Kids Corner


Guru's Grace





Every generation takes on the challenge to share the parables of their faith through their eyes. It’s amazing how one never gets tired of hearing these stories. What is even more remarkable is the power these parables have to change one’s consciousness.

That is, if we are truly listening.

I enjoy writing narratives from the life of Guru Nanak. Certain occurrences in the Guru’s life touch my inner core. I find myself thinking about these incidents long after the chapter is written.

The encounter that the Guru had with Sajjan the Thug in the late 1400’s is one such episode. For those unfamiliar with the narrative, here is the synopsis.

Sajjan was a wealthy man who was a murderer and a thief as well. That was one level of his wickedness. But what intrigued me was his ability to effortlessly hoodwink the people around him. He was known as Sheikh Sajjan to the Muslims, and Sajjan Ram to the Hindus. He had a mosque and a temple built on his property, which made it easier for him to steal from the travelers. One could conclude that Sajjan had perfected the art of duality. But really, who was he fooling?

Guru Sahib saw through the deception and said:

Bronze looks bright and shiny;
But when it is rubbed, its true black color appears.
Even if you clean it a hundred times, its impurity cannot be removed …
What good does it do to serve, to please, to display cleverness?
Says Nanak, feeling the constant Divine presence will liberate you
. [GGS:729]
Guru’s words pierced the walls of his inner darkness. His wickedness, his duality revealed its ugly nature to him.

Sajjan seemed to be caught in a dilemma: to continue with the deception or to change. He chose to turn his life around and fell at the Guru’s feet.

Though his transgressions were grave, his repentance was sincere.

Guru’s grace!

This story has had a profound effect on me.

Several times, I’ve placed myself in Sajjan’s shoes. What truly astounds me is Sajjan’s courage to face his inner darkness. His strength and willingness to change the direction of his life amaze me.

Yes! Guru’s words awakened him and Sajjan chose wisely.

I spent days trying to understand Guru’s words. This exercise forced me to face some of my inner demons. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride.

Realization unfolds: Greed, duality, ego, prevent one from experiencing one’s divinity.

For Guru says, “Liberation is when one experiences the constant presence of the Divine.”

My head bows in gratitude.

Guru is closer than a heart-beat.

Every moment is a learning moment.

Guru’s Grace is infinite. One has to be open to receive.

[The author is an artist, poet and the author of a children’s book series, Journey with the Gurus. She serves on the Board of the Sikh Research Institute. She lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, USA.]

November 15, 2013


Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), November 15, 2013, 4:33 AM.

Inni ji: How exquisitely you have restated the Sajjan Thug story. Can't think of a better translation. Bless you.

2: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), November 15, 2013, 5:40 AM.

Very poignant, just before the birth anniversary of the great Guru Nanak, the man who dominates my psyche and teaches me to be a corruption-free and universal, loving and caring human being.

3: Satwinder Singh (Dublin, Ireland), November 15, 2013, 8:02 AM.

Thanks for this post.

4: Ajit Singh Batra (Pennsville, New Jersey, USA), November 15, 2013, 1:58 PM.

Guru Nanak was Guru (Divine Teacher) of all mankind. He went to the holy places of both Muslims and Hindus, covering the subcontinent and far beyond. He emphasized to them that no people were exclusively chosen people of God and what counted with Him was right conduct and truthful living, and not a particular creed. Guru Ji's message of hope was spread in distant nooks and corners of the world.

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