The Divine Work : Guru Ram Das Ji

Of all the people who came to visit Guru Ram Das one was Bhai Gurdas, who was a noted scholar and poet of the times. When he m< * the Guru he was struck by his simplicity ana humility, and so immediately offered his services to him. Guru Ram Das too, in the course of their meetings, realised that Bhai Gurdas was not only very pious and sincere, but also a staunch devotee.

When Bhai Gurdas begged the Guru to

formally make him a Sikh and bless him, the Guru was very pleased. He not only accepted Bhai Gurdas into his fold, but also entrusted him with a task. He asked Bhai Gurdas to leave for Agra and take care of the spiritual needs of the Sikhs there on his behalf. He explained the daily routine that he wanted all the Sikhs in Agra to follow.

As per the usual routine in his dharamsala all the men were to rise early in the morning, and take a dip in the holy waters to rid themselves of all sins. Then they were to recite verses from the holy scriptures, and repeat God’s name in every activity that they undertook, however big or small it would be.

He also added that God would be kind to those who performed their duties well. With these instructions he blessed Bhai Gurdas, and asked him to take up the holy responsibility as soon as possible. Bhai Gurdas not only felt honoured, but also blessed for being entrusted with such a responsible duty. He touched the Guru’s feet, and went forth on his spiritual mission to Agra.

It had been a long time since Guru Ram Das visited his home town, Chuna Mandi, in Lahore. He decided to take sometime out and meet his parents. When the news of his arrival reached the people in Lahore they thronged the roads to welcome the ‘Saccha Badshah’ or True King as they called him. He was overjoyed to meet all those people he had known as a child. For the few days that he was there he got all the Sikhs together for the daily prayers and meditation. It was then that he decided to build a dharamsala there, so that all Sikhs could assemble together daily for prayers. He also wanted to start the free langar like in Goindwal, since it was one of the things that Guru Nanak really wanted for his devotees. He thought a lot about it, and ‘finally, decided to convert his ancestral house “into a dharamsala. All the Sikhs in Lahore were really pleased with his decision, and they thanked the Guru heartily for it.

Soon the house was converted into a

dharamsala, and now Guru Ram Das was

prepared to leave for Amritsar where the construction work was still in progress. Since he could not stay any longer he entrusted the maintenance of the dharamsala to the Sikhs of Lahore till he got somebody else to take care of it. At the time of departure all the people came to him for his blessings, and fondly bade him farewell.

Meanwhile, the work on the tank went on in full swing. People came from far and near to help the Guru with the work. There was no dearth of volunteers, but Guru Ram Das realised that they needed hired labour to hasten up the work. He also realised that they needed more funds for it. So he sent his agents to a ll parts of the country to collect funds for the holy tank, and for the langar or free kitchen which was so much a part of the Sikh tradition .

These agents, known as masands, left for their duties assigned to them by their beloved Guru, after seeking his blessings. They went to different cities, towns and villages to collect funds. When the people came to know that these were Guru Ram Das’s agents they contributed willingly. There were many who wanted to see the Guru in person, but due to some problem or the other they could not. So, they donated whatever they could, feeling partly content that if they could not meet the Guru they could at least participate in his holy work in some way. There were even people who sold some items from their house to contribute to the masands. Some women even donated their jewellery to be able to add to the funds. They considered it as an honour to be able to do something for their Guru. So, after traversing many places the masands finally returned to the Guru with more funds than they had even anticipated.

Guru Ram Das was very pleased not just with the funds collected but also with the fact that the people held the holy tank in such reverance. He felt that the people were finally united for a common cause. He was also touched by their devotion to him and blessed all those who had contributed, however little the amount may be. With this money the Guru hired professional labourers, as a result of which the construction work speeded up remarkably.