Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sakhi Series : 35 ( Bhagat Naamdev ji at the Temple )

Bhagat Naamdev at the Temple
Once a king in India went to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and asked: "O Guru! As you told us , God Himself supports His true worshiper, but God has so many apostles, why does He support Himself? Why does He not send His apostles to help the worshiper?" As he said this, his own son who was playing on the bank of a river nearby slipped in the river. The king did not wait for a second and jumped in the river as well to save his child. After saving his child he returned to the Guru. The Guru asked : " My dear friend, you were sitting here with me a minute ago and why did you jump in the river? The king explained that his son had slipped into the river and he went to save him. Then the Guru asked : "Dear friend, you have so many servants , why did you jump in the river yourself? Why did not you send your servants to save him?" The king said : "By the time I would have asked my servants, he would have drowned. I love my child very much and do not want to lose him at any cost. " Then Guru said: "My dear friend, God loves His worshipers the same way as you love your son. That is why He Himself saves His true worshiper. "

Such a worshipper was Naamdev. For all of his life, Naamdev had worshipped God and had faith in Him for each and every moment. He did not worship anyone else but the one immortal God. He says :


 "O my tongue, other occupations are false. The stateof Nirvaanaa comes only through the Lord's Name. ||2|| The performance of countless millions of other devotions is not even equal to one devotion to the Name of God" (Guru Granth Sahib, 1163).

The materialistic things would not deter Naamdev jis  spiritual path to meet God. Once while sewing , he wrote:
"My needle is of gold and my thread is very expensive but my mind is attached to God (Guru Granth Sahib, 485).
He cared neither for gold nor silver; he was in love with God. Even though as a result of his true worship he had become a highly spiritual person, he was still completely devoid of pride (or ego). Naamdev knew that God does care for the person who recites His name and remembers Him all the time.

Once Naamdev went to Avandanagnath Temple situated in the state of Maharashtra , India. The Hindu priests of that temple believed in the caste system. After reaching the temple, Naamdev sat and started worshipping God but the Hindu priests grabbed his arm and drove him out of the temple. The priests said that Naamdev could not visit the temple because he was of a low class. Naamdev was deeply hurt so he went to the back of the temple and started worshipping God. In his prayer he said:

"Joyfully, I came to Your Temple, O Lord. While Naamdev was worshipping, he was driven out. I am of a low social class, O Lord; why was I born into a family of fabric dyers? I picked up my blanket and went back, to sit behind the temple" (Guru Granth Sahib, 1164).

Naamdev also said:
"O Lord, please do not forget me because if You forget me then where should I go. There is nowhere else to go and no one else to believe in except You'.

He further prayed:
"Please do not forget me, do not forget me, please do not forget me, O Lord. The temple priests have doubts about this, and everyone is furious with me. Calling me low-caste and untouchable, they beat me and drove me out; what should I do now, O Beloved Father Lord? If You give me salvation after I am dead, no one will know that I attained salvation. These Priests, these religious scholars, call me low-born; when they say this, they tarnish Your honour as well. You are called kind and compassionate; the power of Your Arm is absolutely unrivalled" (Guru Granth Sahib, 1292).

"As Naamdev uttered the Glorious Praises of the Lord, the temple turned around to face the Lord's humble devotee " (Guru Granth Sahib, 1164).

"The Lord turned the temple around to face Naamdev and its back to the Priests" (Guru Granth Sahib, 1292).
That temple is still rotated. This is the symbol of the true love of God towards His true worshiper.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sakhi Series : 34 (Guru Amar Das ji and King Akbar )

Guru Amar Das ji and King Akbar

Akbar was a famous king of India. He was a kind and good king and respected the Sikh Gurus for their teachings. In the year 1569, Akbar came to the Punjab and wanted to see the Guru. So he sent a message to Guru Amar Das ji that he was coming to visit him. The Sikhs were very happy at the news. Some Sikhs thought that special arrangements should be made to welcome the king. But the Guru said, "Akbar is as much a human being as others are. The Guru's place is open to all. The king and his subjects, the Hindus and the Muslims, the rich and the poor are all equal here. So Akbar will be welcomed like all other visitors to the Guru's place and special arrangements need not be made."

"Caste has no power in the next world; Only the humble are exalted there. It is only the good who are honoured for good acts." ( Guru Amar Das in GGS ji – 469 )

The king, along with the Rajah of Haripur, arrived in Goindwal where the Guru lived. The Guru and a few Sikhs received them warmly. They were shown round the place. Akbar was interested to know how the Guru's Langar was run. Simple food was served to all in the Guru's Langar. It remained open day and night. Travellers, beggars, and strangers, as well as the followers of the Guru, were all served with food. Whatever was left was thrown to the cattle and birds so that nothing was wasted. The Guru had given an order that all persons coming to visit his place must have their food in the Langar(when hungry). There they were to sit in rows (Pangat) as equals and were to be served simple food in turn.

