Once Guru Sahib and Bhai Mardana jee were travelling through a jungle. Bhai Mardana was feeling home-sick and asked Guru Sahib to go home but Guru Sahib asked him to wait a little longer. Bhai Mardana could not wait any longer and insisted on leaving right away. When Bhai Mardana persisted, Guru Sahib told him to go if he wanted to.
Guru Sahib sat there in the thick forest and went in smadhi. On the other hand, Bhai Mardana who was heading home, got trapped in a trap set by a carnivorous human – Kauda Raakash. Kauda Raakash was said to a very cruel person and ate human flesh. He used to kill humans and eat them.
When Kauda Raakash saw Bhai Mardana, he was very happy to see a healthy young man trapped. He tied Bhai Mardana jee’s legs and arms and brought him to his cave. There he had a big pan (karaahee) with oil in it. He used to fry them alive.
Now as Bhai Mardana was trapped, he realized his mistake of not listening to Guru Sahib. He now sat there and started calling out to Guru Sahib for help.
Guru Nanak Sahib who was jaani-jaan (all knowing) heard the plead of Bhai Mardana and reached the spot where Bhai Mardana was tied. He was behind the bushes and saw the frightened face of Bhai Mardana jee. He whispered, “Kyon Mardaniya, ghar nahi giya?” (So Mardana, why did you not go home).
Bhai Mardana was thrilled to see Guru Sahib arrive. At the same time he pleaded with Guru jee to forgive him. He begged Guru Sahib to release him.
By this time, Kauda Raakash came out and lifted Bhai Mardana jee to throw him in the huge kaRaahee full of boiling oil. Bhai Mardana jee started screaming and pleading to Guru Sahib but Guru Sahib kept quiet and just smiled. Kauda Raakash had not noticed Guru Sahib by this time.
Just as he was about to throw Bhai Mardana jee in the pan, Guru Sahib came out and asked Kauda Rakash to stop. Kauda Rakash was shocked to see someone there and defiantly refused to do so. As he looked at the face of Guru Sahib, he broke inside. Still he kept his composure and tried to threaten Guru Sahib.
Guru Sahib had come to rescue Kauda Raakash from this terribly sinful life he had. He showered Kauda Rakash with his divine grace. Kauda Rakash felt something very strange inside him but still his haume (ego) was not letting him obey an unarmed harmless looking person. He unwillingly threw Bhai Mardanajee in the pan full of hot burning oil.
Bhai Mardana jee screamed but did not feel anything. Kauda Raakash was surprised when he noticed that the oil in the pan was at normal temperature. He immediately knew that it was the work of Guru Nanak Sahib.
Guru ji said “Kauda! You do not see what you do. You have gone blind. Why do you want to cast yourself in the burning fire of hell?”
Kauda, whose conscience was dead with heinous crimes, suddenly came to realization and was overwhelmed with repentance. Guru ji said, “Give up your cruel way of life. Take a vow not to harm anyone. Be kind and merciful. Help and serve others.”
The very gracious and holy sight of the Divine Master made Kauda realize his guilt and he fell on the feet of the Master once again and prayed for mercy. The gracious Master blessed him with Naam. (“God’s Name”).
Guru ji told him, “Always remember God. Repeat His name. Earn your bread with honest work. Share your earnings with others. Do all this yourself and teach others of your tribe to do the same.”
Kauda promised to live and act as advised by the Guru. From a killer and eater of men he became a servant and teacher of men. He was a completely changed person and thereafter lived as a devout disciple of the Guru as a completely honest worshipper of God.
At this time, he could not resist anymore and dashed at the lotus feet of Guru Sahib.
Guru Sahib did more kirpa and with the touch of Guru Sahib’s feet, Kauda Rakash’s sins washed away and he realized how bad he had been. He begged for Jeevan-daat. He begged before Guru Sahib for mercy.
Guru Sahib knew that Kauda Raakash was feeling genuine remorse. He lifted him up and gave him Amrit Naam. Guru Sahib blessed Kauda Raakash and instructed him to do parchaar of Sikhi and open a Dharamshala (Gurdwara) in his area.