The Sikh Religion/Volume 2/Life of Guru Angad, The Second Guru
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GURU ANGAD AND A PUPIL
LIFE OF GURU ANGAD, THE SECOND GURU
IN Matte di Sarai, a village about six miles from Muktsar in the Firozpur district of the Panjab, once lived a trader called Pheru. He subsequently removed to the village of Harike, where he found a better opening for commerce. His wife's maiden name was Ramo, but after her marriage she was called Daya Kaur. She is described as a lady of gentle disposition, charitable, and religious. Four hours before day on the 11th of Baisakh in the Sambat year 1561 (A.D. 1504) a son was born to them. He received the name Lahina. In due time he wedded a lady called Khivi, a native of Matte di Sarai. His father grew weary of Harike, and with his own family and Lahina's returned to Matte di Sarai and lived there. Lahina's wife there gave birth to a daughter called Amro and to two sons who were named Dasu and Datu.
When Matte di Sarai was sacked by the Mughals and Baloches, Pheru and Lahina's families went to live in Khadur, now a famous Sikh town in the Tarn Taran sub-collectorate of the Amritsar district. While dwelling there Lahina organized a yearly pilgrimage of devout Hindus to Jawalamukhi, a place sacred to Durga in the lower Himalayas, where fire issues from the mountains.
There lived in Khadur a Sikh called Jodha whose practice it was to rise every morning three hours before day and repeat the Japji and the Asa ki War. One pleasant night when gentle zephyrs cooled the heated air, Lahina heard a voice which awakened his emotions as it sang the following :—
Ever remember that Lord by worshipping whom thou
shalt find happiness.
Why hast thou done such evil deeds as thou shalt suffer for?
Do absolutely nothing evil; look well before thee.
So throw the dice that thou mayest not lose with the Lord,
Nay, that thou mayest gain some profit.
As Lahina attentively listened, his mind obtained peace. After daybreak he asked Jodha who had composed that stimulating hymn. Jodha duly informed him that it was his Guru, Baba Nanak, then dwelling in Kartarpur on the bank of the Ravi. Devotion was kindled in Lahina’s heart by all that he had heard from Jodha ; and he longed to behold the Guru, it is said, as the chakor desires to see the moon.
Lahina was conducting his family and his company of pilgrims to Jawalamukhi, but he induced them to break their journey at Kartarpur, telling them that they could perform two religious acts on the one pilgrimage. They could visit Guru Nanak, whom many persons believed to be beloved of God, and whose holy company was desirable and ought to be sought by all men. They might afterwards behold the flame goddess of Jawalamukhi. Lahina's advice was adopted and he was enabled to offer his obeisance to the Guru. The Guru, on observing his kind heart and amiable disposition, inquired who he was and whither he was going. Lahina told him his name and errand, on hearing which, the Guru spoke to him of the True Creator. His discourse made such an impression on Lahina that he threw away the bells with which he had provided himself to dance before the goddess at Jawalamukhi. He congratulated himself on his good fortune in meeting the Guru, and said he no longer felt an inclination to worship in a heathen temple.
His companions, who had grown weary of waiting for him, at last pressed him to continue his journey to Jawalamukhi. They said that, though he was the leader of their party, yet he forsook them on the road and in a strange country. They further represented that it was written in the holy books of their faith, that he who threw any obstacle in the way of those who were doing penance, giving alms, fasting, going on pilgrimage, or getting married; who through laziness or fear of growing weary failed to worship Durga, the giver of wealth and holiness; or who having made a vow relinquished all efforts to accomplish it, was a great sinner, and his wealth and sons should all perish. Lahina coolly replied that he was prepared to suffer every calamity that might occur to him, but he would not forsake his true Guru. He had obtained such peace of mind while listening to his discourses, that he said he had already derived all the advantage he could have hoped for from the worship of the goddess. He then decided to discontinue his pilgrimage and abide with the Guru.
