NANAK DEV (1469 - 1539 A.D.)
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 at Rai Bhoeki Talwandi now known as
Nankana Sahib situated in Punjab province of West Pakistan. This
place is about 55 miles north-west of Lahore. His father, Mehta
Kalu was a Patwari- an accountant of land revenue in the government.
Guru's mother was Mata Tripta and he had one older sister, Bibi
Nanki. From the very childhood, Bibi Nanki saw in him the Light
of God but she did not reveal this secret to anyone. She is known
as the first disciple of Guru Nanak.
the age of seven, Guru Nanak was sent to school, which was run
by teacher, Pandit Gopal Das, at his village. As usual the teacher
started the lesson with an alphabet but the teacher was wonder-stuck
when the Guru asked him to explain the meanings of the letters
of the alphabet. However at the helplessness of his teacher, the
Guru wrote the meanings of each and every letter of the alphabet.
This was the first Divine Message delivered by Guru Nanak. This
was an explanation of deeper truth about human beings and God
and the way to realize God in terms of the alphabet. The teacher
stood abashed before the Divine Master and bowed to him. He then
took him back to his father and said, "Mehtaji, your son
is an Avtar (prophet) and has come to redeem the victims of Kalyug
(the age of Falsehood). He is destined to be a world Teacher,
there is nothing that I can teach him."
writers believe that Guru Nanak was first sent to different schools
belonging to the Hindus and Muslims to learn about Vedas (Hindu
Scriptures) and Quran (Muslim Scripture), and only after obtaining
the knowledge from those scriptures, he started his religion.
According to Malcolm, Guru Nanak is said to have learnt all earthly
scenes from Khizr -the Prophet Elias. "There is a reason
to believe," writes Cunningham, "that in his youth he
made himself familiar with the popular creeds both of Mohammadans
and the Hindus and that he gained a general knowledge of the Quran
and Brahmanical Shastras."
seems that all these scholars of history have not grasped the
basic fundamental fact about the divinity of Guru Nanak. He was
born with divine status, thus, his teachings were heavenly. These
writers seem to be very much ignorant of the fact that Guru Nanak
was an Embodiment of Divine Light. He was a celestial being and
his divine attributes put him above mankind and its schools. Historians
have failed to visualize the splendor in Guru's Jot. Heavenly
Spirit does not learn from man-made institutions. He was a heavenly
messenger and a born world teacher who taught the mankind the
path of righteousness and truth. Guru Nanak's divinity is above
all earthly institutions and their teachings. The Message that
Guru Nanak gave to this world, came to him direct from God as
he confirms himself:
Lalo as comes the Divine Word from God to me So do I narrate it."
(Tilang Mohalla 1, p-722)
am saying what He commandeth me to say." (Wadhans Mohalla
is also mentioned in the Janamsakhi (biography) that many times
Guru Nanak said to his companion Mardana, "Mardana, play
the rebec, the Divine Word is coming." This confirms the
fact that education from the Hindu and Muslim religious institutions,
had no bearing at all on the Divine Word that Guru Nanak received
from God and delivered to this world. To say that Guru went to
different institutions to learn, is violating the sanctity of
CEREMONY OF SACRED THREAD:
Nanak was nine years old and according to the custom among the
higher castes of Hindus, he was required to invest himself with
the sacred thread called 'Janaeu'. Great preparations were made
by his father for this ceremony. The family priest named Hardyal,
started chanting Mantras (Hindu hymns) and was ready to put the
thread around Guru's neck when he refused to wear it. The whole
assembly was astonished. They tried to persuade him every way
to wear the Janaeu but in vain. Then the Guru uttered the following
men commit countless thefts, countless adulteries,
utter countless falsehoods and countless words of abuse;
Though they commit countless robberies and villainies night
and day against their fellow creatures;
Yet the cotton thread is spun, and the Brahman cometh to
For the ceremony they kill a goat and cook and eat it, and
everybody then saith 'Put on the Janaeu'.
When it becometh old, it is thrown away, and another is put on,
Nanak, the string breaketh not if it is strong." (Asa di
Var, Mohalla 1, p-471)
priest in utter despair asked, "What kind of sacred thread
O Nanak, would you wear?" The Guru replied,
of the cotton of compassion
Spin the thread of contentment
Tie knots of continence,
Give it twist of truth.
That would make a Janaeu for the soul,
If thou have it, O Brahman, put it on me.
Such a thread once worn will never break
Nor get soiled, burnt or lost,
The man who weareth such a thread is blessed." (Asa di Var,
Slok Mohalla 1, p-471)
COBRA SERVES THE DIVINE MASTER:
usually is the case in villages, the father sent his son to graze
the buffaloes in the pastures. One day while the Guru was grazing
the buffaloes, he fell asleep under a tree and the herd destroyed
the crops in the neighboring fields. When the owner saw his crops
damaged, he became furious and lodged a complaint with Rai Bular,
an officer-in-charge of that area. Rai Bular sent for the son
and his father to adjust the quarrel. The Guru told them that
no damage was done to the crops; rather it was blessed by God.
Rai Bular sent his messengers to inspect the fields. But to everybody's
surprise the investigators could not find any damage in the fields
rather the crops were doubly blossoming. The field where this
miracle happened is now known as Kiara Sahib.
another day the Guru was sent to graze the buffaloes in the pastures
and he fell asleep under the shade of a tree. As the sun rose
higher, the shadow moved away. A big cobra came out of its den
and provided shadow with its hood over the face of the Divine
Master. Rai Bular happened to pass by that side with his attendants.
When he saw this strange scene, he was convinced that the boy
was a man of God. Upon seeing the people, the cobra retreated
to its den and Rai Bular touched Guru's feet in great reverence
and thus became Guru's disciple.
GURU SITS IN SECLUSION:
he grew a little older, he avoided company and sought seclusion.
For days he would sit silent in solitude and spent his time in
meditation. Parents became anxious about his health and to them
his unworldliness appeared insane. One day they sent for their
physician Hari Das. The physician came and began to feel Guru's
pulse. He withdrew his arm and asked, "O physician, what
art thou doing?" The physician replied that he was diagnosing
his disease. Upon this the Guru laughed and then uttered the following
have sent for the physician for me!
He taketh my hand and feeleth my pulse.
What can a pulse disclose?
The pain lies deep in the heart.
Physician, go back and heal thyself,
Diagnose thy own disease,
Then thou mayst diagnose the disease of others
And call thyself a physician." (Malar ki Var, Mohalla 1 p-1279)
Das was familiar with such cases of deranged mind and thus asked,
"So you think that I am sick too and need a cure." The
Guru replied, "You suffer from the sickness of your soul.
Egoism is the disease. It separates us from the source of life,
God Himself." Hari Das asked if there was any remedy. The
man shall possess the Name of the Bright One,
His body shall become like gold and his soul be made pure;
All his pain and disease shall be dispelled,
And he shall be saved, Nanak, by the true Name." (Malar Mohalla
a good deal of discussion, Hari Das bowed before the Divine Master
and told his parents to leave anxiety about their son as he was
born 'A healer of the world's sickened souls.'
spite of the accumulating evidence about the spiritual greatness
of the Guru, Mehta Kalu was not convinced and thought that his
son was wasting time in profitless contemplation. So he wanted
to put him to trade. He gave the Guru twenty rupees (Indian currency)
and sent him to the nearest town- Chuharkana, to buy goods of
common use and then sell them at a profit. The family servant
Bala was also sent with him.
his way the Guru met a group of faqirs (ascetics) who were hungry
for several days. The Guru spent all the money in feeding the
faqirs and called it a true bargain. He realized the nature of
his act and did not go home but sat under a tree outside his village.
Bala went home and he narrated the whole story to his father.
The father became very angry but the Guru explained to him that
he could not think of a more profitable bargain. The aged tree
under which he sat is still preserved. It is called Thumb Sahib
or the holy tree in memory of the Guru.
this failed to have any effect on Guru's disinclination towards
ordinary world affairs and he remained deeply immersed in meditation.
order to bring him around the worldly affairs, the next step came
the marriage. The marriage date is given different in different
Janamsakhis (birth stories), and it is presumed that he was between
14 to 18 years of age when he got married. His wife, Sulakhni,
was the daughter of Bhai Mula, a resident of Batala in Gurdaspur
district. She gave birth to two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das.
father soon found out that even the married life did not divest
him of his pre-occupation with matters pertaining to his Divine
mission. As a matter of fact, his concept of duty was not to serve
himself and his family rather to transcend it so that the self
might participate in the divine scheme of things and spiritualize
the world around him. Humanity was his family and serving the
humanity was the service of the Lord. Bhai Gurdas writes that
the Guru saw the whole world in flames; flames of falsehood, tyranny,
hypocrisy and bigotry. He had to go and extinguish that fire with
eternal love, truth and dedication. He had the divine mission
to teach to humanity, the lesson of the brotherhood of mankind
and the fatherhood of God. "The Primal Being created the
Light; all men are the creation of Providence: all human beings
have sprung from one Light. Who, then, is bad and who is good?"
GURU NANAK COMES TO SULTANPUR:
Ram, Guru's brother-in-law was serving as Dewan (steward) to the
governor, Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi of Sultanpur. It is said that
both Jai Ram and Rai Bular were of the opinion that Nanak was
a saint ill-treated by his father; and thus Jai Ram promised to
find a job for him in Sultanpur. Guru's sister was deeply devoted
to her younger brother. On their annual visit to Talwandi, when
she noticed her father's impatience at her brother's indifference
towards worldly activities, she decided to take him to Sultanpur.
Her father gave his consent.
Ram got the Guru the post of a store-keeper of Nawab's state granary
where the grain was collected as a part of land revenue and later
sold. The Guru carried out the duties of the store-keeper very
efficiently. The minstrel Mardana subsequently joined the Guru
and other friends too followed. Guru Nanak introduced them to
the Khan, who provided them suitable jobs in his administration.
Every night there was Sabad-Kirtan (singing divine hymns).
day he was weighing provisions and was counting each weighing
as 'one, two, three.........ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen'. When
he reached the number thirteen (13)- 'Tera' (in Punjabi language
Tera means number 13, and Tera also means 'thine', that is 'I
am Thine, O Lord'), he went into ecstasy. He went on weighing
by saying,"Tera, tera, tera,......." The customers did
not know how to carry the bountiful gifts of this store-keeper.
They could not understand the bounties of the Lord.
the situation reached its climax when a charge was levied against
the Guru that he was recklessly giving away the grain. The Nawab
ordered an inquiry which was conducted very carefully. The Guru's
detractors were surprised when the stores were found full and
the accounts showed a balance in favor of the Guru. After that
the Guru sent in his resignation to the employer to embark on
his divine mission.
Janamsakhis narrate that one morning, Guru Nanak went to bathe
in the neighboring river called Baeen. While bathing he disappeared
in water and remained as such for three days. During that period
he had a vision of God's presence where he was entrusted by the
Almighty with the task of preaching the Divine Name (NAM) to the
world. The Almighty gave him a goblet brimming with nectar of
'NAM' which Master Nanak drank and then Almighty commanded:
art welcome, O Nanak, that hath absorbed thyself in Nam.
Do go hence and do the work for which thou wast born.
People of Kalyug have adopted horrible practices and are
extremely degraded in mind.
They worship a variety of gods, have forsaken the Name
and are immersed in sin.
Go thou, spread Love and Devotion to the Name, and lighten
the burden of the earth.
Go thou, and glorify the name of God and destroy
Guru then sang the following Sabad:
I to live for millions of years and drink the air for
Were I to dwell in a cave where I beheld not sun or moon, and
could not even dream of sleeping;
I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great
shall I call Thy Name?
O true Formless One, Thou art in Thine Own place-
As I have often heard I tell my tale- if it please Thee, show
Thy favor unto me.
Were I to be felled and cut in pieces, were I to be grounded
in a mill;
Were I to be burned in a fire, and blended with its ashes,
I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great
shall I call Thy Name?
Were I to become a bird and fly to a hundred heavens;
Were I to vanish from human gaze and neither eat nor drink,
I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great
shall I call Thy Name?
