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The young and vibrant Guru Gobind Rai held a kirtan with people singing Gurbani everyday. Many types of people would come to these gatherings to sing and to hear the Guru speak. One time a Brahman was concerned for the Guru, “The hill Rajas are responsible for the death of your father. They tortured and killed his Sikhs. They will surely attack you as well. The stars are crossed my friend, bad times are ahead.” The Guru listened patiently as the Brahman continued, “The Saturn god, Shani Dev is the one who is powerful enough to punish your enemies and bless your people with happiness. You should do a service to this god to gain his blessing.” Guru Ji politely replied, “We don’t pray to such gods, we believe that there is only One God that is everywhere, inside of everything. We pray only to the One God."

The Brahman was determined to help. He said, “That’s all good but you don’t understand! With Shani’s help you will easily win all battles, you will be given powers you can’t even guess about, and your people will be wealthy and happy. A ceremony for Shani must be done! I can do it myself, I will do the honors with full ritual.” The Guru smiled and said, “Well... Okay...if we must do it...” The Brahman jumped up in excitement, “Good choice, great sir, I will need pure iron and mustard oil to perform the ceremony.” The Guru arranged for these items to be given to the Brahman. “You won’t regret this, Shani Dev is all-powerful, trust me you want to be on his good side.” So the Brahman left the Guru’s presence carrying the ritual items quite happily. He thought, “Thank the gods I have convinced him of the importance of worshipping the Saturn god.”

On the way out he met some Sikhs who were wondering why he was so happy. He explained the whole conversation. The Sikhs intuitively knew that Guru Ji was setting a test for them. So they told the Brahman, “We’ll hold the iron and mustard oil for you. Why don’t you come back tomorrow, and we’ll do the ritual then.” The next day everyone was gathered together for kirtan and the Brahman asked the Guru, “Are we going to do the service to Shani now right?! I gave the items to some of your Sikhs. Just tell them to bring me the iron and the mustard oil and I will help win Shani to your side.” Guru Ji called to his Sikhs, “Do you have anything to share with the sangat?” One of the Sikhs stood up, “Yes! We don’t believe in praying to gods and goddesses. You have taught us that worshipping them is useless compared to worshipping Ik Ongkar. Instead of using the items for a ritual we decided to donate it for a useful cause. We donated the oil to langar, it will be used to feed people. We gave the iron to a metal worker who made Karas out of it.

The Sikh who explained their actions looked spiritual and beautiful. They continued, “Now we will give the Karas back to you. May they remind us to never do false rituals. May they remind us of the Infinite Ik Ongkar. While remembering these things, God will destroy the enemies and bless us.” As his beloved Sikhs talked, Guru ji was bursting with joy. They knew his mind and they saw through the ritual. May we always see the One God within ourselves and in everyone. That will be our greatest protector!

Guest Storytellers:  Dev Suroop Kaur
Topics:  Guru Gobind Singh
Age ranges:  13 - 17