The Guru, on seeing his daily increasing devotion, said to him one day, I must give thee something; but first go home and settle thine affairs, and when thou returnest I will initiate thee as a Sikh. Upon this Lahina returned to Khadur, and told his wife what had happened and the spiritual change which had been wrought in him by meeting Guru Nanak, whom he described as the bestower of happiness both in this world and the next. He said he had determined to place himself for the future at the Guru's feet. After a stay of some days at his home, during which he procured a new suit of clothes for himself and a bag of salt for the Guru's free kitchen, he set out, accompanied by his nephew, for Kartarpur. On arriving at the Guru's house he was respectfully received by Sulakhani, the Guru's wife, who told him that the Guru was in his fields, and would be home by evening. If, however, Lahina desired to see him at once, he might go to meet him. Accordingly Lahina, making over the bag of salt to Mata Sulakhani, went straightway to the Guru.
The Guru had collected three bundles of grass for his cows and buffaloes, and he desired to have the bundles taken home; but, as the grass was wet and full of mud, his ordinary Sikhs slunk away from the task. He then asked his sons Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das to carry the bundles. They too evaded the duty, saying that there was a labourer coming who would take them. Lahina, who had just arrived, made his obeisance and said, ‘Consider me as a labourer, and give me this work to do.’ The Guru repeated his wish to have the bundles taken to his house. Lahina asked for assistance to lift the bundles on his head, and he would then carry them. The Guru said he might take as many as his strength permitted. Lahina, gathering strength from his enthusiasm, took up the three bundles, and walked with them in company with Guru Nanak to his house. On the way the dripping of the moist mud from the grass soiled his new clothes.
When they arrived, the Guru's wife, seeing Lahina's state, asked the Guru if it were a proper thing for him to impose such menial labour on a guest and soil his new clothes. The Guru, she said, was depriving the Sikhs of their faith through his great want of consideration. The Guru replied that God had put the bundles on the head of the man who was fit to carry them. His wife, not understanding the Guru's hidden meaning, rejoined, ‘See, his clothes from his head to his feet are fouled with the mud which has been dripping from the grass.’ The Guru replied, ‘This is not mud; it is the saffron of God's court, which marketh the elect. Even one of these bundles was difficult to lift. He hath acquired divine strength, and lifted all three.’ On looking again the Guru's wife observed that the mud on Lahina s clothes had really changed to saffron. The three bundles are held by the Sikhs to symbolize spiritual affairs, temporal affairs, and the Guruship. It was Guru Nanak's practice to rise three hours before day and go to bathe in the Ravi. After his bath, he used to recite the Japji, meditate on God, and sing His praises day dawned. He was always attended by Lahina, who took charge of his clothes, and performed for him any other offices he required. Three other Sikhs—Bhai Bhagirath, Bhai Budha, and Bhai Sudhara—on seeing Lahina's constancy and devotion to the Guru, thought that they too would perform meritorious service for him, so they proceeded in the early morning to the bank of the river to wait on him. It was the winter season, black clouds gathered, cold winds blew in gusts, and hail began to fall. The three men became quite benumbed, and were with difficulty able to make their way home shaking and shivering. It was only by warming themselves at the fire that they recovered the use of their limbs. Lahina endured the cold as if it had been the mildest weather. When the Guru at sunrise came out of the water, he congratulated Lahina on his endurance, and said he had attained salvation, which was the main object of human birth.
Once Lahina thought to himself, ‘The Guru endureth great cold in performing his penance. It is not right that his servant should live in comfort.’ Accordingly before day next morning he too entered the water, and only came out at sunrise, by which time his body was nearly frozen. He fell down at the Guru's feet, and the Guru's touch had the effect of restoring the natural heat of his body. All the Sikhs were astonished on seeing the Guru's kindness to the man who had voluntarily become his servant, and endured well nigh unendurable hardships for him.
