Monday, September 26, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

THIRD UDASI:

The third Udasi was undertaken towards the west. Guru Nanak reached Pakpatan (Ajodhan) where he met Sheikh Brahm who was the eleventh in succession to Baba Farid, whose Bani is also included in Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru had wide range of discussion with Sheikh Brahm. The Guru stated,

The Sheikh asked the Guru to explain,You say ,'There is only one God, why should there be a second?', and I (Sheikh) say:

The Guru replied:

In a Var (like Asa di Var) there has to be two beings; and the Sheikh asked the Guru to let him hear a strain in praise of the One God. My idea is, said the Sheikh,that adoration cannot be performed without two beings, that is, God and the Prophet. Let me see whom thou makest man's intercessor. Upon this the Guru asked Mardana to play the rebec and he uttered the first Slok and Pauri of Asa di Var:

Pauri:

God Himself created the world, and formed Himself into
Name,
He created Nature by His power; seated He beheld His
work with delight.
O Creator, Thou art the Giver; being pleased Thou bestowest
and practisest kindness.
Thou knowest all things; Thou givest and takest life with a
word.
Seated Thou beholdest Thy work with delight. (Asa Mohalla 1, p-462-63)

The Sheikh then wanted a knife,Give me such a knife that those who are killed with it, shall be acceptable to God. With the ordinary knife the lower animals are killed. If a man's throat be cut with this knife, it becomes carrion.

The Guru replied in affirmative:

On hearing this the Sheikh raised his head in amazement and said,Well done. O Nanak, there is no difference between God and thee. Kindly bless me so that I too may be on good terms with Him. The Guru replied,Sheikh Brahm, God will cause thy ship to arrive safe. The Sheikh requested the Guru to give him the firm promise of this. The Guru complied and blessed him with salvation.

According to Puratan Janamsakhi, the first nine pauries (stanzas) of Asa di Var, were uttered by the Guru during the discussion with Sheikh Brahm and other fifteen pauries of Asa di Var were uttered for Duni Chand Dhuper of Lahore. The Guru then proceeded to Multan, Uch, Sakhar and reached Lakhpat, where a Gurdwara stands marking the memory of the Guru. Then he reached Kuriani where a tank is called after Guru's name. He visited Miani, about fifty miles west of city of Karachi and visited the temples of Hindus and the Muslims in the area. Near Hinglaj, there is a Dharmsala preserving the memory of the Guru's visit to this place. From there he boarded a ship for Arabia.

GURU NANAK AT MECCA:

He disguised himself in the blue dress of a Mohammadan pilgrim, took a faqir's staff in his hand and a collection of his hymns called 'Pothi' under his arm. He also carried with him like a Muslim devotee, a cup for his ablutions and a rug whereon to pray. Like a pilgrim he went inside the great mosque where the pilgrims were engaged in their devotions. When he lay down to sleep at night, he turned his feet towards the Kaaba. A priest, Jiwan kicked him and said,Who is this infidel sleeping with his feet towards the House of God? The Guru replied,Turn my feet in the direction in which God is not. Upon this Jiwan seized the Guru's feet and dragged them in the opposite direction. Whereupon, it is said, the Kaaba (temple) turned around, and followed the revolution of Guru's body. Some say that when the Guru asked the priest to turn his feet in the direction where God was not, the priest came to realization that God was everywhere. But those who witnessed this miracle were astonished and saluted the Guru as a supernatural being.

Then the Qazis and the Mullas crowded round the Guru and asked whether he was a Muslim or a Hindu? The Guru replied that he was neither of the two. Then they asked,Who is the superior of the two, the Hindu or the Muslim? The Guru replied,Without good deeds, both will repent. The superiority lies in deeds and not in mere creeds. The chief priest was a seeker of the Truth and he asked for Guru's blessings. The Guru preached the doctrine of Nam. He then gave instructions to the priest in the art of true living, to practice to live in His presence day and night and to glorify the Lord and thereby to rub out the dirt of sins from the tablet of the mind.

He disguised himself in the blue dress of a Mohammadan pilgrim, took a faqir's staff in his hand and a collection of his hymns called 'Pothi' under his arm. He also carried with him like a Muslim devotee, a cup for his ablutions and a rug whereon to pray. Like a pilgrim he went inside the great mosque where the pilgrims were engaged in their devotions. When he lay down to sleep at night, he turned his feet towards the Kaaba. A priest, Jiwan kicked him and said,Who is this infidel sleeping with his feet towards the House of God? The Guru replied,Turn my feet in the direction in which God is not. Upon this Jiwan seized the Guru's feet and dragged them in the opposite direction. Whereupon, it is said, the Kaaba (temple) turned around, and followed the revolution of Guru's body. Some say that when the Guru asked the priest to turn his feet in the direction where God was not, the priest came to realization that God was everywhere. But those who witnessed this miracle were astonished and saluted the Guru as a supernatural being.

Then the Qazis and the Mullas crowded round the Guru and asked whether he was a Muslim or a Hindu? The Guru replied that he was neither of the two. Then they asked,Who is the superior of the two, the Hindu or the Muslim? The Guru replied,Without good deeds, both will repent. The superiority lies in deeds and not in mere creeds. The chief priest was a seeker of the Truth and he asked for Guru's blessings. The Guru preached the doctrine of Nam. He then gave instructions to the priest in the art of true living, to practice to live in His presence day and night and to glorify the Lord and thereby to rub out the dirt of sins from the tablet of the mind.