Nanak, had I hundreds of thousands of tons of paper and a
desire to write on it all after the deepest research;
Were ink never to fail me, and could I move my pen like the
I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great
shall I call Thy Name?" (Sri Rag Mohalla 1, p-14)
a voice was heard,"O Nanak, to him upon whom My look of kindness
resteth, be thou merciful, as I too shall be merciful. My name
is God, the Primal Brahm, and thou art the Divine Guru (Mei aad
Parmeshar aur tu Gur Parmeshar)."
has been the revelation of the Puratan Janamsakhi. The Guru himself
confirms that the Almighty asked him to go to the world and sing
His praises. The Guru says that after he had done his duty in
this world, the Almighty called him again:
a minstrel out of work, God applieth to His work;
Thus spake the Almighty unto me
Night and day, go and sing My praises.
The Almighty again did summon this minstrel to His most
On me He bestowed the robe of Honor of His praise and
On me He bestowed the goblet brimming with Nectar of His
Those who at the bidding of the Guru
Feast and take their fill of the Lord's Holiness attain Peace
Thy minstrel spreadeth Thy Glory by singing Thy Word;
Nanak, he who uttereth true praises obtaineth the Perfect
One." (Majh di Var-pauri 27, p-150)
is said that after three days when he reappeared, some people
saw hallow around his head. Some people say that Guru Nanak's
Guruship started with his reappearance from the water. It should
be pointed here in this respect that there are Three Entities
in Sikhism- God, Guru, and Gurbani (Divine Word). According to
Sikhism there is One but One God; He sends His emissary called
Guru, who is embodiment of Divine Light. God then delivers His
message (Gurbani) through His emissary, the Guru.
the Guru, there can be no Gurbani. Guru is a channel through whom
Gurbani is delivered. Therefore, when at the age of seven, Guru
Nanak delivered the first Divine message to his teacher (Rag Asa
Mohalla 1, Patti Likhi, p-432), he had to be and he was the Guru.
Before disappearing in the river, a lot of Gurbani was already
delivered by the Guru. He was, thus, born as Guru and his Guruship
started from the very birth.
Gurdas, a Sikh apostle writes that first the Almighty bestowed
His blessings on Baba (Guru Nanak) and then He sent him to this
world to spread the Divine Word:
babei paya bakhash dar, pichhon dei phir ghal kamaee." (Bhai
Gurdas- Var 1, pauri 24)
was Guru Nanak's Guru? When he was asked, who his Guru was, Guru
Nanak replied that God Himself was his Guru:
and Infinite is God Who acted as Guru of Nanak." (Sorath
Mohalla 1, p-599)
Guru remained silent for a day after the reappearance and then
he made this announcement, "There is no Hindu and no Musalman."
This meant that there was no difference between man and man. (But
some interpret that both Hindus and Muslims had forgotten the
precepts of their religions). This declaration made Nawab Daulat
Khan and his Qazi very mad. The Nawab asked the Guru to explain
whether his Qazi was not a true Muslim. The Guru described the
traits of a true Muslim:
who is firm in his faith,
Has a right to be called a Muslim.
His acts must be in accord with his faith in Prophet,
He must clean his heart of his pride and greed,
Not troubled by the two impostors- life and death,
Resigned to the Will of God;
Knowing Him as the Doer,
Free himself from the self, and
Be compassionate towards all beings, O Nanak,
Such a one may call himself a Muslim." (Majh ki Var Mohalla
Nawab then asked the Guru, "If there is no difference between
the Hindus and the Muslims, why don't you join us in our Namaz
(Muslim prayer)?" The Guru agreed to join them to take part
in their prayer in the mosque where Qazi led the Namaz. When Namaz
was offered, the Qazi and the Nawab both stood, kneeled and bowed
in their prayer but the Guru remained standing. After the Namaz
was over, the Qazi said,"Why did you not take part in the
prayer?" The Guru replied,"I did take part in the prayer
but both of you did not." Then he explained,"While the
Qazi performed the service, he remembered that there was a well
in his courtyard, and his mind was filled with apprehension lest
his newly-born filly should fall in the well. The Qazi's mind
was, therefore, not present in the prayer. Also while the Nawab
was pretending to pray, his mind was set on purchasing horses
admitted the truth of Guru's statements and the Nawab cried aloud
to the Qazi,"Thou seest not Khuda (God) speaking to us through
Nanak?" The Muslims perform five Namaz at five different
times a day. The Guru addressed the meaning and virtue of Namaz:
prayers thou sayest five times a day,
With five different names;
But if Truth be thy first prayer,
The second to honestly earn your daily living,
The third to give in God's name,
Purity of mind by thy fourth prayer,
And praise and prayer to God thy fifth;
If thou practiseth these five virtues,
And good deeds be thine Kalma- the article of faith,
Then thy can call thyself a true Muslim.
By mere hypocrisy, O Nanak,
A man is deemed false through and through." (Majh ki Var
Mohalla 1, p-141)
Nanak never asked a Muslim or a Hindu to become his disciple to
get a place in heaven after death. He told the Muslim to become
a true Muslim and to a Hindu to become a true Hindu in order to
TRAVELS OF GURU NANAK:
Nanak Dev saw the world suffering out of hatred, fanaticism, falsehood
and hypocrisy. The world had sunk in wickedness and sin. So he
set out for the regeneration of humanity on this earth. He carried
the torch of truth, heavenly love, peace and joy for mankind.
He embarked on his Divine Mission and went towards east, west,
north and south and visited various centers of Hindus, Muslims,
Buddhists, Jainis, Sufis, Yogis and Sidhas. He met people of different
religions, tribes, cultures and races. He travelled on foot with
his Muslim companion named Mardana, a minstrel. His travels are
his first Udasi (travel), Guru Nanak covered east and south of
India and returned home after spending a little more than eight
years. He started from Sultanpur in August, 1507 and went to his
village Talwandi to meet and inform his parents about his long
journey. The old parents wanted comfort and protection from their
young son in their old age and so they asked him not to go. But
there were thousands and thousands others waiting for the Divine
Master for comfort, love and salvation. The Guru, therefore, told
his parents,"There is a call from Heaven, I must go whither
He directs me to go."
FIRST STOP AT EMINABAD:
by Mardana, the Guru embarked on his mission and left his family
behind. He made his first stop at Saidpur, now known as Eminabad,
and there he met a poor carpenter named Lalo. The Master looked
at poor Lalo graciously and he was blessed with Divine love and
lo, he was a blessed man. The Guru chose to stay with Lalo for
sometimes as a guest. The news reached Malik Bhago, the chief
of the town, that a holy person was staying with Lalo. Malik Bhago
was a corrupt man and he had amassed wealth through unfair means.
He held a big gathering and invited all holy men including the
Guru. The Guru, however, did not accept his invitation. The Malik
then made a special arrangement for the Guru and requested him
to come and eat at his residence. At last the Guru went there
and Malik Bhago said,"O holy man, I have prepared so many
dishes for you, but you are staying with a poor carpenter and
eating his dry bread. Please stay with me." The Guru replied,"I
cannot eat your food because your bread is ill-begotten and has
been made with money sucked from the poor through unfair means,
while Lalo's bread is made from the hard-earned money." This
made Malik Bhago very mad and he asked the Guru to prove his point.
The Guru then sent for a loaf of bread from Lalo's house. In one
hand the Guru held Lalo's bread and in the other that of Malik
Bhago's, and when he squeezed both, milk came out from Lalo's
bread and blood dripped from Malik Bhago's bread. Malik Bhago
was completely shaken by his guilt and asked for forgiveness.
The Guru asked him to distribute his ill-gotten wealth among the
poor and henceforth live an honest life. Malik Bhago was re-born
with the Guru's blessing.
to Puratan Janamsakhi, before Guru Nanak turned towards east,
he went to Tolumba (now known as Makadampur in west Pakistan)
and met Sajjan Thug. Sajjan always wore a white dress, displayed
his rosary and thus posed to be a holyman. He had built a Hindu
temple and a Muslim mosque at the courtyard of his residence.
He would invite wayfarers to his residence to rest for the night.
But at night, he would take away their goods and money and sometimes
kill them. The Guru went and stayed with him for the night. At
night the Guru did not go to bed early which made Sajjan a bit
too nervous to perform his nefarious act of robbing. Sajjan asked
the Guru to take rest and sleep but the Guru replied,"God's
minstrel does not go to sleep, till God sends word that he should
retire." The Guru then asked Mardana to play the rebec and
he sang the following Sabad:
is bright and shining, but, by rubbing, its sable
Which cannot be removed even by washing a hundred times.
They are friends who travel with me as I go along,
And who are found standing ready whenever their accounts
are called for.
Houses, mansions, palaces painted on all sides,
When hollow within, are as it were crumbled and useless.
Herons arrayed in white dwell at places of pilgrimage;
Yet they rend and devour living things, and therefore should
not be called white.
My body is like the simmal tree; men beholding me mistake me.
Its fruit is useless: such qualities my body possesseth.
I am a blind man carrying a burden while the mountainous
way is long.
I want eyes which I cannot get; how can I ascend and traverse
Of what avail are services, virtues, and cleverness?
Nanak, remember the Name, so mayest thou be released
from thy shackles." (Suhi Mohalla 1, p-729)
Sajjan listened the Divine melody, he realized that the Guru's
words were actually addressed to him. Upon this he made his obeisance
and fell at the Guru's feet, and prayed to him to pardon his sins.
The Guru said,"Sajjan, in the Sovereignty of God, grace is
obtained by two things, open confession and reparation for wrong."
Sajjan stood in submission. The Guru asked him to give all his
ill-gotten wealth to the poor. He obeyed the mandate and became
a follower of the Guru after receiving Charanpauhal. It is said
that the first historical Sikh temple was constructed on the spot
where this conversation was held.
GURU NANAK AT HARDWAR:
is one of the Hindu pilgrimage places on the bank of river Ganges.
It was a Baisakhi day and the pilgrims got up early in the morning
and bathed in the river. As the sun came out, they started throwing
water towards the sun. When Guru Nanak asked them as to what they
were doing, one priest replied,"We are offering water to
our dead ancestors in the region of Sun to quench their thirst."
this the Guru started throwing water towards the west. The pilgrims
laughed and asked what he was doing. The Guru replied,"I
am watering my fields in my village in the Punjab." The priest
asked,"How can your water reach such a distance?" The
Guru retorted,"How far your ancestors are from here?"
One of them replied,"in the other world."
Guru stated,"If the water cannot reach my fields which are
about four hundred miles away from here, how can your water reach
your ancestors who are not even on this earth?" The crowd
stood in dumb realization. The Guru preached against superstitions
and false rituals, worship of gods and goddesses, penances and
renunciation. He stressed that only One God, the Formless, was
to be glorified. In this way he showed the path of truth and enlightenment.
There is a Gurdwara called Nanakwara in Hardwar on the bank of
the river Ganges where the Guru had stayed.
GURU AT GORAKHMATA:
Hardwar, the Guru took his route towards Gorakhmata, about twenty
miles north of Pilibhit, and reached there via Joshi Math and
Almora. Almora was ruled by the rulers of Chand family and they
used to do their offerings of human beings to please their goddess
Chandi. The Guru showed them the path of truth and thus stopped
them from massacring innocent people to please their goddess.
there he reached Gorakhmata which was the abode of Jogis of Gorakhnath
clan. These Jogis had powers of Ridhi-Sidhi (supernatural powers).
Their blessings were eagerly sought by the family men. People
avoided their curses at all costs. Public from far and near had
heard about these Jogis and their popularity was widespread. It
is said that these Jogis (Yogis) had also heard about the Guru.
When he reached there, they received him with great courtesy and
invited him to adopt their cult, wear their garb and join them
as a Yogi. The Guru explained to them that the life of seclusion
which was not in the service of their fellow beings, was worthless.
The Guru uttered the following Sabad:
consisteth not in a patched coat, or in a Jogi's staff,
or in ashes smeared over the body;
Religion consisteth not in earrings worn, or a shaven head,
or in the blowing of horns.
Abide pure amid the impurities of the world; thus shalt thou
find the way of religion.
Religion consisteth not in mere words;
He who looketh on all men as equal is religious.
Religion consisteth not in wandering to tombs or places of
cremation, or sitting in attitudes of contemplation;
Religion consisteth not in wandering in foreign countries,
or in bathing at places of pilgrimages.
