Friday, October 25, 2013

Sakhi Series :- 233 (The world has a double face)

Bhagat Namadev Ji - Praise and Slander

Bhagat (Saint) Namdev Ji had a renunciatory nature, an attitude of non-attachment with the world. So he decided to give good and pure education to children. He decided to impart spiritual education to children because it is the best education. Therefore, at a young age, children were sent to him for receiving education.


A seth (rich man) decided to send his son to him for education, thinking that if the child remained with the holy men in the early years, he would be saved from falling a prey to sinful sensual pleasures. He (the rich man) thought that on growing up, the child would no doubt become a business man like him, but it would be good for him to gain spiritual knowledge and understanding in the company of the holy man. So he took the child to Saint Namdev but to show off the family's superior status and wealth, his wife made the child put on neckalce, bracelets and other ornaments.


He said to the saint, "Sir, take charge of the child. Accept him in your service and give him some knowledge and understanding." Saint Namedev Ji said, "Rich man, don't worry. Leave him here. There are other children also. Seeing them, he too will be influenced."


In the evening, when Saint Namdev Ji told the children to go home, he observed and thought, "The richman's son is rather small, but he is wearing so many ornaments. If some thief happens to kidnap him for the ornaments, he will strangulate him. The rich man does not seem to appreciate this. But I don't have any arrangements to send an escort with him." So he thought it better to remove his ornaments. He removed the ornaments and kept them tied in a small bundle and the child went home.


When he reached home, and his mother saw his ornaments missing, she asked him, "Where are your ornaments?" He said that the saint had removed them. At this she observed, "Such an evil saint? Now he won't return the ornaments." She was of a hasty and impatient nature. If she were thoughtful, she would have said, "There must be something behind the saint's action, because holy men are not of this type." But she immediately jumped to the conclusion that since the saint had removed the ornaments, he would not return them. She thought that the saint's nature was like hers, because we often try to judge others with our own spectacles.  So, her nature was such that she got agitated at once when she found the ornaments missing. She did not wait, and went to her neighbour, and said —


"Look sister! People talk so much about Namdev; they call him a saint, a devotee of God : but he is a cheat, nothing else."


"What has happened to you?"


"Nothing has happened. But I have seen the reality. I sent my child decked with ornaments. Look here, he has left not a single ornament on the child. He has removed even the ring from his (child's) little finger."


"Don't worry. Inquire about it tomorrow in the morning."


 "Now he is not going to return. One, who has removed the oranaments, will not return them now. He will say that somebody must have removed them on the way."


The neighbouring woman too was of an impatient and rash nature. She talked about it to another neighbour. So in this manner, the news travelled everywhere in the town by the time it was evening.


In the meantime, the rich man returned home. She said to him —


"What good — you have sent the child to Namdev for getting education! He has removed all his ornaments."


"It is not possible. Namdev Ji is a saint, a holy man."


"You may continue considering him a holy man, but I am telling you what I have seen with my own eyes."


"Then why are you feeling impatient?


We shall talk about it in the morning." "No; he is not going to return them? You are a fool, a simpleton."


Next day, the richman went to Namdev Ji. After greeting him, he sat down — the child was with him. Namdev Ji observed, "Richman, don't send the child wearing ornaments. You should know that money and ornaments spell danger to the child's life. They are enemies of his life. Somebody may kidnap him and strangulate him. Here is the bundle containing ornaments." The rich man was very much pleased, but he also felt sad that his wife had defamed the holy man all over the town. The news will ultimately reach the holy man too and he will certainly take it ill. Hurriedly, he came home and said to his wife.


"You have done a very wrong thing. He has, in fact, saved the child's life by removing his ornaments."


Instantly, thinking that her neighbour might not have conveyed her observations (about the holy man) to others, she went to her and said, "He (Saint Namdev) is a very noble person. He has, in fact, saved the life of my son. I needlessly got angry and acted in a hurry."


The other woman went to her neighbour and conveyed this thing. Soon it came to be talked all over the town — Namdev Ji is a very good and noble person. He had removed the ornaments of the rich man's son in order to save his life from possible kidnappers and killers.


