The Great Debate
Once upon a time, in a vast desert where the scorching sun shone 24 hours a day, there lived a withering community amongst whom was a group of radiant Water-Ites. They worshipped the scarce commodity called water. In their temple was a huge glass tank. People would come here and bow with reverence. The priest would tell them stories from days gone by about the Wise Old Teacher who had brought the drink of life to them. The Wise Old Teacher had told them of a great and wonderful ocean that he'd travelled far and wide to find. Returning to the desert he had brought the sacred water and left it in the huge glass tank for all to drink.
While the Wise Old Teacher was alive, people from miles around would come and quench their thirst, word spread fast and many people adopted Waterism as their way of life. They loved water, it made their dried up bodies feel rejuvinated. The heat of the scorching sun had made most of the town's people irratible and angry, they fought each other over petty things because they were so mentally anguished. But this 'Water' cooled them down and their mind and body bloomed and blossomed with every sip.
When the Wise Old Teacher left this world and dived back into the Supreme Cool Ocean, the problems began. One day, while the Priest was telling stories of old, he looked at the tank and noticed something. He said, 'Dearly beloved, today the tank is exactly half full'. Before he could continue an angry man in the congregation got up and shouted, 'NO IT'S NOT! IT'S EXACTLY HALF EMPTY!'
It was midday and the heat was at it's worst. The priest jumped up greatly offended at being criticised infront of his congregation and shouted back 'NO YOU STUPID FOOL, IT'S EXACTLY HALF FULL'.
And the poor uneducated congregation just got confused. Some of them agreed with the priest, some agreed with the angry man and some weren't sure. Fighting ensued and the angry man was thrown out. As he marched home he planned how to get control over the temple, it infuriated him that such an ignorant man as the priest was in charge of the Water-Ites.
A few months passed. He recruited the top scientists and they produced detailed mathematical calculations that proved beyond any possible doubt that the tank was exactly half-empty. The Priest on other hand appealed to the hearts of the people, he spoke sweetly and sung songs about how if you were a true Waterite you would be deeply hurt by the people who said anything other than the tank was half-full.
Now every Sunday the Waterites would go to the temple and discuss the latest mathematical evidence, or what the Priest had been saying. People who didn't have an opinion on the subject were scorned at for not caring enough about their holiest of holy tank of water. These people said we are thirsty and just want to have a drink, but they were in the minority and soon forgotton about. They carried on coming early every morning taking a sip then leaving. Now and again they would go to the main Sunday gathering and plead to the people to take a daily drink, but both sides would just say, 'Are you mad? The great debate is such a major crisis that we must spend all our energy defending the truth, no time to drink!'
Now people in the community said 'Look at those Waterites, a bunch of hypocrites, they act all holy and wise telling us to join them, but they're just as angry and dried up as us'.
The Priest ruled for 5 years and proclaimed 'HALF-FULL' from every street corner and roof top. Then he was toppled by the Angry Man who ruled for 10 years putting to death anyone who didn't say 'HALF-EMPTY'. Then 50 years later, when the climate had cooled somewhat, the leaders and priests of the 38 different Water-Ite sects gathered together. Over a period of several months, they engaged in long philosphical debates about what the official statement should be. Then on a cool winter's day they came out with the signed document, that would unify the WaterItes once more and said 'IT IS OFFICIALLY HALF-EMPTY.....but if you want to you can call it HALF FULL'. Then the Waterite community spat at the leaders for not giving strong leadership. The Half-Empty Groups preached with more determination and the Half-Full Groups got angrier and angrier.
A few years later a new priest came in and changed the wording to HALF-FULL without asking anyone. Somehow the temple hierarchy let him get away with it. They were too busy counting all the money that was pouring into the temple funds to care about wording.
And early every morning, while the withered ones were still sleeping, a radiant Waterite would walk into the temple past, take a sip and walk home again with a smile on her face, fully rejuvinated.
Raam Japo Jee Aise Aise,
Dhroo Prahlad Japio Har Jaise...
Meditate on Naam like Bhagat Dhroo and Prahlad did. I.E They were thirsty for God's Vision and determined, being children they were innocent and simple and spared from getting side-tracked by religious rights and wrongs. While millions of pundits, brahmins, scholars and Hindus probably discussed one hundred and one Hindu controversies, the Bhagats had God-shaped holes in their hearts that their constant Naam Simran filled.
Guru Amar Das Jee sings a beautiful shabad about controversies:
SIREE RAAG, THIRD MEHL (panna 68)
The demon's son Prahlaad had not read about religious rituals or ceremonies, austerity or self-discipline; he did not know the love of duality. Upon meeting with the True Guru, he became pure; night and day, he chanted the Naam, the Name of the Lord. He read only of the One and he understood only the One Name; he knew no other at all. ||4||
The Pandits, the religious scholars, read and argue and stir up controversies, but without the Guru, they are deluded by doubt. They wander around the cycle of 8.4 million reincarnations; without the Shabad, they do not attain liberation. But when they remember the Name, then they attain the state of salvation, when the True Guru unites them in Union. || 6 ||
Daas and a gursikh were standing in the gurudwara langar hall when a young sikh came and asked for the keys to the supplies store. The supplies store is one of the rooms located on the outside of the gurudrawa building. Daas fished out the keys and gave it to the young sikh. He ran off and came back a few minutes later saying, "This is not the right key." Daas was surprised since that sure looked like the right key. But anyhow, daas fished out another bunch of keys and told the young sikh to try those. He ran off and came back with the same answer. The gursikh who was with me is a big time sevadar and he usually opens and closes the supplies store. So daas asked him for the right key. He took a look and selected a key from the first bunch and told the young sikh, "This is the right one for sure. Try to push the door inwards when turning the key. Sometimes it needs quite a bit of strength to open the supplies door." After several minutes, the young sikh came back, all puffed and panting, and said, "No, that was not the right key." The gursikh decided to investigate. He came back smiling. Daas asked him, "What happened?" He replied, "Oh, nothing. The kid was trying the wrong door!"
Now, the question is - "What has this story got to do with Naam?"
Well the MORAL could be :
We mis-apply HukamNamas. Guru Granth Sahib ji gives us a beautfull Hukam to apply to our life. It's like Guru ji giving us the key, but instead of applying it to the Dasam Duar (Tenth Door) inside our mind, we strip it apart looking for hidden messages about solving our current problem.