Once there was a village that Guru Nanak went to visit. In that village were two friends, one of them was a sincere spiritual man and the other was an average man. The sincere friend said, "Have you heard the news!! Guru Nanak is staying here!! He is a true man of God. I will not eat or drink until I meet the Guru!" He was definitely going to visit the Guru. The average friend wasn't as determined, "Yeah, um.... I think I'll go..."
The average friend told his wife, "Today I am going to visit Guru Nanak with my friend." His wife gave him some money, "Please give this to the Guru. We don't have much but we HAVE to give to the Guru. Our children even put in the little money they had." The average man told his wife, "Don't worry, the Guru will definitely get this offering."
Every day the two friends would walk home from work together. After work they were both going to visit the Guru. On the way there was a fork in the road. As they stood and wondered which way to go, a woman started to convince them, "Don't go that way, come this way with me. We can go and gamble your money, it will be fun! C'mon you can buy me some alcohol." The sincere friend was determined, "I don't know about you but I'm going to see the Guru!" The average friend wasn't sure. The woman asked him, "Do you like to smoke? Here have this cigarette. Your wife will never find out you're with me! Let's go! There's so much I want you to buy me!!"
The average friend went with the woman to waste all his wife and children's money on cigarettes and alcohol and gambling. He got drunk and he smoked and he had fun with people who waste their lives doing nothing good. When he came home, he lied to his wife. She asked him, "What was it like to be in the presence of the master?" He said, "Uuuuhhh, oh, oh yeah the Guru... yeah, ya know it was really.... blissful and stuff, yeah." She asked her husband, "Did he receive our offering?" But he forgot, "What offering.... oh the money! Right.... ummm, yeah sure he received it. He blessed our family and all kinds of good stuff..."
Meanwhile the sincere friend had spent his time with the Guru and the devoted saintly people. He begged the Guru, "Guru ji I am a sacrifice on to you! Please receive my offering and use it to help the poor. I am ever at your service great Guru. Please let me be at your feet."
Every day the two friends would walk home together and then they would split ways. One would go towards the Guru to listen to the Guru's words, to sing, give charity and be with the sadhsangat. The other friend would go with that woman. He lied to his wife and children and he wasted their offering. He spent their money gambling, drinking and smoking with that woman. He spent his time with bad, low people who waste their lives.
This happened every day for several days.
Finally, the average friend said, "You always spend your time in the Guru's court doing good deeds. I lie to my wife and kids and I waste all my time not doing anything good. But neither of our lives have changed. You're still the same you and I'm still the same me. So what does it matter if we do good or bad, our lives are just the same anyways." The sincere friend said, "Let us ask The Heavens this question! I'm sure we will get the right answer. Tomorrow, after I visit with the Guru, and after you do whatever you do, let us meet back here. We will meet under this tree and the answer shall come to us!" They agreed.
The next day the sincere friend went to sit in the presence of the Guru. He listened to and sang Gurbani. The other friend went with the woman again and wasted his time. The average friend came back first, the sincere friend had not arrived yet. So he waited for a while and still his friend didn't show up. He got bored and started drawing lines in the dirt with a stick. Sticking out of the dirt he found a GOLD PIECE! He found more... he found a jar and thought, "My lucky day!! Maybe there's more gold in this jar!!" But inside the jar there was just coal, "That's disappointing... well at least I found one gold piece. At least I have a little GOOD LUCK!"
Then the sincere friend came from visiting the Guru. He was in pain and was limping, "Owww, ohhhh, my foot, oohhh..." He explained, "I was walking back from being with the Guru and I slipped and... owwww, my foot... I stepped right on a big thorn. It gouged through my foot... what BAD LUCK I have...."
Both of them were confused. They had asked The Heavens if it matters whether they do good or bad actions. The one who did bad was rewarded with gold and the one who did good was rewarded with an injury. They didn't understand this answer from The Heavens so they decided to ask Guru Nanak.
They described the whole situation to the Guru. The sincere friend asked, "Guru ji, what is the message The Heavens are trying to tell us??" Guru ji explained with deep wisdom, "In a past life, you were a thief and stole from many people. You told many lies and did many corrupt things. In this life, you were destined to be killed by a spike... BUT, in this life you have made so much progress, you have used your time well and you have cleaned your heart with the Holy Naam. You have merged in the holy sangat and you have burned your karma. Because of this self-work, your karma has been reduced so much that instead of dying, all you received was a foot injury."The sincere friend was grateful to hear this. The average man still wanted to know about himself. Guru ji described his past life, "You were virtuous. You shared with others. Once you gave a holy man a piece of gold. Because of your devotion and sincerity, that gold coin multiplied many times. You were meant to come to a whole jar full of gold... but because of your deeds the gold turned to coal. You received only that one gold piece you first gave." Both men were humbled and bowed down to the Guru in gratitude.
We all have karma. There is no good luck or bad luck. What we get in life is because of our past actions. Do not waste your precious life. Instead be around saintly people as much as you can. If you have bad karma, your bad luck will be reduced. If you have good karma, your good luck will not go to waste and turn into coal.
The Guru says,
ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪੁਰਬ ਜਨਮ ਕੇ ਕੀਏ ॥
sukh dhukh purab janam kae keeeae ||
Pleasure and pain are the consequences of the actions from past lives.
ਸੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਜਿਨਿ ਦਾਤੈ ਦੀਏ ॥
so jaanai jin dhaathai dheeeae ||
The Giver, who blesses us with these - alone knows why.