Two Nights of Gurunanak Ji
Travelling was an integral part of the life of Guru Nanak. He learnt and taught during his numerous short and long journeys, mostly on foot. This was one important reason that he was closer to the masses and had a definite mass appeal. The experiences were usually sweet but there were bitter ones too. The Guru was neither moved by grand receptions nor disheartened on being ignored. One has to bear pain in order to enjoy pleasure.
On one occasion, he was travelling through small villages with his disciples. As usual, Mardana was with him. The sun was hot and the day very warm. In the evening they reached a village. Being very tired, they decided to spend the night under a big tree. The villagers were quite uncivilized and rude. They did not like the saint whose ideas were alien to them. For the first half of the night, they misbehaved in many ways. It was Nanak's tolerance and the discipline among his disciples that nothing untoward happened. It was one of the most miserable nights they spent. Anyway, the restless night passed and a bright morning dawned.
Early in the morning, they departed. When they were out of the village, Guru Nanak prayed to the Almighty, "O Lord! Keep these men united and confined to this place."
Mardana heard this and was disappointed. He wanted to say something but stopped short.
Throughout the day they walked on foot. The bitter experience of the last night was playing its part. They were not happy. In the evening they reached another village. They began preparations for staying under another big tree. The place was clean and the village looked different.
Some elderly people came and invited them to stay in a bungalow. The Guru accepted. It was a very pleasant night. Not only the place but even the people were different, civilized and cultured. The guests were fed well and arrangements made for their comfort and satsang. It was a memorable congregation for the first half of the night as people enjoyed the namjap and kirtan. Guru Nanak sang in ecstasy, Mardana played the Rabab and others participated in the chorus. The pain and fatigue was gone.
Early in the morning they departed. When they were outside the village, Guru Nanak prayed to the Almighty, "O Lord, divide these people and scatter them across different places!" Mardana did not like this. It was obviously a curse. His disciples felt sad that the Guru had wrongly blessed uncivilized villagers and now knowingly cursed civilized and well-behaved people.
Mardana could not resist asking, "0 Guru! Why did you curse these gentle people and bless those rough men?"
"No, no! I have done nothing like that; how can I curse these kind, humble people. In fact, I don't want those rough people to visit different places, teach bad manners, and spoil the life of other people. They should not destroy the brotherly and congenial milieu elsewhere. So, I cursed them. On the contrary, I want these civilised, well-mannered people to go to different places to live, teach and change those places into better and worth living places."
Mardana had his answer. Guru Nanak was clear in his mind. The disciples realised the hidden meaning behind the prayers of the Guru.