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No. 5





( 1469-1518




By SARDAR SI-IER SINGH, M.SC. K c':,;hmil路.



The Bengal Sikh Missionary Associati-m 'TWI'I'ison Road, aalC!~tta. GRAT(.S


FOREWORD. In the following few page" I hWe trie~ive ju.t a n outline of the outstanding leatures 01 my Master. I, begin with personal experience as that is the路 Rock On which all .pirituality re.ts. and _s,tand;n!: on which One may stand firm even as a lighth'ouse in a troublous sea. But for this l'icket, I would not have the least thought to say anything on behalf of the Master for what I have not experienced is at best but hearsay evidence to

which little value is attached in the open court of pu!:'lic opinion . I have tried 6rst to explain the truism that my Master is essentially Guru. What that signi6cant word means and connotes is to me of such importance that I have

taken this 6rst i .e . before discussing His Personality.


The essential part 01 the paper i. the po.r lion dealing with the prophet' s career as a patriot. This part 01 the Guru's life i. so little known or understood that ,it was highly e.sential to remove the misu'!iJerstanding wlthout further delay. But the Guru's Personality i. c03mic, and hence Hi. message i. lor the ";hole tHumanity at large. Hence, He is more th,:,n a 'poet, patri.ot. or even a prophet-He i. the World-Saviour. I will discuss the history and the teaching. of my Master in a separate bro'c hure, but "ihis paper is ~: /g~od outline of Guru Nanak's contrihl1tion to the advancemelnt of nations and Jndian culture.

DODA, KASi路IMIR. I O-Ill-35.




~\" llRSS1.\!1 l.IUkU NANAK.

I. 11.

Tlu: GGk t: & THE












(i) The historical persp"cti l'c the Hindu Perillu . 17 (ii) The Muslim


immediately precooing Nanak . 21

(iii) Guru Nana k (i,") The


Mirror of the lIJ.ediel路al India.

Babar路wani hrlllns of the tben billoo路 (eU Inn ia.

(v) Guru Nanak as patriot. (vi) Guru Nanak as poet. (vi;) Guru Naoak as propbet.




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MY MESSIAH GURU NANAK. If 1 were asked as to why I love N~nal<, my answer is simple and unamhiguous : I do so hecause He loved me and owned me before any other saviour, It may he that His Face was hidden bchiml the cnrtain, yet I felt His Hand as tangibly and as really as I felt the first IO",:ing touch of my mathe,' soon after :I was born. Guru Nanak is thus a real living Perso .. nality, more real to me than my 0\\"1 lIesh and blood, \Vhen 1 come within His loving embrace, I feel more snug aud cosy than when I am surrounded by my best anu costliest belongings, He is dearer to me than the breath of mine own nostrils, And now when I look back a nd review my insipid, colourless life of yore, I feel as if r was not awake, but asleep like Kumbhkaran of old, or like that Lazarus who was dead and buried and remained rotting in the grave until he was resuscitated by the 1.105oiah, ~Iy )leooiah is Guru ",anak and r will try to analyse in the following lines some of the reasons as to why He appealed to me more than any other saviour. To be:Jin with, my first aoquaintance with my )Jaster was throug h the ever路 open and ever-inviting avenue of His humility, While other saviours call themselve., as pet SODS of the Father, or those commissioned with some special purpose, my Master did nothing of the kinu, He gave himself no airs, He did no't ta.1k big, but said in un1pistaka hle words and accents that He' was "'," meek or Lowly as innocent


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and humble as tbe little lily whkh comes out of tbe earth. and e,-e11 in the beyday of its glory remains oriented towards tbe earth. The ~eotropie cun'. wbieh I find iu the lily was unmistaka bly there \,-hen I saw tht: hent neck of m)' ~Iaster. This was my til'St (lC<lua intance with Him, hut the cOIlviction gained gro und as I read H i~ wri till~s, and I found in CYfry refrain the selfsame rc路 itcrntio n \\~hich murching with cn:: r-mol1nting yelocity soon Ltc(luired in my mind the force of cOll\路ictitlll, \Vhen this conv iction dawned on

me. I felt ,'e,-y homely with m)' ~I"ster, I felt as if 1 could sit in the sa me square. :l1ll1 rtlb shoulders with Him. Imag-ine my impertinellcc-a sinner sitting side hy side with a nd touching the hem of the .Master's garment ~ .Hut this was possible a nd practicahle as my "laste,- a rrogated n() nirs to Himself. He was so artlessly sillll)lc and humble that 1 felt no compunction whell I sat with Him in one and the same boat. COlloc'ious 0 f that homely ntmosphere I alreally felt myself one with !lilli, although this was my unwarranted presumption for which I regretted soon after. yet I f"lt at the time that if this be my Master who is so si~nitieantly .imple, I woold be one of His crew, alld of 1I0ne other. I, tberefore, decided to sink or swim with Him. Tbat was, therefore, my first introduction witb the Master, Althol1!-(h 1 attach the greatest importance to bumility which is the passport to heaven, yet what appealed to me more, r~1;j time mlnmcecl, was aqotber fe:lt ltre wh ich sta uch; in the sam~ relation to humility

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as the daughter to her mother, namely sweetsimplicity, which is the second reason why I was <.Im\\,11 up to Nallak_ His words are sweet lil,e the honey and simple like the spotlessly pure sunlight, and HS you read them, you feel as if your whoJe soul waverS like a wind-swept leaf. I huyc rend many a Bibk" yet the I\'onl uf the (,nrn ~trikes me as exceptional for it. is 1JUI"f..' I1Cl.!tar, distilled and redistilled until it is the ,'cry 'juillte,"cllcc_ It is this crystalline purity iuset ill honey which is to me the truest picture of ~unak His worels giyc a curious satisl~\ction, as when a cDill tested rings true gold. There is sweet aroma and fra~rancc ill every word used, and us you sing or I.:hant them, the hiduen yoke of Nanak rises reverberant ill your soul/s ntmosphere like a fouatain of rich diHille<l perfumes . \Vhen I read the hymt1!~ of my )'lastl'r, my sunken heart gains energy and be,gins t() heat \\pith vigour, the pent up emotions dart out, the dism'll atmosphere Changes at once iato the hopeful morn, an<.l my sunken e.ves gleam once more hright as a blazing star. Indeed, His hymns open on t to me a ae\\" hea yen and a new earth, and so long as I r",nain rapt ia them I do not feel myself resident of this carth, but carefree like the bird singin~ hi~ morning' song. Guru Nanak's Word is so SWCet anti mellifluous that even if the dead boaes heard it, they will spriag hack into life even as they were So g-alvanised hy the lute of "the Orllheus. To the sinner'" mind tberetiJrc, "


the Gllru'~ \Vard i~ not only a healiug ballll, IJUt

( 路t


veritahly the ma nna from the hea\'ens which what it tOl1ches ami fills it to the hrim . Even' wortl th 'lt "tlls from the :\Iasters lips is like an ang'ei'H kis~. E\~ery word that He usCS is as white anu pure as the dr,~ill rose \vhich is worn on the wedding day. This transparent p,:,rity engulfed in nectar is then thc ""col1l1 feature of my :\laster. You may h~ attra,-tell first hv, His humility, hut it is His , sarclmrinc Worll whidt ",iii sink in you and cemeut the relation 1'11'mcl' ior all time, 1 have call L~ 1 sweet.simplicity as daughter of humility, but IKl th of them are descended from a common anccsto r which is nothing less than NAM, the Music:tl Current of life which i3 the hasis of all love, life ami rhythm . This :\Iusic is the primal force from \\'hich a1l1ilc springs and to which it reverts after pcriollieal rhythms, All poetry that is true is an emanation of this Force and dunces in tune with this :\.lusic, The divine poetry is, therefore, a spontancou, etIl1sio11 of this primal current, an echo of the eternal symphony w hich rings true as much in the music of the sttlrS us in the soul of man. No poetry can l>e said t~ be inspired which doe搂 not stir these hidden chords of human life. The greatest and the surest reason \\'hy the poetry of Nanak moves u. to diviue elevlltion lies in the hidden secret mentioned above, viz, t he symphony of the Guru's Word is a direct echo ()f the Didne Sympbony which is the basis of Life. The things tha , t move the heart must come from high, otherwise we have only notes, bodies


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without soul, mere words. When we chant the Guru's Word, the human spirit which is banished from the Divine Home, rotums to the Fatherland, e:nriche<.1 anu conSUIDtnated. That is l'cason why the Sikh Bi1.>le is written wholly in podry, and why â&#x20AC;˘ the hymns ,,-hen SUD~ ghoe u:; unearthly satisfaction. This Divine SymphollY relleeted in the Guru's hymns a~ld sung in accompaniment with instrumental music has alwHYs exercised the s:.lnl~ inllucl1ce on me as a tremendous magnet has un a small magnetic needle. 'fhis music kCCI'" thon~allds of Sikh souls gathered in a congregation spell bouhd, and 1 haye seen Httle babies as much enchautc(l hy the sweet melody as the bearded elders neacilli( the graye. Shabad Kirtan is, therefore, the wry essence of the Sikh religion. I have ahva)'s cOllsidered this <:lS the most important part of the Sikh Hcligion 110t only because it soothes the mimI 1Jt1 ~ because it is the truest food of the soul. Soul that is cut otY from this supply soon languishes, withers and dies. The instruction that is sung out to me rather than read out or le~ured is a thousand titvcs more instructive, as it sinks in my sub.consciou5 mimI, spreads, flowers out ancI fructifies, and stands nl~ in good stead when it is most needed i.e., in my unguarded moments fot the Htb¡conscious mind is thell a~ active as at any other time. On the other band, instruction unaccompanied with music is very often as futile llS seed buried in a desert soil. Music -is verily the 1110isture



