Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

THE SIKH RELIGION
ITS GURUS, SACRED WRITINGS AND AUTHORS
BY MAX ARTHUR MACAULIFFE

LIFE OF GURU NANAK
CHAPTER XI

The Guru proceeded to the river Ravi and thence to Lahore. The Lahore territory was then farmed from the Emperor by a millionaire Khatri, whose name was Duni Chand. He was performing the ceremony of shradh[1] for his father, when he heard of the devout Nanak's arrival. He took the Guru to his house, and treated him with great affection. When everything was ready for the anniversary feast, Duni Chand began to feed the Brahmans. The Guru, on being summoned, asked what the matter was. Duni Chand replied that it was his father's shradh, and that he had fed one hundred Brahmans in his name. The Guru replied, 'It is now two days since thy father hath eaten anything, and yet thou sayest thou hast fed one hundred Brahmans for him.' Duni Chand asked where his father was. The Guru replied that he had become incarnate in a wolf, which was now in a clump of trees six miles distant. The reason

[1. Shrâdhs are oblations of cakes and libations of water made to the spirits of deceased ancestors: Vide Monier Williams's Indian Wisdom, passim.]

{p. 130}

his father's soul had entered a wolf was, that while he was in human birth he had coveted meat which a Sikh was cooking, and had died in that desire.

The Guru, on seeing several flags over Duni Chand's door, asked what they were. It was explained that each flag denoted a lakh of rupees which Duni Chand had acquired. On this the Guru gave him a needle, and told him to keep it until he asked for it in the next world. Duni Chand took the needle to his wife, and told her to put it by for the purpose indicated. She believed him crazed, and asked how a needle could go to the next world. She accordingly charged him to return it to the Guru. Duni Chand took the needle with his wife's message to the Guru, who said, 'If such a small and light thing as a needle cannot go to the next world, how can thy wealth reach there?' Upon this Duni Chand fell at his feet, and prayed him to tell him by what means his wealth should reach the next world. The Guru replied, 'Give some of thy wealth in God's name, feed the poor, and thy wealth shall accompany thee.' Upon this Duni Chand distributed seven lakhs of treasure, for he understood that disobedience to the Guru's order would militate against his salvation. He then became a disciple of the Guru, and began to repeat the Name. Guru Nanak uttered the following on the occasion:--

False are kings, false their subjects, false the whole world;
False are mansions, false palaces, false those who dwell therein;
False is gold, false silver, false he who weareth them
False the body, false raiment, false peerless beauty;
False husbands, false wives; they pine away and become dust.[1]
Man who is false loveth what is false, and forgetteth the Creator.

[1. Instead of chhâr, dust, the Granth Sâhib has khwâr, despised.]

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With whom contract friendship? The whole world passeth away.
False is sweetness, false honey, in falsehood shiploads are drowned--
Nanak humbly asserteth--Except Thee, O God, everything is thoroughly false.[1]

The Guru went in a north-east direction, and took up his post on the bank of the Ravi. His arrival there caused great excitement, and every one went to see him. He was universally held to be a man of God. All who visited him went away pleased. Every verse that he composed was at once published abroad. He used to compose verses like the following, which faqirs sang to the accompaniment of reeds:--

Falsehood is at an end; Nanak, truth at last prevaileth.[2]

The was only the one Name mentioned in the Guru's dwelling, and he became the object of great popular admiration.

A millionaire official who dwelt in a neighbouring village began to depreciate the Guru. He said, 'Who is this person whose name is repeated by every one, as if he were a god, though he is only a mortal like ourselves? The Hindus are being perverted, and even the Musalmans are losing their faith. Come, let us imprison him.' When the speaker mounted on horseback, the animal shied and threw him. Next day he again mounted, but, as he proceeded on his way, became blind and had to alight. Those who his calamity were afraid to make any remark save that Nanak was a great saint. They, however, suggested to the millionaire that he should do homage to the Guru. Upon this he began to praise the Guru; and those who were with him bowed towards the Guru. The millionaire again

[1. Âsa ki Wâr.

