Guru Tegh Bahadur & Makhan Shah

Makkan Shah was devoted man who was a rich traveller....

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There once was a rich and devoted man named Makhan Shah. He was sailing in the ocean with his goods to trade. A great storm broke out. Thunder, lightening and heavy rain were striking. The waves were so strong his boat might sink. He closed his eyes and with all his soul prayed to Guru Nanak: "If your light is still here on this earth, I ask you to save us from this storm. I offer 500 gold pieces." Just then a miracle happened, the storm stopped and the ocean calmed. Makhan Shah was very thankful and knew that the Guru had saved him and his men.

 

When he got to land he set out to find out where the Guru was. He knew that the Guru must be in the Sodhi family, the family of the Gurus. There a Sikh told him, "When Guru Harkrishan left his body, he didn't appoint a new Guru. All he told us is 'Baba Bakala'." All the children who were related to the Guru were respected and people called them "Baba", but there must be many Babas in this family. In fact many of these candidates for the Guruship moved to Bakala right away. 

Makhan Shah went out to Bakala to find the Guru, surely he could find out who had saved his ship. He saw many men with followers claiming to be the Guru. Someone told him, "There are 26 Gurus here, we don't know which one is the real one, so we just respect them all." Makhan Shah was surprised. He visited each of these Baba ji's. He would bow down to them and offer them 5 gold coins and say, "Dear Guru ji, you saved my ship and my men, here is my offering to you." They would pretend to bless him and he would leave. This happened for many days until he had visited everyone who claimed to be the Guru. Makhan Shah was getting tired of these fakers.

He asked everyone, "Is there no more Baba's here? None of these men is real. The Guru must be in Bakala. Is there anyone else??" Some one said, "I suppose there is one more relative of the Guru but no one sees him. He just stays in his home and meditates. He is one of the sons of Guru Hargobind and his name is Teg Bahadur. But he can't be the Guru, he is like a hermit." Makhan Shah said, "I don't care. I must see him. Where does he live?" So Makhan Shah visited this Baba named Teg Bahadur. 

Like always he bowed down and said, "You saved my ship and my men, here is my offering to you." He placed the five gold coins before him. Baba Teg Bahadur looked him in the eyes and said, "Where is the other gold, you only gave me five. My shoulders are still hurting from holding up your ship in the storm. You promised me 500 gold pieces." 

Makhan Shah became very excited. "Here is your other gold. I was just trying to test you. You saved me Guru ji, I am at your service." Then Makhan Shah said, "Many Sikhs are being mislead by the fake Babas in town. We have to announce you as the Guru so people won't be confused." The Guru is the Guru and the truth was known to those who had pure intuition. The Guru doesn't announce he is the Guru, he simply is the Guru, so he said, "You must not announce me as the Guru. It is not to be advertised, I am not setting up a shop. If you do, your face will be black."

The Guru was trying to warn him of the karma of selling the Guru to the people, it wasn't a humble act. Makhan Shah was clever and got some ashes from a fire. He smeared the ashes on his face, so that his face was black. He ran on the roof and began shouting, "I have found the Guru, I have found the Guru." The Guru had definitely been found.

Makhan Shah later left to do business. At that time some of those fake Gurus headed by a man named Dir Mal got jealous that everyone now respected the True Guru. They burst in to his house and stole everything that people had offered him, they even shot at the Guru and hit him in the back. The Sikhs wanted to take the stuff back and punish Dhir Mal, but the Guru said, "No, let him live his own consequences." 

When Makhan Shah returned and heard this, he and his men burst in to Dhir Mal's place and took everything back. They also took some things Dhir Mal already had including the Adi Granth Sahib, the original form of the Guru Granth Sahib. When Makhan Shah gave the Guru his wealth back, the Guru said, "You have taken some things that already belonged to Dhir Mal, give them back to him." Makhan Shah gave the stuff back to Dhir Mal. Secretly though, he kept the Adi Granth Sahib.

The Guru decided to start traveling to spread the teachings of Guru Nanak and bless Sikhs in all lands. On the way he noticed his Sikhs carrying the Adi Granth Sahib. He said to Makhan Shah, "I told you to give everything back to Dhir Mal." Makhan Shah said, "But my king, you are the Guru. The Adi Granth doesn't belong to a wicked man like Dhir Mal. It belongs to you, it is your very essence." 

Guru Teg Bahadur saw that his Sikhs were angry at Dhir Mal and all those who made themselves enemies of the Guru for their violence and theft. He told everyone, "Do not let anger in your body. It makes you crazy so you can not tell right from wrong. Forgive these men in your hearts." Thus began the reign of Guru Teg Bahadur who is free from anger and revenge.

This story was originally published on Feb 9th 2009

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