THE SECOND MASTER ANGAD NANAK :Prof. Puran Singh
The last days of the Master, at Kartarpur were made bitter by the attitude of his sons towards bis beloved disciple, Angad. Nanak, as a spiritual teacher had given his love to his dearest disciple, and the jealousy of his family brought about a situation similar to that in the story of the awakening of Galatea. Nanak had therefore, already denied himself the pleasure of the presence at Kartarpur of his great disciple, on whom he loved to feast his mind, and had asked Angad to go and live at his own native place, Khadur. After this it was Nanak who would go occasionally to Khadur to see his Angad. A pilgrimage by the old Nanak to the new.
THE ECSTASY OF LOVE
One day, Angad, following Nanak, strayed too far out from Khadur towards Kartarpur; whereupon Nanak asked him to go no further, but to stay there and wait for his next visit. Angad stood looking at the back of the Master as he was slowly going towards Kartarpur, turning now and then to look back at Angad. When his lurninous figure had disappeared, Angad saw it entering in his own soul. He felt bewildered with joy and wonder. There he sat on the roadside: lost in himself, his eyes fixed on the half~losed eyes of the mystical Nanak seated in his heart, his soul fast
asleep in the Master’s soul. Days passed in that ecstatic trance, the dust settled on his hair, and the tendrils of green grass caught his toes. So did Angad sit in a trance of Dhyanam, with nectar-tears flowing out of his closed eyes, till Nanak returned in haste from Kartarpur to see his mighty lover and his divine Beloved seated on the roadside. The Master strained him to his bosom; it was God embracing man. From such holy and secret confluence of the two Beloveds, the life of spirit flowed in a thousand shining rivers to the soul of the people.
ANGAD ON THE ROADSIDE
When Nanak left this earth for his original ‘Kartarpur’, Angad was left again on the roadside on this earth in the same state as when the Master had shown him how to bear physical separation in the union of Dhyanam. But Angad was deeply affected; he sought the lowly house of a humble disciple, and shut himself in a room, unwilling to open his eyes to look at anything else. His soul crane-like flew crying in the midair for his Beloved that had passed the limit of the sky. Months elapsed, and no one knew where was Guru Angad of the people. They hungered to see and to touch their Master, and thirsting crowds streamed hither and thither in the country searching for him. When Bhai Budha at last intruded on the love-Samadhi of Angad and persuaded him to come out to his people. Angad’s first utterance was:
“What use is living on this earth
When the Beloved hath already journeyed on to Heaven?”
And again he said:
“If a man melt not in submission to his Beloved, in vain doth he live, better his head were severed with a sword.
Of what use is life, if cherish not in me the pang of separation from the Beloved?”
Angad, the second Nanak, has left us very few hymns of his own composition, but the few that have come from him are as brief and as intense as the two he first uttered on coming out of solitude.
Burnt be the fame, good name, wealth and rank, won at the hands of men of this earth!
Cast all such greatnesses into burning fire!
Of what use is all this if I have lost Him?
My sisters ! it is the season of spring
Such perpetual springs roll where the Beloved lives!
Praise Him, the beauty of Spring is His sign!
My sisters! it is the Cloud-month,
And the clouds are gathering in the sky!
In this lover’s month of joy, if I think of another, I die!
My sisters! it is the Sawan month!
And it is raining love, it is raining joy;
To awake now is sin;
O let me lie in the embrace of my Beloved.
Wake me not, take me not from here, it is the sleep of peace!
O sisters ! It is the Sawan month
I was a locked temple;
The gems of God were stored in my heart,
And I knew not.
My Master opened the door of my heart for me;
My Master had the key, and I knew it not.
Now I see all.
Men with no eyes may or may not be blind, But great is the blindness of him whose inner door is locked.
The Nectar of which we hear is love of God.
Immortality for which we long is the song of Nam.
The secret of life is hidden in me,
But it opens in the kind Glance of my master.
The way to the Beloved is unknown,
He finds whom He favours.
