Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Accepting God's Will (bhaana)

Last week i was at my friends house doing avsoas (paying condolences for a death in his family).
It's very difficult to know how to handle such situations, i just didn't know what to say to make my friend feel any better.

whilst we were sitting there, an old wise man walked in, he was amritdhari, and naturally the conversation went on to accepting the will of God (bhaana manno) etc. The man went onto explain, that it very easy to say "bhaana manno", but very difficult to accept this. It's particularly easy for you to say it to someone else when they go through such a phase, but when it happens to you, then its a different story.

He went onto explain that Sikhs in the past questioned Shri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji whether there existed such a person who accepted everything (good or bad) as the will of God, and would remain unaffected by these events. Shri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji advised his Sikhs that there is such a person, his name is Bhai Bhikari. Guru Ji gave his Sikhs the address of Bhai Bhikhari, and told them to pay him a visit and see with their own eyes, how this Sikh accepts Gods will.

Unfortunately, as people were coming in and out of the room, the baba ji was unable to continue his Sakhi. It did leave me intrigued nevertheless, and so i did some digging up and found the Sakhi below:

Now we will take an illustration to make the point more explicit. In the time of Guru Arjan, the fifth in line of succession to Guru Nanak, we have an account of a model sikh, Bhai Bhikari by name. A disciple once asked the Guru to introduce him to a Gurbhakta or a devoted disciple. The Guru directed him with a letter to Bhai Bhikari and asked him to stay with the Bhai Sahib for a few days. Bhikari received his brother-in-faith very warmly and entertained him to the best of his means. The day he arrived, his host was calmly sewing a piece of cloth which looked like a coffin-covering. The disciple, after spending a few days happily in his company, proposed to go back, but Bhikari requested him to stay on for some time more and to attend his son's wedding which was due shortly. At the loving insistence of the host, he agreed to do so. The wedding day came. There were festivities in the house but Bhikari was as serene as ever. The disciple like all the rest accompanied the wedding procession, witnessed the merry nuptials, and escorted the bride's procession back to Bhikari's house. The following day, as ill-luck would have it, Bhikari's only son, the newly-wedded youth, took ill suddenly and died. Bhikari quietly took out the cloth that he had prepared on purpose a few days earlier, wrapped the dead body of his son in it, took it to the cremation ground, and performed the last rites with his usual equanimity. Bhikari's steadfast attitude of composure all through this varying panorama of life, struck the disciple dumb with astonishment, for in Bhikari there was no trace of joy and sorrow, but perfect resignation to the Will of the Lord, which he knew right from the beginning; and he had acted accordingly, without exhibiting any personal feelings or emotions in the least.

I think everyone will agree that it is very difficult for us manmukhs to reach this level of Sikhi, whereby one does not emote elation or sorrow. Above Guru Ji used Bhai Bhikhari as a perfect example of a Gursikh obeying the will of God, but years later Guru Ji himself would do the same whilst being tortured by the authorities of the time.

Bhai Bhikarhi and Guru Ji were not the only Sikhs to show this rare quality. Years later many Sikhs followed in Guru Ji's steps, Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Dhayala,Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji, the Sahibzadey, Banda Singh Bahadur, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Taru Singh, the sikh women imprisoned by mir mannu, and the list goes on.... All these Sikhs expressed no ill feelings whilst they were being tortured, and they happily recited naam whilst enduring the torture.

In stark contrast, if anything bad happens to us we start to curse the Lord - "why did this happen to me" etc.. and the major reason for that is that we are too attached to everything around us, be it family or possessions. Again the solution is to attach ourselves to naam, but that's easier said than done for the majority of us.....

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