Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sakhi Series : 69 ( Bhai Taru Singh Ji - "More than asked For" )

Bhai Taru Singh Ji - "More than asked For"

Bhai Tahru Sahib was resident of village Poola, where he had a small piece of land. The wheat and the maize that he produced and the humble mud hut he had, he happily shared with all the weary travellers who passed through the village and needed a shelter to sleep for the night. He belonged wholly to the Guru's hymns and early in the morning, under the stars, while on the plough, he recited the Japji; The Japji which has in it the inimitable cosmic-ness of life in nature. The villagers loved Taru Singh for his fellow feeling, harmlessness and spiritual purity.

But the authoritarian Mughal government of medieval India, was not willing to appreciate the way of life of the Sikhs, which drew no dividing line between man and man, between Hindus and Muslims, between Brahmins and the Shudras(so called lower caste people).

"Manas ki jat sab ek hi pahchanbo". (Guru Gobind Singh)

à "All men are the same", was a creed which cut at the very root of Mughal establishment based on human distinctions. To extinguish this smithy of love, the government offered to its subjects numerous monetary awards for the heads of the Sikhs and they were declared outlaws. The greed for gold tempted one Bhai Nirangi to lodge a complaint against Bhai Taru Singh, with the Subedar (governor)  of Lahore, stating that he(Bhai Taru)  gave shelter, to dacoits, the Sikhs, and thus the property of Muslim and Hindu subjects of His Gracious Majesty, was unsafe.

When the Subedar, saw this young man of 23, he was overwhelmed and shaken by his presence. Addressing Taru Singh, the Nawab said, "0, graceful Sikh, I feel sorry for you and I wish to give you a new lease of life".  Taru Singh with tears in his eyes, responded: "Reward me with a new lease of life? Why stain me with such dishonour while my brothers and sisters are being martyred here before me, everyday, every hour."

The Subedar said, your presence is expounded with a heavenly light. Somehow my heart does not permit me to have you killed, but you must cut and present me your tress-knot" (juuda - Hairs).

Taru Singh replied, "The Sikh and his hair are one. I will be pleased to give you more than you ask me, my head with my tress-knot". These hair are the eternal Gift of love of immeasurable beauty to the Khalsa by our Guru, they cannot be separated from a Sikhs head, without separating his head. The one who just looks at them can never understand them. It is like looking into a mirror, but you are not one with the mirror. The observer is only capable of experiencing; he is never the mirror, the experience, the state itself. These hair are the fountain of joy, the spring of life for us.

The Subedar, still confident of bribing him, then said: "Taru Singh, you are too young. You have not yet experienced the beauty and joys of life. I will make arrangements for your marriage with a woman of your choice. You will be awarded with a high mansab (office) in the Mughal army. You will be endowed with a hereditary jagir(estate), I promise you all sorts of luxuries but you must part with sikh way of life".

A Guru's Sikh can never be tamed and now his tears mingling with a smile of joy, Taru Singh replied, "Having been sent by Him they come (into the world) and recalled by Him they go back", said Guru Nanak. "It is the right and privilege of the brave to die," sayeth He. "For a Sikh, life has beginning and no end- it is both death and life. Neither my life nor my hair are for bargaining in your court which views beauty, life and religion in weights of gold. The value and beauty of our hair cannot be measured in terms of luxuries. Your thinking is materialistic and is therefore negligible, but an integrated living is always spiritual".

The Subedar could no longer bear this song of truth and he cried out, "Stop him, for he disturbs the law and order of our province. Kill him at once, but cut his hair before".  The Mughal soldiers caught hold of Bhai Sahib's head and chin, but the barber found it impossible to bring his hand near his head. With a stroke of his head he would push back his captors and make them whirl on the ground. A cobbler was then sent for, to try his skill with his tools and scrap off Taru Singh's hair, but his attempt too proved abortive. At last the help of a carpenter was asked for the foul deed. With a stroke of his adze, he cut off Bhai Taru Singh's head (1743 A.D.) but failed to cut his tress-knot.

