12. Some Devotees

Bhai Sawan Mal, the son of Guru Amardas' brother was a devoted Sikh. He was sent to Haripur in the Kangra hills to arrange for the supply of timber for the construction of buildings in Goindwal. His humanism and spiritual wisdom endeared him to the Raja of Haripur who came to Goindwal and became a follower of the Guru. Gangu Shah, a Khatri merchant of Lahore, suffered losses in business and came to Goindwal to seek the Guru's blessing. The Guru said to him: "Go to Delhi and start your business. Remember God and help the needy and you will be wealthy". A needy Brahmin sought financial aid from Guru Amardas for his daughter's marriage. The Guru gave him a letter for Gangu Shah, asking him to help the Brahmin. Wealth had made Gangu arrogant and miserly. He thought that if he helped the Brahmin, the Guru might send other men also to him for help. So he told the Brahmin that he could not do anything for him. The Brahmin returned disappointed to Goindwal. The Guru told the congregation to collect funds and also himself contributed some amount towards the marriage expenses of the Brahmin's daughter. After some time, Gangu suffered losses in business, and returned to Goindwal empty-handed. He dared not show his face to Guru Amardas; so he served in the Langar for all the time. One day, the Guru called him and blessed him. He was put in charge of the mission at Lahore for the rest of his life. Bhai Paro Jhulka - also called Parma Hans - belonged to Dalla village in the Doaba region. He used to visit Goindwal every day by crossing the river Beas. Guru Amardas was much pleased with his humility and devotion and desired to nominate him as his successor. Bhai Paro declined this honour, saying: "I am content with being the Guru's disciple, because I have received the treasure of the Holy Name". The Nawab (Governor) of Jallundur, named Abdullah became a Sikh, because he was impressed by the ideal living of Bhai Paro. Baini, a learned Pandit, came to Guru Amardas and mentioned the advantages of austerities and sacrifices mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. He also paraded his knowledge of Sanskrit books. The Guru did not like his vanity and display of scholarship. The Guru said to him: "He alone is a real Pandit who casts off the load of three gunas" (p.1261). Guru Amardas emphasised that austerities and rituals prescribed for the previous three yugas are impossible in kalyuga. Devotion and remembrance of the Holy Word is most beneficial in this age. Naam gives bliss and opens the door of salvation. The Guru told Baini that his followers are family-men. The Sikhs are enjoined to lead family life and devote themselves to good deeds and the Holy Word. They live in the world and yet remain detached from its attachments and pull of maya. The Guru said: "They are true house-holders whose minds are concentrated on Truth".