Sacha Souda, A Truely Profitable Trade
When Guru Nanak reached the age of eighteen, his father Mehta Kalu thought of sending him out to learn a lesson on making a trade. Thinking that becoming a Banya (trader) was a profitable profession one in which his son would be happy all day communicating with his customers. So choosing an auspicious day, he called Bhai Bala the Jat to be Guru ji's companion. He gave twenty rupees to Bhai Bala and said, "Go with Nanak, buy and bring some genuine goods so by selling them we may make a good profit. He said to his young son, "If you make a good transaction, I will give you more money next time to buy more goods."
So Nanak and Bhai Bala started from Talwandi to Chuharkana to purchase some merchandise. They had gone just ten or twelve miles from their village, when they came across a group of naked hermits, wearing only langoti (a strip of cloth ties around their waist and running between the legs), sitting in the jangal (forrested area). Guru Nanak said to Bhai Bala, "Father has asked us to carry out some profitable transaction. No bargain can be more profitable than to feed and clothe these naked and hungry hermits. I cannot pass this true bargain by. One will rarely get an opportunity to carry out such a profitable transaction." So saying he took all the money from Bala, placed it before the leader of the hermits and said, "I offer this in your service."
The leader of the hermits said, "Son, we are Nirbaanis, we have foresworn wearing clothes, this money is of no use to us. We do not go to villages or towns. We stay in the jungle. But, if you get us a meal with this money we will accept it." Hearing this Guru Nanak and Bhai Bala went to the village nearby. They had meals prepared with the money and brought them to the hermits. Having fed the Faqirs they headed home empty handed.
When the two approached Talwandi, Guru Nanak said to Bala, "You go to the village alone, I shall sit at this well." Bhai Bala went to the village alone and narrated the whole story to Mehta Kalu. Dad Kalu was very angry that they had wasted money on the Hermits in this way. Putting aside all work he took Bala and started towards the well. Reaching the well he slapped Nanak. Bhai Bala tried to remind him that, "You had told us to make a profitable bargain, so whether you agree or not, Nanak has made a true bargain."
For Mehta Kalu amassing wealth was the only true bargain, because only moneyed men are considered noble, gentle, honest, pious and lovers of mankind. The means by which the money is earned are of no importance in this world of worldly men.
It is only people who truly understand the value of good deeds who know the meaning of a truely profitable transaction.