Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

GURU AT GAYA
After Banaras he reached Gaya which is a famous Hindu pilgrimage place situated at the river Phalgu (Sarju). The Hindu priests had declared that any offerings made at Gaya especially at the time of Baisakhi would secure salvation for seven generations of those who had departed from this world. The simple minded people made huge offerings and the priests fed the piters (ancestors) by offering rice balls, lighted up little lamps to illuminate their paths in the high heavens. The Guru started laughing which made the priests very angry. At that point the Guru explained that those who left their bodies on earth, did not need any food nor a glow of lamp to see. If this body could not go to the other world, obviously it was not possible for any material substance of this world to reach the other side. So the Guru enlightened the people and asked them to worship One God, the Formless.

 

GURU TO KAMRUP
After Gaya he passed through the area where modern city of Patna stands and reached Hajipur. Passing through Kantnagar he reached Malda. The town of Malda was situated at the confluence of rivers Ganges and Mahanadi. It is reported that a local merchant of Malda did a great service to the Guru for which he received Guru's blessings. The next stop was Dhubri in Assam. After Dhubri he proceeded along the Brahmputra river on to Kamrup, a place near the modern city of Gauhati. This whole route is marked by many old historical Gurdwaras bearing association with the Guru.

The city of Kamrup was ruled by a woman of black magic. She had assumed the name of Nurshah, the name of one from whom she had learnt this art. She and her female companions practiced black magic and exorcised strange powers in that locality. She owned the whole country around and many a mystic, yogi etc. fell prey to her magical schemes.

The Guru stayed under a tree outside the city while Mardana went into the city to get something to eat. On his way he met some women and fell victim to their machination, who made a lamb of him. Under mesmeric influence Mardana did all what they commanded him to do. He was thus imprisoned by the witchcraft of Nurshah and could not return to the Guru. The Guru knew what had happened to his minstreland he started to rescue him from his captors. Nurshah saw the Guru coming and tried to captivate him with her charms but her art of magic failed. She found out that her spells were of no avail. On their fruitless efforts, the Guru uttered the following Sabad on Kuchaji or the woman of bad character:

I am a worthless woman; in me are faults; how can I go to

enjoy my spouse?

My spouse's wives are one better than the other; O my life,

who careth for me?

My female friends who have enjoyed their Spouse are in the

shade of the mango.

I do not possess their virtues; to whom can I attribute

blame?

What attributes of Thine, O Lord, shall I blazon abroad?

What names of Thine shall I repeat?

I cannot even attain one of Thy many excellences: I am ever

a sacrifice unto Thee.

Gold, silver, pearls, and rubies which gladden the heart-

These things the Bridegroom hath given me, and I have fixed

my heart on them.

I had palaces of brick fashioned with marble.

In these luxuries I forgot the Bridegroom and sat not near

Him.

The Kulangs cry in the heavens, and the cranes have come to

roost.

The woman goeth to her father-in-law's; how shall she show

her face as she proceedeth?

As morning dawned she soundly slept, and forgot her

journey.

She separated from Thee, O Spouse, and therefore stored up

grief for herself.

In Thee, O Lord, are merits; in me all demerits: Nanak hath

this one representation to make,

Every night is for the virtuous woman; may I though

unchaste obtain a night also. (Rag Suhi Mohalla 1, p-762)

The Guru also uttered the following Sabad on this occasion:

In words we are good, but in acts bad.

We are impure-minded and black-hearted, yet we wear the

white robes of innocence.

We envy those who stand and serve at His gate.

They who love the Bridegroom and enjoy the pleasure of His

embraces,

Are lowly even in their strength, and remain humble.

Nanak, our lives shall be profitable if we meet such women. (Sri Rag ki Var Mohalla 1,2-7,p-85)

After the Guru uttered these Sabads, Nurshah thought that she would tempt him with wealth. Her attendants brought pearls, diamonds, gold, silver and laid down before him. She then prayed,O great magician, accept me as thy disciple and teach me thy magic. The Guru rejected all the presents and uttered the following Sabad:

O silly woman, why art thou proud?

Why enjoyest thou not the love of God in thine own home?

The Spouse is near; O foolish woman, why searchest thou

abroad?

Put surma needles of God's fear into thine eyes, and wear the

decoration of love.

Thou shalt be known as a devoted happy wife if thou love

the Bridegroom.

What shall a silly woman do if she please not her Spouse?

However much she implore, she may not enter His chamber.

Without God's grace she obtaineth nothing, howsoever she

may strive.

Intoxicated with avarice, covetousness, and pride, she

is absorbed in mammon.

It is not by these means the Bridegroom is obtained; silly

is the woman who thinketh so.

Go and ask the happy wives by what means they obtained

their Spouse-

'Whatever He doeth accept as good; have done with

cleverness and orders,

Apply thy mind to the worship of His feet by whose love

what is most valued is obtained.

Do whatever the Bridegroom biddeth thee; give Him the

body and soul; such perfumes apply.'

Thus speak the happy wives: 'O sister, by these means the

Spouse is obtained.

Efface thyself, so shalt thou obtain the Bridegroom; what

other art is there?'

Only that day is of account when the Bridegroom looketh

with favor; the wife hath then obtained the wealth of

the world.

So who pleaseth her Spouse is the happy wife; Nanak, she is

the queen of them all.

She is saturated with pleasure, intoxicated with happiness,

and day and night absorbed in His love.

She is beautiful and fair to view, accomplished, and it is

she alone who is wise. (Tilang Mohalla 1, p-722)

On hearing this Sabad, Nurshah and her companions fell at the feet of the Guru and asked for forgiveness and blessing to obtain salvation. The Guru told them to repeat God's Name conscientiously, perform their domestic duties, renounce magic and thus they would secure salvation. It is said that they became Guru's followers. After a short stay he departed leaving behind the awakened souls,to carry on his Divine mission.

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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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