THE SIKH RELIGION
ITS GURUS, SACRED WRITINGS AND AUTHORS
BY MAX ARTHUR MACAULIFFE
LIFE OF GURU NANAK
The Guru then departed for Pasrur, and thence to Sialkot, the fortress of the Sial tribe, now a cantonment in the northern part of the Panjab. He rested under a wild caper tree, which still exists outside the city. Having taken refreshment, he sent Mardana to the market-place for a paisa, or a farthing’s worth of truth and a paisa worth of falsehood. Nobody understood what the messenger meant till Mardana reached Mula, who was a Karar, or petty shopkeeper. The latter said that death was true and life false. Mardana returned with this message to the Guru. Upon this a great friendship sprang up between the Guru and Mula, and Mula afterwards accompanied him to Kabul. On a subsequent occasion when Guru Nanak and Mardana visited Sialkot, Mardana went to Mula. His wife, thinking her husband would again leave her, concealed him, and told Mardana to say he was not at home. In his concealment, he was bitten by a snake and died. On this Guru Nanak composed the following —
Friendship with Karars is false, and false is its foundation.
Mula saw not whence death would come to him.
[1. Additional Sloks of Guru Nanak.]
When his work was accomplished in Sialkot, the Guru proceeded to the south of the Panjab as far as Mithankot (in the present district of Dera Ghazi Khan), where Mian Mitha, a famous Muhammadan priest, resided. The Guru took up his quarters in a garden near the town. When Mian Mitha heard of the Guru’s arrival he said, ‘Nanak is a good faqir; but, if I meet him, I will squeeze the juice out of him as if he were a lemon.’ Mardana, when reporting his speech to the Guru, said, ‘Mian Mitha is thine automaton, and will play as thou causest him to play.’ Mian Mitha continued his boasting: ‘I will go to see Nanak, and, if I meet him, I will take the cream off him as I would skim milk.’ Mian Mitha met the Guru and, after saluting him in the Muhammadan fashion, sat down. He challenged the Guru by the following slok:–
The Guru replied:–
The Guru continued: ‘Mian Mitha, at God’s gate there is no room for a prophet. He who dwelleth there is God alone.’ Mian Mitha then put the Guru two questions: ‘How can a lamp burn without oil? and, How shall man obtain a seat in God’s court? The Guru replied as follows:–
Act according to the Quran and thy sacred books.
Put the wick of fear into thy body
Burn in it the knowledge of truth;
[1. That is, if thou become a Muhammadan.]
Mian Mitha then put to the Guru the question contained in the first line of the following hymn. He also inquired the condition of the souls of the wicked after death. The Guru replied as follows:–
[1. Sri Râg.]
[1. The introductory prayer of the Quran. Its secondary meaning is prayers offered up for a deceased person.
2. The Indian oil-press is a primitive machine. A beam is made to revolve in a socket in which the seeds to be pressed are placed. The meaning here is, that the cars shall be tortured as if the beams of oil-presses revolved in them as sockets.]
[1. Dharmrâj, the Pluto of Greek mythology.]
[1. Contentment, compassion, piety, patience, morality. The list of the five virtues is somewhat arbitrary. Truth is generally included in them, but here the Guru makes it a separate virtue.]
Mian Mitha then spoke: ‘What is that one Name which thou praisest so much?’ The Guru replied, ‘Hath any one ever known the worth of that Name?’ Mian Mitha asked him to be good enough to explain it to him. The Guru then took his arm, led him aside, and said to him, ‘Shaikh, hearest thou the Name of the one God?’ While they were speaking, the name of the Prophet vanished amid the sounds of divine ecstasy, and when they looked again there appeared instead of it only a heap of ashes. Then came a voice from heaven which only repeated ‘Allah’, God’s Arabic name. Upon this Shaikh Mitha got up and kissed the Guru’s feet. The Guru then fell into a trance, and in that state gave utterance to the following:–
[1. Banno’s Granth Sahib. It must be noted that this hymn is not generally accepted by the Sikhs.
2. Instruction. This too is not found in the Granth Sahib.]
Upon this the Guru and Mian Mitha separated.