Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reflection on Mata Gujri Ji

Reflection on Mata Gujri Ji 

Mata Gujri was a perfect woman, a Puran Istree. The word "Stree" originates from Sanskrit and means "expansion."2 In a physical sense women expand by being mothers. In a spiritual sense, women give their children the ideals and values to live by; they nurture a sense of security; and they have the power to construct or destroy their families and their generations to come.

So, it is only pertinent to say that Mata Gujri was a Puran Istree in both the physical and spiritual realms. She completed the life and mission of Guru Teg Bahadur; raised the extraordinary child Gobind; managed the affairs of the Sikh Panth while the Guru was still a child; and inspired and prepared her young grandsons for the extraordinary courage, grace and sacrifice that would be required of them at such tender ages.

Let us look at her life and the different roles she plays as a perfect woman.
z As a Daughter: MataJi was brought up with the consciousness of the Guru's light; she fulfilled her parent's aspiration of serving the path of the Guru beyond their expectations by growing into a perfect role model of grace, strength, persistence and sacrifice.

z As a Wife: She supported Guru Tegh Bahadur when he was deep in meditation for years, again while he was on his missionary tour, and finally, when the Guru left for Delhi to make the supreme sacrifice.

z As a Leader: After Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom, she and her brother, Kirpal Chand had the responsibility of managing the affairs of the Panth. She also organized the langar (community kitchen) and played an important role as the administrator of the army. She had an important role inspiring the Khalsa armies during the battles Guru Gobind Singh had to fight. Her role in the battle of Bhangani is especially remembered.

z As a Mother: She molded the father of the Khalsa, the great Guru Gobind, raising him as a single mother after the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadurji.

z As a Grandmother and inspiration to the young martyrs: When Mata Ji and the sahibzadas were arrested and confined in Sirhind Fort, and as the children were summoned to appear in court each day, she kept urging them to remain steadfast in their faith. She constantly reminded the Sahibzadas that their Grandfather and Great-Grandfather had both sacrificed their lives to strengthen the ideals of Guru Nanak. Her support of her grandsons played such an important role in Sikhism that as Sikhs, we probably owe our existence to her. It was due to her role that the seven and nine year old children did not budge from their beliefs and attained martyrdom. If the Sahibzadas had accepted Islam on that winter day, Sikhi probably wouldn't exist as it does today. So, in fact, we stand tall because of the teachings and the inspiration Mata Ji provided to her grandsons and thousands of martyrs who gave their heads and not their faith.

z As a Martyr: While imprisoned on top of an open tower during the cold month of December, Mata Gujri continually did simran with no complaints about her physical being. She attained martyrdom the same day as her grandsons after hearing that her grandsons had been bricked alive rather than give up their faith. Her mission had been fulfilled.

"In a woman man is conceived; from a woman he is born. With a woman he is betrothed and married; with a woman he contracts friendship. Why say she is inferior, the one from who even kings are born? Without woman, there would be no one at all." - Guru Nanak3

A unique aspect of the social status of women in Sikhi is that we did not have to fight for it. The Guru's enlightened ideals and efforts offered equal status some 500 years before most women could even dare to talk about or ask for equality. As suggested in the Gurbani, without women, there would be no one at all; they are the source of the physical existence of humanity. Thus, Gurbani explicitly acknowledges their empowerment, dignity, and strength. A woman's manifestation as a spiritual being as seen by the Guru goes beyond motherhood. For example, approximately one third of the missionaries Guru Amar Das trained were women. Later Mai Bhago served Guru Gobind as a warrior saint.

According to Bhai Gurdaas, Vaar 5, Pauri 16,4
lok vyd gux igAwn ivc ArD srIrI moK duAwrI:
From a temporal and spiritual point of view, woman is the other half of man and assists to the door to final liberation.

Thus, In Sikh thought, a woman is an equal partner to a man in the spiritual advancement of all humanity. Even God is depicted as both man and woman.

z qUM myrw ipqw qUMhY myrw mwqw:
O Lord, You are my Father, and You are my Mother - SGGS P 103

z Awpy purKu Awpy hI nwrI:
You Yourself are the male, and You Yourself are the female. - SGGS P 1020


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 116 (Bibi Baghel Kaur )

Bibi Baghel Kaur

If we were to understand the history of Sikh women, we would realize that women were treated equally to partake in any type of activity within the Sikh Panth. Not only were they needed to raise their children as great Khalsas, or take part in preparing Langar for the Sangat, they fought alongside with their brothers…
Bibi Baghel Kaur
A newlywed Hindu girl was returning along with her groom and the marriage party to the village of her in- laws when some Mughal soldiers abducted her and looted her dowry.Her groom and the members of the marriage party who were unarmed were beaten and made to flee. They complained to the Muslim chief of the area, but he did not care and said, "What does it matter if our soldiers enjoy her for a few days? I shall see that she is returned to you as soon as I find a clue of her." Her husband was disappointed and turned to the forest to meet the Sikhs and appeal to them.

In those days, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India again and again and the Mughal Empire at Delhi and the governor of Lahore had become very weak. Abdali looted Indian cities, forcibly took beautiful Hindu ladies with him, but the Sikhs attacked his army when he was going back to Afghanistan.

The Sikh Warriors recovered the property he was taking with him, and got the ladies, that he was forcibly taking, released. They fought a guerrilla war and slipped back into the forest before they could be caught.

The groom met some Sikhs in the forest. They consoled him and baptized him. Now he was named Teja Singh. One night, a party of Sikhs along with Teja Singh, attacked the same party of plunderers and taught them a lesson. Teja Singh's wife, who was in a miserable condition, was also rescued from them. She wanted to commit suicide, but was dissuaded from doing so. She was encouraged to live and was baptized. Now she was named Baghel Kaur, who wore a turban and not a scarf on her head. She always had a long sword with her. Many ladies like her lived in the wilderness near the pond of Kahnuwan in the company of the Sikhs.

In the wilderness, Baghel Kaur and her party met a few more Sikhs known to Teja Singh. They planned to attack a patrolling party of the Muslim soldiers and snatch their horses and arms for the newcomers. When they reached the village, they found that the soldiers were armed, but asleep. Baghel Kaur and her companions took some guns and two horses from the soldiers and left the village before the soldiers were awake. They killed only those soldiers who resisted them. Baghel Kaur and the party reached back safely and met their companions who were anxiously awaiting them.

All left the pool of Kahnuwan (District Gurdaspur). They had to cross a dense forest and thorny bushes grown on the bank of the river Bias. In fact, these dense, thorny bushes served them as a fort as the Mughal soldiers were afraid of crossing them. Inside this dense forest, the Sikhs had cleared some area and lived in tents there. They lived on the ration they could bring from outside,  and whatever edible they could find in the forest. After a long journey, they met their companions who were there with their leader Nawab Kapur Singh. He exhorted the gathering to be ready to fight against aggression for the sake of justice
Mir Mannu was the governor of Lahore.

His minister Kaura Mal was sympathetic towards the Sikhs, but after the death of Kaura Mal, Mir Mannu turned his attention to finish the Sikhs. He was a tyrant and bent upon converting Sikhs to Islam.

He used every possible punishment to subordinate the Sikhs, who had left villages and started living in thick forests. In those days, Sikhs used to say, "Mir Mannu is our sickle and we are his grass blades. As he cuts, more than two hundred times we grow." Abdali consulted Mir Mannu and sent a challenge to the Sikhs to come out of the forest and fight face to face. Nawab Kapur Singh accepted the challenge.

