Originally from Se Kinehiya Biography of Sant Harnam Singh Ji.
I believe this is the ultimate reality
ONE GETS THE FRUITS OF THE COMPANY WE KEEP
Around 1970 a lady by the name of Joginder Kaur came to Baba Ji. The lady appealed to Baba Ji, “My parent’s village in Ramtatwali near Dholwaha in Hoshiarpur and my in laws are from the nearby village of Gondpur. I have a younger brother who is disabled. He cannot hear or speak properly or communicate his needs to others. His legs are crooked and he is unable to walk properly due to pains in his legs. He is also mentally subnormal. When I was at home, I would look after him. My mother is mentally retarded and just about manages to look after herself. Another younger brother of mine Shankar Singh has a business in Ludhiana so cannot visit often. Anyhow, a simpleton like my brother would not survive in the city. Secondly Baba Ji, the whole world, be it your brother, sister or relatives, only tolerate you when in need. After many days of deliberating, I have come to appeal at your feet. If you give permission, may I bring him to stay here at the Gurdwara? At least here, he will get a decent meal. I will come to visit every few days to check on him. “ Baba Ji enquired, “How old is your brother and what is his name?” Joginder Kaur replied, “Baba Ji he is about 40 years old. We call him by the name of Sadhu.” Baba Ji remarked to the lady “You have given him a very nice name. Moreover, Bibi Ji the Guru’s home is a refuge for the homeless, haven of strength for the powerless and honour is obtained by the dishonoured. If one does not get shelter in the Guru’s house, where else will one get refuge? Bring him here without hesitation and we will look after him as much as we can.” Hearing these encouraging words from Baba Ji, Joginder Kaur went back to her parent’s house, brought Sadhu Singh on a mule cart to the Gurdwara. Seeing Sadhu Singh walking up aided by others Baba Ji said, “So you’ve come to stay my good man? Baba Ji fed him langar and gave him something to drink. When Sadhu Singh had eaten about 8 chapattis an attendant, Bhai Amar Singh, who served langar asked Baba Ji, ”This self absorbed person goes on eating and eating. He keeps on 255 wolfing down all that I serve him. I am worried that he will fall ill.” Baba Ji smiled, ”It doesn’t matter. Keep feeding him if he wants more. If his hunger cannot be satisfied in the Guru’s house, where else can his hunger be satiated? This time make sure he gets to eat his fill, whatever happens later we’ll see to it.” Bhai Sadhu Singh ate another four or five chapattis finally raising his hands in appreciation and was very pleased. His sister sat a little while longer and then left for her village. Everyday when Baba Ji would recite his Sukhmani Sahib after Nitnem he would send a Singh to fetch Sadhu Singh. Baba Ji would seat Sadhu Singh beside himself whilst Baba Ji read the prayers. Sadhu Singh would remain seated the whole time whether he heard the prayers or not. After a few days, Baba Ji gave him a rosary of his own and showed him how to count it. He then turned to Sadhu and said aloud in his ear, “Keep saying Waheguru, Waheguru all the while that you are sat with me.” Baba Ji showed Sadhu Singh how to progress one bead after another when he said “Waheguru.” Baba Ji then asked, “Did you understand what I told you?” He then said, “Well ok, now show me how you are going to say Waheguru.” Bhai Sadhu progressed through the whole rosary saying “Wardu Wardu” because he was debilitated in speech. Baba Ji was very pleased to hear Sadhu Singh’s “Wardu, Wardu” effort at simran and again said in his ear, “Go on repeating Waheguru all day on your rosary.” Relaxing a bit Baba Ji said, “Now the matter is resolved.” In a few months, Bhai Sadhu Singh’s appetite was stable and he started to walk unaided on his own. His deafness improved, his speech was becoming clearer and more recognisable. His pronunciation of ‘wardu’ now sounded closer to Waheguru only with a little lisp in it. Whenever he got time, he would either start sweeping the floors or start weeding the fields with a hoe. Such was the grace of the Guru that in about six months he was strong as any other man and was able to dig with a spade. He would even repair any beds or cots in the Gurdwara. Whilst working he would continue to recite “Waheguru, Waheguru.” He would hear no gossip through his ear. He carried on with selfless service with his hands and constantly repeated Waheguru with his tongue. So engrossed did he become in this simran and seva that after his morning meal he would pick up his spade, hoe and shears and continuously tend the fields surrounding the Gurdwara. If he got hungry, he would come and eat, otherwise he would carry on working whilst continuously reciting Waheguru gurmantar. He would sit morning and 256 evening when Nitnem was recited whether he could hear it or not. In the second year, Baba Ji saw the service Sadhu had been carrying out and was pleased with his progress. As a result, he arranged for panj pyara’s to baptise Sadhu who had soon became Sadhu Singh. Sadhu Singh who was without refuge, after taking the shelter of the Guru obtained the dual bounty of Seva and simran, thus becoming independent; So much so, he was now a positive help to others through his