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SAT 5RI AKAL

I

i

5

No.

G URU NANAK

THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD

( 1469-1518

.0. )

~
i

By

SA RDA R SI-IER SINGH, M.SC. K c':,;hmil·.

"?1~bU 8 he(l b b'

The Bengal Sikh Missionary Associat i-m

'T WI 'I'i s on Road, a a lC!~tta.

GRAT(.S

8 he(l b b' The Bengal Sikh Missionary Associat i-m 'T WI 'I'i s on Road,
8 he(l b b' The Bengal Sikh Missionary Associat i-m 'T WI 'I'i s on Road,

FOREWORD.

In the following few page" I hWe trie~ive ju.t

a n outline of the outstanding leatures 01 my Master.

experience as that is the· Rock re.ts . and _s,tand;n!: on which

stand firm even as a lighth'ouse in a troublous

sea. But for this l'icket, I would not have the least

On e may

On which all .pirituality

I, begin with personal

thought to say anything on behalf of the Master

for

what

I have not experienced

which

pu!:'lic opinion .

little

value

is

is

at

best but hearsay evidence to

attached

in

the

open

court

of

I have tried 6rst to explain the truism that my Master

What that signi6cant word means

is essentially Guru.

and

connotes

is

to me of such importance that I have

taken this 6rst i.e. before discussing His Personality.

,

The essential part 01 the paper i. the po.rlion deal- ing with the prophet's career as a patriot. This part 01 the Guru's life i. so little known or understood that ,it was highly e.sential to remove the misu'!iJerstanding wlthout further delay. But the Guru's Personality i. c03mic, and hence Hi. message i. lor the ";hole

tHumanity

at

large.

Hence,

He

is

more th,:,n a 'poet,

patri.ot. or even a prophet-He i. the World-Saviour.

I

will

discuss

the

history

and the teaching. of my

Master in a separate bro'chure, but "ihis paper is ~:/g~od

outline of Guru Nanak's contrihl1tion to the advance-

melnt of nations and Jndian culture.

DODA, KASi·IMIR.

I O-Ill-35.

TIlE AUTHOR.

CONTENTS.

I.

~\" llRSS1.\!1

.

l.IUkU

NANAK.

11. Tlu: GGk t: &

THE NAM.

I'a!:e.

'

1

7

Ill.

GGRD :-lANAK AS Pmn', I'U ' RIOT &

,

P"Ol'lIllT.

(i) The historical persp"cti l'c the Hindu Perillu .

(ii) The Muslim P~ri()d immediately precooing

Nanak .

15

17

21

(iii) Guru Nan a k a~ Mirror of the lIJ.ediel·al

India. (i,") The Babar·wani hrlllns of the tben billoo·

2;

 

(eU Inn ia.

29

 

(v)

Guru Nanak as patriot.

36

(vi)

Guru Nanak as poet.

(vi) Guru Nanak as poet.

(vi;) Guru Naoak as propbet.

IV,

CONCI,USION.

MY MESSIAH GURU NANAK.

If

1 were

is

asked

as

to

why I love N~nal<, my

I do so hecause

answer

He loved me and owned me before any other saviour, It may he that His Face was hidden bchiml the cnrtain, yet I felt His Hand as tangibly and as really

as I felt the first IO",:ing touch of my mathe,' soon after :I was born. Guru Nanak is thus a real living Perso nality, more real to me than my 0\\"1 lIesh and blood, \Vhen 1 come within His loving embrace, I feel more

snug aud cosy than when I am surrounded by my best anu costliest belongings, He is dearer to me

than the breath of mine own nostrils, And now when I look back a nd review my insipid, colourless

life of yore, I feel

like Kumbhkaran of old, or like that Lazarus who was dead and buried and remained rotting in the grave until he was resuscitated by the 1.105oiah, ~Iy )leooiah is Guru ",anak and r will try to analyse in the following lines some of the reasons as to why He appealed to me more than any other saviour. To be:Jin with, my first aoquaintance with my )Jaster was through the ever· open and ever-inviting avenue of His humility, While other saviours call themselve., as pet SODS of the Father, or those commis- sioned with some special purpose, my Master did nothing of the kinu, He gave himself no airs, He did no't ta.1k big, but said in un1pistaka hle words and

as if r was not awake, but asleep

simple and unamhiguous :

accents that He' was "'," meek or Lowly as innocent

(

2

)

and humble as tbe little lily whkh comes out of tbe

earth. and e,-e11 in the beyday of its glory remains

oriented

I

saw

towards tbe earth. The ~eotropie cun'. wbieh

find iu the lily was unmistaka bly there \,-hen

I

th t: hent neck of m)' ~Iaster. This was my til'St

(lC<lua intance with Him, hut the gr o und as I read H i~ wri till~s, and

refrain

cn :: r-mol1nting yelo c ity

force

cOIlviction

gained

I found in CYfry

the selfsame rc· itcrntio n \\~hich murching with

soo n Ltc(luir ed in my mind the

this con v iction dawned on

of cOll\· ictitlll,

\Vhen

me. I felt ,'e,-y homel y with

m)'

~I"ster,

I

felt

1 co uld sit in the sa me square. :l1ll1 rtlb shoulders

as

if

with

Him .

side

Imag-ine

my

hy side

with

impertinellcc-a

a nd

touching

the

sinner

hem

sitting

of

the

.Mas te r's gar ment ~ .Hut this w as possible

a nd practi-

cahle as my "laste,- a rrogated n() nirs to Himself. He

was so artlessly

1 felt no

sillll)lc

and

humble

that

compunction

whell

I

sat

with

Him

in

one

and

the same boat.

I alreally felt myself one with !lilli, although this was

my unwarranted presumption for which I regretted soon after. yet I f"lt at the time that if this be my Master who is so si~nitieantly .imple, I woold be one of His crew, alld of 1I0ne other. I, tberefore, decided to sink or swim with Him. Tbat was, therefore, my first introduction witb the Master, Althol1!-(h 1 attach the greatest importance to bumility which is the passport to heaven, yet what

COlloc'ious 0 f that homely

ntmosphere

ap pealed to me more, r~1;jtime mlnmcecl,

was

aqotber

fe:l t ltre wh ich s ta uch; in the sam~ relation to humility

(

3

)

as the daughter to her mother, namely sweet- simplicity, which is the second reason why I was <.Im\\,11 up to Nallak_ His words are sweet lil,e the honey and simple like the spotlessly pure sunlight, and HS you read them, you feel as if your whoJe soul waverS like a wind-swept leaf. I huyc rend many a Bibk" yet the I\'onl uf the (,nrn ~trikes me as

exceptional

for

it. is

1JUI"f.'.

I1Cl.!tar,

distilled

and

redistilled until it is the ,'cry 'juillte,"cllcc_ It is this

crystalline purity iuset ill honey which is to me the truest picture of ~unak His worels giyc a curious satisl~\ction, as when a cDill tested rings true gold. There is sweet aroma and fra~rancc ill every word used, and us you sing or I.:hant them, the hiduen yoke of Nanak rises reverberant ill your soul/s ntmosphere like a fouatain of rich diHille<l perfumes . \Vhen I read the hymt1!~ of my )'lastl'r, my sunken heart gains energy and be,gins t() heat \\pith vigour,

the pent up emotions dart out, the dism'll atmosphere Changes at once iato the hopeful morn, an<.l my sunken e.ves gleam once more hright as a blazing star.

Indeed,

a new earth, and so long as

I do not feel myself resident of this carth, but care- free like the bird singin~ hi~ morning' song. Guru Nanak's Word is so SWCet anti mellifluous that

even if the dead boaes heard it, they will spriag hack into life even as they were So g-alvanised hy the lute

of "the Orllheus. To the

His hymns open on t to me a ae\\" hea yen and

I

r",nain rapt ia them

sinner'" mind tberetiJrc,

only

.'

a

healiug ballll,

IJUt

"

Gllru'~ \Vard

the

not

i~

(

·t

)

veritahly

the

ma nna

from

the

hea\'ens

which

tran.fi).:urcs

what it tOl1ches ami fills

it

to

the hrim .