Th next day, four thousand Sikhs with a few hundred Sikh ladies, includingBaghel Kaur, divided themselves in two parties and, riding on their horses,entered the field, fully armed, with sword and spears. They were opposed by 10,000 Pathan forces. At the end of the day, 500 Sikhs became martyrs, but the Pathans suffered a heavy loss. Second day, Baghel Kaur with a few other ladies fought so bravely and courageously that it would be remembered for ever. In the evening the Pathan army had to retreat, but in the confusion that prevailed Baghel Kaur and four other ladies were separated from the Sikh forces.

These ladies reached a small village, cooked their food and slept on the ground. Turn by turn, one of them remained awake to look after the horses and the arms. They got up before daybreak, performed their morning prayer and started. Soon they found fifty enemy soldiers of a patrolling party coming towards them. Five of them proceeded towards Baghel Kaur and her party. They did not realize that they were going to face a tough enemy. They planned to capture them and marry them.

All of a sudden, Baghel Kaur came forward and cut the
sword of the first soldier with her sword. In the meantime, a companion of her injured him with her sword when he was returning to save himself from the second attack. Another soldier attacked Baghel Kaur with his spear, but her friend checked his attack with her sword and injured him. Now the injured soldiers started returning to their party to seek help.

In the mean time Baghel Kaur and her companions rode away to the thick forest to meet their companions. All the Pathan soldiers started chasing Baghel Kaur and her friends. A Sikh watchman informed the other Sikhs in the forest about the coming Pathans. At once, the Sikhs came out and killed the Pathans in a few minutes.

Three Sikhs were also killed in this fight. Sikhs persuaded Baghel Kaur and her companions to stay in the village but the brave ladies refused, wanted to stay with them, and die fighting.

Mir Mannu was a notorious bigot. He massacred Sikhs and proclaimed a reward of twenty-five rupees per Sikh head. He killed no less than thirty thousand Sikhs. He ordered that any Sikh lady found anywhere should be caught and forced to embrace Islam. Baghel Kaur wanted to save a few ladies who were still in the village and could not leave because two of them had small children. One night Baghel Kaur disguised herself and went back to her village to save the three Sikh ladies who were hiding in the house of a Muslim girl friend. She contacted them at midnight, encouraged them to accompany her early in the morning and leave for the thick forest on the other side of the river Beas.

After a short nap of two hours, she along with three Sikh ladies and two children left the village at 4am. Four soldiers who were sleeping outside the village saw them and followed them to the river bank. Baghel Kaur asked the two ladies to cross the river along with their children and herself along with the third lady faced the soldiers.

She thrust her spear in the chest of the first two soldiers who came forward before they could attack her...

One of her companions tried to attack the third soldier, but his spear injured her arm before she could attack. Baghel Kaur gave her horse to her injured friend and asked her to cross the river at once.

Baghel Kaur took the horse of the injured soldier and fought against the remaining two soldiers bravely and fearlessly.

The soldiers as well as Baghel Kaur were injured and bleeding. She took courage and in the twinkling of an eye crossed the river on her horse. Now all the four ladies with two children started on their horses and soon they were out of sight of the soldiers who were chasing them. After covering a long distance the party reached the destination and met a party of the Sikhs.
Plight of the Sikh ladies detained in the camps of Mir Mannu was miserable. They were tortured and kept thirsty and hungry as they refused to be converted to Islam.

Every one of them was allotted a small millstone to grind a fixed quantity of wheat. It was ordered that the children of these ladies be snatched. One soldier threw a child up in the air and the other killed him with his spear before he could touch the ground. The dead bodies of these children were cut into pieces and the ladies were garlanded with those pieces. Pieces of flesh of the children were thrust into the mouth of their mothers. 

In spite of all that, none of the ladies cried or yielded to
embrace Islam Once this horrible scene stunned Mir Mannu.

When he reached the palace after visiting the camp, he did not talk to anybody. It seemed he repented. He left for hunting with only four soldiers. While he was hunting, his horse was scared, ran very fast and jumped so high that Mir Mannu could not control it. He fell down, and his feet got entangled in strip. Mir Mannu's cries further scared the horse and it ran faster. It was dragging Mir Mannu and none could stop it. Mir Mannu was badly injured and died in the forest. 

Mir Mannu's tragic and sudden death had emboldened the Sikhs and they were settling in their villages. A group of Sikhs, under the command of Baghel Kaur, attacked the Lahore camp at midnight, killed 25 Muslim soldiers who were unprepared, and got the captive ladies released and escorted them to a safer place. After Mir Mannu's death, his queen invited Ahmad Shah to help her and capture the Sikhs. At this time, Baghel Kaur was living in her village along with her four-year old son and her husband. 

She wanted to save the ladies who were forcibly being taken to the camp. She asked her husband to take the child and leave for the forest. She herself started to rescue the ladies being taken forcibly by the Muslim soldiers. She saw one such lady who was being taken to the camp, but Baghel Kaur did not slip away.

All of a sudden, she injured with her spear the two soldiers who were taking the lady, but she was caught by their companions. Now she herself was a captive with the other ladies in the camp.

Every lady in the camp was given a piece of bread. Some injured and hungry ladies were lying half-dead on the ground and their children were crying for food.

Baghel Kaur gave her own piece of bread to the crying
children and she remained hungry...

The ladies in the camp were whipped, insulted, and taunted by the soldiers so that they might embrace Islam to get rid of this hell. Baghel Kaur protested against ill treatment, but she was ordered to grind wheat for the whole night without rest.

At midnight, the camp-in-charge sent for Baghel Kaur, but she refused to move out. The drunken soldier caught her by the wrist and dragged her. She took courage and slapped the soldier. She took his sword, which was tied to his belt, and injured him. The other ladies came to her help and the soldier had to run away. In the morning, all the ladies were assembled at one place, and the camp-in-charge told them that anyone who agreed to marry a soldier of her choice would be set free and allowed to lead a happy and prosperous life.

Baghel Kaur stood up and said that none would agree to be converted as their own religion was dear to them and they would die rather than lead an immoral life of a coward. Her bold and frank talk made the camp commander speechless.

She was taken to a pillar so that her hands should be tied and then whipped to death. On her way to the pillar, she took courage, pushed the soldier who was taking her to the pillar and snatched his sword. Now the whole camp was surrounded by the other soldiers and many ladies were murdered. Baghel Kaur fought bravely, but was killed by armed soldiers who were surrounding her. Next day, about 8000 Sikhs attacked the camp at midnight, killed the camp commander and freed the captive ladies.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sakhi Series :-115 ( Nāme nārā▫in nāhī bẖeḏ )

Naame Naraaein Nahi Bhed 
(Source: Guru granth Sahib ji, Ang 1165)

The Sultan said, ""Listen, Naam Dayv: let me see the actions of your Lord.""||1||
The Sultan arrested Naam Dayv, and said, ""Let me see your Beloved Lord.""||1||Pause||

"Bring this dead cow back to life. Otherwise, I shall cut off your head here and now.""||2||
Naam Dayv answered, ""O king, how can this happen? No one can bring the dead back to life. ||3||
I cannot do anything by my own actions. Whatever the Lord does, that alone happens." |4||

The arrogant king was enraged at this reply. He incited an elephant to attack. ||5||
Naam Dayv's mother began to cry, and she said, ""Why don't you abandon your Lord Raam, and worship his Lord Allah?""||6||

Naam Dayv answered, ""I am not your son, and you are not my mother.
Even if my body dies, I will still sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.""||7||
The elephant attacked him with his trunk, but Naam Dayv was saved, protected by the Lord. ||8||

The king said, ""The Qazis and the Mullahs bow down to me, but this Hindu has trampled my honor.""||9||
The people pleaded with the king, ""Hear our prayer, O king. Here, take Naam Dayvs weight in gold, and release him.""||10||

The king replied, ""If I take the gold, then I will be consigned to hell, by forsaking my faith and gathering worldly wealth.""||11||