Next day, an attendant or devotee of Namdev Ji said to him — "O holy man! I am surprised; the world has a double face." "What is the matter?" "Day before yesterday, you were badly caluminated. There was not a single person who did not speak ill of you. We felt very much pained and unhappy. But today, you are being praised everywhere." "Why?" "You might have removed a child's ornaments lest they should be stolen by thieves. Everywhere people said that the holy man had removed all the ornaments of a child." If there is anything against holy men, it spreads in a moment like wildfire; it seems as if the people are always on the look out for such an opportunity. Even if it is a minor thing, you do not need any advertisement to propagate it. It spreads far and wide. The news or rumour spreads without feet or wings and without having been witnessed. A good thing does not go round that fast.


So he said, "Today, you are being praised. Those who had slandered you are today saying with their own tongue – Namdev Ji is a very noble person and he had removed the child's ornaments for his own safety."


Namdev Ji was sitting in a carefree mood. Before him was lying ash. He took it in his two hands. One handful he threw on one side saying — let it fall on the heads of slanderers; the other, he threw on the other side saying — let it fall on the heads of those who are praising me. His attendant said — But they are showering praises on you? The holy man said,


"None in the world praises truly. If they were to praise, why did they slander? This whole world is double-faced."


Therefore, Guru Sahib says, "Neither be delighted at praise, nor be annoyed at calumny(slander/defamation). Rather, be delighted at calumny, and not at praise, because, the Guru's edict is —


'He who caluminates me is my friend'.  (Guru Granth Sahib. 339)


He who speaks ill of us is our wellwisher, but not the one who praises us. He who showers praises on us spoils us or harms us, and makes us self-conceited or egoistic. Then, if someone doesn't show full respect and honour, we become annoyed. So Guru Sahib says :


'Who indifferently receives praise and calumny, And seeks alone the state sublime of transcendence, Saith Nanak, servant of God: Hard is this way of life — Only by the holy Preceptor's guidance may its secret be mastered.'


'He, who is above praise and calumny, and to whom gold and iron are alike.

Says Nanak, hearken thou, O man, deem thou him to be emancipated'

(Guru Granth Sahib. 1426)


'He, who is free from joy and sorrow, call him, thou, a true Yogi.'  (Guru Granth Sahib. 685)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sakhi Series :- 232 ( Bhagat kabir ji and Mata Loi )

​Greatness of Waheguru ji's Name.

One day, Bhagat Kabir ji had  gone out of home .  A sufferer - some Raja (king or ruler), whose entire body was afflicted with leprosy and was giving out foul smell, came to his house. The Raja stood at his door and begged alms, and what alms did he beg? That which the saints have and can bestow. He said: "I want to see Kabir Sahib." Kabir Sahib's wife Loi came out and said: "He is out of home." The Raja said: "I am in great pain. I have come from afar. I am afflicted with leprosy. I cannot bear this pain. Kindly tell me where I can find Kabir Sahib." Kabir Sahib's wife said: "He is at a far off place. But since you are suffering, let me give you some medicine."
He said: "Mother, I have already tried various cures and medicines. If I were to be cured with medicines, I would not have come to this door. Medicines have failed to cure me. No medicine is proving to be  efficacious." She said: "I shall give you the medicine which saints or holy men have."
Just as with 'amritdhara' (a herbal medicine) 32 ailments can be cured, similarly, with the saints and holy men, there is only one medicine for all ailments and that is God's Name

So mother Loi said, "O king, one should have faith in one's heart. Then the medicine proves to be 100 percent effective. But the vessel, the capsule for the medicine should be of faith, because this medicine is going to be absorbed in your heart, and the moment it is absorbed, you will be cured."

'Pain comes not near him, within whose mind the Transcendent Lord abides.
He is affected not by hunger and thirst and Death's minister comes not near him.' Ang 1102

'The Name Divine is the sovereign remedy for all ills.' Ang 274

When somebody comes for the alleviation of his sufferings to holy men, many of them do not pay any attention and tell him , "Suffer the consequences of your deeds, brother.What for have you come to us? Meditate on God's Name, otherwise you will have to suffer the consequences of your deeds in the next birth." BUT Guru Nanak Sahib cured even lepers by bestowing the panacea of God's Name and put them on the right path for the future.

