The Guru had returned from Basoli and Bhabaur. Ajmer Chand hadsent to the Guru’s darbar a Brahmin called Pamma, apparently in thecapacity of an ambassador, but, really as a spy. One day, at the instanceof his master, Pamma requested the Guru to go to Rawalsar, where allHill-Chiefs would gather or. the occasion of the Baisakhi festival. Itwould be an excellent opportunity, he added, for heart-to-heart talksand establishment of peaceful relations.
The Guru, who was ever anxious for peace, did as requested. Thiswas in the Samvat 1758-59. For several days the Guru and the Hill-Chiefsremained at Rawalsar. He exhorted them to join forces with his Khalsain order to free their land from the foreigners’ galling yoke. But theydeclined to run any such risks. One day a Sikh brought to the Guru anumber of weapons of his own make. There was a two-barrelled gunamong them. The Rajas greatly admired the weapons and the skill oftheir maker. The Guru loaded the gun and said, ‘Let a Sikh stand at adistance of a hundred yards. I want 10 see whether the gun can shoota mar. so far off.’
Several Sikhs rushed to serve as the target for the gun, each tryingto be in the front. On seeing this struggle, the Guru said, ‘Well, let all ofyou stand in a line where you are. Let us see through how many of youthe bullet will pass. Scores of Sikhs stood quietly in line. The Guru levelledthe gun, took aim, slowly and deliberately, and pressed the trigger. TheSikhs stood firm as a rock. The bullet passed above their heads; for theGuru had meant only to test and demonstrate their faith. The Hill-Chiefswere dumb-founded. ‘How can we’, thought the Rajas, ‘vanquish onewhose soldiers serve him with such marvellous zeal and such unquestioningfidelity ?’
Innumerable other anecdotes are preserved as illustrating the Sikhs’
wonderful devotion to the Guru. Truly, they held themselves as merepuppets in the Master’s hand, and were ever ready to lay down theirlives on sudden call all Sikhs, in all places, dedicated some of theirsons from birth to the Gum’s cause, and brought them up as his soldiers.
Such dedicated ones were trained in the use of different weapons ofoffence and defence. When they became of age, they were humblypresented to the Guru. These soldiers, who had sold themselves, lifeand soul, to the Guru for no price, vied with one another is servinghim in peace and war. We have seen how, on hearing of an impendingoutbreak of hostilities, Sikhs used to throng to the Guru from all parts,especially from Majha and Malwa. Ladies joyously sent their husbandsand sons to serve the Guru by fighting for his righteous cause. Whenthe news would come that they had served him with their lives, theladies would rejoice and thank the Almighty Father for having acceptedtheir humble offerings. Of the innumerable such anecdotes two or threeare set down here for example’s sake.
One day, an old Sikh lady came to the Guru’s darbar, weeping andbewailing. The Guru beckoned her to approach, and enquired what mishaphad reduced her to that sorry plight ‘Unbearable is the woe’, replied she,’which has fallen to my lot My husband gave himself up to thee, Master,and when he fell bravely fighting in defence of the noble cause, I thankedthe Lord for His kind acceptance of him. My two elder sons followed theexample of their father, joined the ranks of the Saint-soldiers, and, by thysupreme grace, were ferried across the ocean of births and deaths. I heardof their martyrdom and was right thankful to tltee and the Lord above.
But the third son, who has always reckoned on following his father andbrothersJies sore ill. My grief is unbounded. Ii is not that he is about todie so young that pains me; rather my woe is that such youthful strength,valour, and attainments, are about to be plucked and ruined by sickness,disease, and death. I bewail not his going, but the manner in which he isabout to be forced to go. Cure him, Master, make him thy soldier, and lethim die a saint-warrior’s death, with god and Guru in the heart, and thesword and shield in the hands. Such is my woe, and such is my prayer,my Lord”.
The Guru was greatly pleased, Go lady’, said he, ‘God will surelyaccept such noble prayers. Thy son will get well and be a hero in myarmy; She went away rejoicing that her son’s life would not be wasted.
