The Apostle of Obedience
The atrocities, committed by the Muslim invaders, had, no doubt, put
the indigenous population of India into great suffering. But the
impact of the Brahmanical malpractices was much greater. Through the
convention of rituals and caste discrimination the Hindu priesthood
was plundering the innocent people. Under such circumstances Bhai
Lehna was born on March 31, 1504, AD, at village Mate-dee-Saran in the
present District of Ferzpore in Punjab. His father, Baba Pheru Mal,
ran a successful business of rope making. His mother, Mai Daya Kaur
was a very pious lady. He was married to Bibi Kheevi, the daughter of
Devi Chand in the year 1519 AD.
Although Bhai Lehna was an ardent devotee of the Goddess Vaishnu Devi
and used to go to her Temple in the Hills every year on pilgrimage, he
was disillusioned with the Brahmanical liturgy. While passing through
the vicinity of Kartarpur, on his way to the Temple, he had often
heard about the Unversal mission of Guru Nanak, his Gurbani (the
celestial revelations) and non-sectarian teachings. It was in the year
1532 AD when he decided to go and see Baba Nanak. Once he was there
the divine light transcended and the man, who was born in luxuries of
an affluent Khatri family, became the humble and most obedient
disciple of Guru Nanak.
Guru Nanak was busy in his rice fields when Bhai Lehna, dressed up in
spotless clean clothes, approached him. In spite of the presence of
farm-labour, Bhai Lehna was ordered to carry away a bundle of paddy
soaked with mud. Without a moment of hesitation he obeyed the order.
When Mata Sulakhni, Guru Nanak's wife, expressed her apprehension
against putting a thorough gentleman into such an unclean ordeal, Guru
Nanak pronounced, "The bundle, in fact, was the weight of humnity. The
mud represented the spattering of saffron showered on him to honour
his willingness to carry the responsibility."
India's caste ridden society did not permit a high status person to
partake in a menial task. A mouse was lying dead at the Temple.
Ordinarily a shudra (low-caste) would be called to throw that away.
But Guru Nanak asked his two sons for the removal of the carcass. When
they refused, he merely looked towards Bhai Lehna. Without any
vacillation he cleared the place.
Once Guru's bathing cup fell into a sewer. He summoned his sons to
take that out. As the spot smelled foul, they told the father to leave
that and buy a new one. The Guru glanced at Bhai Lehna. Without any
objection he jumped into the dirt and brought the cup out.
At a very cold midnight the Guru asked his sons to go out to the
stream and wash a few clothes but they refused directly; it was the
job of a washerman, they asserted. But Bhai Lehna unquestionably
During a miserable winter night, a rain storm demolished a mud...