How can I tell you of Him Who knoweth none else can know,
Whose Will pervadeth everywhere whole creation obeys?
We come here sent by Him, We go back called by Him;
His joy is goodness.
The flag-bearers of Nam are great,
The singers of his Nam are rich
They have the key to the Door of Life
They are the chosen of God.
When Angad came out of his seclusion to the disciples, (it is written) “The disciples saw in him the same aura, the same face, and the same speech, as of his Master Nanak.” Born of His loins, there comes the Man complete!
From His eyes, a million more eyes take the flame of the Unseen,
Under his ribs throb a mrnion hearts with faith and prayer,
His smile reveals the secrets of other worlds, And the suns catch fire from the beams of His brow,
And the whole creation plays about Him in its original freedom, joy and peace!
Angad sings his Master’s songs, which impart life to man, woman and child;
And he toils for his daily bread, making ropes out of the coarse fibres of the Punjab, sweating and singing.
THE PLAYMATES OF ANGAD
Angad had little children for his playmates and companions. He always drew parables from the child mind to teach the great truths to his people.
He took interest in wrestling exercises, and was very fond of manly sports. Another delight was the education of young children. He formed a school round him for their instruction, and he simplified the old characters into a new alphabet, since called Guru Mukhi”Learnt from the mouth of the Master.”
ANGAD AND THE PEOPLE
Angad had deep reverence for the people: the people were sacred. One day his minstrels refused to sing to his disciples, saying they were only for the service of the Master. Angad dismissed them, promptly ordering them never to come before him if they had grown so vain. When the minstrels obtained forgiveness of the people, it was oiily at the latter’s intercession for them that Angad also forgave them.
MOTHS ROUND THE LAMP
The Temple of Bread established by Guru Nanak was kept up by Angad. The whole people came to the new Master: some to be healed and blessed, others to be initiated as disciples. But, once they had come, they all continued, in one way or another, to hover round the magic personality of the Master, Angad, as moths hover round a lamp in the darkness.
From Angad, the Master, spontaneously flew sparks of life, and the whole soul of a people caught fire from them. His creative power was shown in the raising of the dead by his presence. He worked in the Unseen, and lived more in the hearts of the people than in himself.
ANGAD AND EMPEROR HUMAYUN
Since the time of Baber, there was an attachment of the imperial dynasty to the throne of Nanak, the first Master, which continued more or less during the whole time of Baber’s dynasty in India. This attachment was in the spirit of saint-worship that was so common in the Mussalman world, the belief being that the saints can avert many a calamity by their prayers.
Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah. He came to see Angad to obtain his blessing in regaining the throne, but Angad did not receive him. He was absorbed in play with children, and he heeded not Humayun who deeply offended at this “poor man’s” reproof, put his hand on the hilt of his sword; but the sword refused to obey him, and his strength failed. At this Angad looked up smiling, and said, “Beaten by Sher Shah, you can do no better than strike a faqir with your sword. Better go back to your motherland before you seek to regain your throne.”
THE THREE TEMPLES OF ANGAD
Angad reduced to writing the accounts of the travels and sayings of his Master, Nanak, as he could get them related by the disciples who had seen him and who came from far and near. He thus made a beginning of the gift of literature to the people, having at the same time given them an alphabet. In addition to the Temple of Bread and the Temple of Song, Angad the Master gave a third, the Temple of Teaching to his people.
ANGAD AND HIS DISCIPLE AMARDAS
Amardas was a spiritual genius of the times of Angad. He was a Vaishnava by faith, and a great pilgrim who had been forty times to the sacred Ganges at Hardwar-going there bare-footed, singing divine hymns all the way, and feeling charitable, good, pure and poor all the while. It was in the seventieth year of his life that a trifling event produced a revolution within him; merely the hearing of a song of Nanak sung by Angad’s daughter, Bibi Amro, the wife of Amardas’ brother’s son. Once, early at dawn, she was reciting the song of Japji; uttering the Divine music as it is heard ringing through air from the throats of birds that are singing and soaring, while she churned butter for the family. The old uncle Amardas felt a solace in that angelic voice and a life in the song that he had never felt before, and he drew still nearer to listen to her. “Whose song is it ?” said he. “Our Father’s,” said she, “It is the Japji’s song of Guru Nanak.”
