Thursday, December 08, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism
Mian Mir was a renowned Sufi saint of Lahore. He belonged to Sistan in Central Asia. His original name was Shaikh Muhammad. He was born about 1550 AD. He had a religious bent of mind. As a child he attentively listened to religious sermons. He became a disciple of Shaikh Khizr of the Qadiri order of Sufis. Sufis believed in spreading Islam by peaceful means. As India was a great field for conversion, Mian Mir decided to come here. He was then about 25 years old. He settled at Lahore. He resided in the suburbs of the city called Begampura. The whole area is now called after him Mian Mir.

Mian Mir was such a holy man of God that the boons granted by him turned into reality. People thronged to him in large numbers from far and wide. Guru Arjan often visited Lahore to see the birth-place of his father and meet his relatives. On the occasion of one of such visits he called on the Pir. The two men of God met and became life-long friends. Mian Mir was thirteen years older than Guru Arjan.

Guru Arjan was responsible for the construction of many tanks and buildings. In 1589 he planned to build a temple in the centre of the holy tank called Amritsar or the tank of nectar. As the temple was to be thrown open to people of all castes, creeds and climes, he invited Mian Mir to lay the foundation stone of the Han Mandar. He came to Amritsar wearing a religious mendicant's long cloak made up of patches of coarse wool and a cone-cap made of a number of gores with a rose flower on top.

Mian Mir was given one of the warmest welcomes for which Guru Arjan was famous. The two holy men embraced each other in sincere love and regard. The purpose of the temple was disclosed to the Sufi saint. The Guru pointed out that the Hindu temples and Muslim mosques were built on a raised plinth. The Sikh temple would be erected on a lower plinth than the surrounding area. The idea was that God could be attained by bending low in submission and humi­lity. The Hindu temples and Muslim mosques were closed on three sides and had only one doorway facing east and west respectively. His temple would be open on all the four sides implying that it would welcome persons of all the four castes, Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishas and Shudras; to all the four religions in the world, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, and to all the people from any country or climate from north, south, east and west.

The Muslim saint was highly delighted at the fine objectives the Guru had in mind. He was deeply impressed with his pleasing. personality, charming manners and the divine light shining in his face,. words and deeds. The foundation-stone was laid. Hymns were sung in the praise of God and sweets were distributed among the audience. A mason with his tools stood by. As the holy man had placed the stone irregularly, the mason corrected its posture in order to place bricks on it properly. The saint expressed sorrow at the mason's mistake and remarked that the temple would have to be rebuilt in course of time The prophecy came out true about a century and a half later when Ahmad Shah Abdali blew it off with gunpowder.

In 1606 Guru Arjan was implicated in the affair of Khusrau, the rebel son of Jahangir. He was imprisoned in the Lahore fort and was barbarously tortured. When Mian Mir heard about it, he came to see the Guru. He found Guru Arjan calm and serene having completely resigned himself to the will of God. Mian Mir suggested to the Guru whether he should intercede with Emperor Jahangir on his behalf The Guru forbade him saying that God's will must have its course unchecked, as it was not proper to interfere with its working. He only asked for the Saint's blessings for his son Hargobind.

A couple of years after the death of Guru Arjan, his son and successor Guru Hargobind, a lad of thirteen, called on Mian Mir at Lahore. In the monastery (Khanqah) there were many disciples of Mian Mir including a young girl Kaulan. She was the daughter of Rustam Khan, the Qazi of the Capital. Being religious-minded from childhood, she became a disciple of Mian Mir. She had made up her mind to become a nun, but in Islam there was no room for a woman to lead the life of a nun. She therefore decided to become a disciple of Guru Hargobind: Her father grew furious at such a proposal. He tried his best to dissuade her from her intention. Having failed in this. attempt he began to persecute her. She fled to Mian Mir who sent her to Amritsar under proper escort. She was given a separate house to live, and she was immortalised by the construction of a tank named after her Kaulsar.

He is called the founder of Mian Khail branch of the Qadiri order. He passed away on 11 August, 1635. He was buried at village; Hashimpur.

Guru Tegh Bahadur as a child met Mian Mir who blessed him.
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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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