Thakur Rabindranath Tagore, a great mystic-poet of Bengal (India) has a beautiful song of this episode: Prarthona Atit Dan -- "More than asked For"

For a Sikh to cut his tress-knots
Amounts to discarding his dharma.
The Pathans brought,
bound hand and foot, the Sikh prisoners,
Shahid Ganj earth turned red with their blood.
The Nawab addressing Taru Singh,
said unto him:
'I wish to spare thy life'.
Taru Singh retorted: 'Spare my life!
why thou dishonors me?
Said the Nawab: 'Thou art bravest of the brave?
I don't wish to wreak my anger on thee.
Taru singh replied: 'O Nawab thy request
with my heart I comply and liberally grant thee
more than what thou beg'est of me:
`My head with my tress-knot.'

Tuesday, September 25, 2007





One who calls himself a guru or a spiritual teacher, while he goes around begging

-don'tever touch his feet.

One who works (honestly) for what he eats, and gives some of what he has

-O Nanak, he knows the (true) Path. ||1||

- (Guru Granth sahib ji, ps 1245)


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 I do in this 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. Do your 'Kirt' and 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. Please, show me something to put faith into me."


Guru said "First you should do a task for me. We shall talk about faith, when you return. Deliver a message to my Sikh in 'so and so' village and make sure he has read the letter before you turn back."


"Please, give me the letter," requested the Sikh. . The Sikh w/o knowing what was in the letter carried the letter and delivered it and request the Sikh to please read the letter so that he can return. In the letter The Guru wrote a message, instructing that the messenger should be held back for six months, after which he should be released, and that he should be looked after well !!! and thus He was detained as per the Guru's instruction. The Sikh pleaded, "O brother, I have four persons to support. They can eat only if I earn. Without me they will starve. Please, 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 NOT be allowed to return for six months. 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 both of our interests to obey the Guru." The Sikh agreed.


At the other end, the Guru arranged for the sustenance of the Sikh's family in this way.


They went without one meal. Their neighbors asked them why they had not cooked their meal. The Sikh's wife replied, "The one who earned (for the family) 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 neighbors 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  neighborhood. Thus, fifty trays of flour were collected. Then the inhabitants of the locality gave them employment. The two sons started working as attendants, and thus earning their livelihood. A lady from the neighborhood started giving the little girl and her mother lessons in embroidery. Thus, their sustenance was no longer a problem and they started earning they living.


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, he understood Guru jis play and it made him all the more happy. He realized 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 do as instructed by you. Because of your mercy I have found true understanding and bliss."



keethaa kiaa saalaah eeai karae soe saalaahi ||

Why praise the created being? Praise the One who created all.


naanak eaekee baaharaa dhoojaa dhaathaa naahi ||

O Nanak, there is no other Giver, except the One Lord.


karathaa so saalaaheeai jin keethaa aakaar ||

Praise the Creator Lord, who created the creation.


dhaathaa so saalaah eeai j sabhasai dhae aadhhaar ||

Praise the Great Giver, who gives sustenence to all.


naanak aap sadheev hai p ooraa jis bha(n)ddaar ||

O Nanak, the treasure of the Eternal Lord is over-flowing.


vaddaa kar saalaaheeai a(n)th n p aaraavaar ||2||

Praise and honor the One, who has no end or limitation. ||2||

- (Guru Granth sahib ji, ps 1239)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sakhi Series : 67 (The Entire World is Full of Pain)

The Entire World is Full of Pain


Guru Nanak, accompanied by Mardana, continued to travel southwards from Kanchi and reached the town Trivanmalai. The town these days falls within the district of South Arcot. In the 16th century, it was situated on the highway leading to South. On its western side were pathways passing through mountains. The word 'trivanmalai' means the sacred fire aflame on the mountain.


As per ancient mythology, It is said that once Shiva's consort Parvati put her hands on Shiva's eyes, thus causing darkness in the entire world. At this, Shiva got annoyed with Parvati and sent her down to the world. Trivanmalai was one of the places where she did penance. For some time, she meditated here. Then Shiva sprouted fire on the adjoining hill, thus indicating that her lapse had been condoned. Thus, the town that came into being on the foot of the hill on which fire had sprouted came to be known as Trivanmalai.