With his feet in chains, Naam Dayv kept the beat with his hands, singing the Praises of the Lord. ||12||
"Even if the Ganges and the Jamunaa rivers flow backwards, I will still continue singing the Praises of the Lord.""||13||

Three hours passed, and even then, the Lord of the three worlds had not come. ||14||
Playing on the instrument of the feathered wings, the Lord of the Universe came, mounted on the eagle garura. ||15||
He cherished His devotee, and the Lord came, mounted on the eagle garura. ||16||

The Lord said to him, ""If you wish, I shall turn the earth sideways.
If you wish, I shall turn it upside down. ||17||
If you wish, I shall bring the dead cow back to life.
Everyone will see and be convinced.""||18||

Naam Dayv prayed, and milked the cow. He brought the calf to the cow, and milked her.||19||
When the pitcher was filled with milk, Naam Dayv took it and placed it before the king. ||20||
The king went into his palace, and his heart was troubled. ||21||

Through the Qazis and the Mullahs, the king offered his prayer,
"Forgive me, please, O Hindu; I am just a cow before you."||22||

Naam Dayv said, ""Listen, O king: have I done this miracle? ||23||
The purpose of this miracle is that you, O king, should walk on the path of truth and humility.""||24||
Naam Dayv became famous everywhere for this. The Hindus all went together to Naam Dayv. ||25||
If the cow had not been revived, people would have lost faith in Naam Dayv. ||26||
The fame of Naam Dayv spread throughout the world. The humble devotees were saved and carried across with him. ||27||
All sorts of troubles and pains afflicted the slanderer. There is no difference between Naam Dayv and the Lord. ||28||1||10||

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 114 ( Bhagat Fareed Ji)

Bhagat Fareed Ji

By Manvir Singh Khalsa

Baba Fareed Ji's mother, Bibi Mariam, said to her son as a very young child, "Oh my son, do simran (meditate on the Lord)". As any innocent child, Baba Fareed Ji would ask, "Ma, if I do Simran, then what will I get in return." His mother replied, "The people who do Simran, God gives those people sweets to eat."

Children are drawn to eat sweets and love to eat them. Baba Fareed Ji would cross his legs, close his eyes and do Simran. His mother would put some sweets in to a bowl and put it front of him. Baba Fareed Ji would open his eyes after doing simran and see the sweets in front of him. "Look ma, God has given me sweets to eat." He would then happily eat the sweets and his mother would look at him and smile.

Baba Fareed Ji looked forwards to doing Simran and being rewarded with sweets by God. For a time he would keep doing Simran and his mother would each time put sweets in front of him and when he closed his eyes so that when he opened his eyes, he could eat them.

But one day Baba Fareed Ji, opened his eyes and didn't look at the sweets. He didn't eat the sweets but still looked happy and content. His mother asked, "Fareed, today you haven't eaten the sweets God has given you." Baba Fareed Ji answered, "O Ma, once you taste the Name of God, then all other sweets in the world taste bland."

'Fareeda, sakar khand nivaath gur, maakiyau maanjhaa dudh. Sabhey vastoo miteeyaa(n) rab naa pujan tudh…'

Fareed: sugar cane, candy, sugar, molasses, honey and buffalo's milk – all these things are sweet, but they are not equal to You (Waheguru)' (Ang 1379, SGGS).

When we praise Baba Fareed Ji, we always praise his mother. With a little incentive of giving sweets, we can see the blessings bestowed on Baba Fareed Ji.

Do today's mothers give their children sweets to eat? Yes they do! Three times a day mothers give their children different types of sweet foods and sweet dishes to eat. 

But today's mothers don't say, 
"If you wake up and say 'Waheguru' and going to sleep say 'Waheguru, then you can have sweets." 
"First say 'fateh' to your grandparents and then I will give you your sweets." 
"I'll give you sweets, if you come with me to do the Gurdwara and help me do some sewa."


Once seven hundred holy men were sitting together. An inquirer put them four questions to which Baba Farid ji replied : 

Q.1 Who is the wisest of men? 
A.1 He who refraineth from Sin. 
Q.2 Who is the most intelligent? 
A.1 He who is not disconcerted at anything. 
Q.3 Who is most independent? 
A.3 He who practise the contentment. 
Q.4 Who is the most needy? 
A.4 He who practise the it not.


Says Farid, 

I thought I was alone who suffered. 
I went on top of the house, 
And found every house on fire.

Says Farid, 
Why do you roam the jungles with thorns pricking your feet? 
Your Lord dwells in your heart. 
And you wander about in search of Him.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 113 ( Kauda Rakhash)

Kauda Rakhash

(Source:  and  )

Once Guru Sahib and Bhai Mardana jee were travelling through a jungle. Bhai Mardana was feeling home-sick and asked Guru Sahib to go home but Guru Sahib asked him to wait a little longer. Bhai Mardana could not wait any longer and insisted on leaving right away. When Bhai Mardana persisted, Guru Sahib told him to go if he wanted to.

Guru Sahib sat there in the thick forest and went in smadhi. On the other hand, Bhai Mardana who was heading home, got trapped in a trap set by a carnivorous human - Kauda Raakash. Kauda Raakash was said to a very cruel person and ate human flesh. He used to kill humans and eat them.

When Kauda Raakash saw Bhai Mardana, he was very happy to see a healthy young man trapped. He tied Bhai Mardana jee's legs and arms and brought him to his cave. There he had a big pan (karaahee) with oil in it. He used to fry them alive.

Now as Bhai Mardana was trapped, he realized his mistake of not listening to Guru Sahib. He now sat there and started calling out to Guru Sahib for help.

Guru Nanak Sahib who was jaani-jaan (all knowing) heard the plead of Bhai Mardana and reached the spot where Bhai Mardana was tied. He was behind the bushes and saw the frightened face of Bhai Mardana jee. He whispered, "Kyon Mardaniya, ghar nahi giya?" (So Mardana, why did you not go home).

Bhai Mardana was thrilled to see Guru Sahib arrive. At the same time he pleaded with Guru jee to forgive him. He begged Guru Sahib to release him.

By this time, Kauda Raakash came out and lifted Bhai Mardana jee to throw him in the huge kaRaahee full of boiling oil. Bhai Mardana jee started screaming and pleading to Guru Sahib but Guru Sahib kept quiet and just smiled. Kauda Raakash had not noticed Guru Sahib by this time.

Just as he was about to throw Bhai Mardana jee in the pan, Guru Sahib came out and asked Kauda Rakash to stop. Kauda Rakash was shocked to see someone there and defiantly refused to do so. As he looked at the face of Guru Sahib, he broke inside. Still he kept his composure and tried to threaten Guru Sahib.

Guru Sahib had come to rescue Kauda Raakash from this terribly sinful life he had. He showered Kauda Rakash with his divine grace. Kauda Rakash felt something very strange inside him but still his haume (ego) was not letting him obey an unarmed harmless looking person. He unwillingly threw Bhai Mardanajee in the pan full of hot burning oil.

Bhai Mardana jee screamed but did not feel anything. Kauda Raakash was surprised when he noticed that the oil in the pan was at normal temperature. He immediately knew that it was the work of Guru Nanak Sahib.

Guru ji said "Kauda! You do not see what you do. You have gone blind. Why do you want to cast yourself in the burning fire of hell?"

Kauda, whose conscience was dead with heinous crimes, suddenly came to realization and was overwhelmed with repentance. Guru ji said, "Give up your cruel way of life. Take a vow not to harm anyone. Be kind and merciful. Help and serve others."

The very gracious and holy sight of the Divine Master made Kauda realize his guilt and he fell on the feet of the Master once again and prayed for mercy. The gracious Master blessed him with Naam. ("God's Name").

