Guru Nanak, the founder of sikhism, was born in 1469 A.D. at Talwandi (Nankana Sahib), district Sheikhupura, West Punjab, now Pakistan. His father was Mehta Kalu Ji and his mother Mata Tripta Ji. He was married to Sulakhni, the daughter of Mula of Batala, district Gurdaspur, East Punjab. He had two sons namely Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. For some time, he served as the incharge of the store house of the Nawab of Sultanpur. In response to divine call, he went out to preach his message of love. He visited the holy places of Hindus and Muslims both and impressed upon the leaders of both the religions to do away with all formalism and ritualism and understand the reality. In the later part of his life he settled at Kartarpur on the banks of Ravi. Guru Nanak started farming at Kartarpur, the town of Kartar (creator) as he called it.His people came and worked with him in the fields. The Guru took keen delight in sowing wheat, and reaping the golden harvests.
He was of the people and once again his stores were open for them. The bread and water were ready at all the hours of the day, and crowds came and freely partook at the guru’s treasury of thought and love and power; the diseased and distressed were healed by him.
He was an old man then; and he loved to see the crowds of god’s disciples coming from the distant Kabul and Central Asia and Assam and Southern India - all the places where he had been in his younger days.
In the trackless world of that time, the old Father of his people travelled on foot, singing his Hymns of Nam, and gathering every trace of love. The Afghans and the Balochs, the Turks and the Tartars, the Sufis and the Brahmans, the white and the dark races, mingled in his great heart. The disciples, both men and women came from all directions, and took part freely in the song of the Guru.
So great was the reverence of his own country for him, that Pir Bahauddin, the great Sufi teacher who counted his followers by thousands, one morning suddenly turned his back on Qaaba (which no Moslem would do), and began bowing in his Namaz in the direction of Kartarpur.
“Why so?” cried his faithful followers, in alarm.
“This morning, I saw the light of God in this direction, my friends!” said he.
Lehna in our language means “the dues to be collected,” and it also happened to be the name of a great man of the Punjab. Lehna was a flame - worshipper. There was a flame within his soul,so he loved nothing but flame. He would go up the Kangra hills to worship flame - the flame of the volcano : called, by the primitive villagers, the Goddess Durga, i.e., the lion-riding goddess of the great Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses. The flame, as it came up from the volcano, seemed to leap into his soul, he burned more than ever with love of the Divine Flame. He was beautiful and godlike, a leader of the Durga-worshippers in those days. He would light for himself, while in the privacy of his sanctuary, a little lamp of ghee, and would watch the little flame for hours devotedly, and then slowly rising, go round it, and suddenly begin to dance in rapture round the little flame. One day he heard of Guru Nanak, and the name fascinated him. He was on his way to Kangra, when he stopped to see the Master at the Town of God i.e. Kartarpur. Nanak asked him his name; and, when he replied that his name was Lehna, the Guru said: “Welcome, Lehna! You have come at last, I am to pay your Lehna.” After that Lehna never left Nanak. His companions, worshippers of goddess, went on their way, beating their cymbals and ringing their bells as usual. The flame of his little lamp in the silver plate waited for him at home, and departed with the night.
Beyond all expression was the love on each side between Lahna and Guru Nanak. The heights Buddha attained by his mighty struggle, Lehna attained through love. Lehna entered Nirvana in his love of the Master. Everything else that can be thought or seen, was very small for Lehna beside his love for the Guru. Nanak in this divine statue of love, chiselled his own image. He saw in it his eidolon, his transfigured self and bowed down to it.
Lehna was the son of a very rich man, and he used to dress in yellow silk of Bukhara. One day he came from his native place to see the Guru, and went to the field where the Guru was working. The Gur put a heavy load of wet muddy grass on head of Lehna; who then followed the Guru home, the mud dripping from the wet grass and staining his silken clothes. As they entered the house, the Guru’s wife said with great concern, “Sir! see how his fine clothes are stained with mud!” Guru Nanak looked back and said, “Mud! Seest thou not good lady! He bears the burden of suffering humanity. They are not mud stains, they are the sacred saffron-anointings! the Heaven anoints him, He is a Guru.”
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.