Guru Nanak stayed put in Trivanmalai for some time. Here stands a gurdwara in the memory of his visit. The gurdwara was managed by Mahant Narinder Nath until the 1960s. While putting up here, Guru Nanak thought that no god or goddess had been able to get free from the consequences of his or her

karmas .  Even Parvati had also to resort to penance. It is only through the Name Divine that one could escape from the effect of karma. It is believed that it was here that Guruji recited the following hymn:


seha(n)sar dhaan dhae ei(n)dhra roaa eiaa ||

Branded with a thousand marks of disgrace, Indra cried in shame.


paras raam rovai ghar aaeiaa ||

Paras Raam returned home crying.


ajai s rovai bheekhiaa khaae ||

Ajai cried and wept, when he was made to eat the manure he had given, pretending it was charity.


aisee dharageh milai sajaae ||

Such is the punishment received in the Court of the Lord.


rovai raam nikaalaa bhaeiaa || seethaa lakhaman vishhurr gaeiaa ||

Rama wept when he was sent into exile, and separated from Sita and Lakhshman.


rovai dhehasir la(n)k gavaae || jin seethaa aadhee ddouroo vaae ||

The ten-headed Raawan, who stole away Sita with the beat of his tambourine, wept when he lost Sri Lanka.


rovehi paa(n)ddav bheae majoor || jin kai suaamee rehath hadhoor ||

The Paandavas once lived in the Presence of the Lord; they were made slaves, and wept.


rovai janamaejaa khue gaeiaa || eaekee kaaran paapee bhaeiaa ||

Janmayjaa wept, that he had lost his way. One mistake, and he became a sinner.


rovehi saekh masaaeik peer || a(n)th kaal math laagai bheerr ||

The Shaykhs, Pirs and spiritual teachers weep; at the very last instant, they suffer in agony.


rovehi raajae ka(n)n parraae || ghar ghar maagehi bheekhiaa jaae ||

The kings weep - their ears are cut; they go begging from house to house.


rovehi kirapan sa(n)chehi dhhan jaae ||pa(n)ddith rovehi giaan gavaae ||

The miser weeps; he has to leave behind the wealth he has gathered.

The Pandit, the religious scholar, weeps when his learning is gone.


baalee rovai naahi bhathaar || naanak dhukheeaa sabh sa(n)saar ||

The young woman weeps because she has no husband. O Nanak, the whole world is suffering.


ma(n)nae naao soee jin jaae || aouree karam n laekhai laae ||1||

He alone is victorious, who believes in the Lord's Name. No other action is of any account. ||1||

-Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 953-54


The Guru stayed here for some time and then travelled on to the South.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sakhi Series : 66 ( Guru Har Rai jis compassion)

Guru Har Rai jis compassion


fareedhaa bu rae dhaa bhalaa kar gusaa man n hadtaae ||

Fareed, answer evil with goodness; do not fill your mind with anger.


dhaehee rog n lag ee palai sabh kishh paae ||78||

Your body shall not suffer from any disease, and you shall obtain everything. ||78||

- Guru Granth sahib ji – 1381


Guru Har Rai was a saint soldier like Guru Hargobind Sahib ji. Guruji would miss no opportunity to inculcate in his disciples the noble sentiments of humility, compassion and selfless service.


Guru Har Rai ji set up hospitals for relieving the distress of the sick. Medicines were given free to those who came for treatment.


Once, when Emperor Shah Jehan's eldest son, Dara Shikoh became dangerously ill, the Emperor searched everywhere for the ingredients (for the medicine prescribed by the royal physician) but they could not be found. It was then that his Prime Minister, who had heard of the Guru Har Rai ji's fame, informed that they were available from the Gurus' store house. Although the Emperor was hostile to the Guru, yet as the Guru's house was a mine of sympathy and compassion for all, there was no doubt that he would grant the articles required.

The Emperor thus humbled himself before the Guru and sent a letter. The Guru on receiving the letter consented to give the required medicines.


When asked by some Sikhs about why Guruji was helping the son of Shah Jahan who had quarreled with his grandfather and father ( Guru Arjan Dev ji and Guru Hargobind Sahib ji). Guru ji is believed to have said "with one hand man breaks flowers and with one hand offers them, but the flowers perfume both hands alike. The axe cuts the sandal tree, yet the sandal perfumes the axe ." The Guru ought, therefore, to return good for evil.


The medicine was administered and effected a speedy and complete cure.


gunaa kaa h ovai vaasulaa kadt vaas leejai ||

One who has a basket of fragrant virtues, should enjoy its fragrance.


j ae gun hovanih saajanaa mil saajh kareejai ||

If my friends have virtues, I will share in them.


s aajh kareejai guneh kaeree shhodd avagan chaleeai ||

Let us form a partnership, and share our virtues; let us abandon our faults, and walk on the Path.


peh irae patta(n)bar kar adda(n)bar aapanaa pirr maleeai ||

Let us wear our virtues like silk clothes; let us decorate ourselves, and enter the arena.


j ithhai jaae beheeai bhalaa keheeai jhol a(n)mrith peejai ||

Let us speak of goodness, wherever we go and sit; let us skim off the Ambrosial Nectar, and drink it in.


g unaa kaa hovai vaasulaa kadt vaas leejai ||3||

One who has a basket of fragrant virtues, should enjoy its fragrance. ||3||

- Guru Granth sahib ji – 765


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sakhi Series: 65 (State of Blissfulness..)

