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Once a king with his army visited Guru Gobind Singh ji. The king was very proud of the strong, fierce, professional soldiers in his own army. He told the Guru "If I add my trained fighters to your army of commoners, we surely can win any war!" This king respected the Guru so Guru Gobind Singh decided to teach him a lesson and show him what the Sikhs are made of. At that time someone gave the Guru a musket (an old type of rifle) as a gift. Next the Guru sent a message to the Sikhs. The message was this: "I want one of my sons to stand as a target so I can test my new gun out." The king thought this was a crazy thing to ask for, especially for a holy man like the Guru, but he kept to himself. The first two Sikhs who heard this message were a father and a son. They both ran towards Guru Gobind Singh ji to offer themselves to test the musket. They fought amongst each other to have the honor of giving their life for the Guru. Both the father and the son said "Use me as a target!" These Sikhs understood how blessed their souls are to serve the True Guru in any way they can. Guru Gobind Singh ji aimed the musket and shot over both their heads. The king saw this whole scene and was very impressed that these Sikhs are so fearless and devoted. He bowed to the Guru with an even deeper respect.

Read the Full Story:

Guru Gobind Singh Jee, the King, and the New Musket

There once was a King who was also a great General. He had many soldiers and an army. He lived in his castle in the mountains. There also was a great Guru who lived there; His name was Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh was a Soldier-Saint. This means that He loved God, meditated on Him, kept Him in His heart, felt Him always near Him, and at the same time that He was strong, courageous, and ready to fight to protect weak people from cruel and unjust attackers. The King heard that Guru Gobind Singh was a great Saint and teacher, and he went to visit Him. He was very pleased by the greatness and the saintliness of Guru Gobind Singh. He even wanted to become a Sikh, and he said to Him, "Guru Jee, you are a great Saint of God, and I am a great warrior! Your Sikhs are a good people, but they are just farmers and workers. They are not worth anything as soldiers, but with my help, nothing can stop you. You can get rid of all your enemies!" The Guru realized that the King was a very proud person, and He decided to teach him a lesson in humility.

At that moment, a Sikh came to pay homage to the Guru. He bowed before Him and presented a musket to the Guru as an offering. A musket is an ancient type of rifle. Guru Sahib said, "Thank you, bless you." And now this is how He taught a lesson to the King. The Guru said, "King, I want to test my new musket. Please go back to your castle, and tell your soldiers that your Guru wants to try His new musket on one of them." The King was flabbergasted and he said, "Oh, oh, alright Guru Sahib. I'll try...". And he thought, "This is a very strange request from the Guru, but I must try. He wants to shoot His musket at one of my men. My God!" But the King bowed, left, and went back to his castle.

He gathered his soldiers and said, "Men, I have gathered you here because um, er, my Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, who is a great Guru, ahem, wants to uhm, test His new musket, ahem, mmm, on one of you. This is a very great sacrifice, I know, but the man who goes will be instantly liberated. I guarantee it." The soldiers were amazed. They talked among themselves. Then they said, "Your Majesty, we are soldiers. It is our duty, our work, to fight, to kill, or to be killed. We know when we go to war, some of us will be killed, some will be wounded. That's alright, but what your Guru asks is outrageous. We can't' go. We have no chance. The man who goes will be uselessly killed. It's not right, we can't do it."
"Yeah, that's right, we can't do it."
"No, we can't do it."
Then the King said, "Ohh, I see.", and he dismissed them.
"Alright, you can go."
He then went back to see Guru Gobind Singh and said, "Guru Sahib, I'm sorry. I tried, I asked them, I explained it to them, but no, it's useless. Not one of them would come. They don't understand about spirituality." "That's alright", said the Guru, "None of them came King, but you came back. I'll test my musket on you."
"Oh Guru Jee, uhm, uhm, I'm sorry. You see, well I have a...uhm...my duty, uhm, my Kingdom, my palace, my sol-"

The King was afraid that the Guru was going to use him as a target, and he was not ready to die. Then Guru Gobind Singh said to him, "Oh King, let Me show you what My Sikhs are like." He called one of His attendants. He told the attendant, "Go outside and walk away from here. Yell, 'The Guru needs a Sikh to try out His new musket on, and keep walking, keep yelling."
"Yes Oh Guru Sahib."

The man then went out and yelled, "The Guru needs a Sikh to try out His new rifle on! The Guru needs a Sikh to try out His new musket on! The Guru needs a Sikh to try out His new musket on!" The first two people who heard him were a father and a son. They were stable boys who worked taking care of the horses. When they heard the message, they both jumped and ran towards the palace, each trying to get there first. They loved the Guru so much. They had such faith in Him that even to be shot by Him was the highest thing that could happen. And so they ran, pushing each other and arguing all the way. The son who ran faster got there first and he said, "Try it on me!" "No!", said the father, "Try it on me Guru Sahib!" The son then said, "I got there first!"
"I am your father, and I'm ordering you, I am the one."
"No, there is no father or son when it comes to God. I am the one!"
And they kept arguing and fighting about who would be the target for the Guru's new musket. The Guru who never really wanted to shoot either of them said, "Alright, just stand back to back over there. I'll shoot at both of you." The father and the son positioned themselves, still arguing and raising themselves on their tiptoes, pushing each other to be the one shot by the Guru. The Guru raised the musket, aimed it at them, and then He fired into the sky, way over their heads. The Sikhs came towards Him. He blessed them for their devotion and embraced them. Then He turned to the King and said, "You see King, these are my Sikhs. Even the most humble stable boy is more brave than the greatest of your soldiers. They trust in God, they love their Guru. They are the Khalsa. Out of little sparrows, I have made hawks and out of sheep, I have made lions. Such are My Sikhs." The King then understood that he had been too proud.

He asked the Guru's forgiveness and became more humble.

Vaheguru jee ka khalsa, Vaheguru jee kee fateh!

Storyteller:  Guruliv Singh
Age ranges:  1 - 6, 13 - 17, 18 and over, 7 - 12