Recognise all as one
A devout Sikh, Bhai Kanahiya, was assigned the duty of serving drinking water to the wounded Sikhs engaged in a defensive battle with the invading armies of the ruler. Bhai Kanahiya was carrying out his duties.
After sometimes, a complaint was made to the Guru by the Sikhs who were fighting the invaders. It was submitted by them that Bhai Kanahiya was serving drinking water to the friends and foes alike. This helped the the invaders to regain their lost strenght and to
attack the Sikhs with revived vigour.
The Guru sent for Bhai Kanahiya. When the latter came to the presence of the Guru, The Sikhs repeated the complaint against him. The Guru spoke softly and with affection to Bhai Kanahiya and encouraged him to say what he wanted to express about the matter at
hand. Bhai Kanahiya bowed to the Guru and said, “I am merely carrying out your instructions. You have always taught us that God is everywhere and in everyone. I look at the invader and the defending Sikhs in the light of this teaching and treating everyone
alike without making the distinction of friend and foe.”
The Guru then praised him for realising the essence of religion. He asked Bhai Kanahiya to come near him and then gave him an oinment which was to be used for healing the wounds of the injured persons. The Guru directed Bhai Kanahiya to apply the oinment, in addition to
the service of drinking water, to the warring soldiers. Bhai Kanahiya was advised to do this work without making any distinction between the men of his own faith and that of the invading soldiers.
Bhai Kanahiya bowed to the Guru and left for the battlefield with the reinforced faith and guidance of the Guru. The Guru then remarked, “Bhai Kanahiya has realized what I am teaching.”
This widely recalled incident and the teaching has always impressed me in my work for the interfaith movement. I find in this a reflection of Guru Nanak’s revelation. “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim,” Bhai Kanahiya lived in his actions this revelation.
Part of lecture given by the Late Scholar and Saint Naranjan Singh (Shiromani
Kathakar) in West Germany, Aug, 1986.
Complied by the Late Dr Haracharanjit Singh (Malaysia)