endeavours of selfless service. He would tend to and plant vegetables that would be used regularly in the langar. In fact, he would make sure that seasonal vegetables were constantly available for langar. Furthermore, his constant recitation of Waheguru after his baptism was so profound that even when he was deep in sleep his voice could be heard saying Waheguru! Waheguru! Many a time, we quietly stood beside his bed and listened to his simran whilst he was sleep for up to 15-20 minutes. He would retire to bed with his rosary and whilst chanting Waheguru, would fall asleep but he would continue to recite Waheguru as he slept. We all reported this habit of chanting in his sleep to Baba Ji, who also witnessed Sadhu Singh reciting Waheguru in his sleep. Then Baba Ji turned to us and said, “This is the fruit of truly, devotionally and selflessly attaching oneself to the Lord’s feet. This is because he does his simran all day whilst performing seva without taking any rewards in return. Morning and evening, he tries to listen to Nitnem. He neither listens to gossip through his ears nor slanders anyone by needlessly talking to anyone. His simple-minded aim to recite gurmantar has borne fruit. His mind is not troubled by doubt as to whether one should or should not do simran or what benefit will I gain from simran? He was just told he should say Waheguru; this is what is best for you and he accepted it without any doubt. Those words he accepted without reservation, burying them deeply in his mind and all you see now are the fruits of that labour. What has Guru Ji has ordered:
Whether standing sitting or sleeping Meditate thou on the Lord Walking on the way, Sing thou the praise of the Lord master oothat baithat sovat Dhi-aa-ee-ai. maarag chalat haray har gaa-ee-ai. ||1|| (Asa 5th Guru, page 386) To repeat the name says Nanak, 257 Is ever whilst standing, sitting and sleeping The vocation of God’s slave oothat baithat sovat naam. kaho naanak jan kai sad kaam. ||6|| (Gauri Sukhmani 5th Guru, page 286)
Some people doubt whether a man can recite simran even when he is deep in sleep. You can see for yourself that his body is asleep but his tongue is reciting simran. What better example does one need than to witness this deed with your own eyes. If he carries on as he is now and his mind does not wander or waver, then you can be sure he will win the game of life. The bounty of simran of God’s name has cured his ailments. His ears can hear much better and he can speak much more clearly. Time went by and Sadhu Singh remained absorbed in the dual tasks of seva and simran. Naam aroused further spiritual talents and he started to hear Anhad shabad (literally the celestial music of the universe). Sometimes he would wake up from his sleep and would come to ask Baba Ji why he was hearing musical instruments nearby? Baba Ji would just laugh and tell Sadhu Singh “Let the musical instruments keep playing, you just carry on saying Waheguru Waheguru.” Sometimes he would climb the gurdwara roof to see where this celestial music was coming from. He would look all around the compound and then come back to his bed. When he would get up and roam at night we would ask him what is the matter with you? He would then reply, “Can’t you hear them? I can hear loud musical instruments and the sound of Waheguru from somewhere.” We would reply that we could not hear anything then Sadhu Singh would reply, “Why, sure you can, they are loud enough to keep me awake at night, wherever I go, I constantly hear someone saying Waheguru with me.” Bhagat Kabir Ji’s Salok reminds us that… I have understood the riddle I Am face to face with a whole host of troubles hamhu jo boojhaa boojhnaa pooree paree balaa-ay. ||181|| (Salok Bhagat Kabir, page 1374) We could not help but wonder at the grace of Almighty on Sadhu Singh. We wondered if he realised how easily he had gained this spiritual height that many spent their lifetimes to achieve: In the absence of a customer It was going in exchange for a shell 258 banjanhaaray baahraa ka-udee badlai jaa-ay. ||154|| (Salok Bhagat Kabir Ji, page 1372) In due course, he was blessed with the power to manifest anything with his words. If someone offered Sadhu Singh something to eat or wear even casually, Sadhu Singh would become pleased and whatever boon he would utter from his lips would appear. He had gained such great spiritual heights. Now we come to the second stage in his life. Time lapsed and Sadhu Singh’s brother saw he was cured and started to come and visit him. With Baba Ji’s permission, he would take Sadhu Singh to Ludhiana for five or six days and at his brother’s house, he would just sit idle around the home. To keep him occupied, the family would switch on the television for him and let him watch it all day. When they would bring him back after a week he would talk about what he had watched on TV for a whole month. Even though he could not hear the TV properly, he would tell everyone that he had watched “trolley” at his brother’s house. Sadhu Singh could not say television and called it a “trolley.” Instead, he would tell everyone that in the trolley he saw running water, people farming inside, some were dancing, and some would fight inside it. It even rains inside the “trolley”; even a Gurdwara comes on it occasionally. In