The Sunrise

A tale of Guru Gobind Singh and a Jain artist

ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਤਾ ਜਗੁ ਮੁਆ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਘੋਰ ਅੰਧਾਰੁ

The world is entrapped in a man-eating egomania. Without the Guru there is a terrifying darkness that plagues the mind.


The tale

The Anandpur Darbar received many fine men of the arts. Hansa was one such Jain painter among them that had flocked to the grand Darbar of Guru Gobind Singh. He requested for the Guru’s presence to take a look at a painting that he had made. The Guru’s disciples brought forward the request of Hansa to the Guru. However, the Guru immediately declined this request. This rather harsh action by the Guru left the disciples and Hansa very surprised. However, the disciples of the Guru still continued to have an exchange with Hansa rather than asking him to leave. Eventually, the disciples became quite impressed at Hansa’s spiritual and painting capabilities. The devotees then decided to setup the painting that Hansa had made (a painting of the sun rising) in the Guru’s garden that way the Guru could at least examine the painting from afar and possibly give Hansa a second chance.

After sometime, the Guru saw the painting and proclaimed it to be “a fine work that was full of light yet there was a horrid darkness in the painter”. Yet again this left everyone stunned, what was the Guru talking about? The Guru still, after much pleading, did not want to entertain the painter nor did the Guru explain what he meant, rather, the guru had something else in mind. In the course of some time and to everyone’s surprise, a palanquin arrived at the Darbar. Within the palanquin there lay a very sickly man, almost a living skeleton of sorts. Who was this man?

A Turkish palanquin - 1890s
A Turkish palanquin – 1890s

The death-stricken man was a Jain celibate that was once a disciple under Hansa’s Jain monastic school. The Guru explained how the once youthful man was forced to take vows of celibacy and became deathly-ill because of painful separation from his lover. The man grew up with a beautiful woman whom he really loved, however, both of their households forcibly separated them and put them in different monastic schools to break their divine bond. The man and woman, after some years, had met in the forest whilst gathering flowers for their schools and explained their love to each other. Word had then spread around to the schools about the couple meeting. Hansa, being the head of the schools then punished the couple for meeting, as this was a great sin (being they had taken vows to being a monk and nun). The man was banished to solitary penance in the hills and the girl had her eyes gouged out for this sin.

A self portrait of Picasso with his eyes gouged out
A self portrait of Picasso with his eyes gouged out

The Guru then told Hansa to immediately bring the girl to Anandpur. After searching for much time, the girl was brought to the blessed Darbar of the Guru. In the meantime the once sickly man became a radiant young man who recovered under the delicate care of the Guru and his disciples. He was sat, ever-youthful, listening to the blissful hymns of the Guru. The blind woman then entered the Darbar and the Guru promptly blessed her with Naam causing her blindness to be cured. Her face glowed with the Sun’s light as she began to see her beloved. The darkness was beginning to fade. The atmosphere of the Darbar became very jubilant. The radiant Guru, thereafter, asked the sangat to tie the knot between the couple to finalize their marriage; healing the god-ordained bond that was once broken. Soon after Hansa, the man responsible for such terrible pain, also submitted himself to the Guru and was initiated as a Singh of the glorious Sun-dynasty.

The sun had risen.

ਕਹਿ ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨਿ ਭਇਆ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸਾ ਉਦੈ ਭਾਨੁ ਜਬ ਚੀਨਾ ॥

Says Kabir, my mind became illuminated with bliss when I laid my eyes upon the rise of the glorious sun.


Courtesy: The Khalsa Chronicle (Posted on May 27, 2023)


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