2. Râmkali ki Wâr I.]

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mounted his horse, intending this time to go and supplicate the Guru, but immediately fell down. His companions addressed him, 'Thou hast made a mistake in going on horseback. Go on foot, that thou mayest be pardoned.' He took this advice. On arriving at a spot whence the Guru's residence could be seen, he recovered his sight, and began to make salutations in the Guru's direction. On arriving in his presence he fell at his feet. The Guru was pleased and made him his guest for three days. The millionaire, in honour of the Guru, founded a village, which he called Kartarpur, on the margin of the Ravi, and built a Sikh temple therein, both of which he dedicated to the Guru.

One day a fanatical Brahman came to the Guru and begged for alms. The Guru, who was at his break fast, invited the Brahman to join him. The Brahman replied that he would not eat food in that way. He would only eat what he had cooked himself. He would first dig up the earth to a depth of a cubit so that all impurity of the surface might be removed, and he would also make a cooking square into which none but himself might enter. He would then dig a span deeper, and make a fireplace on which he would put firewood which he had washed, so that no insects might be burned in it. The Guru had not attended to these formalities, and the Brahman spurned food otherwise cooked. The Guru told him he would give him uncooked viands which he might cook himself. He then went outside and began to dig up the earth, but wherever he dug he only turned up bones, which he deemed a still greater abomination than the Guru's food. He continued digging all day, but with the same result. At last, overcome by hunger, he went and threw himself at Nanak's feet, and asked for the cooked food he had previously rejected. The Guru was pleased to gratify him, and then composed the following:--

{p. 133}

Cooking places of gold, vessels of gold,
Lines of silver far extended,
Ganges water, firewood of the karanta[1] tree,
Eating rice boiled in milk
O my soul, these things are of no account
Until thou art saturated with the true Name.
Hadst thou the eighteen Purans with thee,
Couldst thou recite the four Veds,
Didst thou bathe on holy days and give alms according to men's castes,
Didst thou fast and perform religious ceremonies day and night;
Wert thou a qazi, a mulla, or a shaikh,
A Jogi, a jangam,[2] didst thou wear an ochre-coloured dress,
Or didst thou perform the duties of a householder--
Without knowing God, Death would bind and take all men away.
The duties of all creatures are recorded on their heads
They shall be judged according to their acts.
Foolish and ignorant-men issue orders--
Nanak, the True One hath storehouses of praises.[3]

The Guru initiated the practice of singing hymns in the end of the night. A boy seven years of age used to come to listen and stand behind him. When the singing was over, he used quietly to ,depart. One day the Guru ordered his servants to detain the boy in order to discover the object of his continual attendance. He was accordingly brought before the Guru, who asked him, 'O boy, why comest thou so early in the morning to listen to hymns? This is the time of life for thee to eat, play, and sleep.' The boy replied, 'Sir, one day my mother bade me light the fire. When I put on the wood, I observed that the little sticks burned first and afterwards the big ones. From that me I have been afraid of early death. It is very

[1. The Carissa Carandas.

2. A class of faqirs with matted hair and thin chains to their feet. They generally go about ringing bells.

3. Basant.]

{p. 134}

doubtful whether we shall live to be old, and so I attend thy religious gatherings.' The Guru was much pleased on hearing this wisdom from the child's lips, and said he spoke like an old man (budha). On that occasion the Guru composed the following:--

In the briny unfathomable ocean the fish did not recognize the net.[1]
Why did the very clever and beautiful fish have so much confidence?
It was caught through its own doing; death cannot be averted,
O my brethren; know that in like manner death hangeth over your heads.
Man is like the fish upon which the net falleth unawares.
The whole world is bound by death; without the Guru death cannot be destroyed.
They who are imbued with the True One, and have abandoned worthless mammon, are saved.
I am a sacrifice unto those who are found true at the gate of the True One.
Death is like the hawk among the birds, or the huntsman with the noose in his hands.
They whom the Guru preserved have been saved all others have been entrapped by the bait.
They who possess not God's name shall be rejected no one will assist them.
God is the truest of the true, and His place is the truest of the true.
They who obey the True One meditate on Him in their hearts.
Even the perverse who obtain divine knowledge under the Guru's instruction are pure.
Make supplication to the true Guru to unite thee with the Friend.
When man meeteth the Friend he obtaineth happiness, and the myrmidons of death poison themselves.