From early youth Joga Singh was living at the Guru’s darbar ashis soldier. His parents came and begged the Guru to grant Joga Singha short holiday. His marriage could not be postponed any further.
Although war clouds were hanging on the horizon and the Guru neededevery one of his soldiers, yet he could nor refuse such a request. JogaSingh promised to return soon after the marriage.
Joga Singh had gone. An outbreak of war became imminent. TheGuru despatched a messenger to Joga Singh, charged with the messagethat Joga Singh was to leave for Anandpur at once on receipt of theword. He was informed of the Guru’s order when the marriage ceremonywas yet but half complete. He bowed before the Sacred Book andstarted, leaving the rest of the family to complete the ceremony as wellas they could.
Dignity of Labour
The Guru’s injunction to his Sikhs was to live by the sweat of theirbrows. He did not countenance mendicity. He always deprecatedanyone’s sitting idle, reading holy texts, and living on other people’searnings. Service and merit, not birth or caste, determined a Sikh’sposition at the Guru’s darbar. Persons performing such menial dutiesas those of scavengers in the Guru’s stables, and leading lives of piety,devotion, and usefulness, were held especially dear. On the other hand,persons priding themselves on high birth were reprimanded and correctedof their weakness.
Several anecdotes are current, illustrating the Guru’s attitudetowards idlers. One day he asked for water. The Sikh who usuallyperformed such personal service to the Guru was away. A Khatri youth,who was sitting close by, rose, fetched a cup of water, and offered itto him. The Guru noticed that his hands were very delicate. It appearedthat they had been carefully preserved against use, toil, or labour. ‘Well,Youth’, said the Guru,’your hands are very soft and tender. Haven’tyou ever employed them in any work, in any service?’
‘No, my lord’, replied the youth. “This is the first time that I haveused them in the service of another.’
‘Then’, said the Guru, ‘it is not meet to accept water from thesehands. They are polluted. Dead and untouchable is the body which isnot used in serving God’s people. It is not the Sikh, but his life andconduct, that is dear to me.’
The youth’s pride of high birth and privileged position got a thoroughshaking. From that moment he vowed to lead a life that became a Sikh.
To the end of his days he diligently served in the Guru’s langar.
Needless to say that he won the Guru’s pleasure.
Guru to the Rescue
One day, there came to the Guru’s darbar a man beating his breastand crying in sore distress. It transpired that he was a Brahmin ofHoshiarpur. He hed been on his way to his native city, along with hisnewly wedded wife, when a Muhammadan chief of a place called Bassihad fallen on them and forcibly taken her away. The local officials hasall refused to help a ‘kqfir’ against a ‘believer’. He had vainly soughtthe aid of leading Hill-Chiefs. They dared not offend their Muslimmasters. At last, he had come to the Guru, whom he knew to be afriend and helper of the helpless victims of high-handedness.
The Guru at one despatched Prince Ajit Singh with two hundredsoldiers. He was instructed to bring the offender and his victim to thedarbar. Ajit Singh crossed the river and fell upon the Pathan beforeday-break. The Brahmin’s wife was rescued. The haughty Pathan whohad wronged her was duly punished by the Guru. The pair went awayin great happiness, praising the Guru and his Sikhs.
On another occasion.during the course of a war, the young wifeof a Muhammadan Amir fell into the hands of a troop of the Guru’sarmy. The bearers of her palki were ordered to change their course andtake her to the guru’s darbar. When the Guru saw the palki, the firstquestion that he put to the soldiers was whether anyone had, in anyway, molested her. No, they had not even cared to lift the flap andhave a look at her. “That is right’, said he, ‘my soldiers must not raisetheir arm against a woman. She is our sister. Even in war, the Khalsamust not lose sight of its lofty ideals.’ She was taken to the ladies’
apartments. Particulars about her home etc. were ascertained. She wasthen conducted to her place. Let the reader pause and imagine whatwould have been the fate of a Hindu of Sikh lady, if she had, even intimes of peace, thus fallen into the hands of Muhammadan soldiers ofthat time.