Amar Das Bhalla was a very devoted Vaishnava Hindu. When he was 62 he met a monk on one of his long pilgrimages....
The Devotion of Amar Das Bhalla
Amar Das Bhalla was born to very spiritual and devoted parents. From a young age he learnt scriptures like the Ramayana and the Mahabharta and became very devoted to spirituality. As a young man he worked hard to help his family. Later on, Amar Das got married and had four children; two sons and two daughters. He lived the life of a dutiful and simple householder who ran a small shop. Even though he made enough money for his family, he gave a lot of it away to saints and needy people.
Every 11 days Amar Das ji would go on a fast and not eat any food that day. He was very devoted to the worship of the god Vishnu. He traveled all the time to visit holy places.When he was 41 years old he started a yearly pilgrimage to Hariduar. He had so much commitment that he would walk on foot for hundreds of miles to this pilgrimage site. He did it every year for 21 long years!
One year Amar Das Bhalla was on his pilgrimage to Hariduar; at this time he was 62 years old. Other pilgrims noticed that even though he looked old he still had such a vigorous spirit. He kept strong discipline like the yogis, he listened to all the lectures and explanations of the Hindu priests. He visited all the holy men. He meditated alone like the sadhus. He was very strong in his daily practice. On this particular day, a saintly yogi noticed his sincerity and his thirst for spirituality and he began talking with him.
They became very good friends and eagerly talked about God and how the universe works. They cooked and served food to each other. This is something the yogi didn't do with anyone else, but he loved Amar Das ji as a very special friend.
They became such good friends they decided to travel together back to Amar Das ji's home. On the way they spent the night at a pundit's house. The pundit knew astrology. When Amar Das ji was resting, the pundit noticed the lines on his feet and hands. He said, “Ohhh!!!! What is this!!? Look at these lines on his hands AND his feet! This is very auspicious! You may think he is just a shop-keeper but NO! He is destined to be a great saint...no.... a supreeeeeeeme SAINT!!” Everyone was very impressed when he said this.
Later, Shree Amar Das ji brought the yogi-saint to his house. He and his virtuous wife enjoyed their guest with humility and kindness. The saint continued to admire the devotion of his dear friend Amar Das Balla. One day he asked, “My beloved friend, you are very blessed, destiny is your friend. You are a disciplined, wise and devoted man. You must have an excellent Guru to train a great devotee like you! Who is the Guru that can give you such blessings? What is your Guru's name?”
Amar Das ji paused... “Well...” You see, Amar Das ji didn't have a guru. “I don't have a guru yet” he replied. The yogi became upset “WHAT!?! You are Bey-guru!?? You don't have a teacher!? I never even share food with common people and I shared with someone like YOU!” Amar Das tried to calm him down but it was no use the yogi was very angry, “I am DEFILED! I will go again to Holy Hariduar to cleanse myself of this terrible MISTAKE I've made! How could I have been so close to someone who has no guru!!!”
The saint-yogi was so angry he left without even picking up his stuff and he never came back. What the yogi said had left a deep impression on Amar Das ji. He already knew something was missing in his life. After all his practices and devotions, he wasn't totally satisfied. But was he really a directionless man? Had all of his devotions been a waste? What could he do? He became determined... “I MUST find my guru!”
He now dedicated himself to finding his guru. Though he did all his other duties, now all he cared about was finding his guru. He searched in many places and met many holy people... but he couldn't accept any of them. He felt incomplete and his daily rituals didn't bring him satisfaction anymore. He felt very troubled. One night he could not seem to go to sleep. In the early morning, still sleepless, he lay thinking, “How can a lotus blossom without the sun? How can I be liberated without a guru?”
Then he heard a beautiful voice. It was his niece, “Sochai soch n hovae je sochee lakh vaar...” He followed her voice until he could hear better. “Chupai chup n hovae je lai raha livtar...” It was so beautiful, Amar Das Ji's heart was deeply touched and he bagn to cry . As she sang he was enchanted. It was the most simple and beautiful wisdom. He listened and went in to a meditative state of bliss... When she finished singing Jap ji he asked, “My dear girl, where did you hear these words? Please sing some more!" She told him, “These are the sacred teaching of the Creator, spoken by Guru Nanak.” And she sang more. He was mesmerized by the Guru's words - the Gurbani. He began to memorize his favorite lines. He felt these were the highest teachings and that it was surely Guru Nanak who could save him, “It goes straight to my heart. I must meet Guru Nanak! I know it! He is the one!”
She told him that Guru Nanak had left his body and that he had passed the Guruship to her father, Guru Angad Dev Ji. He begged her, “Kindly, bring me to him. How will I live without meeting him? Please, please bless me with his presence. I MUST meet him...”
She was very taken with his longing, “Baba ji, I will be honored to take you to him.” So they left together. Amar Das ji... was about to meet...Siri Guru Angad Dev ji....