Once Guru Nanak, during his visit to Patna, compared the seed of divine light within man to a precious stone. Mardana, his companion, asked him, “If the divine light is within us, why everyone can’t recognise it and acquire maximum benefit out of it?” Guru Nanak picked up a small red stone and asked him to sell it to the highest bidder. Mardana took the stone to a vegetable seller and asked for two radishes but the shopkeeper would give only one. He went to a cloth merchant who offered him only a yard of coarse cloth in exchange of a stone. The sweetmeat seller was not ready to give a kilo of sweets. Mardana then went to a jeweller who examined the stone and asked him to go to Salis Rai, the richest jeweller of the area since he was the only person who could assess the stone of its real value and pay a price for it.
Salis Rai was not only a businessman, but a poet with a religious bent of mind. Salis Rai was astonished to see such a rare ruby and confessed that he was not rich enough to pay its real price. He asked his assistant, Adhrika, to bring Rs 100. Salis Rai returned the ruby to Mardana and requested him to accept Rs 100 as well which was a big amount. Salis Rai said, “This stone is invaluable and I can’t pay the price. Rs 100 is an offering for having a glimpse of this rare thing.” When Mardana refused to accept money, Salis Rai along with Adhrika, went to see Guru Nanak. While Mardana played on the rabab, Guru Nanak recited the following shabad: “In the clear water of the pond, Resides the pure lotus flower; In the pond also grow slime and weed. The honey-laden lotus remains unsullied by the dirty slime of the pond. O frog, you can never realise, that you are so close to the nectar-laden lotus, And yet you eat slime and weeds while living in the clear water of the pond. The honey-bee resides not in the pond, yet it goes there to suck the honey of the lotus”
Therefore, Mardana was shown the value of a priceless gem, Nam, which can be realised with inner vision only. The recitation of the bani had a transforming effect on Salis Rai and Adhrika who became the devoted disciples of Guru Nanak. Salis Rai, who was also a poet, expressed his feelings as: “The true Lord Guru Nanak has inspired me with divine name. And he has opened my inner eyes. I have traded in one precious thing, My wealth is now ever on the increase. Guru Nanak is the perfect Lord. His word is the law and truth... The divine name is the wealth I seek from the true Guru... Take away the colour of falsehood, Dye my soul in the fast colour of truth.” Salis Rai turned his bungalow into a shrine commemorating the visit of Guru Nanak. The gurudwara, also the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, is known as Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib or simply Patna Sahib. Presently, the preparation for the 350th Guru Gobind Singh birth anniversary has been accelerated in Patna Sahib, to be celebrated on January 5, 2017.