Two Kinds of Food
Guru Nanak was the first of the people known as Sikhs. He did not
like the biased attitude of some of the Hindus and some of the Muslims, and he
always tried to bring better understanding between these two groups. He also
tried to get people to give up caste prejudices.
One day while travelling with a companion, Nanak took shelter in the house of a
poor, low-caste Hindu carpenter named Lalo. He took a liking to Lalo and stayed
with him for two weeks. Then he heard that people were gossiping. They said,
"Nanak is a high-caste Hindu; why should he be staying with a low-caste man? It
is not proper."
One day a wealthy landlord of the neighborhood decided to give a big feast and
to invite all the four castes of Hindus -- brahmins, military, merchants and
manual laborers. A brahmin friend of Guru Nanak came to him and told him about
the feast. "You really must go," he said. But Nanak did not believe in castes,
and considered all men equal. He did not like the idea, and said, "I do not
belong to any of the four castes, so why invite me?"
"Ah," said the brahmin, "now I see why people call you a 'heretic'. Malik, the
landlord, will be very displeased with you if you refuse his invitation." And he
Nanak did not go to the feast, and, sure enough, afterwards Malik came and
confronted him. "Why did you dishonor me by staying away?" "Well," replied
Nanak, "I do not crave fine food. But if this offends you, then I will eat some
of your food." But Malik was still not happy, and accused Nanak of ignoring his
own caste and eating and staying with Lalo, a low-caste man.
"Then give me my share of elegant food from your banquet," said Nanak," and
turning to Lalo he asked him to bring him something from his stock of simple
food. When both foods were set before Guru Nanak, he took Lalo's coarse food in
his right hand and Malik's fine food in his left, and squeezed them both. Lo and
behold, from Lalo's food milk flowed out, and from Malik's, blood!
This was Nanak's way of showing that the landlord's food was got by the cruel
bribery and oppression of the poor cultivators, and so was impure; while Lalo's
simple food had been earned by honest work and was pure.