Bhai Joga Singh was a devout Sikh in the service of Guru Gobind Singh, and had been so since he was a child. He belonged to Peshawar, where his parents lived, but had never left the Guru’s service since he was nine years old.

His family arranged his marriage, and sent word for him to return. It was a difficult time, with the Mughal army expected to attack soon. Joga Singh assured the Guru that he would return the moment he was needed. He came to Peshawar, and after a few days, the arrangements for the marriage are completed. On the appointed day, the ceremony commenced, with Joga Singh beginning the customary perambulations of Guru Granth Sahib, four such perambulations being needed to complete the ritual. As he completes two, he receives the Guru’s message—return to Anandpur. Immediately, he left the ceremony midway, and leaves as directed.

On the way to Anandpur, his mind is full of pride—I left my marriage ceremony for the Guru. Midway, he takes a halt at a town. In the night he is woken up by music and singing, and realises that he is next door to a dance bar. His usually quiet mind is restless today, and he walks to the dance bar. But a frowning guard does not allow him to enter.

He reached Anandpur, and bows before the Guru. When he looks up, he sees the same frown on the Guru’s forehead that he had seen last night. “You were the guard who saved me, my teacher,” he says, “but why did I go astray?”

“Your ego made you full of pride after leaving your marriage ceremony midway, and then made you go astray,” says the Guru, “years of prayer can be nullified by a moment’s egotism. Beware of this trap.”

Guru Granth Sahib tells us:

He is not pleased by egotism, the Books proclaim loudly,
Those who die in egotism, find no salvation.

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