Saturday, January 21, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

Malik Bhago and Bhai Lalo

"Taking the rights of others pollutes the mind.
Always be honest, ever be kind."

Once Guru Nanak Dev stayed with Bhai Lalo ( a devotee) when he began his preaching missions. Bhai Lalo was a carpenter who earned his living honestly by working hard all day. The local village official was a corrupt person. He was known as Malik Bhago. One day he invited every resident of the village to a feast, so he could make a good image with the people. Guru Nanak Dev declined to go to the feast. Special messengers were sent to bring him. Bhago offered delicious food to the Guru and in response to his offer, waited for good words from him but Guru Nanak Dev, rather than blessing Malik Bhago declined to accept any food from him. Bhago was surprised to hear a refusal for the delicious food and he immediately asked the reason for the refusal.

The Guru told him that the food that Malik Bhago considered to be tasty and sweet was, in fact, made from blood of the poor. Malik Bhago had been extracting money from the people, instead of living on his honest earnings. Bhago was very much embarrassed by the bold and frank comments of the Guru. Everyone else appreciated the truth spoken fearlessly by Guru Nanak Dev. Bhago could not deny the allegations. Good sense prevailed and Malik Bhago confessed his guilt. He requested to be pardoned for his past deeds and promised to live a true and honest life in the future.

Guru Nanak Dev told the gathering there that only honestly earned food, such as that of Bhai Lalo, tastes good and sweet like milk. All dishonest earnings are like the blood of the innocent. If drops of blood fall on a cloth, it becomes dirty. How can the mind of a person who lives on the blood of the helpless people remain pious and clean?

Such was the effect of Guru Nanak's piety and personality that people did visualize blood in Malik Bhago's delicious dinner and milk in Bhai Lalo's frugal meal.

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Sikh and Gurbani:

Once, a Sikh made a request before the Guru Ji, "O true King! I am grieved by the world. Eliminate the pain of birth and death. Save me from sins. I am in your protection" I am illiterate so cannot even recite or understand Gurbani.

Guru Ji said, "Brother Sikh! You are blessed that you became detached (from the world). To gain wisdom, knowledge is very important. One should get education. An uneducated person cannot understand anything.

Guru Ji asked another learned Sikh to teach that Sikh with love. The Learned Sikh started to teach him. While teaching, he taught him this line of Anand Sahib prayer, "Anand bhya meree maaye, Satguroo main paaya." (The heavenly pleasure occurred, O my mother, for I have found my True Guru).

The Sikh recited this line with love and went on reciting it. His faith increased reciting this line. After six months, Guru Ji asked the learned Sikh, "Did he learn?"

He replied, "He did not return after learning one line."

Guru Ji called for that Sikh and asked, "You were sent to learn."

He replied with folded hands, "Guru Ji! One line was enough. When the True Guru has been found, 'Anand' is gotten. " what else I could possibly ask for ?

Guru Ji smiled and said, "You are 'nihaal' (bliss). Your cycle of birth and death has been curtailed."
He has gained wisdom with this one pankti of gurbani.

har har naam m aerai pr aan vasaae ae sabh sa(n)saa dh ookh gavaae iaa adhisatt ag ochar gur bachan dhh iaaeiaa pav ithr param padh paae iaa

He has enshrined the Name of the Lord, Har, Har within my breath of lfe, and all my doubts and sorrows have departed. I have meditated on the invisible and unapproachable Lord, through the Guru's Word, and I have obtained the pure, supreme status.

anehadh dhhun v aajehi n ith vaaj ae gaaee sath igur b aanee n aanak dhaath kar ee prabh dhaath ai joth ee joth sam aanee 1

The unstruck melody resounds, and the instruments ever vibrate, singing the Bani of the True Guru. O Nanak, God the Great Giver has given me a gift; He has blended my light into the Light. 1

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Guru Angad Dev Ji and the Tapa)

Guru Angad Sahib Ji lived at Khadur Sahib in the Punjab, India. There lived a yogi named Shiv Nath in the same village. Yogis were saints who did not marry. They had a great hold on the people. Shiv Nath was very proud. He became jealous of the Guru's fame. So he started making plans to get rid of the Guru by fair means or foul. He was on the look out for a chance to make the Guru feel small.

