Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Guru Nanak and the Siddhs (Ascetics)

Sidhi Sadhus are a sect of ascetics. They generally live on high mountains. They believe that 
salvation can be sought by torturing the body. 

Guru Nanak Dev was a constant traveller. After covering far flung areas in the plains of India he 
went to important places in the Himalayan hills. While travelling in the hills, the Guru met a group of 
ascetics led by Gorakh Nath. They were in the first instance surprised to see the Guru at an altitude 
of 6000 meters. They wanted to humble him in a debate on philosophy of life. This they could not do 
( i.e. they failed). Guru Nanak had better arguments. Some of the questions and answers from the 
discussions that took place are as follows…

Nanak: What is the use of wandering around? Purity comes only through Truth. 

Sidhas : "Who are you? What is your name? What is your way? What is your goal? Where is your 
seat? Where do you live, boy? Where did you come from, and where are you going? 

Nanak: He (God) dwells deep within the nucleus of each and every heart. This is my seat and my 
home. I walk in harmony with the Will of the True Guru. I came from the Celestial Lord God; I go 
wherever He orders me to go. I am Nanak, forever under the Command of His Will. 

Sidhas: The world-ocean is treacherous and impassable; how can one cross over? 

Nanak: As does the lotus flower floats untouched upon the surface of the water, with one's 
consciousness focused on the Word of the Shabad, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean. O 
Nanak, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord and enshrine the one Lord in your heart. 

Sidhas: "Where did we come from? Where are we going? Where will we be absorbed? 

Nanak: By His Command we come, and by His Command we go; by His Command, we merge in 
absorption. Through the Word of the Shabad, the state of dignity is attained. We emerge from Truth, 
and merge into Truth again. The pure being merges into the One True Lord. 

Sidhas: "What can you tell us about the beginning? In what home did the absolute dwell then? 

Nanak: We can only express a sense of wonder about the beginning. The absolute abided endlessly 
deep within Himself then. 

Sidhas: Who is your guru? Whose disciple are you? 

Nanak: The Shabad (Word) is the Guru, upon whom I lovingly focus my consciousness; I am the 
'chaylaa', the disciple (of Shabad-Guru). O Nanak, throughout the ages, the Lord of the World is my 

Sidhas: What is that meditation, which leads the mind to be absorbed in itself?"||45||       

Nanak: Eradicating egotism and individualism from within, and erasing duality, the mortal becomes 
one with God. 

Sidhas : "What is that wisdom, by which one remains steady and stable? What food brings 

Nanak: Drinking in the Ambrosial Nectar (Nectar of Shabad - Word), the soul settles in peace. 
Hunger for the True Lord shall consume your pain, and through the True Lord, you shall be satisfied. 

Ultimately they decided to impress him by the power of their miracles. They gave the Guru an empty 
bowl and asked him to fill it with water from the nearby tank. The Guru went there but came back 
empty-handed. He was not distracted by diamonds and pearls which were lying there. 
The Guru said: "Sorry! There is no water there." They were ashamed to hear the Guru say: "I had 
gone there looking for water. I had nothing to do with diamonds". They became his disciples.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Guru Arjan Dev Ji and Baba Buddha Ji (seva)

It was during the time of Guru Arjan Dev Jee. Sangat was coming from Kabul (Afghanistan) to Amritsar for darshan of Gurujee. They met a Sikh and his wife on their way. This Sikh did a lot of sewa of the sangat. He massaged their legs, waved fan over them as they rested, brought water for them, everything. The next day they proceeded with this Sikh to Amritsar. As they reached Darbar Sahib, the jathedar of that Kabul sangat asked a few boys to take care of the shoes of everyone. None of the boys was ready to do it, as they all were very much eager to be the first ones to have darshan of Gurujee. At last this Sikh came forward and said I shall do it.

The sangat went inside and waited for 30-45 minutes, but Gurujee didn't show up. Then the jathedar went ahead and asked Baba Buddha Jee where Gurujee was.

Babajee : Gurujee has gone to see the sangat coming from Kabul.

Jathedar : But we are the sangat from Kabul!

Babajee : Didn't you meet Gurujee?

Jathedar : No Babajee, we didn't. But we met a Sikh and his wife and they did a lot of sewa.

Babajee : Where is that Sikh now?

Jathedar : We left him to look after the shoes of the sangat.

Babajee, followed by the jathedar, followed by the entire sangat went outside to look for that Sikh. They saw him cleaning all the shoes with his own chola.