( 6 ) of the seed路soil but for which it must eyer remain sterile e\'en as the mummy-wheat. Hut it is no ordinary music which is glorified in the Sikh religion. The music which stirs the diyine chords must be itself heavenly, and as I have stated abO\'e:it must he nothing k-,;s than the Divine :.\.lusic which is at the heart of Nature, and which is the supreme cause of ,rcation, and of which inspired poetry alone is tbe truest echo. The magic of Guru :'<anak'8 magnetism and of His Word, therefore, lies in this deep.centred Divine mystery which is the heritage 01 mh'anced souls. This is such a cherished a nd inalienahle possession of the Sikh Religion that only those who know crm realise its supreme signi. lieance. Without this Diyine hlusic, the Sikh Religion would he hody without soul, a carcass, or at hest a caricatmc of ,路cligion. Most of the synthetic religiilns whi,h we find in \'ogue toclay suffer from this defect; they 11'1\'. body hut no soul, the eerie soul which delies analysis and synthesis heing the DiYine ~lusic menti()I\cd aUo\路e. 1 attach the very highest signi. fic"nce to this side of the :;ikh Religion for herein lies tbe key to the, lIlystery of the Ki"l"dom of HCHyeu. 1拢 humility is the

physiognomy of the Sikh l{cligioll, and s\\"e~t.simJl1icity its nature, this Diyine fe ..:uml ity and symphony is its very heart aml ~oul. Thc>e are then the three si lken chords which knittell me lirst with Xanak.

THE GURU AND THE NAM. Guru )/anak is 1Iot only my :\.Iessiah, lIe is my -Guru or the Master. Therein, [ think. lies the most outstanding feature of this seer. He does not promise to me vicarious sUlfcring or redemptiOll, He takes me up as a child in His arms, and after fondling me aud patting me for some time, imparts to me real and serious irtstructiUll. In other word:;, Guru Nanak expects " 'ery one of His Sikhs to be really ·a disciple and to learn to stand on his owu lel;s. Thus by graduated course of training the disciple is brought up tu a le"el ",h,re he can see eye to eye with his .\Jaster, uot by hear.a)" alone but as a result of personal experience. Search the Sikh Bihle from one end to the other, and you will hard :, lind the Guru. addressed as A vtars. There are certain cross references, by one Guru to the other, bllt rarely is the Guru·Father addressed as an avtar : lIe is called the Gur·dev, the Enlightening.Light, for that is the truest des· cription of a .\laster. The avtar theory has heell in the Imliau liehl for lllillellill1l1s. It hus its uses , aml its ad,·ocatcs. But I for one cannot see the force of tbe argll111ellt th:<t God Himself should descend frum the stars and be cll\vombed. to tight out· evil and anarl.!hy. This a rgument if it were true \vould rule out th~ illll11anCnCe of the ~uprellle Being, and would consign the eUl"th to the hegemony of the E~'il :-:)pirit,'which is surely not an Indian eOllccp


( 8 ) tiol1. Not only is thi. conceptiou contrary to cherished asmmptions of the Inclian philosophy and tradition, but it is so re\"oltiog that this world would not he worth living-, if it were entirely ghocn over to the Devil to he interfered occasionally hy an avtar. ~uch ' ·isits of the ~upreme One would hardly be able to set right the equilibrium, a nd as soon as the a\-tar made his exit, tbe deyii would rule supreme again. These .... isits of.a vtars, few and far betwee~, as they proyerhially are, could not stem the tide of devilry, and if avtar theory were literally true, the world woul,l be a pandemonium for all time. A few ('l\~ ta rs or even a few dozens may come in to relieve the ahysmal darkness, but what can few stars do to efface that hmodiug darkness which would then be our lot during the moonless miduight? One swallow docs not make summer oor could a fe,,·· avtars turn this hell of God·forsaken earth into a livable abode, not to speak of it as a n heaven. In· deed, there are tremendous difficulties in the way if a,'tar theory were it e,·er seriously considered. To me all glory and grandeur lies ill the opposite direction, viz. that man should rise up from the,dust and progress heaven. wards by howe,"er slow stages, rather than that God Himself should come from tbe "ea yens and take us up on His wings. The former process would turn men into an.~els, if not gods, aod the latter would ever keep us tongue-tied, maimed, and in the leading strings of the higher spirits. -r would rather stand on my own legs. toodle ove': and




fall headlong than be poised all the time on the pinion. of an outside power. No, my Guru tells me that I am not destined to be e,·rr a spiritual cripple. It is up to me to use my own legs, to expand, grow in stature and touch the very heavens. The avtar • theory that muzzles me, for all time, does not therefore appeal to me. This is not to say that I do not believe in the guid'}nce of leaders ann seers. I believe in them and try to follow in their footstep', but my respect and regard for these seers increases immensely when I consider them not as Goo-descended, but what they intrinsically arc : transfigured men .....• men who battled hard with the stern realities of the world aod won! That is one reason why in the Sil,h Bible, the Gita·phrase regarding the adyent of an aytar is reversed thus :-

flay jug }tlg Mag."t "J>aia" "In e,·cry age a bhagat par excell!luce is born" The emphasis is on the word bhagat and not on avtar which is as much as to say that a God. Mao i, born rather than Man·God! This is the very key, to the whole of th~ Sikh philosophy, anu startling though it may seem, yet as far as 1 under· stand the S,kh Religion, thi, is so true tha t any distorting of the text to wrench out opposite mean' ings would be little short of mockery, if 110t blasphemy. In short. 1 mnst repeat with all the emphasis thal I-eao command that my hlastcr is primarily a Guru, n Teacher, a Mnn ... ~ .• He is no avtar!



To a\!Cept this is also to accept the democratic constitution of the Sikh society. A Sikh is first and loremost a disciple. He sits in the same relation to his Spiritual :\Iaster as a college student sits in the presence of his professor. Every college student is potentially a professor-so also every Sikh may after the fulnes. of time become one with his :\laster and step into His shne'S. This, I say, not in way to support any form of popery. but in order to bring out the underlying C\ig'nity of mankinrl. The essence of democracy lies in this; that after due rlualification e\'ery citizen may step into and sit ill the clictatorial chair, provided always that he ;s littcd to the supreme task. This is also the sum and suhstance of the Sikh philosophy that our (;uru ;s primarily our Teacher. ~othing will please Him morc than tl) see His O\\'n pupils hecome, like Him, hlazin.", tMehes of Li:,:ht, as refulgent as the torch held hy the :\1"5tcl' Himself. While the avtar theory woukl tie us O,'cr to the rattle and the feeding hottle, the :-;ikh conception opens out to us immense pQ!;si. bilitit."S, undreamt of before.

Conceding this philosophy ~ry :\1aster. teaches me that the temptation which Lord Jesus s"ffered in the wilderness is a universal phenomenon-i.e., ";\,e ha \'e cal'h to pass through the self-same procc.s in all \\'alks ui Iile. The "ery first hymn iu the JirRt R ;i g deal. \\'i til the~e tempations and I cannot do better than :.:i,"e here a litero.l translation of the ,,-orch of the ~Iaster. taking each temptation separately ;-

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( I)

The first tomptation is directed to our sellses, and therefore, s~ands first in the order of priority :·,f Tltougk

a mansioll of ptn,.!s 'if/cre ,"aised instead of mud,


Though it all with Jcwels outtld, Thoug/~ £, were with Htusk, ala", stlllda/-'UJood plas/chd, SUi1lg which Ih, moulh of Ihe btllO/d,r ,unlcred, .Blwa,-e lest sating Ilust thou mig-illest bt'collle bli?ld, Alld His edllying j\l~lJle. tlO loug'ct· abide in tllille miJ/d /"

