A faithful Sikh and his wife lived in a village. They had no children. One day a group of Sikhs on their way to see Guru Har Gobind stayed at their house. Both husband and wife entertained the Sikhs as best they could. When the party was about to leave, the couple asked them to […]
A faithful Sikh and his wife lived in a village. They had no children. One day a group of Sikhs on their way to see Guru Har Gobind stayed at their house. Both husband and wife entertained the Sikhs as best they could. When the party was about to leave, the couple asked them to pray that their wish to have a son might be fulfilled. The Sikhs prayed for the gift of a son in the family and advised the couple to meditate on God, work honestly and help the needy. The couple faithfully acted upon the advice of the Sikhs and, by the grace of God, after a time they had a beautiful son. They named him Gurmukh (the Guru’s Follower). The devoted parents often told stories about the Guru to the Child as he was growing up. The boy was so intelligent that he not only loved to hear about the Guru but also learned many of the Guru’s hymns by heart. When Gurmukh was ten years old, both his parents died within a very short space of time leaving poor Gurmukh alone and friendless.
Gurmukh felt lonely, sad and helpless. He prayed to God in the morning and evening and always asked people about the Guru and his whereabouts. He had learnt from his mother that the Guru was very kind and helped his Sikhs in every way. He had now an intense desire to see the Guru in person and listen to his kind words: One day, a Sikh told him that Guru Har Gobind was staying at Amritsar. Gurmukh got up early, repeated the Japji (morning prayer) and set out for Amritsar in order to see the Guru. He had covered a long distance and was near the city of Lahore when a Pathan soldier met him on the way. The soldier asked Gurmukh many questions and, finding he was alone, he forced the poor boy to work for him as a slave. The Pathan made him work very hard indeed. The boy longed to see the Guru but the Pathan would not let him go. No one dared to free him from the Pathan and poor Gurmukh longed for a sight of the Guru’s face.
One day, when the boy was working on the Pathan’s farm, a Sikh Masand (agent of the Guru) happened to pass by. The boy dared not go with the Sikh. He gave the Masand a paisa (a copper coin), begged him to offer it to the Guru, and to request him to help his young Sikh out of difficulties. The Masand accepted the humble offering, blessed the boy, assured him of the Guru’s help and proceeded on his way. When the Masand reached the Guru at Amritsar, he placed Gurmukh’s paisa before the Guru and told him the whole story, asking the Guru to help the Sikh boy. The Guru listened to the Masand attentively, smiled and said, “He has sent his Paisa with faith and God will bestow His glory on him. His paisa is more than a hundred thousand rupees to me. As regards helping him, I must say he who has faith needs no help. His faith will help him out very soon. I can only pray for him.” Saying this, the Guru stood up and all the Sikhs joined him in praying to God to help the Sikh out of his troubles.
Back in Lahore, the poor boy was expecting help from the Guru day and night. With every rising sun he would pray hopefully, but the setting sun always left him as sad and disappointed as ever.
One day, the Pathan asked Gurmukh to accompany him to a village carrying one of his suitcases, It was summer and the suitcase was so heavy that the boy could hardly walk. Tired by the heat and the journey, they stopped at a well to rest and take a drink. As the Pathan was drawing water from the well, his foot slipped and he tumbled over into it. Gurmukh tried his best to save the Pathan and cried for help, but the Pathan had drowned before anyone could come to help. Gurmukh thought to himself, “If I go back to the Pathan’s house and tell the truth, nobody will believe me, and I will be called a murderer. Even if they believe me, they will keep me as a slave forever and make me work hard for life’s He did not know what to do. At last he sat down and began to sing the following hymn of the Guru :
“The hot wind (misfortune) does not touch the man who accepts the protection of the Lord.
Round about me is God’s fence so nothing can hurt me.
I have found the true Guru who leads me to God.
He has given me God’s name as a medicine and I have fixed my attention on the one God.
The Saviour has saved me and cured all my sickness.
Says Nanak, mercy is shown to me, and God is my helper.”
Having repeated the hymn he decided to run away and seek the protection of the Guru. In order to find out what was in the suitcase and whether it was worthwhile carrying it along, he opened it, and found it full of clothes, jewels, ornaments of gold, and two thousand rupees. Gurmukh decided to offer everything to the Guru. He tied them all up and set off for Amritsar. Night overtook him near a village and he asked for a night’s lodging in the house of a woman whose husband was away on business. Gurmukh was allowed to sleep in the front room.
The woman felt suspicious about the suitcase. When the boy was sound asleep the woman opened it and was surprised to and so much wealth. She decided to steal it. so she went to a neighbour and promised to give him half of the riches if he would kill the boy and dispose of his body. The neighbour agreed, and at dead of night, he came in and strangled the stranger to death. But, during the night, the woman’s husband had come back and, taking the boy to be a beggar, he had turned him out and had gone to sleep in his place and so, it was not Gurmukh who was murdered, but the woman’s husband. Next morning Gurmukh came back into the front room to get the suitcase and start on his journey. His hair stood on end with fright when he saw the dead man. At once he picked tip the staircase and took to his heels fearing lest he should be arrested for murder. With his mind fixed on the Guru he ran as fast as he could. He did not rest anywhere, and walked day and night. Weary and tired at last he reached Amritsar, where he went to the Guru, placed the suitcase before him and bowed. The Guru at once left his seat and embraced him, and told his Sikhs how firm faith helps those who have it. Gurmukh was asked to buy horses with the money he had brought and in a short time he became an expert horse trader.
“A hundred thousand ways we may earn money, save or spend
A hundred thousand may come and go through our hands
If these honours are not counted on the day of reckoning
Where shall we escape to?
A hundred thousand sermons from holy books you may hear
A hundred thousand pandits may explain the epics to you
If these honours are not counted on the day of reckoning
Consider them wasted : for they have been rejected by God.
With the True Name comes honour,
The Creator’s Name brings grace;
If day and night He lives in our hearts
He will be gracious, says Nanak,
And we shall be saved.”
(Rag Asa Guru Granth Sahib)