The Guru now began to enter on a systematic trial of the devotion of his Sikhs. One winter's night, as heavy rain was falling, a part of the wall of his house fell. The Guru said it must be repaired at once. His sons said it was now midnight and very cold, but they would send for masons and labourers in the morning, who would do the necessary repairs. The Guru replied that there was no need of masons and labourers. The Guru's work must be performed by his Sikhs. Everybody was silent except Lahina, who at once stood up and began to repair the wall. The Guru's sons and other Sikhs went off to sleep. When Lahina had to some extent restored the wall, the Guru said, ‘That is crooked, throw it down, and build it up again.’ Lahina did so, but the Guru again professed not to be satisfied. The foundation must be moved back, which meant that the wall must be thrown down again, and built up for the third time. Lahina obeyed his master's order, but the master again expressed his dissatisfaction, and asked to have the wall again destroyed and again rebuilt. Upon this the Guru's sons told Lahina that he was a fool to obey unreasonable orders. Lahina, putting himself into a respectful posture, replied that a servant should make his hands useful by doing his master's work. The Guru then said to his family: ‘You know not this man's worth. He used every year to visit the shrine of Durga. Now, having met the Guru, he hath remained to serve the true God.’ The Guru and his disciple grew daily more pleased with each other. In proportion as the Guru instructed him, divine knowledge entered his heart. The Guru's sons grew jealous of the devoted servant and disciple, and took no pains to conceal their dislike. Probably in order to still the enmity which daily increased, the Guru suggested that Lahina should return for a time to Khadur. The Guru said: ‘Thy father, mother, and relations are much distressed at thine absence from them. Wherefore return to Khadur, tarry there for some time, and cause God's name to be repeated. I myself lived there once in the house of Satbharai. My bed is still there. Thou shalt behold me in Khadur as if thou wert near me.’
Lahina, who was the essence of obedience, at once proceeded to Khadur. On his arrival it became known that he had spent three years with Guru Nanak, and had made great progress in virtue and spirituality. Accordingly, everybody went to pay him homage. Among others Takht Mal, the head man of the city, went to touch his feet. Lahina said to him, ‘This must not be, since thou art in every way of higher rank than myself; but Takht Mal knew of the power Lahina possessed to render him spiritually perfect, and would not abate a jot in his devotion to him. He pressed Lahina to give him religious instruction by which he might be saved. Lahina accordingly repeated to him the following hymn of Guru Nanak :—
God will regenerate those in whose hearts there is love;
He will make them happy with gifts, and cause them to forget their sorrows.
There is no doubt that He will assuredly save them.
The Guru cometh to meet those for whom such destiny hath been recorded,
And will give them for their instruction God's ambrosial Name.
They will walk as it pleaseth the true Guru, and never wander a-begging.
Why should he, for whom God's court is at hand, bow to any one else?
The porter at God's gate will ask him no questions whatever.
Man shall be saved by the words of those on whom God looketh with favour.
There is no one to advise Him who sendeth and recalleth man.
God knoweth how to do all things; He destroyeth, constructeth, and createth.
Nanak, the Name is the reward of him to whom the Gracious One showeth favour.
On hearing this the doors of Takht Mal's understanding opened, and divine knowledge shone on him. All the Sikhs, believing Lahina to be even as Guru Nanak, went to do him homage. Bread was daily made and distributed to visitors, and the devotion of the people daily increased.
The Guru, knowing Lahina's devotion, went to visit him in Khadur. Lahina and his wife fell at the Guru's feet, and placed everything they had at his disposal. The Guru taught Lahina contempt for the world, discrimination, and divine knowledge. Having thus made him spiritually wise with excellent instruction, the Guru returned to Kartarpur, leaving Lahina in Khadur. While reciting the prayers taught him by the Guru, the time passed speedily for Lahina. Hopes, desires, and worldly love all vanished, while his spiritual love and devotion were all centred on God. As gold is tried by the touchstone, so did Guru Nanak try Lahina, and find him pure and altogether fit for the exalted office of Guru.
Henceforth Lahina never went into the town. He remained absorbed in spiritual thought and love of the Word. The only time he left his house was when he went to the border of a tank outside Khadur, where he used to lie down in incessant and unwavering meditation on God.
