This sakhi is an adaption of a Saakhi taken from the audio recordings of Baba Isher Singh jee Rara Sahib wale (1905 - 1975), taken from www.sikhiwiki.com.
Something about the village graveyard set it apart. During my travels I had seen literally hundreds of graveyards. Usually graveyards are somber and somewhat resigned under the weight of death. But this one was different: besides been well-kept - which in itself was not unusual - it was designed more like a garden of life than a cradle of death.
What set it truly apart was the cheerfulness of its structure. Its' shady trees and sunny flowers seductively invited me in. Graveyards were my favourite resting places. It seemed that as soon as one exited a womb, Maya (worldy attractions) became a human's sole companion until the gates of a graveyard. Perhaps it was the absence of Maya in such places that kept my hopes of enlightenment alive.
I had left home when I had turned twenty. Although I didn't know it then, I had set out to find a place free of illusions. I had travelled to majestic temples, sober ashrams, holy rivers, renowned sadhus and any other religious place I had been told about, yet my mind was as restless as it was when I had first started. The holy places and the holy people at these places were among the most devout followers of Maya. After more than twelve years of searching, I had given up hope and had reluctantly decided to return home and begin a worldly life. It was on my journey home that I came upon this unusual village graveyard.
Although it was only mid-morning, I gave in to the cry of my aching muscles and entered the graveyard through a small wooden door. I put down my knapsack and looked at some of the tombstones. The tombstones entries always reminded me of my transitory place on earth. But this graveyard was full of surprises. There were three entries on each stone: name of the deceased person, the year of birth and instead of the usual 'year of death' the third entry was 'years of life'. Even more peculiar was that the 'years of life' entries were usually well under twenty. Although it took me all morning, I visited each and every tombstone; and to my utter astonishment, I could not find any 'years of life' over thirty. The most common entry was between ten and twelve. And there were quite a few with zero years of life. I was a curious person by nature (otherwise I would not have been here) and I had seen my share of amazing places. But this place truly mystified me. I decided to look up this "village of children".
I walked about a mile to the village gate. I was surprised to see people of all ages in the village courtyard. The villagers were extremely friendly. They came and not unlike children, touched and greeted me, and offered me all sorts of refreshments and foods. I was quite overwhelmed by their attention and love. Almost all of the villager's manners resembled the innocent nature of children. Even their faces were quite smooth and somewhat glowed with purity.
"Respected sirs, I have seen many places and many people. But even at the most holiest of these places I could not find the life and love that pervades at this place. Perhaps I am in a dream...", I trailed off. They all smiled. I hurriedly continued, "I would very much like it if you would kindly explain this rather peculiar place. I was also very intrigued by the graveyard at the entrance of the village. Is it where you bury your young ones?"
After a short pause, the most elderly man spoke: "Traveller, you look like a man who would benefit much from the story I will tell you. Listen carefully and it will change your life." All the men around sat attentively. All the villagers within earshot came and sat to hear the old man speak.
To be continued...