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Like Thought On This Comment About Guru Nanak

Genie Singh

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In reading a book of janamsakhis it says the following

"according to the author of Siyar-ul-Mutakhirin, Guru Nanak, studied Islamic literature from Sayyad Hassan, a darvesh. His sacred compositions, their language, style and contents bespeak a vast abnd varied learning which has seldom been equalled. His scholarly attainments were considerable, as shown by his erudite compositions like japji, asa di vaar, siddha ghost and onkar. He often referred to ancient writers and made apt use of classical stories and had philosphocial discussions with learned yogis, pandits and sufis, whom he was always able to convince by his deep learning and hard common snese. The arhcitectural design of his compositions and his epigrammatic style, close packed with relfective thought on cgreat problmes of life, bear ample testminony to his being a scholarly writer.

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Nanac, founder of the Sikh religion, II. 246—a Kchatriya—devoted to piety, 247, 248—his creed, 248, 249—favors the Moghul invasion —an anecdote of him, 249, 250, 251 — his poems, 252 — his chil­dren—where he died, 253 n. 2 — successors, 252, 253, 254—sup­posed to have formerly been Janaka, sovereign of Mithila — a legend of the latter, 255, 256, 261 to 267 — Nanak appeared suc­cessively in the four ages, 268, 269—for saving the former inhabitants of hell, whom he had once brought up to the world, 269.


Edited by JatherdarSahib
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The Nânac-Panthians,* who are known as com­posing the nation of the Sikhs, have neither idols nor temples of idols. Nânac belonged to the tribe of Bédíans, who are Kshatriyas. His reputation rose in the time of Zehir-ed-din Baber Padshah* (who inhabits heaven). Before the victory of this king over the Afghans, Nânac was a grain-factor* of Daulet khan Lodi,* who ranked among the dis­tinguished Umras of Ibrahim Khan, the sovereign of Hindostan.

A durvish came to to Nânac, and subdued his mind in such a manner that he, Nânac, having entered the granary, gave away the property of Daulet-Khan, and his own, whatever he found there and in his house, and abandoned his wife and children. Daulet Khan was struck with astonish­ment at hearing this, but, recognising in Nânac the mark of a durvish, he withheld his hand from hurt­ing him.* In a short time Nanacmade a great progress in piety; at first he took little nourishment; afterwards he allowed himself but to taste a little cow-milk; next a little oil; then nothing but water, and at last he took nothing but air: such men the Hindus call pavana haris.*

Nanac had a great number of disciples. He pro­fessed the unity of God, which is called the law of Muhammed, and believed the metempsychosis, or transmigration of the soul from one body to another. Having prohibited his disciples to drink wine and to eat pork, he himself abstained from eating flesh, and ordered not to hurt any living being. After him, this precept was neglected by his followers; butArjun mal, one of the substitutes of his faith, as soon as he found that it was wrong, renewed the prohibition to eat flesh, and said: “This has not been approved by Nânac.” Afterwards, Hargovind, son of Arjun­mal, eat flesh, and went to hunt, and his followers imitated his example.

Nanac praised the religion of the Muselmans, as well as the Avatars and the divinities of the Hindus; but he knew that these objects of veneration were created and not creators, and he denied their real descent from heaven, and their union with mankind. It is said that he wore the rosary of the Muselmans in his hand, and the Zunar, or the religious thread of the Hindus, around his neck.* Some of his dis­tinguished disciples report of him more than can here find room.

One of these reports is, that Nanac, being dissatisfied with the Afghans, called the Moghuls into the country, so that in the year 932 of the Hejira (A. D. 1525) Zehir ed-din Baber padshah (who is in heaven) gained the victory over Ibrahim, the king of the Afghans.* They say also that Nanac, during one of his journeys,* finding himself one night in a fort, was absorbed in a vision of God. Children played around him, and some put their hands upon his body, without any motion being perceived in him; they sewed his eye-lids, his nostrils, and his flesh together, and tied his hands fast. When Nanac recovered his senses, he found himself in this state, and went to a neighbouring house, at the threshold of which he called out: “Ho! is there any body in the house who may free my eye-lids sewed together and my hands?” A handsome woman, hav­ing conducted him into the house, untied his hands and tore the threads by which his eye-lids were sewed together with her teeth asunder, on which account the color of the mark of the woman's caste remained upon Nanac's forehead. After his having left the house, the neighbours saw the mark, and supposed his having had an intimate connexion with the woman; wherefore she was abused by the people and repudiated by her husband.

