ne time, there was a congregation in the Darbar (Court) of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. If anyone brought gifts or offerings for Guru Sahib Ji, the Ardaasia Singh (Supplicant/Court Minister) would place their offerings in front of the Guru and mention the Sangat's plea or prayer in the form of supplication. Some would offer money and some gold. The Guru would fulfill all the wishes of those who brought offerings. Amongst the Sangat, Qazi Sal’ah Deen was present.
When the congregation dispersed, the Qazi came forward to the Guru and asked, “Guru Ji, why do your Sikhs do Ardaas (Humble Request)? Brahamins say that whatever God does, we have to accept, and You too say the same. We Turks also believe that no one can go against the will of God. Then what is the meaning of this? What path is this? When You are happy with the Sangat, You bless them with children and wealth. Why do You lie if it’s not written in their fate?”
How does Bowing Down Reverse Our Bad Fate?
Guru Gobind Singh Ji replied, “Listen, O’ Qazi.” Then, Guru Ji took a seal, dipped it into ink, and stamped it on the piece of paper.
“One has to reap what they sow in this life based on karma. Like the symbol on the seal is reversed and cannot be read, but once stamped on paper, the symbol becomes obverse. Vaheguru has placed the mark of our fate on our forehead. However, when a Sikh bows down and touches his/her forehead onto the feet of the True Guru with utmost faith, then those bad fortunes on the forehead, just like the reversed insignia, become obverse. Those bad fortunes will turn into good fortune. If the Sikh never bows down his/her head, then their fate shall always remain reversed. By bowing down to the True Guru, the desires and motives of the Sikh become pure, and their lives become fruitful.”
Qazi Sal’ah Deen was grateful for this knowledge. He paid his respect to the Guru and said, “O’ True King, You removed my doubt. Wah Wah! I have obtained the glimpse of Allah in You.” Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed the Qazi and bid farewell.
What Does Gurbani Say About This?
In Gurbani, Guru Sahib has mentioned so many times the greatness of doing Ardaas and bowing down to our Guru. We read in our daily prayer, Sohila Sahib,
ਕਰਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਅੰਜੁਲੀ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥
Greet the Holy Saint with your palms pressed together; this is an act of great merit.
ਕਰਿ ਡੰਡਉਤ ਪੁਨੁ ਵਡਾ ਹੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Bow down before Him; this is a virtuous action indeed. ||1||Pause||
We often read this Salok (couplet) when taking Hukamnama Sahib (The order of the Guru from Guru Granth Sahib Ji) or when doing Katha (religious discourse),
ਡੰਡਉਤਿ ਬੰਦਨ ਅਨਿਕ ਬਾਰ ਸਰਬ ਕਲਾ ਸਮਰਥ ॥
I bow down, and fall to the ground in humble adoration, countless times, to the All-powerful Lord, who possesses all powers.
ਡੋਲਨ ਤੇ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇ ਕਰਿ ਹਥ ॥੧॥
Please protect me, and save me from wandering, God. Reach out and give Nanak Your Hand. ||1||
And we read this Pangti (line) below at the beginning of our Ardaas.
ਤੀਨੇ ਤਾਪ ਨਿਵਾਰਣਹਾਰਾ ਦੁਖ ਹੰਤਾ ਸੁਖ ਰਾਸਿ ॥
The Lord is the One who removes the three fevers; He is the Destroyer of pain, the warehouse of peace.
ਤਾ ਕਉ ਬਿਘਨੁ ਨ ਕੋਊ ਲਾਗੈ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਆਗੈ ਅਰਦਾਸਿ ॥੧॥
No obstacles block the path of one who prays before God. ||1||
The greatness of doing Ardaas and Matha Tekna (bowing your head) is found in many other places in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. As Sikhs, we should do Khoj (research) of Gurbani and apply what we learn. Here Guru Gobind Singh Ji has given us this great teaching, let us all apply this in our lives.