Abide pure amid the impurities of the world; thus shalt thou
find the way of religion.
On meeting a true Guru doubt is dispelled and the
wanderings of the mind restrained.
It raineth nectar, slow ecstatic music is heard, and man is
happy within himself.
Abide pure amid the impurities of the world; thus shalt thou
find the way of religion.
Nanak, in the midst of life be in death; practice such
When thy horn soundeth without being blown, thou shalt
obtain the fearless dignity-
Abide pure amid the impurities of the world, thus shalt thou
find the way of religion." (Suhi Mohalla 1, p-730)
hearing this, the Yogis made Guru Nanak obeisanceeisance. The
Guru's teaching became so effective that Gorakhmata became Nanakmata.
were forests around Gorakhmata. About forty miles from there,
the Guru met another group of Yogis. He sat under a soapnut tree
and told them that by discarding family life and living in the
forests away from worldly life, could not bring salvation. The
inner change for attainment of peace and everlasting joy and happiness,
could be obtained anywhere by contemplating on God's name. The
Yogis asked,"Master, the fire of desire is not quenched even
by endless subjection of the body to discipline. Pray tell us
a way to quench it." The Guru replied,
the feeling of egoism
Destroy the sense of duality and attain oneness with Lord,
The path is hard for ignorant and egoistic;
But those who take shelter in the Word and absorbed in it,
And he who realizes that He is both within and without,
His fire of desire is destroyed by the Grace of the Guru,
says Nanak." (Ramkali Mohalla 1, Sidh Gosht-46, p-943)
shrewd mind of the Yogis wanted to test the Guru still further.
Knowing that the Guru did not have anything to offer, they asked
him to give them something to eat. The Guru was sitting under
the soapnut tree and soapnuts are always bitter. He gave them
soapnuts to eat. To the utter surprise of the Yogis, the soapnuts
were very sweet. By the Grace of God, the soapnuts of half-side
of the tree where the Guru was sitting, became sweet and the other
half of the same tree had bitter soapnuts. The same is true even
to-day. That place is called Reetha Sahib and there is a Gurdwara
in the memory of the Guru.
GURU AT BANARAS:
Gorakhmata, the Guru took southernly route and passing through
Gola, Ayudhya and Prayag (Allahabad), reached Banaras, also called
Varanasi- which was said to be the seat of Hindu religious learning
and abode of Lord Shiva. The Guru and his companion Mardana encamped
in a public square of the city. Pandit Chatur Das was the chief
Brahman of the city. Guru's dress was neither of a family man
nor of a Sanyasi (ascetic). Seeing this Pandit Chatur Das held
a long discussion with the Guru. The Guru asked the Pandit what
did he read, what did he teach to the people and what type of
knowledge did he impart to his disciples? The Pandit replied,"By
the will of God I teach the people the fourteen sciences- reading,
swimming, medicine, alchemy,astrology, singing the six rags and
their raginis, the science of sexual enjoyment, grammar, music,
horsemanship, dancing, archery, theology, and statesmanship."
The Guru explained that better than all these was the knowledge
of God. Upon this the Guru uttered the fifty-four stanzas of Ramkali
Mohalla 1- Dakhni Omkar. The true God is superior to all other
gods. The first two stanzas are as follows:
is the one God who created Brahma;
It is the one God who created our understanding;
It is from the one God the mountains and the ages of the
It is the one God who bestowed knowledge.
It is by the Word of God man is saved.
It is by the name of the one God the pious are saved.
Hear an account of the letter O-
O is the best letter in the three worlds.
Hear, O Pandit, why writest thou puzzles?
Write under the instruction of the Guru the name of God, the
Cherisher of the world.
He created the world with ease; in the three worlds there is
one Lord of Light.
Under the Guru's instruction select gems and pearls, and
thou shalt obtain God the real thing.
If man understand, reflect, and comprehend what he readeth,
he shall know at last the True One is everywhere.
The pious man knoweth and remembereth the truth- that
without the True One the world is unreal." (Ramkali Mohalla
1- Dakhni Omkar, p-929)
hearing the Sabad of Ramkali, Pandit Chatur Das fell at the feet
of the Guru, and became a Sikh, and did much to spread Sikh religion
in that area. The place where the Guru stayed, is now called as
Guru ka Bagh Gurdwara.
GURU AT GAYA:
Banaras he reached Gaya which is a famous Hindu pilgrimage place
situated at the river Phalgu (Sarju). The Hindu priests had declared
that any offerings made at Gaya especially at the time of Baisakhi
would secure salvation for seven generations of those who had
departed from this world. The simple minded people made huge offerings
and the priests fed the piters (ancestors) by offering rice balls,
lighted up little lamps to illuminate their paths in the high
heavens. The Guru started laughing which made the priests very
angry. At that point the Guru explained that those who left their
bodies on earth, did not need any food nor a glow of lamp to see.
If this body could not go to the other world, obviously it was
not possible for any material substance of this world to reach
the other side. So the Guru enlightened the people and asked them
to worship One God, the Formless.
GURU TO KAMRUP:
Gaya he passed through the area where modern city of Patna stands
and reached Hajipur. Passing through Kantnagar he reached Malda.
The town of Malda was situated at the confluence of rivers Ganges
and Mahanadi. It is reported that a local merchant of Malda did
a great service to the Guru for which he received Guru's blessings.
The next stop was Dhubri in Assam. After Dhubri he proceeded along
the Brahmputra river on to Kamrup, a place near the modern city
of Gauhati. This whole route is marked by many old historical
Gurdwaras bearing association with the Guru.
city of Kamrup was ruled by a woman of black magic. She had assumed
the name of Nurshah, the name of one from whom she had learnt
this art. She and her female companions practiced black magic
and exorcised strange powers in that locality. She owned the whole
country around and many a mystic, yogi etc. fell prey to her magical
Guru stayed under a tree outside the city while Mardana went into
the city to get something to eat. On his way he met some women
and fell victim to their machination, who made a lamb of him.
Under mesmeric influence Mardana did all what they commanded him
to do. He was thus imprisoned by the witchcraft of Nurshah and
could not return to the Guru. The Guru knew what had happened
to his minstrel and he started to rescue him from his captors.
Nurshah saw the Guru coming and tried to captivate him with her
charms but her art of magic failed. She found out that her spells
were of no avail. On their fruitless efforts, the Guru uttered
the following Sabad on Kuchaji or the woman of bad character:
am a worthless woman; in me are faults; how can I go to
enjoy my spouse?
My spouse's wives are one better than the other; O my life,
who careth for me?
My female friends who have enjoyed their Spouse are in the
shade of the mango.
I do not possess their virtues; to whom can I attribute
What attributes of Thine, O Lord, shall I blazon abroad?
What names of Thine shall I repeat?
I cannot even attain one of Thy many excellences: I am ever
a sacrifice unto Thee.
Gold, silver, pearls, and rubies which gladden the heart-
These things the Bridegroom hath given me, and I have fixed
my heart on them.
I had palaces of brick fashioned with marble.
In these luxuries I forgot the Bridegroom and sat not near
The Kulangs cry in the heavens, and the cranes have come to
The woman goeth to her father-in-law's; how shall she show
her face as she proceedeth?
As morning dawned she soundly slept, and forgot her
She separated from Thee, O Spouse, and therefore stored up
grief for herself.
In Thee, O Lord, are merits; in me all demerits: Nanak hath
this one representation to make,
Every night is for the virtuous woman; may I though
unchaste obtain a night also." (Rag Suhi Mohalla 1, p-762)
Guru also uttered the following Sabad on this occasion:
words we are good, but in acts bad.
We are impure-minded and black-hearted, yet we wear the
white robes of innocence.
We envy those who stand and serve at His gate.
They who love the Bridegroom and enjoy the pleasure of His
Are lowly even in their strength, and remain humble.
Nanak, our lives shall be profitable if we meet such women."
(Sri Rag ki Var Mohalla 1,2-7,p-85)
the Guru uttered these Sabads, Nurshah thought that she would
tempt him with wealth. Her attendants brought pearls, diamonds,
gold, silver and laid down before him. She then prayed,"O
great magician, accept me as thy disciple and teach me thy magic."
The Guru rejected all the presents and uttered the following Sabad:
silly woman, why art thou proud?
Why enjoyest thou not the love of God in thine own home?
The Spouse is near; O foolish woman, why searchest thou
Put surma needles of God's fear into thine eyes, and wear the
decoration of love.
Thou shalt be known as a devoted happy wife if thou love
What shall a silly woman do if she please not her Spouse?
However much she implore, she may not enter His chamber.
Without God's grace she obtaineth nothing, howsoever she
Intoxicated with avarice, covetousness, and pride, she
is absorbed in mammon.
It is not by these means the Bridegroom is obtained; silly
is the woman who thinketh so.
Go and ask the happy wives by what means they obtained
'Whatever He doeth accept as good; have done with
cleverness and orders,
Apply thy mind to the worship of His feet by whose love
what is most valued is obtained.
Do whatever the Bridegroom biddeth thee; give Him the
body and soul; such perfumes apply.'
Thus speak the happy wives: 'O sister, by these means the
Spouse is obtained.
Efface thyself, so shalt thou obtain the Bridegroom; what
other art is there?'
Only that day is of account when the Bridegroom looketh
with favor; the wife hath then obtained the wealth of
who pleaseth her Spouse is the happy wife; Nanak, she is
the queen of them all.
She is saturated with pleasure, intoxicated with happiness,
and day and night absorbed in His love.
She is beautiful and fair to view, accomplished, and it is
she alone who is wise." (Tilang Mohalla 1, p-722)
hearing this Sabad, Nurshah and her companions fell at the feet
of the Guru and asked for forgiveness and blessing to obtain salvation.
The Guru told them to repeat God's Name conscientiously, perform
their domestic duties, renounce magic and thus they would secure
salvation. It is said that they became Guru's followers. After
a short stay he departed leaving behind the awakened souls,to
carry on his Divine mission.
Guru travelled many miles in the wilderness of Assam. His minstrel
Mardana was very hungry and tired, so they sat under a tree. After
sometimes Mardana went to get something to eat. On his way he
met Kauda, the cannibal. Kauda took Mardana by surprise and bound
him hand and foot by a rope and then carried him to the spot where
he had kept a big pan full of oil for frying the flesh of his
victims. Kauda started to lighten fire under the pan. When Mardana
saw that, he was very frightened and prayed to the Guru to come
to his rescue. The Guru already knew and was on his way to get
was trying to light the fire when the Guru appeared. This bewildered
Kauda completely. The Guru looked at him compassionately and graciously
and said,"Kauda! See-est thou not what thou dost, wilt thou
cast thyself in the burning fire of hell?" The very gracious
and holy sight of the Divine Master made such people realize their
guilt and they fell on his feet and begged for mercy. Kauda whose
conscience was dead with heinous crimes, suddenly came to realization
and was overwhelmed with repentance. He fell on the feet of the
Master and prayed for mercy. The gracious Master blessed him with
the Name. Kauda was completely a changed man and thereafter lived
as a devout disciple of the Guru.
GURU AT JAGAN NATH PURI:
Golaghat Nagar and Dhanasri valley where cannibals inhabited in
large numbers, the Guru went back to Gauhati. From there he proceeded
to Shillong and to Silhet where an old Gurdwara stands in his
memory. He then went to Dacca and on the way he passed through
Calcutta and Cuttack and finally reached Puri.
temple of Jagan Nath, the Lord of the East, was one of the four
most revered temples of the Hindus- the other three being Som
Nath, Badri Nath and Vishwa Nath. It is said that Jagan Nath's
idol was sculptured by the architect of the gods and it was installed
at the temple by Lord Brahma himself. It was the anniversary of
installation of the idol when Guru Nanak reached the temple. The
Guru visited the temple not to adore their Lord but to teach the
people that the worship of God was superior to the worship of
the deity. It was the evening time and the priests brought a salver
full of many lighted lamps, flowers, incense and pearls and then
all stood to offer the salver to their enshrined idol-god. The
ceremony was called 'Arti', a song of dedication. The high-priest
invited the Guru to join in the god's worship. The Guru did not
join their service which enraged the priests. On being asked the
reason the Guru explained that a wonderful serenade was being
sung by nature before the invisible altar of God. The sun and
the moon were the lamps, placed in the salver of the firmament
and the fragrance wafted from the Malayan mountains was serving
as incense. The Guru, therefore, instead of accepting the invitation
of the high-priest to adore the idol, raised his eyes to the heaven
and uttered the following Sabad of Arti:
sun and moon, O Lord, are thy lamps; the firmament
Thy salver; the orbs of the stars, the pearls enchased in it.