Guru ji told him, "Always remember God. Repeat His name. Earn your bread with honest work. Share your earnings with others. Do all this yourself and teach others of your tribe to do the same."

Kauda promised to live and act as advised by the Guru. From a killer and eater of men he became a servant and teacher of men. He was a completely changed person and thereafter lived as a devout disciple of the Guru as a completely honest worshipper of God.

At this time, he could not resist anymore and dashed at the lotus feet of Guru Sahib.

Guru Sahib did more kirpa and with the touch of Guru Sahib's feet, Kauda Rakash's sins washed away and he realized how bad he had been. He begged for Jeevan-daat. He begged before Guru Sahib for mercy.

Guru Sahib knew that Kauda Raakash was feeling genuine remorse. He lifted him up and gave him Amrit Naam. Guru Sahib blessed Kauda Raakash and instructed him to do parchaar of Sikhi and open a Dharamshala (Gurdwara) in his area.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 112 (Guru Ji )

Guru Ji

There was once a bridge which spanned a large river. During most of the day the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river paralleled with the banks, allowing ships to pass thru freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river, allowing a train to cross it.

A switchman sat in a small shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed. One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance thru the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train lights. He stepped to the control and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position, but, to his horror, he found the locking control did not work. If the bridge was not securely in position it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it, causing the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river where there was a lever switch he could hold to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the rumble of the train now, and he took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.

Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy, where are you?" His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety.

But he realized that he could not get back to the lever. Either the people on the train or his little son must die. He took a moment to make his decision. The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the onrushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of the sobbing man, still clinging tightly to the locking lever long after the train had passed. 

They did not see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked: to tell his wife how their son had brutally died.

Now if you comprehend the emotions which went thru this man's heart, you can begin to understand the feelings of our Father, Satguru Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji when He sacrificed not only his sons, not only his whole family but everything he ever had to bridge the gap between us and waheguru. 

Like the people in the train....we dont even realise what a sacrifice Guru ji has made for us....

Waheguru !! Waheguru !! Waheguru !! Waheguru !! Waheguru !!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 111 ( Sarang Asraja : "Tunda-Asaraja ki Dhuni")

Sarang Asraja

Asraj was King Sarang's son (from his first marriage). Raja Sarang married another woman after his wife passed away. The step mother wanted her own sons to succeed the king in place of Asraj and thus falsely accused Asraj and convinced King Sarang to order his execution. King Sarang told his minister to carry out the order of execution of Asraj.

The minister was a wise man. He took As to a jungle and ordered the executioner to cut one hand of As a proof of his death. After cutting his hand, they left him in the jungle.

A party of traders soon passed through the jungle and heard the cries of Asraj. They attended to his wound and took him to a neighboring country. They sold him as a slave to a washer man. Asraj had lost his hand and was called Asraj the cripple (Tunda-Asraj). He was given the duty of loading a bull with dirty clothes and bringing back the washed clothes to his master-the washerman every morning.

Unfortunately the king of the town died suddenly, without leaving any heir. The ministers decided that the man who passed through the city gates first the next morning, would be crowned as King. As usual Tunda-Asraj who went out early morning with his bullock to the rivulet (outside the city) with his load of dirty clothes, happened to be the first man to pass through the city gate. He was crowned and called Tunda Asraja (King Asraj the cripple). 

Soon thereafter the crops failed on account of drought. Asaraja was wise and had bought a lot of grain in advance to feed his people.

Raja Sarang-the father of Asraja-had two other sons who were given to hunting and pleasure. Raja Sarang felt the effects of famine and sent his minister to buy grain from the neighbouring country. The minister came to Asaraja's town for purchase of grain and met him and recognised him. Asraja gave the minister a lot of grain free.

When that advisor reached his country he told the king the story of Asraj becoming the king and motivated him to transfer his kingdom over to Asraj. The kind had also realized the reality so he accepted his advisor's virtuous advice and sent an invitation to his son.

When Asraj's stepson 'Sardool Rai' found out of his father's plan he took his forces without advising his father and went to stop Asraj. He also made his cousin 'Sultaan Rai' help him. A battle took place and Asraj came out victorious. After winning Asraj approached to meet his father and his father transferred his kingdom over to him. Asraj then ruled over both countries and spread the values of dharma

The court-poet composed a var to be sung in a particular dhuni (tune) in praise of King Asraja who became a symbol of the victory of virtue over vice. This var became very poplar and inspirational at the time. 

It is believed, that there is a great resemblance(tune/music wise) between the five-lined pauri's of Guru Nanak Sahib ji's  'Asa-ki-vaar' and the var of 'Tunda-Asaraja' and thus Guru ji prescribed the tune of the latter for the singing of the former.

jisehi sehaaee hoe bhagavaan || anik jathan ouaa kai sara(n)jaam ||1|| rehaao ||

One who has the Lord God as his help and support - all his efforts are fulfilled. ||1||Pause||


karathaa raakhai keethaa koun || keeree jeetho sagalaa bhavan ||

He is protected by the Creator Lord; what harm can anyone do to him? Even an ant can conquer the whole world.


baea(n)th mehimaa thaa kee kaethak baran || bal bal jaaeeai thaa kae charan ||2||

His glory is endless; how can I describe it? I am a sacrifice, a devoted sacrifice, to His feet. ||2||

- Guru Granth Sahib ji, Ang 888



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 110 ( Getting Advice from Siri Guru Granth Sahib )

Getting Advice from Siri Guru Granth Sahib


A Fun and Inspiring Story related to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, by Gurshabad Singh Khalsa (La Jolla/Espanola). 

har bhagathaa har dhhan raas hai gur pooshh karehi vaapaar ||

The devotees of the Lord have the Wealth and Capital of the Lord; with Guru's Advice, they carry on their trade.

-          Guru Granth Sahib Ji , Ang 28 

"I was listening to a Siri Singh Sahib lecture and he said "Sikhs do two things, they…."  Just before he gave the answer, I stopped the tape to try and guess what he was going to say.  I had been getting in the habit of doing this, to see if I was learning anything.  In this case, I guessed something completely wrong, and then put the tape back in.  This is what he said:  "Sikhs do two things.  They do Sadhana and they take advice from Siri Guru Granth Sahib".  I took this quote very literally and thought it was unrealistic, and I wrote the Siri Singh Sahib a letter to tell him that I thought this couldn't possibly be true.  My rational was, how can a person, realistically, read from a book and get advice from it. I told him that I was going to put this to the test, to see if it worked or not.  Like most everyone else I know, I had taken Hukams before, but I was looking at this more specifically as "taking advice".  To me, there was a big difference taking a Hukam and taking advice. After writing the letter, the Siri Singh Sahib called me back and said "The teaching is true.  Put it to the test and let me know what you find out".  

Some time went by and I really didn't have any need to "take advice" from Siri Guru Granth Sahib, until one evening.  I had just started my frozen waffle business and the printer was going to print my first run of cartons.  There was a bit of a rush to get these out and it was down to the wire to get them printed and out in time for the first run of waffles.  At 11:00 pm that night, the printer called and informed me that they thought there was going to be a real problem with 'holding' the blue color with the four color process we were running.  They gave me two options.  First, was to keep it as it is, and risk having the blue color be very inconsistent and 'spotty'.   The second option was to go to a fifth color, which would for sure 'hold the color', but would cost significantly more per carton.  At 100,000 cartons per run, this was going to represent a significant increase in cost.  I hadn't worked that into my profit margins and was very concerned about this.  I was equally as concerned about not doing it, and having an inferior product.  Concerned, I called some friends and consultants to see what they thought.  No one had the answer.  I was stuck and didn't know what to do, and it was late and I had to give an answer.  Then, I realized that this would be the perfect time to "take advice from Siri Guru Granth Sahib".  