This temptation comes to us all cyen as it came to the Christian in the Valley of the Shado\\' of Death, and our Loru ~Iaster warns us to beware lest the senses oyerpowered the Spirit aut! beclouded the mirror of God i,e, the Nam, When the Christ was tempted by the Deyil, he "'lid, "What "hall it profit a man, if he gain the whole 'w orld, and Jose his OWIl ~oul?" The Guru tens us likewise to li.eep the :\lirror of God, the Name, c,'er before our eyes for the kingdoms of the wo.rld and the glory thereof are ' consumed even as tinder' anu but'lor His Xamc there is naught that will continue for aye. The eonciudjng part of the ahoyc t(::ll1ptation is heightenL"'<J by reference to the houris or bc\\'it~hill,!! ,damsels (mohinis) 1 hough tl,(! ('(wIlt 'Wt1'e witl:. ditt1JlolldJ ami rubits t' 1/1 b( -1/i :; Itt tl TIJongh 0111' bedst(adJ 11.'('1"1' 'Zpilllpt'ar/s l1Iltt rtf./;it S / Ul "is/ted, 11ttwgll many nil C/lchmltitlg dmllsd ..£'ilh Ja~·..J.\· l


her fnct,


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Lint tl,,'s bedaBdin!: sctm still/llrtl,er grace, Dew".... lest S"'-IIIJ tMs tl,oll migltttst become b/b,d. lll,d His edify;,'g Nallll. "0 longer abide in tltine mind


This temptation is stron~er than even that which· the Deyil offered to the Chri.t, for in those tempta· tions there is no referenL.., to the wily Eyc who is often the helpmate of the I?cyil. Whateyer the gradty of the situation, let us e"cr keep the :>.Hrror of God in our hanet, for Th;Lt will al way" keep us on the right track. (ii) The second temptation described below does not OCcur in the Bihle, hut is particularly apt to the Indian conditions for many a yogi, and siddha,. haye hanltered "fter mirnculou" powers, and the in· fatuation of these powers has a lways stood in their ~yaYt side.trucking their quest. Particular reference is. therefore. drawn to this temptation :-

HIhough I beco1lle a 1Jtngnciml endowed witlz 11IanJ' a miraculous PtJUlff•. Tholl< l[h I cou{r( te111pt lite goddess of Wla/th 01lt . of It" bower Though I co"ld "'.Y 1vil! b,'come visible or iltvisiblt, Sai1l!: wlticlt Iht. bel,olders <htlllled all·hm1, B .-ware lest wield",!: these powers t!tIJf' mightest become blind, Alld His edifyillg Na1lle no 10Tlgtr abide ill tM".


m,'nd r"




This power to wurk miracles certainly


:a stronger appeal to our imagination thun the temptation directed to our SCDS~S, but the Guru asks us to beware of these powers just as much as of those ·attractions which Cal)tivate the liesh. (iii) The third and the lust appeal is still more potent as it tukes us oUj: of our individual spheres and puts us head and shoulders abo\~c others ' v here we can lord it o\'er others. This is the temptation ·to which kings, emperors and dicta turs are Hable ill the East as .also in the West. Th. Guru cautions us as follows :,. TI,ough I wel'e suddL'l/Iy to become" ,·uli"l{ sovereign, ThbUgll. assembling tl1'JJJZ~'S I could (ucllld a throlle, TIIOUgl1. [wer~' butrt!Sud b)' IJtTwe1', jllst and Utljust, Yet ai, is "aue'" eve" as ill Ihe bala"c. the dUSI, iJeUla,-e ltst wielding Ilust powerS thou migliLb"t

become blind,

,nllcl His edi/yilll{ Naill. "0 101/ge" abi". ilt lhim mind." There art thC11 th" tllr~e lusts: the lu.t of the eye, ·<he lnst of pow.r and possession, the lust of pride which wAylay \1S "" we advance ill IiI<:. But if we held the ~!irror vi" the :;upl'cme Ol1e .,'er before our face the temptations \\"i11lo,," their venom. W. could then progress unhanucu and unsillgoo iu the ftery ordeal. What is this weird ~lirror of the :;upreme Oue? The :-lam i. the ~lirror of God lor it concentrates the ·diviue rays in u:; thereby gc,lvullising us into new life, and steeliil~ us up for ,,11 emergencies. The :\am

( 14 ) is that current of consecration which like a golden thread runs through the warp and woof of life, It is the hread of Life which sustained the Christ in the wilderness, The potelll'), of this Hidden Word is. de:;,:riheu thus by our Guru :I: Tlte' I.~(y It> divilU: 1J./lttm 拢5 this Wort! "ol/eta/ttl, }-f(1 this is tlf(' COl/IIIIOU f.SSCJlCr. (1f all books 1'ruea/cd, 1'hu is lho." jfumlailt h!'tld (~f flcav;':Illy /(l[kl, 1





10 'ransjigllr': tlue i1l10 bring


This is the universal panacea tor al\ ills of mankind. The l;uru steels his disciple with this armour which has the \yomlerful potcn~y of turniu~ n knecht (sen'ant) into a veritahle knight. The路 life's highway is litt~rcd by many a temptation and pitfall which are as numerous as the sand grains along the sea-shore, hut if the Guru's Sikh is armed with this invulnerable armour, he may rush headlong into the very, thick of battle, and return unharmed. But for the )lame, the earth where we Ih'o in is not earth but a dark dungeon, it is surrounded and bedarkened by circles of hills fashioned out of bituminous supersti tio'l and coal of abysmal i!;norance;. the tramp of humanity is ceaseless but confused and cbaotic, its cramped ener).,';es and thwarted efforts lea d to perpetual struggles, volcanic upheadngs and confused rnmblings presaging better epochs. but all this is in vain until the snll of Nam dawns on us turnin\! dark clouds illto petals of gold, and ,men into will~ed angel~. {)f that hidden-Still our )Jast~r

( Hi Guru Nan!lk is discoverer:



) lZuide,



GURU NANAK AS POET, PATRIOT AND PROPHET. If Guru Nannk is primarily n \Vorl,l Teachel' mul • 11es8iab, IIe is also a poet, patriot and prophet" II iu olle. He came with a sl~cial mi,sioll, and has left His lastill:,! impr'1" 011 humanity. Althou:;h His prophetic qualities a re ~ellcr..\.Hy rei1li~ed. yet His patriotic fervour is sometimes eclipsell Ity his pl'llphetic glory. A patriot is essentially II prmluct of the times, but while he i. its product, he is also its mouider a nd mahr. A patriot. therefore, may be likened to Janus \yho has t.\\"o fo.ce~, lookin~ ~inlttltane()u~ly to the past and the tuture. 111 the following sketch . ! \\'ill rc"iew briefly first the Hindu period, and then the .\!"IU1I1Imedall period immediately proceeding :\anal<, a nel then try to ~bo\\' how Guru Xanak paved the way for l'ew synthesis and nation.huilding. His patriotism is so well· defined allll genuine that 1 sometimes think that i>',triotism is the more fundamental notc in Him than e,'cn poetr.y. But whether the noet is prior in him or the patl'iot is immaterial as a true prophet is one· who knits these and many other notes in one which het.'o miog indistinguishable .reg-ardin~ their ongl D, are one in their unified symphony. Hence, the most towering feature about Gunt ",anak is His prophctic lltitul",e. Yet it \\-111 help us illlrpensl'$ly if \ye uueler. stot.1tl Him Iho.. t' as n patrint, fot" it is thi:-; Jessm: which

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India needs most when she is setting her house in order amI trying: to build the same afresh. The synthesis wroul(ht hy Guru Nanak is true for nil time, anc! hence rcf~rence to some of the details may he helpfulln eyoldng out our present day constitution. \Ve lnust begin at the very beginning in order to appreciate the general outlines of the Indian Ilistory, for without this perspective it will be impossihle to realise tbe specific l"Ontrihution of the Sikh Gurus. I wil\ tirst take up tile broad outlines of the Hindu period in which idealism looms large. While this is the source of Indin's spiritual glory which remains undimmed till today, yet it was also the perennial source of her political and economic troubles and distress. It was this indifference to the lVork.a-day world which brought the Muslim invaders from the north, whn coming like locust-storms sucked the vitality of the Indian soil. The Mohammedan invaders have mentioned themselves in their narratives that they were not very iimd of India, but it was its wealth and its open doors which tempted them. Gur1'l. Nanak was born at a yery critical tillle. IIe had seen the slaughter of Sayyadpur (Eminaba'l) with his OWI1 eyes. He had seen how C\'en the d.stinies "f Mohammadan rule.. had ebbed anu decayed, and how the Pathan rule v;us o\rer_ thrown by the .\J.ugllals. The Guru had met Babar and hud ~\1ftcrec1 from his persecution. HencÂŤ;, his evidence anLl diagnosis of the times ' cannot but he

( 17 ) most valuable to an impartial historian. We will discuss these outstanding items separately in the Hindu and the Mughal period and then try to understand the message of the Guru as a patriot who lived, worked aod suffered as one of the India's truest sons.

