Once upon a time there was a king. He had two sons. The king took special care of his princes to ensure that he finds an able successor for his vast kingdom. The princes were given all kinds of education including religious education, science, and martial arts. Both grew up to be very smart and intelligent.
The king was faced with dilemma as to which prince he should choose his successor. The older one was more intelligent and the younger one was more practical and hardworking. Some in the court of the king favoured the older one as he was more intelligent and more of a genius. He had a photographic memory. Others favoured the younger one as he was more hardworking and pragmatic than the older one, although not as intelligent as the older prince.
The ones in favour of the older one argued that a king did not need to be hardworking as he would have plenty of help. All he needed to do was come up with ideas and let the officials execute the ideas. The ones in favour of the younger one argued that a king must be practical and hardworking and that the king can always find plenty of intelligent ministers to advice him and offer expert opinion. The king they said should be pragmatic.
One thing that both princes had was that they both respected their father very much. They virtually worshipped their father, who was a very Gurmukh king. Such was their devotion to their father, that they would touch their father’s feet, everyday when they met him.
The king was very confused as to what he should do. He loved both his sons and was having hard time choosing his successor. He consulted his courtiers but they could not offer him concluding advice. Finally the king thought of testing the two princes.
He gave them an amount 100,000 Mohars (gold coins) and sent them off to the neighbouring kingdom to do trade. He gave them one year to complete their mission. He said that he would send them instructions and letters on regular basis to provide direction to them. Both princes headed to the neighbouring lands to do trade. They both headed out together and stayed in separate houses constructed especially for them.
The king sent his intelligence people to monitor what the princes were doing. The king made arrangements for their stay deliberately in that part of the city, which was very flashy and bewitching. The princes were in their prime youth and fully loaded with money. They both started indulging in the pleasures of the world.
Their father had told them to wait for his further instructions. The princes spent a month or so indulging in the pleasures of the world. Exactly after a month, each one of them received a long letter, which was more like an instructions manual, from their father, telling them of their future plan. When the older prince saw the letter, he bowed and did matha-tek to the letter. He washed his hands, took the long letter from the king and touched it over his forehead. Then he kissed it and with utmost respect opened the letter. It was a long letter that talked in detail about his future strategy. He read few paragraphs with great respect. He soon got distracted and took the letter, wrapped it in a silky clean cloth and placed the letter in a separate cupboard. Then he went back to enjoying the pleasures of the new city. Everyday he would take the letter from his father, place it on his forehead and kiss it. Then he would spray perfume around it and get back to his old ways. He read some parts of the letter but soon got distracted and could not focus on his father’s writings. He found them to be very boring. He was very intelligent but was not pragmatic and hard working.
The younger prince also received the same letter that the older prince received. The younger prince had great respect for his father, just like his older brother. He washed his hands, and took hold of the letter with proper respect. He held the letter close to his forehead and kissed it. He then opened the letter and started reading the letter very carefully. The letter had instructions for the future strategy that he had to employ. He father advised him to buy commodities that were cheap in that land but expensive in his homeland. It was quite a painstaking job to find dealers who sold those commodities. The young prince found that he had no time left for the worldly pleasures he was enjoying. All day he stayed busy in doing his business dealings and soon accumulated a lot of stock as per his father’s wishes. He read his father’s letter everyday in the morning to make sure that he followed his father’s advice to the fullest.
Many times, the young prince did not understand some of the things that his father wrote. He asked his older brother for help, who very easily interpreted the lines for his younger brother. His older brother was quite smart. At times when even his older brother could not understand some of the words in his father’s letter, he consulted other wise people for interpretation. With time, the young prince mastered all the instructions in the letter.
The older prince continued to read the letter and pay his obeisance to it. He never failed to pay his respect to the letter from his father. He would sometimes cry remembering his father but could not follow too much of what his father had written in the letter. He was lazy. He had a gifted genius mind but was very lazy. His younger brother was of normal intelligence but very hardworking and pragmatic.
