One day, I finally took the courage to express my doubt. I had been thinking about it for a long time. I just didn’t carry enough courage to speak it out lest some people may get angry with me.
But on that fortunate or unfortunate day, I finally summoned the courage within me. I thought, what is the point of living while this doubt keeps lurking in my mind? I was getting impatient with this way of living: always in doubt. I thought probably someone will be able to resolve it. Even if it angers some, there might be some who may understand it and try to resolve it.
I asked, “Is Gurbani actually true?”. The reason I asked this isn’t completely clear to me. Probably, I hadn’t seen anyone living Gurbani’s life. It started occurring to me that it was just theory, not practical. So, no matter how much Gurbani one reads, his life doesn’t change. There were practical examples of this everywhere I saw. Since, it was not practical while it claimed to be practical, I began wondering if it was true at all.
So, I asked my question. But as soon as I asked, the environment in the room changed. It was as if someone had committed a felony. I could see anger sprouting up in people’s eyes as if I had asked a question that I should have never asked. I shuddered with fear. I knew something bad was going to happen there. I could sense danger there. I would have run had I deemed it practical.
Then, a few of them came forward and encircled me. While some of them rudely pushed me, other shouted at the top of their voice “what were you asking?”. I, almost about to break up, said nothing. They began hitting me, though not very hard but still hard enough to hurt me. Then, again, they asked “what were you asking?”.
Bad omens began filling my heart. With trembling voice, I repeated my question “Is Gurbani actually true?”. I somehow felt that these could be my last words.
There came a sharp stoke on back and I fell down. I don’t know what it was but it hurt very badly. I had started crying by now.They were all looking at each other as if to determine who will take the next turn to punish this felon.
Then, they all started kicking me. I was shouting for help but none came. They started addressing me with words like “Kaafir”, “Haramkhor”, “Patit”. In between all those shouts, I gathered my courage again, it felt like probably someone else wanted to speak to them through me, and I asked “You know Gurbani is true. Right?”.
They shouted loudly, “Yes. Without doubt. You Kafir” while continuing to kick me. I had started bleeding by then. It was really hurting at a lot of places. I had never been beaten like this. I never even expected it to go so bad. While I was writhing in pain, I sensed that I still wanted to ask a few questions before my power went off.
I continued, “Then, Gurbani says love all. How can you hate me so much?”
One of them retorted, “That is not applicable to Kafirs. Remember, Gurbani also says don’t talk to non-believers. It says because they are like you. They spread all the lies in the world and shift people towards atheism. People are turning increasingly non-believers because of people like you. If Sikhs stop trusting Gurbani, who else will? You Kafirs deserve this here on this earth and there in the hells”. Saying this, his anger probably boiled and he hit me so badly that I became half unconscious.
But then, I still had some questions left. I struggled to mumble a few words out of my mouth, failed a couple of time but eventually said, “But Gurbani’s line about love is universal. It doesn’t preclude Kafirs or patits. Besides, I think “not talking to non-believers” was more about not talking to a non-believer inside you and not someone outside in the world”.
But who was listening?
Probably, there was one, who said that my interpretation was incorrect and what the person said before me was correct.
It came to a point where I knew I would not survive. As I was counting my last breaths, I wondered “whose interpretation was correct?”.
And then, someone came forward, a person who probably wanted to redeem himself from his previous sins and considered killing a kafir as a possible way to do that. He took out his dagger, which he always used to carry since he was a Amritdhari. An Amritdhari is always supposed to carry a dagger with him or her to remember that he should fight for his religion and for the downtrodden people.
I saw immense anger and satisfaction at the same time in his eyes as he prepared his hands to pierce the dagger through my body. I wasn’t feeling sad now. Seeing the dagger, I remembered Guru Gobind Singh ji. What a life he lived! Always fought for the truth. Sacrificed everything he had on the path of God. What a life!
As he raised the dagger, my hand went up as if to salute the Guru himself. But it couldn’t go beyond a few inches and fell again to the ground.
He smiled as if I was trying to make an abortive attempt to save myself. He somehow felt his redemption was near. I don’t know about the mood in the room. But at least some people were not sure, I felt, that I deserved to die. They thought I had already suffered enough so as not to utter those utterly repugnant words ever.
I looked at my hand and felt pity at it. Its last wish would be buried along with it.
Laughing out loud and shouting “Dhan Guru Gobind Singh ji”, he pierced the dagger through my body. I felt some pain but as it went deeper into my body, I felt the touch of Guru himself. It was as if he was going inside my body. It was inexplicable. I just felt tremendous amount of calm inside my body.
Then, I fell down in a pool of my own blood. As I looked at the blood, I thought everyone else’s blood also looks the same. I remembered Gurbani’s line that all human beings are made out of the same clay. No one is good. No one is bad. Everyone has come out of that One alone.
As I was thinking about it, the doubt came back. Was my interpretation of Gurbani correct or his interpretation? Does Guru Nanak still love me even when I have doubted his Gurbani?
There was no one close by now. They all had left me to die my own painful death. That is how they thought it would be. Besides, probably, they also thought when bad souls like me die, they become demons. Probably, they didn’t want to face any demon.
As I was taking my last breaths, a voice came from nowhere. It was as if someone whispered in my ears. The voice was melodious, sweet and out of the world. I didn’t know what it said.
But then, almost crying, I wondered whether Guru Nanak still loved me?
I heard, “Yes”.
I looked around. Who spoke it? There was no one.
No one needed to be around. I knew who he was.
At last, he himself had come to reaffirm my faith in his unconditional love.
Overfilled with gratitude for his endless love, my throat choked, the words stopped. I cried and cried for whatever time was left. I cried for his love. I cried as a sense of peace and love swept over me in those last moments.
It was then, as I took my last breath, I felt a warm embrace enveloping me, full of immense unconditional love. I wanted to say something but my eyes closed.