This woman came one day to Nanac, and said: “I have, upon the way of God, rendered thee a ser­vice, and now they revile me for it.”Nanac answered: “To-morrow will the gate of the fort be shut, but shall not be opened unless thou appliest thy hand to it.” The next day, in spite of all efforts to open the gate, they could not suc­ceed, and remained in great consternation. Men and beasts, far from water, could not go out to fetch it. The inhabitants addressed themselves to all men who had a reputation for sanctity, but their prayers were in vain. At last they had recourse to Nanac, and said: “O durvish, what is there to be done?” He answered: “The gate shall not be opened except by the hand of a woman who never lost her virtue with a stranger.” The inhabitants brought all the women who had a reputation for chastity to the gate of the fort, but it remained shut: on that account they sat down hopeless. At the time of evening prayer came at last the friend of Baba Nanac to the gate. The people laughed at her; her hus­band and her relations were ashamed and abused her. The woman, without listening to the speeches of the people, struck the gate with her hand and it opened. All men were astonished and ashamed: they fell at the feet of the woman.

The báni,* that is to say the poems, of Nânac, are, as it were, perfumed with devotion and wisdom, still more can this be said of his speeches about the grandeur and sanctity of God. All is in the lan­guage of the Jats of the Panjab, and Jat in the dia­lect of the Penjab, means a villager or a rustic.

Nânac's disciples are not conversant with the Sanscrit language. The precepts and regulations which Nânac established among them will be explained hereafter.

Nânac said in his poems that there are several heavens and earths; and that prophets, and saints, and those that are supposed to have descended from above (avatárs), and persons distinguished by piety, obtain perfection by zeal in the service of God; that whoever devotes himself to the veneration of God, whatever road he may choose, will come to God, and that the means to this is, to avoid hurting any living being.”

“Be true and thou shalt be free; Truth belongs to thee, and thy success to the Creator.”*

Nánac left children in the Penj-ab,* they are called Kartaris; but according to the opinion of some, he had no offspring. They say that, afterNánac's decease, his place was by his order occupied by the Guru Angad, of the Srín tribe of Kshatriyas; next succeeded the Guru Amaradas, of the tribe of the Bholáyí-Kshatriyas; after him came the Guru Ráma­das , who was of the Sódahí-Kshatriyas, and also called the Srí-guru. Ráma-das, dying, left his dignity to his son Arjun mal. During the life of this Guru, the Sikhs, that is to say, his followers grew great in number and in faith. They said, Bábá Nânac is a god, and the world his creation; but Nánac in his poems reckons himself a servant of God, and he calls God Naránjen (Naráyana), Parabrahma, and Permai­sher (Paramésvara), who is without a body, and has nothing corporeal, nor deigns to be united with a bodily frame. The Sikhs say that Nánac, in the same manner, had been without a real body, but visible by the power of his individuality,* and they believe that, when Nânac expired,* his spirit became incarnate in the person of Angad,* who attended him as his confidential servant. Angad, at his death, transmitted his soul into the body of Amara das;* and thus Guru, in the same manner, conveyed his spirit into the body of Ráma-das;* whose soul trans­migrated into the person of Arjunmal;* in short, they believe that, with a mere change of name, Nânac the First became Nânac the Second, and so on, to the Fifth, in the person of Arjunmal. They say, that whoever does not recognise in Arjunmal the true Bábá Nânac, is an unbeliever; they have a number of tales about the founder of their sect, and assert that Bábá Nânac, in a former world, was the radja Janak.*

