Thursday, September 29, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

KAUDA RAKHSHASH
The Guru travelled many miles in the wilderness of Assam. His minstrel Mardana was very hungry and tired, so they sat under a tree. After sometimes Mardana went to get something to eat. On his way he met Kauda, the cannibal. Kauda took Mardana by surprise and bound him hand and foot by a rope and then carried him to the spot where he had kept a big pan full of oil for frying the flesh of his victims. Kauda started to lighten fire under the pan. When Mardana saw that, he was very frightened and prayed to the Guru to come to his rescue. The Guru already knew and was on his way to get him released.

Kauda was trying to light the fire when the Guru appeared. This bewildered Kauda completely. The Guru looked at him compassionately and graciously and said,Kauda! See-est thou not what thou dost, wilt thou cast thyself in the burning fire of hell? The very gracious and holy sight of the Divine Master made such people realize their guilt and they fell on his feet and begged for mercy. Kauda whose conscience was dead with heinous crimes, suddenly came to realization and was overwhelmed with repentance. He fell on the feet of the Master and prayed for mercy. The gracious Master blessed him with the Name. Kauda was completely a changed man and thereafter lived as a devout disciple of the Guru.

 

GURU AT JAGAN NATH PURI
After Golaghat Nagar and Dhanasri valley where cannibals inhabited in large numbers, the Guru went back to Gauhati. From there he proceeded to Shillong

and to Silhet where an old Gurdwara stands in his memory. He then went to Dacca and on the way he passed through Calcutta and Cuttack and finally reached Puri.

The temple of Jagan Nath, the Lord of the East, was one of the four most revered temples of the Hindus- the other three being Som Nath, Badri Nath and Vishwa Nath. It is said that Jagan Nath's idol was sculptured by the architect of the gods and it was installed at the temple by Lord Brahma himself. It was the anniversary of installation of the idol when Guru Nanak reached the temple. The Guru visited the temple not to adore their Lord but to teach the people that the worship of God was superior to the worship of the deity. It was the evening time and the priests brought a salver full of many lighted lamps, flowers, incense and pearls and then all stood to offer the salver to their enshrined idol-god. The ceremony was called 'Arti', a song of dedication. The high-priest invited the Guru to join in the god's worship. The Guru did not join their service which enraged the priests. On being asked the reason the Guru explained that a wonderful serenade was being sung by nature before the invisible altar of God. The sun and the moon were the lamps, placed in the salver of the firmament and the fragrance wafted from the Malayan mountains was serving as incense. The Guru, therefore, instead of accepting the invitation of the high-priest to adore the idol, raised his eyes to the heaven and uttered the following Sabad of Arti:

The sun and moon, O Lord, are thy lamps; the firmament
Thy salver; the orbs of the stars, the pearls enchased in it.
The perfume of thesandal is Thine incense; the wind is
Thy fan; all the forests are Thy flowers, O Lord of light.
What worship is this, O Thou Destroyer of birth?
Unbeaten strains of ecstasy are the trumpets of Thy worship.
Thou hast a thousand eyes and yet not one eye;
Thou hast a thousand forms and yet not one ;
Thou hast a thousand pure feet and yet not one foot;
Thou hast a thousand organs of smell and yet not one organ-
I am fascinated by this play of Thine.
The Light which is in everything is Thine, O Lord of Light.
From its brilliancy everything is brilliant;
By the Guru's teaching the light becometh manifest.
What pleaseth Thee is the real Arti.
O God, my mind is fascinated with Thy lotus feet as the
bumble-bee with the flower: night and day I thirst for them.
Give the water of Thy grace to thesarang Nanak, so that he
may dwell in Thy name. (Dhanasri Mohalla 1, Arti, p-663)

 

 

 

According to the Puratan Janamsakhi, the Guru ended his first Udasi with the visit to Puri and returned to Punjab. After some time he took his second Udasi to cover the south. If the Guru had returned from Puri, he must have visited some important places on his way back, but there is no mention of it in the Janamsakhi. However, the Meharban version of the Janamsakhi treats the eastern and the southern journeys as a single Udasi. Others argue that the geographical location of Puri is as such that a visitor planning to visit south India, would not return to Punjab and then start for the southern journey. Many writers therefore, believe that the Guru continued his southward journey from Puri.

GURU TO SANGLADEEP (CEYLON):

From Puri the Guru went to Gantur of present Andhra Pradesh district, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruchchirupalli. All these places have Gurdwaras to mark the visit of the Guru. From Tiruchchirupalli he sailed down to Kaveri river and reached Nagapatnam, a very old port of south India. From there he proceeded to Sangladeep (Ceylon) and Betticola was the first place of his stay in the island. He went to Matiakalam (now known as Matalai) which was the capital of Sangladeep under Raja Shiv Nabh.

Bhai Mansukh, a trader from Punjab and a disciple of the Guru, had been to Sangladeep in connection with his business long before the Guru's visit to the island. By reason of his trade, Bhai Mansukh had access to Raja Shiv Nabh and thus he had told the Raja all about Guru Nanak. The Raja inquired how he could meet the Guru. Mansukh told him,Rise early in the morning and recite Moolmantar. If you earnestly pray, the Guru will respond to your prayers.

Every morning Raja Shiv Nabh meditated and prayed for the holy sight (darshan) of the Guru. Time passed on but the Guru did not appear. Many persons came and claimed to be the Guru but all were found to be the fake claimants. One day news was brought to the Raja that a holy man, with a rare glory beaming on his face (spiritual aura), had arrived in the old neglected garden, and as soon as he set his foot in the garden, the withered trees sprouted into green foliage.

Due to the previous fake claimants, the Raja devised a plan to test the visitors before he could bow his head to any one of them. The Raja, therefore, sent beautiful girls to seduce the new- comer with their beauty and charm. The report was sent to the Raja that the girls not only failed to seduce the visitor, but they themselves had been transformed under his spell. Hearing this, the Raja hurriedly came to see the holy Master. Spontaneously he fell at the feet of the Guru. The Guru placed his hand on his head and blessed him. Who could describe the ecstatic joy that had dawned upon Raja.

The whole city rushed to the garden to have holy sight of the Master. A dharamsala, a religious common place, was built where the Guru held daily religious congregations and preached his divine doctrine. People were enlightened with God's Name and they became Guru's followers.

After staying there for some time the Guru started in the southerly direction and reached Katargama. Then he reached Sita Eliya, a place where Sita spent her period of captivity. At the time of Guru Nanak's visit, this place was in the Kotte kingdom of Raja Dharma Prakarma. The inscription discovered by Dr. Karuna Ratna and Parana Vitana in the famous museum of Anurodh Pura, furnishes a brief account of the encounter of Jnanakacharya (Nanak) with the Buddhist Bhikshu, Dharma Kirt-sthavira. This inscription also informs that the Raja Dharma Prkramabahu had promised to embrace Guru Nanak's creed if he won in the debate. Guru Nanak won. But before he could embrace the Guru's creed, the Brahmans very cleverly arranged another public debate, this time between the Guru and Dharma Dvajapandita and maneuvered the result in favor of the latter. In this way they did not let the ruler fall under the influence of the Guru.

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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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