The Final Lesson

As darkness fell inside the forest, Guru Gobind Singh sat alone, contemplating. He pondered over his life story and the dreams he once held dear. The weight of his thoughts settled on his weary body, resting against his kirpan.

"How exhilarating it was to carry the hopes of India within me," the Guru mused. "Today, what grand achievements do my arms strive to embrace for my beloved country? Where did I go wrong? What happened to the ideals I cherished?"

A tumultuous struggle unfolded within the Guru's heart on that dark evening. His eyes glistened with tears, shimmering like stars in the depths of his turmoil.

Just then, a Pathan arrived and stood before him. The Pathan exclaimed, "Guru, today I wish to return to my homeland. Please repay me for the horses you were given."

Lost in thought, the Guru replied, "Sheikhji, I am currently occupied. Come tomorrow, and I shall happily give you the money."

The Pathan grew agitated and retorted, "This won't do! I must have the money today. Where do you think you can escape? It seems your Sikh brethren are all thieves!"

In a fit of anger, the Pathan reached out to grab the Guru's arm. In an instant, Vairagya surged out within Guru's being, and he drew out his kirpan swiftly from its sheath, beheading the Pathan. Blood spattered in a stream on the ground, and the Pathan's lifeless body gave a thud and lay prostrate down below.

The Guru, with widened eyes and a finger pressed against his lips, murmured, "Ah! fifty years of wielding this sacred sword, now stained with blood. Why this violence? I didn't even allow him a moment to make amends. Alas! The faith in my hands has been tarnished. This stain must be cleansed. From this day forth, no more..."

The Guru took the child of that Pathan under his care, treating him like his own. Day and night, the Guru imparted teachings on armory and the training of weapons, nurturing him with affection. Even in the old Guru's playful moments, the child would make him laugh, calling him "Bapu, Bapu."

Some devotees whispered to the Guru, "What are you doing, Guruji? This child is like a tiger cub. No matter how much you nurture, nature won't change. It will only lead to regret. Embracing the enemy When this tiger cub grows, its claws will become deadly."

The Guru chuckled and replied, "Wah wah! That's exactly what I want! How can I learn if not from a tiger cub?"

In the blink of an eye, the child grew into a young man within the Guru's embrace. He followed the Guru like a shadow, serving him as a devoted son would. Day and night, he stood vigilantly by the Guru's side, fulfilling his duties. While many of the Guru's sons went to war and  never returned, this Pathan child filled the void in the Guru's sonless heart.

Guruji would silently smile, observing it all in his mind.

One day, the Pathan child approached the Guru and said, "Bapuji! By your grace, I have received extensive training. Please help me secure a position in the state army. Let destiny be tested."

Placing his hand on the young man's back, the Guru replied, "Son, be patient. There is still a test of bravery that awaits you."

The next day, Gurudev ventured out in the afternoon along with the Pathan child. The devotees tried to accompany them, but the Guru told them not to follow.

The two men made their way to the riverbank. As the Sindhu River flowed silently, its gaze steady and clear, it seemed to hold secrets concealed within.

Upon reaching a specific spot, the Guru pointed to the young man, signaling him to stop. The Guru pointed towards a spot in the sand and said, "Mamud, dig here." Mamud began to dig, unearthing a stone that revealed traces of bloodstains.

Curious, the Guru asked, "What do you see on that stone, Mamud?"

Mamud replied, "It appears to be bloodstains, Bapu."

"That's right,bachcha! Those stains bear the blood of your beloved father. At this very spot, he met his untimely end, without a chance for redemption or fulfilling his obligations," the Guru revealed.

The Pathan child stood with his head bowed, trembling uncontrollably. The Guru continued, "Pathan, why do you stand there? Does vengeance not burn within you after witnessing your father's murderer?"

"No, Father! No, I cannot bear it," the Pathan responded, his voice trembling.

"Damn it! Coward! Today, you have failed to avenge your father's death. The bones of that Pathan cry out for justice! Seek revenge!" the Guru exclaimed.

Like a raging tiger, Mamud rushed toward the Guru with his sword held high. The Guru stood motionless, akin to a statue of stone. In the blink of an eye, Mamud’s eyes turned crimson with fury, while tears flowed from the Guru's eyes. The Guru laughed.

Overpowered by the Guru's aura, Pathan fell to the ground, his sword dropping at the Guru's feet. With his last breath, he whispered, "Gurudev, today's battle was a fierce one! The murder of my father seems distant now. After all these days, I regard you as my father, Guru, and friend. Why did I lose my sense of compassion? Why did vengeance consume me? O Lord, may the dust of your feet always reach me."

With those words, Mamud ran away, never looking back. Guru remained in the deadly forest, his eyes filled with tears. He had finally severed the chains of sin at the end of his life and departed. Yet his longing remained unfulfilled.

From that day onward, Mamud distanced himself from Gurudev. He relinquished his weapons at night and abstained from solitary hunting by the riverbank. Although Gurudev occasionally called him privately, he did not respond.

Days turned into months, and the rift between the two grew larger. One day, Gurudev, an avid chess player, ordered Mamud to play with him. The game continued even when the sun started sinking slowly, Venus twinkled brightly in the starlit sky, and the two started moving forward, yet the two continued their game of chess. As Mamud continued to lose the game repeatedly, frustration began to fill his mind. The evening turned into night, and one by one, the other men present at the scene departed, leaving the two engrossed in their game.

Suddenly, Guruji knocked over the entire chessboard, and the chess pieces lay scattered on the ground. Mamud was stunned.

Guru spoke with sarcasm and anger, "Namard! How can you win? You can’t even seek revenge for your father’s murder."

In a flash, Mamud drew his dagger from his waist. He thrust it into Guru's chest, blood gushing out in a stream. But what….?  The Guru's laughter echoed as he placed his hands on Mamud's head. With his last breath, he uttered, "Child, after learning so much, you have finally got to know how to seek revenge for injustice. Well, today, your training has come to an end. Farewell, my son."

As the Guru breathed his last, Mamud’s world crumbled. Streams of blood flowed from the Guru's chest, and Mamud's heart was filled with remorse. He fell to his knees, grieving the loss of his beloved Guru.

"Father! No! What have I done? I have taken the life of the one who showed me love, guidance, and friendship. My father's murderer had long been forgotten. The desire for revenge clouded my judgment. Oh Lord, may the dust from your feet always touch me," Mamud lamented, and he left from there.

Yet, deep within the heart of Mamud, the teachings, love, and memories of Guru Gobind Singh remained etched forever. The lessons he learned from his beloved Guru shaped his character and transformed him into a man of honor and compassion.

Years passed, and Mamud's devotion to his Guru never waned. In his own way, he carried forward the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh, embodying the virtues of bravery, justice, and selfless service.

And in the hearts of those who knew the story, the name Guru Gobind Singh and the transformation of a young Mamud stood as a testament to the power of love, forgiveness, and redemption.

The above story is based on excerpts from Dasam Granth. It may be a myth. Mamud Khan was a Pathan boy, the father of whom was Sher Khan, who was captured by Guru Gobind Singh's forces during the Battle of Chamkaur in 1705. The Guru took pity on the boy and took him under his care. Mamud Khan was given the name "Mahi Singh" and was raised as a Sikh. He later became a general in the Sikh army and fought bravely in many battles. He was killed in battle in 1710, fighting against the Mughals. The story of Mamud Khan is a reminder of Guru Gobind Singh's compassion and his willingness to forgive those who had wronged him. It is also a testament to the Guru's ability to inspire others to follow the Sikh path.


More by :  Dr. Satish Bendigiri

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