[1. The worldly man does not remember death.]

{p. 135}

I abide in the Name, and the Name abideth in my heart.
Without the Guru all is darkness; without the Word nothing can be known.
By the Guru's instruction light shineth, and man continueth to love the True One.
Death entereth not where the soul's light is blended with God's.
Thou, O God, art the Friend; Thou art wise; it is Thou who unitest men with Thee.
Under the Guru's instruction, O man, praise Him who hath, no end or limit.
Death entereth not where there is the incomparable Word of the Guru.
By God's order all sentient beings were produced; by God's order they perform their functions.
By God's order they are in the power of death; by God's order they are absorbed in the True One.
Nanak, what pleaseth God shall happen; there is nothing whatever in the power of His creatures.[1]

The boy to whom the above hymn was addressed was subsequently known as Bhai Budha on account of the complimentary expression of the Guru. He was held in such high estimation that he was commissioned to confer the tilaks or patches of Guruship on the first five successors of Guru Nanak.

Kalu with all his people proceeded to where his son the Guru had fixed his habitation. Sikh societies then began to be formed. The Guru took off his extraordinary costume and dressed in a more conventional manner. With a cloth around his waist, a sheet over his shoulder, and a turban on his head, he looked the impersonation of holiness. The string of his fame rose to heaven, it was said, like that of a kite. Every one addressed him, 'Hail, Nanak! a great saint hath been born in the world.'

[1. Sri Râg, Ashtapadi.]

{p. 136}

At Kartarpur, a watch before day, the Japji and the Asa ki War were repeated. Then followed reading and expounding of the Guru's hymns, until a watch and a quarter after sunrise. This was succeeded by singing and the reading of the Arati (Gagan mai thal). After this, breakfast was served. In the third watch there was again singing, after which in the evening the Sodar was read. Then the Sikhs all dined together. The repast ended with further singing. After a watch of night had elapsed the Sohila was read, and every one then retired.

The Guru when not engaged in prayer occupied himself during the day in Kartarpur in giving instruction to all who sought it. He thus delivered himself to Malo and Bhago on the subject of Hindu penances: 'To burn in fire, to abide long in water, to fast, to endure heat and cold, to hold up one's arm permanently, to do penance with body reversed to stand for a long time on one leg, to live on forest tubers and roots, to abide on the margins of rivers, to wander over the world as a pilgrim, to fast at full moon--all such penances are works of darkness.'

The Guru thus expressed himself on the subject of the devotional exercises of the Sikhs: 'To recall the wandering mind from the distraction of the senses, and then employ it in pious discourses and in devoutly singing and listening to songs of praise of the Almighty--know that these are meritorious acts which may be easily performed. They involve but little labour and bring great reward. The Hindu penances on the contrary involve great trouble while only small recompense is obtained therefrom.'

The Guru replied to a man called Kalu who had asked him for a definition of a holy man: 'Recognize him as holy in whom are to be found friend ship, sympathy, pleasure at the welfare of others, and dislike of evil company. In the first place, the intentions of holy men are pure. Secondly, they are

{p. 137}

pleased on hearing the praises of others. Thirdly, holy men serve the virtuous. Fourthly, they honour those who can impart to them learning and good counsel. Fifthly, as there is a periodical craving for food or intoxicants, so they feel a craving for the Guru's word and for divine knowledge. Sixthly, they love their wives, and renounce other women. Seventhly, they avoid subjects from which quarrels may arise. Eighthly, they serve those who are superior to themselves in intelligence or devotion. Ninthly, even if strong, they are not arrogant, and trample not on others. Tenthly, they abandon the society of the evil, and only associate with the holy.'