When Sakha-daiv (Saha déva),* the son of Baiás (Vyasa), a rakhaisher (rakshasa), came to Janak, in order to learn from him the path of God, he found the rája, who had thrown one of his feet into the fire; men on foot and on horseback formed a file; Nawabs and Vizirs were busy about the affairs of the state; elephants and horses presented themselves to the view. Saha dév thought in his mind that such occupations and worldly concerns were unbe­coming so pious a man. The rája, who was skilled in penetrating the hearts of others, found it out, and employing the power of magic, he caused fire to fall upon the houses, so that at last all the horses and fine palaces were burnt. The rája seemed neither to hear, nor to see, nor to care any thing about what happened, until the fire reached the house where he and Saha dév were. Janak did not throw one look upon it. The fire fell upon the wooden cup, which they call there kermandel,* and which Saha dév used for drinking water. He now, senseless, jumped from his place, and took hold of his kermandel. The rája smiled, and said to him: “All my people, and all this, my property, were burnt; my heart was not bound to them; wherefore I let them be consumed, and feel no pain about them; but thou, on account of thy kermandel, jumpedst senseless from thy place. It is now clear whose heart is bound to the things of this world.” Saha dèv was ashamed of his having been disturbed. This tale was heard from the followers of Nânac.


The Guru Nánac, according to the belief of his followers, was in former times the rája called Janak, and united the dignity of a king with that of a saint. He called mankind to God. The author of this work heard from distinguished Sikhs that, when Bába Nánac appeared in the Sat-jog, a great number of Sikhs assembled around him. He sent a cow into the kitchen. When prepared, it was brought into the assembly; some ate of it, others were afraid to do so. The Guru prayed to God that the cow might rise again, and all those who had been afraid, beholding this miracle, approached him praying: “Now we shall eat whatever you order.” Nánac answered: “Not now be it so: mine and your engagement prevails in the Trèta-Jog.” After­wards, at the revolution of the Trèta-jog, the Guru appeared. The disciples assembled; then a slaugh­tered horse was brought into the assembly in the manner before said. Some ate of it; others abstained from it. The Guru prayed, and the horse was brought to life. Those who had been afraid prayed as before. He replied again: “Your word and mine are engaged for the Dwápar-jog.” In this age they brought a slaughtered elephant into the assembly of his fol­lowers. The same happened as I said before, and he appointed them for the Kali-jog. In this age, they say, a man was brought into the assembly; whoever ate, became free; who abstained from it, remained subject to durance, and some of the Sikhs call Nánac the slave of God.

It is also related that, when Nânac died, in the Sat-jog, two roads opened before his soul: the one led to heaven, the other to hell. Nânacchose the latter, and having descended below, he brought all the inhabitants out of hell. The Lord God said to him: “These sinners cannot enter heaven; you must return into the world and liberate them.” On that account Nânac came to this world, and his followers are the former inhabitants of hell; the Guru comes and goes, until that multitude shall have found their salvation.

Except the zealots among the Sikhs, no man else believes Bábá Nânac a god. As to the rest, Nânac's followers condemn idolatry, and believe that all their Gurus are Nânacs, as was said before. They do not recite the mantras of the Hindus, they do not venerate their temples, nor do they esteem their Avatárs. The Sanscrit language, which according to the Hin­dus is the language of the gods, is not held in such great estimation by the Sikhs. Whatever it be, the number of these sectaries increased every where, so that, in the time of the Guru Arjunmal it became very considerable, and at last there was no place in any country where Sikhs were not to be found. They make no difference between Brahmans and Kshatriyas, for Nânac was a Kshatriya, and none of their Gurus was a Brahman, as stated above. Thus they subjected the Kshatriyas to the tribe of Jats,* who are an inferior caste of Baisas (Viśas). The deputies of the Gurus are besides frequently Jats. They honour equally Brahmans and Ksha­triyas. The Guru is chosen at the discretion of his followers. It should be known that, in the time of the Afghan sultans, the Umras were called succes­sors or deputies of Ali; finally, for the sake of brevity, the name of deputy (masnad) alone was used by the Hindus. The Sikhs call masnad, and also Rámadas, the Guru whom they esteem as a king of the true faith.

Edited by JatherdarSahib
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