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Honest Living


Apr 4, 2005
Read about historical stories at www.sikh-history.com

Honest Living

After explaining some merits of truthful living at Lahore, Guru Nanak came to Talwandi to see his parents. Taking permission from them, he took Bhai Mardana with him and embarked on a long journey to the Hindu sacred places of pilgrimage. From Talwandi they reached Bhai Lalo's workshop at Saidpur which is now known as Aimanabad in Pakistan. Bhai Lalo was a carpenter of Ghataora caste who earned his living by honest labour. When Bhai Lalo saw two saints coming towards him, he put aside the work in hand and laid a bed for them. It was time for lunch so he went to prepare the meal.

After preparing the meal, Bhai Lalo requested Guru Nanak to come to the kitchen and eat his meal there. Guru Nanak said, "Bhai Lalo, every place is clean and pure for us. Please bring the meal here." Bhai Lalo obeyed the command of Guru Nanak and brought the meals to them. At the bidding of Guru Nanak, Bhai Mardana divided the meal into three parts and all ate it sitting together. After eating the meal, Bhai Mardana asked Guru Nanak, 'This meal tasted like nectar. What had been put in it ?" Guru Nanak replied, "Bhai Mardana, this was the taste of truthful earning which you tasted. This taste is above the taste of worldly delicacies."

On the third day, when Guru Nanak started to leave, Bhai Lalo requested Guru Nanak to stay on for a month. One day Malik Bhago, a high government official of the city, gave a general feast. He invited Guru Nanak to the feast. Guru Nanak declined the invitation saying, "We are fakirs, What have we to do with your feast ?" on receiving the second request from Malik Bhago, Guru Nanak took Bhai Lalo with him and went to Malik Bhago's residence. Malik Bhago said to Guru Nanak in great anger, "You are dishonouring Kshatris by eating dry chapaties in the house of a low caste carpenter. I invited you to this feast which offers delicious food. why are you refusing to eat this ?"

In order to make Malik Bhago understand, Guru Nanak took Bhai Lalo's dry chapati in his right hand and Malik Bhago's fried sweet cake in his left hand. When he pressed the right hand fist pointing it towards the poor, people saw that drops of milk of honest labour were dripping from it. When Guru Nanak pressed the fried sweet cake held in his left hand and pointed it towards the rich, the onlookers saw blood trickling from it.

Guru Nanak said, "Look Malik Bhago, wealth accumulated by cruelty towards the poor is like sucking their blood. Money collected retained the blood of the poor. you had invited me to partake of blood,leaving food pure as milk. How could I accept it ?" Hearing this Malik Bhago fell silent.

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