GURU AT MEDINA:

In due time the Guru proceeded to Medina, another holy city of the Muslims where their Prophet Mohammad lived for many years and breathed his last. He reached at nightfall and stopped outside the town. It happened to be a place where lepers were segregated and no provision was made for their comfort or treatment. History states that the Guru healed them all and as a result, the people came in crowds to have holy glimpse of the Guru. After that he journeyed to Bagdad through Basra.

GURU AT BAGDAD:

There lived a very famous Muslim saint, Pir Abdul Kadar who died in Bagdad in 1166 A.D. He was also known as Dastgir and his successors were called Dastgirs too. The Muslim high priests did not like unethical and immoral musical verses. Instead of condemning the demoralizing poetry, they outrightly rejected the music ('Rag') itself. So according to Muslim Shariat (code of law), music was forbidden. The whole of Sikh scripture is in verse and in various different forms of Rags and Raginis. In the morning the Guru shouted the call for prayer, on which the whole population became rapt in silent astonishment. May be he did it differently than the Muslims. Then Mardana played the rebec and the Guru started the Sabad Kirtan (musical recitation of Gurbani). Whosoever heard was in ecstasy. The news spread in the city. The high priest Pir Dastgir, another holy man, Bahlol and others came to see the Guru.

According to the Mohammadans there are seven skies above the earth and seven nethers including earth itself. The Guru began to recite the Japji. When he repeated the twenty-second pauri (stanza) of Japji, the Pir got wonder-stuck hearing something contrary to the authority of the holy Quran, that there were hundreds of thousands of nethers and upper regions, and that at last men grew weary of searching for them. The Pir then called upon the Guru to give a manifestation of what he said. Upon this it is said, the Guru laid his hand on the priest's son and showed him upper and lower regions described in Japji- pauri 22. To prove whether the boy actually saw those regions, he brought Parshad (sacred food) from one of those regions and gave it to his father. Both the Pir and Bahlol bowed before the Guru and asked for his blessings.

Bahlol became Guru's follower. It is said that he spent sixty years at the foot of the slab, where the sacred feet of the Guru had rested during their discussion. Later on a shrine was built there in the memory of the Guru. The English translation of the inscription on the slab inside the shrine is:

In memory of the Guru, that is the Divine Master, Baba Nanak, Faqir Aulia, this building has been raised with the help of seven saints, and the chronogram reads. The blessed disciple has produced a spring of Grace year 917 (Muslim year).

Swami Anand Acharya of Sweden mentions in his book 'Snow Bird', published by Macmillan & Sons, London, that during his visit to Bagdad, he found another inscription on the slab, dated 917 Hijri. The inscription reads:

Here spoke the Hindi Guru Nanak to Faqir Bahlol, and for these sixty years since the Guru left Iraq, the soul of Bahlol has rested on the Master's word like a bee poised on a dawn-lit honey rose.

RETURN FROM BAGDAD:

From Bagdad the Guru passed through Iran, Turkstan and Afghanistan and then reached Kabul. Some writers believe that the Guru took the popular route from Bagdad towards Tehran, Kandhar and reached Kabul. On his way he passed through Mehds. Bhai Mani Singh's Janamsakhi makes a reference of his visit to this place. Since the visit of Guru Nanak to Kabul, the Sikh contacts had been carefully maintained. Sikh preachers were stationed there to disseminate the teachings of the Guru. At one time Bhai Gurdas also served as one of the Sikh missionaries at Kabul.

From Kabul the Guru proceeded to Jalalabad, Sultanpur and passed through Khyber Pass to reach Peshawar. There are Gurdwaras at Jalalabad and Sultanpur to mark his visit. There are springs of water associated with his visit. The Guru paid a visit to the Gorakh Hatri and had discourse with Jogis. He also went to Hassan Abdal, now known as Panja Sahib, and sat at the foot of the hill.

GURU NANAK AND VALI KANDHARI:

On the top of a small hill, there lived a Muslim Faqir called Vali Kandhari who was well-known in the area for possessing miraculous powers. Mardana needed water which could only be obtained from Vali. Mardana told Vali that Guru Nanak had arrived and he advised him to see the Guru, who was a great saint of God. Vali who claimed holiness exclusively for himself, became offended on hearing the Guru's praises. He refused to give water saying that if the Guru were such a holy man, he could provide water to Mardana. When this reply was communicated to the Guru, he sent Mardana back to the Vali with a message that he (Guru) was a poor creature of God, and laid no claims to be a saint. The Vali paid no heed to this protestation and still refused to provide water.

Upon this the Guru picked up one stone and a stream of water immediately issued forth. In fact this water came out from the Vali's tank which dried up. This naturally increased Vali's rage and it is said that through his miraculous powers he hurled a small hillock upon Guru Nanak's unoffending head. The Guru, on seeing the descending hillock, held up his right hand, and as it touched the hand of the Divine Master, the hillock came to a standstill. With the divine touch, the stone melted and softened like wax and left the mark of the Master's palm indelibly deep into it. Vali Kandhari was very much astonished and at last fell at the feet of the Guru and begged for forgiveness. The Guru expressed,O friend, those who live so high, should not be hard at heart like a stone. Vali was blessed by the Master.

The imprint of the Guru's hand (Punja) is still visible on the stone and the pool of crystal clear water still flows from there. There stands a Gurdwara which is known as 'Punja Sahib'. It is now situated in west Pakistan.

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