The perfume of the sandal is Thine incense; the wind is
Thy fan; all the forests are Thy flowers, O Lord of light.
What worship is this, O Thou Destroyer of birth?
Unbeaten strains of ecstasy are the trumpets of Thy worship.
Thou hast a thousand eyes and yet not one eye;
Thou hast a thousand forms and yet not one form;
Thou hast a thousand pure feet and yet not one foot;
Thou hast a thousand organs of smell and yet not one organ-
I am fascinated by this play of Thine.
The Light which is in everything is Thine, O Lord of Light.
From its brilliancy everything is brilliant;
By the Guru's teaching the light becometh manifest.
What pleaseth Thee is the real Arti.
O God, my mind is fascinated with Thy lotus feet as the
bumble-bee with the flower: night and day I thirst for them.
Give the water of Thy grace to the sarang Nanak, so that he
may dwell in Thy name." (Dhanasri Mohalla 1, Arti, p-663)
to the Puratan Janamsakhi, the Guru ended his first Udasi with
the visit to Puri and returned to Punjab. After some time he took
his second Udasi to cover the south. If the Guru had returned
from Puri, he must have visited some important places on his way
back, but there is no mention of it in the Janamsakhi. However,
the Meharban version of the Janamsakhi treats the eastern and
the southern journeys as a single Udasi. Others argue that the
geographical location of Puri is as such that a visitor planning
to visit south India, would not return to Punjab and then start
for the southern journey. Many writers therefore, believe that
the Guru continued his southward journey from Puri.
GURU TO SANGLADEEP (CEYLON):
Puri the Guru went to Gantur of present Andhra Pradesh district,
Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruchchirupalli. All these places
have Gurdwaras to mark the visit of the Guru. From Tiruchchirupalli
he sailed down to Kaveri river and reached Nagapatnam, a very
old port of south India. From there he proceeded to Sangladeep
(Ceylon) and Betticola was the first place of his stay in the
island. He went to Matiakalam (now known as Matalai) which was
the capital of Sangladeep under Raja Shiv Nabh.
Mansukh, a trader from Punjab and a disciple of the Guru, had
been to Sangladeep in connection with his business long before
the Guru's visit to the island. By reason of his trade, Bhai Mansukh
had access to Raja Shiv Nabh and thus he had told the Raja all
about Guru Nanak. The Raja inquired how he could meet the Guru.
Mansukh told him,"Rise early in the morning and recite Moolmantar.
If you earnestly pray, the Guru will respond to your prayers."
morning Raja Shiv Nabh meditated and prayed for the holy sight
(darshan) of the Guru. Time passed on but the Guru did not appear.
Many persons came and claimed to be the Guru but all were found
to be the fake claimants. One day news was brought to the Raja
that a holy man, with a rare glory beaming on his face (spiritual
aura), had arrived in the old neglected garden, and as soon as
he set his foot in the garden, the withered trees sprouted into
to the previous fake claimants, the Raja devised a plan to test
the visitors before he could bow his head to any one of them.
The Raja, therefore, sent beautiful girls to seduce the new- comer
with their beauty and charm. The report was sent to the Raja that
the girls not only failed to seduce the visitor, but they themselves
had been transformed under his spell. Hearing this, the Raja hurriedly
came to see the holy Master. Spontaneously he fell at the feet
of the Guru. The Guru placed his hand on his head and blessed
him. Who could describe the ecstatic joy that had dawned upon
whole city rushed to the garden to have holy sight of the Master.
A dharamsala, a religious common place, was built where the Guru
held daily religious congregations and preached his divine doctrine.
People were enlightened with God's Name and they became Guru's
staying there for some time the Guru started in the southerly
direction and reached Katargama. Then he reached Sita Eliya, a
place where Sita spent her period of captivity. At the time of
Guru Nanak's visit, this place was in the Kotte kingdom of Raja
Dharma Prakarma. The inscription discovered by Dr. Karuna Ratna
and Parana Vitana in the famous museum of Anurodh Pura, furnishes
a brief account of the encounter of Jnanakacharya (Nanak) with
the Buddhist Bhikshu, Dharma Kirt-sthavira. This inscription also
informs that the Raja Dharma Prkramabahu had promised to embrace
Guru Nanak's creed if he won in the debate. Guru Nanak won. But
before he could embrace the Guru's creed, the Brahmans very cleverly
arranged another public debate, this time between the Guru and
Dharma Dvajapandita and maneuvered the result in favor of the
latter. In this way they did not let the ruler fall under the
influence of the Guru.
RETURN FROM SANGLADEEP:
of Shiv's idol was very common in southern India at that time.
There were twelve Shivling temples and six of them were situated
in the south. Southern India was also ridden with caste system.
Guru Nanak had to visit all such places to show the people the
path of Eternal Truth i.e. the worship of Almighty, the Formless.
This was superior and fruitful than the worship of the idols.
staying for some time (may be a year) in Sangladeep, the Guru
reached Cochin on his wayback journey. There is a Gurdwara at
this place to mark the memory of the Guru. Delivering his divine
doctrine he passed through Palghat, Nilgiri Hills, Rangapatan
and then reached Pandharpur. Saint Nam Dev whose Bani is included
in Guru Granth Sahib, passed most of his life at this place. From
there he reached Barsi which was the native place of Saint Trilochan
whose two Sabads are included in Guru Granth Sahib. From there
he passed through Poona, Amarnath, Nasik, Aurangabad and reached
Amreshwar where there was famous temple called Onkar Mandir. Here
the worship of Shivling (Shiv's idol) was considered as a worship
of God. The people considered Sanskrit as the language of the
gods and learning of Sanskrit language was considered as an act
Guru preached against the idol worship and stressed that one should
only worship One but One God, the Formless. The gospel preached
by the Guru at the Onkar Mandir, is included in Guru Granth Sahib
as Ramkali Mohalla 1- Dakhni Onkar, page 929.
he proceeded to Indaur, Ujjain, Baroda and finally reached Palitana
where there was a famous Jain temple. Jaini Sadhus would not take
bath for many days thinking bathing killed some life in the water.
Here he had discussion with a Jain Sadhu named Ambhi. He explained
to the Sadhu that running away from water would not do any religious
good but the worship of the Almighty was the only answer.
Guru went through almost all the famous Hindu pilgrimage places
in the area and delivered his message of Oneness of God and to
have belief in none other than One Supreme Being only. He visited
Somnath, Sudhana, Puri and Dwarka. From Kathiawar through Kachh
and Chataur, he reached Ajmer. There was a famous Muslim saint,
Khawaza Mai-u-din Chisti, who propagated Islam for about seventy
years at Ajmer. It was an annual Muslim gathering to celebrate
Khawaza's day when the Guru reached there. He forbade the Muslims
from worshipping the Makbras (the tombs of their saints), but
asked them to worship only One God.
through Pushker, he reached Gokal Mathura-Bindraban. People were
in full preparation for celebrating Lord Krishna's birthday. The
Hindus placed Krishna's idol (which they call Thakur) in a small
cradle.They were swinging it and were putting all their offerings
before the idol. The Guru exposed the futility of idol worship
and preached them to worship God, the Formless.
that he arrived at Delhi and stayed at Majnu da Tilla. There is
a Gurdwara at this place at the bank of river Jamna. A Gurpurb
of Baisakhi is celebrated at this place every year in April. Thence
he went to Panipat where he met a Muslim saint Sheikh Sharf or
Taher and urged him to worship only one God, the All- Pervading
Divine Spirit instead of worshiping the tombs of the saints.
through Pehwa, he reached Kurukshetra, a place where the famous
battle of Mahabharat was fought between the Kauravs and the Pandavs.
It was an occasion of solar eclipse when the Guru visited Kurukshetra.
Thousands of people including a large number of Brahmans and saints
had gathered there. Hindus consider it sacred to go to Kurukshetra
at the time of solar eclipse, bathe in the holy tank and give
alms to Brahman priests. According to Hindu belief, solar eclipse
occurs when sun, the god, is harassed by its enemies, the demons.
None is required to eat anything during the eclipse.
Guru went there to draw attention of the erring Hindu community
towards the fact that eclipse was nothing but only a natural phenomenon.
The Guru took his seat near the sacred tank and when the sun was
eclipsed he began to cook deer which was presented to him by Prince
Rai Singh. A big crowd gathered around the Guru, for it was a
sacrilege to cook meat. The Brahmans led by Nanu besieged the
Guru and were ready to club him to death. The Guru stood up and
spoke. His words worked like a magic and the crowd stood spell-bound.
The Guru uttered the following two Sabads on this occasion:
is first conceived in flesh, he dwelleth in flesh,
When he quickeneth, he obtaineth a mouth of flesh; his bone,
skin, and body are made of flesh.
When he is taken out of the womb, he seizeth teats of flesh.
His mouth is of flesh, his tongue is of flesh, his breath is
When he groweth up he marrieth, and bringeth flesh home
Flesh is produced from flesh; all man's relations are made
from flesh. By meeting the true Guru and obeying God's order,
everybody shall go right.
If thou suppose that man shall be saved by himself, he shall
not: Nanak, it is idle to say so." (Var Malar ki- Slok Mohalla
1- 25.1, p-1289)
wrangle about flesh (meat), but know not divine
knowledge or meditation on God.
They know not what is meat, or what is vegetable, or in what
It was the custom of the gods to kill rhinoceroses, roast
them and feast.
They who forswear flesh and hold their noses when near it,
devour men at night.
They make pretenses to the world, but they know not divine
knowledge or meditation on God.
Nanak, why talk to a fool? He cannot reply or understand
what is said to him.
He who acteth blindly is blind; he hath no mental eyes.
Ye were produced from the blood of your parents, yet ye eat
not fish or meat.
When man and woman meet at night and cohabit,
A foetus is conceived from flesh; we are vessels of flesh.
O Brahman, thou knowest not divine knowledge or
meditation on God, yet thou callest thyself clever.
Thou considereth the flesh that cometh from abroad bad,
O my Lord, and the flesh of thine own home good.
All animals have sprung from flesh, and the soul taketh its
abode in flesh.
They whose Guru is blind, eat things that ought not to be
eaten, and abstain from what ought to be eaten.
In flesh we are conceived, from flesh we are born; we are
vessels of flesh.
O Brahman, thou knowest not divine knowledge or
meditation on God, yet thou callest thyself clever.
Meat is allowed in the Purans, meat is allowed in the books
of Musalmans, meat hath been used in the four ages.
Meat adorneth sacrifice and marriage functions; meat hath
always been associated with them.
Women, men, kings, and emperors spring from flesh.
If they appear to you to be going to hell, then accept not
See how wrong it would be that givers should go to hell and
receivers to heaven.
Thou understandest not thyself, yet thou instructest others;
O Pandit, thou art very wise!
O Pandit, thou knowest not from what flesh hath sprung.
Corn, sugar-cane, and cotton are produced from water;
from water the three worlds are deemed to have sprung.
Water saith,'I am good in many ways'; many are the
modifications of water.
If thou abandon the relish of such things, thou shalt be
superhuman, saith Nanak deliberately." (Ibid, 25-2, p-1289)
GURU TO SARSA:
Kurukshetra the Guru passed through Jind where there is Gurdwara
in his memory and then reached Sarsa. Here he met a Muslim saint.
The Muslim Pir had great influence over his disciples and he had
given them the guarantee of securing a place in heaven for them.
In return of such a guarantee, the disciples would bring big offerings
in cash and kind to the Pir. The Guru explained to them that in
order to get salvation, they should worship One God, the mere
offerings would lead them no where.
was about 135 miles north east of Sarsa and after eight years
and covering more than six thousand miles on foot, the Guru reached
Sultanpur. The elder sister, Bibi Nanki and her husband, and other
acquaintances were overjoyed to see him back.
staying sometimes at Sultanpur, the Guru started towards Talwandi.
