Episodes from the Lives of Sikh Gurus
Episode No. 17
Blessing of Sangat
Once the State Governor (subedar) came to see the Guru with the question "O Guru, when you are pleased with a Sikh, what do you give him?"
"When I am pleased with a Sikh, I send to his house one who is dear to me, replied the Guru.
"Guruji, if you are very pleased with a Sikh, then what do you give him'!,'
"When I am more pleased with a Sikh, I send to his house, two of my dear ones."
"And if, Guruji, you are still more pleased, what would you give him?"
"In that case I would send three of my dear ones to his house."
The subedar continued to repeat his question, until the Guru had raised the number of dear ones to ten.
"When you send ten dear ones to a Sikh, what does the Sikh gain out of it?”
"The more the dear ones that visit a Sikh, the more is the praise and discussion of the Lord. In the company of saints, spiritual discussion automatically takes place. Whatever the Sikh hears will stay in his mind, and ultimately liberate him from the cycle of birth and death. At the same time his livelihood will flourish, and his family will also follow his example in serving the saintly persons, to become pure like him. Such are the benefits of a saint's visit." The reply pleased the subedur.
Episode No. 18
Man Incomplete Without Hair
Once, when the Guru was in the Lakhi jungle, a Sikh came and complained, "O True Emperor, the sangat coming to pay their obeisance to you, has been robbed by the Governor on the way." The Guru heard this, but made no reply. Next day another Sikh came and said, "O True Emperor, the sangat was coming to see you. The Governor has robbed them."
"Listen, Brother, why doesn't somebody say that the sangat has looted the Governor? But the sangat is right. They think that the earlier nine Patshahis only gave them rosary. Now they shall wield swords also. I shall make sparrows destroy hawks. Whoever is my Sikh, shall not be without hair and sword. Without hair and arms, man is incomplete, only half a man. Man is complete only with hair and arms," commanded the Guru. At the Guru's command, the Sikhs adopted unshorn hair as well as arms.
At the same time the Guru decided to train his Sikhs in the art of war. The Guru heard that there were groups of Sikhs, 3-4 miles away, coming to see him. The Guru sent for Bhai Dallah Brar, and instructed him thus, "O Dallah, summon your armies and give them lathis (sticks). The sangat is coming. Attack them and rob them. But nobody is to be killed. Even the booty is not to be destroyed or tampered with, because it will be returned. We want to train the sangat to fight and resist." On these instructions Dallah arranged for lathis and organised to attack the approaching sangat. In the mean time, the Guru had sent a horseman to the sangat with the message that the Guru was staying in the jungle as a guest, and that the rebel Jats of the area might attack and rob them. They were instructed to resist and fight back with all their might. At the Guru's instructions, they took up lathis and other arms with courage. They resisted the robbers. Loud din of the conflict reached the Guru's ears. The Guru climbed up a high spot, extremely happy over the fight. The Guru later explained that this is the way the Sangat needs to be trained to fight. Later, he ordered preparation of karah parshad (holy pudding). When it was ready, he ordered, "Khalsa ii, go and loot." Then the karah was looted. This was repeated several times.
Once a large quantity of karah was prepared, and the Khalsa was instructed to loot it. At this most of the Sikhs went to loot it, but many stayed with the Guru. "Brother Sikhs, why did you not go to loot the karah?" asked the Guru.
"O True King, we would have eaten it, if it had been distributed. We are not among those who loot."
"You are blessed. In the Khalsa, there will be the Sikh spirit side by side with the capacity to loot," said the Guru.
After this, the Guru was always happy to see his Sikhs with arms. Offerings of money would not please the Guru so much as offerings of arms. Arms were almost worshipped, and incense was burnt.
One day the Guru desired that Bhai Dallah should be paid a daily allowance or salary from the Guru's treasury.
"O True King, give me rain," said Dallah.
"Salary we have, you can get whatever is with us. Rain is not under our control, which we can give you readily," said the Guru.
After several days the Guru again said, "Dallah, you must accept your salary from me."
"O True Emperor, give me rain," said Dallah.
The Guru made no answer. There had been a prolonged draught in that area. Several days passed. The Guru repeated, "O Dallah, you must take your salary from the Guru."
"O True Emperor, give me rain."
'When a Jat is determined he will make even a wall respond. We tried a lot to put him off, but he does not give up," the Guru remarked. Then turning to Dallah, he said, "Go and repair your water reservoirs." Then people were collected by beat of drum, and all the reservoirs were repaired. Guru Baba blessed the Jats with a prolonged heavy rain, until the Jats themselves requested that the rain should stop.(18)
Notes : Episode No. 17
The brief dialogue given in this narration emphasises and importance of good company. Visit of a Sikh is to be regarded as a blessing from the Guru, and an opportunity for spiritual advancement.
Episode No 18
This is the story of how the Guru started teaching the need for, and the art of self-defence as well as the necessity of confronting evil in life. It was clear that evil could not be eradicated through pacifism, which only encourages it. Use of force was necessary and justified for the eradiction of evil. The story obviously pertains to the pre-Khalsa days, when the Guru was occupied with changing the attitude of the people towards evil, and preparing them for resisting it, individually as well as collectively, even if it emanated from a highly organised group or the state.
Incidentally, the injunctions in respect of unshorn hair and wearing of arms are very clear. The words of the Guru which need to be noted carefully, are:
"Whoever is my Sikh, shall never be without unshorn hair and arms. Without hair and arms, one is only half a man. Man is complete only with unshorn hair and arms."
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2013, All