short, watching one week of TV would influence him for a complete month afterwards. Baba Ji would tell him repeatedly not to watch TV and that it is bad. Sadhu Singh would ask why it was bad. Baba Ji would say, “Sikhs do not watch TV, Guru Ji gets annoyed if you do.” He would say, “OK then,” but would talk of the TV during the day. Baba Ji would warn us “He has only watched TV not listened and see how his concentration has been ruined. If he could hear as well then think what effect it would have had on him?” In time Baba Ji merged into the Almighty and left for his heavenly abode. Sadhu Singh carried on with his selfless service as before. His night time habit of simran during his sleep continued. Not just myself but nearly all the people at the Gurdwara had witnessed this strange but miraculous incident pertaining to Sadhu Singh’s night time simran. As is God’s will, Sadhu Singh’s eldest sister passed away in Delhi. Shankar Singh his brother took Sadhu Singh back to Ludhiana and said, “There is no need to come for him. I will bring Sadhu back when I come to attend a wedding in a nearby village.” A couple of weeks later Bhagat Ji, a couple of other Singhs and myself were visiting Ludhiana and thought it an opportune time to pick 259 up Sadhu Singh. We arrived at Shankar Singh’s house and found Sadhu watching TV like he did every other day he was in Ludhiana. Seeing us arrive the family turned off the TV and offered us some refreshments. After a little while we offered to take Sadhu Singh back to Rampur Khera with us if he wanted to go. We asked him if he wanted to come now or later. Shankar Singh’s daughter in law went to Sadhu Singh and told him that Baba Ji and a few other Singhs have come to fetch you. Sadhu Singh declined to go back saying that there was no trolley at the gurdwara and got up to turn the TV back on again. We waited a little while and then got ready to leave. As we were leaving, I asked Shankar Singh’s daughter in-law, “Does he watch TV like this all day?” She replied that he watches TV until late at night and gets up only when the programmes stop showing. If we switch the TV off he puts it back on again.” I turned to the lady and said “It is okay for you to do as you please but by bringing him here you have ruined his concentration. Does he do his rosary daily?” “Occasionally he might but he mainly watches television,” replied the daughter in law. We then took leave and arrived back at the Gurdwara. After about ten days, Sadhu Singh’s brother brought him back to the Gurdwara. Now instead of his usual food of naam, his diet was that of watching TV. He asked a TV to be set-up in the veranda, telling everyone the “trolley” is a good thing. In this manner, he would incessantly talk about what he watched on TV with everybody he met. By the evening, he could no longer contain himself. Master Mohinder Singh’s house was about half a mile away from the Gurdwara. Silently and without telling anyone, Sadhu Singh crept out to Master Mohinder Singh’s house. There he watched TV from about 7pm until late at night. Next day he stayed there too. We were searching for him when Master Mohinder Singh’s daughter came over to tell us that Sadhu Singh was at their house watching TV. She said, “My mother has sent me over to tell you that not to worry about Sadhu Singh, he is at our house.” I replied casually, “Unfortunately the situation is way passed worrying now.” Sadhu Singh returned in the afternoon. The next day he left for the nearby village and watched TV at someone elses house. So now, he would go from house to house watching TV. On his return, he would talk of nothing else but what he had watched. He would now demand people to bring a TV to the Gurdwara. He was infatuated with TV 24 hours a day. One day I advised Sadhu Singh not to go to other people’s houses. He replied, “I will stay if you get me a trolley.” I told him that 260 one does not bring a TV to the Gurdwara. He replied, “Don’t keep a trolley here in the gurdwara but put one in the rooms where we sleep or put one in the langar hall?” I asked him again “Can you hear Waheguru Waheguru inside you anymore?” He replied that he could not. I asked him if he could hear those musical instruments anymore and he said not any more. I was astonished that on the one hand the fruit of twenty years of seva, simran and holy company had raised him to the spiritual height where he could hear Anhad shabad. On the other, just a few weeks of TV had overwhelmed all his past good actions. I remembered how much truth was hidden in Baba Ji’s words. He used to say that if a person through pious deeds, seva and simran gets his foot in the door of heaven he would lose his foothold if he has the misfortune of keeping bad company. Keeping immoral company is so powerful and effective it can cause us to lose our place in heaven. Secondly, I could not help but think that if Sadhu Singh had just watched TV for a few weeks what would become of all those people who watch TV for years and years. The deterioration of our concentration aside I wondered how many lives if would take to regain the focus of our conscious again. If a simpleton Sadhu Singh’s attention can be disrupted so easily who could only see but not hear a TV, what becomes of the person who can watch, see, hear and