When Guru Nanak attained the age of eighteen, his father Mehta Kalu thought of engaging him in trade. Thinking that it was a profitable profession and also his son would be happy all day communicating with his customers. So choosing an auspicious day, he called Bhai Bala to be Guru ji's companion. He gave twenty rupees to Bhai Bala and said, "Go with Nanak, buy and bring some genuine goods so by selling them we may make a lot of profit. If you make a good transaction, I will give you more money next time to buy goods."
So Nanak and Bhai Bala started from Talwandi to Chuharkana to purchase some merchandise. They had gone just ten or twelve miles from their village, when they came across a group of hermits sitting in the jungle. Guru Nanak said to Bhai Bala, "Father has asked us to carry out some profitable transaction. No bargain can be more profitable than to feed and clothe these naked and hungry hermits. I cannot leave this true bargain. One will rarely get an opportunity to carry out such a profitable transaction." So saying he took all the money from Bala, placed it before the leader of the hermits and said, "I offer this in your service."
The head of the hermits said,"Son, this money is of no use to us. We do not go to villages or towns. We stay in the jungle. Yes, if you get us a meal with this money we will accept it." Hearing this Guru Nanak and Bhai Bala went to the village nearby. They got meals prepared with that money and brought them to the hermits. With the leftover money they brought clothes for the naked hermits. This done they heeded home empty handed.
When the two reached near Talwandi, Guru Nanak said to Bala, "You go to the village alone, I shall sit at this well." Bhai Bala went to the village alone and narrated the whole story to Mehta Kalu. Dad Kalu was very angry that they had wasted money on the Hermits in this way. Putting aside all work he took Bala and started to go towards the well. Reaching there he slapped Nanak. Bhai Bala tried to remind him that, "You had told us to make a profitable bargain, so whether you agree or not, Nanak has made a true bargain."
For Mehta Kalu amassing wealth was the only true bargain, because only moneyed men are considered noble, gentle, honest, pious and lover of mankind. The means by which the money is earned are of no importance in this world to worldly men. It is only people who truly understand the value of good deeds know the meaning of a true transaction.