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Humble Hema

Sakhi Sarwar had a great influence in the rural areas. The jats and farmers of other castes, who had no faith in hinduism, were becoming followers of Sakhi Sarwar. Notwithstanding Prithi Chand's attempts to intimidate the Sikhs in Amritsar, the Guru's quarrelsome brother continued to give him every form of annoyance.

Consequently Guru Arjan decided to leave Amritsar and travel in the Majha region of Punjab spreading the message of Sikhi. This was the country between the Ravi and Beas rivers. Some of the places Guru Arjan and his Sikhs visited were Jandiala, Khadur Sahib, Goindwal Sahib, Chohla Sahib, Khanpur, Khara, Tarn Taran Sahib, Guru Ki Wadali and Kartarpur.

Khanpur

When Guru Arjan visited a village called Khanpur, between Goindwal and the present Tarn Taran Sahib. He was accompanied by five Sikhs, including Bidhi Chand and Bhai Gurdas. Guru Arjan remained engaged in his prayers for the whole day. In the evening it rained heavily and wintry winds were blowing.

Bidhi Chand said to the Guru, "There's a big house which we can in the village nearby. Let's go there and rest for the night." Guru Arjan objected, and said it would be better to remain where they were than associate with the evil people who stayed there. Bidhi Chand, however, prevailed on him to let him go into the village and endeavour to secure shelter, as the night was piercingly cold.

Bidhi Chand begged the villagers to let his group have even one room in which they could all sleep together. The people only laughed at him, and called the Guru and his Sikhs hypocrites. Bidhi Chand went and duly informed the Guru of the character of his reception. The Guru replied, "Pay no heed, I told you they were foul-mouthed people. Whoever has devotion in their heart will come to us of their own accord, and give us accommodation for the night."

Humble Hema

As Guru Arjan had anticipated, Hema, a devout Sikh of the village, arrived and said, "True Guru, I have a tattered hut made out of grass and twigs which is yours to use. I would be honoured if you stayed at my home." Hema, who had been made a Sikh by Guru Ram Das, lived by grinding corn for the villagers and used his spare time to repeat the Guru's hymns.

Though Hema was extremely poor, and possessed only a coarse blanket to wear, his hut was always open to strangers. Guru Arjan seeing his love and devotion gladly accepted his hospitality. Hema cooked and supplied his distinguished guests with the best food in his possession. Before bedtime he took off his sole blanket, and put it under Guru Arjan as bedding, so that he might sleep properly. Guru Arjan, seeing Hema's devotion, composed the following;

ਰਾਗੁ ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ਘਰੁ ੪
Rāg sūhī mėhlā 5 gẖar 4
Raag Suhi, Fifth Mehl, Fourth House:

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
Ik▫oaʼnkār saṯgur parsāḏ.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:

ਭਲੀ ਸੁਹਾਵੀ ਛਾਪਰੀ ਜਾ ਮਹਿ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਏ ॥
Bẖalī suhāvī cẖẖāprī jā mėh gun gā▫e.
Even a crude hut is sublime and beautiful, if the Lord's praises are sung within it.

ਕਿਤ ਹੀ ਕਾਮਿ ਨ ਧਉਲਹਰ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਸਰਾਏ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Kiṯ hī kām na ḏẖa▫ulhar jiṯ har bisrā▫e. ||1|| rahā▫o.
Those mansions where the Lord is forgotten are useless. ||1||Pause||

ਅਨਦੁ ਗਰੀਬੀ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਚਿਤਿ ਆਏ ॥
Anaḏ garībī sāḏẖsang jiṯ parabẖ cẖiṯ ā▫e.
Even poverty is bliss, if God comes to mind in the Sadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy.

ਜਲਿ ਜਾਉ ਏਹੁ ਬਡਪਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਲਪਟਾਏ ॥੧॥
Jal jā▫o ehu badpanā mā▫i▫ā laptā▫e. ||1||
This worldly glory might just as well burn; it only traps the mortals in Maya. ||1||

ਪੀਸਨੁ ਪੀਸਿ ਓਢਿ ਕਾਮਰੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਮਨੁ ਸੰਤੋਖਾਏ ॥
Pīsan pīs odẖ kāmrī sukẖ man sanṯokẖā▫e.
One may have to grind corn, and wear a coarse blanket, but still, one can find peace of mind and contentment.

ਐਸੋ ਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਕਿਤੈ ਕਾਜਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਨਹ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਏ ॥੨॥
Aiso rāj na kiṯai kāj jiṯ nah ṯaripṯā▫ai. ||2||
Even empires are of no use at all, if they do not bring satisfaction. ||2||

ਨਗਨ ਫਿਰਤ ਰੰਗਿ ਏਕ ਕੈ ਓਹੁ ਸੋਭਾ ਪਾਏ ॥
Nagan firaṯ rang ek kai oh sobẖā pā▫e.
Someone may wander around naked, but if he loves the One Lord, he receives honor and respect.

ਪਾਟ ਪਟੰਬਰ ਬਿਰਥਿਆ ਜਿਹ ਰਚਿ ਲੋਭਾਏ ॥੩॥
Pāt patambar birthi▫ā jih racẖ lobẖā▫e. ||3||
Silk and satin clothes are worthless, if they lead to greed. ||3||

ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਤੁਮ੍ਹ੍ਹਰੈ ਹਾਥਿ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਆਪਿ ਕਰੇ ਕਰਾਏ ॥
Sabẖ kicẖẖ ṯumĥrai hāth parabẖ āp kare karā▫e.
Everything is in your hands, God. You yourself are the doer, the cause of causes.