His father was about 75 years old. There was no postal service
in those days. The old parents were waiting for their son to return.
At last their son reached home and their joy knew no bounds. People
from far and near came to have holy sight of the Guru. They started
rejoicing his company again. At that time the Guru's children
and his wife were with his in-laws at Pakhokey, a place about
110 miles towards Lahore. So he proceeded to see his wife and
was the Chaudhry (chief) of that village. He had heard about the
Guru but he had never met him before. Ajita was so much impressed
with the first holy sight of the Guru that he immediately became
FOUNDATION OF KARTARPUR:
writers say that the Guru founded Kartarpur (city of the Creator)
after his third Udasi. Others believe that he started the habitation
of Kartarpur in 1516 right after he came back from his first travel
in 1515. Although wherever he went, he set up the missionary centers,
yet he wanted to set up a central place to co- ordinate the efforts
and activities of his mission. Therefore he chose this place near
Pakhokey along the bank of the river Ravi. When he broke this
news to Chaudhry Ajita, he immediately agreed with him. The Chaudhry
and many other people of that village denoted their land for the
new town. The foundation of Kartarpur was started immediately.
The Guru brought his parents to Kartarpur and so did Mardana.
Morning and evening religious congregations were started.
starting the habitation of Kartarpur, the Guru started his second
travel towards north. He made his first stop at Sialkot, a city
about 50 miles east of Kartarpur. After the Muslim invaders established
their rule in India, many Muslim faqirs (saints and preachers)
also came along with them and these faqirs set up their own centers
at different places to preach Islam. Through their missionary
work most of the Hindus were converted to Islam. Pir Hamza Ghons
was one of those faqirs who set up his center at Sialkot. There
lived a Hindu family in that city who did not have any children.
Thinking that the Pir had miraculous powers, the head of this
Hindu family begged the Pir to bless him with a son. He promised
that if a son was born, he would offer him to the Pir. By the
grace of God, a son was born, but the man shied away to keep his
promise and did not offer his son to the Pir. This enraged the
Pir so much that he branded the whole city as full of liars and
wanted to destroy it in revenge. In order to accomplish the destruction
of the city, he sat in seclusion and undertook a fast of forty
days. The people became very frightened and his disciples would
not allow any one to come near him.
Guru sat nearby and asked Mardana to play his rebec and started
the Divine Sabad. Upon this the Pir was so much shaken up that
he was forced to break his fast. As he listened to the Divine
praise and prayer, he calmed down and sat before the Guru. The
Guru made the Pir understand that for the mistake of one person,
there was no justification of destroying the whole city. Pir Hamza
Ghons was touched with the reality and truth.Thus he abandoned
his revengeful act of destruction. There is a Gurdwara in honor
of the Guru in Sialkot.
there the Guru proceeded to Jammu and the temple of Vaishnu Devi
goddess. Preaching his doctrine of Truth, he passed through Vairi
Nag, Kukar Nag and Anant Nag springs and reached Pehalgam and
then Amarnath, a place about 90 miles east of Srinagar. The Hindus
worshiped Shivling at Amarnath, but the Guru discussed the uselessness
of idol worship and asked them to worship one and only one God.
A few miles before Amarnath there is a Gurdwara called Matan Sahib.
lived at Srinagar a very learned Pandit called Brahm Das who always
had some camels following him, loaded with volumes of ancient
wisdom. This meant that he had the mastery over the knowledge
contained in that load of religious books. He learnt that a holy
man and a great Teacher had arrived in the valley and that many
people had gone to him for his blessing. He first decided to go
to him (Guru), but then his pride of knowledge kept him away.
One day however, he went to see his friend, Kamal and mentioned
to him about a strange visitor (Guru Nanak) in the valley.
was a devout Muslim and a seeker of Truth. He went to see the
Guru without any hesitation. When Kamal got the glimpse of the
Guru, he fell on Guru's feet and fainted with joy. As he regained
consciousness, he found in his own heart the Light he had been
yearning for years. Kamal got the blessing and became Guru's follower.
The Guru asked him to settle in the valley of Kurram from where
he spread Guru's doctrine to Kabul, Qandhar and Tirah.
that Brahm Das also came to see the Master. He entered into discussion
with the Guru and boasted of his knowledge of ancient wisdom.
Seeing his camels loaded with books, the Guru uttered the following
may read cartloads of books,
One may read caravan-loads of books,
One may study boatloads of books
Or fill cellars with volumes of his study;
One may read for years and years
And spend every month in the year in study only;
And one may study all one's life Right up to his last breath;
O Nanak, only One word, God's name, would be of account,
All else would be senseless discussion of pride." (Asa Mohalla
1- Slok Mohalla 1, 1.9, p-467)
hearing this Brahm Das begged,"Forgive me, O holy Guru! I
have read sacred books and have acquired academic knowledge of
all the six schools of philosophy, but I must confess that I have
attained no peace of mind. Pray tell me, how can I get it?"
Guru explained,"Academic knowledge breeds pride and pride
darkens man's vision. Ego is the greatest barrier and unless a
man gets rid of it, he cannot grasp the Truth, and there can be
no peace of mind." Brahm Das fell at the feet of the Guru
and begged,"Save me O Lord! I was in the dark and I am a
sinner; bless me with peace." Brahm Das got the blessing
and became Guru's disciple. He was entrusted with the task of
preaching Sikh faith amongst the people of Kashmir valley.
GURU TO KAILASH PARBAT:
Amarnath the Guru entered into Tibet and then proceeded to the
Mansarovar Lake and Kailash Parbat (also called Sumer Parbat).
There he met many renowned Sidhas. They inquired of the Guru about
the conditions prevailing in India. The Guru told them that falsehood
overshadowed the land and the moon of truth was completely enshrouded
in the darkness of ignorance. The kings were butchers and justice
had taken wings and flown away. Then he further said,"Nathji,
when the Sidhas (Yogis) are hiding themselves in mountain enclaves,
who is left over there to lead the people in the right direction?"
Sidhas wanted the Guru to wear their garb and become a yogi, but
they could not succeed. They had the supernatural powers which
they tried upon the Guru. They asked him to bring water from the
nearby spring. The Guru took a bowl and went to bring water. By
their miraculous powers, the Sidhas turned the water into jewels
and diamonds. They had thought that the Guru would be overwhelmed
with the wealth. He did not care about the jewels and came back
with empty bowl. They still tried many more tricks but failed
to succeed. At last they acknowledged the super-powers of the
Guru and sat around him in submission and the discussion ensued.
The Guru convinced them that instead of wearing empty forms and
doing hard penances, they should exert themselves in the service
of mankind. A Sidh called Charpat asked the Guru,
world is an ocean, and is said to be difficult to cross;
how shall man traverse it?
Saith Charpat, O Audhut Nanak, give a true reply." (Ramkali
Mohalla 1, Sidh Gosht-4, p-938)
the lotus floats in water, but remain unaffected by its
As the swan swims in it and is not drenched by water;
So by meditating on the Word and repeating God's name,
Shalt thou be able to cross safely ocean of the world.
Nanak is a servant to those who remain unattached in the
world, in whose hearts the one God abideth, who live
without desires in the midst of desires,
And who see and show to others the Inaccessible and
Incomprehensible God." (Ibid, Sidh Gosht-5, p-938)
is the source of thy system
And when did it start?
Who is thy Guru, of whom thou art the disciple?" (Ibid.43,
system began With the beginning of the breath of life.
Its source is the wisdom of the True Guru,
The True Guru is the Word,
And intentive consciousness is the disciple." (Ibid.44, p-943)
of Guru Nanak are said to be present in some of the temples of
this area. From Kailash Parbat, the Guru turned north- west and
entered Ladakh area through the Chasul Pass and then reached Karunagar.
A remarkable point of this place is that there are a few villages
in the neighborhood where none except Guru Nanak is worshipped.
At a short distance from Karunagar, there is a place called Gumpha
Hemus which keeps the memory of Guru Nanak's visit alive. The
people here have preserved the stone on which the Guru is believed
to have seated himself during his visit. He came to Skardu where
there is a Gurdwara named after the Guru. From there he proceeded
to Kargal, Pehalgam, Anant Nagar, Srinagar and Bara Mula and finally
came back to Kartarpur.
had been the center of the learned Pandits (Brahmans). In view
of that, this area was deeply involved in idol-worship and other
related rites and rituals. The Guru professed the qualities of
God emphasizing that one should worship none other than One Supreme
Being. He further stressed that other rites and rituals were of
no avail. Pandit Brahm Das who became Guru's disciple, did great
service in preaching the Guru's doctrine in the valley of Kashmir.
third Udasi was undertaken towards the west. Guru Nanak reached
Pakpatan (Ajodhan) where he met Sheikh Brahm who was the eleventh
in succession to Baba Farid, whose Bani is also included in Guru
Granth Sahib. The Guru had wide range of discussion with Sheikh
Brahm. The Guru stated,
art the tablet, O Lord, Thou art the pen, and Thou art
also the writing,
Speak of the one God; O Nanak, why should there be
second." (Var Malar ki Mohalla 1, 28-2, p-1291)
Sheikh asked the Guru to explain,"You say ,'There is only
one God, why should there be a second?', and I (Sheikh) say:
is one Lord and two ways;
Which shall I adopt, and which reject?"
is one Lord and one way;
Adopt one and reject the other."
a Var (like Asa di Var) there has to be two beings; and the Sheikh
asked the Guru to let him hear a strain in praise of the One God.
"My idea is", said the Sheikh,"that adoration cannot
be performed without two beings, that is, God and the Prophet.
Let me see whom thou makest man's intercessor." Upon this
the Guru asked Mardana to play the rebec and he uttered the first
Slok and Pauri of Asa di Var:
am a sacrifice, Nanak, to my Guru a hundred times a day,
Who without any delay made demigods out of man.
Nanak, they who, very clever in their own estimation, think
not of the Guru,
Shall be left like spurious sesames in a reaped field-
They shall be left in the field, saith Nanak, without an owner.
The wretches may even bear fruit and flower, but shall
contain ashes within their bodies.
Himself created the world, and formed Himself into
He created Nature by His power; seated He beheld His
work with delight.
O Creator, Thou art the Giver; being pleased Thou bestowest
and practisest kindness.
Thou knowest all things; Thou givest and takest life with a
Seated Thou beholdest Thy work with delight." (Asa Mohalla
Sheikh then wanted a knife,"Give me such a knife that those
who are killed with it, shall be acceptable to God. With the ordinary
knife the lower animals are killed. If a man's throat be cut with
this knife, it becomes carrion."
Guru replied in affirmative:
is the knife, truth is pure steel;
Its fashion is altogether incomparable.
Put it on the hone of the Word,
And fit it into the scabbard of merit;
If any one be bled with that, O Sheikh,
The blood of avarice will be seen to issue forth.
If man be slaughtered with it, he shall go to meet God,
O Nanak, and be absorbed in the sight of Him." (Ramkali ki
Var, Mohalla 1, 19.2, p-956)
hearing this the Sheikh raised his head in amazement and said,"Well
done. O Nanak, there is no difference between God and thee. Kindly
bless me so that I too may be on good terms with Him." The
Guru replied,"Sheikh Brahm, God will cause thy ship to arrive
safe." The Sheikh requested the Guru to give him the firm
promise of this. The Guru complied and blessed him with salvation.
to Puratan Janamsakhi, the first nine pauries (stanzas) of Asa
di Var, were uttered by the Guru during the discussion with Sheikh
Brahm and other fifteen pauries of Asa di Var were uttered for
Duni Chand Dhuper of Lahore. The Guru then proceeded to Multan,
Uch, Sakhar and reached Lakhpat, where a Gurdwara stands marking
the memory of the Guru. Then he reached Kuriani where a tank is
called after Guru's name. He visited Miani, about fifty miles
west of city of Karachi and visited the temples of Hindus and
the Muslims in the area. Near Hinglaj, there is a Dharmsala preserving
the memory of the Guru's visit to this place. From there he boarded
a ship for Arabia.