Even' wortl

th 'lt "tlls from the :\Iasters lips is like

an ang'ei'H kis~. E\~ery word that He usCS is as white anu pure as the dr,~ill rose \vhich is worn on the wedding day. This transparent p,:,rity engulfed in

nectar is then thc ""col1l1 feature of my :\laster. You may h~ attra,-te ll fir s t hv His humility, hut it is His sarclmrinc Worll whidt ",iii sink in you and cemeut the relation 1'11'mcl' ior all time,

,

,

1

have call L~ 1

sweet . simplicity

a s

daughter of

humility , but I Kl th of them are descended from a

common anccsto r which is

nothing

less

than

NAM,

the Music:t l Curre nt of life which

love, life ami

hasis of all

This :\Iusic is the primal force

i3

the

rhythm .

from \\'hich a1l1ilc springs

and

to

which

it

reverts

after pcriollieal rhythms, All poetry that is true is an emanation of this Force and dunces in tune with this :\.lusic, The divine poetry is, therefore, a

this primal current, an echo w hich rings true as much

in the music of the sttlrS us in the soul of man. No poetry can l>e said t~ be inspired which doe§ not stir these hidden chords of human life. The greatest and the surest reason \\'hy the poetry of Nanak moves u.

spontancou, etIl1si o 11 of of the eternal symphony

to diviue elevlltion lies in the hidden secret mentioned above, viz, t he symphony of the Guru's Word is a direct echo ()f the Didne Sympbony which is the basis

come

from high, otherwise we have only notes, bodies

of Life. The things tha t move the heart must

,

.

(

5

)

the

Guru's Word,

from the Divine Home, rotums to the Fatherland, e:nriche<.1 anu conSUIDtnated. That is l'cason why the Sikh Bi1.>le is written wholly in podry, and why

banished

without

soul,

mere

the

words.

When

we

chant

is

human

spirit

which

the

tion. This Divine SymphollY relleeted in the Guru's hymns a~ld sung in accompaniment with instrumental music has alwHYs exercised the s:.lnl~ inllucl1ce on me

magnetic

hymns

,,-hen

SUD~ ghoe

u:;

unearthly

satisfac-

as a

tremendous

magnet

has

un

a

small

needle.

'fhis

music

kCCI'" thon~allds of

Sikh

gathered in a congregation spell

bouhd,

and

1

souls

haye

seen Httle babies as much enchautc(l hy the sweet melody as the bearded elders neacilli( the graye.

Shabad Kirtan is, therefore, the wry essence of the

the

most important part of the Sikh Hcligion 110t only

Sikh religion.

I have ahva)'s cOllsidered

this

<:lS

because

it

soothes

the

mimI

1Jt1~ because

.

.

it

is the

truest food of the soul. Soul that is cut otY from this supply soon languishes, withers and dies. The instruction that is sung out to me rather than read out or le~ured is a thousand titvcs more instructive, as it sinks in my sub.consciou5 mimI, spreads, flowers out ancI fructifies, and stands nl~ in good stead when

it

is

most

needed i.e., in my unguarded moments fot

the Htb·conscious mind is thell a~ active as at any other time. On the other band, instruction unaccom- panied with music is very often as futile llS seed buried in a desert soil. Music -is verily the 1110isture

(

6

)

of the seed·soil but for which it must eyer remain sterile e\'en as the mummy-wheat. Hut it is no ordinary music which is glorified in

the Sikh religion. The music which stirs the diyine

have stated

Divine :.\.lusic

which is at the heart of Nature, and which is the supreme cause of ,rcation, and of which inspired poetry alone is tbe truest echo. The magic of Guru :'<anak'8 magnetism and of His Word, therefore, lies in this deep.centred Divine mystery which is the heritage 01 mh'anced souls. This is such a cherished a nd inalienahle possession of the Sikh Religion that only those who know crm realise its supreme signi. lieance. Without this Diyine hlusic, the Sikh Religion would he hody without soul, a carcass, or at hest a caricatmc of ,·cligion. Most of the synthetic religiilns whi,h we find in \' ogue toclay suffer from this defect; they 11'1\'. body hut no soul, the eerie soul which delies analysis and synthesis heing the DiYine ~lusic menti()I\cd aUo\·e. 1 attach the very highest signi. fic"nce to this side of the :;ikh Religion for herein

chords must be itself heavenly, and as abO\'e:it must he nothing k-,;s than the

I

lies tbe key to the, lIlystery of the Ki"l"dom of

HCHyeu.

humility

is

the

physiognomy

of

the

Sikh

l{cligioll, and s\\"e~t.simJl1icity its nature,

this

Diyine

fe :uml ity

and

symphony

is

Thc>e are then the three si lken

me lirst with Xanak.

its very heart aml ~oul.

chords

which knittell

THE GURU AND THE NAM.

Guru )/anak is 1Iot only my :\.Iessiah, lIe is my -Guru or the Master. Therein, [ think. lies the

He does not

most outstanding

feature

of

this seer.

promise to me vicarious sUlfcring

or

redemptiOll,

He

takes me up as a child in His arms, and after fondling me aud patting me for some time, imparts to me real and serious irtstructiUll. In other word:;, Guru

really

·a disciple and to learn to stand on his owu lel;s. Thus by graduated course of training the disciple is brought up tu a le"el ",h,re he can see eye to eye

with his .\Jaster, uot by hear.a)" alone but as a result of personal experience.

Nanak expects " 'ery one

of His

Sikhs

to

be

Search

the

Sikh

Bihle

from one end to the other,

and

you

will

hard :,

lind the Guru. addressed as

A vtars. There are certain cross references, by one Guru to the other, bllt rarely is the Guru·Father addressed as an avtar : lIe is called the Gur·dev, the Enlightening.Light, for that is the truest des· cription of a .\laster. The avtar th eory has heell in the Imliau liehl for lllillellill1l1s. It hus its uses aml its ad,·ocatcs. But I for one cannot see the force of tbe argll111ellt th:<t God Himself should des- cend frum the stars and be cll\vombed. to tight out · evil and anarl.!hy. This a rgument if it were true \vould rule out th~ illll11anCnCe of the ~uprellle Being, and would consign the eUl"th to the hegemony of the E~'il:-:)pirit,'which is surely not an Indian eOllccp

,

.

(

8

)

tiol1. Not only is thi. conceptiou contrary to cheri- shed asmmptions of the Inclian philosophy and tradition, but it is so re\"oltiog that this world would not he worth living-, if it were entirely ghocn over

to the Devil to he interfered occasionally hy an avtar. ~uch ' ·isits of the ~upreme One would hardly be able to set right the equilibrium, a nd as soon as

the a\-tar made his exit, tbe deyii would rule supreme

again.

as they proyerhially are, could not stem the tide of devilry, and if avtar theory were literally true, the

world woul,l be a pandemonium for all time. A few ('l\~ta rs or even a few d o zens may come in to relieve the ahysmal darkness, but what can few stars do to efface that hmodiug darkness which would then be our lot during the moonless miduight? One swallow docs not make summer oor could a fe,,··

avtars turn this hell of God·forsaken earth into a livable abode, not to speak of it as an heaven. In· deed, there are tremendous difficulties in the way if a,'tar theory were it e,·er seriously considered. To me all glory and grandeur lies ill the opposite direc- tion, viz. that man should rise up from the,dust and progress heaven.wards by howe,"er slow stages, rather than that God Himself should come from tbe

"ea yens and take us up on His wings. The former process would turn men into an.~els, if not gods, aod the latter would ever keep us tongue-tied, maimed, and in the leading strings of the higher spirits. -r would rather stand on my own legs. toodle ove': and

These

isits of.a vtars,

few

and

far

betwee~,

(

9

)

fall headlong than be poised all the time on the pinion. of an outside power. No, my Guru tells me that I am not destined to be e,·rr a spiritual cripple. It is up to me to use my own legs, to expand, grow in stature and touch the very heavens. The avtar theory that muzzles me, for all time, does not there- fore appeal to me. This is not to say that I do not believe in the guid'}nce of leaders ann seers. I believe in them and try to follow in their footstep', but my respect and regard for these seers increases immensely when I consider them not as Goo-descended, but what they intrinsically arc : transfigured men • men who battled hard with the stern realities of the world aod won! That is one reason why in the Sil,h Bible, the Gita·phrase regarding the adyent of an aytar is reversed thus :-

flay jug }tlg Mag."t "J>aia"

"In e,·cry age a bhagat par excell!luce is born" The emphasis is on the word bhagat and not

on

Mao i, born rather than Man·God! This is the very key, to the whole of th~ Sikh philosophy, anu startling though it may seem, yet as far as 1 under· stand the S,kh Religion, thi, is so true tha t any distorting of the text to wrench out opposite mean'

ings would be little short of mockery, if 110t blasphemy.

repeat with all the emphasis thal

Guru,

avtar

which

is

as

much

as to say that a God.

In short. 1 mnst

I-eao command that my hlastcr is primarily

a

n Teacher, a Mnn

~.• He is no avtar!

10

)

To a\!Cept this is also to accept the democratic constitution of the Sikh society. A Sikh is first and loremost a disciple. He sits in the same relation

to his Spiritual :\Iaster as

the presence of his professor. Every college student is potentially a professor-so also every Sikh may after the fulnes. of time become one with his :\laster and step into His shne'S. This, I say, not in way to support any form of popery. but in order to bring out the underlying C\ig'nity of mankinrl. The essence of democracy lies in this; that after due rlualification e\'ery citizen may step into and sit ill the clictatorial chair, provided always that he ;s littcd to the supreme task. This is also the sum and suhstance of the Sikh philosophy that our (;uru ;s primarily our Teacher. ~othing will please Him morc than tl) see His O\\'n pupils hecome, like Him,

college student sits in

a

hlazin.", tMehes of Li:,:ht, as refulgent as the torch held hy the :\1"5tcl' Himself. While the avtar theory woukl tie us O,'cr to the rattle and the feeding hottle,

the :-;ikh conception opens out to us immense pQ!;si.

bilitit."S, undreamt of before.

Conceding this philosophy ~ry :\1aster. teaches me that the temptation which Lord Jesus s"ffered in the wilderness is a universal phenomenon-i.e., ";\,e ha \'e cal'h to pass through the self-same procc.s in all \\'alks ui Iile. The "ery first hymn iu the JirRt R ;ig deal. \\'i til the~e tempations and I cannot do better than :.:i,"e here a litero.l translation of the ,,-orch of the ~Iaster. taking each temptation separately ;-

The

first

(

11

( I)

)

tomptation is directed to our sellses, and

therefore, s~ands first in the order of priority :-

·,f Tltougk a mansioll of ptn,.!s 'if/cre ,"aised instead of mud, Though it """'f all with Jcwels outtld,

Thoug/~ £, were with Htusk, ala", stlllda/-'UJood plas/chd,

SUi1lg which Ih, moulh of Ihe btllO/d,r ,unlcred,

.Blwa,-e lest sating Ilust thou mig-illest bt'collle bli?ld,

Alld His edllying j\l~lJle. tlO loug'ct· abide

in tllille miJ/d /"

This temptation comes to us all cyen as it came

to the Christian in the Valley of the Shado\\' of

Death,

and our Loru ~Iaster warns us to beware

lest the senses oyerpowered the Spirit aut! beclouded

the mirror of God i,e, the Nam, When the Christ was tempted by the Deyil, he "'lid, "What "hall it

profit a man, if he gain his OWIl ~oul?" The Guru

the :\lirror of God, the Name, c,'er before our eyes

for the kingdoms of the wo.rld and the glory thereof are ' consumed even as tinder' anu but'lor His Xamc there is naught that will continue for aye. The eonciudjng part of the ahoyc t(::ll1ptation is heightenL"'<J by reference to the houris or bc\\'it~hill,!!

the whole 'world, and Jose

tens us likewise to li.eep

,damsels (mohinis)

1hough tl,(! ('(wIlt 'Wt1'e witl:. ditt1JlolldJ ami rubits t' 1/1 b( -1/i :; Itt tl l ' TIJongh 0111' bedst(adJ 11.'('1"1' 'Zpilllpt'ar/s l1Iltt rtf./;it S / Ul "i s /ted,

11ttwgll many nil C/lchmltitlg dmllsd

£'ilh

Ja~· J.\·

Oil her fnct,

(

12

)

Lint tl,,'s bedaBdin!: sctm still/llrtl,er grace,

Dew"

lest S"'-IIIJ tMs tl,oll migltttst become b/b,d.

lll,d His edify;,'g Nallll. "0 longer abide in tltine mind !'~

This temptation is stron~er than even that

which·

the Deyil offered to the Chri.t,

for

in

those

tempta·

tions there is no referenL often the helpmate of the

gradty of

of God

,

to

the wily Eyc who is

I?cyil. Whateyer the

the situation, let us e"cr k ee p the :>.Hrror

will al way" keep us

in our

hanet,

for

Th;Lt

on the right track.

(ii)

The second temptation described below does not OCcur in the Bihle, hut is particularly apt to the Indian conditions for many a yogi, and siddha,. haye hanltered "fter mirnculou" powers, and the in· fatuation of these powers has a lways stood in their

~yaYt side.trucking their

quest.

Particular

reference -

is. therefore. drawn to this temptation :-

HIhough I beco1lle a 1Jtngnciml endowed witlz 11IanJ'

a miraculous PtJUlff•.

Tholl<l[h I cou{r( te111pt lite goddess of Wla/th 01lt

of It" bower

Though I co"ld (I' "'.Y 1vil! b,'come visible or iltvisiblt, Sai1l!: wlticlt Iht. bel,olders <htlllled all·hm1, B .-ware lest wield",!: these powers t!tIJf' mightest become blind, Alld His edifyillg Na1lle no 10Tlgtr abide ill tM".

.

m,'nd r"

(

13

)

This

power

to

wurk

miracles certainly exerc~

:a stronger appeal to our imagination thun

the

temp-

tation

directed to our SCDS~S, but the Guru asks us to

beware of these powers just as much as of those ·attractions which Cal)tivate the liesh.

(iii)

The third and the lust appeal is still more potent

it tukes us oUj: of our individual spheres and puts

' v here we can

the temptation ·to which

kings, emperors and dicta turs are Hable ill the East as

lord it o\'er others.

as

us

head

and

shoulders abo \~c othe rs

This

is

.also in the West.

Th. Guru cautions us as follows :-

,. TI,ough I wel'e suddL'l/Iy to become" ,·uli"l{ sovereign,

ThbUgll. assembling tl1'JJJZ~'S I could (ucllld a throlle,

TIIOUgl1. [wer~' butrt!Sud b)' IJtTwe1', jllst and Utljust,

Yet ai, is "aue'" eve" as ill Ihe bala"c. the dUSI,

iJeUla,-e ltst wielding Ilust powerS thou migliLb"t

become blind, ,nllcl His edi/yilll{ Naill. "0 101/ge" abi". ilt lhim

mind." There art thC11 th" tllr~e lusts: the lu.t of the eye, ·<he lnst of pow.r and possession, the lust of pride which wAylay \1S "" we advance ill IiI<:. But if we held the ~!irror vi" the :;upl'cme Ol1e .,'er before our face the temptations \\"i11lo,," their venom. W. could then progress unhanucu and unsillgoo iu the ftery ordeal. What is this weird ~lirror of the :;upreme Oue? The :-lam i. the ~lirror of God lor it concentrates the

new

The :\am

·diviue rays in

u:;

thereby

gc,lvullising

us

into

life, and steeliil~ us up for ,,11

emergencies.

(

14

)

is that current of consecration which like a golden thread runs through the warp and woof of life, It is the hread of Life which sustained the Christ in the wilderness, The potelll'), of this Hidden Word is. de:;,:riheu thus by our Guru :-

I: Tlte' I.~(y It> divilU: 1J./lttm £5 this Wort! "ol/eta/ttl,

}-f(1 1 this is tlf(' COl/IIIIOU f.SSCJlCr. (1f all

1'hu is lho." jfumlailt h!'tld (~fflcav;':Illy

books 1'ruea/cd,

/(l[kl,

JFhid, 1:t t()tClIt c'1I0Uglt 10 'ran sjigllr': tlue i1l10 bring

bright."

ills of

mankind. The l;uru steels his disciple with this armour which has the \yomlerful potcn~y of turniu~ n knecht (sen'ant) into a veritahle knight. The·

This

is

the

universal

panacea

tor

al\

temptation and

sand grains

along the sea-shore, hut if the Guru's Sikh is armed with this invulnerable armour, he may rush headlong into the very, thick of battle, and return unharmed. But for the )lame, the earth where we Ih'o in is not earth but a dark dungeon, it is surrounded and bedarkened by circles of hills fashioned out of bituminous superstitio'l and coal ofabysmal i!;norance;. the tramp of humanity is ceaseless but confused and cbaotic, its cramped ener).,';es and thwarted efforts lea d to perpetual struggles, volcanic upheadngs and confused rnmblings presaging better epochs. but all this is in vain until the snll of Nam dawns on us turnin\! dark clouds illto petals of gold, and ,men

into will~ed angel~. {)f that hidden-Still our )Jast~r

life's highway is litt~rcd by many a

pitfall

which are

as

numerous

as

the

Guru

discoverer:

Nan!lk

is

(

the

Hi

surest

)

lZuide,

apostle.

and

GURU NANAK AS POET, PATRIOT AND PROPHET.

If Guru Nannk is primarily n \Vorl,l Teachel' mul 11es8iab, IIe is also a poet, patriot an d prophet" II iu olle. He came with a sl~cial mi,sioll, and has left His lastill:,! impr'1" 011 humanity. Althou:;h His

His

patriotic fervour is sometimes eclipsell Ity his pl'llphetic glory. A patriot is essentially II prmluct of the times, but while he i. its product, he is also its mouider a nd mahr. A patriot. therefore, may be likened to Janus

\yho has t.\\"o fo.ce~, lookin~ ~inlttltane()u~ly to the past

prophetic qualities a re ~ellcr

\.Hy

rei1li~ed. yet

and the tuture.

111 the following sketch . ! \\'ill rc"iew briefly first

the Hindu period, and then the .\!"IU1I1Imedall

immediately proceeding :\anal<, a nel then try to ~bo\\'

how Guru Xanak paved the way for l'ew synthesis and nation.huilding. His patriotism is so well· defined allll genuine that 1 sometimes think that i>',triotism is the more fundamental notc in Him than e,'cn poetr.y. But whether the noet is prior in him or the patl'iot is immaterial as a true prophet is one· who knits these and many other notes in one which

period

het.'omiog

indistinguishable

.reg-ardin~ their

ongl D,

the most

towering feature about Gunt ",anak is His prophctic

are one in their unified symphony. Hence,

lltitul",e.

Yet it \\-111 help us illlrpensl'$ly

if

\ye

uueler.

stot.1tl Him Iho t' as n patrint, fot" it is thi:-; Jessm: which

India needs most

(

when

16

she

order

amI

trying:

synthesis wroul(ht

to

hy

build

Guru

)

is setting

the

same

Nanak

is

time, anc! hence rcf~rence to some of the

her

house

in

afresh.

true

for

details

The

nil

may

he helpfulln eyoldng out our

tion.

day

\Ve lnust begin at the very beginning

present

to

appreciate

the

general

outlines

of

the

constitu-

in

order

Indian

Ilistory, for without this perspective it will be impossihle to realise tbe specific l"Ontrihution of the Sikh Gurus. I wil\ tirst take up tile broad outlines of the Hindu period in which idealism looms large. While this is the source of Indin's spiritual glory which remains undimmed till today, yet it was also the perennial

source

of her

political

and

economic

troubles and

distress. It was this indifference to the lVork.a-day world which brought the Muslim invaders from the

north,

vitality

invaders

whn coming

of

the

have

like

locust-storms

soil.

The

sucked

the

Indian

Mohammedan

in

their

mentioned

themselves

narratives

that

they

were not very iimd of India,

but it

was

its

wealth

and

its

open doors which

tempted

them.

Gur1'l. Nanak

was

born

at

a

yery

critical tillle. IIe had seen the slaughter of Sayyadpur (Eminaba'l) with his OWI1 eyes. He had seen how

had ebbed

C\'en the d.stinies "f Mohammadan rule

anu decayed,

and

how

the

Pathan

rule

v;us

o\rer_

thrown by the .\J.ugllals. The Guru had met Babar and hud ~\1ftcrec1 from his persecution. Henc«;, his

evidence anLl diagnosis

of the times ' cannot but he

(

17

)

most valuable to an impartial historian. We will discuss these outstanding items separately in the Hindu and the Mughal period and then try to under- stand the message of the Guru as a patriot who lived, worked aod suffered as one of the India's truest sons.

The Historical Perspective-The Hindu Period

Guru Nannk tbe founder of the Sikh Relil(ion is at once a supreme poet: patriot. and prophet. Hc sings of the pa~t and of the present. but it is to the future tbn t Hi~ all seeing eyes arc chiefly directed. He is true mirror of medi"'al Indi,,-. of its merits and demerits, of its woes and agonies, of it. sun~hinc and Its whirlwinds. No account of Nanak c(ln be true which does not take into account the historical pel'!'pectiYe in which His all-engrossing picture is set. Hence, we must go back to the very beginninl( and see first the why and wherefore of the advent of Nanak bcfore apprai.in!i\' His message to Innia in particular, ancl to the w()rld at large . The history of India is primarily a history of io\'asions, conflicts aod of subsequent a5similations. IndC<.'<l, In,dia may well be called a big melting-pot

of Civilisations, in which ideas and cultures melt

like

crude ()res, producing uncanny amalgams and syntheses

such

his

timeR, hut when thc curtain lifts, we find Indian na-tion already fully panoplied emerging on the stage much' as Minerva came out Of the imagination of

little of the

as are known only in the East.

Indian

history

hefore

We know yer~"

and

Buddha

(

11)

)

jupiter. We find that tbe Indian soddy is dh' ided into four main castes, of whom the Brahmans are ,upreme as they were considered twice-born, and it ",as tbeir special pri\'ilege to chant tbe hymns of th~ Vedas and to perform other sacrifical works which

t he w'arriur-l."Ooquerors performed either

to

celebrate

their victories or to propitiate the gods of whom ' Iuite a number a re mentioned in the Rigveda, tbe oldest buok of the Aryas. FrOID the point of "iew of of history and religion, the Vedas and the Upanishads

a re eel tainly the most man'cllous books in that they reyeal that many milleninms before Christ, India reached a sta~ of culture w;,ieh is still a wonuer ior the West. These sacred books will always be considered the bed·rock of Indian civilizutian for they re"ea l a mighty grip of the mysteries of life, a nll of t he high-k,'e1s of philosophy and of mysticism such as a re peculiar to the introspective India. Tbe baked day tablets of Mesopotamia, and the mummy wrapp ings and papyri of Egypt are like little toys compared

with these ancient

Although the Vedas a nd the Upanishads are ':')llsiderc:<i one histo,rically, yet tbeir car':inl study will soon reveal that th ey embody ditIerent schools "r thought anll worship. T he stage of Vedic ;s verily a oock~it in which different gods are figbting ;or "ictory and supremacy, a mi it cannot be said with eOl'tainty as to who had attained the hegemony. Ved-Vyas (£IS the com.,i1er is well described l t llerefore, contented bimself with bringing the bymns

monuments of India n Civilization.

c~lture

(

19

)

under one hig compass rather than pointing out the fundamental unity of Vedic Religion. Under tbat -seeming unity of Vedic Religion, there is thus seetbing ferment of dis-harmony and discord wbich, as we will soon find, developed into different scbools of Puranic thought, such as still pre vail in parts of Ind:", and wbich stir up dissensions with the least proyocation. Apart from the conflicting scbools of philosopby wbich sets the IndIan pbilosophers at sixes and sevens -so often, we find in the Upanish. ds themselves class struggle i.e. between the Brabmans and the Kasbtriyas. The Kashtriyas bad begun to assert that Brahm-vidya i.e. knowledge of God i. by no meaus an exclusive mOlloply of the Brahlrulns; the Brihad Upanishad for instance, asserts that it is monoply of the Kashtriyas or Warrior-kings such as Janak alld others of hallowed memory. Tbis was a very important scbism in Indian tbougbt. for it ,Iemonstrates that already before Buddha and the Cbrist, democracy had asserted itself in India, ill that

one, ,,·ho "'US

literally regenerated in Spirit, no matter wbat his

tbe 6t \Vicc.born' was consiuered to he

caste.

This was

verily

turning

the

tables

on

tbe

.Brahmans

monoply. The Upanishads are important in yet anotber way. The Hindus are accused, rightly or wrongly, of baving written no bistory worth the name. The .~obammedans are considered to be comparatively better histofians. But there is a rcason for this, as

\vho

considered

t'eligion

to

be

a

~aste

I.

20

)

indeed for any other national trait. And the main reason, why the Hindus did not write minute details of the earthly career of any king or leader was that

they considered this to be a futile waste of time, the time so gained being devoted to things of much great~r moment, that is in learning heavenly

If you read some of

the bigger (:panishmls liS the Chhandogya and the Brihad, etc. you will find long hsts of genealogies, sometimes running into fifty or more, which will give you t.'Orrect names and descriptions not of

mysteries about life a nd death.

the kings, hut of those mystic seers who probed into

, di.cil)les at the time of their death. These earefully l'Ompiled lists show that the Hindu seers could COIIII)il. history if they wished to do so, but they had purposely a,"oided to do so. For the same r«.son, we lind thnt practically nil the details of the lives of Hhaga tas such as Kabir and Nllnak are carefully nnd jealou31y guarded and li:cpt, but of their COQ- temp<>rary kings who Ih'ed with so much flourish and

ami handed them o\'er to their

these myste"i

trumpet, very little is known. Whatever he the reasoll why so little i'!. known of

the past ami the matcria l hist<>ry of India, the fact remains that uf it spirituul history. no link is

missiug. So careful is Indi ·, is preserying'

fossils, that Iudia may well be called the )'ll1".eum

of Religions. Por ins tance, what cvulcl be more

surprising than the ract that Iudia which is the home

of Brahm-vidya (divme know\e.lge), also trctisllres

the r,pri tual

(

21

)

and cherishes the memory oC Charvakis who were atheists, and avowed enemies of religion. But this spirit of toleration is an expression of the selfsame dictum which is stated in difterent words before that India is a grave-yard of religions, each havipg its day, ebbing, flowing, and then passing away, lea,-ing but a ripple.mark on the alluvial flats of the Indian mind. This is partiCL1larly true of Bulldhism which owed its birth to India, and yet is knowl1 today only by its absence, or hy historical researches which brin~ into further relief its decline and death within the fourwalls of India. Although Buddha and Asoka are now Corgotten figures of the past, yet tht philo- sophy of non-violence , of "Ahimsa" still li,'es, The Buddha and his Philosophy paved the way ior the iun,sion of Alexander, and when Asoka died, India was submerged in complete darkness ancl confusion, for no less thah ;,00 years. In this period kites from the Afghan highlands pouched on Indiau sparrows, for that was the condition to which India was recluc-ed by the Buddha's philophy. This is, brieHy, the Hindu India. in all its glury as 1llso in its weak-

llt"SS7 whica made it a prey to Muslim invasion.

Historical Perspective-The Muslim Period,

Whell India hud lost tbat virility wbich the Aryan '

conquerors infused in to it, then came

of iuyaders

a nother stream

lasting

the

le:l\#e a

who

the

were

destined

qf

to

hnpn

-ss

011

ci\'ilization

In d ia J

namely

Mohammedans:

Already

in

7I 2, they bacl

knocked

(

22

)

at the gateway of India in Sind, and hefore the tenth century they were stendily pouring into the Punjab. In A. D. 1001 Sultan ),Iahmud of Ghazni turned his. attention to India. and from 1009 onwards, he im'"ded India no less than se\'t'ntcen times, penetrat-

ing

to

us

far down as Soruuath on the Indian coast.

where he destroyed one of the most important images Mahmud manitestly came to loot and ""I~acrc, doing hoth with terrible efficiency, and " ,hen he died his only regret was that he could not curry his booty to the other side of the grave, for he could utilise bnt little of it in his life time, and that at the expense of ineltrring the odium of Firdausi. !\lahmud's onslaughts and Slaughters passed into a byword SO that Omar Khayyam cannot find a marc apposite word for dispelliug dark doubts of soul than this inveterate warrior, who gloa ted in blood and pluuder:

"Th. 1IIiglitJ' MtlI",,,,d, th. ",etorious Lo,'d Thtlt till the tnisbclieving black Horde Of Fm,'s and Sonows tlltlt infest tlte Soul Scatle/'s tlnd slays with his ",chated Swo,'d,"

Moslem historians are enthusiastic about this

"Image-breaker" but the tongue stutters to give expression to the inhumanities perpetrated on defence. less India by these trans,border invaders who "like

a pack of hungry sharpclawed wolves, ren upou the

flock of fox-like i'l6dels, and dyed their swords a~d

weapons in the blood of these wretch~s till str~ms of blood ran down the valley," Mahmud and his

succ~ssors continued to revel in carnage, It were th e Mug-hals who decided to m Clke Inelia their home, awl to live in it as the Iudians do.

Emperor of India, IUt.

Babar, the

first

Moghul

left us his autohiography which

into bis mind, Contrar." to all ex pectations, h;' c,dl.

India 'the Land of Regrets" , and he expound. hi, point of view ~t le~th thus : "Hindustan is [t c o untry

thn t h,," few pl", are not hands()me. offriendly society.

tual comprehension, no k indness

iugenuity or mechanical invention in planning or

executing their handicrafts, no skill or knowledge in in design or architecture, They haw no good horses,

no god flesh, no grapes or musk-melons, no good frui ts, 110 ice or cold water, no good food or bread in their bazars, no ba.ths or colleges. or candles or torches ne\'er a. cand lestick". If des!,ite all these bandicaps, Babar Im-ed to remain ill India, it wa; only hecauses like the :-'.lahmud of old the lo\'e of lucre was far too tnntali7.ing for him to ld him return to'·tbe sun.scorched plains of Samarkand. It is the ricbes of India th:tt has always attracted the rohlle\"-chiefs and will ever continue to do so,

for al though the famous

in India, ytt the ra\y material frOllt \vhich it ',":1.S made is still here, and unless the teerning- million, o( r;'dia learn to defend themsely~s, no pr>wer in hem-en

or in earth

gi"es

us an illsi~ht

ures

to recommend it. The peop't

They have nO idea of the charm.

They ha,-e no genius,

no intellc~·

or fel1o,,-·f~lin~. no

Peacock Throne i. no lon,!cr

can e,-cr san them. The idol of Sollluat h

(

24.

)

was invoked fruitlessly again and again in the time

of Mahmud, but it

idols today are no better_ But before we return to Nanak, let us learn from

Babar

Babar tells us in hi. autobiography that in A. D. 1519

when he attacked tile frontier fort of Bajaur, he captured it chiefly because its defenders were new to fire-arms_ "The people of Bajaur" ",,:"'-oi:" ·ii~d ne\'er seen matchlocks, and at first were not in the ' least

afraid of them

stood opposite the guns, mocking and playing unseemly au tics_ But when Ustad Ali Kuii brought Ii\'e men with matchlocks the defenders of the £<)rt

became so frightened that not a man vcntu«d to show his head for fear of matchlocks." It is dear,

therefore. that "ictory lay with those who knew how

to hanule fire arms. In other \yords. io the: struggle {or existence, the brain triumphs instead of nWllbers. Th~re is n prevailing Inisuulierstauding tllat there is something intriu:iic and go:)d in the hluslilll fnith

which helped it to rctain hold of India. Thi5 is not true. 1'he Puthans \vho were oustc~l by th~ :\lugh"ls were tbelllseln'S .\lohamllledans ami the reason why this change becallic imperative was that ,OOIl after their CllIKlul'St they bad degenerated. Tbus Ala-ud-Diu Khilji wll/:ed wars not to break idols, but only to possess l{ajput damsels in which direc- tion he wus s,,,lly disappointed. Similarly, Kai

Kubad was 80 much changed that he 10"ed to dCluce

remained tongue-tied, and other

himself way he was able to succeed in India.

but, hearing the reports of the shots,

(

25

)

like a. dancing girl. Even the Mughals deteriorated rapidly in their morals and although Babar was ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of his son Hamayun, yet Auraogzeb who was shortly to come 00 the stage, had no compunction in imprisoning his father ami killing his brothers, and th~ last Moghul was so much addicted to wine and deh.1.u-

chery tbat1;~e East. India Company found no diffi- ~ulty iT, displt",lug him. It will thus be clear that the Islam that was thUB imported into Iodia waS

which :\lohamlllad in-

augurated in Arab. Wheu Guru "anak came to the 'stage, India had slIuk deep·down into the abyss of degradation, into which l.>oth tlic c'Ollquerors and

not of the milk-white brand

the conquerrcd hall fallen alike.

which sufferell the most in these repeated oJlslan!!:'ts

as it lay like " door·mnt at the feet of the inv,\'.Ii:lg ho,des, aud it ",as uuw the tum of Punjab to ri~e

to

It was the Punjab

the

occasion,

to resp~llIl tu

the can of mother

India.

3. Guru

Nanak as Mirror of the Medieval

India.

Guru )io"lUlk was a true SOil ef India in t he tnlL'St sense of tbat the term. He waH a labourer, a fannel".

a

Il patriot, poet, antI

sho}>kl"e}ler,

a

ser n tnt of

G~)\·tr nm e nt, a preacher,

lIe lab.lured

prophet, all ill one.

iu

the

Ijelt!

nud

s\\'eated

\\'ith

his

lIJates, lest hi"

brethr~l1 may think that he

was

110t of this carth,

hut

Glne

ulI.<a r thly; he

di,1

this

to shu\\' that his

problems

were

the

same

as

those

of au

on1iuar.\·

(

26

)

mortal, bnt the difference, if any, lay in application. and perse,'erance. He served the Goverument tn· show that he could be an honest and faithful member

of administration, i.e., so long as it did not interfere

with his mornls and mi

weighing scale with as mueh impartiality as he· could handle the destinies of Hindus and :l.loham-

mcdnns ,yho \vere destined to ~eek his protection.

ion.

He could handle the

Great Inen

love

to

have Snlan he~-: -; mngs. '~ \'en a~

the handsome lilies 100'e lhe dirtiest soil, The humb- ler thc beginning, the more virile the humanity that springs therein. A Jesus is born as a carpenter, a

K&bir as a

,veaver, a nayc1a~s as a cobbler, and

Ka nak also

loved to be the village Accountant's son

for is not a Patwari the smallest and yet the most important village functionary. He knew how the Pat- waries often suck blood out of the Zamindars like· so many leeches, and he knew how the Zamindars A'roaned under the eyer-increasing hurden of taxation of an alien Government. Guru Nanak knew all this fir.t hand, and when at the tender age of seven he began to sing poetry. he sang first of the hundred ami one little aih""nt. to which the scciety was prone: the of sacred thread and its lost signifieance or cookin h squares and their touch-me-not evil, of 8udaq (impurity so called) which c1in!!s to men at the time ofhirth and death, of caste which strangled the vitals of the society, of tiraths (places of pilgri- mage) which had bec,orne thcn as now dens of evil. of IIraddhs i. e, offerings to the de,id which had .

(

27

)

takeD the place of charity to the living, of perl'erted dress, pen'erted talk, perverted programmes of life which had become too wooden, too leaden, too iron for the Spirit to manifest itsel( Guru NaDak was Spirit·Born and came to shed New Life on eartb. He found society dead, s';.nken aud fossilized. It was for him to take it by hand, lead it up step by ,step, enfranch ise it, endow it with freedom : witb ' enlightenment and with glory. A

great

done.

word, deed, aDd action, by his life aud dea th, by hi.

preparin .<:

harl to he

task,

an

IIerculean

labour

yet

it

Inch by incb he strug'gled against it, by hi.

and

by

ceaseless travels and by hi. Word,

and choosing proper successors, And]o ~ in less than two centuries, tbe Punjab is galvanized, ;s yjyi·

tied, is rejuyenat. d into ne", life

alone

magic

which

Nanak

Nanak w aved the

Gnru

life

could

wand,

bring to pass.

and

the

Guru

of

miracle

new

,,'as

wrought Nanak is a faithful mirror. not only of the social and religious India, but what is of greater importance of the then Political India. While other devotees were content with siugin/! hymus of '['Iraise to the Supreme One, Na n"k went further and diagnosed the ailment of India, the o.;ickman of the East. The hymns that he sung em· bn•.~ all aspects of Life, and not the least important

are th'se Vars in which conflict

evil m · l good, bct\\'cen 'the ills to which Iudia ha(1

between

is

pictured

sunk,aul virtue wbich is its c!,re. Olle of the most importn,t of '~uch vars is Asa·di-Var which we

\

28

)

chant e, ery morning,

is a hird's eye view, as it were, of tbe sunken con. dition of the then India, It tells us how to grapple with the evil of untouchability, to discard customs un,understood, of forms tnat h'l\'e lost their true

signiticance, About the sacred thread, he tells us :

"::-'0 more the cotton,thread, but the cotton of com- pas.~i l)n, the thread of contentment the knot of cODtincnce, and the twist of truth," 'Nanak broke through the crust of supor-ficiality of customs and of forms and iet the people have direct pecp into the Heality within, "Religion" says He "Iioth not ill words, in wandering' to tomhs or places of crcma·

before daydawD, and which

,

,

or sitting in clltrereut postures of contemplatioD,

ill

cere monies; it is Life which looks on ul1 men as equals, which trcats them as such, which sees Him the ),laker here, th.:rt: and c\Tcrywberc." E(lt1:Liity br.:twl!cn the high and the low, between man and

tioll.

wandering

to

places of pilgrim ag e

or oh~cn'ing

man, between man ami woman, b:!tweeu the n:icr and the rulctl-thi:; is the great message of Guru

::-'anak which he instiller! into the hearts of !lis

fellow :.ne n j this m<::-ist"'.~c was echoed and rt- hy

his succes~ol's until it was assimilated, and tt )l.by the ,';ikhs are one \\"hatt:\'er their colonor the caste. Guru ~i.lllak sowed the seed of spiritual dcmocracy

;;:hocrl

w(!

reap

seed today.

The process of g't'1"1l1iuation and

grQwth is still in prog-res5 and will t'Ol1tinu e 50 to rll)uri~h fl,r His me~sage is for the world at large .

;\5

a

true

mirror

of medieyal

India,

we find in

(

29

)

him the following hymns which are surcharged with rare pathos and describe what has been well described as "Babarwani" i. e. Babar'. carrying of Fire and Sword in the conquered India.

the

time of Babar.

4.

Babarwani or

blood·red

India

i:q

The hymns that describe the lurid condition of India at tbe time' of im'asit)n of Bahar arc sOllle of

choicest gems of J'Oetry that

Granth &,hib and tbeir bistorical value is unquestioned.

Tbey may be considered as leaYes from ~lother India's autobiography written by herself or dictated to ber truest sons which they did in their very life·blood (Khnn ke sohile gawee Nanak).

(i ) The Mash'" "elales tile jdl."itlg Ilto'lt·t·/>/ud;"g

the Guru

arc

found

in

tale 10 Brother Lalo about

the lIfughtZls.

india

alld its

desttilJ'

ulIder

"As

the

word of the

Master

reyeal it unto thee, 0

Lalo· !

come.th to me, so I

With his fiendish forces. Baba. presses 011 from

Kabul and demands forced gilt

from people, 0 Lalo!

Deccncy.Y and righteousness hnye taken wings and

vanished, flaschood stalks abroad, 0 Lalo !

been

supplantecl

sen-ices, 0 La10 ! E"en the :.\luslim conquered ladies arc suffering,

The

qazis

1>0'

li nd

the

the

Brahman's

who

bave

now

Deyil

reads

tbe

marriage

. --

- .-- -----

~Laio wn s first ,tisc iple of Gllrll XnnaK :m·llived in Eminabad.

(

30

amI

:iupreme One, 0 Lalo !

they

read

the

Holy

)

Books

to

call

upon

the

The high. caste Hindu ladies, as also the luw one~.

also groan under the yoke of tyranny,

the sore hearts

Sanal<, alltl bloo<l is heing shed in place of salfroll <) Lalo !

0

Lalo !

Dirges of murder

gush

out

from

·)f

In

this

~ity of l.'Orpses,

Eminahad: I sing elegies

woe o.m1 s()und n')te3 of warning, 0 , La la ;

He that made the universe seeth it all. although : Ie doeth it sitting apart; He is ju~t His (Iecisions are just and exemplary;

Bodies will be cut like shreds of cloth, and :'.Iother India will remember my prophecy: viz.

Having come

in

'78

(1578

8am1.l!lt

A.

D. 1.321),

~hey witl

clear out

first

in

'97

(V397 S"mbat A. D.

, there after sha1l he born my disciple another hra ve \Ian (Guru Govind Singh !) ;

:-Ianak tells the truth, utters it publicly for the

t.;~o i.e. Hamayltll was then ousted by

Sher Shah)

)ceasion demands it."

(Tilang Rag)

In this the Guru tells how Babar carried nre and

:"j'.v0nl int·J the B:lliuabad village whi ','.I;l he entered .l ad massacred. :-10 distinction was made between

although the

latter were of his own faith. This illdiserilllinate

' ;"ughter

he

foretold how Hamayun will he first vanquished by Sher Shah, which will be a temporary eclipse of the

Xlughal rule in India, the permament eclipse heing

t he Hindus ami Mohammedau girls

made

the

heart of "anak

bleed,

and

(

:11

)

IJrought about by another :>Un of Man, namely Guru Gohind Singh wbo will be spiritual desendaut of the Guru bimself (Marad ·ka · chela), ~o mucb alxlut Bubar's sweeping inmsion and now about its deaden- .jng effect :-

(ii) TI

Master is j>il/dud and ,ails Ih. Supreme

(Jue ifi,"self to .ceormt ! The Ruler helps Khurasau aud hastens to spread .nnother. to India terror in ludia, The Creator takes no blame on Himself; Deatb ,Jisguised as Mogh"1 came and swept o\'er the plains "f India;

was much beating. wringing of bauels.

'laushing of teeth; 0 Lord did that not pinch Thce?

There

o Lord!

Thou art oommon to all !

If a

powerful party iJeatetb

auother

powerful

party, tben tbere is certainly no OCI!asion for grief "f complaint; But if a ravening ~ion falleth upon defenceless hard. then the Master of the Herd must needs show his mettle!" (Rag Asa) This is nu idle i.relOi:1d, but it sh'>ws what way the wind PIe\V in the mind of ~anak, lie saw the 'Ikpth to wbicb lndia had sunk, and he would invoke ·no one else but the Supreme One Himself to set right the Supreme Equilibrium!

1IOW ,'e/ales in dclail Ihe lale "I

(iii) 1Ite

M(1sl

'

Indian miser}' (l.1zd the ,°t'asons thercof.

of In·lb n

Jadies, tresses'vennillion-parte.J, are now shorn wi t h

"The

tresses that adorned

the

hearls

(

32

)

shea rs, and dust dar1,eneth the necks whose seductiv~ looks enthralled loyers ;

lounged on sofas in palace. know not

wherc to sit; Inscrutable are Thine Ways, 0 Lord, no one kno\\"~thThy strange forms and changes :

()n the day when these maidens wcre married, they looked yery lovely in the train of their bridegrooms, They were bron~ht howe in pa1amluins, carved

with h·ory ;

were sprinkled on them, nnd ineffable light

Ladies

who

Scents

emanated from their RilYery garments ;

A hundred thousand rupees were pre5ented to them as the first present on their entry into the new home, and an equally big sum when they stood to take the ne\\' duty that devolved on them; Cocoanuts and raisins were among the fruits that were sen'ed on their table, and they lent charm to the heds they reclined on ; Now they are prisoners with cords round their neel" w hich unstrin~ the pearl necklaces ; "'ealth and beauty which kept them infatuated,

haye now become thei r enemies;

nlyrmidons of the Mughals disgrace them, and

are Thy ways 0 Lord

Wh" exalteth and runisheth as He listoth ~ Why al\ this trouble and tribulation if only one were prepared for the future?

Thc

carry

them

ill plunder; such

Deyastation

and

(

33

)

desolation

follow

in

the

walte

of Babar And babies have no mothers to feed them;

are Hindus allowed to worship,

:>!either

Mussalmans

allowed

to

pray

nor

Nor are the Hin<lu ladies allowecl to ,ll'aw

paint

their

bead

\vith

vermillion,

cQoking

or take

squares,

a bath

Men

who had D~glected Ram arc not allowe<l the

choice of even professing faith in Khuda ; Those who had fled from the field return to their lodgings and enquire about the dear ones tbey bad left bebind ; Tbey find them not, and congregate only to lament and cry 0 Nanalt, wbat is man? He alone is all, and His will is Supreme! (Rag Asa)" This hymn shows how both tbe rulers and tbe

ruled were suult into luxury; they had untold wealth

which was a curtain between

them

and the ~upreme

One , This is why miseries followed,

(iv) T"e Master

recites Ji""lly the tal. of ludi,,,,

1Ilisery fllui its real caust .- Imiitl1t impotence.

and jail" i" magic !

"WherC"are the prancing steeds in tbe stables aod

iu the touruaments, and where

aud bugle? Where are the costly belts and red liveries ? Wbere are the lo:.kiog glasses and enchanting faces?

O. Lord, this is Thy handw,?rk, Thou myest do and

undo

all

the sounus of horos

anytbing

in

the

twinkling

of an

eye;

(

34.

)

hoarded wealth may be distributed among all brethren should'st Thou so will ; Where arc the gates, mansions and palaces and where the stately inus ? Where are the beds of roses and charming damsels seeing which one could not sleep! Where are the betel leaves and the selJers therof,

and damsels with lips parted like rubies? They have all '·<Lnished.

It is this wealth whic1, kept them deeply infatuated, atld whick has brought aballt tluir '"fIin.

Without sins it accumulateth not and at the time of dea th it parts our company;

Wben the

Lord takes a way virtt1es, misery follows

of itself ; Countless Pirs eudcavoured

Babar's-

(by incantation) when they heard of his triumphant march; Private mansions and public buildings were set ablaze, and children cried when they were flayed alive; Yet "0 Mughal becam e blind oy tltc incantations ar the Pirs, a"d the magic of Indian., prevailed ."at;

It, the contest oetwe", tke Mughals and tlte Pfltltans, there was fierce had to hand fight with swords; the

to

stop

Mir

.MligltaIs also used matchlock guns, and the latter brought unwieldy elephants;

had forfeited tlte Lard's sJl1"patjy

t1UIing to 1M,. j"'totence. and tlte, . :kad to expiate . tlzij, sins by dying as tltey did ;

Bllt

tlte

Indians

(

35

)

The Hindu, Turk, Bhatti, and Thakur wives .-eiled from head to foot, are either carried off or find resc in the burial ground; How can they pass their nights in peace who arc lovelorn? The LDrd doth al\ this according to. law: why bewail in vain? sorrow and joy come accDrding as we obey the Law Dr we do not : why to disobey and yet cry?

or

else one reapeth what one soweth, (Rag Asa)", This the last hymn is clear as daylight that f"en

the Mohammedan Pirs had lost all vitality and

The Lord is pleased when His Law

is

oheyed,

having

lost

all

in tIU:IUSe1\,CS, n.:sortecl bJ

COQ1~deuL'e

the outworn device of magic, This shows the bathos to which the pre-Mughal rulers, whether Hindu or Mohammedan, had sunk, and the obvious result was that when Babar came to India, he found little Or no resistance, so that his EmperDrship was tnsured, with the single exception of l{ana Sangha of Mewar, who. was a hard nut even fDr Babar to crack. Oi Raila Sangha, it is said that "He exhibited at his death bnt the ft:2lgment of a warriol;; one eye ",as lost in the broil with his hrother an arm in actiDn with the Lodi king of Delhi, and he was a cripple owing to a limb being broken with a cannon-ball, in another, while he counted eighty wounds from the sword or the lance on various prrts of his body" (Tod). When Blibat was pitched against this warrior, a more desperate peril than had fallen to his lot before, he

for5wo rc his f.l\' ll untc dce of drunkenness, breaking

lIe

his drinkin~.l.!up.i amI

pouring his liquor away.

kept his \·ow anu \yon!

5.

GURU NANAK AS PATRIOT,

TI,lC5C Babarwani hymns, giYCIl

aooyc,

are

yery

important, They show, on the one hand, that the

heart of ~an"k

tor his :-'lothcr-India

was

bleeding

,vhich he sa'Y l yi n::r prostrntc at the feet of

an!lon the o ther, they

io vaders,

show

J.,!riln d~termillation of

the Guru fiJI' curing' :\lothcr-county of all its a ilments.

1 have read care ful1y

1 have n:) t come HCl'OSS a more impassioned

many

nut

a n

of

patriotic song,

the hea,' t

but

utterance

of ~a na k

th

a n

that

whi c h

Comes

,v hen de!"criiJing the condition of hi5

country

and

its

mal-treatme nt What can be more patriotic than Guru )!anak calling e\'en the Snpreme One Himself

to the bar and answerin~ the charge

of taking sides?

Says he? "Thou befriendest indeed Khurasan, why not

India r"

draia), This is more than a jeremiad, more than

a lament; it is the clarion ca ll of the patriot whose

heart writhes in auguish on seeing the sunken condition of his coun ' .ry, Guru ~anak i~ hence first and foremost a patriot, amI the whole Sikh history is but Guru Nana k's dream ac tualised! In the face of this to say that it was Xauak who blessed the the :-.Iugha ls, including Babar, is a sheer tnn'esty

of facts,

beig ht of absurdity, Guru

Nanak would baye been the last man to force foreign domination 011 India, and his prophetie utterances

Khurasan khasmana kia, Hindustan

ancl

the

,'ery

(

37

)

are a clear proof against this superstition, if indeed any such proof is at all considered necessary. Yet,

it is an irony of fate that

death-dirge of ~ughal rule in his Dabrwani hymns is today considered to be the blesser of ).Iughal of rule in India! Mis-reading of history could :!lot be pushed to a more preposterons limit than this!

the Guru who sings the

Secondly, these hymns of Guru Nanak show that

this

seer

\vho. ,\PBS born

in

medieval

India

was

certainly not like the seers of the Vedic times who

considered this world au

mirage.

contemporaneously and were found in other parts of

India. Guru Nanak was first and foremost a realist, and this work·a-day world was to him as important

as the ideal world of which this is an image. It

therefore, that unlike other saints, contemporary or

ancient, the Guru indulges at great length on the political condition of India, This was necessary, if

Guru Nanak came not merely

existing order but to cure it of its malady. Hence, it was that when the question of his succession arose, at

his death· Led, the Guru rejected. his sons in fayour of

Aogad· \vho was like Nanak, as much a man of this

world, as of the world beyoad. The whole Sikh history is hence a carefully laid and carefully executed

design of Guru Nanak, in which the tlay-to.day conditions of the then hulia, receh'ed effecth'e treat-

illusion, and life an empty

Nor was he

like other devotees who Ih'ec1

is,

to condemn the

• Gurll Angatl wns the ~eeo1ltlSikh r.uru.

(

38

)

ment. Looking forward, we can now say that it was Nanak who undermined the foundations of the :\Iugbal rule, and thereby paved the way for Indian Swaraj! If only the latter-day India could follow

in the footsteps of the :\laster, India would

lost what it wrenched from the hands of the Mughals after such a bitter struggle. Here it must also be mentioned that the Guru stressed rigbtly that tbe salvation of India lies not in dcyotion to illusory sciences such aB magic or astrology, but in tbe cultivation of self-confidence

and knowledge which are the hackoone of a nation. Tbe Guru also had his cye on the matchlocks of Bahar,

which Hahar himself stat"", were the key to his success. In other words, what is wanted and was empbasised by the :\laster is scientific equipment side by side with se1f-sacritke. It is this lesson which Nanak ruhbed home in us when he condemned the Saidpur maSS<lcre, the prototype of Jallianwala bag tragedy.

it should

not be concluded that

the Guru w aS particularly against this or that clique. Ou tbe other hanel, hc was friendly .,.~ Babar,

not

have

From

the

abo"e

and

50

were

Guru

Xanalt·s

successors to the succes·

sors of Bahar.

liut thc

Guru

told

him

that if the

Suprcme Oue had gi\'en him

the

mi g

ht to rule, he

should rule with

streui{th, hut it

On the other hand, he lirmly told the princes and rulers of India tbat debauchery and luxury always

hnyc giant's

mercy; it

is

good

to

is tyrannous to use it like a tyrant .

(

39

)

lead to degeneration even as the Pathan rule had decayed before the advent of the Mughals, hence, in

puri ty of morals is the yery

essence of life, and this sbould be the watchword of Renascent India.

public as in private life,

6. Guru Nanak as Poet.

If Guru Nanak is fundamentally a patriot, He is constitutionally a poet. It is as a poet tbat he warbles out his sweet message, even his elegies and impassioned outbursts are full of the milk of humrLU kindness. He may well be called the ~ightin­ gale of the East. His message is sublime yet simple, seraphic yet homely, thrilling yet houeyed. A true poet is first and foremost a child of Xature, hence there is 110 chord of Nature's lyre which does not strike resp')Qsive echo iu the hcart of Nanak. His songs are truely Indian, they are dycd with the sunny purple of the Indian duydftwII, his message

has thc mellow swcctnes; of Indian fr~its, his poetry

is surchnt'gcd \vith electric simmering

tic

ontbrnst of the monsoon, we feel the sonorolls echoes

of thc Ir.cJUntains Cull of thc. wild

torrents;, ,,~e fecI the quiet of the somhre woods coyer- iog the rugged 510p':5 of the Hhllabyns, w'e feel in-

clined tr) cry with the Koel, wccp with the Chatrik, and burst into laughter like the moukey·bird lastly we also fecI inclined to dallce with the peacock \\"hen on the advcnt of the monsoon. it spreads its fan-tail and danccs out dclirious strains of the. exuberant joy.

,.

so

chnracteris

of the Indian cloud.

We Cecl in his ycrscs the very

music of the hill

(

40

)

The following hymn describes the feelings started in the poet's mind by the pattering (.Rhun-jhun) of this

monsoon rain :-

W ADHANS M.I ,

is

Nanak's Reveries in the lIlonth of Rain (Sawan)!

Th~ peacocks ha ve

It

begun

their dance 0 tSister! it

It

the

Month

of

Rain,

raineth

Rhun-jhun :

raineth Joy;

o Sister! great indeed is the ' pow~r of thine eyes,

if thou couldst conq uer the AII-Cor.quel'or ! o Beloved! [ would fain be a sacrifice myself to,

Thee, if Thou woudst come, yea, but for one glimpse of Thine honeyed-Name;

They say I am

proud I

I

am

proud

because

Thou

art mine;

 

2.

Without

Thee

what am

I ?-dust,

dust

ashes!

Vacant

is

my

House, my

Bed,

(or

the Lord hath

not come i

Let me

break

my crimson ·Iacquered

ivory bangles

against the crimson-coloured bed; in vain these jewelled

arms, in vain this crimson-coloured bed when the Lord cometh not!

Of what avail these 'tinsels if the Beloved hath turned

'

.

His back on me I I wish I had never had the crimson·lacquared

nor

symbols of servitude I

bangles,

purchased them in the open market, these distressing

- ---

• Onomaetspoeie WOlt t for pattering of rain.

t By.'Sikh' is luea.n t t\ brother ~llprecintot Ot Xature

(

41

)

Fie those bedecked arms and bejewelled fingers which

close not On the S,veetheart, "h! burn them with fuel!

3,

All

of my

playmates

have

gone to their sweet·

bearts, but where shall I go? Oh me, the unfortunate one!

Mother, are there not some who call me

beautiful, but He looks not at me ; He likes me not!

Burnt then all my beauty; I h"'e bad my hair dress- ed, the tresses were parled in the middle, and plainted

parting being filled with ver-

dOlYn on either side, the

million; All this decoration and finery, but He looked n~t

at me i

I pine and dwindle, because the Sweet One liketh me not!

And

yet,

0

4.

Ah! my

misery;

my

soul

cdeth

out

from

its

very depths,

 

I

weep, and with me weep' the whole world!

 

Tbe birds of the forest weep for me!

The rivers

and

rocks weep fur me !

But

weepeth

not

my own rebellious self, " 'hich i, at

the bottom of all my misery!

S. In a Dream once He came to me, went away I

He

came

and

My eres

were

bedimmed with tears, but it was only

a dream! Alas! my Belm'ed ! Thou art where

r dare

neitber

gCS nor

send

a message i no mcsiiagc comes from Thee,

no message can reach Thee !

I~

thi3

Vacant

\Vaking,

th\!n,

Sleep come steal Q\Oer me,

worth aught?

Oh!

 

(

4.2

)

Put

me

to

rest,

perchance

I

may see Him again in

Dream ;

6,

If anyone

came

to

me with

the

news of my

Beloved, Ah ! if

you kilow what I would give him?

I would take off mine head with my own h'md, and lay it before Him as the door 'mat; • Yea, 1 would love to serve Him with the headless trunk-if only I could meet Him! Why keep back this tottering body, this mind, if to keep them were to estrange the Beloved ?" This month of monsoon therefore stirs up the deepest depths in the susceptible mind of Nanak. But one touch of Nature is able to awaken in him thou ghts too deep for words or utterance! Nature is to Nanak the

the

impossible

were

to

come

to

pass: Do

Lord's

own DwelJing wherein He lives, sports, and sings.

He is and confronts us with

a new smile and takes us unawares and this lIo.peep continues from aye to aye, At every turn of the season,

At every nook and corner

the Supreme One accosts 1l'5 with

a

new

uniform!

The

following

psalm

describing

the

round of Indian months

js unmarvcll ed in its

r.ealistic

glo ry .

It

sel\Oes

well

as

a fillip for alVakening the hidden glory of the soul.

Mark the realistic faithful de5Criptions and the idealistic

'glory \I"hich is echoed and re-cchoed b)' the re spons ive

soul.

Guru i'ln.unl.:'s R01md of l uditw "fontlu-tlte Bm'(lllltlnlz!

V/t: begin again with Sawan.

I

.

It

is tho Month ?f Rain, be happy, 0 my soul, for

it is Sawan, the season of dark clouds and' dripping rain ;

(

,J,3

)

my

but oh the Dear Olle hath gone abroad ;

I love my

Sweetheart with all

heart

and soul,

The

Sweet One returneth not despite my protracted

waiting;

I die

under

the

ever~increasing pang of separation;

() lightning, thou darts !

terrifieth

me