The Historical Perspective-The Hindu Period Guru Nannk tbe founder of the Sikh Relil(ion is at once a supreme poet: patriot. and prophet. Hc sings of the pa~t and of the present. but it is to the future tbn t Hi~ all seeing eyes arc chiefly directed. He is true mirror of medi"'al Indi,,-. of its merits and demerits, of its woes and agonies, of it. sun~hinc and Its whirlwinds. No account of Nanak c(ln be true which does not take into account the historical pel'!'pectiYe in which His all-engrossing picture is set. Hence, we must go back to the very beginninl( and see first the why and wherefore of the advent of Nanak bcfore!i\' His message to Innia in particular, ancl to the w()rld at large . The history of India is primarily a history of io\'asions, conflicts aod of subsequent a5similations. IndC<.'<l, In,dia may well be called a big melting-pot of Civilisations, in which ideas and cultures melt like

crude ()res, producing uncanny amalgams and syntheses such as are known only in the East. We know yer~" little of the Indian history hefore Buddha and his timeR, hut when thc curtain lifts, we find Indian na-tion already fully panoplied emerging on the stage much' as Minerva came out Of the imagination of




jupiter. We find that tbe Indian soddy is dh'ided into four main castes, of whom the Brahmans are ,upreme as they were considered twice-born, and it ",as tbeir special pri\'ilege to chant tbe hymns of th~ Vedas and to perform other sacrifical works which the w'arriur-l."Ooquerors performed either to celebrate their victories or to propitiate the gods of whom ' Iuite a number a re mentioned in the Rigveda, tbe oldest buok of the Aryas. FrOID the point of "iew of of history and religion, the Vedas and the Upanishads a re eel tainly the most man'cllous books in that they reyeal that many milleninms before Christ, India reached a sta~ of culture w;,ieh is still a wonuer ior the West. These sacred books will always be considered the bed·rock of Indian civilizutian for they re"ea l a mighty grip of the mysteries of life, a nll of t he high-k,'e1s of philosophy and of mysticism such as a re peculiar to the introspective India. Tbe baked day tablets of Mesopotamia, and the mummy wrapp ings and papyri of Egypt are like little toys compared with these ancient monuments of India n Civilization. Although the Vedas a nd the Upanishads are ':')llsiderc:<i one histo,rically, yet tbeir car':inl study will soon reveal that they embody ditIerent schools "r thought anll worship. T he stage of Vedic c~lture ;s verily a oock~it in which different gods are figbting ;or "ictory and supremacy, a mi it cannot be said with eOl'tainty as to who had attained the hegemony. Ved-Vyas (£IS the com.,i1er is well described l • t llerefore, contented bimself with bringing the bymns

( 19


under one hig compass rather than pointing out the fundamental unity of Vedic Religion. Under tbat -seeming unity of Vedic Religion, there is thus seetbing ferment of dis-harmony and discord wbich, as we will soon find, developed into different scbools of Puranic thought, such as still pre vail in parts of Ind:", and wbich stir up dissensions with the least proyocation. Apart from the conflicting scbools of philosopby wbich sets the IndIan pbilosophers at sixes and sevens -so often, we find in the Upanish. ds themselves class struggle i.e. between the Brabmans and the Kasbtriyas. The Kashtriyas bad begun to assert that Brahm-vidya i.e. knowledge of God i. by no meaus an exclusive mOlloply of the Brahlrulns; the Brihad Upanishad for instance, asserts that it is monoply of the Kashtriyas or Warrior-kings such as Janak alld others of hallowed memory. Tbis was a very important scbism in Indian tbougbt. for it ,Iemonstrates that already before Buddha and the Cbrist, democracy had asserted itself in India, ill that tbe 6t \Vicc.born' was consiuered to he one, ,,路ho "'US literally regenerated in Spirit, no matter wbat his caste. This was verily turning the tables on tbe .Brahmans \vho considered t'eligion to be a ~aste monoply. The Upanishads are important in yet anotber way. The Hindus are accused, rightly or wrongly, of baving written no bistory worth the name. The .~obammedans are considered to be comparatively better histofians. But there is a rca son for this, as

I. 20 ) indeed for any other national trait. And the main reason, why the Hindus did not write minute details of the earthly career of any king or leader was that they considered this to be a futile waste of time, the time so gained being devoted to things of much great~r moment, that is in learning heavenly mysteries about life a nd death. If you read some of the bigger (:panishmls liS the Chhandogya and the Brihad, etc. you will find long hsts of genealogies, sometimes running into fifty or more, which will give you t.'Orrect names and descriptions not of the kings, hut of those mystic seers who probed into these myste"i.., ami handed them o\'er to their di.cil)les at the time of their death. These earefully l'Ompiled lists show that the Hindu seers could COIIII)il. history if they wished to do so, but they had purposely a,"oided to do so. For the same r芦.son, we lind thnt practically nil the details of the lives of Hhagatas such as Kabir and Nllnak are carefully nnd jealou31y guarded and li:cpt, but of their COQtemp<>rary kings who Ih'ed with so much flourish and trumpet, very little is known. Whatever he the reasoll why so little i'!. known of the past ami the matcria l hist<>ry of India, the fact remains that uf it.... spirituul history. no link is missiug. So careful is Indi 路, is preserying' the r,pri tual fossils, that Iudia may well be called the )'ll1".eum of Religions. Por instance, what cvulcl be more surprising than the ract that Iudia which is the home of Brahm-vidya (divme know\e.lge), also trctisllres

( 21


and cherishes the memory oC Charvakis who were atheists, and avowed enemies of religion. But this spirit of toleration is an expression of the selfsame dictum which is stated in difterent words before that India is a grave-yard of religions, each havipg its day, ebbing, flowing, and then passing away, lea,-ing but a ripple. mark on the alluvial flats of the Indian mind. This is partiCL1larly true of Bulldhism which owed its birth to India, and yet is knowl1 today only by its absence, or hy historical researches which brin~ into further relief its decline and death within the fourwalls of India. Although Buddha and Asoka are now Corgotten figures of the past, yet tht philosophy of non-violence, of "Ahimsa" still li,'es, The Buddha and his Philosophy paved the way ior the iun,sion of Alexander, and when Asoka died , India was submerged in complete darkness ancl confusion, for no less thah ;,00 years. In this period kites from the Afghan highlands pouched on Indiau sparrows, for that was the condition to which India was recluc-ed by the Buddha's philophy. This is, brieHy, the Hindu India. in all its glury as 1llso in its weakllt"SS7 whica made it a prey to Muslim invasion.

Historical Perspective-The Muslim Period, Whell India hud lost tbat virility wbich the Aryan ' conquerors infused in to it, then came a nother stream of iuyaders who were destined to le:l\#e a lasting hnpn..-ss 011 the ci\'ilization qf India J namely the Mohammedans: Already in 7I 2, they bacl knocked




at the gateway of India in Sind, and hefore the tenth century they were stendily pouring into the Punjab. In A. D. 1001 Sultan ),Iahmud of Ghazni turned his. attention to India. and from 1009 onwards, he im'"ded India no less than se\'t'ntcen times, penetrating to us far down as Soruuath on the Indian coast. where he destroyed one of the most important images.. Mahmud manitestly came to loot and ""I~acrc, doing hoth with terrible efficiency, and " ,hen he died his only regret was that he could not curry his booty to the other side of the grave, for he could utilise bnt little of it in his life time, and that at the expense of ineltrring the odium of Firdausi. !\lahmud's onslaughts and Slaughters passed into a byword SO that Omar Khayyam cannot find a marc apposite word for dispelliug dark doubts of soul than this inveterate warrior, who gloa ted in blood and pluuder: "Th. 1IIiglitJ' MtlI",,,,d, th. ",etorious Lo,'d Thtlt till the tnisbclieving black Horde Of Fm,'s and Sonows tlltlt infest tlte Soul Scatle/'s tlnd slays with his ",chated Swo,'d," Moslem historia ns are enthusiastic about this "Image-breaker" but the tongue stutters to give expression to the inhumanities perpetrated on defence. less India by these trans, border invaders who "like a pack of hungry sharpcla wed wolves, ren upou the flock of fox-like i'l6dels, and dyed their swords a~d weapons in the blood of these wretch~s till str~ms of blood ran down the valley," Mahmud and his

succ~ssors continued to revel in carnage, It were the lke Inelia their home, awl Mug-hals who decided to m C to live in it as the Iudians do. Babar, the first Moghul Emperor of India, IUt. left us his autohiography which gi"es us an illsi~ht into bis mind, Contrar." to all ex pectations, h;' c,dl. India 'the Land of Regrets" , and he expound. hi, point of view ~t le~th thus : "Hindustan is [t country thn t h,," few pl",.. ures to recommend it. The peop' t are not hands()me. They have nO idea of the charm. offriendly society. They ha,-e no genius, no intellc~路 tual comprehension, no k indness or fel1 o,,-路f~lin~. no iugenuity or mechanical invention in planning or executing their handicrafts, no skill or knowledge in in design or architecture, They haw no good horses, no god flesh, no grapes or musk-melons, no good frui ts, 110 ice or cold water, no good food or bread in their bazars, no ba.ths or colleges. or candles or torches ne\'er a. cand lestick". If des!,ite all these bandicaps, Babar Im-ed to remain ill India, it wa; only hecauses like the :-'.lahmud of old the lo\'e of lucre was far too for him to ld him return to'路tbe sun.scorched plains of Samarkand. It is the ricbes of India th:tt has always attracted the rohlle\"-chiefs and will ever continue to do so, for al though the famous Peacock Throne i. no lon,!cr in India, ytt the ra\y material frOllt \vhich it ',":1.S made is still here, and unless the teerning- million, o( r;'dia learn to defend themsely~s, no pr>wer in hem-en or in earth can e,-cr san them. The idol of Sollluat h

