by MSS Guruka Singh Khalsa, Espanola, NM
Editor’s note: This article is partly based on excerpts from the new book from MSS Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa and MSS Guruka Singh Khalsa: entitled “Sikh Dharma: Heroes, Saints, Yogis and People Like You and Me,” due for release at Summer Solstice 2009.
Every one of us has come under criticism or judgment by others at some time in our life. Often the other person does not fully understand what they are seeing or its implications, and their judgment comes from their own assumptions, not from the truth of the situation.
Nanak’s father was a devout Hindu. When his father expected him to undergo the sacred thread coming-of-age ceremony, he refused to take part in the ceremony, to his father’s horror.
Despite all the arguments and urgings from his father, the Brahmin priest, and the many guests who had come to celebrate this special occasion in his honor, Nanak still refused. And to make matters worse, he closed his eyes, and ignored everyone’s imprecations, saying simply that such a cotton thread would break and fall off, and that instead, one should wear kindness, peacefulness, self-discipline, and truth. Quite a statement from such a young boy.
Nanak’s father, Kalu, knew Nanak liked to spend a lot of time out in the forest so he gave him the responsibility of taking the family cattle out to graze. Nanak obediently took the cows and buffalos out every day. He loved them, and they grew so fond of him that they became his tame pets. In this way, he was able to sit calmly all day under the trees singing God’s praises until it was time to bring the cattle home, at which time they easily followed him without any trouble.
One day one of the neighboring peasants went to Kalu, frothing at the mouth that the unsupervised cattle had destroyed his fields while his son spent the day just sleeping under a tree not paying any attention to the herd.
Rai Bular, the Muslim chief of the village who also heard the complaint, went to check out the scene for himself. True enough, he found Nanak sitting under a tree, but he wasn’t sleeping, he was meditating (with a giant cobra hovering over him shading him from the sun!). The peasant’s field, where the cattle had been reported to have eaten the crop, was in fine condition.
Nanak was blamed many times for not doing the things that people expected of him. He always said that what is right is seen by the eyes of the heart, not the eyes of the head and that without kindness and compassion, no action has any value at all.
About the Author
MSS Guruka Singh Khalsa is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. He is a teacher, writer and loves telling stories. His love of poetry and Gurbani have led him to translate Yogi Bhajan’s Gurmukhi poems in Furmaan Khalsa as well as translating Japji Sahib and other Gurbani. The original founder of SikhNet, he now lives under the blue skies of New Mexico with his beloved Khalsa family.