The Raja (king) said, "I certainly have faith." At this Mother Loi said, "Then the only medicine is God's Name." In this context, the Guru's edict is: 

'I have abandoned all other efforts and have taken the medicine of the Name alone.
The fever, sin and all the evils have been eradicated and my soul has been rendered cool' Ang 817

Mother Loi said: "Now I shall give you the medicine.  Sit there. "She herself also sat there , concentrating her mind, she was fully inspired. The glow in her eyes was difficult to bear. 

She said: "Utter 'Raam'". She made the king utter theword 'Raam'. As soon as he uttered 'Raam', he felt a tingling sensation all over his body. She again made  him utter the word 'Raam'. His pain and suffering was gone. She made him utter the word 'Raam' for the third time. Then she said to him: "Go now, bathe yourself and continue reciting the word 'Raam', and sent him away. The king took bath. He was delighted and danced joyfully. His close companions, who were quite well-informed, said to him: "How did you get well?" He replied: "The  holy man gave  me medicine." They asked: "Do holy men have some panacea?" The king said, "It is not a panacea; it has another name."

"The saint has given me the medicine of God's Name." Ang 101 

Disease does not touch or infest him even in a dream. 'O brother, the medicine of Name is present in every heart.' Ang 259 

Guru Sahib says that when man partakes of the medicine of God's Name, all his pains and sufferings are annulled. 

So the Raja (king) and all others kept discussing that the holy personage gave the medicine, Mother Loi gave the medicine of Name - made him utter 'Raam' (omnipresenct God) only thrice, and cured him completely.

When Kabir Sahib was returning after some days, on the way, at one place he heard some one saying: 'Blessed be Kabir, blessed be Kabir' and 'blessed be Mother Loi, blessed be Mother Loi.' He was surprised and when he met some acquaintance, who knew things. Kabir Sahib said to him, "What is this talk about Mother Loi? Has she done something? Has she performed some miracle?" He replied: "Sir, a leper had come. He was the king of such and such place. He was made to utter the word
'Rama'   (God)  only  thrice and was  cured of  his affliction." Kabir Ji became silent; a wrinkle appeared on his brow; he remarked: "What! God's Name! Thrice? She has been in the company of the holy for so long, and still she hasn't realized that - 'The Master's Name is invaluable. None knows its worth.' (Ang 81) Has she given it away so cheap?" 

When he returned home, he did not talk with his wife. Mother Loi came forward and greeted him. But he did not respond and went past her. She came again and tried to take his apron, 'chippi' (oval shaped begging bowl), stick etc, but he placed all these things himself, and sat with this back towards
her. She went on the other side, but he again turned his back. This was the first time that Kabir Sahib behaved as such with her. Never before had he become angry with her, although she said many things to him. He never bothered about what others said - neither mother, nor father, nor his wife, nor the people. If somebody pointed this out, he used to say:-

'I am bad, and bad in mind as well. I have no partnership with anyone.
I am dishonoured.. I have lost my honour. Let no one follow in my footsteps.' Ang 324 

Saying these words, he would go away, but he never got annoyed with anyone. That day he had got angry for the first time. A holy man's anger is not good; nobody knows the havoc it may cause. A holy man's anger is something fearful. So tears started flowing from Mother Loi's eyes. She said: "My master, you may kill me or destroy me. Even if you saw me into two, I won't feel the slightes pain,  but  your  back  towards me, that is, your indifference, I cannot bear." So she prayed:

What has happened? Has some tale-bearer come between us? You are my husband and I am your wife. Tell me, what is the matter? "The Guruwards' anger is short- lived like a line on water and not permanent like a line on stone. Anger does come but it passes off soon. On this particular occasion, Kabir Sahib was a little annoyed because his wife had violated a basic principle. He said to her: 'Do 
you wish to know the cause of my anger? Then listen: You have kept the company of holy men so much; you  have heard so much about the greatness and glory of the Name from them, and still you did not have faith in their utterances and thought that God's Name is so cheap. Even if you had made the afflicted one utter the word 'Raam' (God) just once, he would have been cured.