( 24. ) was invoked fruitlessly again and again in the time of Mahmud, but it remained tongue-tied, and other idols today are no better_ But before we return to Nanak, let us learn from Babar himself way he was able to succeed in India. Babar tells us in hi. autobiography that in A. D. 1519 when he attacked tile frontier fort of Bajaur, he captured it chiefly because its defenders were new to fire-arms_ "The people of Bajaur" ",,:"'-oi:" ·ii~d ne\'er seen matchlocks, and at first were not in the ' least afraid of them but, hearing the reports of the shots, stood opposite the guns, mocking and playing unseemly au tics_ But when Ustad Ali Kuii brought Ii\'e men with matchlocks the defenders of the £<)rt became so frightened that not a man vcntu«d to show his head for fear of matchlocks." It is dear, therefore. that "ictory lay with those who knew how to hanule fire arms. In other \yords. io the: struggle {or existence, the brain triumphs instead of nWllbers. Th~re is n prevailing Inisuulierstauding tllat there is something intriu:iic and go:)d in the hluslilll fnith which helped it to rctain hold of India. Thi5 is not true. 1'he Puthans \vho were oustc~l by th~ :\lugh"ls were tbelllseln'S .\lohamllledans ami the reason why this change becallic imperative was that ,OOIl after their CllIKlul'St they bad degenerated. Tbus Ala-ud-Diu Khilji wll/:ed wars not to break idols, but only to possess l{ajput damsels in which direction he wus s,,,lly disappointed. Similarly, Kai Kubad was 80 much changed that he 10"ed to dCluce

( 25


like a. dancing girl. Even the Mughals deteriorated rapidly in their morals and although Babar was ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of his son Hamayun, yet Auraogzeb who was shortly to come 00 the stage, had no compunction in imprisoning his father ami killing his brothers, and th~ last Moghul was so much addicted to wine and deh.1.uchery tbat1;~e East. India Company found no diffi~ulty iT, displt",lug him. It will thus be clear that the Islam that was thUB imported into Iodia waS not of the milk-white brand which :\lohamlllad inaugurated in Arab. Wheu Guru "anak came to the 'stage, India had slIuk deep路down into the abyss of degradation, into which l.>oth tlic c'O llquerors and the conquerrcd hall fallen alike. It was the Punjab which sufferell the most in these repeated oJlslan!!:'ts as it lay like " door路mnt at the feet of the inv,\'.Ii:lg ho,des, aud it ",as uuw the tum of Punjab to ri~e to the occasion, to resp~llIl tu the can of mother India.

3. Guru Nanak as Mirror of the Medieval India. Guru )io"lUlk was a true SOil ef I ndia in t he tnlL'St sense of tbat the term. He waH a labourer, a fannel". a sho}>kl"e}ler, a sern tnt of G~)\路tr nme nt, a preacher, Il patriot, poet, antI prophet, all ill one. lIe lab.lured

iu the Ijelt! nud s\\'eated \\'ith his lIJates, lest hi" brethr~l1 may think that he was 110t of this carth, hut Glne ulI.<a r thly; he di,1 this to shu\\' that his problems

were the same as those of au on1iuar.\路




mortal, bnt the difference, if any, lay in application. and perse,'erance. He served the Goverument tn路 show that he could be an honest and faithful member of administration, i.e., so long as it did not interfere with his mornls and mi ..ion. He could handle the weighing scale with as mueh impartiality as he路 could handle the destinies of Hindus and :l.lohammcdnns ,yho \vere destined to ~eek his protection. Great Inen love to have Snlan he~-: -; mngs. '~\'en a~

the handsome lilies 100'e lhe dirtiest soil, The humbler thc beginning, the more virile the humanity that springs therein. A Jesus is born as a carpenter, a K&bir as a ,veaver, a nayc1a~s as a cobbler, and Ka nak also loved to be the village Accountant's son for is not a Patwari the smallest and yet the most important village functionary. He knew how the Patwaries often suck blood out of the Zamindars like路 so many leeches, and he knew how the Zamindars A'roaned under the eyer-increasing hurden of taxation of an alien Government. Guru Nanak knew all this fir.t hand, and when at the tender age of seven he began to sing poetry. he sang first of the hundred ami one little aih""nt. to which the scciety was prone: the of sacred thread and its lost signifieance or cookin h squares and their touch-me-not evil, of 8udaq (impurity so called) which c1in!!s to men at the time ofhirth and death, of caste which strangled the vitals of the society, of tiraths (places of pilgrimage) which had bec,orne thcn as now dens of evil. of IIraddhs i. e, offerings to the de,id which had.

( 27 ) takeD the place of charity to the living, of perl'erted dress, pen'erted talk, perverted programmes of life which had become too wooden, too leaden, too iron for the Spirit to manifest itsel( Guru NaDak was Spirit·Born and came to shed New Life on eartb. He found society dead, s';.nken aud fossilized. It was for him to take it by hand, lead it up step by ,step, enfranchise it, endow it with freedom : witb ' enlightenment and with glory. A great task, an IIerculean labour.. yet it harl to he done. Inch by incb he strug'gled against it, by hi. word, deed, aDd action, by his life aud dea th, by hi. ceaseless travels and by hi. Word, and by preparin.<: and choosing proper successors, And]o ~ in less than two centuries, tbe Punjab is galvanized, ;s yjyi· tied, is rejuyenat. d into ne", life which Gnru Nanak alone could bring to pass. Guru Nanak w aved the magic wand, and the miracle of new life ,,'as wrought Nanak is a faithful mirror. not only of the social and religious India, but what is of greater importance of the then Political India. While other devotees were content with siugin/! hymus of '['Iraise to the Supreme One, Na n" k went further and diagnosed the ailment of India, the o.;ickman of the East. The hymns that he sung em· bn•.~ all aspects of Life, and not the least important are th'se Vars in which conflict is pictured between evil m · l good, bct\\'cen 't he ills to which Iudia ha(1 sunk,aul virtue wbich is its c!,re. Olle of the most importn,t of '~uch vars is Asa·di-Var which we

\ 28 ) chant e, ery morning, before daydawD, and which is a hird's eye view, as it were, of tbe sunken con. dition of the then India, It tells us how to grapple with the evil of untouchability, to discard customs un,understood, of forms tnat h'l\'e lost their true signiticance, About the sacred thread, he tells us : "::-'0 more the cotton, thread, but the cotton of compas.~il)n, the thread of contentment , , the knot of cODtincnce, and the twist of truth," 'Nanak broke through the crust of supor-ficiality of customs and of forms and iet the people have direct pecp into the Heality within, "Religion" says He "Iioth not ill words, in wandering' to tomhs or places of crcma路 tioll. or sitting in clltrereut postures of contemplatioD, ill wandering to places of pilgrimage or oh~cn'ing ceremonies; it is Life which looks on ul1 men as equals, which trcats them as such, which sees Him the ),laker here, th.:rt: and c\Tcrywberc." E(lt1:Liity br.:twl!cn the high and the low, between man and man, between man ami woman, b:!tweeu the n:icr and the rulctl-thi:; is the great message of Guru ::-'anak which he instiller! into the hearts of !lis fellow :.nen j this m<::-ist"'. ~c was echoed and rt-..;;:hocrl hy his succes~ol's until it was assimilated, and tt) the ,';ikhs are one \\"hatt:\'er their colonor the caste. Guru ~i.lllak sowed the seed of spiritual dcmocracy w(! reap seed today. The process of g't'1"1l1iuation and grQwth is still in prog-res5 and will t'Ol1tinue 50 to rll)uri~h fl,r His me~sage is for the world at large. ;\5 a true mirror of medieyal India, we find in




him the following hymns which are surcharged with rare pathos and describe what has been well described as "Babarwani" i. e. Babar'. carrying of Fire and Sword in the conquered India. 4. Babarwani or blood·red India i:q the time of Babar. The hymns that describe the lurid condition of India at tbe time' of im'asit)n of Bahar arc sOllle of choicest gems of J'Oetry that arc found in the Guru Granth &,hib and tbeir bistorical value is unquestioned. Tbey may be considered as leaYes from ~lother India's autobiography written by herself or dictated to ber truest sons which they did in their very life· blood (Khnn ke sohile gawee Nanak). (i ) The Mash'" "elales tile jdl."itlg Ilto'lt·t· />/ud;"g tale 10 Brother Lalo about india alld its desttilJ' ulIder the lIfughtZls.

"As the word of the Master come.t h to me, so I reyeal it unto thee, 0 Lalo· ! With his fiendish forces. Baba. presses 011 from Kabul and demands forced gilt.. from people, 0 Lalo! Deccncy.Y and righteousness hnye taken wings and vanished, flaschood stalks abroad, 0 Lalo !