It was none other than Guru Arjan Dev Jee Himself

Baba Buddha Jee went forward and took away the pair of shoes Gurujee was cleaning. Babajee said "Why are you doing this?". The entire sangat was now in tears. Gurujee smiled and said "Babajee, I haven't seen Guru Nanak Dev Jee, but you have. Take a look again at this pair of shoes". Babajee took a good look at the pair of shoes, and since he had been with Guru Nanak Dev Jee, he immediately recognized that it was Guru Nanak Dev Jee's pair of shoes.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bhagat Trilochan Ji and Antarjami (Slandering/Nindya Sakhi)

Bhagat Trilochan ji had heard about the fame of Bhagat Namdev Ji and reached Narsi Bamni for an audience with him. In his very first meeting he requested Bhagat Namdev Ji to give him a glimpse of the Almightly. Bhagat Namdev Ji replied ," You shall also have the sight of Almighty if you contemplate on Him with devotion while working with your hands and legs at the same time." However Bhagat Trilochan Ji persuaded Bhagat Namdev Ji to bless him with His glimpse. Bhagat Namdev Ji humbly pleaded to Almighty to fulfill Bhagat Trilochan's request
Trilochan Ji came back to his village and started serving every mendicant who came that way. The company of the Holy men liberated him of desire for worldly materials and the fear of death.

Time passed away and Bhagat Trilochan Ji became very famous among the saints. A group of saints would always remain present at his place. He always served the saints at his residence with the utmost dedication and humanity. Bhagat Trilochan Ji always gave more importance to Bhakti (love & devotion) in preference to selfish interests. He said that he who is always occupied with problems relating to wealth and property will never become happy. As the number of visiting saints kept on increasing it became difficult for Bhagat Trilochan Ji' and his wife to do the household work. So she asked Bhagat ji to have a servant who could help in the household work.

When Bhagat Ji was about to leave home to search a worker who could help in the household work a boy appeared at the door of his house. Upon inquiring the child told Bhagat Ji that his name was 'Antarjami' (also means the knower of all hearts) and he is looking for work.  

Next day, After giving him instructions, Bhagat ji asked him about how much salary he wanted. The servant (God disguised Himself) said politely," What would I do with my salary because I have no relatives in this world. I will work without pay. What ever you give me to eat and wear, I will accept it. But I have one condition. If you try to slander or talk behind my back, I will not stay here. That is all my pay and the conditions."  

Bhagat Ji introduced Antarjami to his wife and told her to explain him his work and also asked her to feed him to his satisfaction and do not talk bad about him and his habits with the people. Time went on and a year passed. Every body was happy by the service of Antarjami.

One day Trilochan Ji's wife was talking with her neighbor. Her neighbor asked her why she was looking pale and weak because she was a very radiant lady. She started telling her neighbor about the Antarjami, about his eating habit. She said, "I'm unable to cope up with his meals. He eats a lot. Her neighbor suggested her to replace the servant with someone else.

Antarjami was the manifestation of the God Himself. He came to know of the conversation between Bhagat Ji's wife and her neighbor. So he left the home as the wife had violated the condition on which Antarjami had agreed to work in Bhagat Ji's home. When Trilochan Ji's wife returned after having a nice chatting. She was shocked to find the house unattended and servant missing.

Trilochan Ji asked her wife about him but she wasn't able give any satisfactory reply.  

One day Trilocan Ji were sleeping, voice cried, "Hey Trilochan your servant, Antarjami was indeed a 'antarjami', the Almightly himself. He came to you on the recommendations of Bhagat Namdev Ji."  

On finding out Bhagat Trilochan jis wife felt sorry about what she had done. Bhagat Trilochan Ji's hymn in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji explains:- 

"One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
Why do you slander the Lord? You are ignorant and deluded.
Pain and pleasure are the result of your own actions.||1|Pause||"

Upon hearing Bhagat Trilochan's sermons in the hymn above, his wife understood that life's joys and pains are brought about by man performing misdeeds instead of singing the praises of God. Thereafter, she was in bliss. 

The Singh and the Pathaan Battle

In the second world war, the Sikhs fought for the British and many Sikhs gave their lives fighting for them. Many Sikhs fought in Europe too and the Sikhs were recognized for their outstanding performance in the war. After the war was over, the Sikh regiments were brought back to India by road. As thus, they had to pass through Afghanistan and the present day Pakistan, to arrive in India.

When the Sikh regiment reached Jamraud (an area in Pakistan, close to the Afghanistan border, currently controlled by the Taliban), the Sikhs requested the officer in charge to stay at Jamraud as they wanted to visit the Gurdwara Sahib that stands there in the sweet memory of the legendary Sikh general - Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. The officers agreed and the Sikhs stayed there for some days.

