Once, a disciple came to meet Guru Har Rai, the seventh Sikh Guru. A devout, hard-working family man, this disciple looked sad and distraught. When the Guru asked him what was the matter, the man said that for many years he had been thinking of giving up worldly duties to take up the Guru’s service.
THE VOICE WITHIN
“I had groomed my eldest son to take over family responsibilities. But he died recently, leaving my hopes for leading a spiritual life shattered. What shall I do now?”
“How many members are left in your family?” asked the Guru.
“Five, O Master — I, my wife, two sons and a daughter.”
“Well, if you wish to work for your salvation, you should start now.”
“But how will my family survive without me? The children are still young. Whatever I earn is needed to feed us all!”
For a few moments, Guru Har Rai remained silent. He then sent the disciple on an errand, saying: “Take this letter to another Sikh of mine. Make sure he reads all the instructions within before you come back.”
So the other Sikh read the letter, where it was written: “Dear brother, hold this man captive in your house. Make sure he does not leave your sight for the next six months. Take care of all his needs, treat him kindly and with respect. Release him thereafter.”
The Guru’s instruction was carried out. His message bearer was locked up. Crying out to his captor that his family would starve without him, the man implored to be released. But the captor wouldn’t relent, consoling him: “Forgive me, my brother, but I can’t let you leave for six months. That is what Guruji’s letter said. Have faith in him.”
Mystified, the disciple nevertheless spent his time meditating on the Guru’s lotus feet. On being let out at the end of six months, he rushed home, fearing the worst. Instead, he was relieved to see his family hale and hearty.
After the joyful reunion, the man’s wife explained: “When you were gone suddenly, we worried a great deal. But we maged to survive, because all our neighbors pitched in to provide food. The entire village stood by us. Our sons found jobs, I and our daughter took up sewing work. We are all earning now!”
The man understood. He had kept faith in his Guru. Despite his enforced absence, God provided for his family. In fact, they were flourishing! With all doubts gone and his mind filly at rest, he now joined his Guru for the spiritual journey ahead.
— the harbinger