About 20 km to the north east of Amritsar is the village of Kathu Nangal. In October 1506, a child was born here, and his delighted parents gave him the name of Boora, which means white sugar. After a few years, Guru Nanak Dev set up camp outside the village for a few days. Boora became a regular at the evening prayers, arriving early, and leaving much after others had left. One evening, Guru Nanak Dev called him to his side, and said, “You are so young, you should be out playing. Why do you spend so much time in this congregation?”

Boora told the Guru about the time a regiment of soldiers set up camp outside the village. The farms had been freshly planted, but the soldiers showed no mercy. The young wheat shoots were mercilessly trod upon. That evening, Boora returned home and told his mother of the destruction of the wheat plants. As she sat him down for the evening meal, she lit up the wood stove. First, she set fire to the thin and small twigs, before placing the bigger logs in the stove.

“I thought,” Boora told the Guru, “just like the young wheat stalks and the small twigs in the wooden stove, what if death shall seek the young like me first? I decided not to waste my time, but start preparing my soul right now.”

“You are young, but you are very wise. You are the old one, a Buddha!” From then on, the young boy stayed in the company of the Gurus, and was known as Bhai Buddhaji. He anointed five Gurus when they were ordained as the Teacher, and was the architect and construction supervisor of the Golden temple at Amritsar.

And he surely lived to be old—in a time when people reaching the age of sixty was celebrated as being rare, he lived to be more than hundred years, and passed away in 1631.

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