GURU NANAK AT MECCA:
disguised himself in the blue dress of a Mohammadan pilgrim, took
a faqir's staff in his hand and a collection of his hymns called
'Pothi' under his arm. He also carried with him like a Muslim
devotee, a cup for his ablutions and a rug whereon to pray. Like
a pilgrim he went inside the great mosque where the pilgrims were
engaged in their devotions. When he lay down to sleep at night,
he turned his feet towards the Kaaba. A priest, Jiwan kicked him
and said,"Who is this infidel sleeping with his feet towards
the House of God?" The Guru replied,"Turn my feet in
the direction in which God is not." Upon this Jiwan seized
the Guru's feet and dragged them in the opposite direction. Whereupon,
it is said, the Kaaba (temple) turned around, and followed the
revolution of Guru's body. Some say that when the Guru asked the
priest to turn his feet in the direction where God was not, the
priest came to realization that God was everywhere. But those
who witnessed this miracle were astonished and saluted the Guru
as a supernatural being.
the Qazis and the Mullas crowded round the Guru and asked whether
he was a Muslim or a Hindu? The Guru replied that he was neither
of the two. Then they asked,"Who is the superior of the two,
the Hindu or the Muslim?" The Guru replied,"Without
good deeds, both will repent. The superiority lies in deeds and
not in mere creeds." The chief priest was a seeker of the
Truth and he asked for Guru's blessings. The Guru preached the
doctrine of Nam. He then gave instructions to the priest in the
art of true living, to practice to live in His presence day and
night and to glorify the Lord and thereby to rub out the dirt
of sins from the tablet of the mind.
GURU AT MEDINA:
due time the Guru proceeded to Medina, another holy city of the
Muslims where their Prophet Mohammad lived for many years and
breathed his last. He reached at nightfall and stopped outside
the town. It happened to be a place where lepers were segregated
and no provision was made for their comfort or treatment. History
states that the Guru healed them all and as a result, the people
came in crowds to have holy glimpse of the Guru. After that he
journeyed to Bagdad through Basra.
GURU AT BAGDAD:
lived a very famous Muslim saint, Pir Abdul Kadar who died in
Bagdad in 1166 A.D. He was also known as Dastgir and his successors
were called Dastgirs too. The Muslim high priests did not like
unethical and immoral musical verses. Instead of condemning the
demoralizing poetry, they outrightly rejected the music ('Rag')
itself. So according to Muslim Shariat (code of law), music was
forbidden. The whole of Sikh scripture is in verse and in various
different forms of Rags and Raginis. In the morning the Guru shouted
the call for prayer, on which the whole population became rapt
in silent astonishment. May be he did it differently than the
Muslims. Then Mardana played the rebec and the Guru started the
Sabad Kirtan (musical recitation of Gurbani). Whosoever heard
was in ecstasy. The news spread in the city. The high priest Pir
Dastgir, another holy man, Bahlol and others came to see the Guru.
to the Mohammadans there are seven skies above the earth and seven
nethers including earth itself. The Guru began to recite the Japji.
When he repeated the twenty-second pauri (stanza) of Japji, the
Pir got wonder-stuck hearing something contrary to the authority
of the holy Quran, that there were hundreds of thousands of nethers
and upper regions, and that at last men grew weary of searching
for them. The Pir then called upon the Guru to give a manifestation
of what he said. Upon this it is said, the Guru laid his hand
on the priest's son and showed him upper and lower regions described
in Japji- pauri 22. To prove whether the boy actually saw those
regions, he brought Parshad (sacred food) from one of those regions
and gave it to his father. Both the Pir and Bahlol bowed before
the Guru and asked for his blessings.
became Guru's follower. It is said that he spent sixty years at
the foot of the slab, where the sacred feet of the Guru had rested
during their discussion. Later on a shrine was built there in
the memory of the Guru. The English translation of the inscription
on the slab inside the shrine is:
memory of the Guru, that is the Divine Master, Baba Nanak, Faqir
Aulia, this building has been raised with the help of seven saints,
and the chronogram reads. The blessed disciple has produced a
spring of Grace year 917" (Muslim year).
Anand Acharya of Sweden mentions in his book 'Snow Bird', published
by Macmillan & Sons, London, that during his visit to Bagdad,
he found another inscription on the slab, dated 917 Hijri. The
spoke the Hindi Guru Nanak to Faqir Bahlol, and for these sixty
years since the Guru left Iraq, the soul of Bahlol has rested
on the Master's word like a bee poised on a dawn-lit honey rose."
RETURN FROM BAGDAD:
Bagdad the Guru passed through Iran, Turkstan and Afghanistan
and then reached Kabul. Some writers believe that the Guru took
the popular route from Bagdad towards Tehran, Kandhar and reached
Kabul. On his way he passed through Mehds. Bhai Mani Singh's Janamsakhi
makes a reference of his visit to this place. Since the visit
of Guru Nanak to Kabul, the Sikh contacts had been carefully maintained.
Sikh preachers were stationed there to disseminate the teachings
of the Guru. At one time Bhai Gurdas also served as one of the
Sikh missionaries at Kabul.
Kabul the Guru proceeded to Jalalabad, Sultanpur and passed through
Khyber Pass to reach Peshawar. There are Gurdwaras at Jalalabad
and Sultanpur to mark his visit. There are springs of water associated
with his visit. The Guru paid a visit to the Gorakh Hatri and
had discourse with Jogis. He also went to Hassan Abdal, now known
as Panja Sahib, and sat at the foot of the hill.
GURU NANAK AND VALI KANDHARI:
the top of a small hill, there lived a Muslim Faqir called Vali
Kandhari who was well-known in the area for possessing miraculous
powers. Mardana needed water which could only be obtained from
Vali. Mardana told Vali that Guru Nanak had arrived and he advised
him to see the Guru, who was a great saint of God. Vali who claimed
holiness exclusively for himself, became offended on hearing the
Guru's praises. He refused to give water saying that if the Guru
were such a holy man, he could provide water to Mardana. When
this reply was communicated to the Guru, he sent Mardana back
to the Vali with a message that he (Guru) was a poor creature
of God, and laid no claims to be a saint. The Vali paid no heed
to this protestation and still refused to provide water.
this the Guru picked up one stone and a stream of water immediately
issued forth. In fact this water came out from the Vali's tank
which dried up. This naturally increased Vali's rage and it is
said that through his miraculous powers he hurled a small hillock
upon Guru Nanak's unoffending head. The Guru, on seeing the descending
hillock, held up his right hand, and as it touched the hand of
the Divine Master, the hillock came to a standstill. With the
divine touch, the stone melted and softened like wax and left
the mark of the Master's palm indelibly deep into it. Vali Kandhari
was very much astonished and at last fell at the feet of the Guru
and begged for forgiveness. The Guru expressed,"O friend,
those who live so high, should not be hard at heart like a stone."
Vali was blessed by the Master.
imprint of the Guru's hand (Punja) is still visible on the stone
and the pool of crystal clear water still flows from there. There
stands a Gurdwara which is known as 'Punja Sahib'. It is now situated
in west Pakistan.
GURU AT SAIDPUR:
Guru proceeded a second time to Saiyidpur or Saidpur, now known
as Eminabad, where he again visited Bhai Lalo. Lalo complained
to him of the oppression of the Pathans, who were leading a luxurious
life caring little for others. The Guru replied that their dominion
should be brief, as Baber was on his way for the conquest of India.
Baber invaded the Punjab for the third time and it was the year
1521. He sacked the town of Eminabad and subjected it to massacre,
loot and rape. It was a horrible scene, which Guru Nanak himself
describes that there laid in the dust, the fairy heads of the
damsels and beautiful women.
of the writers including many Sikhs say that seeing this horrible
scene, the Guru appealed in anguish to the Almighty when he said:
mar pai kurlane tai ki dard na aaya.' (Asa Mohalla 1, p-360)
they translate the above verse as:
there was such slaughter and lamentation,
didst not Thou, O God, feel pain?'
us examine if these writers are correct. Did the Guru make such
an anguished appeal to God or not?
In the very first stanza (pauri) of Japji on the very first page
of Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak says:
rajai chalna Nanak likhia nal.'
'O Nanak thus runneth the Writ Divine,
The righteous path, let it be thine.'
in Asa Mohalla 5, page 394, it is stated:
kia meetha lagei
Har nam padarth Nanak mangei.'
'Sweet be Thy Will,
My Lord Nanak beseecheth the gift of nam.'
above quotations mean that whatever happens in life, should be
willfully accepted. In the house of Guru Nanak, there is no room
for tears or cries. There is no place for appeal before the Divine
Writ. One must embrace God's Will as the sweetest gift of life.
This is the first lesson preached by Guru Nanak to the humanity
in Japji. How could then the Guru go into anguish? Does the Divine
Jot also feel anguish?
The Guru assures that a true devotee's prayers are always answered
by the Almighty and are accepted by Him:
das mukh te jo bolai eeha uha sach howai.' (Dhanasri Mohalla 5,
'Whatever God's servant, Nanak, uttereth shall prove
to be true both in this world and the next.'
embodiment of Divine Light, if the Guru had appealed to the Almighty,
He should have accepted his appeal and should have punished Baber.
History reminds us that Baber's dynasty was rather blessed with
a rule for seven generations.
The Guru had reached Eminabad before Baber's attack on the city,
and he uttered the Sabad given below in which he told Lalo about
the oncoming massacre. He had warned some people to leave the
city and they actually did:
the word of the Lord cometh to me, so do I
narrate it, O Lalo,
Bringing a bridal procession of sin, Baber
has hasted from Kabul and demandeth wealth
as his bride, O Lalo;
Modesty and religion have vanished, falsehood
marcheth in van, O Lalo;
They sing the paean of murder, O Nanak, and smear
themselves with the saffron of blood.
Nanak singeth the praises of the Lord in the city
of corpses and uttereth this commonplace-
He who made men, assigned them different
sitteth apart alone and regardeth them.
True is the Lord, true His decision, true the
justice He meteth out as an example.
Bodies shall be cut like shreds of cloth;
Hindustan will remember what I say. (Tilang Mohalla 1, p-722)
view of the above analysis, it seems quite evident that the Guru
did not appeal to God, but the dauntless Gur Nanak Jot addressed
that Sabad to Baber, who then fell on the feet of the Guru and
asked for forgiveness.
wrote in his memoirs,"The inhabitants of Saidpur were put
to sword, their wives and children carried into captivity and
all their property plundered."
people were killed and most of the rest were taken as prisoners
by the Baber's army. It is said that the Guru along with his minstrel
Mardana, were also taken to the concentration camp. The prisoners
were given handmills to grind the corn. The Guru asked Mardana
to play on his rebec and he then started kirtan. As the Divine
Sabad was sung- all the prisoners came and sat around the Guru,
every grinding mill started working automatically. On seeing this
supernatural phenomenon, the guards stood spell-bound and they
sent the word to Baber, who came and witnessed the whole scene
with his own eyes. Baber was wonder-stuck and asked the Guru if
he could offer him anything. Boldly replied the Guru:
O Baber Mir
Foolish is the Faqir
Who begs anything of thee
Whose own hunger has not appeased.'
said,"O holy man, I see God in thy face. I will do anything
you ask for."
Guru then uttered the following Sabad and put most of the blame
of killings on Baber:
ruled over Khurasan,
Now thou terrified Hindustan (India),
He has sent you the Moghal as a messenger of death,
Has slaughter and lamentations
Awakened no compassion in thee?
The Creator is the Supreme Lord,
If a strong man beats another strong man
No feelings of resentment arise;
But if a ravening lion falls on a herd, its master should
show his manliness. (Asa Mohalla 1, page 360)
is the Sabad which other writers have attributed to as Guru's
appeal to God. In actuality, this was Guru placing the blame on
Guru asked Baber, when his army fell like a lion on these innocent
men, women and children, did he feel any pain for them?
was overtaken by remorse. A new moral and spiritual consciousness
was awakened in him, and he fell on the feet of the Guru. He asked
the Guru to be gracious unto him. (History has revealed that kings
were always afraid of the curses of the holy men).