Two Sikhs, called Bhagta and Ohri, asked Guru Nanak how rest was to be obtained, and transmigration avoided. The Guru replied as follows: 'You shall find rest by avoiding manmukh karm (perverse acts).' Being asked to define manmukh karm more particularly, the Guru replied: 'It is to be heartily envious of every one, to desire that worldly wealth and all happiness should forsake others and come to oneself, to suffer great pain as one beholdeth the houses and property of others, to believe all men one's enemies, and do good to no one. Expel all this evil from your hearts. In the second place, the perverse man is proud and relentless to every one. When he seeth such and such a person inferior to himself, he never adviseth him; nay, he laugheth at him, and treateth him with contempt, saying, "His is not equal to my lofty intellect." In the third place, the perverse man is addicted to slander; but do you renounce it and never utter it. If any one praise another who is superior to him, he cannot endure it, nay he becometh wroth, saying, "O! I am well acquainted with him." In this way he uttereth slander. How can he who is proud of his efforts and envious of others ever possess excellence? In the fourth place, if the perverse man receive advice, he will not act on it through obstinacy; nay, he will

{p. 138}

perversely do the very reverse. These vices--envy, pride, slander, and obstinacy--belong to the perverse. Relinquish them, acting as trees do when they drop their leaves in autumn.'

The Guru was asked why the words Sat Nam--the True Name--were always written as an introduction to his hymns. He replied, 'The Name is the God of all gods. Some propitiate Durga,[1] some Shiv, some Ganesh,[2] and some other gods; but the Guru's Sikhs worship the True Name and thus remove all obstacles to salvation. Accordingly, the prefatory words, the True Name, are written in all compositions.'

It was here the Guru composed his poem on the Twelve Months of the year. The description is of course suited to the climate of the Panjab, his native country. We here give a translation in extenso[3]:--

Hear Thou, O God--according to men's acts in previous states of existence
The weal or woe which Thou givest to each individual is just.
O God, the Creation is Thine; What is my condition?
I cannot live for a moment without Thee.
I am miserable without my Beloved; I have no friend yet from the Guru's instruction I drink nectar.
The Formless One continueth His creation;[4] to obey God
is the best of human acts.

[1. Durga is the energy or consort of Shiv.

2. Ganesh is an elephant-headed god of the Hindus, who in one of his attributes presides over literature, and is specially invoked in the prefaces to literary works.

3 The Indian seasons and months are--1, Spring, which includes the months Chet and Baisâkh; 2, the hot weather, Jeth and Hâr; 3, the rainy weather, Sâwan and Bhâdon; 4, the temperate weather, Assu and Kartik; 5, the cold weather, Maghar and Poh; 6, Autumn, Mâgh and Phâgan. These seasons are in Sanskrit and Hindi called respectively--Basant, Grîkham, Pâwas, Sard, Him, and Sisar. The latter season, when the leaves fall, is contemporaneous with the European early spring. The Indian lunar year begins with Chet, which is movable, and the Indian solar year with Baisâkh about the 12th of April.

4. In Indian sacred writings several creations and destructions of the world are alluded to.]

{p. 139}

Nanak, the woman is waiting for Thee; hear Thou, O Omnipresent Spirit.

The chatrik[1] crieth 'Prio!' and the kokil[2] also singeth its lays.
The woman who is embraced by key Spouse enjoyeth every happiness.
She whom God in His pleasure hath embraced is a happy woman.
God established the nine mansions of the body; the tenth which is superior to them all, is His home.
Everything is Thine; Thou art my Beloved; I delight in Thee night and day.
Nanak, the chatrik crieth 'Prio, prio!' and sweet is the kokil's song.

