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