The qazis lind the Brahman's bave now been supplantecl 1>0' the Deyil who reads tbe marriage sen-ices, 0 La 10 ! E"en the :.\luslim conquered ladies arc suffering,

. --

- .- - -----


wns first ,tisciple of Gllrll XnnaK :m·llived in Eminabad.




amI they read the Holy Books to call upon the :iupreme One, 0 Lalo ! The high. caste Hindu ladies, as also the luw one~. also groan under the yoke of tyranny, 0 Lalo ! Dirges of murder gush out from the sore hearts Sanal<, alltl bloo<l is heing shed in place of salfroll <) Lalo ! In this ~ity of l.'Orpses, Eminahad: I sing elegies 路)f woe o.m1 s()und n')te3 of warning, 0 , La la ; He that made the universe seeth it all. although : Ie doeth it sitting apart; He is ju~t His (Iecisions are just and exemplary; Bodies will be cut like shreds of cloth, and :'.Iother India will remember my prophecy: viz. Having come in '78 (1578 8am1.l!lt A. D. 1.321), ~hey witl clear out first in '97 (V397 S"mbat A. D. t.;~o i.e. Hamayltll was then ousted by Sher Shah) ..... , there after sha1l he born my disciple another hra ve \Ian (Guru Govind Singh !) ; :-Ianak tells the truth, utters it publicly for the )ceasion demands it." (Tilang Rag) In this the Guru tells how Babar carried nre and :"j '.v0nl int路J the B:lliuabad village whi','.I;l he entered .l ad massacred. :-10 distinction was made between the Hindus ami Mohammedau girls.. although the latter were of his own faith. This illdiserilllinate ' ;"ughter made the heart of "anak bleed, and he foretold how Hamayun will he first vanquished by Sher Shah, which will be a temporary eclipse of the Xlughal rule in India, the permament eclipse heing

( :11


IJrought about by another :>Un of Man, namely Guru Gohind Singh wbo will be spiritual desendaut of the Guru bimself (Marad·ka·chela), ~o mucb alxlut Bubar's sweeping inmsion and now about its deaden.jng effect :(ii) TI.. Master is j>il/dud and ,ails Ih. Supreme (Jue ifi,"self to .ceormt ! The Ruler helps Khurasau aud hastens to spread .nnother. to India terror in ludia, The Creator takes no blame on Himself; Deatb ,Jisguised as Mogh"1 came and swept o\'er the plains "f India; There was much beating. wringing of bauels. 'laushing of teeth; 0 Lord did that not pinch Thce? o Lord! Thou art oommon to all ! If a powerful party iJeatetb auother powerful party, tben tbere is certainly no OCI!asion for grief "f complaint; But if a ravening ~ion falleth upon defenceless hard. then the Master of the Herd must needs show his mettle!" (Rag Asa) This is nu idle i.relOi:1d, but it sh'>ws what way the wind PIe\V in the mind of ~anak, lie saw the 'Ikpth to wbicb lndia had sunk, and he would invoke ·no one else but the Supreme One Himself to set right the Supreme Equilibrium! (iii) 1Ite M(1sl..' 1IOW ,'e/ales in dclail Ihe lale "I Indian miser}' (l.1zd the ,°t'asons thercof.

"The tresses that adorned the hearls of In·lb n Jadies, tresses'vennillion-parte.J, are now shorn wi th




shea rs, and dust dar1,eneth the necks whose seductiv~ looks enthralled loyers ; Ladies who lounged on sofas in palace. know not wherc to sit; Inscrutable are Thine Ways, 0 Lord, no one kno\\"~th Thy strange forms and changes : ()n the day when these maidens wcre married, they looked yery lovely in the train of their bridegrooms, They were bron~ht howe in pa1amluins, carved with h路ory ; Scents were sprinkled on them, nnd ineffable light emanated from their RilYery garments ;

A hundred thousand rupees were pre5ented to them as the first present on their entry into the new home, and an equally big sum when they stood to take the ne\\' duty that devolved on them; Cocoanuts and raisins were among the fruits that were sen'ed on their table, and they lent charm to the heds they reclined on ; Now they are prisoners with cords round their neel" w hich unstrin~ the pearl necklaces ; "'ealth and beauty which kept them infatuated, ha ye now become thei r enemies;

Thc nlyrmidons of the Mughals disgrace them, and carry them ill plunder; such are Thy ways 0 Lord Wh" exalteth and runisheth as He listoth ~ Why al\ this trouble and tribulation if only one were prepared for the future? /JlIt the Prine" of lm?i" lost 'heir lu"d., II! tl!...1>1Iysui't of IM,.'1 a11d lxct"te1llt1lt,




Deyastation and desolation follow in the walte of Babar And babies have no mothers to feed them; :>!either Mussalmans are allowed to pray nor Hindus allowed to worship, Nor are the Hin<lu ladies allowecl to ,ll'aw cQoking squares, paint their bead \vith vermillion, or take a bath Men who had D~glected Ram arc not allowe<l the choice of even professing faith in Khuda ; Those who had fled from the field return to their lodgings and enquire about the dear ones tbey bad left bebind ; Tbey find them not, and congregate only to lament and cry 0 Nanalt, wbat is man? He alone is all, and His will is Supreme! (Rag Asa)" This hymn shows how both tbe rulers and tbe ruled were suult into luxury; they had untold wealth which was a curtain between them and the ~upreme One , This is why miseries followed, (iv) T"e Master recites Ji""lly the tal. of ludi,,,, 1Ilisery fllui its real caust .- Imiitl1t impotence. and jail" i" magic ! "WherC"are the prancing steeds in tbe stables aod iu the touruaments, and where the sounus of horos aud bugle? Where are the costly belts and red liveries ? Wbere are the lo:.kiog glasses and enchanting faces? O. Lord, this is Thy handw,?rk, Thou myest do and undo anytbing in the twinkling of an eye; all




hoarded wealth may be distributed among all brethren should'st Thou so will ; Where arc the gates, mansions and palaces and where the stately inus ? Where are the beds of roses and charming damsels seeing which one could not sleep! Where are the betel leaves and the selJers therof, and damsels with lips parted like rubies? They have all '路<Lnished. It is this wealth whic1, kept them deeply infatuated, atld whick has brought aballt tluir '"fIin. Without sins it accumulateth not and at the time of dea th it parts our company; Wben the Lord takes a way virtt1es, misery follows of itself ; Countless Pirs eudcavoured to stop Mir Babar's(by incantation) when they heard of his triumphant march; Private mansions and public buildings were set ablaze, and children cried when they were flayed alive; Yet "0 Mughal became blind oy tltc incantations the Pirs, a"d the magic of Indian., prevailed ."at; It, the contest oetwe", tke Mughals and tlte Pfltltans, there was fierce had to hand fight with swords; the . MligltaIs also used matchlock guns, and the latter brought unwieldy elephants;


Bllt tlte Indians had forfeited tlte Lard's sJl1"patjy t1UIing to 1M,. j"'totence. and tlte,. :kad to expiate. tlzij,.. sins by dying as tltey did ;

( 35 ) The Hindu, Turk, Bhatti, and Thakur wives .-eiled from head to foot, are either carried off or find resc in the burial ground; How can they pass their nights in peace who arc lovelorn? The LDrd doth al\ this according to. law: why bewail in vain? sorrow and joy come accDrding as we obey the Law Dr we do not : why to disobey and yet cry? The Lord is pleased when His Law is oheyed, or else one reapeth what one soweth, (Rag Asa)", This the last hymn is clear as daylight that f"en the Mohammedan Pirs had lost all vitality and having lost all






the outworn device of magic, This shows the bathos to which the pre-Mughal rulers, whether Hindu or Mohammedan, had sunk, and the obvious result was that when Babar came to India, he found little Or no resistance, so that his EmperDrship was tnsured, with the single exception of l{ana Sangha of Mewar, who. was a hard nut even fDr Babar to crack. Oi Raila Sangha, it is said that "He exhibited at his death bnt the ft:2lgment of a warriol;; one eye ",as lost in the broil with his hrother an arm in actiDn with the Lodi king of Delhi, and he was a cripple owing to a limb being broken with a cannon-ball, in another, while he counted eighty wounds from the sword or the lance on various prrts of his body" (Tod). When Blibat was pitched against this warrior, a more desperate peril than had fallen to his lot before, he

for5wo rc his f.l\' lluntc dce of drunkenness, breaking his drink i n~.l.! up.i amI pouring his liquor away. lIe

kept his \路ow anu \yon!