O God, filled with delight, my Beloved, hear Thou me.
Thou art contained in my soul and body; I forget Thee not for an instant.
Why should I forget Thee for an instant? I am a sacrifice unto Thee; I live by singing Thy praises.
I have no one; whose am I? I cannot abide without God.
I have sought the shelter of His feet, and dwell there; and my body hath become pure.
Nanak, he on whom God looketh with favour obtaineth peace in his home, and his mind is consoled with the Guru's teaching.

It raineth a torrent of nectar, whose drops are delightful,
When the friend, the kindly Guru meeteth one, and love is established with God.
God entereth the temple of the body when it pleaseth Him, and the woman rise and repeateth His praises.

[1. Its cry is 'prio', a word which also means beloved. Hence it is
said the bird calls to God and lives in His worship.

2. The black Indian cuckoo. Its name is derived from its cry, which increases in volume of sound as it progresses. It is larger than the chatrik.]

{p. 140}

In every house the spouse enjoyeth his happy wife; why hath my Spouse forgotten me?
Lowering clouds have overspread the heavens; it raineth pleasantly and love comforteth my soul and body.
Saith Nanak, Thou who rainest ambrosial speech, graciously come to mine abode.

In Chet agreeable is the spring; the bumble-bee is pleasing.
In the Bar the forests are flowering; may my Beloved return to me!
When her beloved returneth not home, how can a wife obtain comfort? Her body wasteth away with the pain of separation.
The kokil singeth sweetly on the mango-tree; why should I endure pain of body?
The bumble-bee is flitting on the flowering branches; how shall I survive? I am dying, O mother.
Nanak, in Chet comfort is easily obtained if woman obtain God in her home as her Spouse.

The month of Baisakh is pleasant; the trees are in blossom;
The woman is waiting for God at her gate, saying, 'Come, take compassion on me.
'Come home, my Beloved, make me cross the difficult ocean; without Thee I am worthless.
'Who can appraise Thy worth, my Darling? If it please Thee, I shall look at Thee and show Thee to others.
'I know that Thou art not distant; I acknowledge that Thou art in my heart, and I recognize Thy mansion.'
Nanak, in Baisakh God is found by him who meditateth on the Word and whose mind is thus happy.

The month of Jeth is pleasant; why should the Beloved be forgotten?
The land is burning like a furnace; woman is making supplication--

{p. 141}

Woman is making supplication and praising His qualities
'I shall be pleasing to the Lord if I utter His praises.
'The Bairagi[1] liveth in the true palace; if He allow me to go to Him, I will go.
'Without God I am without honour and strength; how shall I obtain comfort in His palace?'
Nanak, in Jeth if a woman know God and embrace virtue, she shall by His favour become like unto Him.

The month of Har is sultry;[2] the sun is burning in the sky;
The earth is suffering; it is parched and heated like fire
The heat is drying up moisture; men die in anguish, yet the sun wearieth not of his toil.
When his chariot turneth towards the south,[3] woman looketh for the shade; the grasshoppers chirp in the forest.
She who hath departed with her sins shall suffer in the next world, while she who remembereth the True One shall obtain comfort.
Nanak, with God, to whom I gave my heart, are death and life.

In Sawan be happy, O my soul; it is the season of clouds and rain.
'I love my Spouse with my soul and body, but the Dear One hath gone abroad;
'My Spouse cometh not home; I am dying with the pang of separation; the flash of the lightning terrifieth me.
'I am alone on my couch and greatly grieved; O mother, my pain is as bad as death.
'Say how can sleep and appetite come to me without God? Raiment affordeth my body no comfort.'

[1. God, in the sense that He loves not the sinner, The word Bairâgi
ordinarily means a man without love for the world. The Bairâgis now
form a special sect who worship Vishnu and wear sacrificial threads. They are distinguished from the Sanyâsis who worship Shiv and dispense with sacrificial threads.

2. We are obliged here to take a liberty with the word bhala, which
means good.

3. After the summer solstice.]

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Nanak, she is the happy wife who is embraced by her beloved Spouse.

