Guru Nanak Dev has left his home town, and taking on the robe of an ascetic, begins to travel in Punjab. His family is sad at his departure, and when they hear that Nanak is at Aminabad, they send his two companions, Bhai Bala and Mardana, to request his return. The local King meets Nanak on his return, and asks him to settle down on the farm. Nanak says that he will gladly practice agriculture, asking the King to do the same:
My mind is the farmer, modesty the water, and body the field.
Lord’s Name is the seed, contentment the plough, and humility is the fence.
Doing deeds of love, the seed shall sprout, and you shall see the home flourish.
Nanak’s mother, Mata Tripta, says it would make her happy if he was a shopkeeper, and he readily agrees:
My ever-decreasing life is the shop, the Lord’s Name is the merchandise.
Contemplation the warehouse, and I will store the Lord’s Name.
The father, Bhai Kaloo, steps forward and says that if you do not like being a farmer or a shopkeeper, why not be a trader of horses? And Nanak agrees again:
Let my trade be listening to scripture, and let Truth be the horses I take to sell.
Gathering merits for my travelling expenses, I do not think of tomorrow.
Bhai Lalo, his friend, chips in with advice—take up a job instead. Nanak wants to take up this employment:
Let my job be the focusing of my consciousness, and my occupation be the placing of faith in the Lord’s Name,
Let me work to restrain myself from sin; only then will people call me blessed.
With simple illustrations, Guru Nanak had imparted a deeper lesson. Whatever is your station in life, be modest and humble, and full of love; recognize your mortality, and restrain from hurting others; and live a truthful life.