5. GURU NANAK AS PATRIOT, TI,lC5C Babarwani hymns, giYCIl aooyc, are yery important, They show, on the one hand, that the heart of ~an"k was bleeding tor his :-'lothcr-India ,vhich he sa'Y l yin::r prostrntc at the feet of iovaders, an!lon the other, they show J.,!riln d~termillation of the Guru fiJI' curing' :\lothcr-county of all its a ilments. 1 have read care ful1 y many a n patriotic song, but 1 have n:) t come HCl'OSS a more impassioned utterance tha n that which Comes nut of the hea,'t of ~a na k ,v hen de!"criiJing the condition of hi5 country and its mal-treatment What can be more patriotic than Guru )!anak calling e\'en the Snpreme One Himself to the bar and answerin~ the charge of taking sides? Says he? "Thou befriendest indeed Khurasan, why not India r" Khurasan khasmana kia, Hindustan draia), This is more than a jeremiad, more than a lament; it is the clarion ca ll of the patriot whose heart writhes in auguish on seeing the sunken condition of his coun' .ry, Guru ~anak i~ hence first and foremost a patriot, amI the whole Sikh history is but Guru Nana k's dream ac tualised! In the face of this to say that it was Xauak who blessed the the :-.Iugha ls, including Babar, is a sheer tnn'esty of facts, ancl the ,'ery beig ht of absurdity, Guru Nanak would baye been the last man to force foreign domination 011 India, and his prophetie utterances

( 37


are a clear proof against this superstition, if indeed any such proof is at all considered necessary. Yet, it is an irony of fate that the Guru who sings the death-dirge of ~ughal rule in his Dabrwani hymns is today considered to be the blesser of ).Iughal of rule in India! Mis-reading of history could :!lot be pushed to a more preposterons limit than this! Secondly, these hymns of Guru Nanak show that this seer \vho. ,\PBS born in medieval India was certainly not like the seers of the Vedic times who considered this world au illusion, and life an empty mirage. Nor was he like other devotees who Ih'ec1 contemporaneously and were found in other parts of India. Guru Nanak was first and foremost a realist, and this work· a-day world was to him as important as the ideal world of which this is an image. It is, therefore, that unlike other saints, contemporary or ancient, the Guru indulges at great length on the political condition of India, This was necessary, if Guru Nanak came not merely to condemn the existing order but to cure it of its malady. Hence, it was that when the question of his succession arose, at his death· Led, the Guru rejected. his sons in fayour of Aogad· \vho was like Nanak, as much a man of this world, as of the world beyoad. The whole Sikh history is hence a carefully laid and carefully executed design of Guru Nanak, in which the conditions of the then hulia, receh'ed effecth'e treat• Gurll Angatl wns the ~eeo1ltl Sikh r.uru.

( 38


ment. Looking forward, we can now say that it was Nanak who undermined the foundations of the :\Iugbal rule, and thereby paved the way for Indian Swaraj! If only the latter-day India could follow in the footsteps of the :\laster, India would not have lost what it wrenched from the hands of the Mughals after such a bitter struggle. Here it must also be mentioned that the Guru stressed rigbtly that tbe salvation of India lies not in dcyotion to illusory sciences such aB magic or astrology, but in tbe cultivation of self-confidence and knowledge which are the hackoone of a nation. Tbe Guru also had his cye on the matchlocks of Bahar, which Hahar himself stat"", were the key to his success. In other words, what is wanted and was empbasised by the :\laster is scientific equipment side by side with se1f-sacritke. It is this lesson which Nanak ruhbed home in us when he condemned the Saidpur maSS<lcre, the prototype of Jallianwala bag tragedy. From the abo"e it should not be concluded that the Guru w aS particularly against this or that clique. Ou tbe other hanel, hc was friendly .,.~ Babar, and 50 were Guru Xanalt路s successors to the succes路 sors of Bahar. liut thc Guru told him that if the Suprcme Oue had gi\'en him the might to rule, he should rule with mercy; it is good to hnyc giant's streui{th, hut it is tyrannous to use it like a tyrant. On the other hand, he lirmly told the princes and rulers of India tbat debauchery and luxury always

( 39 ) lead to degeneration even as the Pathan rule had decayed before the advent of the Mughals, hence, in public as in private life, puri ty of morals is the yery essence of life, and this sbould be the watchword of Renascent India. 6. Guru Nanak as Poet. If Guru Nanak is fundamentally a patriot, He is constitutionally ,. a poet. It is as a poet tbat he warbles out his sweet message, even his elegies and impassioned outbursts are full of the milk of humrLU kindness. He may well be called the ~ightin颅 gale of the East. His message is sublime yet simple, seraphic yet homely, thrilling yet houeyed. A true poet is first and foremost a child of Xature, hence there is 110 chord of Nature's lyre which does not strike resp')Qsive echo iu the hcart of Nanak. His songs are truely Indian, they are dycd with the sunny purple of the Indian duydftwII, his message has thc mellow swcctnes; of Indian fr~its, his poetry is surchnt'gcd \vith electric simmering so chnracteris.. tic of the Indian cloud. We Cecl in his ycrscs the very ontbrnst of the monsoon, we feel the sonorolls echoes of thc Ir.cJUntains Cull of thc. wild music of the hill torrents;, ,,~e fecI the quiet of the somhre woods coyeriog the rugged 510p':5 of the Hhllabyns, w'e feel inclined tr) cry with the Koel, wccp with the Chatrik, and burst into laughter like the moukey路bird lastly we also fecI inclined to dallce with the peacock \\"hen on the advcnt of the monsoon. it spreads its fan-tail and danccs out dclirious strains of the. exuberant joy.

( 40 ) The following hymn describes the feelings started in the poet's mind by the pattering (.Rhun-jhun) of this monsoon rain :-

W ADHANS M.I , Nanak's Reveries in the lIlonth of Rain (Sawan)! Th~ peacocks have begun their dance 0 tSister! it is the Month of Rain, It raineth Rhun-jhun : It raineth Joy; o Sister! great indeed is the ' pow~r of thine eyes, if thou couldst conq uer the AII-Cor.q uel'or ! o Beloved! [ would fain be a sacrifice myself to, Thee, if Thou woudst come, yea, but for one glimpse of Thine honeyed-Name; They say I am proud I I am proud because Thou art mine; 2. Without Thee what am I ?-dust, dust ashes! Vacant is my House, my Bed, (or the Lord hath not come i Let me break my crimson ·Iacquered ivory bangles against the crimson-coloured bed; in vain these jewelled arms, in vain this crimson-coloured bed when the Lord cometh not! . ' Of what avail these 'tinsels if the Beloved hath turned His back on me I I wish I had never had the crimson·lacquared bangles, nor purchased them in the open market, these distressing symbols of servitude I • Onomaetspoeie WOlt t for pattering of rain. t By.'Sikh' is luea.nt t\ brother ~llprecintot Ot Xature..

- ---

( 41


Fie those bedecked arms and bejewelled fingers which close not On the S,veetheart, "h! burn them with fuel! 3, All of my playmates have gone to their sweet路 bearts, but where shall I go? Oh me, the unfortunate one! And yet, 0 Mother, are there not some who call me beautiful, but He looks not at me ; He likes me not! Burnt then all my beauty; I h"'e bad my hair dressed, the tresses were parled in the middle, and plainted dOlYn on either side, the parting being filled with vermillion; All this decoration and finery, but He looked n~t at me i I pine and dwindle, because the Sweet One liketh me not! 4. Ah! my misery; my soul cdeth out from its very depths, I weep, and with me weep' the whole world! Tbe birds of the forest weep for me! The rivers and rocks weep fur me ! But weepeth not my own rebellious self, "'hich i, at the bottom of all my misery! S. In a Dream once He came to me, He came and went away I My eres were bedimmed with tears, but it was only a dream! Alas! my Belm'ed ! Thou art where r dare neitber gCS nor send a message i no mcsiiagc comes from Thee, no message can reach Thee ! I~ thi3 Vacant \Vaking, th\!n, worth aught? Oh! Sleep come steal



( 4.2


Put me to rest, perchance I may see Him again in Dream ; 6, If anyone came to me with the news of my Beloved, Ah ! if the impossible were to come to pass: Do you kilow what I would give him? I would take off mine head with my own h'md, and lay it before Him as the door 'mat; â&#x20AC;˘ Yea, 1 would love to serve Him with the headless trunk-if only I could meet Him! Why keep back this tottering body, this mind, if to keep them were to estrange the Beloved ?" This month of monsoon therefore stirs up the deepest depths in the susceptible mind of Nanak. But one touch of Nature is able to awaken in him thoughts too deep for words or utterance! Nature is to Nanak the Lord's own DwelJing wherein He lives, sports, and sings.

At every nook and corner He is and confronts us with a new smile and takes us unawares and this lIo.peep continues from aye to aye, At every turn of the season, the Supreme One accosts


with a new uniform!


following psalm describing the round of Indian months js unmarvclled in its r.ealistic glory. It sel\Oes well as a fillip for alVakening the hidden glory of the soul. Mark the realistic faithful de5Criptions and the idealistic 'glory \I"hich is echoed and re-cchoed b)' the responsive soul. V/t: begin again with Sawan. Guru i'ln.unl.:'s R01md of l uditw "fontlu-tlte Bm'(lllltlnlz!

It is tho Month ?f Rain, be happy, 0 my soul, for it is Sawan, the season of dark clouds and' dripping rain ; I.




