“Only the expert can value any object,” said Guru Nanak. Mardana wants an example to
understand the statement, and Nanak picks up a stone. “Take this to the city,” he said, “and buy a meal with it.”

Maradana went from shop to shop, and the shopkeepers laughed at him. “Who will give you anything for this worthless object,” they asked him.

Until he reached Salis Rai, the jeweler. With trembling hands, Salis Rai placed the stone on a gold plate, and bowed to it. “I have not seen a ruby of such size ever,” he said, “and I will give you a hundred gold pieces for just showing it to me!”

Mardana rushes back to Guru Nanak. He tells him how only Salis Rai had realized the stone’s worth. “I told you that only an expert can value a treasure,” said the Guru, “but let us meet Salis Rai, for there is more to him than just a jeweler.”

They find him busy preparing a list, which he hands over to his assistant, and asks him to call all the persons he had mentioned. “I am gathering a general body of the best jewelers, for only they can determine the value of this stone,” he said.

And Nanak tells him that even as he does that, Salis Rai has already been in possession of an even more expensive object. To the surprised jeweler, Nanak says, “I also summon the great experts. Let me remind you of the Great Budha, Sri Rama and Krishna, Great Mohamad, and others. They will tell you that every breath you take is more precious than this stone!”

Guru Granth Sahib guides us:

With every breath, meditate on the Lord of the Universe, and the anxiety within your mind shall depart.

Guru Nanak stayed in Patna, at Salis Rai’s home for four months. Many years later, the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh would take birth in the same house.

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