Ganika Paapan Swam Across the Worldly Ocean
ਗਨਕਾ ਪਾਪਨ ਹੋਇਕੈ ਪਾਪਾਂ ਦਾ ਗਲ ਹਾਰ ਪਰੋਤਾ॥
gankaa paa pan hoek ai paa paa(n) d aa gal haa r parot aa||
Gankaa was a sinful prostitute who wore the necklace of misdeeds around her neck.
(Vaaran Bhai Gurdaas Ji, page 10)
Ganika ‘Paapan’ (female gender for sinner) was a prostitute who indulged in worldly pleasure. Her whole life was spent doing many unsavory deeds. She never recited God’s Name. She was a prostitute by profession but not necessarily because she needed the money to survive but did it out of pleasure and enjoyment.
ਮਹਾਂ ਪੁਰਖ ਅਚਾਣਚਕ ਗਣਕਾ ਵਾੜੇ ਆਇ ਖਲੋਤਾ॥
Mahaa(n) pu rakh achaanachak gank aa vaa rrae aae kalo taa||
Once a great man was passing by who halted in her courtyard.
One day as it was raining heavily, a ‘Saadhoo’ (pious person seeking God) happened by chance to come by her house. He did not know who lived there. Ganika answered and saw that a Saadhoo had come to her doorstep. She danced to the kitchen and all the way back to the Saadhoo with a glass of milk in hand . From previous lives she had accumulated good Karma the fruits of which she would now receive. She would be blessed with an opportunity for salvation.
The Saadhoo asked Ganika, “O daughter, what do you do for a living?” Ganika became embarrassed and said, “Forgive me, my karma is low. I am unfortunate as I am a prostitute.”
The Saadhoo refused to drink the milk. “I cannot drink milk given by someone who earns their livelihood through corrupt, immoral means.”
Ganika was moved and saddened that the Saadhoo refused to drink the milk. She pleaded with the Saadhoo, “Please drink the glass of milk. I will feel bad if you won’t drink it. What must I do for you to agree to drink it?”
ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੇਖ ਦਇਆਲ ਹੋਇ ਹਥਹੁੰ ਉਸਨੋਂ ਦਿਤੋਸੁ ਤੋਤਾ॥
du rmat de kh dayiaal h oe, hath-hahu (n) usn o(n) di- tos t otaa ||
Seeing her bad plight he became compassionate and offered her a special parrot.
ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਉਪਦੇਸ ਕਰ ਖੇਲ ਗਿਆ ਦੇ ਵਣਜ ਸਉਤਾ॥
r aam naa m upd es kar, khe l giaa d e vanaj sou taa||
He told her to teach the parrot to repeat the name of Ram. Having made her understand this fruitful trade he then went away.
The The Saadhoo said, “I will drink the milk, if you make one promise.”
“Which is?” asked Ganika.
The Saadhoo answered, “I will give you my parrot. I want you to promise to teach the parrot how to repeat ‘Raam’ (He who pervades everything) ” And with that, the Saadhoo departed from her house.
ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਸ ਤੋਤਿਅਹੁੰ ਨਿਤ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਏ ਕਰੈ ਅਸੋਤਾ॥
li v laa gee
thi s tho thiah u(n) ni th parrhaae ae karai asoth aa||
Each and every day, with full concentration, she would teach the parrot to say Ram.
Ganika began teaching the parrot as per the Saadhoo’s instruction. The parrot was a slow learner. It required intense effort of repetition of ‘Ram’ for the parrot to learn. Day and night she persevered.
ਪਤਿਤ ਉਧਾਰਣ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਪਾਪ ਕਲੇਵਰ ਧੋਤਾ॥
pat it u dhaaran r aam naa m, durmat p aap kalevar dh otaa ||
The name of Lord is the liberator of the fallen ones. It washed away her evil wisdom and deeds.
Repeating ‘Raam’ had a wonderful positive effect on Ganika. As she taught the parrot then also her spirits were uplifted . In time, the parrot learned to say Raam perfectly. By then it had also become an ingrained practice for her to repeat ‘Ram’ and she did so all day.
ਅੰਤਕਾਲ ਜਮ ਜਾਲ ਤੋੜ ਨਰਕੈ ਵਿਚ ਨ ਖਾਧੁਸ ਗੋਤਾ॥
antkaa l jam jaa l torr, narak ai vi ch na kaadh us go taa||
At the time of death, it cut away the noose of Yama – the messenger of death she did not have to drown in the ocean of hell.
ਗਈ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਬਿਬਾਣ ਚੜ੍ਹ ਨਾਉ ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ਛੋਤ ਅਛੋਤਾ॥
ge-ee bai kunt b ibaa n charrh naao n aaraai n chhot achh otaa ||
Due to the elixir of name (of the Lord) she became totally devoid of sins and was lifted to the heavens.
ਥਾਉਂ ਨਿਥਾਵੇਂ ਮਾਣ ਮਣੋਤਾ ॥
thhaa ou (n) nithh aavae (n) maan man othaa ||
The name (of the Lord) is the last refuge of the shelterless ones.
Repeating “Raam Raam Raam Raam Raam….”,Ganika’s mind was purified and her past misdeeds were washed away. Her karmic account had cleared by the time of her death and thus she was freed from the cycle of reincarnation.
ਜਿਹ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਗਨਕਾ ਸੀ ਉਧਰੀ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਜਸੁ ਉਰ ਧਾਰੋ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
jih simrat gankaa see udhree taa ko jas ur dhaaro ||1|| rehaao ||
Meditating on Him in remembrance, Ganika the prostitute was saved; enshrine His Praises within your heart. ||1||Pause||
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, ang 632)
Her dedicated repitition of ‘Ram’ became a deep meditation of God through which she attained her salvation despite her occupation and how she had spent her life. As she was cleansed then saved, enshrining His praises, so can anyone else be also blessed with salvation.