Guru Nanak worked as a cattle grazier for some time. Then he gave up that work. He was again free to do what he liked and to go where he pleased. He walked about in the forest for a good. part of the day. Sometimes, he met three sadhus and fakirs (holly men). He held talks with them. His talks were about God.
Mehta Kalu did not like this at all. He thought that his son was wasting his time. He wanted him to do some useful work. He wanted him to earn money.
So, one day he said to him, ‘Nanak, you are now a lad off fifteen. Soon you will have to marry. You will have a family. You will need money to support that family. But you do nothing to earn money. You should begin to earn. I shall tell you what to do. I shall give you some money. You must go to another town and use the money to make a good bargain. Next time, I shall give you a much bigger sum. Don’t lose it. Spend it in making some good bargains. Do you like the idea? Will you obey me?
Guru Nanak replied, ‘Dear father, I like the idea. I shall obey you. I shall make a good bargain with the money.’ Mehta Kalu gave him a sum of twenty rupees. It was not at all a small sum. Twenty silver rupees of those days would be equal to more than a thousand rupees to day. So Guru Nanak was given quite a large sum.
Guru Nanak got ready to start. A servant, named Bhai Bala, was to go with him. The two set out towards a town nearby. Its name was Chucharkana. In three or four hours they reached the town. They noticed a group of sahus sitting in a grove of shady trees. Guru Nanak was fond of sadhus. He liked to meet and talk with one of the sadhus in the grove. He learnt that they were hungry. For four long days they had eaten no food at all.
Guru Nanak had a kind heart. He felt pity for them. He said to himself, ‘To feed these hungry men of God will be a very good bargain.’ So he decided to feed them. Balu advised him not do so. He said, ‘Your father will not like. He did not give you the money for this purpose. He will be angry with you, if you spend his money in this way.’
‘But,’ said Guru Nanak, ‘he told me to make a good bargain with the money. I shall spend it in feeding these hungry holy men. That will be a good bargain. God will be pleased with it. My father, too, will like it very much. I feel sure of that, ‘
So, he and Bala went to Chuckarkana nearby. There he bought flour, pules, salt and other articles of food. He spent the whole sum of twenty rupees in that way.
Those articles of food had to be taken to the shady grove. Guru Nanak hired a cart for that purpose. The articles of food were loaded in that hired cart. They were taken to the grove of shady trees. There they were handed over to the hungry holy men. They were sufficient to feed them for many days.
The holy men made a hearty meal. They broke their four days’ fast. ‘God bless you, dear child,’ said they. ‘You have been kind to us. May God be kind to you! May he make you happy and great.’
He then started homewards. Bala was with him. By sunset they had almost reached Talwandi. Guru Nanak thought of his father. He said to himself, ‘Father loves money. He might not like my good bargain. He might be angry with me. I should keep away from him for some time.’
Near the village there was a big, tall, shady tree. Its branches touched the ground on all sides. It thus formed a sort of tent. Guru Nanak decided to pass the night under that tent. That tree is till there. It is called Tambu Sahib or the Sacred Tent. There is a Gurdwara at the place. It is called Tambu Sahib.
Guru Nanak told Bala to go home. The following morning, Baba Kalu heard of Bala’s return. He sent for him. Bala told him the whole story. Baba Kalu became very angry. He went out in haste. He soon reached the tree under which his son was hiding. He dragged him out from under the tree. He began to slap him, right and left.
‘You have wasted my money,’ he said, again and again, in great anger.
Guru Nanak’s cheeks became red because of the hard slaps. He bore the beating of the hard slaps. He bore the beating bravely and calmly. Soon his sister, Nanki, came running to the place. She placed herself between her father and her brother. Thus she made her father stop beating her brother.
But the beating did not make Guru Nanak angry or sad. He was quite happy in spite of the beating. He had done a good deed. He had fed the hungry. He had helped the poor. He had done this in the name of God. What if he was beaten for it? He was happy at the good bargain which he had made.
We should always remember the good bargain made by Guru Nanak. We, too, should try to do good to others. We should all help those who need our help. We should all help those who need our help. We should be kind to the poor. We should feed the hungry. We should clothe the naked. We should look after those who are ill. This good work may cause some trouble to us, but we should not lose heart. We should not be sad over it. We should think of Guru Nanak and his good bargain.