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Guru Nanak Dev Ji visit to Kamroop


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hay kaaman narak bisraaman baho jonee bharmaavneh.

chit harnan tarai lok gam-yan jap tap seel bidaarneh.

alap sukh avit chanchal ooch neech samaavneh.

tav bhai bimunchit saadh sangam ot naanak naaraa-ineh. ||46||

O sexual desire, you lead the mortals to hell; you make them wander in reincarnation through countless species.

You cheat the consciousness, and pervade the three worlds. You destroy meditation, penance and virtue.

But you give only shallow pleasure, while you make the mortals weak and unsteady; you pervade the high and the low.

Your fear is dispelled in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, O Nanak, through the Protection and Support of WaheGuru. ||46||

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji -Ang 1358

Siri Guru Nanak Dev Ji visit to Kamroop

Journeying through Bengal and Bihar Siri Guru Nanak Dev Ji arrived in Kamroop, the land of falsehood and seduction. Guru Sahib camped outside of the city with Bhai Mardana Ji. The city of Kamroop was a part of Assam. The ruler of the city was a very beautiful queen named Noor Shah; in reality Noor Shah was the name of a magician from whom the queen had learnt the art of evil magic. Noor Shah would seduce people with her beauty and then enslave them. She would then put them through inhumane tortures.

One day Mardana Ji had to pass through the city to get something to eat, Guru Ji said, "Do go, but you should be aware that Kamroop is plagued with seduction and its inhabitants are lost in the falsehood of sexual desire." Mardana Ji handed over his Rabab to Guru Ji and entered the city; Guru Sahib waited under a tree outside of the city. On his way Mardana Ji met some beautiful women (who were slaves of Noor Shah) and fell victim to their machination, Under mesmeric influence Mardana Ji did all what they commanded him to do. When he reached at the door of Noor Shah's house, beautiful damsels who were standing at the door called him inside. The queen Noor Shah was very much pleased to see him. She asked her damsels to serve him with nice food, Mardana relished the rich food. Then she enchanted him with her charming beauty and sweet words; soon Mardana Ji became unconcious. Mardana Ji was thus imprisoned by Noor Shah and could not return to the Guru. Guru Ji knew what had happened to Mardana so he went to free him from his captors. He entered the house of Noor Shah and asked her about Mardana Ji.

When the queen and here damsels saw the Guru, they tried to seduce Him with their beauty. They tried again and again but nothing availed. Then Guru Sahib seated Himself on the ground. Noor Shah at once ordered her damsels to dance and sing in the most attractive fashion. The Guru took the Rabab, which Mardana had left with Him while going to the city. Guru Ji tuned the Rabab and began to sing:

In words we are good, but in acts bad.

We are impure-minded and evil-hearted, yet we wear the robes of innocence.

We envy those who stand and serve at WaheGuru's Door.

They who love their Husband Lord (WaheGuru) enjoy the pleasure of WaheGuru's embraces,

They remain powerless, even while they have power; and remain humble.

O Nanak, our lives shall be profitable if we meet such women.

(Sri Rag ki Var Mohalla 1,2-7)

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji -Ang 85

Guru Sahib told Noor Shah and her damsels that through the falsehood of kam (sexual desire- one of the five thieves) they had lost WaheGuru Ji in their hearts. Guru Ji then said that those people are truly beautiful who are attatched to the Naam (WaheGuru Ji); without Naam there is no beauty.

Guru Sahib said that they were committing sins and WaheGuru would punish them for their misdeeds. He also advised her that by befooling people she could not win the True Lord. "They alone find WaheGuru who learn to efface themselves. The kings and their palaces are false. Gold, silver and wearer of these ornaments are also false. All desire to make their faces and bodies very attractive by wearing fine and costly clothes. But these bodies and fine clothes are also false and are fleeting. Only the Naam shall stay with you forever." When Bhai Mardana Ji heard the voice of his Master, the spell vanished and he woke up and coming outside bowed before the Guru. Noor Shah was astonished to see Mardana all the better. Noor Shah and her companions fell at the feet of the Guru and asked for forgiveness and blessing to obtain salvation. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji told them to meditate on Naam(WaheGuru Ji) conscientiously to cleanse their souls. Noor Shah became a Sikh of the Guru; she freed her slaves and distributed her property to the poor. She became a preacher of Sikhi

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Here is an illustration from a Janam Sakhi manuscript from the 1800s


"Guru Nanak resists the overtures of courtesans of Kamrup while journeying to Assam in eastern Indian. His devoted minstrel, Mardana, enchanted by the seductive beauty of these women, is metaphorically depicted as a ram. Guru Nanak persuades the courtesans to live virtuous lives."

Manuscript in the Sabi and Amrin Marwah Collection. (Ontario)

* picture and text taken from The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms - The Canadian Collections - Seema Bharadia - ROM - 2000

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