This is a very interesting story of a mystic saint and a Gursikh. This story proves the importance and the vitality of having a true Guru.
This has been translated from a book called “Bhajan Bandagi daa Partaap” written by Sodhi Harbhajan Singh.
In June 1962 when I was stationed in Ferozepur, a friend of mine invited me to Jhansi to do preaching of Sikhi and to do katha at the local Gurdwara Sahib there on the occasion of martyrdom anniversary of Siri Guru Arjun Dev jee. I took leave of 6 days and by adding two Sundays my holidays totalled 8 days. Another friend of mine too decided to join me in my trip but he managed to get vacation for only 4 days.
We left on Saturday night and reached Jhansi Sunday afternoon. I was scheduled to do katha the same Sunday evening. My schedule was already booked and I was to do katha in the morning and in the evening. I used the day time to meet my friends and to visit historical places in Jhansi.
On the last day of my katha, a Sindhi brother who was a high level officer there, stood up in sangat and pleaded, ”Singh Sahib jee, few miles from here I am working on a Dam project and there in a cave, a Mahatma (a holy man) is doing great Tapp (bhagti). His condition is very pitiful and destitute. I request you to help him.”
When I heard his request, I felt very embarrassed. What could a householder (grehsthi) person like me do to help a Mahatma, I thought.
I asked him, “How can I, a householder, help a Saadho (holy man)”.
Sindhi Veer said, “My heart is telling me that you can help him”.
I told him that I was due to leave the next day afternoon but he stayed adamant and told me that he would come tomorrow morning at 5am in his jeep and that we would come back in few hours. Many gursikhs in sangat too expressed their desire to come with us. At this the Sindhi brother said that he would bring more vehicles to take more sangat along with us.
Anyway, the next day, he arrived right on time and we reached at the bottom of the mountain where the ascetic was living in a cave. From there on, we had to go on foot and after some climbing we reached the cave where the mystic saint was sitting with his back towards us. It was a very small cave where only 4 people could fit. There was total darkness in there. We kept our eyes closed for sometimes and when we opened our eyes, we were able to see little bit better. We noticed a very thin person who had his back towards us, sitting there. He was so thin that all his bones were visible. He had long black hair and long beard and the only cloth he was wearing was to cover his private parts.
When I saw him for the first time, I thought that I was looking at a dead body but then I noticed that he was breathing. He was sitting in smaadhi (trance) and since it is a sin to break anyone’s smaadhi, I asked everyone to stay quiet and we sat there for some time. After about 15-20 minutes he came out of his smaadhi and directly addressed me by name. Then he started praising me but I totally ignored all his praise because a gursikh does not like to hear his praise as this bring haume (ego) in him.
When Sant jee noticed that I was not responding, he changed the topic of conversation and asked me, “One Gyani jee who came with you has gone back?”
I replied, “he had to leave since his holidays were over. How long have you been sitting here?”
“About ten years”
“Have you attained anything yet?
“Nothing”, he replied, shaking his head.
“Who do you meditate on”, I asked him.
“I first started off by meditating on the Sargun saroop i.e. the materialistic form that can be seen with these eyes. When I did not attain anything, I started focusing on Nirgun. Now I feel that there is something (Vaheguru) who is around me but does not come near me.”
“When you used to meditate on the Sargun, who did you focus on”, I asked.
Pointing to a picture of Siri Krishna jee beside him, he said, “I used to focus on him”.
“How long do you sit in meditation”, I asked him again.
“About 22 hours everyday. I use 2 hours to sleep, cook food and other needs of the body”.
When I heard this, I was utterly shocked and thought “such divine wrath. Such kehar”. I remembered the following salok of Baba Farid jee:
FARIDA TANN SUKKA, PINJAR THEEYA, TALIYAAN KHOONDEH KAAG||
AJAI SO RABB NA BAHURIYO, DEKH BANDAY KE BHAAG||
A thought came to my mind that it is possible that his diet was not proper. I asked him, “how is your diet like”.
“When I first came here, I used to get 30 rotis and used to eat one roti a day but now since I can't walk to get rotis, I just drink water and eat leaves.”
I was thinking hard to figure out the real reason behind his problem. I abruptly asked him, “Who is your Guru?”
“I have no Guru”, he replied.
After hearing this, I said, “Let alone 10 years but even if you were to sit here for another 10,000 years, you would not attain anything because you have not met the true Guru”.
As soon as I said this, Sant jee who all along had his back towards me got out of control, and fell at my feet. With extreme humility he implored, “Please accept me as your disciple and you become my Guru. I only want you to be my Guru”.
I said, “I have not even become a proper Sikh yet. How can I become your Guru then?”
He was holding my feet so firmly that I did not know what to do. He kept pleading and imploring and I kept expressing my incapability to become his Guru. In the end, he asked me with a strong voice, “Then tell me whom should I make my Guru”.
“Accept Guru Nanak Sahib as your Guru”, I replied.
“But he is dead now”. After pondering for few moments he continued, “I do believe that his soul is still alive but unless his body is here and gives me Naam, how will I become his Sikh?”
“Are you educated”, I asked.
“I studied till high school and I read brief history of Guru Nanak in one of my history books.”
“When a Hindu dies, what do they do to his dead body”, I asked.
“They cremate it”.
“When a Muslim dies, then what?”
“They bury it”, he replied.
“Does the soul stay alive when Hindu or Muslim dies?”, I quizzed him.
“Soul never dies, whether you cremate or bury it”.
“Do you know if Guru Nanak Dev jee’s body was cremated or buried”, I asked him.
“I have heard that after he left his body, Muslims and Hindus started fighting over whether to cremate or bury him. When they lifted the sheet from his body, it had disappeared”.
“There you go. Your problem has been solved. You yourself admit that Guru Nanak Sahib’s body was neither cremated nor buried. He disappeared with his body. Whenever anyone calls out to Guru Nanak Dev jee, he is capable of giving darshan with his human body”.
As soon as Sant jee heard this, he immediately left my feet and hastily said to me, “Please leave immediately as I don’t want to waste any more time. I have found out about my disease and it’s cure”.
I said, “before leaving I want to tell you something that Guru Sahib told us:
GHAT VASAE CHARNARBIND, RASNA JAPAI GOPAAL||
NANAK, SO PRABH SIMRIYE, TIS DEHI KAO PAAL||
You don’t eat proper diet and don’t take care of your precious human body. If you lose your human body, then how will you do simran?”
One of my companions before leaving had brought a bag of mangoes and watermelons along with us. We placed the baskets before Sant jee but Sant jee took one mango and one watermelon. My friend told him that the whole basket was for him and that he would supply him with food every week.
As we were about to leave, Sant jee said, “there is no need to rush. Your train will be 2.5 hours late”. When I reached the station, I found that really my train was 2 hours and 40 minutes late.
I have written all this in detail so that the readers fully understand that if one does bhajan / bhagti without the true Guru, one can get great mystical powers and Ridhi Sidhi but one cannot attain Vaheguru.
In one year, I inquired about Sant jee and found out that Sant jee had changed a great deal. He had a special brightness on his face and there were line-ups of hundreds of people in front of his cave. People ask him for boons and he just says that Guru Nanak will fulfil the wish and it really comes true. His body was no longer thin and he had become very healthy.
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This is a good story that illustrates the importance of having a Guru. In this story, Sodhi Harbhajan Singh made one mistake, in my opinion. He should have suggested to the Mahatma to get pesh at the next amrit sinchaar and take amrit. That would have been the only way to become Guru-wala. It is not known what happened to the Mahatma and whether he attained Vaheguru or not. Sodhi Harbhajan Singh too has left this world, else we could have asked him.