State of Blissfulness.....
(Source: )

jo gur kehai soee bhal meet(h)aa man kee math thiaag ||1|| rehaao ||
Whatever the Guru says is good and sweet to me. I have renounced the intellectual wisdom of my mind. ||1||Pause||

- Guru Granth Sahib ji pg 1339

Once, a King went to see Guru Gobind Singh jee. He was in the court of Guru Gobind Singh jee and while going to retire Guru jee saw the King and stopped by the place he was sitting. He said to the King, "O Sikh, I am happy to see you here. Ask what you want and your wish will be fulfilled". Upon this the King who was already rich, asked Guru Gobind Singh jee to shower his blessings (Kirpa) on him (so that he could be progressive spiritually as well). Guru Gobind Singh jee then looked at another Sikh and then turned to the King and asked him, "So should I turn you into a Sikh like him, Nihal Singh who is standing over there". The King for a moment saw Nihal Singh and thought in his mind that has the Guru gone crazy. Nihal Singh does not look in right state as his clothes were all shabby and the spade to which cow dung was sticking was on his shoulders and he smelled awful. The King asked the Guru that if he was showing his mercy (Kirpa) or his anger (Keher) by turning him (a King) into a person like Nihal Singh (peasant).

Then Guru Gobind Singh jee called Nihal Singh and also said to him, "O Sikh, I am happy to see you here. Ask what you want and your wish will be fulfilled". Upon this Nihal Singh too asked Guru Gobind Singh jee to shower his blessings (Kirpa) on him. Guru Gobind Singh jee then looked at the King and then turned to Nihal Singh as asked him, "So should I turn you like that King who is standing over there. Upon this Nihal Singh humbly with folded hands asked the Guru that if he was showing his mercy (Kirpa) or his anger (Keher) on him by turning him into a person like the King.

Hearing this, the King was amazed. He thought that Nihal Singh would be glad to accept the Guru's offer to turn him into a King, but Nihal Singh was not happy to be a King like him. Then the Guru explained to the King. He said, "O King, you thought Nihal Singh to be an ordinary man, but he is nothing ordinary. He is a devout Sikh who has lots of Sewa and Simran behind him and he is in the blissful state of being one with the Almighty. When I asked you that should I turn you into a person like Nihal Singh, what I meant was spiritually. But O King, you only saw Nihal Singh's outer appearance and though you also wanted to achieve the blissful state but you could not recognize that Nihal Singh was in that state and you thought that I am going to turn you into a peasant. On the other hand, Nihal Singh when was offered to be turned into a King got scared that he will lose his Sewa and Simran by becoming a King as he might get pride in his head, thus he declined to become a King and leave his state of blissfulness because once you reach that state, nothing entices you any more. The king felt real sorry for judging Nihal Singh just by what he looked and asked Guru jee for his forgiveness.

thujh oopar maeraa hai maanaa thoohai maeraa thaanaa raam ||
I take pride in You; You are my only Strength, Lord.

surath math chathuraaee thaeree thoo jaanaaeihi jaanaa raam ||
You are my understanding, intellect and knowledge. I know only what You cause me to know, Lord.


soee jaanai soee pashhaanai jaa ko nadhar sira(n)dhae ||
He alone knows, and he alone understands, upon whom the Creator Lord bestows His Grace.

manamukh bhoolee bahuthee raahee faathhee maaeiaa fa(n)dhae ||
The self-willed manmukh wanders along many paths, and is trapped in the net of Maya.

t(h)aakur bhaanee saa gunava(n)thee thin hee sabh ra(n)g maanaa ||
She alone is virtuous, who is pleasing to her Lord and Master. She alone enjoys all the pleasures.

naanak kee dhhar thoohai t(h)aakur thoo naanak kaa maanaa ||3||
You, O Lord, are Nanak's only support. You are Nanak's only pride. ||3||

- Guru Granth Sahib ji pg 779