Once, it did not rain for a long time. There was a danger of drought. So the people were worried. They went to the yogi and asked him to do something about it. The yogi replied in anger, 'How can you expect rain, you fools, when you look upon a married man as your Guru? Turn him out of the village and you will surely get rain."

The people were carried away by the yogi's words. They went to the Guru and said, "O Guru, the crops are dying for want of rain. If you will kindly leave this village, the yogi can save us by bringing rain for us."

"Dear friends," replied the Guru, "Rain and sunshine are natural. They are in the hands of God. Still, I don't mind leaving the village if it is in your interest." The next day, the Guru left the village. The people went to the yogi once more to ask for rain. The yogi could do nothing against the law of nature. It did not rain. The people waited for some days but then became very angry and realised their fault. They dragged the yogi out of his hut into their fields. It so happened that it rained in every field into which they dragged the yogi. So everyone was keen to drag the yogi into his own field first. They dragged him this way and that till he was sorry and accepted that he lied about the Guru.

The villagers were very sorry to have turned the Guru out of the village. They realised their mistake. They went to him and begged his pardon. They brought Guruji back with great respect. The Guru told the people to have faith in the Will of God. He then started a common kitchen in that village, with the help of his followers. This was known as the 'Guru Ka Langar' ("the Guru's Kitchen"). Anyone could come at any time and have a free dinner in the Langar. Men, women and children of all castes, religions, colours and races sat and ate together. Many people cheerfully offered free service in the Langar and joined the sangat regularly.

"Why call him blind, who is blind by the Will of God? Nanak, it is he who will not understand God's Will, who should be called blind." (Guru Angad Sahib ji)

"What pleases Him, Nanak, is good. They who must abide by His Will, have no power of their own" (Guru Angad Sahib ji)

"When He gives His order, Men must follow, Men must act according to God's Will; Nanak, Men come when they are sent by God, And die when they are called by Him." (Guru Angad Sahib ji)

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Guru Tegh Bahadur ji's Sacrifice

"Do not frighten anyone nor be afraid of anybody"

This event happened long before the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) guaranteed every one right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It was also much before the establishment of Western democracies. The Guru carried the conviction more than three hundred years ago, when religious intolerance and persecution were common all over the world that every individual must have the freedom to worship the faith of his or her choice.

Guru Tegh Bahadur lived at a time when even personal laws were oppressive and the right to worship as per one's choice was denied, culminating in an atmosphere of fear and severe backlash. Guru Tegh Bahadur became the spiritual head of the Sikhs just at the time when the Mughal Emperor of India , Aurangzeb, was imposing Islam on the people.
He had no tolerance for other religions and proceeded on a brutal campaign of repression. Aurangzeb closed down Hindu schools, demolished temples or turned them into mosques, charged non-Muslims heavy taxes and Emperor persecuted those who would not conform to Islamic law. He forbade Hindus from celebrating their festivals, ordered that only Muslims could be landlords of crown lands, dismissed all Hindu clerks and ordered governors to put a stop to the teachings and practicing of idolatrous forms of worship.
Denied the freedom to follow their faith, the Hindus of Kashmir approached Guru Tegh Bahadur for help and guidance. The Hindu Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir were among the most highly learned and orthodox of the Hindu leadership. Aurangzeb felt if they could be converted, the rest of the country would easily follow. Given this ultimatum, a large delegation of 500 Kashmiri Pandits met the Guru and explained their dire predicament and requested him to intercede on their behalf.
When an anguished Guru Tegh Bahadur sought a way to help the suffering multitude, his son Guru Gobind Singh, as a nine-year-old, spoke words of encouragement, which energized him to pursue the path of wisdom. He told the Pandits to inform Aurangzeb that the Brahmins would gladly accept and embrace Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadur can be convinced to do so and made preparations to go to Delhi and sacrifice his life.