Guru replied,"If thou, O Emperor, desireth kindness, set
all thy captives free." Baber agreed on the condition that
his empire should be blessed by the Guru and should be allowed
to continue for generations. The Guru promised," Thine empire
shall remain for a long time." Upon this the Emperor ordered
all the prisoners be set free. Baber then asked the Guru for instructions
to rule. The Guru explained,"Deliver just judgement, reverence
for holy men, forswear wine and gambling. The monarch who indulgeth
in these vices shall, if he survives, bewail his misdeeds. Be
merciful to the vanquished, and worship God in spirit and in truth."
the question is why was Baber blessed with kingdoms instead of
being punished? The Gurbani (Divine Word) says:
saran awai tis kanth lawai eho birdh swamy sanda.' (Bihagra Mohalla
'God embraces him who seeketh His protection; This is
the characteristic of the Lord.'
Guru tells us that the characteristic of his Master (God) is such
that whosoever begs His pardon, falls on His feet for forgiveness,
He embraces him. Since Guru Nanak himself was the embodiment of
Divine Spirit, he pardoned Baber when he sought for forgiveness,
and he blessed him with a boon of Moghal dynasty which continued
for a long time.
GURU AT KARTARPUR:
the third and the last Udasi the Guru returned to Kartarpur. He
travelled all over to preach the gospel of Nam and communicating
new awakening in the people's mind to realize Truth. In order
that his work should last, he established a network of centers
which were called Manjis, side by side with the centers of all
other faiths. When he finished his long travels, he settled down
at Kartarpur for the rest of about twenty years of his life. He
knew that unless he centralized the activities of his new faith,
he could not expect it to survive. There were now Sikh centers
all over India, Ceylon, Tibet and the Middle East. No founder
of any religion had built such a vast organization, breaking all
provincial, national, international and cultural barriers, during
his life time. When he went abroad on his missionary tours, he
put up the robes of religious orders of the holy places he visited.
Holiness in those places was inseparable from the holy garbs.
When he came back to Kartarpur, he doffed his pilgrim's dress,
and wore worldly garments in order to show that he did not desire
his followers to devote themselves to an ascetic life. At the
same time he sat on his religious throne, and started preaching
to the people.
FORMATION OF SANGAT:
he formed the holy communion which was called Sangat, and the
place where the holy communion was held called Gurdwara (House
of the Guru). Emphasis were laid on religious instructions and
strict discipline. The Japji was recited at the ambrosial hour
of the morning, the Sodar (Rehras) in the evening and Kirtan Sohila
at night before going to bed. Divine measures (Kirtan) were sung
in his presence in the morning as well as in the evening. Regular
religious instructions were imparted by the Guru. Such instructions
could be given to the individual followers and also in the regular
gathering. In order to be the Sikhs of the Guru, the followers
were baptized by receiving Charanpauhal (also called Charanamrit).
This was the form of initiation administered by drinking the water
in which the Guru's feet (generally toe) had been washed, the
preamble of Japji was read at the same time, and the ceremony
was inaugurated by the Guru himself. The emphasis was laid on
the greatness of God, upon His gracious self-revelation, upon
the perils of human condition, and upon the paramount necessity
of meditation on Divine Name. Those who took pride in their status
of caste or wealth, would be sternly admonished, and any one who
depended on religious hypocrisy would be soundly condemned. The
Guru enunciated an integral view of the spiritual and moral life
and those who imbibed it, tried to realize its essence in their
own daily conduct. The Guru's teachings emphasized on two things
in particular; against limiting of the spiritual and moral conduct
to ritual actions, and against confining the moral action to the
individual self, or to such narrow confines as one's tribe, race
or denomination. His teaching had great effect on the people and
many of them embraced his religion. Bhai Buddha, Bhai Lehna (later
Guru Angad), Taru Poput, Prithi, Kheda, Ajita Randhawa, Sheikh
Mallo and Ubre Khan are some of the examples of conversions at
first sight to the faith of the Guru.
LIVING BY HONEST MEANS:
were laid on honest hard labor for living. Asceticism was explicitly
rejected and instead a disciplined worldliness and family life
was set forth as the proper course for the believer. Earnest living
through honest hard labor and then out of that hard earned money,
giving in the name of the Lord, was the moral way to bring up
the family. The Guru himself set up this example by working with
his hands in the fields for the remaining about 18 to 20 years
of his life at Kartarpur. He emphasized this course in the following
without divine knowledge sing hymns.
The Hungry Mulla maketh a home of his mosque.
who earneth nothing slitteth his ears;
Another becometh a beggar and loseth his caste.
Touch not at all the feet of those
Who call themselves gurus and pirs, and go begging.
They who eat the fruit of their labor and bestow something
in the name of Lord,
O Nanak, recognize the right way." (Sarang ki Var, Slok Mohalla
COMMON FREE KITCHEN- GURU KA LANGAR:
one worked for his living and gave a part of his earning for the
free kitchen called Guru ka Langar. All people, the Brahman or
the Sudra, the king or the commoner, the Muslim or the Hindu,
had to sit in the same row and eat the same food.
COMPOSITION AND COLLECTION OF BANI:
were the years when most of the Guru's disciples received religious
instructions from him and who recorded what they received. Many
devotees, it is said, copied the daily prayers and hymns. These
collections were called 'Bani Pothis' (books of hymns). The Bani
Pothi compiled during his life time was passed on to the second
Guru, Guru Angad Dev.
FURTHER TRAVELS FROM KARTARPUR:
the Guru had settled down at Kartarpur, but he still took small
tours within the radius of 100 to 200 miles around Kartarpur.
He went to many places and preached his gospel of Nam. At many
of these places, the people became Guru's followers and they set
up Gurdwaras in his honor.
GURU AT ACHAL BATALA:
25 miles from Kartarpur, there was a place called Achal Batala
where on the occasion of Shivratri festival, hundreds of Jogis
used to come to take part in the festival. The Guru also went
to Achal Batala to preach his doctrine. Thousands of people came
from far and near to see and hear him. There were three camps-
one of the Jogis, another of the Guru and the third one of a party
of musicians. More and more people gathered around the Guru's
camp than that of the Jogis. This made the Jogis very angry and
jealous and they were determined to humble the Guru.
the money the musicians were getting from the audience, they put
it in a bowl. Somehow the Jogis stole their bowl full of money
and hid it someplace thinking that the musicians would go to the
Guru for help and if the Guru was unable to locate the bowl, he
would be humbled.
about the greatness of the Guru, the musicians went to the Guru
for help to find their bowl of money. The wonderful Guru told
them about the mischief of the Jogis and recovered their bowl
from the hiding place. Thus the Jogis suffered a tremendous defeat.
attack from the Jogis came through a discussion. As mentioned
before the Guru after his travels, laid aside the pilgrim's apparel
and had put up ordinary dress of a family man. The Jogis said,"O
Guru, you are a holy man but you are wearing the garb of a family
person. Why does a holy man lead a family life?" Jogi Bhagarnath
further asked the Guru,"When the milk becomes sour, no butter
is produced by churning it, why have you cast away your hermit's
dress and donned ordinary clothes?"
Guru replied,"O Bhangarnath, your mother was an unskilled
woman. She knew not how to wash the churn, and so spoilt the butter
in producing thee. Thou hast become an anchoret after abandoning
thy family life, and yet thou goest to beg to the houses of family
this reply the Jogis were enraged and through their miraculous
powers, they started to harass the Guru. One Jogi became a cobra
to frighten the Guru, the other became wolf and other started
rain of fire. The powerful Guru sat calmly unperturbed and unharmed.
When the Jogis were beaten badly, Bhangarnath asked the Guru that
he exhibited miracles to the world, why he was slow to exhibit
the same to them?
Guru replied that he had no miracles except the True Name, and
he uttered the following Sabad:
I to put on a dress of fire, construct a house of snow and eat
Were I to turn all my troubles into water, drink it, and drive
the earth as a steed;
Were I able to put the firmament into one scale and weigh it with
Were I to become so large that I could be nowhere contained;
and were I to lead every one by the nose;
Had I such power in myself that I could perform such things or
cause others to perform them, it would be all in vain.
As great as the Lord is, so great are His gifts; He bestoweth
according to His pleasure.
Nanak, he on whom God looketh with favor obtaineth the glory of
the True Name."
(Majh di Var, Slok Mohalla 1, p-147)
Jogis then finally complimented the Guru on his success and said,"Hail,
O Nanak, great are thy deeds! Thou hast arisen a great being,
and lit a light in this age of falsehood (kalyug) in the world."
Guru initiated Kirtan at the early hours of the morning at Kartarpur.
A boy seven years of age started to come to listen Kirtan and
stood behind the Guru as a mark of respect. One day the Guru asked
the boy,"O boy, why do you come so early while your age requires
to eat, play and sleep." The boy replied,"Sir, one day
my mother asked me to lit the fire. When I put fire on the wood,
I observed that the little sticks burned first than the big ones.
From that time I am afraid of the early death. I am doubtful whether
I will live to be old and so I attend your holy communion."
The Guru was very much pleased to hear these words of wisdom from
the lips of the boy and said,"Although you are only a boy,
yet you speak like a 'buddha' (an old man)."
that day the boy was called Bhai Buddha. He was held in such high
esteem that he was commissioned to impress the saffron tilaks
or patches of Gurudom on the foreheads of the first five successors
of Guru Nanak.
Buddha's original name was Ram Das, and a village was named after
him. The word Bhai means brother. Guru Nanak who disregarded caste
and preached the doctrine of the brotherhood of mankind, desired
that all his followers should be deemed brothers, and thus be
addressed so. The title 'Bhai' is now bestowed on Sikh priests
Guru once passed through Lahore. A millionaire, Duni Chand of
that place, was performing Shradh for his father. When Duni Chand
heard the arrival of the Guru, he invited him too. The Guru reached
his residence and inquired of the occasion. Duni Chand replied
that it was his father's Shradh and he had fed one hundred Brahmans
in his name. The Guru said,"It is now two days since your
father had eaten anything and you claim that you have fed one
hundred Brahmans in his name." Duni Chand asked,"Where
is my father?" The Guru replied,"Your father when he
was alive, had coveted meat which a Sikh was cooking, and had
died in that desire. So after death his soul had entered a wolf.
That wolf is in a clump of trees about six miles from here and
he has not eaten for two days." Duni Chand realized that
anything sent to our forefathers via priests, would never reach
them. Such rites were mere customs under blind faith.
Chand had amassed wealth and was always after adding more to it.
The Guru gave him a needle saying,"Duni Chand, keep this
needle with you and give it back to me in the next world."
Chand asked,"How can we carry a needle with us beyond death?"
The Guru replied,"If such a small needle cannot go to the
next world, how can thy wealth reach there?"
this Duni Chand fell on the Guru's feet and prayed for enlightenment.
The Guru told him,"Give some of your wealth in God's name
and feed the poor." Duni Chand became Guru's disciple and
began to repeat the Name. The Guru uttered the following Sabad
on the occasion:
are kings, false their subjects, false the whole world;
False are mansions, false palaces, false those who dwell therein;
False is gold, false sliver, false he who weareth them;
False husbands, false wives, they pine away and become dust.
Man who is false, loveth what is false, and forgetteth the Creator.
With whom contact friendship? The whole world passeth away.
False is sweetness, false honey, in falsehood shiploads are drowned-
Nanak humbly asserteth- Except Thee, O God, everything is thoroughly
(Asa di Var- Slok Mohalla 1, p-468)
was a disciple of the Guru who lived in a small town, Khadur,
about 50 miles away from Kartarpur. Bhai Lehna was a son of a
rich trader and was also living in Khadur. Bhai Lehna was a devotee
of Durga- a Hindu goddess of energy, and he used to go every year
to the temple of Durga in the Kangra Hills.
morning, when Bhai Jodha was reciting Japji, Bhai Lehna heard
him and was touched at heart by the ecstasy of Divine Word. He
asked Jodha whose composition it was. Bhai Jodha explained in
detail about his Guru and so Bhai Lehna was inspired to see the
the annual occasion while his fellow devotees went on to the temple
of Durga, Bhai Lehna stopped on his way to see Guru Nanak. On
seeing the Guru, he was completely overtaken by love and compassion
of truth. When Bhai Lehna told his name, the Guru said,"Thou
Lehna is here, where else can it be found?" In Punjabi language
Lehna means to pay dues or to receive. The Guru meant,"What
thou desirest to receive- salvation, is here, and nowhere else."