Guru Nanak, knowing Lahina's devotion, was not very long in paying him another visit, and thus addressed him: ‘Thou hast performed excessive devotions. I cannot endure that thou shouldst suffer any longer. Between thee and me there is now no difference. None of my Sikhs hath such faith and confidence in me as thou, and therefore I love thee most of all. Thou art verily Angad a part of my body. I congratulate thee.’ Saying this the Guru embraced him, and took him to Kartarpur.
While at Kartarpur Guru Nanak found time to attend to agriculture. He sowed several fields of corn which gave him an unfailing supply for his kitchen, from which he fed all comers, Musalmans as well as Hindus. Once, when there was an unusual crowd of visitors, continuous rain fell for three days, and it became impossible to light a fire or cook, so that there was nothing to eat for his guests. The Guru went out into the fields, taking with him his sons Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. He explained to them his difficulty, and how improper it would be that his guests should want for anything as long as they sought shelter with him. His sons replied, ‘How can we satisfy such a crowd in this heavy rain? Whence can we obtain sufficient bread?’ The Guru said, ‘Climb this kikar tree, shake it, and it shall rain fruit and sweets to satisfy our visitors.’ Sri Chand replied, ‘Nothing can fall from kikar but thorns or bitter fruit.’ The Guru then addressed his other son: ‘Climb this tree and shake it.’ Lakhmi Das replied, ‘Hath such a thing ever been done before? Have sweets and pastry ever fallen from trees?’ The Guru then told Angad to do what his sons had refused. Angad with great alacrity climbed the tree, shook it, when down fell heaps of every conceivable form of Indian sweetmeats. When the Guru's guests had partaken thereof and satisfied their hunger, they began to sing praises of the Guru and his faithful disciple. Angad promptly explained that such power was not in himself. It was divine knowledge not sweetmeats which dropped from the tree. It was all the miraculous effect of the Guru's words. The Guru on hearing this said, ‘My words are profitable, but only they who obey them shall obtain the fruit thereof.’ It was then for the first time the Guru's sons and many of his Sikhs realized the value of obedience.
The Guru had by now well tested Lahina's devotion, but at the same time deemed it proper to make further trial, principally with the object of humbling the pride of his sons, and convincing them and his disciples that Lahina alone was worthy to succeed him. On one occasion near midnight, when the sacred songs had ceased, and all except the Guru had retired, he called his sons, told them that his clothes were soiled, and asked them to take them at once and wash them. They replied that all the wells had stopped, that it was dark, and that, even if by any means they succeeded in washing the clothes, they could not dry them at that hour. When it was day they would procure a washerman who would perform the required service. The Guru said it would be well if they went themselves at once and washed them. They replied, that, if he could not wait till morning, he had better put on other clothes. Upon this the Guru addressed himself to Angad. Angad at once took up the clothes, where upon day dawned, and he found the wells on the outskirts of the city in motion. He rapidly washed and dried his master's clothes. On returning with them in an incredibly short space of time, everybody was astonished, and the Guru again expressed himself delighted with his service.
One day, as the Guru was washing his hair, the cup he used slipped from his hand and fell into a deep sink. The Guru told his sons to bring it to him quickly. They replied that the sink was very deep and full of dirty water, but that they would get somebody to dive for it. Upon this the Guru told Angad to restore him his cup. As soon as Angad put in his hand, it is said, the cup rose to the surface of the water, and he had no difficulty in taking it out and presenting it to his master. The Guru then said to his wife, ‘Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das are thy sons; Lahina, who obeys me, is my son.’ The Guru's wife duly admonished her sons, giving them hope at the same time that, if they obeyed their father's orders, one of them might be found fit to succeed him. The mother's words were addressed to deaf ears for the sons in no wise showed filial affection or obedience. The last trial of Guru Angad was on the subject of eating the corpse mentioned in the Life of Guru Nanak.
