Kids Corner







The word ‘parable’ comes from the Greek word ‘parabolÄ“‘. A parable is a short account that illustrates a universal truth. Though the meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated, the essence is not usually intended to be hidden or secret but on the contrary is quite straightforward and obvious.

Parables are perfect mediums to impart wisdom. A good parable expands one’s consciousness effortlessly.

The parable of Guru Nanak in Multan is one that addresses ego, anger, realization and so much more. It is simple, but not simplistic. It has all the markings of a great parable.


When Pir Bahauddin, the great Mullah, heard that the Guru and his companion Mardana were enthusiastically welcomed in his city, he became furious at what he considered an intrusion into his territory.

He immediately sent his disciple to the Guru with a bowl filled to the brim with milk. Suggesting that the city was full of fakirs and there was no room for another.

Graciously, the Guru placed a jasmine flower atop the bowl full of milk, and returned the gift. The milk did not spill. The flower simply floated on the surface of the milk.

The message was sublime.

Guru Nanak’s presence was as non-threatening as the jasmine flower was to the brimming milk. His stay would not disrupt the fakirs. His fragrance would enhance the city. The milk of knowledge, if contained in a bowl, can turn sour whereas the fragrance of knowledge, unencumbered in any way spreads far and wide.

It was a subtle way to address a very blunt snub.

Pir Bahauddin understood this silent but powerful message.

With a shattered ego, he went to pay his respects to the Guru.

“Two swords cannot sit in one sheath, but two fakirs can definitely sit in one hut,” said the Guru warmly.

Yes! There is always room for goodness.

The parable raises my consciousness.

Churning takes place.

I wonder: Are my foot-prints light? Am I fragrant? How do I handle insults?

I go within.

I have much to realize.

The learning continues …


[Inni Kaur is the author of a children's book series, "Journey with the Gurus". She also serves on the board of the Sikh Research Institute.]

September 25, 2013


Conversation about this article

1: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, USA), September 25, 2013, 5:53 AM.

The churning and the learning ... Breathing in the fragrance ... Let it ever go on ...

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