Malik Bhago and Bhai Lalo
“Taking the rights of others pollutes the mind.
Always be honest, ever be kind.”
Once Guru Nanak Dev stayed with Bhai Lalo ( a devotee) when he began his preaching missions. Bhai Lalo was a carpenter who earned his living honestly by working hard all day. The local village official was a corrupt person. He was known as Malik Bhago. One day he invited every resident of the village to a feast, so he could make a good image with the people. Guru Nanak Dev declined to go to the feast. Special messengers were sent to bring him. Bhago offered delicious food to the Guru and in response to his offer, waited for good words from him but Guru Nanak Dev, rather than blessing Malik Bhago declined to accept any food from him. Bhago was surprised to hear a refusal for the delicious food and he immediately asked the reason for the refusal.
The Guru told him that the food that Malik Bhago considered to be tasty and sweet was, in fact, made from blood of the poor. Malik Bhago had been extracting money from the people, instead of living on his honest earnings. Bhago was very much embarrassed by the bold and frank comments of the Guru. Everyone else appreciated the truth spoken fearlessly by Guru Nanak Dev. Bhago could not deny the allegations. Good sense prevailed and Malik Bhago confessed his guilt. He requested to be pardoned for his past deeds and promised to live a true and honest life in the future.
Guru Nanak Dev told the gathering there that only honestly earned food, such as that of Bhai Lalo, tastes good and sweet like milk. All dishonest earnings are like the blood of the innocent. If drops of blood fall on a cloth, it becomes dirty. How can the mind of a person who lives on the blood of the helpless people remain pious and clean?
Such was the effect of Guru Nanak’s piety and personality that people did visualize blood in Malik Bhago’s delicious dinner and milk in Bhai Lalo’s frugal meal.