She took the old man to her father. Angad received him with the great respect that was due both to his age and to his position in society. Uncle Amardas, having seen Ang~d once, never while living, le ft his presence. Enraptured by it, Amardas would have died if it had been withdrawn. So deep and intense was his passion that he would find pleasure only in doing every service necessary to the Master; he would bring him a pitcher of fresh river water from the river Beas every morning for his bath, he would wash his clothes, he would serve him in the Temple of Bread-taking keen delight in self-effacement in his love. He extinguished his little self so thoroughly that he was considered mad; an old man who had no interest in life, he was dubbed Amru, and generally forsaken.
Even Angad, though sweet to everyone else, was not so gentle with him; for him there was all the rigour of discipline. The Master left the disciple alone to his ecstasies, to his labour of love, to his Samadhi; making response to him only in the Unseen, as the Master chose to cover his art-work under a thick veil from the vulgar gaze. Nevertheless, Uncle Amardas showed no annoyance at the treatment he received. Only once a year a yard of Khaddar (a coarse cloth) was given to him by Angad; and Amardas, not
knowing where to keep the sacred gift, put it on his head and left it there. Where else could he keep it ? He found no place holy enough for it. Year after year he kept on winding over it the new cloth; and it so was for twelve years. Fond like a child of his Beloved, he would remain looking at him in a continual trance of wonder and joy and love. What else could he do?
NEW CITIES SPRING
New cities began to spring round the name and person of the new Master. On the bank of Beas the disciples built a town called Goindwal and they wished that the holy Angad should go and live’ there. As he could not go, Angad asked his beloved Amardas to go and make Goindwal his residence.
Amardas took up his residence at Goindwal; but he would come everyday, the old man, with a brass pitcher of the river-water on his head and the Ganges flowing from his eyes to bathe the Guru. He would come singing Japji all the way, and halt just for a moment’s rest midway at the place where now stands our shrine: Damdama Sahib, to which pilgrims now resort, if only to look up to Heaven in hallowed memory of our great ancestors.
SAMADHI OF LOVE
While returning from Khadur to Goindwal alone late at night, Amardas never turned his back on Khadur. He would have died if he had turned his back on the Master even in that way. With his eyes looking still towards Master, he walked backward to Goindwal. Here, in this great old wayfarer who had travelled all his life with his face towards God can be seen again in slightly altered form the Love Samadhi of Guru Angad sitting on the road to Kartarpur. Amardas had found his God; and, in deep spiritual contemplation, was unable to turn his back on the spot where He in His bright raiment shone.
THE DISCIPLE CROWNED
One day, Amardas, while nearing Khadur with his brass pitcher of the Beas water, fell by the house of a weaver into his loom-pit, having tumbled against a wooden peg that the weaver had driven into the ground. It was a severe winter night, raining and pitch-dark. The weaver’s wife disturbed in her comfortable bed by the noise of his fall, said to her husband, beside her, “Ah, who can have fallen at our door like that?” The husband replied, “Who else could it be, but that homeless insane Amru; he, who never sleeps, never rests and never tires?” This report reached Angad; the word “homeless” (Nithavan) used by the weaver, moved the Master deeply. He strained the old Amardas to his bosom; and from their meeting arose another sun in our sky, the new Amardas. “My Amardas! my Amardas,” said the Master, “is the home of the homeless, the refuge of the refugeless, the pride of the foregoers of their own strength. My Amardas ! my Amardas is the Master. Nanak himself!”
And he sent for five pice and a cocoanut in the fashion of Nanak, and worshipped Amardas, giving him thereby, a throne in the heart of the people.