  So, I went into the Gurdwara, sat behind the Guru, waived the Chori Sahib and literally spoke out loud to the Guru telling him what the situation was and asked him what I should do.  I decided I needed to ask a very specific question.  So, I asked: "Guru Ji, should I print in 4-color?".  I opened the Guru and the Hukam was from Nam Dev, the Calico Printer.  It said, and I paraphrase "God is the seed which grows into a tree.  The tree has bark on it.  The bark is taken from the tree and turned into pulp to make paper from, so Nam Dev, the Calico Printer can print on it"! 
Excited, I called the printer back and said "Print 4-color.  This is my final decision.  Please call me in the morning and let me know how it went".  The next morning, I was awakened by a phone call at 5 am.  It was the printer informing me that they were "amazed" at how well the blue color held and the cartons look perfect.  I happily wrote the Siri Singh Sahib back, told him the story and informed him that I had become a "believer" in this teaching.  From that day forward, I have always dedicated a room or space in my house for Siri Guru Granth Sahib, and whenever I get into a place where I don't have an answer, I always take advice and it has NEVER not given me the best answer possible to my situation.  It is a gold mine of technology that can be practically applied to anyone's life, anytime.  Thank you Siri Singh Sahib for this gem and Happy 300th Anniversary of Siri Guru Granth Sahib!   --   Gurshabad Singh Khalsa (La Jolla/Espanola)

Take the Guru's advice, you ignorant fool;

without devotion, even the clever have drowned.

Worship the Lord with heart-felt devotion, my friend;

your consciousness shall become pure.

Enshrine the Lord's Lotus Feet in your mind;

the sins of countless lifetimes shall depart.

Chant the Naam yourself, and inspire others to chant it as well.

Hearing, speaking and living it, emancipation is obtained.

The essential reality is the True Name of the Lord.

With intuitive ease, O Nanak, sing His Glorious Praises. ||6||

-          Guru Granth Sahib Ji , Ang 288

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 109 ( Hari Singh Nalwa and the Pathans)

Hari Singh Nalwa and the Pathan

There are many short incidents about Hari Singh Nalwa, donno if true. 

One is about him in peshawar, he along with some 20-30 singhs were attacked by around 200 pathans. Being short in number, the Sikhs took shelter in a nearby haveli. They asked for the peace terms but the Pathans were for Nalwa.

At night it rained a lot. In the early morning, the singhs saw local people hammering their mud roofs. When he asked, someone told that the local mitti was called "kuttan mitti" bcoz whenever it rained, they had to do this exercise otherwise it leaked.

So Hari Singh Nalwa said that those pathans were made of the same Mitti.... so the only way to keep them under control is to hammer them regularly. So all of Sikhs  attacked the pathans with full vigour and after some time all of them were asking peace from the Sikhs.

 jis no saajan raakhasee dhusaman kavan bichaar ||

What harm can a helpless enemy do one whom the Lord protects?

shhaioo n sakai thih shhaahi ka nihafal jaae gavaar || 24||

(The enemy) cannot strike even his shadow. (Such an action) by the fool proves futile.(24)

-          Guru Gobind Singh Ji

PS: There was a mistake in Sakhi 108 ( Guru Angad and King Humayun) . It is beleived that Guru ji was busy teaching the students and not in prayers (as was mentioned in the sakhi series version ). Apologies for the mistake.

Monday, October 13, 2008

SikhNet Launches Childrens Audio Stories

SikhNet Audio Stories for Children

SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival 2008

SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival 2008 Many of our SikhNet visitors have discussed with us and asked us, how can we give our values our virtues and our valor to our children? Why must we raise our children on Mickey Mouse and television cartoons? Soul Spirit and Reality - that's what our children really want from us as parents. As Sikhs of the Guru we have such beautiful stories of wisdom, valor, love, devotion and sacrifice which is a natural part of our heritage.

Here at SikhNet, we asked for storytellers. Storytellers raised their hands and came to our microphones to tell wonderful spiritual stories for our children. So, today we offer a new section on SikhNet called "Sikh Stories for Children." Just click and listen. Bed time stories or any-time stories. We'll be adding new stories regularly.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 108 ( Guru Angad Sahib Ji and King Humayun)

Guru Angad Sahib Ji and King Humayun

(Source :

Humayun was the only son of Babur, who was the king of Delhi. When Babur died, Humayun became the king. He was lazy and weak. So one of his officers, named Sher Shah, rose against him. There was a battle in which Humayun was defeated and Sher Shah became the king of Delhi. Humayun had to run away to save his life. On his way to Lahore, he had to pass by Khadur, where Guru Angad Sahib Ji lived. He wanted to become king once again, so he went to Khadur to see the Guru and ask for his blessing.

When Humayun reached the Guru's house, Guru Angad Dev ji was busy teaching students. Therefore, he did not notice the king. The king was upset. He did not like waiting. He thought "How dare the Guru not show any respect to the King!" This feeling made him very angry. In a fit of anger, he drew out his sword to kill the Guru. In the meantime the Guru had finished his prayers and was ready to listen to the king. Seeing what the king was about to do, he smiled and said, "You are brave enough to draw your sword to kill or frighten the peace-loving people. Why didn't you use it in the battlefield, from which you come running like a coward? Your sword did not work in the battlefield, but now suddenly you seem to have become a brave fighter." Humayun felt ashamed. He begged the Guru's pardon.

"I am very sorry, sir," he said, "I really lost my head. You know that Guru Nanak was kind enough to bless my father, who became the king of Delhi. I am no good, because I've lost the throne to Sher Shah. Your blessing alone can make me the king once again. Please have mercy on me and bless me."

The Guru kept quiet for some time. "My blessing has no magic,' he said smilingly. 'To be a king means to be kind, just and helpful to the people. If you promise to do that, you will be a king with God's grace. Be patient and always remember God, who grants all wishes." Humayun hurried away to Persia determined to act upon the Guru's Advice.

After a few years, he gathered his soldiers and also received help from the king of Persia. He came back to India with a very large army and this time, he and his soldiers fought very bravely. Humayun won the battle and became the king of Delhi once again. Humayun was full of gratitude towards the Guru and he wanted to do him a favour, but by that time Guru Angad Sahib Ji had left the human body. Guru Amar Das ji had become the third Guru of the Sikhs. The Guru sent a message reminding the king to be kind and good to his people and to respect holy men. Sometime later, Akbar, the son of Humayun, visited Guru Amar Das ji and offered help for the Guru's Langar.

"The Lord can make the blind see clearly; He treats Man as He knows him, no matter what one may say. Where the truth is not seen, know that pride is strong there. Nanak, how shall a man buy anything if he likes it not." -(Guru Angad Dev ji)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 107 ( Guru Jee and Sayt)

ddeegan ddolaa thoo lo jo man kae bharamaa ||

As long as there are doubts in the mind, the mortal staggers and falls.


bhram kaattae gur aapanai paaeae bisaraamaa ||1||

The Guru removed my doubts, and I have obtained my place of rest. ||1||

- Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 400


A millionaire called Sayt, went to see Guru Nanak jee. Guru jee asked him, "How much money have you got?"

He said, "40 million Rupees." Another Sikh said, "O protector of the poor,
Gareeb Nivaaj, Guru jee he has got nothing."

Guru jee asked him why he had lied. He said, "I'm telling you the truth Guru jee."

Guru jee then asked him how many sons he had. Sayt answered, "Guru jee, I have one son." The other Sikh said, "Guru jee he's lying again, he has got 5 sons."

Guru jee said , "Sayt why are you lying?" Sayt said, "Why would I lie to you Guru jee?"

Sayt was 60 years old he had a white beard. Guru jee asked him how old he was, he took out his dairy and started flicking back the pages he answered, "Guru jee, by your grace I'm 12 years old."

