Bhai Taru's Life of Fearless Love
In the village of Poola lived a young man named Taru. He worked very hard every day on his farm with his family. He was also a very devoted Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh and he always loved serving people. Everyone knew he loved to serve and everyone loved Bhai Taru. Bhai Taru believed all people are children of God. He also learned from Guru Gobind Singh Ji to treat all people with equality and love. He didn't care if someone was Hindu or Muslim, he just wanted to serve the God in them.
Not everyone in the land had the same feelings as Taru Singh. Many of the rulers of India at that time were religious fanatics who killed anyone they wanted. Their mission was to convert everyone to their religion, and in this way control their lives. And since the Khalsa couldn't stand for this the rulers especially hated them and attacked them. They put out an order to all in the land which said: "Anyone who helps the Khalsa will be punished and anyone who brings us one of their heads will be rewarded." This made it scary for the Guru's Khalsa to live in India because there was always the fear of having to listen to the rulers and change their religion or risk being put to death.
Meanwhile back in Poola a man got really jealous of how everyone loved Taru Singh. He knew about some rebels hiding in the jungle who did not follow the ruler's wishes. They stayed away from towns and cities and always had to be careful that no one turned them in to the rulers. This jealous man wanted Bhai Taru to suffer and felt he should be tortured and suffer like the rebels who were hiding in the jungles. And so he turned Taru Singh in to be captured. The governor ordered Bhai Taru to be tortured and then brought to him.
Amazingly, Bhai Taru Singh was tortured and did not complain, and so when the governor saw him he was amazed and enchanted. He was so inspired by his fearlessness that he told Bhai Taru, "You have such spiritual light about you that somehow I feel in my heart that I can't kill you." But then the governor tried to bribe Bhai Taru, "You can be a great man. Join us. I will give you a mansion to live in, I will give you power and great wealth. All you have to do is cut your hair and join us." Bhai Taru said, "I will give you more than my hair, I will offer you my head with my hair on it."
To the governor this was an insult, even though he admired Bhai Taru's courage. So he tried to get Bhai Taru to see his way by offering his choice of riches and his choice of royal women to marry. He said: "Give in and join me. Its so easy. All you have to do is cut your hair. I will give you all the luxury, land and riches you want and you will live like a king!"
But Bhai Taru Singh was so strong that he would not betray his brothers and sisters who had suffered in death before him. He refused to give up his hair and his faith to the tyrant governor. He said, "Even if I was made to be ruler of the whole world, and if everyone obeyed my every command, and I was served by heavenly fairies, even then I would never give up my faith. My hair is a spiritual crown and it is worth more than mere riches. I'm not afraid; I'm ready to die. I pray to my Guru that I will die with all my hair intact."
The governor became infuriated. He violently ordered his barber, "This man must die, kill him slowly... but cut his hair first!!" And so the barber had to obey, but for some reason he kept trying to cut Bhai Taru's hair, and it wouldn't work. So the governor ordered: "Get the shoe maker; he has sharper tools. Cut Taru's hair and then kill him slowly!" The shoe maker came and even his sharpest tools couldn't cut Bhai Taru's hair. In a rage the governor cried, "Bring the carpenter!" The carpenter was called and the governor ordered: "Now since his hair can't be cut, you'd better cut his whole scalp off." And so the carpenter had to cut Bhai Taru's whole scalp off. But Bhai Taru's hair remained intact. And even after that the governor ordered Bhai Taru to be tortured for another month.
Now the governor was suddenly struck by great pains in his stomach. The pain kept increasing and he couldn't figure out why. But then he realized, "Maybe I'm suffering this pain because I torturing a pure man like Taru Singh." Everyone watched as he ordered Bhai Taru released and begged for forgiveness. But in his pure clarity, Bhai Taru said, "As far as I am concerned the governor is forgiven. But he will still have to face the consequences for his actions."
The governor became so affected by the situation that he thought that if he took Bhai Taru's shoe and hit himself over the head with it, he would get better. And this turned out to be the only thing that relieved his stomach pains. He hit his head with Bhai Taru's shoe until one day he died. And Bhai Taru left his own body on hearing this news.
Bhai Taru Ji was joyfully welcomed to the spiritual realm where he was surrounded with glory and light and unimaginable love. And from his beautiful sacrifice we learn, 'It's not the life that we live, it's the courage that we bring to it'.