These were the years when most of the Guru’s disciples received religious instructions from him and who recorded what they received. Many devotees, it is said, copied the daily prayers and hymns. These collections were called ‘Bani Pothis’ (books of hymns). The Bani Pothi compiled during his life time was passed on to the second Guru, Guru Angad Dev.
Although the Guru had settled down at Kartarpur, but he still took small tours within the radius of 100 to 200 miles around Kartarpur. He went to many places and preached his gospel of Nam. At many of these places, the people became Guru’s followers and they set up Gurdwaras in his honor.
GURU AT ACHAL BATALA:
About 25 miles from Kartarpur, there was a place called Achal Batala where on the occasion of Shivratri festival, hundreds of Jogis used to come to take part in the festival. The Guru also went to Achal Batala to preach his doctrine. Thousands of people came from far and near to see and hear him. There were three camps- one of the Jogis, another of the Guru and the third one of a party of musicians. More and more people gathered around the Guru’s camp than that of the Jogis. This made the Jogis very angry and jealous and they were determined to humble the Guru.
Whatever the money the musicians were getting from the audience, they put it in a bowl. Somehow the Jogis stole their bowl full of money and hid it someplace thinking that the musicians would go to the Guru for help and if the Guru was unable to locate the bowl, he would be humbled.
Knowing about the greatness of the Guru, the musicians went to the Guru for help to find their bowl of money. The wonderful Guru told them about the mischief of the Jogis and recovered their bowl from the hiding place. Thus the Jogis suffered a tremendous defeat.
Next attack from the Jogis came through a discussion. As mentioned before the Guru after his travels, laid aside the pilgrim’s apparel and had put up ordinary dress of a family man. The Jogis said,O Guru, you are a holy man but you are wearing the garb of a family person. Why does a holy man lead a family life? Jogi Bhagarnath further asked the Guru,When the milk becomes sour, no butter is produced by churning it, why have you cast away your hermit’s dress and donned ordinary clothes?
The Guru replied,O Bhangarnath, your mother was an unskilled woman. She knew not how to wash the churn, and so spoilt the butter in producing thee. Thou hast become an anchoret after abandoning thy family life, and yet thou goest to beg to the houses of family men.
Upon this reply the Jogis were enraged and through their miraculous powers, they started to harass the Guru. One Jogi became a cobra to frighten the Guru, the other became wolf and other started rain of fire. The powerful Guru sat calmly unperturbed and unharmed. When the Jogis were beaten badly, Bhangarnath asked the Guru that he exhibited miracles to the world, why he was slow to exhibit the same to them?
The Guru replied that he had no miracles except the True Name, and he uttered the following Sabad:
The Jogis then finally complimented the Guru on his success and said,Hail, O Nanak, great are thy deeds! Thou hast arisen a great being, and lit a light in this age of falsehood (kalyug) in the world.
The Guru, knowing that his time to depart was approaching, had to appoint his successor. His sons had not obeyed him and so they did not prove themselves to be worthy of Guruship.
On September 2, 1539 (2 Asu, 1596 Asu vadi 5) Guru Nanak placed five Paise (Indian currency) before Bhai Lehna and bowed to him in token of his succession to the Guruship. He placed the umbrella of Spiritual Sovereignty over Bhai Lehna’s head. Thus, he created another Nanak and called him GURU ANGAD DEV.
When Guruship was passed on to Guru Angad, people realized that Guru Nanak was soon to depart bodily from the world (As a Divine Light and Spirit, the Guru is always present). The Sikhs, the Hindus and the Muslims came from all over to have holy glimpse of Guru Nanak.
After the proclamation of Guru Angad, the sons asked their father, what provision he had made for them. Guru Nanak replied,O my sons, God is the Cherisher of His creatures; you shall obtain food and clothing in abundance, and if you repeat God’s name you shall be saved at last.
Guru’s Muslim devotees wanted to bury him after his death. His Hindu followers desired to cremate his body. When the Guru was asked for his decision, he replied,Let the Hindus place flowers on my right and the Muslims on my left. Those whose flowers are found fresh in the morning, may have the disposal rights of my body.
The Guru drew a sheet over him. When the sheet was removed next morning, body was not found underneath, but the flowers on both sides were afresh. The light blended with Light and the spirit went back and merged with the Master Spirit. It confirms that the Guru was not a body but it was the Divine Light.
The Hindus and the Muslims removed their respective flowers and cut the sheet into two. The former cremated the sheet and the latter buried it. It happened at Kartarpur on September 22, 1539 (23rd day of Asu, Vadi 10, Sambat 1596). He was about seventy and a half years of age.
The Sikhs built a Gurdwara and the Muslims a tomb in his honor on the bank of river Ravi. Both had since been washed away by the river, perhaps by a superact, so as to avoid idolatrous worship of the Guru’s last resting place.
Rituals and superstitions earned the sanctions of old times. Religion had degenerated into ceremonial acts only. The life and teachings of Guru Nanak offer consistent evidence of fruitlessness of rituals. He exposed their hollowness and exhorted human beings to rise above such customs. Guru Nanak’s religion excluded all senseless dogmas and meaningless rituals. With no sword or stick armed with Divine Word, he preached that only Impersonal Absolute is to be worshiped. Any religion which does not guard its values indicates a lower level of development and is deemed to disappear in the long run.