Guru Nanak Dev Ji was on his travels. Where ever he went, he always had his best friend Bhai Mardana as his traveling companion. Guru Ji travelled from one village to another and in each village, he had dialogues with village folks. He would give messages to the people to be truthful, practice righteousness, be honest in your earnings, share your earnings with the needy, live harmoniously with others, always remember God and live your life while practicing Attributes of God . After such dialogues with people, he would move on to the next place. This way Guru Ji and Bhai Mardana reached Aimnabad in 1521. Aimnabad is now in west Pakistan. Aimnabad is also known by its previous name SaiyyadPur.
Bhai Lalo was living in Aimnabad. He was a very loving person. He was living his life with great patience and contentment. He never told lies and would not take away anybody’s right. He was taking care of himself and his family with truthful and honest labour. He was helping the needy out of his truthful and honest earnings. People respected him and loved him. He was a skilled technician and worked as a carpenter and an ironsmith. He was a very good person. He always remembered God while working. He would serve the needy travelers with food and shelter. He welcomed Guru Ji and Bhai Mardana for staying with him.
In Aimnabad, there lived another person whose name was Malik Bhago. He had lots of money and was known in the surrounding villages. He was a businessman and had many servants. He used to pay them low wages and used to make them work very hard. This way he had made lot of money. He was very rich and arrogantly proud. He never helped anybody. His attitude and his dealings with poor people were not good. Most people were afraid of him and he was disliked by almost all.
He always liked to show off his wealth and liked publicity among people. To show off, once a while, he used to invite people for food at his place. People used to bring costly gifts for him. After eating the food, people used to praise him by saying that you are a generous donor and a good man.
This time, when most people had their food, he asked his servants if anyone has not come to his home to eat food?
The servants told him that Bhai Lalo and his two guests have not come.
Malik Bhago was surprised to hear this and felt hurt. He asked his servants, “why these people have not come? Go, ask them to come to have food and share their happiness with Malik Bhago.
The servants went to Bhai Lalo’s home and again invited him and his guests for food at Malik Bhago’s house. They also told them that Malik Bhago would be very unhappy if they would not come.
Hearing this, Guru Ji went to Malik Bhago’s home but refused to eat food at his place. Malik Bhago was very disappointed at this and asked, “why you are not eating good food that we have prepared”. He further told Guru Ji that I am much more richer than Bhai Lalo and I am well known in the area. You eat food at Bhai Lalo’s house and also stay with him who is not known to the people. By not eating food at my house, you have insulted me.
Guru Ji immediately understood that Malik Bhago’s pride is hurt. Guru Ji was very good in reasoning with people. Guru ji was very articulate in talking to Malik Bhago and very fairly but firmly made Malik Bhago understand that he is too proud and arrogant and likes people to praise him for nothing. Guru Ji told him that he is not paying the fair wages to the people. You have collected money, which rightfully belonged to the people who earned it with sweat and blood. You have not earned the money with honest labour. You have become rich, not by honest earnings but by not paying his workers their fair wages. Guru Ji also told him that you do not help the needy and God does not like such people. A person can only be a good human by doing good deeds, by helping the needy and the poor people, by practicing righteousness and by not depriving people from their rights. By eating food prepared with groceries bought out of ill earned money, my conscience would not be at peace and I would not be able to concentrate my mind in remembering and connecting with God.
By eating food prepared out of honest earnings of Bhai Lalo, my mind remains at peace and I can comfortably connect with God to remember Him.
By hearing all this from Guru Ji, Malik Bhao felt embarrassed and touched Guru Ji’s feet and asked for apology.
A Quick Review of Bhai Lalo and Malik Bhago
1. What messages were given to people by Guru Ji?
2. During his travels, where did Guru Ji reach and with whom did he stay?
3. What type of people were Bhai Lalo and Malik Bhago?
4. Is it true that who so ever has lot of money is a good person and is it true that all rich people are good people?
5. What good deeds Bhai Lalo was doing that Malik Bhago did not?
6. How Malik Bhago became rich?
7. Are all the poor people bad as people?
8. Why Guru Ji did not eat food at Malik Bhago’s place?
9. What did Guru Ji made Malik Bhagi to understand?
10. What promise Malik Bhago made with Guru Ji?
11. Do you know anyone who is like Bhai Lalo?
12. Do you know anyone who is like Malik Bhago?
13. What Would you like to be, Malik Bhago or Bhai Lalo and why?
14. What do we learn from this story (Sakhi)?