ਸਾਸਿ ਸਾਸਿ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਰਹਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਦਾਨੁ ਪਾਏ ॥੪॥੧॥੪੧॥
Sās sās simraṯ rahā Nānak ḏān pā▫e. ||4||1||41||
With each and every breath, may I continue to remember you. Please, bless Nanak with this gift. ||4||1||41||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 745

On the same occasion the Guru composed the following;

ਮਾਝ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
Mājẖ mėhlā 5.
Majh, Fifth Mehl:

ਜਿਥੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੀਐ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਪਿਆਰੇ ॥
Jithai nām japī▫ai parabẖ pi▫āre.
Where the Naam, the name of God the beloved, is chanted -

ਸੇ ਅਸਥਲ ਸੋਇਨ ਚਉਬਾਰੇ ॥
Se asthal so▫in cẖa▫ubāre.
those barren places become mansions of gold.

ਜਿਥੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਜਪੀਐ ਮੇਰੇ ਗੋਇਦਾ ਸੇਈ ਨਗਰ ਉਜਾੜੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥
Jithai nām na japī▫ai mere go▫iḏā se▫ī nagar ujāṛī jī▫o. ||1||
Where the Naam, the name of my Lord of the universe is not chanted - those towns are like the barren wilderness. ||1||

ਹਰਿ ਰੁਖੀ ਰੋਟੀ ਖਾਇ ਸਮਾਲੇ ॥
Har rukẖī rotī kẖā▫e samāle.
One who meditates as he eats dry bread,

ਹਰਿ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਲੇ ॥
Har anṯar bāhar naḏar nihāle.
sees the blessed Lord inwardly and outwardly.

ਖਾਇ ਖਾਇ ਕਰੇ ਬਦਫੈਲੀ ਜਾਣੁ ਵਿਸੂ ਕੀ ਵਾੜੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
Kẖā▫e kẖā▫e kare baḏfailī jāṇ visū kī vāṛī jī▫o. ||2||
Know this well, that one who eats and eats while practicing evil, is like a field of poisonous plants. ||2||

ਸੰਤਾ ਸੇਤੀ ਰੰਗੁ ਨ ਲਾਏ ॥
Sanṯā seṯī rang na lā▫e.
One who does not feel love for the Saints,

ਸਾਕਤ ਸੰਗਿ ਵਿਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਏ ॥
Sākaṯ sang vikram kamā▫e.
misbehaves in the company of the wicked shaaktas, the faithless cynics;

ਦੁਲਭ ਦੇਹ ਖੋਈ ਅਗਿਆਨੀ ਜੜ ਅਪੁਣੀ ਆਪਿ ਉਪਾੜੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥
Ḏulabẖ ḏeh kẖo▫ī agi▫ānī jaṛ apuṇī āp upāṛī jī▫o. ||3||
he wastes this human body, so difficult to obtain. In his ignorance, he tears up his own roots. ||3||

ਤੇਰੀ ਸਰਣਿ ਮੇਰੇ ਦੀਨ ਦਇਆਲਾ ॥
Ŧerī saraṇ mere ḏīn ḏa▫i▫ālā.
I seek Your Sanctuary, O my Lord, Merciful to the meek,

ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਮੇਰੇ ਗੁਰ ਗੋਪਾਲਾ ॥
Sukẖ sāgar mere gur gopālā.
Ocean of Peace, my Guru, Sustainer of the world.

ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਵੈ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਸਰਮ ਅਸਾੜੀ ਜੀਉ ॥੪॥੩੦॥੩੭॥
Kar kirpā Nānak guṇ gāvai rākẖo saram asāṛī jī▫o. ||4||30||37||
Shower Your Mercy upon Nanak, that he may sing Your Glorious Praises; please, preserve my honor. ||4||30||37||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Arjan, Ang 105

Khanpur Becomes No More

Guru Arjan remained in Khanpur for some time. During his stay, Hema obtained what he wanted, he was liberated and rejoined with God. After the Guru's departure, the Emperor's viceroy, who had some reason to be dissatisfied with the inhabitants of Khanpur, sent an army against it, razed it to the ground, and massacred its chief inhabitants. The survivors had reason to reflect on the words of Kabir;

ਕਬੀਰ ਜਾ ਘਰ ਸਾਧ ਨ ਸੇਵੀਅਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਨਾਹਿ ॥
Kabīr jā gẖar sāḏẖ na sevī▫ah har kī sevā nāhi.
Kabeer, those houses in which neither the Holy nor the Lord are served -

ਤੇ ਘਰ ਮਰਹਟ ਸਾਰਖੇ ਭੂਤ ਬਸਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥੧੯੨॥
Ŧe gẖar marhat sārkẖe bẖūṯ basėh ṯin māhi. ||192||
those houses are like cremation grounds; ghosts dwell within them. ||192||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Bhagat Kabir, Ang 1374

After Khanpur, Guru Arjan proceeded to the village of Khara. On entering the village Guru Arjan received a friendly reception from the villagers. There were beautiful flowering glades and woods around Khara. The limpid water, and the fresh and exhilarating atmosphere pleased Guru Arjan. Afterwards, the villagers assisted the Guru in obtaining land on which he laid the foundations of what is now the famous Sikh City of Tarn Taran Sahib.

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