One day, as the Sikhs were assembled, the Guru seated Angad on his throne, put five pice and a coco-nut in front of him, and said to Bhai Budha, ‘This is my successor; put a tilak on his forehead in token of his appointment to the Guruship.’ Bhai Budha did so. The Guru then ordered his people to obey and serve Angad, who was in his image. Whoever did so should obtain the reward thereof. Guru Nanak's sons were highly displeased at being superseded. He told them that Angad alone had proved himself most worthy of the Guruship. It was a position which depended on self-sacrifice, Angad had exhibited that virtue in the highest degree, and consequently had the best claim to the position to which he had been elevated. Guru Nanak directed Angad after his appointment to the Guruship to return to Khadur. He obeyed, though he wished to remain in attendance on his master even to his latest breath. Bhai Gur Das thus describes the succession of Guru Angad :—
Angad got the same tilak, the same umbrella over his head, and was seated on the same true throne as Guru Nanak.
The seal in Guru Nanak's hand entered Guru Angad's, and proclaimed his sovereignty.
He left Kartarpur, and went and lit the Guru's lamp in Khadur.
What was sown in the beginning hath germinated in this world; to offer another opinion were false cleverness.
Lahina obtained the gift from Nanak, and it must descend to the house of Amar Das.
A short time after the appointment of Guru Angad, Guru Nanak departed this life in the manner already related.
A Jat girl called Nihali was one day making cakes of cow-dung for fuel in the vicinity of Khadur. She saw Guru Angad approaching and felt delighted at the opportunity afforded her of doing him homage. Guru Angad, who still keenly felt his separation from Guru Nanak, was singing his praises as he proceeded. Yearning for solitude, he said that the eyes which beheld Guru Nanak desired to see nothing more, and he then remained silent for some time. When he spoke again, he asked her to let him have a room where he might sit alone and meditate on God, without any distraction or interruption. The room might be locked on him outside. He required nothing to eat or drink except a pot of milk daily. The girl granted his request. She gave him a pot of milk daily, and in doing so continued to gladden her eyes by beholding him. Guru Angad remained in profound meditation with the name of God as additional support. It is said that six months passed in this manner, every moment of which seemed an age to his Sikhs.
One day Bhai Lalo, Bhai Saido, Bhai Ajitta and other Sikhs asked Bhai Budha, to whom the Guru Nanak had been so kind, to tell them where they could find his successor. They had searched Khadur and other places, but could obtain no trace of him. Bhai Budha said he would give them an answer on the morrow. Overnight he read the Sodar and the Sohila, and then fixed his thoughts on the Guru. He then with his mind's eye saw Guru Angad sitting concealed in the house of Nihali. Bhai Budha rose three hours before day and read the Japji, the Asa ki War, and other hymns of Guru Nanak. At daybreak the devout Sikhs came again and surrounded him, as they knew the Guru had communicated to him supernatural knowledge. He told them what he had seen in a vision. They then, taking him as leader, proceeded to Nihali's house near Khadur. The owner of the house in reply to their inquiries gave them no information. Bhai Budha then said that, as there could be no darkness after the sun had arisen, so a Guru could not be hidden. Nihali went to Guru Angad, and told him of the visit of his four Sikhs. He at once ordered that they should be shown into his apartment. The Guru embraced Bhai Budha and uttered the following sloks :—
Die before the dear one thou lovest;
To live after him in the world is a curse to life.
After a pause the Guru resumed :—
The other Sikhs saw that Guru Angad had the same radiance on his countenance, the same manners, and the same appearance as Guru Nanak, and congratulated Bhai Budha on his success in discovering him.
The Guru asked Bhai Budha how he had obtained his name Budha, and how it was that Guru Nanak had been always pleased with him. Bhai Budha then told him that he was the boy who had watched the little sticks burning first, and the large sticks afterwards, and had attended Guru Nanak's prayer-meetings. Bhai Budha related another incident of his life. Once the Emperor's troops marching through his village cut down all his father's young crops to feed their horses. He begged his father to protect his fields. His father replied that he was powerless against the Emperor's troops. Bhai Budha then concluded that, if his father could not withstand the Emperor's troops, how could he withstand Death, a still more powerful antagonist? On this Bhai Budha went and put himself under Guru Nanak's protection. Guru Nanak on hearing his history said, ‘My brother, thou talkest like an old man (budha). Thou shalt henceforth be called Bhai Budha, and thy transmigration shall be at an end.’
