Setha, Gobinda and Bhaga were three rich merchants. They lived at Chaniot – a small town in Pakistan. All the three brothers were Hindus and the offered Sharadhs every year. They gave corn, clothes and coins to the Brahmans as Dakshana (offering). Sometimes they wondered if all these things were really reached their forefathers in the next world. One day they came to Guru Arjan to find out his views about the Sharadhs and Dakshana.
“O Guru,” said Gobinda “We give Dakshana to the Brahmans in the name of our dear forefathers every year. Tell us whether all this reaches our forefathers or not?” “No man can tell whether your forefathers are in heaven or hell.” said the Guru smilingly. “No one can tell which Brahman will go to heaven and which to hell? Stop thinking about such things and stop offering Sharadhs. Work hard, tell the truth, help others and remember God.”
The three brothers agreed to act upon the Guru’s advice and were satisfied, but there was another man, named Chuhar, who couldn’t understand the Guru’s advice. He said “Sir, how can a merchant like myself and people like Gobinda always speak the truth? Merchants have to tell many lies between sunrise and sunset every day.”
“Go back to your village, Chuhar,” said the Guru. “Do your trading and try to act upon my advice. Everyday count your lies and good deeds, write them down on a piece of paper and show me that paper at the end of every month.” Chuhar agreed to act upon the Guru’s advice and went away.
From that day onwards. Chuhar counted and wrote down his lies and good deeds on a piece of paper. At the end of a month he came with it and showed it to the Guru The Guru asked him to read it out to the Sikhs and Chuhar did so. He had done no good deeds and had told a number of lies. He felt small and thought that he should have done better. The Guru however smiled and said, “Chuhar, leave your paper here and keep on trying.”
At the end of the second month, Chuhar had really done some good deeds and had told fewer lies. And so it went on. At the end of the eighth month, Chuhar’s lies and good deeds were added up. This showed that although he had done only a few good deeds, he had told no lies. Everybody was surprised. Guru Arjan said, “All advice falls flat on those who never think of acting upon it. People have been listening to good advice for thousands of years. The important thing is to act upon it. Cart-loads of books and all the learning in the world are of no use if we do not care to follow them.”
All the Sikhs understood the Guru’s advice and promised to act upon it.
“As a child is satisfied by drinking milk;
As a poor man is happy on finding wealth;
As a thirsty man is refreshed by drinking water;
So is my soul happy with God.” (Guru Arjan)
“To forget God is death;
To meditate on His Name is life.
Nanak, God is found in the company of the saints.”(Guru Arjan)