Watering the Crops

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Guru Nanak Ji picture courtesy of Sikhnet.com

Guru Nanak Dev Ji while on his eastward journey reached Haridwar. Haridwar is located on the banks of the River Ganges and is one of the major centers for Hindu pilgrimage. People gathered there in large numbers and would bathe in the holy river. Guru Nanak Dev Ji observed many people throwing water towards the sun in the east. The Guru had already heard about this meaningless ritual. He, therefore, thought it the right place and the proper time to give correct guidance that those kinds of mindless hollow rituals have no value.

The people who were throwing handfuls of water from the Ganges River towards the sun in the east believed that by this ritual they could offer water to their dead elders in the next world. This next world was in the east from where the sun rose.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji entered the river for purposes of bathing as other common pilgrims were doing. Instead of throwing water to the east, he, however, started throwing water in the opposite direction towards the west where Guru Ji's farm was. Taking him as a naive visitor, the nearby bathers told him that he was not performing the rituals correctly. They advised him to throw water to the east.

Guru Nanak "watering" his crops in Punjab

Guru Nanak Dev Ji continued throwing water towards the west pretending that he was very much absorbed in the 'holy' act and had not heard anything. Soon, many people gathered there to tell him that the proper method of performing the ritual was to throw water in the other direction. His water thrown to the west was of no use to him or to his dead ancestors. The pilgrims thought that the Guru was acting strangely and soon hundreds of bathers surrounded him and were telling Guru Ji that he was throwing the water in the wrong direction and that it will never get to his ancestors - who live in the east. They flocked to the Guru and laughed at what they thought was a very funny action.

The leader of the pilgrims approached and asked Guru Ji, “Why are you throwing the holy water to the west which is the wrong direction?” By this time thousands of bathers were watching Guru Ji. "The water is to be thrown towards the rising sun in the east so that it reaches your dead ancestors."

The Guru calmly replied, "I am watering my withering crops in Punjab. All of my crops in the village are dying as there has been no rain" and continued to splash the water to the west. He wanted to irrigate those crops. Hearing Guru Ji reply the people started laughing.

The curious spectators asked, "Are you crazy? How can your water reach hundreds of miles away to Punjab from here?”

Guru Ji replied, “The very same way yours reaches your ancestors in the other world many millions of miles away. In fact, my farm is quite closer on this very earth." Guru Ji stopped splashing the water,became serious and asked, "If the water thrown by me cannot reach a few hundred miles away on this very earth, how can water thrown by you to your dead ancestors reach them in the heavens?"

Guru Nanak "watering" his crops in Punjab
Courtesy Sikh Missionary Society U.K.

The leader of the pilgrims had no answer to this. The people became silent and started thinking over the reply that was given by the Guru. They had no logical argument to challenge his statement. This made the people think about the uselessness of their ritual.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji came out of the river and the crowd followed him. The Guru calmly told them the truth and explained that hollow rituals do not have any religious value. They should love, respect and take care of their people, friends and religions when they are alive rather then perform these useless rituals afterwards. When people die, they do not need anything from us and neither can we send them anything after they have left this world. After death, people get what they have given to the needy, out of their honest earnings, while living on this earth.

So remember the message - Do the good deeds for your elders now - because once they are gone, you will not be able to do any service for them. Don't lose this opportunity!

How effective and rational of a way to get peoples' attention and remove their ignorance!


External links

Gallery

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