Purity And Defilement


After preaching the pilgrims, the Guru returned to his residence. On his way he saw a Brahamin cooking his food. He saw that Brahamin had marked a line around him in order to keep it safe from the shadow of a low caste. He decided to educate the Brahamin for his false belief of purity and defilement.

The Guru took an iron pan and went towards Brahamin. He crossed the line marked by the Brahamin.

Then the Guru said, 'Please give me a piece of burning coal so that I may also cook my meals.'

When the Brahamin saw the Guru just near, he burst with rage. He became red with wrath as if he was also burning like coal.

Brahamin said, 'Who are you who have dared to cross the line of purity? Now my cooked food has been defiled. All have become useless. First I plastered this place with cow dung then I washed the sticks and then got it dried. Then I took bath in the holy river and marking aline of purity around me, began to cook the food. You have defiled my pure food. Get out from here otherwise I will throw a burning coal at you.'

The Guru remained calm and said, 'How have I defiled your food. I have not touched anything. Why are you burning like fire? Please tell what damage have I done to you?'

Hearing this Brahamin showed his displeasure and said, 'You mean that I showed those dooms, butchers, sweepers and crematory incharges to enter into my kitchen. You want that a high caste Saraswati Brahamin should lose his religion?'

The Guru smiled and said, 'What do you mean by religion? You have put on your forehead paste mark and on your waist have weared Ochie coloured dhotee. You have plastered your kitchen with cow dung and then have drawn a line around it. Then sitting inside this kitchen you have cried loudly, 'Do not foul my kitchen', do you think by doing all these hypocrises you have become pure. Now I have been seeing four women of lowest castes sitting with you. You are not alone here. You are sitting hee with your four fast friends.'

The Brahamin was astonished to hear this. He said, 'Where are these four low caste women? I could not see them.'

The arguments which were being exchanged loudly, caused many other people to gather around and ask each other what the dispute was all about. Hearing the Brahamin's affliction, Guru Nanak Dev ji sung the following shabad:

Salok Mehala 1

False mindedness is drummer woman; cruelty is the butcheress;

slander of others in one's heart is the cleaning woman,

and deceitful anger is the outcast woman.

What good are the ceremonial lines drawn around your kitchen,

when these four are seated here with you?

Make Truth your self-discipline, and make good deeds the lines you draw;

make chanting the Name your cleansing bath.

O Nanak, those who do not walk in the ways of sin,

shall be exalted in the world hereafter.

After completion of the shabad, all present sat around Guru ji to listen to his sermons and new ideas. The Brahamin also realized how full he was with evil thoughts. How could he then call himself holy? The words of wisdom spoken by Guru Nanak impressed the Brahamin so much that he along with many others become a devout Sikh of the Guru and accepted this true way of life.

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