Bhai Gangu Shah

Gangu Shah was a very rich banker from Lahore. Times changed and Gangu Shah lost everything he had and got bankrupt. He had nowhere to go and heard of Guru Amardas jee daa darbar at Govindval Sahib. When a person gets hit by adversity, he either becomes devoted to Vaheguru or totally loses faith in him. Gangu Shah was lucky that he got bairaag and started doing sewa in at Govindval Sahib.

He did sewa day and night and spoke very little to others. He was constantly reciting baani. One day Guru Sahib became pleased at him and blessed him with amrit naam i.e. Gurmantra. Now Gangu Shah started japping naam day and night. Everybody thought that he was in great bairagi state but Guru Sahib knew everything.

Even though he was doing sewa of naam and seemed to be in bairaag but deep inside, he regretted losing all wealth he had. Guru Sahib knows the inside of all and Gangu Shah was not an exception. Guru Sahib knew what he wanted deep inside. One day, happy with his sewa and simran, Guru Sahib called him and asked him to ask for a boon. He just asked for more kirpa. Finally Guru Sahib asked him to go to Delhi and start his old business of banking and not give up Sikhi at any cost.

Gangu Shah heard Guru Sahib in disbelief and asked him how he could become a banker as no one would trust him after becoming bankrupt at Lahore. Besides that, he had absolutely no money to start up such a business. Guru Sahib repeated his bachan and asked him to go to Delhi. Gangu Shah did matha tek and left for Delhi.

In those days, "hundi" was a very popular way of sending money from one place to another. It was not safe to carry large amounts of cash by hand. So what the travellers used to do was, deposit the money with a banker in the city they lived in, who would then write him a hundi (a signed statement of receipt of money) in the name of another banker from the place of destination of the traveller. It was like a traveller cheque that the traveller would take to the place of destination and get cashed by the banker on whose name the hundi would be.

Gangu Shah had done this work before and was a known name in this field. He had many contacts in Lahore. Above all, he had the lotus-hand of Guru Sahib on his head and very soon he was able to establish himself in Delhi. Soon he became a very rich person again. His hundi was honoured by all bankers in Sirhind, Lahore and other major cities of Punjab. He continued doing his paath and simran but got more and more greedy with more accumulation of money. Such is the nature of maaya. When one does not have maaya one does not realize how more maaya can make a person embroilled in moh (attachment) and lobh (greediness) along with ahankaar (ego).

When one gets greedy, Guru Sahib tries to fix his Sikh. When we start compromising Sikhi rehit for worldly things, we should understand this as a sign of our downfall.

At Govindval, a poor Sikh approached Guru Amardas jee and asked for help in getting his daughter married. This Sikh was very poor but a really good Sikh. In history it is written that he was a Sikh from a Brahmin background. Guru Sahib wrote a hundi, signed by him, addressed to Gangu Shah in Delhi, and asked the poor Sikh to get the money from Gangu Shah. Guru Sahib probably thought that since Gangu Shah had acquired a lot of wealth, it was a good time to test him.

Only the fortunate ones can withstand the tests of Guru Sahib. Only if Guru Sahib
himself does kirpa, we can pass tests from him. Anyway, Gangu Shah, received this poor Sikh with warmth and inquired about Govindval. The Sikh told him all about Govindval and finally told him the purpose of his visit. He gave Gangu shah the hundi written and signed by Guru Sahib.

Gangu Shah saw the hundi and was about to give the money to the poor Sikh, when his mind corrupted him. Some bad karma from his previous lives blossomed and ruined him. Gangu Shah started thinking that it is true that he is rich but who in this world can afford to just give away money like that. He thought that, Guru Sahib is not into worldly affairs and does not understand the worldly affairs. Guru Sahibknows more about spiritual world as opposed to the worldly affairs. The Sikhs are taking advantage of Guru Sahib and will try to take away Gangu's money. He thought that if today, he gives money to this poor Sikh, tomorrow there will be a line-up of beggars.

It was great misfortune of Gangu Shah that he got trapped in the tricks of mind. His mind got taken over by maaya. He finally agreed to his mind and told the poor Sikh that he cannot give him any money as his money is stuck somewhere.

The Sikh understood that Gangu Shah was reluctant to give money, so he did not argue further with Gangu Shah and travelled back to Govindval. He narrated everything that occurred, to Guru Amardas jee. The all-knowing Guru Sahib knew everything and just smiled after hearing about Gangu Shah’s refusal to give money. He arranged money for the poor Sikh through other means.

On the other hand, the abundant force of Vaheguru came into action after the huge negative karma of Gangu Shah. Within days he lost everything he had earned. When he lost everything and came on the street, he realized his mistake. He realized that all that he had was by the kirpa of Guru Sahib. He realized his blunder and regretted refusing money to that Sikh.

Fortunately, he had good karma and he thought of totally renouncing the world and going back to Govindval Sahib. He came to Govindval Sahib and started doing sewa day and night. Guru Sahib did kirpa and he recited naam at very early amrit hours. All day he kept reciting naam and gurbani. All this time, he did not go in front of Guru Sahib and hid from other Sikhs who could recognize him. It is written in Suraj Parkash Granth that, with all this sewa and simran, his face started glowing with naam.

Guru Sahib who knew everything, was waiting for the right time to approach him. With his sewa and naam jaap, he washed away his sins. Guru Sahib one day, called him in. With great hesitation and with great sharam (pashemaani, sharmindagi), he came to the darbar of Guru Sahib. He was thinking that how he could show his face to Guru Sahib after refusing to honour the hundi written and signed by Guru Sahib himself. Guru Sahib is no human and does not have human qualities. Guru Sahib is Vaheguru himself and has qualities of Vaheguru. Vaheguru does not consider one's bad deeds when doing kirpa.

Guru Sahib, called him Shah jee and told him that he was very happy with his sewa. He fell at the lotus-feet of Satguru and asked for forgiveness of his black deeds. Guru Sahib lifted him up and embraced him and gave him a lot of asees. With all these asees, Gangu Shah became a blessed soul.

Now Gangu Shah had seen how unstable the material world is and he asked for only naam and more naam. Guru Sahib blessed him with the top spiritual state where one becomes one with Vaheguru. Gangu Shah, became the real shah i.e. the shah of Naam.




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