Saturday, October 10, 2009


Bhai Gurudas was the uncle and devoted disciple of the Sikh Guru Arjan. At one time he composed the following couplets and read them to the Guru: If a mother is impious, it is not for her son to punish her;If a cow swallows a diamond, her stomach should not be cut open; If a husband is unfaithful, the wife should never imitate him or lose her chastity; If a high caste lady takes to wine, people should not take it ill; If the Guru test his disciple, the disciple's faith should not waver.

Guru Arjan listened attentively as Gurudas read. When he finished, the Guru thought, "All these things are easier said than done. Let me test his faith." Turning to Gurudas, he said, "Uncle, I have to buy some horses at Kabul. Will you be able to do this for me?" "Why not? Certainly," replied Gurudas.

Accordingly, the Guru filled several bags with gold sovereigns. Gurudas counted them, and then sealed the bags and put them into strong wooden boxes. These were loaded onto the backs of mules and he along with a number of disciples started out on the long and arduous journey to Kabul from Lahore where the Guru was residing. In due course, after passing through the Khyber Pass, they reached Kabul amoung the mountains of Hindu Kush.

In the great horse market of this ancient city, Gurudas bargained with the horse traders and finally purchased the best horses that he could find. These were taken by the other disciples who were to take them slowly to Lahore. Meanwhile, Gurudas asked the horse traders to come to his tent to be paid. Leaving them outside, he entered the tent to get the gold.

Opening a few of the boxes, he took out the needed bags but felt that something was wrong. He opened all of the bags and to his horror he found that every one of them was filled with pebbles instead of gold. He was now beside himself with fear, for he knew the savage nature of the horse dealers.

"There they are waiting outside the tent for me to pay them, and if I don't, they will cut me to pieces," he thought. He taxed his brain and finally decided that the only that he might escape was to cut the back of the tent and escape through the hole. He did not even pray to his Guru for help, so full of terror was he. Jumping through the hole, he escaped and ran away at full speed. Ashamed to face his Guru, he passed through Lahore and made his way all the way to Kashi, hundreds of miles to the east.

Meanwhile, the other members of his party entered his tent to find out why he was delaying in paying the horse dealers. There they found all of the boxes open and filled with gold, but there was no sign of Gurudas. They also saw the hole in the back of the tent. They then paid the horse traders and made their way back to Lahore where they told Guru Arjan about all that had happened. After Gurudas had settled down in Kashi, he started to expound the great truths of the scriptures in public places and soon attracted a large crowd. Finally, even the Governor of Kashi also came to hear and admire his beautiful discourses.

After a few months, Guru Arjan sent a letter to the Governor of Kashi in which he wrote, "There is a thief of mine in Kashi and I am writing to ask you kindly to take him prisoner, tie his hands and send him to me. You will not have to search hard for this thief. The mere reading of this letter in places of public assembly and religious discourses will find him, for the thief will himself speak out upon hearing the letter read."

In due course, the letter was read where Gurudas was giving a discourse to a large crowd of people. But the moment he heard the letter, he stood up and said, "I am the Guru's thief." His listeners were stunned. "You could never be a thief, for you are a holy man. The thief must be someone else," they said. But Gurudas insisted, "No, it is I who am the thief. there is no doubt about it. Please tie my hands so that I do not escape."

No one came forward to do so, for it was unthinkable to tie up a holy man like a common robber. So Gurudas unbound his turban and cutting it in two, he tied his own hands with it. Tied like this, he then happily made his way to Lahore.

When he finally reached there and stood before the Guru, the Guru said, "Brother, please repeat those couplets you read to me just before I asked you to go to Kabul."
But Gurudas, having been tested and put through some bitter experiences to try his love and faith, fell at the Guru's feet and exclaimed,

"If a mother gives poison to her son, who is it that will save him?
If the watchman breaks into the house,Who can protect it?

If a guide misleads the traveller, Who can set him on the right path? If the fence starts to eat the crop, who can save it? Even so, if the Guru tests the disciples, Who can help them to remain steadfast?" Only the Satguru, through his spiritual power and grace, can keep the disciple steadfast and filled with devotion under trying circumstances.

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