Guru jee said, "What are you saying Sayt? You are obviously over 60."

Sayt put both hands together and said, "Guru jee I told you the truth. You asked me how much money I had, well I've had 40 million Rupees in my life which I've given away and I'm left with only 1 million."

Guru jee said, "Forgive me Sayt for doubting you, your answer was true. Sayt is true.'

Sayt said, "Next you asked me how many sons I had, I said one, it is true I have five sons but four are drunks only one is beloved of Guru jee, he is sensible and loves his parents. Then Guru jee, I said I was 12 years old because that's how many hours of service, meditation and holy congregation (Seva, Simran and Sadh-Sangat) I've done. Every time I do one of these I note the duration. That's what I regard as my age, that amount of time will be taken into account not my body's age."

Guru jee said, "Sayt is true."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 106 ( Kaka Hakikat Rai Singh)

Kaka Hakikat Rai Singh

Sikhs do not lie, even if they have to die.

(Source: )


maaeiaa mohu jalaaeae so har sio chith laaeae har dhar mehaleesobhaa paavaniaa ||1|| rehaao ||
Those who burn away this attachment to Maya, and focus their consciousness on the Lord are honored in the True Court, and the Mansion of the Lord's Presence. ||1||Pause||

Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 129

The people of Punjab, both Hindus and Muslims, rose against the terrorist rule of the Nawab (Governor) of Sirhind.  The Nawab was killed in 1710, i.e., just half a decade after he murdered the two innocent sons of Guru Gobind Singh.  This brought a rule of peace and justice in the area of Punjab, east of Amritsar.


To again take over the control of Punjab from Banda Singh Bahadur, a strong army was sent from Delhi.  The army generals feared to fight a battle with Banda, hence they tricked him with the pretension of having a dialogue with him for peace.  They unarmed him and arrested him.  His 700 men were also made prisoners along with a teenage boy, Hakikat Rai.  All of them were taken to Delhi and asked to surrender to the Emperor.  They refused bluntly.  The government ordered the murder of everyone.  About 100 Sikhs were murdered every day near Chandni Chauk, Delhi.


The mother of Hakikat Rai, whose only support and hope of life was her son, submitted a petition to the government to save the life of the boy.  She narrated that her son was not a Sikh but was there in the Sikh camp when he was arrested.  The Emperor ordered the release of the boy if the boy himself denied being a Sikh.  The mother dashed with the release orders to the place where the Sikhs were being murdered.  Her son was still waiting for his turn to be killed.  Presenting the Farman - the order of the emperor - to the Kazi (Judge) supervising the murdering of the Sikhs, she requested the release of her son.


The Kazi called Hakikat Rai and asked him if he was a Sikh.  The boy replied that he certainly was a Sikh.  His mother intervened and told the Kazi that the boy was her son and she knew that he was not a Sikh.  The boy emphasized that he was a committed Sikh.  The son and the mother started arguing with each other.  Khafi Khan, a Muslim historian, an eye witness who recorded these horrifying killings, was very surprised to hear those arguments.


The mother again asserted that her son was not a Sikh.  However, the boy raising his voice retorted immediately that his mother was telling a lie in order to save his life.  His father was dead, and he was the only support for her.  Being a Sikh, he wanted to be murdered without further delay so that he may not be left behind by his Sikh associates already murdered.  Before another word could be said by his mother, the boy was standing with his head bent before the butcher.  The sword in the hand of the butcher lowered and Hakikat Rai attained his martyrdom.


Such blood curdling events of Sikh history made Sikhs stronger and even more fearless of the oppression let loose against them.  Even today Sikhs don't hesitate to die for justice and human rights.


Even under a threat to their life, Sikhs do not tell a lie.  They love to live as Sikhs or, they would prefer to die

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 105 ( BHAI BHOOMIYA and the 3 golden rules)

(From 'Guru Nanak Chamatkar' by Bhai Saheb Bhai Vir Singh ji)
(English translation by Bimal Inderjit Singh)

There lived a landlord in a village near Dacca, and though he was a rich farmer, he led a gang of thieves, who robbed the people of the surrounding villages as well as the travelers on the roads.  In this manner, he had collected a vast fortune.  He had a firm belief that evil deeds could be countermanded by good ones, so he ran a free kitchen, round the clock.  Everyone was served food and no one was ever turned away.

This man, whose name was Bhoomiya, had made an announcement that whenever any 'sadhus', 'fakirs' and other holy men or mendicants  came to the village, they were to be sent to his house.  If anyone else dared to offer them hospitality, he would personally come and destroy that man's house. This misguided man believed that by offering free rations, he was canceling the evil he committed as a robber.  He consoled himself with the logic that he could not run the kitchen continuously without money, so he had to rob and loot to support it!

Guru Nanak Dev ji, now, arrived in this village and stood in front of one of the houses.  The owner came out and greeted Him.  He wanted to invite Him inside and serve Him, for he had never seen a holy man, with such an aura of spirituality and goodness.  But he was scared of Bhoomiya.  Still, he bowed his head respectfully and said, "Welcome to my poor hut.  Please, sit and take rest.  Tell me how I can serve you?   I am hesitant to offer you hospitality because the 'zamindar' of our village is a very wealthy and powerful man.  He runs a free kitchen and he has made it a rule, for us ordinary villagers, not to serve anyone coming to the village but to send him to his house.  We are afraid to break this rule because if we do this, he will surely come and destroy our homes.  O blessed ones!  Come with me and let me take you to the zamindar's house." And he escorted Guru ji and His companion to Bhoomiya's doorway and departed.

When Bhoomiya heard that a very saintly person with a companion had come to his door, he quickly came out and greeted them with great reverence.  He invited them inside and offered them comfortable seats to sit on.  He felt a little tug at his heart for he had never before seen a holy man with such magnetic power and sweet serenity in His demeanour. He could not understand why he felt these emotions.

After some talk, he invited them to come and eat.  Guru ji inclined His head and asked, "It is very kind of you, but tell me what work do you do?"

Bhoomiya became thoughtful, "If I tell Him that I loot and rob, then that sounds very crude, but if I tell a lie, I am sure He will know, especially if one of my enemies has already told Him about my nefarious activities, in which case, I will lose face in front of everyone.  What should I do?"

While all these thoughts were coursing through Bhoomiya's mind, Guru ji kept His benign eyes trained on his face.  This glance was like a laser beam, which gave him a clear view of his evil acts and they began to weigh heavily on his conscience.  In the ensuing mental confusion, he blurted out the truth, "My Lord, my earnings are black, dirty.  You have asked me directly, and though I am afraid to speak the truth, I must confess that I am a thief.  But one thing I must tell you, I use all this loot for a good purpose.  My free kitchen runs day and night and feeds each and everyone who comes here, without any bias.  Sadhus and holy men have come from far and near and all have gone satisfied, saying, 'There is no one doing as much good as you!'"

Guru ji smiled and said, "May the Lord be kind to you, for you have spoken the truth!"

Bhoomiya : "Nobody has dared to ask me such a question earlier, neither have I ever admitted to my black deeds.  What is it in your eyes, O Sant ji, that I have felt myself tremble for the first time in my life and which has compelled me to speak the truth!  But come now, and have something to eat."

Satguru ji : "When you, yourself are admitting that your earnings  are not honourable, then how can your food be fit to be eaten by 'fakirs' and holy men?"

Bhoomiya : "When my earnings are being put to a good use, then how do they still remain tainted?"

Satguru ji : "When you attack people to rob them, they cry and feel pain.  With so much suffering attached to this wealth, how do you expect the results to be good?  A whole seed, when sown in the ground, can produce a plant, but not a seed which has been split (dal)!"

