Thieving with Principles.
Once Baba Nanak (First Sikh Guru) met one person and asked him as to what his profession was. The person replied that he was a thief. Guru Ji advised him to quit thieving. The person replied that he knows only this profession and nothing else as it had been passed down to him by his ancestors. He stated that he has to earn his livelihood and feed his family and since he knew no other trade he perforce has to keep stealing. Guru Nanak then told him to continue with his profession but suggested the following conditions for committing theft.
A. Do not steal from a poor person.
B. Do not steal if you have eaten someone’s salt.
C. Let others who are not guilty be punished for the crimes committed by him.
Keeping these things in mind, the thief attempted burglary in a king’s house. He rounded up jewels, ornaments, coins and made bundles so that he could carry the loot. Just as he was doing this, he felt hungry and went to king’s kitchen. Thinking that he had found lumps of Sugar he put these into his mouth. To his horror he realized that it was salt. He remembered Guru’s advice and quietly left the palace without taking any bundle of treasure with him.
Next day the king discovered that someone had attempted theft in his house but had taken nothing from there. He called his police chief who rounded up all the small time criminals in his area. These poor guys were beaten black & blue and tortured. Since none accepted having committed theft, in a fit of rage the king ordered that all should be hanged. The thief came to know about it and remembered Guru’s third advice that no body else should suffer for his fault. So considering his moral responsibility, he went to the king and accepted that he was the culprit and others be left scot-free being innocent. The king was impressed and asked him the reason for not taking anything from his treasure. Upon that he narrated the advice of Guru Nanak to him. The king forgave him and offered him a job in his court. The king also became disciple of Guru Nanak. Thus a thief was reformed due to Guru’s advice.
Duties and Obligations of a Servant.
Sikh scriptures (Gurbani) bring out many lessons both for conduct/behavior of our life as well as management issues. I was reading a story where First Sikh Guru and great reformer Baba Nanak had an interaction with a Servant boy named Lala. He asked various questions from him on his duties and obligations. The answers from the servant were so good that these could be applied to today’s government servants as well as those in the corporate. The summary is as under.
As a servant one’s duty is towards his master and no effort should be spared in carrying these out. A servant goes by the dictate of the instructions of his master truthfully. He is content with what his master provides him as the compensation and does not seek illegal gratification. Many of us are either public servants or the employees of the government and many serve in the corporate. In fact we are all servants of the Lord, and thus should follow his instructions faithfully and do what is just and right (as the light of the Lord resides in all of us).
But it is seen that today’s public servants at various levels try to exploit the public itself. Public servants are in fact not masters but servants of the public and should work selflessly towards them as per the instructions of the government and their inner Voice. However we see, that even very lowly officials dealing with public have created enormous wealth and properties and thus behave in an unfaithful manner to the Master (Public as well as the Lord); this is more pertinent in the developing countries of the world where corruption is quite rampant. Wish we could have the temperament of the servant boy the Guru spoke of and the world would be a better place free of greed, corruption and injustice.
” ਮੁਲ ਖਰੀਦੀ ਲਾਲਾ ਗੋਲਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਨਾਮ ਸੁਭਾਗਾ , ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਚਨੀ ਹਾਟ ਬਿਕਾਨਾ ਜਿਤ ਲਾਯਾ ਤਿਤ ਲਗਾ ||
ਤੇਰੇ ਲਾਲੇ ਕਿਯਾ ਚਤੁਰਾਈ , ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮ ਨਾ ਕਰਣਾ ਜਾਈ||
ਰਹਾਉ || ਮਾ ਲਾਲੀ ਪਿਉ ਲਾਲਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਉ ਲਾਲੇ ਕਾ ਜਾਯਿਆ|| ਲਾਲੀ ਨਾਚੇ ਲਾਲਾ ਗਾਵੇ ਭਗਤ ਕਰੁਓ ਤੇਰੀ ਰਾਏਯਾ|| ਪਿਆਹ ਤ ਪਾਣੀ ਆਣੀ ਮੀਰਾ ਖਾਹਿ ਤ ਪੀਸਣ ਜਾਊਂ|| ਪਖਾ ਫੇਰੀ ਪਾਓ ਮਲੋਵਾ ਜਪਤ ਰਹਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਨਾਉ||
ਲੂਣ ਹਰਾਮੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਾਲਾ ਬਖਸਿਹਿ ਤੁਧ ਵਡਆਯੀ|| ਆਦਿ ਜੁਗਾਦ ਦਯਿਅਪਤਿ ਦਾਤਾ ਤੁਧ ਵਿਨ੍ਨ ਮੁਕਤ ਨਾ ਪਾਯੀ ||” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Page No 991)