The fruit of honest labour

The fruit of honest labour

By DAVINDER P.S. SANDHU | 18 March, 2017

Eminabad is an old town, located 15 kilometres south of Gujranwala, in Pakistan. Guru Nanak Dev performed four great journeys, and on his very first one, he spent nearly one year in this town.

The richest person in town was Malik Bhago, and despite his desire, the Guru did not stay with him. Instead, he chose as his residence an area laid with pebbles and stones. A small congregation had started to form, and Bhai Lalo, a poor leather maker, also joined the Guru. He would get food from his humble kitchen, and Guru Nanak would happily partake of it.

Malik Bhago invited the Guru to a banquet at his residence, on the marriage of his son, but the Guru did not attend. Malik was angry, and went to the spot where Guru Nanak had set up camp. He found the Guru eating the dry bread that was brought by Bhai Lalo. “You choose to refuse banquets from high class people,” he said, “and instead eat the stale bread of the low caste.” The Guru said he cannot eat Malik’s food. Malik Bhago called for the banquet dishes. “Can Lalo’s stale bread compare to my rich spread?” he asked.

The Guru picked up the banquet dish in one hand, and Lalo’s bread in the other, and when he squeezed, Malik’s spread oozed blood, and Lalo’s bread dripped milk. “Your riches are stained with blood of deceit, whereas Lalo’s life is pure with honest labour,” said Nanak. But the enraged Malik Bhago would not calm down. And the Guru counseled the gathering:

As His words come to me, so do I express it, O Lalo,

Like a marriage party of sin, an invader shall come from Kabul, demanding this land as his wedding gift, O Lalo.

The priests have lost their roles, and Satan will conduct the marriage rites, O Lalo.

The year was 1514 AD. As forecast, 9 years later, Babur’s invading army pillaged Eminabad in 1523.

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