants.  That is his duty, which he should do to the best of his ability.  The rest he should leave to God to make plants flower and bear fruit.

Now be optimistic and cheerful.  Do your duty without worrying about the outcome. The end result is My decision.  Everything happens in this world according to My Will.  Do not question it.  Go with it and bear it.”

Later on, I came to know that even before the boy came to the camp, he was thinking of cutting his hair because some of his friends had done that.  At the camp, he found some boys without turbans. This also gave him the strength to remove his turban.




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