Akbar and the Rajah of Haripur took their meals in the Guru's Langar. They sat among the common people in a row and the Sikhs served them food. They enjoyed the simple food and were very happy. Akbar liked the working of the Guru's Langar very much. Before leaving, Akbar said to the Guru, "I like Guru Nanak's religion very much and I respect you for your teachings. I want to make a grant of land for running the Langar. Would you mind it!"

"Dear Akbar," said the Guru, "I am very glad you like the path of Baba Nanak. I am also grateful to you for your offer of a grant of land for the Langar, but I am sorry I cannot accept it because the Guru likes all to work hard to earn (Kirt Karni) and to share their honest earnings (Wand Chakna) with others, by giving something to the Langar from their honest earnings to help others. As such, the Guru's langar is the people's (Sangat's) Langar and it must be run on people's free gifts and not on a royal grant. That is why all share equally in the Guru's Langar and no one is looked upon as an outsider. In the Guru's Langar, each gives as much as we can spare and takes as much as he/she needs. Here, there is no difference between kings and beggars. All sit together; and eat simple food served with loving care." Akbar liked the Guru's idea very much.

Gwil Kwie ikCu hQhu dyie ] nwnk rwhu pCwxih syie ]1]

gh aa l kh aae k ishh hathhah u dh aee n aanak r aa hu pashh aaneh i sae e 1

One who works for what he eats, and gives some of what he has - O Nanak, he knows the Path. 1 (Guru Granth Sahib ji – 1245 )

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sakhi Series : 33 ( Hari Singh Nalwa & Begum Bano )

During the times of Sher-e-Panjab, Raja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh Raaj (kingdom) stretched from Delhi to Kabul (in Afghanistan). Raja Ranjit Singh's key general was Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, who was a Rehatvan (strict observant) Sikh of the Guru. Once Hari Singh Nalwa had set up camp with his army in Jamraud in Afghanistan. A local Muslim woman called 'Bano' watched the Sikhs set up camp. She found Hari Singh Nalwa very handsome and attractive, and wished to have an illicit relationship with him.

One day Bano came to see Hari Singh Nalwa. He was sitting in his tent, when the Sikh guards told him that he had a local woman who wished to see him. Not knowing who this lady was or what she wanted, Hari Singh gave permission to come and see him. Bano said, "I had heard of the Sikhs. You are remarkable people. I have been watching you from a distance. I am not married and have no children, but desire to have a son who is like you."

Hari Singh did not understand the motivation or intention of Bano and said, "May Waheguru bless you that you may have a son with the qualities of a Sikh." Bano irritably said, "I want to have a son with you Sardar Ji."

Hari Singh Nalwa said, "O sister! I am already married. I am sorry I cannot marry you or give you what you want."

Bano's eyes welled up with tears of disappointment. About to leave, she said, "I had heard your Guru Nanak was great and that no one leaves empty handed from Guru Nanak's House, but today I am being turned away without the wish of a son being fulfilled."

Hari Singh Nalwa, a true example of a Sikh of the Guru, replied, "It is true that no one goes empty handed from Guru Nanak's House. I cannot give you a son, but if you desire a son to be like me, then instead if you accept, from now on I will be your son, and I will consider you my mother." Bano was shocked and overwhelmed by Hari Singh Nalwa's sincerity, high moral character and faith in the Guru. She said, "I had heard that Sikhs of the Guru are great honorable people, but today I have seen it with my own eyes. From that day on Hari Singh Nalwa addressed Begum Bano as "Maa" (Mother) and she addressed Hari Singh as "Putar" (Son)

nwnk sohwgix kw ikAw ichnu hY AMdir scu muKu aujlw KsmY mwih smwie ]1]

n aa nak so h aagan k aa kiaa ch ihan h ai a(n)dhar sach mu kh o ujal aa khasamai m aah i samaa e ||1||

O Nanak, what is the character of the happy soul-bride? Within her, is Truth; her face is bright and radiant, and she is absorbed in her Lord and Master. ||1||

- Guru Granth Sahib Ji 785


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sakhi Series : 32 ( Bibi Rajni)

The Tradition of the Faithful Bibi Rajni

In the era of Guru Ram Das Ji, one cannot leave out Rajni, youngest daughter of Rai Duni Chand, revenue collector (kardar) of Patti. (The story has all the myth, magic and miracles of a genuine Sakhi, but is nevertheless a charming story). Rajni was a Sikh, a disciple of the Guru. One day she was sitting with her sisters admiring some new clothing they all had received from their father. The girls were ecstatic and exclaiming how good their father was to them.

