Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Duni Chand

Guru Nanak was the first Guru of the Sikhs. He was also the founder of the Sikh religion. He travelled far and wide. Once he visited Lahore.Lahore is a big town in Paki­stan. A very rich man named Duni Chand lived there. He was so rich that he had seven million rupees. To show his riches, he had put seven flags on his house. On the day when the Guru arrived, he was giving a sharadh. A sharadh is a big feast which the Hindus offer to the Brahmans.

They think that whatever they give to the Brahmans after the feast, reaches their dead forefathers in the next world. They pre­pare the best food and give away fine clothes and money to the Brahmans on this day. They call it Dakshana. Duni Chand had invited many Brahmans and saints on the Sharadh of his father. He invited Guru Nanak too.

Guru Nanak sat down on one side. He told Duni Chand that he would like to wait till the Brahmans had eaten their food. Duni Chand agreed to this and gave a very fine feast, offering money and clothes to the Brahmans as Dakshana. He believed that all this would reach his dead father. When the Brahmans had gone, Duni Chand asked the Guru to have some food. The Gum gave a smile.

"Duni Chand," he said, "Do you think that your father is no longer hungry? Have your gifts reached him?"

"Yes, sir," said Duni Chand. "The Brahmans have eaten so much that my father needs no more food for at least a year He also has enough money and clothes to last for one year."

"Duni Chand," said the Guru laughing, "The Brahmans ate food; they will sell the clothes and spend all the money. I cannot understand how it can reach your dead father."

"You are right, sir," said Duni Chand, "You cannot understand it, neither can I. But it's God's will. The Brahman tells us so and we all believe it. I thought you were a Brahman and knew about it, but I am glad I didnt, waste my food on you."

You did the right thing, Duni Chand said the Guru, "I not carry your food to your father and that's why I did like to let your food go to waste. You may feast the Brahmans in any way you like. I myself don't need any food I would be pleased if you would do me another favour instead."

"Yes, gladly," replied Duni Chand.

"Here is a sewing needle," said the Guru. "Keep it with you- use it if you like. I would like you to give my needle back to me in the next world when we meet after death."

Duni Chand did not quite understand the Guru and said, "How can I carry this needle with me when I die?"

"If an old Brahman can carry enough clothes, food and money to last for a whole year, not only for your father but also for many others," said the Guru, "I wonder why this small needle should seem too heavy for you to carry! If the Brahmans refuse to do this work, how will you take all your money, horses, gold and other costly things into the next world?"

The idea went home to Duni Chand. He asked for the Guru's advice. "Duni Chand," said the Guru, "Work hard, share your earnings with the needy and remember God. Don t worry about your dead forefathers."

"That's what I already do Sir" , said Duni Chand. "I have hundreds of servants who work for me. I give alot of money and clothes to Brahmans and holy men who come and sing hymns in my house".

"This is not the way to do it, Duni Chand" said the Guru.

"Give away all your money to the poor and the needy. You haven't earned it by honest labour. Start going to your farm. Work hard among your servants. Whatever you eam in this way, share equally among all the workers. Then from your own share give away as much as you can in charity. Look upon your servants as brothers and love everybody. Sit among them when you find time and sing God's praises. This is the true way. Duni Chand. One can expect to receive in the next world only that, which one earns by honest labour and gives away in charity to the needy in this world."

Duni Chand understood the Guru's advice. He gave up his princely life and started working with his own hands. His wife also did the same. Duni Chand's house became a temple where rich and poor, black and white, high and low, all sang songs of God. Duni Chand and his wife became the Guru's followers and helped many others to follow the Guru's Way.

"Work hard and share your earnings with the needy Nanak; thus shall you find the way to God's grace."

Acknowledgement: http://tuhitu.blogspot.com/

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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