THE SIKH RELIGION
ITS GURUS, SACRED WRITINGS AND AUTHORS
LIFE OF GURU NANAK
Mardana had by this time had enough of travel, hardship, and. hunger, and thus addressed his master: ‘Blessings on thy devotion and thy deeds! Thou art a holy man who hast abandoned the world, who neither eatest nor drinkest, and who never enterest a village. How can I remain with thee?’ The Guru asked him on what conditions he would change his mind and continue to accompany him. He replied, ‘I will remain with thee if thou satisfy my hunger in the same way as thou satisfiest thine own; and if thou also promise not to take notice of anything I do.’ The Guru agreed to these conditions, and told him he should be happy in this world and the next. Mardana then fell at his feet.
It would appear however, that Mardana soon represented to the Guru the duty and propriety of returning home, and seeing his parents after twelve years’ wandering. The Guru adopted his suggestion, and they both directed their steps towards Talwandi. They halted in the forest some three miles from the village. Mardana asked permission to go home and inquire if his people were dead or alive. The Guru replied, ‘Since thou desire it, go and see thy people. Go also to my father Kalu’s house, but mention not my name. Return quickly.’
When Mardana reached his house he found several persons assembled there. They all affectionately greeted him, and said he had grown like Nanak. He was a great man now, and no longer the humble person he had been before. Mardana, having seen his people, proceeded to the house of Kalu, and sat down in his courtyard. The Guru’s mother, on
seeing him, arose, embraced him, and wept for joy. She asked for some account of her son Nanak. By that time a great crowd had assembled, and every one wanted to hear about him. Mardana evaded all inquiries, only telling people that he had been with Nanak. He then went away. The Guru’s mother at once suspected that he must have had some object in departing so quickly, and that her son could not be far off. She again arose, and taking some clothes and sweets for Nanak, followed Mardana and overtook him. She earnestly requested him to take her to her son. Mardana made no answer, but went on his way, she following.
Nanak arose on seeing his mother, and respectfully saluted her. She kissed his forehead and began to weep, saying, ‘I am a sacrifice unto thee. I am a sacrifice unto the ground thou treadest on. Seeing thy face hath made me happy. Now I desire that thou shouldst abandon thy wanderings, abide with us, and turn thine attention to commerce for thy livelihood.’ The Guru, who was in turn delighted to see his mother, called on Mardana to play the rebeck while he himself sang the following:–
[1. These two lines are also translated–
If drunkards obtain not stimulants, and fishes, water, they are pleased with nothing else,
So all who are imbued with their Lord are content with none but Him.
His mother placed before Nanak the new clothes and sweets she had brought for him, and asked him to eat. He said he required no food. His mother inquired where he had eaten. He again called on Mardana to play an accompaniment to the following hymn:–
His mother asked him to take off the faqir’s jacket he wore, and put on the new becoming clothes, she had brought him. His reply was the following:–
By this time his father Kalu had heard of Nanak’s arrival, and went on horseback to meet him. Nanak
3. Indian gourmets enumerate thirty-six palatable dishes.]
bowed to him, and fell at his feet. Meantime Kalu continued to weep for joy. He asked his son to mount the horse on which he had come, and go home with him. Nanak replied that he had no need of a horse, and then sang the following:–
[1. Sri Râg.]
[1. The voice, stringed instruments, wind instruments, leather instruments, as drums, and metallic instruments as cymbals, bells, &c. Pânch sabd may also mean the five species of breath enumerated by Jogis.
2. That is, the company of saints.]
When He Himself acteth, to whom should we complain? No one else acteth.
Nanak continued to address Kalu: ‘Father dear, it is God who arrangeth marriages. He maketh no mistake, and those whom He hath once joined He joineth for ever.’ By these words the Guru perhaps meant to establish monogamy. The Guru’s mother then interposed, and asked her son to stand up and go with them, and cease his nonsense. He would obtain wealth by attending to his worldly duties. The Guru replied with the following hymn:–
[1. Sûhi Chhant.
2. Bhâi Gur Dâs, so understood the Guru’s words when he wrote-Be chaste with one wife (War, vi, 8). In the Prem Sumârag, a work containing the supplementary teaching of Guru Gobind Singh, is found the injunction: ‘Be satisfied with one wife. That befits a good man.’
Kalu, finding his arguments vain, appealed to his son on the score of his health and safety, and pointed out how regardless of them he had been. The following was the Guru’s reply:–
The Guru again addressed his parents: ‘Father dear, mother dear, I have returned home. I have been until now a hermit. Obey God’s order and let me again depart.’ His mother replied: ‘My son, how shall I console myself, seeing that thou hast only now returned after an absence of twelve years?’ Then the Guru urged, ‘Mother, agree to what I say; consolation shall come to thee.’ She then became silent, thinking it was useless to make further remonstrance.