Rajni observed that all gifts are ultimately from God. Their father was merely an instrument of His greatness.  Unfortunately for her, he overheard her comment and became very angry. It was not the First time that she incurred his wrath because of her extreme piety. The infuriated father, believing her to be an ungrateful wretch, married her to a leper with a taunt that he would see how her God would help her lead a normal life. The leper was severely disfigured and a foul smell came from his body. The poor girl had accepted her fate ungrudgingly and worked hard to maintain herself and her crippled husband.

She kept repeating the name of God, and was certain that he was testing her with this turn of events. It became very difficult at times to earn their living. Still she bathed and fed her leper husband, never losing faith.


eyku ij swjnu mY kIAw srb klw smrQu ]

I have made the One Lord my Friend; He is All-powerful to do everything.


jIau hmwrw KMnIAY hir mn qn sMdVI vQu ]1]

My soul is a sacrifice to Him; the Lord is the treasure of my mind and body. ||1||


One day, she reached the site of a pool on her way to a neighboring village. Placing the basket containing her husband by the side of the pool under the shade of a tree, she had gone off to look for work/food. In the meantime, her crippled husband saw a black crow dip into the water of the pool and come out white !!


Amazed at this miracle, the man somehow crawled up to the edge of the pool and managed a dip. He found himself completely cured. When his wife returned, she was amazed to find her husband in good health. He was handsome and whole. At first, she was alarmed and suspected that he might be a different person. He had, however, kept one finger with leprosy marks un-dipped. He showed her the diseased finger as proof of his identity.


The couple thanked God, and went to the Guru to seek his blessings.  It is believed that the pool was the future site of the Sri Harminder Sahib. The medicinal properties of the water were said to have come from Basil (Tulsi), which grew in abundance on its banks. Guru Amar Das Ji used to pick the herb there to make poultices for an infected toe that plagued Guru Angad Ji. The legendary importance of the site highlights the medicinal properties of the waters of the pool, Rajni's leper husband was cured in.

Sakhi relates that if you keep faith in God then one day all rewards are paid. Bibi Rajni had always kept the Faith in Guru and God, being happy with whatever she had and thus was rewarded at the end.


BorI Brmu v\wie iprI muhbiq ihku qU ]

bh o ree bharam van(j) aae p i ree m uhabath h i k thoo ||

If you can dispel your doubts, even for an instant, and love your only Beloved,


ijQhu vM\Y jwie iqQwaU maujUdu soie ]1]

j i thhah u va(n)n(j) ai j aae th i thh aaoo mo uj oo dh s oe ||1||

then wherever you go, there you shall find Him. ||1||      ( GGS ji – pg 322)



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sakhi Series : 30 ( Bhai Bachittar Singh and the elephant)

Bhai Bachittar Singh and the elephant

Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur was the leader of the hill Rajas, but he did not possess the forsight to realise the difference between friend and foe. He again made war preparations and advanced to fight against Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Loh Garh fort. His plan was to break open the front gate with the help of an intoxicated elephant and let his forces in to the fort in large numbers.
Guru Sahib Ji came to know of this plan and asked Duni Chand, a hefty well built man, to get ready to face the elephant. But this massand got cold feet and wanted to escape from the fort. In his place Bhai Bachittar Singh volunteered and was thus deputed to make a frontal attack on the elephant. Instead of waiting for the elephant to attack the gates were opened and Bhai Bachittar Singh rode out on horseback with a nagni Barchhi (spear). He was followed by Bhai Udai Singh and several Sikhs on horseback. Bhai Bachittar Singh riding his horse and standing in the stirrups confronted the elephant and in spite of a metal plate tied to its forehead was able to pierce it successfully with his nagni. With lighting alacrity, he attacked again and cut the elephant's trunk with a blow of his sword. The wounded elephant shrieked and ran back into the enemy forces causing havoc. In the meantime Bhai Udai Singh had killed one of the hill rajas, Raja Kesri Chand. The battle ensued with heavy losses on both sides but with the death of Kesri Chand and the much prided elephant, Raja Bhim Chand withdrew his forces from the battlefield and fled.

dh aagae ho hi s ran mehi joojhehi b in dhaag ae bhag jaaee
-> Those who are branded with Your brand fight bravely in battle; those without Your brand run away.

saadhhoo hoe s bhagath pashhaa nai har leae khajaanai p aaee 3
-> One who becomes a spiritual person, appreciates the value of devotional worship to the Lord. The Lord places him in His treasury. 3