In the month of Bhadon woman in the bloom of youth is led astray by doubt, but afterwards repenteth.
The lakes and the meadows are filled with water; it is the rainy season--the time for pleasure.
It raineth during the dark night; how can the young wife have comfort without her mate? Frogs and peacocks are croaking.
'Prio, prio' crieth the chatrik; serpents go abroad biting;
Mosquitoes sting; lakes are filled to the brim; how shall man obtain comfort without God?
Nanak, I will ask my Guru and go where the Lord is.

In Assu come, O Beloved; the wife is pining and dying for Thee.
Man can meet the Lord when He granteth him an interview; but love of mammon ruineth him.
When woman is spoiled by falsehood, her husband putteth her away; then bloom the kukah and the kahi reeds.[1]
The heat is over, the cool season is approaching; on seeing this my mind is uneasy.[2]
On all sides the trees are green and verdant; that which slowly ripeneth is sweet.
Nanak, the true Guru hath become my mediator; may I meet my Beloved in Assu!

In Kartik what pleaseth God is recorded in man's destiny.
The lamp which is lit by divine knowledge easily burneth.
Love is the oil of the lamp; the woman and her Beloved have met;[3] she is overwhelmed with delight.
She whom sin killeth shall not be acceptable at her death, while she whom virtue killeth shall really die.[4]
God hath given His name and service to those who dwell in their own homes; ever their prayer is--

[1. Kukâh is supposed to be the Saccharum munja, and kâhi the Saccharum spontaneum.

2. That is, so much time has passed away, that I fear I shall never meet my Beloved.

3. Guided by the lamp's light.

4. Shall not suffer transmigration.]

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Meet us, O God, and open the doors of our understanding; otherwise one hour shall be as six months.'

The month of Maghar is pleasant for those who are blended with God's person by singing His praises.
The virtuous woman through her virtues enjoyeth her spouse; my Spouse is ever pleasing to me.
While the whole world is movable, He is immovable, clever, wise, the Arranger.
They who possess the merits of divine knowledge and meditation shall be blended with God. They are pleasing to God, and God is pleasing to them.
The songs, music, and poems of bards have I heard; but it is at the name of God sorrow fleeth away.
Nanak, that wife is dear to her spouse who in his presence doeth him hearty service.

In Poh it freezeth; the moisture of the forest and of the grass drieth up.
Why comest Thou not? Thou dwellest in my body, in my soul, and in my mouth.[1]
The Life of the world pervadeth my soul and body; I enjoy pleasure through the instruction of the Guru.
The light of God is contained in the hearts of animals born from eggs, wombs, perspiration, and earth.
Lord of compassion, beneficent One, grant me a sight of Thee, and give me understanding that I may obtain salvation.
I Nanak, the Enjoyer enjoyeth her with pleasure who beareth Him love and affection.

In Magh woman becometh pure when she knoweth the place of Pilgrimage[2] within her.
I have easily met the Friend, and, by adopting His attributes, have become blended with Him.
Hear me, O beloved and beautiful God, I made Thine attributes mine ornaments; if it please Thee, I shall bathe in Thy tank.

[1. That is, I ever think of Thee and repeat Thy name, but am unworthy to receive Thee.

2 God.]

{p. 144}

The Ganges, the Jamna, the meeting of the three rivers at Tribeni Priyag,[l] the seven oceans,
Alms, charity, and worship are all contained in God's name. I recognize Him as the One God in every age.
Nanak, in the month of Magh, if I repeat God's name with great delight, I bathe at the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage.[2]

In Phagan the hearts of those to whom God's love is pleasing are happy.
Night and day are pleasant to him who effaceth himself.
When it pleased God, I effaced worldly love from my heart; O Lord, mercifully come to my home.
Though I deck myself in various garbs, yet without the Beloved I shall not obtain a place in heaven.
I decorated myself with necklaces, strings of pearls, perfumes,[3] silks, and satins, when my Beloved desired me.
Nanak, my Guru hath blended me with God, and I have obtained Him as my Spouse.
The twelve months, the seasons, the lunar days, and the week days,
The gharis, the mahurats,[4] the m

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