Sri Guru Granth Sahib mentions the realized devotee as a gurmukh, the one whose face is always towards the teacher. Metaphorically, it signifies a way of life in congruence with the teachings of the guru.
Guru Ram Dass, the fourth guru, was talking of the qualities of a gurmukh, when one of the listeners requests the guru to show him one such person. The Guru tells him of Bhai Bhikari, a prosperous trader in Gujarat, and asks the devotee to meet him.
The devotee arrives in Bhai Bhikari’s house. The house is being readied for the marriage of Bhai Bikari’s only son, and the festivities are on. There are tailors in attendance, musicians are playing lively music, and the banquets are continuously served.
The devotee joins the marriage celebrations, and as he walks through the house, he is taken aback at what he sees in one room – a bamboo ladder that is used as a hearse, earthen pots and a shroud, all items to be used for the dead. Bhai Bhikan tells him that this will be needed after another five days.
The marriage is solemnised in a neighbouring town, and while the marriage party is returning, the bride groom is bitten by a snake and dies. As the dead body is brought home, Bhai Bhikan tells his wife that the items needed for last rites are ready, and these are then used as per custom. The shocked devotee tells Bhai Bhikari that it is obvious you were aware of the impending death. Why did he not try to stop the tragedy? Bhai Bhikari tells him, “This is the lesson for which you came. The gurmukh, while being aware of the future, lives it as ordained by Him, without any desire to change it.” The ability to accept His will is the boon that the devotee seeks:
I am thoughtless and ignorant, know nothing about good actions and righteous living.
Take pity on Nanak that he may sing Your Glorious Praises; and that Your Will becomes sweet.