Bhai Budha then told how next day he took a pot of clarified butter to Guru Nanak. The Guru asked if he had brought the offering with his mother's consent or secretly. Bhai Budha replied he had brought it with his mother's consent. ‘Guru Nanak then’, continued Bhai Budha, ‘gave me divine instruction, upon which my mind became pure, and I obtained the spiritual knowledge which enabled me to find thee.’ Saying this he fell at Guru Angad's feet. The Guru invited him to ask a favour. Bhai Budha replied, ‘Take thy seat as Guru and receive the Sikhs publicly. Instruct us in our faith, and save us all.’ Upon this Guru Angad repeated the following :—
He whom Guru Nanak's instruction enlightened is immersed in the praises of the True One.
What instruction can I give him who had divine Nanak for his guru ?
After this Guru Angad came forth from his seclusion. When this was announced, crowds went to see him and make him offerings. All that he received was sent to his kitchen for the support of pilgrims and wayfarers. There were continual preaching, singing, and repetition of the Name as in Guru Nanak's time.
It was Guru Angad's daily practice to rise three hours before day, bathe in cold water, and engage in meditation and introspection. Meanwhile the musicians sang the Asa ki War. At its completion the Guru arose from his attitude of contemplation. Sick persons, particularly lepers, came from great distances to be healed by him; and on being healed returned to their respective homes singing the Guru's praises. After his healing ministrations the Guru preached and expounded Guru Nanak's hymns. About nine o'clock in the forenoon visitors of all conditions sat in a line, and received sacred food indiscriminately. When the elders had finished and grace had been said, the children were fed and instruction imparted to them by the Guru himself. Very often he took the opportunity of pointing a moral from the children's behaviour. He used to delight in watching their sports, and would tell his Sikhs that the children's time for mourning had not yet come, that elders ought to be pure and simple in heart as they, and then should they be dear to their Creator. The Guru used sometimes to witness wrestling matches in the early afternoon. On such occasions he would often take the opportunity of in structing the spectators how to overcome anger and other deadly sins. After this he used to hold court, when Balwand and Satta, two famous minstrels of the time, entertained the company with vocal and instrumental music. The Sodar was then repeated and food distributed as in the morning. After that followed further singing of sacred hymns, and then the Guru and his disciples retired to rest.
Jogis of different sub-sects visited the Guru, and endeavoured to win him over to their own practices and beliefs. They represented that the great Rikhis, Munis, and Penitents of former ages had none of them obtained happiness or mental purity without Jog with its eight accessories of forbearance, observance, posture, introspection, suspension of breath, contemplation, absorption, and trance. ‘By the practice of Jog,’ they said, ‘life is prolonged and wealth and super-natural power obtained. Guru Nanak practised it, and was able to make disciples out of the four castes. Wherefore do thou also practise Jog. If thou now learn of us, thou shalt by the favour of Gorakh obtain twofold power.’ The Guru, divining their object, replied: ‘By the favour of Guru Nanak I am not conscious of any deficiency in myself for the work in which I am engaged. In this Kaljug it is difficult to practise the Jog you mean, but by the Jog of real devotion it is easy to render the mind pure. Holy men say that Sahaj Jog consisteth in repeating the Name with fixed attention, and associating with the holy. By your Jog, wealth and supernatural power may be obtained, but, when man becometh attached to these things, he cannot obtain salvation. If man's life be prolonged, he is ruined by avarice and pride. While pluming your selves on your bodily austerities, you have not seen God who is in every heart. Guru Nanak hath shown us how to abide pure amid impurity, that is, how to find God while leading a secular life. The Guru then quoted for the Jogis Guru Nanak's hymn describing in what religion consists.
It is said that the superior of the Jogis on hearing it was pleased, and invited the Guru to ask him a favour. The Guru replied that Baba Nanak had given him everything, and he wanted nothing more. The superior again urged, ‘Ask for something. Let not my words be uttered in vain.’ Upon this the Guru asked for humility. The superior replied, ‘I have it not, nor is it with the demigods in heaven.’ The Jogi then fixing his thoughts on God prayed for humility for himself, whereupon a voice came from heaven that humility had been granted with unsparing hand to Guru Nanak and his successor Guru Angad. Upon this the Jogis took their leave.