I love my Sweetheart with all my heart and soul, but oh the Dear Olle hath gone abroad ; The Sweet One returneth not despite my protracted waiting; I die under the ever~increasing pang of separation; () lightning, thou terrifieth me with thine barbed darts ! I am alone on my bed, this aloofness sorely distresseth me ; o mother, my bed is full of pillS and needle" and 路the pain is as gaIli Ilg as death ; Without my Beloved, say how can I sleep? I cheri,h no food, holV can I? The raiment weigh. heavily on me; o Nanak ! this pang suhsideth only when the lleloved 'One is back OllCC more in the arms of her S weetheart ! 2. The month of of Bhadon leadeth me astray, for in the bloom of my youth I forgot Him; I repented at last, at long last, The lakes and meadolVs are full of rain路water for it is the rainy season, the season or joy, It raineth even at night, and in tne dark night the frogs croak, and the peacocks c,"\o, bllt h'Jw can the young bride revel without the Bridcgl"O:JOl ? The brain-fever bird shrieks for hel' mate ; 5(;;pcnt~ m:)~e out h.i:;sing- and biting j mo~quitoes sting~ lakes 路are full to the hrim; without the I1elaved how may I obtain comfort? o . Nanak ! go to the Ma~terl and rolJowing His advice, wend whither the Lord abideth !


4.:1. )

3. It is now the month of Assuj, 0 Beloved, com'" back! I pine and faint for Thee! Is it not my-own.self which stands in between, divid路 ing me from the Universal Self? 0 Lord, reveal Thy-. self if Thou wilt. The ignorance intervened, hence the saparation ! The reeds and the big grasses (Sa.coharum munja and sponta.neum) are in full blOC'm; the summer heat hath dwindled and winter is just approaching; so much time hath passed and the Beloved hath not yet come; my mind is unea,), ! On all sides the trees are green and verdant, and the fruit trees are eloquent with the message; the slower the mellower I

o N anak, I hope for the very best, [ do :hope to. meet the sweet-heart, for the Master hath come, 0, the mediator I 4. Katik brings to me the hopeful message that all is ordained by His Grace; the lamp which is lighted by the Divine Flame burneth for ever; this lamp is fed by de\"otioll.

The more this lamp I fed, the nearer n .. came; Ah! the ineffable delight of coming Union ! Tis, not ordinary death, sin-born, which bringeth this union to pass, this New Life, which is born out of death of the ego! At long last they have gotten the Name as also the Supreme One's Dwelling those who had abiding faith-in ,. Him! 0 Lord, open iIIine Doors, fling 路 them wide open

( 4.5 ) of else one second would be like unto six weary months to me ; Ah! I am on the very tiptoe of expectation I 5. The month of Maghar is auspicious to those who are blended with Him, by assimilating His attributes ; The faithful bride winneth tile Lord by the omament. of virtues: I love the Spouse Who is stablished fn eternity. My Sweet beart I Immovable He, all-wi!>e He. all-seeing, all-arranger, yea, this is my . Supreme One! â&#x20AC;˘ Hut for Him all -else is in flux! By meditation and wisdom alone is this union vouchsafed ; It cometh to pass shoold He ordain. Then 10 I He i; pleasing to me and J am pleasing unto Him! I have heard the ineffable Melody of his Unstruck Music hearing which sin and sorrow dropped away, o Nanak that bride is dear unto the Lord who loveth Bnd serveth Him with all her heart and soul I 6. In Poh it freezeth, the forest and the grass are dry 'liS cinder; tbeir moisture is no more; Why cometh Thou not? My body and my mind melt and flow to my tongue to taste Thee, yea to lick Thee I o Lord! How great Is my folly! Thou wert in my mind, in ~ery atom of my hQdy. Thou pen'lldest the whole creation, and yet I knew Thee not-by mr folly ... t now know Thee, I recognise Thee hy thine unending Music, by Thy Presence I Thou art in the egg-born creation, in the placenta-tied life, in the sweat-born infra'World, as also in the crust-breaking vegetable Ufe, yea, Thew art here, there and everywhere! o Lord¡ Mertiful do reveal unto m,e Thine Self, also




vouchsafe unto me understanding to see Thee everywhere

o Sportive Lord !

Thou playeth the Bo-peep eternally, come and envelop me by Thine blissful Presence ; may I hold Thee ever and ever by the silke!1 cords of mine love

!~ "

Tl'.C:iC are a few specimens of the Guru's Love fO! Nature,- Nature which is to him a foot stool of God_ These psalms show how even the reeds and the grasses, the serpents and the mosquitoc!'>, the snow ann

the silvery rill;, the forest fires and the monsoon rains aile ami all, awaken in Him reveries far too deep for word s or tears,

GURU NANAK AS PROPHET. And now I come to the crowning part of my essay i,e'as to what I mean by the Guru being a world-saviour and the prophet. I wiII not labour the point at any lengt'h for this appears to me to be self-evident. Moreover, the fewer words th~ better as the finer of the prolounder the problem the more it eludes words and description. Nevertheless, one thing is clear as regards any pro phet and it is this. This world of ours is liable 10 death, disease and decay. All that is }"our.g and green passes away giving rise to wrinkles, outworn bark, and

stinking wrench. Indeed, the world we live in is more a phanta,smagoria than a solid reality. Is this then the final reaItiy ? The prophets tells us that this is not the case, that behind this changing world there is another, golden,. unchanged, unalloyed. This hidden wvrld i; then the




Kingdom of Hea,-cn, and it is the special pri,-ilege of a prophet to lead us into that fair)- world_ I wi!1 mention the fo\lowing h)'ma of the fifth Guru as a trlle mirror of the change which comes over a mortal on entry i:lto this enchanted Land :"0 Lord, t!te1'C is joy, ('/ F'J' lIte ';ler)1 s/'rill~-· ";dt:, F.fJr that Hi'ddI11~ Being, I have i.JC;-il.y (sti"d, I ,~(lVt: ,'csled, yen, I !ta;'~ ' IttSlcd TIt.: }[edvr:lIl.y Juice edu/,:(I,.a:.~d. A /I ~;)or'{ly IrtllslI.l"tS, :"t.'a II,,' T1'l'asu,.cs llh..·. CaI.'u into 111)' dwelling, () L on/ dt';.'inc, E ::r.r),lIu'lIg, cVe/J'tllill~r:, 0 Lord, , gtli,'(~t!, Sf Thine tramslIIlItillg ;}~l;:;t', lobtniJlL'd. T",111Smub: d frawmmf;',l tu·..· nit

mell ;

o [,01''', uow all an: 1Il)' fri,:mis fmd brc:r1,r,'!! ~ D ij]zt;u!t, how difficult tIlt: tlrCiia of the ,:v(),..'d? ret by thint! grace tIle flag (If'i,ltc/oIJ'. I wl/tfr/,·d. TIlt! /uJ,'lc)'cd Ncctar do ••.m/,(l1In:d illto me li,h' ,.' shower,

, Ti~' Guru's p'nce and (I/It'ol/quilit" the


111), ta/IN'node is at Inst mille nlld /'111 'Zvitll/a,'fllls A lld those r'Vkked Five arc at !fmc last IlL',l .'


This experience which fell to the lot 01 the firth Guru promised by Nanak to one •.nd all of Hi, disciples. he Kingdom of Hea.ven i~ so much talked about but the ,ey to this Kingdom jo:; with our Gurll, ami it is no .her than the Nam_ That is the open sesame but r which all humanity must wander and tra,-ail. Guru Inak is the worlel-saviour Co,- He holds in the h-)lIoIV of .is Hand this prime possession_ What is religion if it i. evoid 01 this Singular pos,essions ?-it ;s bodr without




soul, a dead carcass! Guru ~anak prescribes this as the sovereign remedy, and knowing itc; potency, as I do, ] have no he.-;itation in saying that Guru Nanak is verily the World-Saviour par excellence.

CONCLUSION Guru Nanak is sweet, simple and sublime. He accept'\ sinners of all kind<, because He is primarily a Teacher wh03e favvurite tac;k it is to makp us stand on our own leg:;. lie is sweet because He is saturated with the milk of humanity. He is simple and sublime because He has the profoundest of all possessions which is the primal Nam from which all that is springs, and to whiet all returns! That is the mainstay of Religion, and ther< in lies the very essence of Guru Nanak's teachings an ;>hilosophy. I have tried to show how thi< Saviour combined i. Him the poet, the patriot, and the prophet. Yet there i one quality which remains to be stated and which I ha. reserved till the very last. It is His Common Personal;" -He is the common Saviour of the Hindus and tb ;\'Iohammedans, ofthe East and the West. In His auglt Personality, I see the Saviour. of the East and the Wet meeting and merging ';heir personalities, for "does He It have the lamh路like qualities of Jesus, the enthusiasm r . Mohammad, the God-given glory of Rama and Krism He is the locus of all divine qualities. And inasmuch e is their complete synthesis, hence He is simple I The Silo light is pure white as it is grand synthesis of all '/ariot; colours so also Guru N:anak is divinely simple as He : profoundly corr.plex !

==!!.i!J am 1!ll!1!ll2!illl!.!mU!!!1!l!l1lli!!ill!11I


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Guru nanak the saviour of the world (1469 1538)  

The tract "Guru Nanak The Saviour of the world (1469-1538)" was written by Sher Singh MSc Kashmir on October 10, 1935. It was published by T...

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