As soon as Aurangzeb heard the news he ordered the immediate arrest of the Guru. He ordered Guru Tegh Bahadur to be forced to convert to Islam through torture or be killed. Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to embrace Islam, saying

"For me, there is only one religion - of God - and whosoever belongs to it, be he a Hindu or a Muslim, him I own and he owns me. I neither convert others by force, nor submit to force, to change my faith."

Guru Tegh Bahadur was subjected to many cruelties; he was kept in an iron cage and starved for many days. The Guru faced a further test to his righteousness when three of his followers were tortured in his presence. Yet he remained steadfast and bore these cruelties without flinching or showing any anger or distress. He preferred the torture of the flesh to sacrificing the ideals of virtue. Finally on November 11, 1675 Guru Tegh Bahadur was publicly beheaded as he prayed. The bodies of those so executed were usually quartered and exposed to public view, but Tegh Bahadur's followers managed to steal the body under cover of darkness, cremate it in Delhi , and bring the severed head to Tegh Bahadur's son Gobind Rai, 250 miles away in Anandpur. The last rites were performed in Anandpur Sahib by Guru Gobind Singh ji.

The site of Guru Tegh Bahadur jis execution was later turned into an important Gurudwara (Sikh House of Worship) Sisganj in Delhi, India . Millions of people of all social and religious backgrounds pay homage to the Guru at this shrine. He is honoured as a man who gave his life for religious freedom for all peoples, not just Sikhs. The shrine holds the symbolism of war against injustice, a determination to stand up to atrocity, though it may mean sacrifice of the self.
He taught the ethos of self-sacrifice for the common good of mankind and this is enshrined in his spiritual legacy. Never in history has the religious leader of one religion sacrificed his life to save the freedom of another religion .

"One untouched by avarice, attachment, egotism and pursuit of evil passions,
And one risen above joy and sorrow â€" know such a one to be God's own image."
Thus sang Guru Tegh Bahadur. Guru sacrificed his life for upholding the principle of freedom of conscience.

In today world, scarred by religious fanaticism and intolerance Guru Tegh Bahadur is truly a hero to be revered and emulated.

Mystic Saint Kabir in one of his verses says, "The true hero is one who in defence of the helpless may be hacked limb to limb, but flees not the field," and there can be no greater testimonial to the Guru's unflinching courage which earned him the praise as "one who covered dharma (religion) and protected it."