Beeo beej patt laiy gaye, Ab kyo uggave dal (Asa Di Vaar)

Bhoomiya fell into a deep reverie.  His victims came alive before his eyes, injured and bloodied, crying and hurling curses at him.  All this time, Guru ji kept looking at his face, seeing the changing expressions as he mulled over the innumerable sufferings he had caused.  After a while, his forehead cleared and he glanced at Guru ji's feet, saying, "You are right, but I beg you to have some food so that I may reap the benefit of that.  Good, saintly people also have eaten here and have showered their blessings on me.  Surely those have some value?  Please, grant me your grace!"

Satguru ji : "Bhai, stop this wrong-doing and follow the path of righteousness (Dharam Kirat) if you want some good to come of this life of yours.  Riches which are covered in blood cannot become clean through mere blessings.  Just think, only you will bear the brunt of the evil deeds you have committed, not your family nor your friends.  If the king finds out and arrests you, who will then be hanged, you or all those good people you have fed?

 "Then, when your deeds are judged in the after-life, only you will face the consequences.  Look deep inside yourself.  You have become hard-hearted after committing so many crimes, and are incapable of feeling pity.  Nor are you capable of feeling the fear of the Almighty Lord.  Yes, there is still, a semblance of goodness in your heart, which has prompted you to speak the truth today.  You can receive the grace of the Almighty's blessing if you give up your wrongful ways and follow the path of religious and honourable living.  Earn your living through 'dharam kirat' and use part of that in the service of others.  Only then will you reap the benefits of giving."

Bhoomiya again became quiet as he thought about Guru ji's words.  Once in a while, he would shake his head, making murmuring sounds.  Finally, he rubbed his face with his hands and said, "I don't know what to say.  Your sharp gaze has pierced my insides and I am no longer sure of anything.  I seem to have forgotten the ability to lie or prevaricate.  You appear to me to be Truth itself, in front of which no lies can stand.  Take pity on me and forgive my sins.  One thing, though, I know well, robbing and looting have become second nature to me, over which I have no control.  My grandfather and my father did the same work and I have continued with it, (shaking his head vigorously), no, I cannot give this up."

Then, looking beseechingly at Guru ji, he continued, "O Godly One, you have touched some hidden core of love in my heart, hence, I beg you to have a few bites of the food, even if it makes you uncomfortable "  (Then, he paused, thinking, and said) "I have a plot of land on which I grow wheat and I have just received some.  I'll get that cooked for you.  Please, I beg you, do have something to eat and bless me!"
Guru ji glanced at Bhai Mardana, who picked up the 'rabab' and let his fingers play on its strings for a while.  Then Guru ji sang a 'Paurhi' in Raag Asa:
Saccha sahib eik tu, jin saccho sacch vartaya,
Jis tu deh tis milaiy sacch, taa tini sacch kamaya.
Satguru miliaiy sacch paya, jinkaiy hirdaiy sacch vasaya,
Moorakh sacch na jaanani, manmukhi janam gavaya,
Vich duniya kahey aya.
(Asa Di Vaar.  Paurhi-8)

(You are the true Lord, who has spread the True word among your followers.  Only those, whom you grant the gift of Truth can receive it and live by it.  The ones who have felt your presence, value this gift and keep it close to their hearts.  The foolish ones do not know the Truth, thus they remain 'manmukh', i.e. those who live only to satisfy their own selfish desires. Guru ji addresses such people, 'You are wasting your life by keeping away from the Lord.  This is not why you came into the world.')

Bhoomiya listened intently and realized that truth is indeed very valuable.  He had seen that Guru ji was not impressed by his account of his good deeds, but the little truth he had spoken had pleased Him greatly.

He now, said, "I can see that You love the truth.  I had thought that my speaking the truth would have annoyed You.  However, it is my way of serving others which has displeased You.  But, I am helpless.  I do not want to give You my word falsely, that I shall give up my ways and follow a virtuous path, for I see that there no place for deceit in Your abode."

Satguru ji was the complete healer.  He could see that  Bhoomiya had stated a fact.  His ancestral heritage and his continuing the same activity for so long had become so ingrained in his nature, that mere words could not bring about a transformation.  He would have to be shown a way by following which, he would gradually give up the wrongful path and turn to a life of morality and honour.

Satguru ji: "Bhoomiya, you must understand fully:
Truthfulness means speaking the truth always and letting Truth seep deep into your heart.    
Truthfulness means loving truth so much that even if it appears bitter, one must love it just because it is the truth."

Satguru ji continued, "If you can learn the lesson of truthful living, then the gates to the Almighty's domain shall be forever open for you.  To learn this lesson, we need to remember His 'name'.  But before that, we have to prepare our hearts.  Like the farmer readies the earth by cleaning and tilling it, before putting in the seeds, so must we do good deeds and think good thoughts to prepare our hearts to accept the seed of God's name.  This seed then, sprouts and grows and creates a serene core inside us, in which our soul resides.  Here, all our sinful thoughts and weaknesses are washed clean. 

"But, O Bhoomiya, the first condition to be fulfilled is to hold on tightly to Truth and to never let it go!  Yes!  It will transform you and the Lord's grace will fall on your head, provided you never give up telling the truth."

Bhoomiya : "Truth?  I must always tell the truth?  And accept truth even when it is bitter?  Can I do this?  Yes, I must, because You, who I have come to love, has said so. 

"How do I accept the Almighty God?  You have said that He is the real Truth because He was there from the beginning of time, He is present today, and He will be for all times to come.  Yes, that is the quality of Truth.  Lies and falsehoods are not forever.  We speak them as if they are the truth and they live as long as they are believed. But the moment a lie is exposed, it dies.  It had to, because it was not the truth and lies have a short life. 

"Then You have said that His name is also the Truth and this name must live in one's heart always.  Yes, I can see this is so.  Next, I have to prepare my heart like the fertile earth with the help of
compassion, good deeds and charity.  I was already doing the last two, but I never knew compassion.  Now I must learn that too, and I will.  I knew of God's presence earlier, but never revered Him as You have told me to do.  I have understood all this, but please, show me some simple steps by which I can walk this path successfully."

Guru ji : "Bhai, the first step is to be truthful in all that you do.  Remember the name of the Divine Truth and practice it.  Keep the company of people who speak the truth and lead truthful lives. 
Secondly, feel compassion for others, especially the poor and needy people.   And finally, make it a rule never to harm anyone, whose salt you have eaten.  If you follow these three steps rigorously, your spirit will become pure and all your past sins will be forgiven."

Bhoomiya : "Jio ji, let me repeat what you have said so I know that I've understood it correctly.  One is to live by truth alone, second not to ill-treat the poor and thirdly, to not harm the person, whose salt I've eaten. 

"The first truth I am going to speak is that I have no confidence that I can give up my evil ways, though I am determined to try my best.  But I will tell the truth and recite the name of the Lord, for I have seen how valuable these are to you.  After all, it was due to the truth I spoke, that you took pity on me and showed me the way to receive God's grace and forgiveness.  I will also follow the other two rules regarding the salt and not ill-treating the poor."

As a strong wind blows away all dirty odours, as a shower of rain refreshes the country-side, and as a ray of strong light dissipates the deepest darkness, so Guru ji's kind words brought about a transformation in the life of Bhoomiya.

Bhoomiya, now, tried hard to keep his promise to Guru ji, and spent time remembering Waheguru ji, but the Lord's name was like a newly sprouted seedling whereas his habits had grown deep and tough roots.  Hence, after a few days of inactivity, he felt compelled to go on one of his raids, but there was one difference now.  Whereas earlier he used to feel triumphant at collecting so much loot; now he began to feel some of the pain of his victims and began to question his own acts.

