The Guru Nanak (Sikh's first Guru) and his companion whilst on their travels came to a village called Deepalpur. It was getting late and the Guru said to Mardana, 'Lets find a place to stay for the night.' Soon they came to a small shop. Mardana spoke to the shopkeeper and said, 'When you lock up do you think that we can shelter here under the verandah for the night?'
The shopkeeper looked at the travellers and thought about the request. He said, 'I do not know you. You do not appear to be from around here. How can I offer you shelter? I suggest that you look for a place to stay elsewhere.'
The shopkeeper failed to realise that Guru Nanak was God's power on Earth and had humbled himself to him. Such was his destiny. He could have taken pity on these weary travellers and treated then with some humanity. Alas he only thought about himself and lost this golden chance to reach heaven. His future could have been rewritten for his benefit. Instead he had condemned himself to continued existence on the Earth. He would continue to die, be born again and suffer even more mundane Earthly existences.
The Guru and Mardana then turned away from the shopkeeper and looked elsewhere. Mardana got up onto a post and surveyed the area. He said,' My Lord I see a light in the distance. It is a good half an hour walk from here.' The Guru said, 'Lets get away from here. The people here do not care for us.' They walked towards the light as the sky got darker. Eventually they arrived at the light. It was coming from inside a tent. The tent was old and ramshackled. It stood almost deserted in the middle of an unused field.
Again the Guru told Mardana to see if the person inside would let them have shelter for the night. Mardana entered the tent and almost immediately ran back out again with his face half covered by his shirt. He said almost being sick , 'My lord we cannot stay here! It stinks in there. It is terrible.' The Guru asked, 'Why? What is the matter?' Mardana said, 'There is a leper in there. The tent is a terrible mess.'
The Guru said, 'Tell the leper to come out here.' Mardana said ,'He cannot even walk. His hands and feet are all eaten up with leprosy.' The Guru said, 'Very well then if he cannot come by himself then drag him out here.' Mardana had to prepare himself up for this task. He wrapped a cloth around his face and slowly entered the tent. Before long he had managed to drag the leper out into the open near the Guru.
The leper looked up at the Guru. He had been in such pain and anguish. Now having looked upon the Guru the pain had calmly dulled into cool peace. He looked at the Guru with renewed wonder. 'You have come to me my Lord. I a vile sinful leper. You have come to a place where even animals do not venture. You ask me for shelter. My lord you have taken pity on this awful wretch. I am so weak I cannot even get up to serve you! ' Tears were in his eyes.
The Guru asked , 'Why do you suffer so much?'
The leper could not contain himself, 'I am suffering from leprosy. Every moment brings pain. I cannot even sleep without yelping in pain. All my friends and relatives have forsaken me. They fear that I will give them this horrible disease. They have all abandoned me in this lonely forsaken field. Some take pity on me and will leave some food outside and run away fearing that if they see me it will make them ill. Many days may pass when I have no food. I cannot even crawl onto the roads. My mind is tortured by the good times which I once had. I have become full of vitriol and venom.'
The merciful Guru said,'There was a time when you enjoyed all of life.You
were with your parents, who had all this land and
wealth. They were good people who worshipped God. They gave you their blessings. They were taken back by God in the same season just after you were married. You suffered from this very badly. You lacked the spirit to accept God's Will. Instead of asking God for help with your loss, you turned to your wife and friends. You began to eat and drink. Soon you got very fat.
You spent all your money indulging your wife and friends and on other types of immoral pleasures. Your suffering did not go away. When the money ran out so your friends also left. When you became a leper even your own family disowned you. One by one every pleasure that you once enjoyed turned to even more pain and suffering. You became bitter and twisted. You swear and curse everyone and everything. You are filled with the poison of hate and bitterness. God gave you a tongue with which to say sweet gentle things. Instead you have wasted every good breath which was meant for remembering God on your self.'
The leper said, 'What else could I do? The pain gets so great that all I can do is vent my anger and hate.'
The Guru said 'You look forward to death. You think that your suffering will end when you die. You are wrong! It will get even worse. Your sins have stained your skin and so have also stained your soul. When you go in front of God's court no one will give you a place and no one will stand up for you. You will be condemned to return to the Earth in another form to continue your suffering.'
On hearing this any hope that the Leper had kept in his heart was instantly all dashed. He broke down and cried in utter despair and agony , ' Oh Lord please help me. I am defeated. I have lost my way Oh Lord. Only you can save me from this hell on Earth. Please Lord please show me thy way!'
The Guru said, 'Had you said one prayer, just one, when you lost your parents the the mountains of pain and suffering would not have fallen upon you. Instead you thought only of your self and so invited all the terrors which have visited you.' The leper said 'I will pray to God. Please lord you have come here.Take pity on this despicable soul! Please Lord cleanse me of all my sins and disease.'
The Guru looked upon on the leper with love and called
for some pure water to be brought. The Guru said repeat after me the name
of God. The Guru splashed the water onto the leper's face. Each time he
did this he said, 'SatNam Sri WaheGuru.'
This means: 'Truth is thy Name oh Wonderful Lord.' The leper repeated God's name. As he did so his sins were wiped clean
and his skin was healed also. He had become whole once more. All the filth which had filled his soul had been washed away.
Dirt which his soul had collected since the beginning of the universe. The Guru said,'Your illness has been lost. Now tell me what other blessings would you like?'
The leper said ,' I had everything. Wealth, family and friends. They
did not bring me any joy. The joy which I feel now is beyond all
comparison. It has come from you and by remembering God's sweet name.
I want nothing else but to remember
God. If you want to give me something then give this to me. Give the gift which prevents me from ever losing God's name. Let me forever immediate on his wonderful name. Let every cell of my body shout God's name forever and ever! '
The Guru was very pleased. They all then spent the night singing God's praises fulfilling their true purpose in life collecting spiritual wealth and absolute truth. Truth which switches off the capacity to commit sin and will represent them in God's holy court.
Submitted to Merton-L Discussion Group by Anand Dev Singh.