Bhai Lehna began living at Kartarpur. Soon he succeeded in attaching himself to Nanak’s personal staff.
A very interesting anecdote about his early days with Nanak shows how by his hard work and humility, he succeeded in making himself indispensable to Guru Nanak.
One day, Guru Nanak had collected three bundles of grass for his cows and buffaloes.
But since the grass was wet and dripping with mud, his disciples and sons refused to carry the bundles. When Bhai Lehna reached there, and was informed of his Guru’s wish, he picked up the bundles and placed them on his head. On the way, the mud dripping from the wet grass soiled his new clothes. When they reached home the Guru’s wife, Mata
Sulakhani, on seeing Bhai Lehna’s state asked Guru Nanak if it was proper of him to have asked a new disciple to carry these muddy bundles. The Guru replied that God put bundles on the head of the man who was fit to carry them. His wife, not understanding the hidden meaning, pointed towards his clothes which were soiled with mud. The Guru replied, “This is not mud, it is the saffron of God’s court/’
When Mata Sulakhani turned to look at his dress again, she was dumbfounded.
Instead of the muddy smudge’s, there were saffron spots spread all over Bhai Lehna’s robe. What had seemed so dirty and wet, a little while ago, now looked like a holy dress with saffron colour all over it. When she looked questioningly towards Guru Nanak, he smiled at her and explained that the three bundles he had asked his sons to carry were no ordinary bundles. They represented the spiritual, the temporal and the stewardship of the Sikhs. But his sons had haughtily refused to carry those bundles for fear of spoiling their clothes. They has disobeyed him for purely selfish reasons, while Bhai Lehna had carried the bundles without any hesitation at all.
Guru Nanak then told Mata Sulakhani that Bhai Lehna alone, could take on the responsibility of the guruship. *
Guru Nanak would often put his sons and all his devotees to some test or another every now and then. Though he was sure that Bhai Lehna deserved to be the next Guru, he wanted the others to see for themselves why he had made that choice. Personally, he was very fond of Bhai Lehna and knew that he possessed all the qualities he had wanted in a son. But he was also aware that his family would react very negatively to his decision to make Bhai Lehna the next Guru. And so, he gave them ample opportunity to see why he preferred Bhai Lehna to his sons.
On one occassion, Guru Nanak woke up in the middle of the night to send for his sons and Bhai Lehna. He then picked up a few of his soiled clothes and asked his sons to wash them. He told them that his clothes were dirty and that he needed them for his prayers the next morning.
Hearing this, both his sons expressed their displeasure and irritation at being woken up in the middle of the night for such a trivial task. They adviced him to wear something else in the morning, instead of troubling them over something so unimportant. But the Guru insisted that they be washed just then. At this, his sons got irritated and made an excuse that there was no water in the house.
One of them said that even if they did wash it the clothes would never dry by morning. But the Guru would not hear a word of it. He persisted with his demands, but his sons shrugged saying that they would send it to the washerman the next morning. That was the last word on the matter.
The Guru then approached Bhai Lehna and asked him to wash the clothes. Bhai Lehna immediately picked up the clothes and, without another word, made his way to the river. Guru Nanak smiled while his sons shook their heads and went back to sleep. The next morning, Bhai Lehna presented the clothes, all nicely washed, dried and well ironed, to the Guru who wore it to the morning prayers. He blessed Bhai Lehna for his devotion, while his sons looked on in a disinterested manner.
On another occasion, Guru Nanak asked his sons to repair a wall of his house which had collapsed. The sons refused saying that it was not their job to build or repair walls.
Lehna, who was standing nearby, offered to do it. He started building the wall. When he was half way through, the Guru told him that it was not straight. He demolished it and began building it again. Again the Guru showed his dissatisfaction, and Lehna started building it again for the third time. This carried on for some time. Each time Lehna started from scratch. When the Guru’s sons tried to discourage him, he replied, “A servant must do his master’s work. It is for the master to decide what work he should assign to his servant.”
Gradually, Bhai Lehna became a personal attendant of the Guru, and did all his tasks with a great deal of zeal and dedication. This earned him his Guru’s love, and the envy of other disciples.
The Guru slowly began a systematic trial of his followers’ devotion. And, on every occasion, Lehna proved to be a true devotee and a worthy disciple of the Guru. However, the Guru’s sons grew jealous of him, and started showing their dislike openly.
Probably, the Guru sensed it and that is why he asked Lehna to return for some time to his family in Khadur. Having spent three years with the Guru he felt a little sad at leaving. But Guru Nanak consoled him saying, “I myself lived in Khadur once in the house of Satbharai. My bed is still there. Thou shalt behold me in Khadur as if thou wert near me.”
When he arrived home, almost everybody went to pay homage to him.
The Guru came to visit Bhai Lehna at Khadur. He and his wife welcomed the Guru and served him well. The Guru gave his discourses here, and left him spiritually wiser.
After the Guru departed for Kartarpur, Lehna regularly recited the prayers taught to him. Soon his hopes, desires and worldly love vanished, and he began to centre his attention and devotion on God.
Knowing Bhai Lehna’s devotion to him, the Guru paid him a visit again.