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Freedom To The Sadhus

During Guru Nanak's stay in Eminabad, the son of the Pathan ruler of Sandyali, Nawab Khan, became ill. One day, Khan told Malik Bhago that his son was very sick and his condition was getting worse, no medicine was helping. Malik told him that the prayers of saints had great power and if a saint came and prayed for the health of his son, he will become all right again. However it would require the use of a real saint, one who was immersed in the God's name and love, the people during those time consider a saint real if he was able to perform miracles.

They decided together to call all those who were known as sadhus or saints in the area and keep them in captivity. Releasing them only under the condition that Khan's son become well again. The Khan's men forcibly brought all the sadhus whose name Malik had suggested. Guru Nanak, since he was in the area, was also brought as Malik had also suggested his name as well.

All the sadhus brought by the Khan's men were sitting together in their cell when Bhai Lalo came running in having heard that the Khan's men had taken Guru Nanak as a captive. On seeing the Guru in captivity he wept. The Khan came in and spoke to Guru Nanak and the sadhus telling them to pray for the health and well-being of his son. All the sadhus kept quiet, but the Guru spoke out and said "You have brought the sadhus by force and put them in captivity and they are suffering yet you expect your son's well being. You have brought them suffering. How can grace come from suffering minds?"

When Khan heard this, he realized that Guru Nanak was right and that his attachment to his son had misguided him. He became humble and to them he said, "Be gracious, have mercy, you saintly people!" He then asked if they would still be able to help his son get better. Though Guru Nanak was a master of miracles but generally he did not perform miracles, however the Guru closed his eyes and when he opened them he said, "0 Khan, your son's health lies in the left over bread of the saints." He turned to LaIo and said "LaIo, go and bring bread from your house." LaIo went and brought bread and that was given to the Khan's son to eat. Soon the Khan's son became all right. Khan was wonderstruck to see how much power the Guru had? Malik Bhago who was standing nearby was stunned and started trembling with fear. All the people standing around were also stunned, even the sadhus were astonished.

The next day, Malik Bhago came to the Guru and said "I insulted you. Forgive me." Guru Ji replied "Insulted me? I fear the insult that you have done is to yourself and to the people. Fear the disrespect you are showing to God. Look at the animals and the birds! They move the whole day for food, this is their hard work, and they fill their bellies. They are always happy, always healthy, and enjoy the freedom and joy of flying free. Hard work is the key to contentment and honest living. Hard work keeps the body healthy and gives happiness on the path towards the Lord. Your mind has been sullied by being cruel to the people. It has become evil. Such a mind is an illness and lifeless.

Malik Bhago was repentant. He said "Your holiness my mind has been shaken. Please tell me how can I change my way in this old age and with this lazy body?" The Guru replied "Everything becomes the grace of the Lord if you remember the Lord in your heart while doing chores. Taking money from the farmer, who sweats the whole day on his land, and after paying taxes saves hardly anything for food. Again, to take money by threat or bullying from a trader is squeezing his blood in the same way if you slit the neck of an animal to obtain blood. To take money forcibly from somebody's honest labor earning is to suck his blood."

On listening to the Guru's words, Malik Bhago fell at the Guru's feet and became the Guru's disciple. He distributed the money that he had collected by Guru Nanak taking bribes and became a pious man. He started reciting the Lord's name and became contented with honest earning. Khan also came forward, fell at the Guru's feet and asked forgiveness. The Guru told them to both go and ask forgiveness from the sadhus. They went to ask forgiveness from the sadhus and respectfully set them free.

In the following next few days, Mardana returned from Talwandi. Hearing about the pangs of separation from Rai Bullaur and other such messages, the Guru started for Talwandi.

  • Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo

    Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo

    (approximate location) Eminabad, Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan.

    Associated with Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, Bhai Lalo Ji.

    Guru Nanak stayed with Bhai Lalo on several occasions. Bhai Lalo's house became a dharmsala and was later developed into Gurdwara which was named after a khuhi (narrow well) which existed even when the old house had crumbled.


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