It may be disrespectful to say that every saint has a past, but it is certainly true that every sinner has a future—there is always scope for improvement.

Bhai Gurdas is a well-known and revered figure of Sikh history. When the fifth Teacher, Guru Arjan Dev compiled the Guru Granth Sahib by collecting hymns of saints from that time, Bhai Gurdas’ hymns were not included. However, they were given pride of place when the Guru called his writing as the “keys” to the understanding of Guru Granth Sahib—one is said not to fathom what the Book is teaching, without reading the Vaar by Bhai Gurdas.

But the great soul was unhappy when the sixth Teacher Hargobind took to the sword, in addition to the rosary, and his faith wavered. The Guru sent him off to Kabul to buy two Arabian stallions that had been specially bred. Bhai Gurdas was unhappy, and he did go, but with an angry heart.

In Kabul, the price was decided for the horses, a very high one, since they were in great fettle and well trained. Returning to his tent, Bhai Gurdas opened the money bags given by the Guru, but found only bricks in them. Fearing the Pathan horse sellers, and cursing the Guru, he ran away. When he did not return for some time, the accompanying Sikhs went to his tent. They found the same bags full of money, and concluded the deal.

Bhai Gurdas had gone straight to Kashi, where he took up residence, partly in anger, and also because his faith in the Guru had wavered. After a few years, the Guru called him back to Amritsar, and he commenced his spiritual journey again.

The Guru Granth Sahib says:

The devotee’s path is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair.

But even as we return after some meandering, it will always welcome back the devotee.


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