Such a precious commodity, and yet it was spent so cheap? At that time, with folded hands, she submitted: "Please listen to my plea. I did not spend the Name cheap. First time, I made him utter the word 'Raam' (God), so that all his sins, which afflicted him with leprosy, might be annulled. By doing so,I cut the roots of his affliction. Second time, I made him utter 'Raam' (God), so that he might be rid of his pain because he was in great agony. Then I was concerned lest after getting well, he should again get absorbed in sins. So, to make his mind inclined towards the 'Name', I made him utter 'Raam' (God) for the third time and gave him the 'Gur-mantar' (Guru's holy word, or mystic formula) of God's Name." Kabir Sahib was happy and satisfied with the explanation given by Loi.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Sakhi Series :- 231 ( The Battle of Muktsar )

The Battle of Muktsar

"Count as heroes only those who die for upholding the Truth. 
They never show their back to the enemy but fight to the last."
   (Guru Granth Sahib)

Nawab Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sirhind, became aware of the Guru Gobind ji's escape only after the latter had reached Dina. Wazir Khan also learned about Guru ji's warm welcome and stay with Lakhmir and Shamir, the Chaudhries (Land Owners) of Dina. He, therefore, sent a stern warning to the Chaudhries telling them to hand over the rebel Guru. And if they failed to do so they would be severely dealt with.

Chaudhri Lakhmir did not care about Wazir Khan's warning and replied that it was their moral duty to help the great Guru in his just cause.

Wazir Khan was greatly angered at the letter from Chaudhri Lakhmir. He immediately started mobilising his forces. This news spread through the whole country and reached Guruji. As the news spread, Guru ji's followers thronged to his court. Guruji himself made an extensive tour of the villages in the Malwa and organised his Sikhs in a few days. People in large numbers received the baptism of the double-edged sword (Khande Baate di pahul) and got ready to resist Wazir Khan's forces.

Guruji did not consider Dina a suitable place for battle. He, therefore, moved on to Kot Kapura. It was decided that the mound of Khidrana was a very suitable place to defeat the invading armies. The Khidrana lake was the only source of water throughout the wild country. The mound was also surrounded by thorny bushes for mites. The Guru planned the defence in such a way that the Imperial forces should be checked at a distance so that they should not have access to the lake.

The Sikhs who deserted Guruji at Anandpur were put to shame by their womenfolk when they reached their homes. One brave lady Mai Bhago (Mata Bhag Kaur) gathered the forty Singhs who had deserted Guruji at Anandpur Sahib and brought them to the aid of the Guru ji along with a number of other Sikhs from the area around Amritsar. This contingent took up a position where they could intercept the enemy before it reached the Guru's encampment. The mound and the pool were sufficiently fortified by the Guru. The Guru himself took up a position on the mound and directed the operation from there.

It was May 1705. The Sikhs engaged the Mughal forces. A large number of Sikhs who were lighting on the Eastern side of the mound were giving way to pressure from the Royal armies when all at once the forty deserters charged and cut off the ambitious band of attackers. The Guru also sent reinforcements, He showered arrows from his strategic position on the mound, down on the Imperial army, killing a number of them. The resistance of the Sikhs became so fierce that the invaders were completely demoralized. The enemy became restive for want of water. It was not possible for them to reach the lake of Khidrana. The only water they could get was fifteen miles behind them. Thirst and oppressive heat, and the tough resistance offered by the Sikhs, compelled the Mughal army to retreat.

After the retreat of the Mughal forces, Guruji came down from the mound towards the Eastern side where the Sikhs had checked the advance of the enemy. Guruji personally visited the heroes and taking the head of each hero in his lap, wiped the dust off his face and blessed him. One of the forty deserters, Mahan Singh by name, was fatally wounded but was not yet dead. He opened his eyes at the loving touch of the Master. The Guru said to him, "I am pleased with you all for the wonderful act of your bravery, Is there anything you desire of me?" Mahan Singh folded his hands and replied faintly. "If you are really pleased, Lord, then tear up the document of shame whereby we disowned you at Anandpur." The Guru's heart was moved. He took the paper from his pocket and tore it to pieces. Mahan Singh thanked the Guru and then died with his heart at peace. Then the Guru found the place where the brave lady Mai Bhago lay wounded. She was unconscious. A little aid revived her. The Guru was greatly pleased with her and blessed her. The bodies of the martyrs were gathered and cremated.

Guruji named this place Muktsar, which means "the pool of salvation." He also styled the heroes as the forty Muktas (Saved ones). Ever since, a great fair has been held every year at Muktsar in memory of this great event.

"If you wish to show your true love for me,  Come to me with a promise to accept martyrdom. 
Those who follow my instructions,
 Must be ready to sacrifice their lives for the faith." 
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib)