Thursday, August 21, 2008


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.


Japji Sahib contains the whole essence of Sikh philosophy. It contains the basic teachings of Guru Nanak. For these reasons it occupies the opening place in the Guru Granth Sahib. It is a treasury of secular and spiritual wisdom and deserves detailed study. It is difficult to say precisely when it was written. According to Puratan Janama-sakhi, it was stated by Guru Nanak, soon after his Divine revelation and benediction. Macauliffe' however felt that it was the mature work of Guru Nanak, in advanced age, after he had settled at Kartarpur in 1521. Other biographers believe that the verses were written by the Guru at different times and later collected together as a basic prayer, for the benefit of his followers. Japji is written in the sutra or mantra form, like the ancient Indian sacred texts and contains concentrated thought expressed in the minimum words. It Is this economy of words and brevity of expression which distinguish this composition from all others. The expressions used are both pertinent and pithy.

The whole prayer concerns itself with the problems of ordinary. Its theme covers a suggested course of training for an average family-man that would enable him to attain spiritual perfection. It does recommend passive contemplation or living an isolated life. It favours man's participation in the affairs of the world, combined with an integration of wisdom and selfless activity. In the very first verse, Guru Nanak states its whole theme in question form:

"How can one be a man of "The Truth"? How can one break down the wall of falsehood?" He supplies the answer very briefly in the following line. The goal is to elevate ordinary people to the mystic vision of God. Prof. Seshadri explains it thus: "The quest is inward and the goal, God-realisation! The sacred shrine is within the heart of man, but the essential precondition for the success of man's earthly pilgrimage is to overcome his own Ego. Hence the need for Dharma and the discipline of morality."' There is a constant inner urge of the human soul for Oneness with God, for every person has a Divine Spark within himself.

Japji describes the basic concepts of Sikhism: Firstly, Bhakti or Simran (devotional worship) is given as the best way to God realisation. The best time for devotional prayer or meditation is during the ambrosial hours-about dawn. Secondly "Hukam"-Divine Law or Will-that which controls and governs the universe, sometimes also thought of as "Cosmic Law." This law brings grace as the fruit of good action, and divine retribution as that for bad action. Man's effort to live a holy and virtuous life may be rewarded by a divine grace which may lead to his salvation. Grace does not come merely by doing good deeds. Devotion and the singing of God's Name and His praises are also essentials for deserving this grace or blessing. Thirdly the concept of the Creation, which the Guru explains, is the result of God's command or word (and the world came into being instantly). No one knows the expanse of the Lord's creation. There are millions of lower and upper worlds. The infinity of the creation and manifestation, is beyond count or measure. Finally, Guru Nanak describes the five planes of spiritual progress by which man may come to God's abode-in the realm of the Eternal. The last Verse (Salok) of Japji is repeated by Guru Angad in his Manjh-ki-var on page 146 of the Guru Granth Sahib.

The overall excellence of the Japji is not structural or literary, nor is it the step-by-step progression of an argument for a planned thesis. Its unity is obtained by its consistent drive toward a basic vision or goal. Its stanzas are clustered in groups which then lead to unity of idea. The groups of stanzas deal with one topic at a time, for example, Listening to the Holy Name (Suniyai) in stanzas 8 to 11, Faith in the Holy Nams (Mannei) in 12 to 15, the discipline of Yoga in 28 to 31, or the steps of spiritual ascent (Khands) in stanzas 34 to 37. However each stanza varies in its number of lines and rhymes. Such variations are necessary in order to break up uniformity and regulate the flow of thought and rhythm.
Consider the message of the Japji by taking the clusters of verses serially. Examine how these leads to total achievement of their goal. In the Mool-mantra (the introduction) we are told of the qualities of God. This is the basic corner-stone of the Sikh Religious Path. Then, in the first verse, the Guru rejects all the traditional methods
of spiritual uplift which
on ritual purity, silence, fasting, speculation and worldly wisdom. pith to spiritual liberation is by obeying God's Divine Will as expressed by one's conscience.

<> siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ] (1-1, mÚ 1)
ik-oNkaar sat naam kartaa purakh nirbha-o nirvair akaal moorat ajoonee saibhaN gur parsaad.
One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace ~

] jpu ] (1-3, mÚ 1)
Chant And Meditate:

Awid scu jugwid scu ] (1-4, jpu, mÚ 1)
aad sach jugaad sach.
True In The Primal Beginning. True Throughout The Ages.

hY BI scu nwnk hosI BI scu ]1] (1-4, jpu, mÚ 1)
hai bhee sach naanak hosee bhee sach. ||1||
True Here And Now. O Nanak, Forever And Ever True. ||1||

socY soic n hoveI jy socI lK vwr ] (1-5, jpu, mÚ 1)
sochai soch na hova-ee jay sochee lakh vaar.
By thinking, He cannot be reduced to thought, even by thinking hundreds of thousands of times.

cupY cup n hoveI jy lwie rhw ilv qwr ] (1-5, jpu, mÚ 1)
chupai chup na hova-ee jay laa-ay rahaa liv taar.
By remaining silent, inner silence is not obtained, even by remaining lovingly absorbed deep within.

BuiKAw BuK n auqrI jy bMnw purIAw Bwr ] (1-5, jpu, mÚ 1)
bhukhi-aa bhukh na utree jay bannaa puree-aa bhaar.
The hunger of the hungry is not appeased, even by piling up loads of worldly goods.

shs isAwxpw lK hoih q iek n clY nwil ] (1-6, jpu, mÚ 1)
sahas si-aanpaa lakh hohi ta ik na chalai naal.
Hundreds of thousands of clever tricks, but not even one of them will go along with you in the end.

ikv sicAwrw hoeIAY ikv kUVY qutY pwil ] (1-6, jpu, mÚ 1)
kiv sachi-aaraa ho-ee-ai kiv koorhai tutai paal.
So how can you become truthful? And how can the veil of illusion be torn away?

hukim rjweI clxw nwnk iliKAw nwil ]1] (1-7, jpu, mÚ 1)
hukam rajaa-ee chalnaa naanak likhi-aa naal. ||1||
O Nanak, it is written that you shall obey the Hukam of His Command, and walk in the Way of His Will. ||1||

hukmI hovin Awkwr hukmu n kihAw jweI ] (1-7, jpu, mÚ 1)
hukmee hovan aakaar hukam na kahi-aa jaa-ee.
By His Command, bodies are created; His Command cannot be described.

hukmI hovin jIA hukim imlY vifAweI ] (1-8, jpu, mÚ 1)
hukmee hovan jee-a hukam milai vadi-aa-ee.
By His Command, souls come into being; by His Command, glory and greatness are obtained.

hukmI auqmu nIcu hukim iliK duK suK pweIAih ] (1-8, jpu, mÚ 1)
hukmee utam neech hukam likh dukh sukh paa-ee-ah.
By His Command, some are high and some are low; by His Written Command, pain and pleasure are obtained.

ieknw hukmI bKsIs ieik hukmI sdw BvweIAih ] (1-9, jpu, mÚ 1)
iknaa hukmee bakhsees ik hukmee sadaa bhavaa-ee-ah.
Some, by His Command, are blessed and forgiven; others, by His Command, wander aimlessly forever.

hukmY AMdir sBu ko bwhir hukm n koie ] (1-9, jpu, mÚ 1)
hukmai andar sabh ko baahar hukam na ko-ay.
Everyone is subject to His Command; no one is beyond His Command.

nwnk hukmY jy buJY q haumY khY n koie ]2] (1-10, jpu, mÚ 1)
naanak hukmai jay bujhai ta ha-umai kahai na ko-ay. ||2||
O Nanak, one who understands His Command, does not speak in ego. ||2||


Mardana was the first disciple and lifelong companion of Guru Nanak and his rebeck player. With all the wit and humor of a Punjabi minstrel, Mardana became a poet and philosopher in the Guru's company. He was a Muslim by birth and a Mirasi or minstrel by caste and re­beck player by profession. Mardana was born at Talwandi Rae Bhoe Ki, the home-town. of Guru Nanak, in 1459, ten years before the birth of the Guru. Mardana's parents had lost all their children. When Mardana was born, his mother out of sheer despair and desperation called him Marjana, one who was about to die. But he survived and lived a fairly long life of sixty-one. Guru Nanak changed his name to Mardana meaning brave or manly.

His father was Badra and mother Lakho. Badra was the family bard of Mehta Kalu. Badra and Mardana called every morning at the houses of local residents and obtained alms generally in kind in the form of flour or some eatables. Both would sing to the accompaniment of music on rebeck and on receiving charity would move next door. Nanak as a child listened to their sweet music and felt fascinated. He had a natural attraction for boy Mardana.

In course of time, Nanak left Talwandi and went to Sultanpur Lodi where he was employed in the service of Daulat Khan Lodi, the Governor of the Jalandhar Doab. Mehta Kalu, Nanak's father, was not getting good reports about Nanak's work. It struck him that Mardana's company might do him good. Mardana was thirty years old when he was sent to Sultanpur. Nanak was highly pleased at his arrival. It became usual with both of them to sing songs together in praise of God in the morning and evening before and after office hours, in a public place. Their melodious voice and soft strains on rebeck touched the hearts of listeners and transported them into a state of bliss. Both lived together and became inseparable. This drama was daily enacted in the streets of Sultanpur for seven long years.

Then Nanak became a missionary, and he decided to move from place to place. Mardana stuck fast to the Guru. Both left for Talwandi. While passing through Muslim villages they stayed in a faqir's takia generally situated near a graveyard. There they recited verses in praise of Allah. As Mardana attended prayers in a mosque, Nanak also accompanied him, and some times joined in prayers. The fanaticism of the Mulla or Maulvi was often softened by the presence of Mardana. The Mulla thought that under Mardana's influence Nanak might embrace Islam.

Visiting Sayyidpur and Sialkot on the way, they reached Talwandi. Nanak stayed outside the town, while Mardana called upon his family folk. He had a wife and two sons named Shahzada and Raezada and a daughter. Nanak's parents called on him and tried to persuade him in vain to lead the settled life of a householder. Mardana's wife and children also failed to detain him. In a couple of days both left together for Multan. In due course they returned to Sultanpur Lodi. This took place in 1496.

In 1497 Nanak and Mardana started on a journey to the east. They went as far as Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh and returned through Central India to Panjab in 1509 after twelve years. At Delhi Nanak and Mardana were both imprisoned by Sikandar Lodi for preaching in public in violation of his orders. In jail both sang songs while Mardana played upon rebeck also. This was a fascinating performance, and the prisoners thronged to listen to them. Such a scene was rare in gaol. As this disturbed the normal routine of the place, the Guru and his disciple were set free.

Guru Nanak undertook several journeys. His last journey was made to West Asia from 1517 to 1521. Mardana was with him. From Sultanpur Lodi they went in a boat down the river Beas and Satluj to Panjnad. From there they passed through the country of Sind. In this tedious journey Nanak once rode on horseback. They were halting in a jungle. The horse was let loose to graze and Mardana was looking after it. Nanak suddenly called Mardana to play a particular tune on. his rebeck. Mardana would not leave the horse as it was trying to run. away. Nanak shouted:

"Let go the horse and come back at once. The word is coming." Mardana quietly obeyed.

At the old harbor of Kot Lakhpat they sailed for Arabia. Having visited Mecca and Medina they went to Baghdad in Iraq, the capital of the Caliphs of Islam. As usual they stayed outside the town near a graveyard. Nanak's visit to Baghdad is recorded in the Vars of Bhai Gurdas who wrote:

Baba gaya Baghdad nun bahar jai kiya asthana,
1k Baba akal rup duja rabab Mardana.1

[Baba went to Baghdad, and put up outside. The immortal Baba was accompanied by the rebeck-player Mardana.]

On the roadside Nanak began to sing hymns in praise of God, and Mardana played a symphonic strain on his musical instrument. The language of the people being Arabic listeners could only catch the names of Allah and Khuda, but the combination of a melodious voice, sweet tune, and saintly appearances produced a soothing effect on their minds. But as music was a taboo in Islam, somebody objected to their performance remarking that music turned mind from God towards sensuality. Nanak could understand and speak some broken Arabic. He replied that God created music, and that He was more easily accessible through pleasing poetry than pale prose.

The pilgrims stayed there for some time. Mardana's health and spirit had been failing, and he felt tired of travelling. To reach home they had to cover a distance of about 5,000 kilometres. If they could walk at the rate of 20 kilometres a day it would take them 9 or 10 months. At this prospect Mardana's heart began to sink. He had realised his life's ambition of making a pilgrimage to the greatest holy places and sacred shrines of Islam at Mecca, Medina and Baghdad. He had won the title of Haji. He did not want to go farther. He felt that he would die at this holy place. As luck would have it, he soon afterwards gave up the ghost in peace and tranquility.

Nanak grew sad. The separation was unbearable. But the Guru had a stout heart and an indomitable will. Besides he had a certain mission in life. With a heavy heart he performed the obsequies of Mardana with his own hands. A humble monument was erected in memory of Mardana. Within an enclosure on a wall an inscription in mixed Turkish and Arabic marks the site. Mardana was called Murad by the residents of Baghdad and being older than Nanak by ten years was considered Guru. Consequently the inscription which was put up after Guru Nanak's departure said:

"Guru Murad died. Baba Nanak faqir helped in constructing this building, which is an act of grace from a virtuous follower, 927 A.H."
Mardana seems to have died in December, 1520 A.D. at the age of 61. The monument lies near a graveyard, 2.5 kilometres away from the railway station.

Mardana was a master-rebeck-player. He improved the old form of instrument by fixing 4 to 6 strings to a hollow gourd so as to produce deep and mellow resonance. He sang devotional songs of Kabir, Ravidas, Trilochan, Beni, Dhanna and Nanak. He composed verses also, three of which are included in the Adi Granth in Bihagre ki Var. They are against the use of wine which brings about misery, lust, pride, self-conceit, falsehood, ill health and disease. He says:

The barmaid is misery, wine is lust; man is the drinker.

The cup filled with worldly love is wrath, and it is served by pride.

The company is false and covetous, and is ruined by excess of drink.

Instead of such wine make good conduct thy clarified butter, and modesty thy meat to eat.

Such things, O Nanak, are obtained by the Guru's favour; by par-taking of them sins depart.'

Mardana's last wish to Guru Nanak a little before his death was:

"Only ferry me across this ocean of the world for the sake of the Word of God, which I have been singing to thee and thy people."

On his return to Panjab Guru Nanak called at Talwandi. His parents had died. Mardana's parents also were no more. He condoled with his wife and sons. He persuaded Mardana's eldest son, Shahzada, to accept his father's post, and assured him of equal honour, care and consideration. Shahzada accompanied the Guru to Kartarpur, and served as the chief minstrel to the Guru as well as to the Sikh sangats.


Bhai Mardana was Guru Nanak's long-time Muslim companion throughout his extensive journeys across the country and abroad, he was born the son of a mirasi (a caste of hereditary minstrels and genealogists) couple, Badra and Lakkho, of Talvandi Rai Bhoe, now Nankana Sahib, in Sheikhupura district of Pakistan. Guru Nanak and Mardana grew up in the same village. The Meharban Janam Sakhi describes the latter, who was ten years senior in age, as the Guru's companion since his childllood days and as one who sang to him songs from Kabir, Trilochan, Ravidas, Dhanna and Beni. According to Ratan Singh Bhangu, Prachin Panth Prakash, Guru Nanak as a small boy gave Mardana a String instrument improvised from reeds to play on while he sang the hymns .

As Guru Nanak was employed to take charge of the granaries and stores of the Nawab of Sultanpur lodhi, the stories of his generosity and hospitality spread far and wide. Mardana, already a married man and father of two sons and a daughter, wanted to visit Sultanpur and seek his bounty. Meanwhile, he was charged by Guru Nanak's father Mahita Kalu, to go to Sultanpur and bring news of the welfare of his son. Mardana went to Sultanpnr, never to part company with Guru Nanak again. His occupation was playing the Ribab rebeck as Guru Nanak recited God's glory.

When Guru Nanak Prepared to go forth into the world to preach his message, he invited Mardana to accompany him. Mardana hesitated, for he did not wish to leave his family until his daughter had heen married off and for this he did not have sufficient means. One of Guru Nanak's disciples, Bhai Bhagnath, bought the needed provisions and Mardana was able to give away his daughter in marriage. He was then ready to accompany Guru Nanak on his travels.

To relieve the rigour of the journeys, the biographies describe several humorous situations in which Mardana involved himself by his panicky behaviour when prospects of getting the next meal seemed less than certain. He was not easily convinced when Guru Nanak told him to be patient and have trust in something turning up, but Mardana wished always to be prepared before travelling with the rations. As the Puratan Janam Sakhi narrates, Guru Nanak and Mardana had not come out very far from Sultanpur when the latter complained that he felt hungry and needed something to eat immediately. The Guru pointed to the village they had passed and said that, if he went , he would he well entertained by Khattris of the Uppal caste who lived in that village Mardana turned his footsteps in that direction and, arriving in the village, he found ever more than hospitable. he was fed sumptuously and given ample alms. As he saw him loaded With a bundle Guru Nanak, says the Janam Sakhi, rolled on the ground laughing, since the bundle was very heavy. Mardana realized the oddity of what he had done and did not know how to get rid of what he had collected. He threw the bundle when Guru pointed out to him that those articles would be more of a burden to him.

The janam sakhis also contain many anecdotes picturing Mardana in despair out of agonizing hunger or petrifying fear and Guru Nanak or Nature coming to succour him some what miraculously. Once the two were passing through a remote wilderness when suddenly a violent storm overtook them. So severe was the tempest that the trees of the jungle began to fly about. Mardana, trembling With fear, thus spoke to the Guru, "True sovereign, thou hast brought me to my death in this forest. I shall not here get a shroud nor a grave." The Guru asked him to remain calm, but Mardana moaned, "I have not faced a calamity like this in my life. What is going to befall my poor soul today?" Then fire broke out. Smoke was all over and the blaze on all four sides. Mardana covered up his face and laid himself down on the ground saying, "Farewell, life" Then came water. Thick clouds gathered and poured water in torrents "Raise thy head, Mardana," spoke the Guru, "and take thy rebeck " Mardana pulled the strings and Guru Nanak sang: "If the fear of God is in the heart, all other fear is dispelled..."

According to Puratan Janam Sakhi, Mardana and his Master were taken prisoner by the Mughals at Saidpur. The Guru was given a load to carry on his head and Mardana to lead a horse holding its rein. Mir Khan, the Mughal commander, saw that the Guru's bundle was floating above his head and Mardana's horse was following him without the reins. He reported the miracle to Sultan Babar, who remarked, "Had there been such faqirs here, the town should not have been struck" . Mir Khan asked him to see for himself.

In 1524, at Kartarpur, Mardana, fell ill. He grew weak and hope of recovery was lost. Born of a Muslim family, he had attached himself to Guru Nanak. The Guru asked him how he wished his body to be disposed of Mardana replied that by the Guru's instruction he had overcome his pride of the body. What remained of him after death, he said, be disposed of as the Guru wished. Then the Guru said. "Shall I make thee a tomb to render thee famous in the world?" "when the Guru is releasing my soul from the body, why should he entomb me in stone?" answered Mardana The Guru asked him to fix his mind on the Creator The following morning, at a watch before day, Mardana passed away. The Guru consigned his hody to the River Ravi, hymns sung and karahprasad, the sacrament, distributed among the Sikhs. He consoled Mardana's son Shahzada, and other members of his family and asked them not to weep for him who had returned to his heavenly home.

Mardana was a poet of some merit. One of his slokas appears in Guru Granth Sahib in Bihagare ki Var along with two others of Guru Nanak's addressed to Mardana. He is convinced that an evil body may be cleansed of sin in sangat (GC, 553).


Sikh history originates from Nankana Sahib. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikh faith, was born here in 1469. The name of the place at that time was Rai Bhoi di Talwandi. The landlord contemporary of Guru Nanak Dev was Rai Bular, who himself became a devotee of the Guru. It was renamed Nankana after the Guru. It is located in what is called Nilianwali Bar (forest where nilgais abound), and is about 75 kilometers west-southwest of Lahore. Nankana Sahib is in Sheikhupura district and is connected to the district town by rail and road. There are several shrines connected with the memory of Guru Nanak Dee's childhood and early youth here. Later Guru Arjan dev and Guru Hargobirid also visited Nankana Sahib and a Gurdwara was also raised subsequently in their honor. During the Sikh rule, these gurdwaras were richly endowed with liberal land grants (over 7,000 hectares). The management was in the hands of Udasi and Nirmala priests until the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee took over during the Gurdwara Reform Movement of 1920-25. The Gurdwaras had to be abandoned in the aftermath of the Partition in 1947. They are now looked after by the Government of Pakistan. Nankana Sahib is one of the three places which can be visited periodically by bands of Sikh pilgrims with the approval of the Government of Pakistan, the other two being Panja Sahib near Hasan Abdal and Lahore. Since 1947 the traditional Sikh ardaas (supplicatory prayer) has been supplemented by a single sentence:
"O Merciful and Bounteous God, ever helpful to your Panth, do grant to your Khalsa Ji the boon of seeing, serving and protecting Gurdwaras at Nankana Sahib and other places from which the Panth has been separated."

In these simple words the community, a minute minority in the populous Indian sub-continent, expresses its loss, its grief, its pangs of separation from its venerable, sacred, historical shrines left behind when they left their homes and hearths in circumstances beyond their control. Also, at the same time, by these words the Sikhs reaffirm their faith in other tenets of their faith expressed in Guru Nanak Dev's words:
"Union and separation have been created by my Lord, who having created Universe gave it pain and pleasure; but the Guru-oriented ones wearing the armour of faith are indifferent to pleasure and pain." (A.G. 1032)

Following are the historical Gurudwaras at Nankana Sahib:

Gurudwara Janam Asthan
Gurudwara Bal Leela
Gurudwara Patti Sahib
Gurudwara Kiara Sahib
Gurudwara Mal ji Sahib
Gurudwara Tambu Sahib
Gurudwara Chhevin Patshahi


During Guru Nanak Dev Ji's third missionary travels he traveled north into the Himalayas. Guru Ji visited Jawalamukhi, Kangra, Riwalsar, Kulu, and Tibet.

On Mount Sumayr Guru Sahib Ji met a large number of ascetics who were the hermits known as Siddhs. They had cut themselves off from the rest of the world and had grown very old and wise as they meditated and contemplated. Their leader was Gorakh Naath and they possessed great occult powers and performed many miracles. Although very young compared to the Siddhs they non the less recognised in Guru Ji the divine light and received him with great courtesy.

The following is a composition called the Siddh Gosht or 'conversations with the Siddhas' that Guru Nanak Dev Ji wrote about his encounter with the Siddhs. It is a lengthy but masterful piece as Guru Sahib Ji answers the questions put to him by the Siddhs.



The Siddhas formed an assembly; sitting in their Yogic postures, they shouted, "Salute this gathering of Saints." I offer my salutation to the One who is true, infinite and incomparably beautiful. I cut off my head, and offer it to Him; I dedicate my body and mind to Him. O Nanak, meeting with the Saints, Truth is obtained, and one is spontaneously blessed with distinction. || 1 ||
What is the use of wandering around? Purity comes only through Truth. Wit
hout the True Word of the Shabad, no one finds liberation. || 1 || Pause ||

"Who are you? What is your name? What is your way? What is your goal? We pray that you will answer us truthfully; we are a sacrifice to the humble Saints. Where is your seat? Where do you live, boy? Where did you come from, and where are you going?Tell us, Nanak-the detached Siddhas wait to hear your reply. What is your path?"|| 2 ||

He dwells deep within the nucleus of each and every heart. This is my seat and my home. I walk in harmony with the Will of the True Guru. I came from the Celestial Lord God; I go wherever He orders me to go. I am Nanak, forever under the Command of His Will. I sit in the posture of the eternal, imperishable Lord. These are the Teachings I have received from the Guru. As Gurmukh, I have come to understand and realize myself; I merge in the Truest of the True. || 3 ||

"The world-ocean is treacherous and impassable; how can one cross over? Charpat the Yogi says, O Nanak, think it over, and give us your true reply." What answer can I give to someone, who claims to understand himself? I speak the Truth; if you have already crossed over, how can I argue with you? || 4 ||

The lotus flower floats untouched upon the surface of the water, and the duck swims through the stream; with one's consciousness focused on the Word of the Shabad, one crosses over the terrifying world-ocean. O Nanak, chant the Naam, the Name of the Lord. One who lives alone, as a hermit, enshrining the One Lord in his mind, remaining unaffected by hope in the midst of hope, sees and inspires others to see the inaccessible, unfathomable Lord. Nanak is his slave. || 5 ||

"Listen, Lord, to our prayer. We seek your true opinion. Don't be angry with us - please tell us: How can we find the Guru's Door?" This fickle mind sits in its true home, O Nanak, through the Support of the Naam, the Name of the Lord. The Creator Himself unites us in Union, and inspires us to love the Truth. || 6 ||

"Away from stores and highways, we live in the woods, among plants and trees. For food, we take fruits and roots. This is the spiritual wisdom spoken by the renounciates. We bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, and obtain the fruits of peace; not even an iota of filth sticks to us. Luhaareepaa, the disciple of Gorakh says, this is the Way of Yoga." || 7 ||

In the stores and on the road, do not sleep; do not let your consciousness covet anyone else's home. Without the Name, the mind has no firm support; O Nanak, this hunger never departs. The Guru has revealed the stores and the city within the home of my own heart, where I intuitively carry on the true trade. Sleep little, and eat little; O Nanak, this is the essence of wisdom. || 8 ||

"Wear the robes of the sect of Yogis who follow Gorakh; put on the ear-rings, begging wallet and patched coat. Among the twelve schools of Yoga, ours is the highest; among the six schools of philosophy, ours is the best path. This is the way to instruct the mind, so you will never suffer beatings again." Nanak speaks: the Gurmukh understands; this is the way that Yoga is attained. || 9||

Let constant absorption in the Word of the Shabad deep within be your ear-rings; eradicate egotism and attachment. Discard sexual desire, anger and egotism, and through the Word of the Guru's Shabad, attain true understanding. For your patched coat and begging bowl, see the Lord God pervading and permeating everywhere; O Nanak, the One Lord will carry you across. True is our Lord and Master, and True is His Name. Analyze it, and you shall find the Word of the Guru to be True. || 10 ||

Let your mind turn away in detachment from the world, and let this be your begging bowl. Let the lessons of the five elements be your cap. Let the body be your meditation mat, and the mind your loin cloth. Let truth, contentment and self-discipline be your companions. O Nanak, the Gurmukh dwells on the Naam, the Name of the Lord. || 11 ||

"Who is hidden? Who is liberated? Who is united, inwardly and outwardly? Who comes, and who goes? Who is permeating and pervading the three worlds?" || 12 ||

He is hidden within each and every heart. The Gurmukh is liberated. Through the Word of the Shabad, one is united, inwardly and outwardly. The self-willed manmukh perishes, and comes and goes. O Nanak, the Gurmukh merges in Truth. || 13 ||

"How is one placed in bondage, and consumed by the serpent of Maya? How does one lose, and how does one gain? How does one become immaculate and pure? How is the darkness of ignorance removed? One who understands this essence of reality is our Guru." || 14 ||

Man is bound by evil-mindedness, and consumed by Maya, the serpent. The self-willed manmukh loses, and the Gurmukh gains. Meeting the True Guru, darkness is dispelled. O Nanak, eradicating egotism, one merges in the Lord. || 15 ||

Focused deep within, in perfect absorption, the soul-swan does not fly away, and the body-wall does not collapse. Then, one knows that his true home is in the cave of intuitive poise. O Nanak, the True Lord loves those who are truthful. || 16 ||

"Why have you left your house and become a wandering Udaasee? Why have you adopted these religious robes? What merchandise do you trade? How will you carry others across with you?"||17||

I became a wandering Udaasee, searching for the Gurmukhs. I have adopted these robes seeking the Blessed Vision of the Lord's Darshan. I trade in the merchandise of Truth. O Nanak, as Gurmukh, I carry others across.
|| 18 ||

"How have you changed the course of your life? With what have you linked your mind? How have you subdued your hopes and desires? How have you found the Light deep within your nucleus? Without teeth, how can you eat iron? Give us your true opinion, Nanak." || 19 ||

Born into the House of the True Guru, my wandering in reincarnation ended. My mind is attached and attuned to the unstruck sound current. Through the Word of the Shabad, my hopes and desires have been burnt away. As Gurmukh, I found the Light deep within the nucleus of my self. Eradicating the three qualities, one eats iron. O Nanak, the Emancipator emancipates. || 20 ||

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