Once, during his travels, Guru Nanak reached Hardwar. A religious fair was being held there at that time.
Thousands of Hindus had gathered there. The Guru saw a large number of people bathing in the sacred river.
Standing in the river, they were throwing water to the east. They believed that uie water would reach their dead forefathers.
The Guru did not believe in such things. He believed that what they did was wrong. He decided to make them see this. So, he stepped into the Ganga.
He began to throw water to the west.
He did it with both his hands. This act was very strange. Nobody had ever done such a thing before.
People began to gather around him.
They all laughed and shouted at him.
He pajd no heed to them. He went on They all laughed at him
thrpwing water to the west. One of them held him by the arm, and said ‘Why are you throwing water to the west ?’
The Guru said, ‘Why do you throw water to the east ?’
‘Don’t you know that?’ shouted many of them at once. ‘We throw water to our dead forefathers. It will reach them. They need it very much.’
The Guru said, ‘Where do your forefathers live ? How far off is the place from here ?’
They replied, ‘They are millions of kilometeres away. The water thrown towards the rising sun will reach them.’
‘That is good news,’ said the Guru.
‘Let me complete my work. Let me water my crops. They must be drying for want of water.’
Saying this, he began to throw water to the west more eagerly and more quickly. The people began to laugh and shout still more loudly. They said, ‘Where are your crops ? Where are your fields ?’
The Guru replied. They are in the Punjab. They need water while I am away. I felt sad to think that they might dry and die. But then I saw you throwing water to the east with one hand. I was told that it would reach your forefathers, living millions of kilometers, away. This gave me an idea. Let me water my fields, I thought.
I began to throw water in their direction.
I used both hands. Two hands can throw more water than one. It will reach them. They will become green.
You have shown me a very good way of watering my fields. Thank you ! Let me complete my work, please.’
He was about to begin again. But they all shouted, ‘How simple you are ! The water thrown by you falls back into the river. Don’t you see that ? How can it reach your fields ?’
The Guru replied, 4 How wise you are ! Your forefathers are millions of kilometers away. They are not even on this earth. The water thrown by you also falls back into the river. Yet you say that it will reach your forefathers.
My fields are on this very earth, in this very country. They are only a few hundred kilometres away. Why should not the water thrown by’ me reach those fields ? If your water can reach your forefathers, my water can surely reach my fields.’
The people had nothing more to say.
They felt that the Guru was right. They admitted their error. They begged him to give them more good advice. He explained to them the three golden rules of his religion. He told them how to live and act as good, honest, truthful and God-fearing men. Then he said, 4 What you give to the poor, out of your honest earnings, will go with you to the next world.’
They all bowed their heads. They promised to live and act as advised by him.