Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 94 (True Service)

True Service
One early morning (Guru) Amar Das Ji heard this hymn being sung.

Actions are the paper, and the mind is the ink; good and bad are both recorded upon it.

As their past actions drive them, so are mortals driven. There is no end to Your Glorious Virtues, Lord. ||1||

Why do you not keep Him in your consciousness, you mad man?

Forgetting the Lord, your own virtues shall rot away. ||1||Pause||

The night is a net, and the day is a net; there are as many traps as there are moments.

With relish and delight, you continually bite at the bait; you are trapped, you fool - how will you ever escape? ||2||

The body is a furnace, and the mind is the iron within it; the five fires are heating it.

Sin is the charcoal placed upon it, which burns the mind; the tongs are anxiety and worry. ||3||

What was turned to slag is again transformed into gold, if one meets with the Guru.

He blesses the mortal with the Ambrosial Name of the One Lord, and then, O Nanak, the body is held steady. ||4||3|  

- Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 990

This sweet voice was of Bibi Amro, daughter of Guru Angad Dev Ji, who had been married to the nephew of (Guru) Amar Das Ji.
After listening to the hymn, (Guru) Amar Das Ji decided to adopt its composer as his Guru Ji. At daybreak, he asked Bibi Amro about the composer of the hymn. She told, "This hymn was composed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Before his merger in God, he entrusted the responsibility of guiding the Sikhs to my father, Guru Angad Dev Ji." (Guru) Amar Das Ji took Bibi Amro with him.
On reaching Khadur Sahib, he placed his head at Guru Angad Dev Ji's feet and prayed, "Please accept me as your disciple." His age was 62 then. After that he stayed there forever and served Guru Ji with great earnest. He made it a routine to bring water from the river for the morning bath of Guru Ji. He served Guru's institution for 11 years. At last his service was acknowledged. Guru Angad Dev Ji chose him to install as the next Guru. On March 29, 1552 Baba Budha ji put a tilak on Guru Amar Das Ji's forehead and Guru Angad Dev Ji bowed before him. He told the Sikhs that from then onwards, Guru Amar Das Ji would be their spiritual leader.

saevaa karath hoe nihakaamee ||

One who performs selfless service, without thought of reward,


this ko hoth paraapath suaamee ||

shall attain his Lord and Master.

-           Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 286


Guru Angad Dev Ji acceded to his request and selecting an elevated site between the villages of Khadur and Sanghar, he set up a dwelling there. Congregations and recitals began to be held in the morning and evening; Community kitchen was also started round the clock. Guru Ji started teaching the children of the surrounding villages after the morning congregation. Before the evening congregation, he organized wrestling and other sports for entertainment and body fitness of the devotees. He advised everyone to do practical service and honest labour. He himself always twisted string used for weaving cots. He used to listen to the problems of the devotees and advised solutions

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sakhi Series :- 93 ( Bhai Kaliana )

Bhai Kaliana

Bhai Kaliana was one of the followers of Guru Arjan. When the Guru needed money for the Golden Temple, he asked for help from his Sikhs. Kaliana offered help to the Guru and said, "My Lord, I shall go to the hill Rajahs in the North and collect money. I will also preach the Guru's word there." The Guru agreed and Bhai Kaliana set out for Mandi. On reaching there, Kaliana found the place so pleasant that he decided to stay there and tell people about the Guru's way of life. He sent money to the Guru and received permission to stay a little longer.

The king of Mandi and his subjects used to celebrate a special festival of religious worship every year. Everybody in his kingdom was required to join in the celebrations by order. That year the order read - "All the people will keep one day's fast. Nobody will sleep at night. Tomorrow all must go to the temples and break the fast by drinking water in which the idols have been washed. Those who do not obey these orders will be punished by law."

All the people obeyed the king's order. Bhai Kaliana was the only one who did not keep the fast and so did not join in the celebrations. When the king learnt about this, he was extremely angry. At once he gave orders for Kaliana's arrest. So Kaliana was brought before the king. Burning with anger, the king said, "Who are you? What is your religion? Why did you not obey my orders?"

"Sir," said Bhai Kaliana very humbly, "My name is Kaliana. I am a Sikh of the famous Guru Arjan, the fifth in the line of the great Guru Nanak. Like all his followers, I recite only hymns in praise of God and have no faith in stone idols which neither see nor hear nor speak. I wonder how a stone can be pleased and what we can gain from it! God is the life within our lives. He is ever merciful to us all. Yet that God you suppose to be a stone. How can God be pleased with you when you regard him as no better than a stone that lies around everywhere and is kicked by our feet."

The king was mad with anger. At once he ordered Kaliana to be put into prison. The next day, Kaliana was again ordered to come and bow down to the idol. But Kaliana refused and said, "My idol is living. He is the great Guru Arjan, the king of holy men. I will bow only to him and to no one else."

Red with anger, the king ordered that one leg of Bhai Kaliana be cut off and that he should be dragged out of the kingdom by the other leg. After giving these orders, however, the king fainted so the punishment was delayed. Doctors came and tried their best to cure the king but it seemed as if he was dead. Some wise men said, "This is all due to the unfair punishment given to the holy stranger. Instead of punishing him, the king should have shown respect to him."

One of the king's officers at once went to the jail and requested Kaliana to come to the king's bedside. Kaliana came and said, "I am very sorry for the king, but I have done nothing to him. I have no power to help him either. All such power lies with God. I can only say prayers and that too, only if you promise to make the king believe in God instead of a stone." The wise men and the ministers standing there promised to do that.

Kaliana stood up, folded his hands, asked the others to join him and prayed to God to save the life of the king. As soon as Kaliana had finished the prayer, the king rose up as strong as before. He bowed to Kaliana and said, "O holy man, please pardon me." Saying this he fell at Kaliana's feet. He then ordered his men to make his horse ready and to tell his queens to dress up quickly. When all was ready he requested Kaliana to lead them all to the Great Guru Arjan as quickly as possible.

The king, the queens, and many of his officers, set out to see the Guru at Amritsar. On the way, hundreds of other people joined them. Kaliana was leading them and they were all singing hymns in praise of God.

"Did God put aside all other days of the month That He should have been born on the eighth'! Man, led astray by error, utters nonsense. God is not subject to birth and death. Man takes cakes and gives them secretly to an idol. O faithless animal, God is not born, nor does He die. All your sin results from fondling an idol; May the tongue that says 'God entered the womb' be burnt; Nanak's God is everywhere."
(Guru Arjan)

"Having found the company of holy men; I have rejected all ideas of duality. There is no enemy and no stranger; Everybody is my friend. Whatever God wills, is all honey to me; This noble instruction I have gained from the holy. One and the same God fills every heart; And it is this presence of the Lord everywhere that Makes Nanak feel jubilant."
(Guru Arjan)