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

Guru Arjan dev ji & Shabad Hazare

A cousin of Guru Ram Das Ji came to Amritsar from Lahore especially to ask Guru Sahib to attend his son's wedding. But Guru Ji being unable to attend the wedding personally for some reason said, "Perhaps I can send one of my Sons instead." Guru Ram Das Ji had three sons: Prithi Chand or Prithia, Mahadev, and Arjan Mal. Prithia was in charge of collecting donations. When the Guru asked him to attend the wedding, Prithia said, "I have to take care of the collections. And I hate going to weddings." Actually, he was afraid if he were away from the Guru for too long, he might not be appointed the Guru's successor. Guru Ji then turned to Mahadev. Mahadev lived his life in meditation and said, "I have no desire to involve myself in worldly affairs." Finally, Guru Sahib Ji asked Arjan if he would go. Arjan said, "I only desire to do what you wish." Guru Ji was very pleased. He asked Arjan to spend some time in Lahore to share the Guru's teachings with the Sikhs there. Any donations he received were to be given to the free kitchen to feed the poor. The last words he said to Arjan were, "You should stay in Lahore until I send for you"
Arjan Mal stayed in Lahore after the wedding and grew to be much loved by his relations and the Sikhs there. Still, all the time he was there, his heart was with his father/Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji. When he expressed his longing to his new friends, they suggested he write a letter asking that he be able to return. Arjan Mal wrote a beautiful shabad :
"My soul longs for the Guru like the pied-cuckoo longs for the rain of the monsoon. I am always a sacrifice unto the True Guru."
He sent this letter with one of the Sikhs who had come with him to Lahore. When the messenger reached Amritsar, Prithia saw him and suspected that he had a letter for the Guru from his brother. He said "I will take the letter to the Guru myself." When he read the letter he knew that it was so beautiful that it would move the Guru's heart in Arjan's favor. So he hid the letter in his coat and sent the Sikh back to Arjan telling him that the Guru said he should stay in Lahore until sent for. When Arjan received this message, he knew that Prithia, and not his father, had sent it. He then wrote a second letter with strict orders that it be given only to the Guru. In it, he wrote,
"I love the sight of the Guru's face and the sound of his words, and it has been long since I have seen him. I am ever a sacrifice unto the True Guru."
This time, Prithia grabbed the letter out of the messenger's hands, and grew more angry than before. Again, he hid the letter in his coat. He sent another message that Arjan was to remain in Lahore until sent for. When Arjan heard this from the messenger, he wrote a third letter, this time putting a number "3" on it. He told the messenger to be on his guard against Prithia and to give the letter to Guru Ram Das Ji himself. The messenger waited until Prithia had to go home, and then quickly reached the Guru and gave him the letter. In it, Arjan said,
"Each second away from the Guru is like an age. I cannot sleep without a sight of the Guru. I am ever a sacrifice unto him."
On this letter, the Guru saw the number "3", and knew instantly that he had not received the other two letters. The messenger related the story to him, and the Guru grew very angry. He called for Prithia and asked him three times if he knew anything about the other letters. Prithia denied it everytime. The all knowing Guru knew his thoughts, and told the messenger to go get the coat in Prithia's house. When he returned with it, the two missing letters were in the pocket.
At once, the Guru sent Bhai Buddha to Lahore with a carriage to bring ArjanMal home as soon as possible. When Arjan was finally united with his father, he placed his head on Guru Sahib Ji's chest against his long beard. He remained that way for many moments, while the Guru held him gently in his arms. The Guru then said that as he had written three stanzas, he should write a fourth to finish the poem. Arjan wrote the last verse saying,
"It is my good fortune to have met the True Guru, and I have found the Immortal God in my own home. My greatest desire is to never be separated from him again, not even for an instant. I am ever a sacrifice to the True Guru."
Upon hearing this, the Guru was very pleased. He said, "The Guruship is passed on because of merit. As only the one who is most humble can claim it, I grant it to you." Guru Ji then sent for a coconut and five paisey and placed them before Arjan. He descended from his throne and seated Arjan upon it in front of the whole sangat. Bhai Buddha pressed the tilak on Arjan's forehead as a symbol that the light of Guru Ram Das Ji had now passed to Arjan, who then became Guru Arjun Dev Ji the fifth Guru of the Sikhs.
SHABAD HAZARE
The Bani (Scripture) of Fifth Guru Arjan Dev, in the Raag (Musical measure) called Maajh, Chau-Padas (Four lines per Hymn), First House of Raag.

My mind longs for the Blessed Vision of the Guru's Darshan.
It is anxious like the rain-bird
(Weaver-bird, Papiha: Papeehaa, Beehaa, or Bambeehaa It keeps eager to have a drop of rain at a special auspicious moment).
I am thirsty and have no peace without meeting the revered Saint (my Guru). 1
I am a sacrifice (Love-lost, eager) for meeting the Saint (Guru). 1Pause

Your face (Meeting you) is so impressive, and your speech is peace and joy giving.
It is so long since this rainbird has had even a glimpse of water.
Blessed is that land where You dwell, O my Friend and Intimate Divine Guru . 2

I am a sacrifice - an appreciation, to my friend and companion lord (Guru)1 Pause

When I could not see you even for a short while, it was a dark-age, a hard time, for me.
When shall I meet you now, beloved Lord !
My night does not pass, and sleep comes not, without being in the presence of the Guru: Prophet. 3

I am a sacrifice, sacrifice I am, to this true court of the revered Guru. 1Pause

It is my good destiny, that I have met the Saint Guru.
I have found the Immortal Lord within the home of my own self.
I will serve You forever, and shall never be separated from You even for an instant. Servant Nanak is Your slave, O beloved Master. 4

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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