THE GROWTH OF RESPONSIBILITY IN SIKHISM
Nanak's reforms had done the work of renaissance.
He broke the first sod, and cleared the
ground for the building of the national
character. An ideal had been laid before
the people. That they might firmly grasp
it, and not fall into easy-going latitude
in Aryanism, it was necessary that they
should constantly looking up to and be
loyal to it. This was made secure in the
time of the succeeding four Gurus. Guru
Angad committed to writing the compositions
of Guru Nanak in special alphabet perfected
by him. The third, fourth and fifth Gurus
established places where they were to
be sung day or night. Guru Arjun went
further. He collected the saying of all
his predecessors and, adding to them his
own as well as those of other Hindu and
Mohammedan saints compile a volume for
the permanent guidance of the Sikhs. He
also gave distinction and peculiarity
to the Sikh movement by declaring that,
with all the sympathy and brotherhood
that the Sikhs were to maintain with others,
they were in no way to confuse their ideals
with other ideals established around them.
we are anticipating matters, let us see
what was the contribution of Guru Angad
to the formation of Sikh character. In
his life and in the lives of his disciples,
nothing strikes us so forcibly as their
obedience to the cause of Guru Nanak.
Let us take a few examples.
Bhai Lehna came the second time to see
his newly found Guru, he founded him working
in the fields. Guru Nanak had prepared
three bundles of grass for his cattle,
and was waiting for somebody to come and
help him to carry them home. He asked
his sons, but they refused, saying, "Here
is a labor coming; ask him." Bhai Lehna,
who had just come up, made his bow and
said, "Make me your 'laborer', and let
me do this work. "And he began to lift
all the three bundles at once. The guru
smiled and said; "Aye, you will shoulder
at once. The Guru smiled and said; "Aye,
you will shoulder the whole burden!" Bhai
Lena carried the grass to the house of
Guru Nanak, but on the way his fine new
clothes got soiled with the mud dripping
from the grass. The Guru's wife, seeing
this, was very much grieved and complained
to her husband about his apparent want
of consideration for his Sikhs. "Is it
proper", she said, "that a guest should
be made to do such a mental work? Look
at his clothes, -- all soiled with mud!"
The Guru replied, "It is not mud, but
saffron, marking him out as God's own
elect. God found him alone fit to carry
Once, Guru Nanak put on terrible looks,
and dressed in ragged cloths and with
a knife in hand, he ran towards the forest.
All the Sikhs left him excepting Bhai
Lehna and three others; and the latter
too, were terrified when the Guru Threatened
them with looks and gestures and began
to throw stones at them. But Bhai Lehna
stood firm. They came to a cremation ground,
"where they found a dead body lying un-burnt.
The Guru said, "let whoever wishes to
go with me eat of this." The Sikhs were
horrifies at the proposal, but Bhai Lehna,
who knew no hesitation when the Guru commanded,
fell to at once and found that it was
nothing but a sweet pudding.
In the words of a contemporary bared,
Bhai Lehna obeyed the orders of his Guru,
whether necessary or unnecessary, whether
it was to wash his clothes at the dead
of night or to jump into a dirty pool
to take out the Guru's cup.
It was for his unshrinking, patient obedience
that Bhai Lehna became Guru Angad, and
it was due their refusal to under do this
discipline that Guru Nanak rejected his
own sons. It was when Lehna was tested
and purified that Guru Nanak consecrated
him. (Ramkali ki Var)
the test was over, Guru Nanak embraced
his disciple and called his Angad, the
flesh of his flesh and the bone of his
bone. He led Angad to his own seat and
placing five pice as an offering before
him, fell at his feet and hailed him as
his successor. He asked his followers
to do the same. Guru Angad, on his accession,
began to impart the sake discipline of
obedience to his followers.
Mana was a Sikh who had a wrong notion
of service, would wag his head in pious
ecstasy when the guru sang, and looked
an image of humility and devotion when
setting in the congregation; but he would
be exert himself to do anything practical.
When asked to serve in the common kitchen,
he would say, "Am I servant of everybody?
I will do anything the Guru desires, but
I am not going to oblige anybody else."
The Guru wanted to show to him that a
man of his nature could not be obedient
even to his Guru. Once finding him offering
himself for service, the Guru said, "All
right, go to the nearest forest, gather
some wood, and burn yourself" He went,
but he could not sacrifice himself and
was involved in further trouble.
Similarly, Satta and Balwand, the musicians
who used to sing daily before the assembly
of Sikhs, were taught obedience, when
they become proud and struck work.
These lessons of obedience were quite
necessary for the Sikhs at the start;
for, they alone know how best to command,
who have known how best to obey.