A Mirror for the Guru
[This story is believed to be true. It is more than 300 years old. I heard it last month from an 80-year-old Sikh blacksmith who still earns his daily bread by using his ‘ten nails’, i.e. his own old and worn fingers. Ironically nails from most of them have been worn off. But he is always cheerful and has a story for me every time I visit him. He lives in a town called Taran Taran in Punjab. I go there once in two years to visit my cousins.]
Guru Gobind Singh was organizing an army to fight the Afghan rulers of Punjab whose oppression against the Hindu native population had become unbearable. To seek popular support in the form of money and men he traveled from town to town and personally explained his mission. He asked that each family give their eldest son. People had such faith in him that they gave both quite generously.
One day the Guru was camping in a small town called Haripur. People came from villages all around the town for the Guru’s darshan and blessings. All of them brought big or small gifts. There were tiny individual gifts as well as large expensive offerings made by communities and villages. Every evening the gifts were examined by a committee of prominent disciples and stored according to their value and use.
One day the committee found among the gifts a cheap small pocket mirror. They wondered who might have brought such a gift and for what reason. Some suspected a prank at its back.
On making enquiries they found that it was a gift given on behalf of a village named Talwandi Sabo and its leaders were still in Haripur. A report was sent to Guru Gobind Singh complaining that people of a village had tried to insult him and the entire Sikh community. Guruji called a meeting and summoned the accused to explain their behavior.
The leader of the village humbly explained: “Guruji, we hold you in highest reverence. We would never even dream of insulting you or anyone in the Sikh community. We are very poor, but we wanted to bring a gift as we came. Since it was difficult for us to decide what to bring we asked a saadh (a hermit) who lives in our village. He suggested that a mirror would be a good gift.”
The saadh was summoned and asked to give an explanation. He said, “Sir, these people had so little money to spare that I did not have much choice. I thought that on using the mirror to tie your turban every morning you would think of these villagers and bless them. I am sure that with this their luck would improve.”
Everyone, including Guru Gobind Singh, was impressed. The humble gift was gracefully accepted. Both the villagers and the saadh benefited immensely in their separate pursuits, for the Guru did indeed bless them every morning.
May 10, 2008
I have seen this mirror in Talwandi Sabo Sikh Grudwara in Punjab and Gurusahib gave blessings by saying that this mirror will cure the paralytics whose face gets twisted due to disease and I saw people getting cured after sitting in front of the mirror and chewing chana, parched chick peas. Regards. Uday
Captive Brave, a translation of Bandi Bir by Rabindranath Tagore
On the banks of the Five Rivers,
Braided hair upon their heads,
Day by day awakes the Sikh nation,
Inspired by their Guru's words-
Relentless and unafraid.
"Victory to Guruji" resounds far and near
Proclaimed by a thousand voices.
Newly arisen Sikhs gaze
At the sun of the new dawn
" Alakh Niranjan" – their great cry arises
All bonds broken,
All fear dispelled.
Swords ring out in high exultation
Held next their hearts
Punjab today cries out
" Impeccable Invisible God".
Such a day comes-
Their hearts without care
Hundred thousands know no fear
Neither know burdens of debt
Life and death are alike
Servants at their feet.
Such a day has come
Around the ten banks of the Five Rivers.
At the pinnacle of his Delhi citadel,
What interrupts the slumber
Of the great Emperor-
Whose voices are churning the heavens
Severing the deepest darkness?
Whose torches are lighting the fire
Upon the firmament's brow?
On the banks of the Five Rivers
A hundred thousand breasts torn
The waves of blood run free at last
From the mass of the faithful.
Scores of souls like birds
Fly toward their nests.
With their blood do the bravehearts draw
The sacred sign upon their Mother's brow.
Best wishes and much love,