From time to time, the king sent more instructions in form of letters to both of his sons. The older one devoted a separate room for his father’s letters and now started following some of the easy tasks his father had given to him. He found some of the other tasks that his father asked him to do, very difficult. So he interpreted those instructions to suit his needs. He continued to enjoy the pleasures of the world.
The younger son kept all letters of his father with respect and read them every single day. He followed what the letters said and sacrificed all the pleasures of the world to carry out the tasks assigned to him by his father.
Exactly after one year, the king visited both of his sons. He first visited his older son and found out how much respect his son had given to his letters. His letters were kept in expensive silk clothes and the room where they were kept was all perfumed. His son used to read some parts of his letters everyday but did not follow too much of the instructions in those letters. The older son was astonished to see his father. He quickly did matha-tek to his father. The king got very pleased with his son for the respect he showed him. The father decided to give his son a jagir (property) of 50 villages in reward for his good work.
Finally the king visited his second son. He saw that his letters had been shown proper respect. But the most obvious thing he saw was that behind his younger son’s house, there was a huge warehouse. His son did matha-tek to his father and escorted his father to the warehouse. The king was extremely pleased to see that his son had stocked up all the commodities he had instructed him to stock in his letters. The younger prince was wearing very simple clothes from his homeland. He had not changed according to the city he was visiting.
The king got very pleased with his younger son and crowned him his successor right there and then. His father’s kingdom had 100,000 villages in it.
The king’s wise minister who was accompanying the king said to both princes, “it is good to show respect to your father by bowing to your father and giving utmost respect to his letters. While all this is important, it is more important to show respect and love in practical form by obeying the orders of your father. What good is bowing if you don’t obey the orders of your father?”.
Points to ponder upon: Which prince are we imitating today? How can we be like the younger prince?
Lessons learned from this story
The lesson from this alankaar or story is quite obvious. The father / king is Vaheguru and the initial investment of 100,000 mohars is our swaas (breaths). We are in this world as per hukam of Vaheguru to earn true profit or laaha of Naam.
The instructions the princes receive from their father is Gurbani we have got from Vaheguru through our Guru Sahibaan. The elder prince is more like us and is indulged in the pleasures of this world. He respects the letters from his father and reads them but can't concentrate on them just as we respect Gurbani but can't concentrate on it and follow it word by word. The elder prince gets rewarded but the reward is very trivial as compared to what the younger prince got. Same way if we go on living our life as we are currently living, we would most probably get punished in the next world and if we happen to get reward in the next world, it will be very little.
The younger prince not only respects his fathers letters but also follows the instructions. The result is that he collects massive profit. This is akin to Mahapurakhs who not only respect Gurbani but also obey the hukams written in it. They earn the true Laaha of this life and inherit the kingdom of Vaheguru just as the younger prince in this story got the kingdom from his father.
More than anything else, Guru Sahib wants us to obey the hukams written in Gurbani. If we bow before Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee but don't obey the vital hukams like getting up at Amritvela, chanting Naam, doing paath with concentration, leading an honest and truthful life, then what good is our bowing before Guru Sahib?
The above Alankaar story is to highlight the problem that is rife in Panth today. We have Siri Akhand Paath samagams but don't listen to paath.
We go to Gurdwara Sahib but don't concentrate on the shabad and come back emptyhanded just fulfilling our socializing needs there.
We do double triple mathateks (bowing) but don't obey the hukams of Gurbani.
Majority of Sikhs have not had darshan of their Guru - Siri Guru Granth Sahib jee. Real Sargun darshan of Guru Sahib is to read whole of Gurbani (doing Sehaj Paath). Majority of us have never had an opportunity of having darshan (by doing full paath) of Guru Sahib, even once in life.
Chardi Kala of Panth will occur only if we let our mind get touched by Gurbani and Naam.
Bhul chuk dee maafi jee.