As the military had stationed in Jamraud, the Sikhs took liberty to visit the adjoining places. The residents of Jamraud did not know too much about the Sikhs and showed curiosity to know about them. One such person was the wife of a Pathan general Abdul Qiyoom Khan. She had not seen the Sikhs before and when she saw singhs with parkaash beards and well-built bodies, she asked her husband who they were.

Abdul Qiyoom Khan praised the Sikhs for their bravery just as a big-hearted warrior would praise another warrior. He told her about the background of the Sikhs and how they were known for their courage and strength.

The pathaans too are known for their bravery and if we read the history of Pusthuns (Pathans), we realize that they have fiercely maintained their independance. They are extremely brave and proud people. During the Mahabharata times, the area inhabited by the Pusthuns was known and Gandhaar and Duyoudhana's mother Gandhari was from this area. These people ruled India for many years and they were stopped by only one person and that person was Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. Sardar jee reversed the flow of invasion from Punjab towards the West. For this reason, the old people of this area have respect for the Sikhs.

Coming back to the story, after hearing the stories of bravery of Sikhs, from her husband, the Pathaan lady jokingly said to her husband that the reason she married him was his bravery and that she did not know that the Sikhs were more brave than him. When the Pathaan heard such mocking from her wife, he got hurt and his ego was severely wounded. Just as a wife cannot tolerate the description of beauty of another woman from her husband, same way a man cannot bear praise courage and strength of another man from his wife's mouth. He immediately shot back at his wife saying that he did realize that the Sikhs were brave but he did not mean to say that they are more brave than Pathaans. He said to his wife that he would prove it to her.

Saying this, the Abdul Qiyoom Khan (the Pathaan) immediately dashed towards the camping place of the Sikh regiment. He went to the officer in-charge and challenged the Sikhs for a one-on-one fight. Abdul Qiyoom Khan was a very accomplished warrior of his area and was the sardaar (leader) of the tribal army in his area. He stood close to 6 feet, 5 inches tall and had a huge muscular body.

When the Sikhs heard his challenge, they started thinking how to respond, since this happened so fast. When he challenged again, a Sikh soldier by the name of Kartar Singh accepted his challenge. Kartar Singh was not very tall in height but he had a well-built body. It was decided that the fight would take place the following day at such and such time.

The next day, Abdul Qiyoom Khan arrived a little early along with his supporters. When the time of the match came, Kartar Singh did not arrive on time. The Pathaans thought that he had ran away, out of fear of fighting Abdul Qiyoom Khan. They started mocking the Sikhs. This incident was recorded by the Englishman who acted as the referee in the competition. His name was M. Crafts.

Anyway, a Sikh soldier was dispatched to get Bhai Kartar Singh. When the soldier arrived at his tent, he found him standing in ardaas. Unaware of his surroundings, Kartar Singh was urging Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee Maharaj for strength and was humbly supplicating along the lines that he did not have any strength of his own and that he was relying on Him (Guru Sahib) alone. After the Ardaas was over, Bhai Kartar Singh arrived at the place of competition.

Most independent observers had thought that this match would not last more than 10 minutes and would result in the death and defeat of Sardar Kartar Singh. Both warriors were allowed to use any weapon they wanted and they both chose swords to fight. They both were very skilled in fighting. They both did vaars (attacks) on each other and very diligently saved the vaars of their opponent. They were attacking, defending and counter-attacking all at the same time. The Singh was fighting so well, that the pathaan who had thought of crushing him in minutes was taken aback by the fierce resistance posed by him.

After half an hour, when no one emerged as a clear winner, the competition was briefly stopped for about 10 minutes. The pathaan came to his side of the ring and drank grapes juice. The singh on the other hand only drank water and closed his eyes to thank Siri Guru Dasmesh jee for giving him strength and martial skill to face an opponent as strong as Abdul Qiyoom Khan.

When they came back after the second round, the pathaan got a little impatient and challenged Kartar Singh to try blocking his vaar (attack). When a person loses his cool in a battle or competition, he is bound to lose a little bit of focus and concentration. This is what happened to the pathaan. He did a mighty vaar on Kartar Singh who in turn very diligently stopped it and did a counter vaar, which resulted in the pathaan getting seriously injured, thus ending the competition in Kartar Singh’s favour.

After the competition Kartar Singh quietly left the place and while the Sikhs were celebrating he went to his tent to perform an ardaas of thanking Guru Sahib for his victory. The words on his lips were the same words that Siri Guru Gobind Singh jee had on His lips, when He won the battle of Bhangani:

(O Vaheguru, I attained victory because of your grace).