understand all the sordid things shown on TV. As Baba Farid Ji says… The sinless are beaten What of us sinners? ayhu nidosaaN maaree-ai ham dosaaN daa ki-aa haal. ||39|| (Salok Bhagat Farid Ji, page 1379) Oh spiritual master in the age of darkness, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, you started the tradition of transforming each home into a temple where celestial music is sung day and night. But you kalyug (master of darkness) have placed TV in all homes and turned them into cinema halls; Well done! You have stealthily absorbed the time of Rehras and now people watch TV instead. Whatever we watch at night now roams freely in our imaginations. Sleeping late at night after watching TV, you have stolen the ambrosial hours of dawn from people. It is your age and your rule. Only a fortunate few ones have escaped your influence. The words of Rattan Singh Bhangu in his book “Panth Parkash” are true. He says that… Kalyug the age of darkness wants to sink the sinner While the Great Guru wants him to swim across 261 The Great Guru does not leave his force Though he has to help the whole of the world To swim across Oh, Dark Age you have not only snatched the Nitnem from gursikhs but have also taken their holy company. Instead of presenting one self before the Guru, you persuade people to present to you through the TV. But be warned Baba Nanak has immense stamina. You will not be able to withstand his majestic and celestial power. He will subdue you in the long run. Oh Sikh of the Guru! You now have only one method to save yourself and that is to resort to prayer. Baba Nanak Dev Ji said to Rai Bular, his devoted follower, “Rai Bular! When your own strength fails you, fall at the Lord’s feet and beseech him in humility. The Almighty will come to your rescue. So, if you cannot save yourself form the tentacles of kalyug by your own strength then pray to Almighty Waheguru. He alone is omnipotent, all pervading and Almighty. He alone will help you. Sadhu Singh is still living at the Gurdwara and is in good health. If anyone wants to ask him about the change television brought about in his spiritual status you can still do so. He will readily tell you his personal experience. Even now when he visits a new house, he will ask if they have a TV. Only after repeated persuasion, has he moulded his attention towards simran a little, but his infatuation with watching TV remains. O Sikh of the Guru, be alert and cautious. TV is the sweetest poison of the Dark Age. Nonetheless, poison is poison even if it tastes sweet. Like the rest of the world, do not let your consciousness be disrupted and dispersed. GuruJi has instructed us to attune our conscious mind. A scattered conscious will not be able to gain any spiritual benefit. To obtain a higher spiritual state we have to follow what Bhagat Kabir Ji says… The Lord is very near Why do you say he is far? Bind your pugnacious passions And attain unto the beauteous Lord hai hajoor kat door bataavhu. dundar baaDhhu sundar paavhu. ||1|| rahaa-o. (Bhairon Bhagat Kabir Ji, page 1160) So, the Lord can be attained if we restrain our inner noise of passions and bind our instincts. We should try not to disperse our mental concentration and stop our mind from its inner aimless dialogue. By 262 listening, talking or watching endlessly will never satisfy the minds curiosity. Guru Angad Dev Ji tells us that… The mouth is not sated with speech And the ears are not sated with hearing The eyes are not sated with what they see. Each organ is the purchaser of one sort of trait. The hunger of the hungry departs not. By mere words of mouth the hunger Only then, the hungry man is satiated When by uttering his praises He gets absorbed aakhan aakh na raji-aa sunan na rajay kann. akhee daykh na rajee-aa gun gaahak ik vann. bhukhi-aa bhukh na utrai galee bhukh na jaa-ay. naanak bhukhaa taa rajai jaa gun kahi gunee samaa-ay. ||2|| (Mohalla 2nd Guru, page 147) Bhai Gurdas Ji too corroborates what Guru Ji says… The eyes are not satisfied with beholding sights and exhibitions, The ears are not satisfied with hearing praise or blame, mourning or rejoicing, The tongue is not satisfied with eating what affords pleasure and delight; the nose is not contented with good or evil odours; Nobody is satisfied with his span of life, And everyone entertains false hopes. But the Sikhs are satisfied with the Guru and Theirs is the true love and delight aakhan aakh na raji-aa sunan na rajay kann. akhee daykh na rajee-aa gun gaahak ik vann. bhukhi-aa bhukh na utrai galee bhukh na jaa-ay. naanak bhukhaa taa rajai jaa gun kahi gunee samaa-ay. ||2|| (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 27 Pauri 9) No one to this day has ever satisfied the mind through his or her senses. As Guru Ji tells, one can only satisfy our hunger for pleasure by adopting the quality of praising the Lord. Then one can merge into the Lord, tasting the ultimate pleasure. Let us learn from the experience of the simple minded Sadhu Singh: Kabir O wretched man 263 You shall be drowned through Undue regard for the opinion of many men Know that the fate which has befallen your neighbour Shall also come upon you kabeer doob-higo ray baapuray baho logan kee kaan. paarosee kay jo hoo-aa too apnay bhee jaan. ||167|| (Salok Bhagat Kabir Ji, page 1373)