After receiving some religious instructions from the Guru, he
began to repeat God's Name.
is said that Bhai Lehna in a vision saw a female in red dress
serving the Guru's house. Lehna asked who she was. She replied
that she was Durga (goddess), and that she came once a week to
do the service for the Guru. On this Bhai Lehna became convinced
of the Divine Glory of Guru Nanak.
the time went on, Bhai Lehna became more and more immersed in
meditation and so became more and more close and obedient devotee
of the Guru.
the time of Guru's departure (from the world) was drawing near,
it was becoming clear to Mataji (Guru's wife) that there would
be succession to Guruship. As is the custom in the world, she
always thought that her sons should be the heir of their father's
property, the Guruship. One day she said,"My Lord, keep my
sons in mind." This meant that the Guruship should be passed
on to one of her sons. The Guru said,"Bring your sons."
Both the sons were brought before the Guru. He then threw a bowl
in a tank of muddy water, and asked his eldest son, Sri Chand,
to go and recover the bowl from the tank. Sri Chand replied,"Why
did you throw the bowl, if it had to be brought back?" So
he refused to do the job. In the same way the younger son declined
to act. Then the Guru turned to Bhai Lehna and said,"Lehnaji,
go and bring the bowl." Bhai Lehna said,"Sat bachan
(Yes Sir)." Bhai Lehna went and recovered the bowl without
caring for his clothes getting soiled with mud.
day the Guru asked Bhai Lehna to go home and settle his affairs.
After some time when he returned from his home and arrived at
the Guru's house, he was told that the Guru was in his fields
and would be home by evening. Bhai Lehna went straight to the
fields to see the Guru. The Guru had three bundles of grass for
his cows and buffaloes and wanted to take them home. As the grass
was wet and full of mud, his Sikhs shied away from the task. He
then asked his sons to carry the bundles and they too evaded the
duty. Bhai Lehna who had just arrived, made his obeisance and
said,"Sir, give me this job." Bhai Lehna took all three
bundles and walked in the company of the Guru to his house. When
they arrived home, the Guru's wife complained,"It is not
proper to impose such a menial labor on a guest, his clothes from
head to foot are fouled with mud which has been dripping from
the grass." The Guru replied,"This is not mud; it is
the saffron of God's court, which marketh the elect." On
looking again the Guru's wife observed that Bhai Lehna's clothes
had really changed to saffron. The three bundles are considered
by the Sikhs to symbolize spiritual affairs, temporal affairs,
and the Guruship.
Guru now began a systematic trial of the devotion of his Sikhs.
One winter night, as heavy rain was falling, a part of the wall
of Guru's house fell. The Guru desired that the wall must be repaired
immediately. His sons refused to do the job right away saying
it was cold and also mid-night but they would send for some masons
in the morning who would do the job. The Guru stated that there
was no need for masons as Guru's work should be done by his Sikhs.
Bhai Lehna stood up and started to repair the wall. When he had
finished the work somewhat, the Guru said,"That wall is crooked,
pull it down and build it again." Bhai Lehna did it so but
the Guru again professed not to be satisfied. Lehna again obeyed
the Master's orders; but the Master again was not pleased. Upon
this the Guru's sons told Lehna that he was a fool to obey unreasonable
orders. Bhai Lehna humbly replied that a servant should make his
hands useful by doing his Master's work. After that the Guru and
his disciple grew close to each other and thus more pleased with
each other. The Guru's sons grew jealous of the devoted disciple.
They took no pains to conceal their dislike of him.
day a Jogi came and congratulated the Guru on the large number
of converts he had made. The Guru replied that he had only a few
real Sikhs, as the Jogi would himself witness. The Guru and the
Jogi started towards the forest to try the Sikhs who accompanied
them. As the party proceeded they found the road covered with
copper coins. Some Sikhs grabbed them and departed. A little further
on, silver coins were found. Several Sikhs took them and returned
home. As the party went ahead, they saw gold coins. Many of the
remaining Sikhs took the gold coins and left the party. Only the
Jogi, two Sikhs, the Guru and Bhai Lehna now remained.
proceeding further they found a funeral pyre and four lighted
lamps near the corpse. A sheet was covering the corpse which was
emitting a foul smell. The Guru asked,"Is there any one who
will eat this corpse?" The Sikhs recoiled at the frightening
proposal, but Bhai Lehna remained firm in his faith in the Guru.
Bhai Lehna with clasped hands asked the Guru,"Where should
I begin to eat, the head or the feet of the corpse?" The
Guru told him to begin at the waist. When Bhai Lehna lifted the
sheet from the corpse, lo! Wonder of wonders, a dish of Parshad
(sacred food) appeared instead of the corpse. Bhai Lehna offered
the Parshad first to the Guru and said that he would partake of
his leavings. The Guru stated,"Thou hast obtained my secret.
Thou art in mine image. I shall give you the real spell which
is the essence of religion. By this spell you shall have happiness
here in this world and in the next hereafter." The following
is the spell meant by the Guru, the preamble of Japji:
is but One God
Unfearful, Without Hate and Enmity, Immortal Entity,
By His Grace, shalt thou worship
The One Who was True before the creation,
The One Who was True in the beginning of the creation,
The One Who is True now, and O Nanak,
The One Who shall be True for ever.
this the Jogi said,"O Nanak, he shall be the Guru, who is
produced from thy 'ang', body." The Guru embraced Lehna and
promised that he would be his successor.
moral as the Guru enunciated here is that a Sikh must make a total
unconditional surrender before the Guru. He must have total obedience
for the Guru's order, then and only then the Sikh reaches his
goal i.e becomes one with Him. The Guru's sons questioned him
at every step, while Bhai Lehna submitted willfully without uttering
even one word. The result being that Bhai Lehna was blessed with
Guruship and became the embodiment of Divine Light. According
to Guru's mandate and code of conduct, a Sikh must lead spiritual
and moral life while conducting every day's business to earn Guru's
blessing. The Guru's mandate is clear:
maniai howai parvan ta khasmai ka maihal paisi." (Asa di
Var- pauri 15, p-471)
obeying His order, man is acceptable And shall then reach the
Lord's court." (Translation of the above)
ASCENSION OF GURU NANAK:
Guru, knowing that his time to depart was approaching, had to
appoint his successor. His sons had not obeyed him and so they
did not prove themselves to be worthy of Guruship.
September 2, 1539 (2 Asu, 1596 Asu vadi 5) Guru Nanak placed five
Paise (Indian currency) before Bhai Lehna and bowed to him in
token of his succession to the Guruship. He placed the umbrella
of Spiritual Sovereignty over Bhai Lehna's head. Thus, he created
another Nanak and called him GURU ANGAD DEV.
uha jugat sai seih kaya feir paltiai." (Ramkali ki Var- Rai
Light is the same
The Way and Mode are the same
The Master has merely changed the body.' (Translation of the above)
Guruship was passed on to Guru Angad, people realized that Guru
Nanak was soon to depart bodily from the world (As a Divine Light
and Spirit, the Guru is always present). The Sikhs, the Hindus
and the Muslims came from all over to have holy glimpse of Guru
the proclamation of Guru Angad, the sons asked their father, what
provision he had made for them. Guru Nanak replied,"O my
sons, God is the Cherisher of His creatures; you shall obtain
food and clothing in abundance, and if you repeat God's name you
shall be saved at last."
Muslim devotees wanted to bury him after his death. His Hindu
followers desired to cremate his body. When the Guru was asked
for his decision, he replied,"Let the Hindus place flowers
on my right and the Muslims on my left. Those whose flowers are
found fresh in the morning, may have the disposal rights of my
Guru drew a sheet over him. When the sheet was removed next morning,
body was not found underneath, but the flowers on both sides were
afresh. The light blended with Light and the spirit went back
and merged with the Master Spirit. It confirms that the Guru was
not a body but it was the Divine Light.
Hindus and the Muslims removed their respective flowers and cut
the sheet into two. The former cremated the sheet and the latter
buried it. It happened at Kartarpur on September 22, 1539 (23rd
day of Asu, Vadi 10, Sambat 1596). He was about seventy and a
half years of age.
Sikhs built a Gurdwara and the Muslims a tomb in his honor on
the bank of river Ravi. Both had since been washed away by the
river, perhaps by a superact, so as to avoid idolatrous worship
of the Guru's last resting place.
and superstitions earned the sanctions of old times. Religion
had degenerated into ceremonial acts only. The life and teachings
of Guru Nanak offer consistent evidence of fruitlessness of rituals.
He exposed their hollowness and exhorted human beings to rise
above such customs. Guru Nanak's religion excluded all senseless
dogmas and meaningless rituals. With no sword or stick armed with
Divine Word, he preached that only Impersonal Absolute is to be
worshiped. Any religion which does not guard its values indicates
a lower level of development and is deemed to disappear in the
The Puratan Janamsakhi (biography) and Bhai Gurdas give the birthdate
as October 20 (Kartik) while others give it as April 15 (Baisakh)
This is called Aad Bani (the first Divine Message). This refers
to Rag Asa Mohalla 1- Patti Likhi, page-432 of Guru Granth Sahib.
Lalo was Guru's disciple.
Mardana was a Muslim minstrel and Guru's disciple and constant
Word 'utter' is used in this book when Sabad is said to have come
to Guru direct from God while 'recite' is used when the existing
Sabad was repeated.
Some writers say that after taking bath in the river, he went
to the nearby forest.
The Janamsakhis use the word 'Udasi' for the Guru's travels. Udasi
ordinarily means withdrawal from the world but the Guru never
withdrew from the world.
Some writers say that the Guru came back home after covering the
east (after Puri) and then took second Udasi towards the south.
Sajjan means friend and Thug means robber.
Also called Charanamrit. This was a form of initiation by drinking
the water in which the Guru's feet had been washed. The preamble
of the Japji was read at the same time. The ceremony was inaugurated
by the Guru.
The symbol of the Eternal God. Here it is used instead of the
That is, they are fortunate. The mango is an evergreen, and its
leaves always afford shelter.
Malianlo- wind from Malay tree- sandlewood tree.
All the eyes of the world are Yours but Thou has no material eye
as being Formless.
The manifestations are many, yet Thou hast no bodily form.
16: The sarang is a bird which is also known as Chatrik or Papiha.
It is supposed to drink water only when moon is in the mansion
of Arcturus, so when its time comes to drink it is naturally thirsty.
Some writers believe that the Guru went to Kurukshetra in the
beginning of the first Udasi.
Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhi.
The meat of animals.
Water assists the growth of vegetables, and on vegetables animals
Some writers describe a different route of the second Udasi. They
believe that it started from Talwandi to Lahore, Sultanpur and
passing through Jullundhur and Hoshiarpur, the Guru reached the
abode of Pir Budhan Shah, where later on, the sixth Guru founded
the city of Kiratpur. From there the Guru proceeded to Bilaspur
and then visited Mandi, Rawalsar, Jawalaji, and Kangra. Thence
he marched to Baijnath, Kulu and Sapiti Valley and stayed in a
village called Mulani. Some relics of the Guru are reported to
have been preserved and worshipped by the people of this village.
Then passing through Prang Passes, the Guru reached Tibet and
thence proceeded to Mansarovar Lake and Kailash Parbat (Sumer
Parbat). Through the Chasul Pass, he entered Ladakh and then through
Skardu and Kargal, he reached Amarnath. After passing through
Pehlgam, Anant Nagar, he reached Srinagar and Bara Mula, and then
wending his way to Hasan Abdal, Tilla Bal Gudai and Sialkot, he
returned to Talwandi.
This discussion with the Sidhas is given in Ramkali Mohalla 1-
Sidh Gosht, page 938 of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Bhai Gurdas, Var-1, pauri-32.
Bhai Gurdas- Var 1, pauri 35-36.
He spends all his time in the mosque, so as to receive more alms.
Bhangarnath was a head Jogi.
Tank is one weight measure in India. One tank is equal to the
weight of 256 grains of Rice. It means that if he is able to perform
such a miracle.
Shradhs are oblations of cakes and libations of water made to
the spirits of deceased ancestors.