"Guru ji told me to give up my evil ways," he thought.  "Also, I had promised that I would be charitable and compassionate in all that I do.  Breaking into peoples' homes and forcibly taking away their valuables or robbing passers-by cannot be called so.  And many of these people are poor, so I am guilty of 'garib maar'.  I must give all this up!  On the other hand, how can I run the free kitchen without money?  How do I pay the servants?  Where to get a large enough amount for all this?   Aha! I think I have found a way.  I must rob the king's palace!  He is a rich man so I won't be guilty of hurting the poor.  At one stroke, I shall get enough wealth to solve all my problems.  This is the best plan."
So, the next night, Bhoomiya dressed up in rich, silken garments, with a jeweled tiara on his head.  With great confidence, he entered the palace.  The soldier on duty, politely asked him who he was.  Remembering his vow to speak the truth always, he announced, "I am a thief!"

The soldier paused in fear, thinking, "He must be a relative of His Highness, and that is why he was going in with such confidence.  He is annoyed at my stopping him, hence his angry reply.  If he complains about me, I shall lose my job."  Bowing politely, he said, "Please, pardon me for stopping you and go right in."

Bhoomiya headed straight for the strong room.  He had been to the palace a number of times so, knew the layout of the place well.  Working quietly and quickly, he packed a large number of jewels and gold and silverware in a bag he had brought with him.  As he turned to leave, he spotted a beautifully carved golden platter on a table.  He picked it up without realizing that there was some powdery stuff in it, which stuck to his fingers.  Automatically, he put the finger to his mouth and tasted a salty mixture.  Stunned, he realized that he had eaten the king's salt.  He remembered his vow to Guru ji.  How to steal from the king, then?

He cudgeled his brain to find a way out of this predicament, but his given word always came in the way.  Finally, he decided that it was more important to keep true to Guru ji's conditions as only then he could hope for redemption.   For collecting money for the free kitchen, he would find another king's palace to loot.  Leaving the bundle on the ground, Bhoomiya quietly left the palace by a back passage.

The next morning, the king was informed about the bundle lying outside the treasury.  He and his wife checked and found that all the items were intact – nothing was missing!  It was baffling why a thief would rob such a large treasure and then leave it behind.  The king was also furious that the security of the palace could be breached so easily.  He called all the guards and had them thoroughly questioned.  One of them revealed that a richly attired man had entered at a late hour and when questioned, had angrily replied that he was a thief!  Being new, the guard allowed him entry, thinking that he was a prince.

The king was intrigued at the boldness of the unknown robber and was eager to have him caught at the earliest.  He ordered his police force to spread out in all directions and catch the scoundrel.  A country-wide search was launched, and when days passed without any information, the police began to harshly interrogate the poor villagers for information.   

Bhoomiya heard about the search and also that innocent  people were being beaten up by the police  for a crime that he had committed.  He again, heard Guru ji's words, "Don't let the poor suffer through your acts." He realized that others were suffering because of him and he must take responsibility for it.
"I must go and confess to the king and face whatever punishment he metes out to me.  At least, in this way I will not betray the oath I had taken and can still hope for forgiveness from Guru ji," he thought. 
Dressed in rich clothes, Bhoomiya entered the palace and finding an opportunity, he went up to the king, bowed his head and with folded hands said, "O King, I am your thief.  I had come to steal your riches and then left it all behind.  Please, tell your police to release all these poor people for they are all innocent.  I am the criminal you have been looking for and I am ready for any punishment that you may give me."

The king and his courtiers were taken aback.  They had never seen or heard of such a thief.  With what audacity he had committed the theft and then left everything behind!  Now, he walks in and shows such compassion for the suffering of the poor public!  Is he a sinner or a saint?

The king asked Bhoomiya, "Why did you leave the stolen stuff behind?  Did someone wake up or startle you?"

Bhoomiya: "No, your highness.  I was not afraid of being caught, but I have recently met a Guru, who appears to have descended straight from Heaven.  He had given me three guide-lines to follow and one was never to harm anyone whose salt I ate.  When I was leaving after the theft, I happened to touch a plate full of a salty powder and I licked my finger to see what it was.  Your salt was in my mouth.  How could I now, harm you?"

King: "How is it that without any suspicion falling on you, you yourself have come and confessed to your crime?  Aren't you afraid of the severe punishment you could receive?"

Bhoomiya: "I had promised my Guru to always speak the truth and to see that no poor person suffers at my hand.  Because of your inquiry into the robbery, innocent people are being beaten up.  I have come to stop this injustice. If Bhoomiya does wrong then Bhoomiya must face the consequences – no one else."

The king looked at him in astonishment and exclaimed, "You are Bhoomiya?  You are a thief?  You are known all over the land as a pious man, always doing good deeds."

Bhoomiya: "Yes, your Honour. Even I thought that I was a righteous person.  Whatever wealth I stole, I used in the service of others and so considered myself a good man, a charitable man, till the day He came – a saint with the divine light in Him!  He refused to eat my food, because, He said, 'It is tainted by your sinful acts.'  I tried my hardest to convince Him that I was a holy man, serving the poor and needy by filling their stomachs with free food.  But He kept repeating, 'No, all that you do is filled with the pain and suffering of others.'

"Finally, I gave in, but I also told Him that the crimes I committed were so ingrained in my nature that I could not give them up.  Casting a pitying look at me, He said, 'Well, if you want the grace of the Lord to descend on you and be forgiven for your sins, then you must make three vows and try, body and soul, to live by them.'  After He left, I have tried to live by these three conditions :
•         Speak the truth always
•         Don't do harm to the poor
•         Don't steal from someone whose salt you have eaten.

I am ready now, to face any punishment you may give me."

The king was deeply impressed and filled with reverence for the Guru, whose wisdom had wrought such a remarkable change in a hardened criminal.  He smiled and asked, "Where is your Guru now?"

Bhoomiya: "I don't know. He left long ago."

King: "What was His name?"

Bhoomiya: "I could not ask Him His name.  Later, someone told me that He was Guru Nanak Dev ji and had come from Lahore."

The king closed his eyes and with longing in his voice said, "Oh, that was Guru Nanak Dev ji?  He passed this way and I could not even meet Him, to have His 'darshan'?  Alas!  My ill-fortune!"

Then, turning towards Bhoomiya, the king said, "You have confessed to a crime, so as per law I must sentence you.  However, I believe that real justice is to reform the criminal. After listening to you, I feel that a higher judge than I, has not only punished you but put you on the path of reforming yourself.   

"You, who were known for your good deeds, have lost your reputation today and earned the title of a criminal – and that is your punishment.  By making you promise to follow the three principles, He has assured that you will not go back to your sinful ways.  I must congratulate you that you have tried to keep these vows, even at the cost of endangering your life.  I believe that you have the strength and self-descipline to continue on the path of truth, hence, I grant you pardon.  You are free to go, but remember, I shall be keeping an eye on you to see that you are following Guru ji's path."

Time passed and Bhai Bhoomiya truly became a saintly person.  One day, the king himself came and said, "I want you to be my Guru and show me the way to a spiritual life."

Bhoomiya: "O King, I am not even a Sikh yet.  He is the Guru, who removed a sinner like me, from the mire of evil and blessed me with a life of grace.  Become His disciple."

King: "But where is He?"

Bhoomiya: "He has gone to a distant land, but I know that He hears the voice of love of His followers and appears to them.  Build a 'dharamsal', a place where 'kirtan' of Guru ji's 'gurbani' is sung and you too come and listen to it.           

"I closed down my kitchen long ago, but from what I can afford, I run 'Guru ka Langar' for all those in need of food."

The king built a large 'dharamsal' and also made provisions for the 'Langar'.  He would come and listen to the 'kirtan' sung by the villagers, who now, called themselves Sikhs, and pray for the day when Guru Nanak Dev ji would come and bless him with His 'darshan'.