n this article, we will delve into Saakhi #7 of the Sikha Di Bhagat Mala, Sikher (Seeker) series to understand the significance of Katha and Keertan as the simplest ways to attain oneness with Vaheguru.
The Story of Bhai Malo and Bhai Manga
ਮਾਲੋ ਮਾਂਗਾ ਸਿਖ ਦੁਇ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਰਸਿ ਰਸਿਕ ਬਿਲਾਸੀ ॥
Malo and Manga were two Sikhs who would always remain absorbed in the essence of Gurbani, the words of the Guru.
Bhai Malo and Bhai Manga used to perform Katha and Kirtan of Gurbani in their village. One day, they came to meet Guru Nanak Dev Ji and earnestly asked, "Guru Ji, please provide us with teachings that will lead us to attain liberation and ultimate peace."
The Easy Way Out!
Guru Nanak Dev Ji responded, "There is a penance called Tamsik penance, which involves sitting surrounded by fire, sitting in water during winter, going on pilgrimages and residing there, fasting, wandering around the world, or consuming vegetation and plants from the ground. These are challenging penances. To control the senses and the mind, one should listen to Katha (spiritual discourse) and Kirtan with interest. This type of penance is known as Rajsik penance. It is easier to accomplish, requires less effort, and is much more fruitful."
Tougher Penance = Greater Reward?
Bhai Malo Ji questioned, "Guru Ji, we have heard that if we exert more effort, we will receive greater rewards. For instance, if one works longer, they earn more pay. If one works less, they receive less income. Are you suggesting that the difficult Tamsik penance yields lesser results, while engaging in Kirtan and Katha leads to greater outcomes? How is this possible?"
Guru Nanak Dev Ji provided an analogy, "Consider an occupation where one cuts wood in the forest, collects it, and brings it to town to sell. Some work as laborers, carrying people's luggage and transporting goods from one place to another. Despite their considerable efforts, such occupations yield very little income. On the other hand, individuals working as shopkeepers exert minimal effort but earn substantial income. Those involved in money dealings and textile businesses generate significant income with minimal effort.”
Guru Sahib Ji continued, “Similarly, jewellers primarily deal in selling diamonds, rubies, and precious stones. They do not have to work extensively, yet they earn substantial profits. Those who collaborate with jewellers also learn to evaluate precious stones and engage in business."
Just like this, the Guru is a trader of Vaheguru’s name and engaging in this trade with the Guru gives us huge profits!
ਗੁਰੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਸਚਾ ਸਾਹੁ ਹੈ ਸਿਖ ਦੇਇ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਸੇ ॥
ਧਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਵਣਜਾਰਾ ਵਣਜੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰੁ ਸਾਹੁ ਸਾਬਾਸੇ ॥
The Ultimate Penance
Guru Nanak Dev Ji emphasised, "One who practises Tamsik penance does not acquire spiritual wisdom. However, through engaging in Katha and Kirtan, their loving devotion towards Vaheguru is fortified. Consequently, they attain spiritual wisdom. This is known as Satvik penance and is more fruitful than both Tamsik and Rajsik penance."
Inspired by Guru Sahib Ji's teachings, Bhai Malo Ji commenced performing Katha of Gurbani recited by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhai Manga Ji sat in front, diligently controlling all his senses while attentively listening to the katha. After listening to the Katha, both of them sit and sing Kirtan of the same Shabad. Those who had the privilege of listening to them experienced the essence of Gurbani and savoured the sweet nectar it offered. Upon hearing their teachings, the Sikh Sangat relinquished all sinful acts.
Both devoted Gursikhs earned an honest living, shared their blessings with others, and dedicated themselves to serving saints. In this way, the entire town found liberation.
-End of Sakhi Bhai Malo and Bhai Manga, Sikhs of Guru Nanak Dev Ji-