After them came another Jogi of high spiritual rank called Harinath. He felt happy on seeing the Guru, and requested him to tell him man's highest duty. The Guru replied with the twelfth slok of Asa ki War. On hearing it Harinath's doubts were dispelled. The Guru's fame increased; there was ever a large crowd around him, and those for whom he interceded received the objects of their desires.
One evening in the hot weather there arose a storm which brought clouds of dust and hindered the preparation of dinner. Jiva, the Guru's cook, said he could only serve it if the Guru quelled the storm. The Guru chid him in the following language: ‘O Jiva, remain ever satisfied with the will of God and the true Guru. This is the main article of our faith; and the Sikh who observeth it shall be beloved by the Guru. As a woman who is virtuous, well-behaved, and clever, is ever happy in her obedience to her spouse, so, O Jiva, do thou accept the Guru's instruction and be ever happy in thine obedience to God. By so doing thou shalt obtain all the advantages of devotion, penance, fasting, and alms-deeds, and abide in bliss
A blacksmith called Gujjar went to the Guru and asked for divine instruction that he might obtain salvation. The Guru bade him recite the Japji with attention every morning, and work gratuitously for the poor.
A barber named Dhinga remained with the Guru and performed ordinary menial offices for his Sikhs. One day he asked the Guru for spiritual consolation. The Guru replied, ‘The Guru is as it were a grave, and the Sikhs are as it were corpses. These are laid in the grave when life is extinct, and they cease to move. So when the Sikhs divest themselves of pride, they are fit to rest in the Guru's bosom. His Sikhs should therefore be humble and serve others. The saint Sain was of the same trade and caste as thou, yet he obtained salvation by serving his fellow-creatures. Thou shouldst therefore not despair of thy deliverance from transmigration during thy present birth.’
Paro of the Julka tribe asked the Guru the meaning of param hans—superior swan—as applied to holy men. The Guru replied: ‘In the first place, the holy accept good precepts from the Guru as the swan, according to the popular belief, feedeth on pearls in Lake Mansarowar; secondly, the holy renounce evil and do good as the swan by the peculiar structure of its bill separateth water from milk.’
A soldier named Malu Shah, orderly of a Mughal officer, sought for spiritual advice which would be profitable to him here and hereafter. The Guru counselled him, if ever the necessity of battle arose, to fight for his master, and not consider whether his side was in a numerical minority or not.
Kidaru asked the Guru how he should escape from the fire of the deadly sins which was consuming the world. The Guru replied, ‘As when a forest is burning the deer flee and cool themselves in the nearest lake, so should man flee the deadly sins and take refuge in the cooling water of the Guru's instruction.’
The Emperor Babar was succeeded by his son Humayun. He invaded Gujrat in the Dakhan, and then determined on making an expedition against Sher Shah, who had recently taken possession of Bengal. Humayun was successful at first. He recovered Gaur, then the capital of Bengal, but was at last defeated and obliged to seek safety in flight. Mounted on horseback he plunged into the Ganges; his horse sank, and he himself only escaped drowning by the prompt assistance rendered him by a water-carrier. On crossing the river, he made his way to Agra, and there effected a reconciliation with his brother Hindal, who had previously been his enemy. They with their brother Kamran collected a great force, and this time there were hopes of success for the imperial cause, but Humayun was again defeated near Kanauj, and was obliged to flee from Hindustan. He made his way to Lahore, and there inquired for some wonder-working priest who could restore him his throne and kingdom. He was informed of the greatness of the late Guru Nanak and of the succession of Guru Angad to his spiritual sovereignty, and advised to seek his assistance. Upon this Humayun, taking offerings with him, proceeded to Khadur. The Guru at the time was in a deep trance, minstrels were playing and singing the Guru's hymns, and the Emperor was kept standing. He became violently angry, and put his hand on the hilt of his sword with the intention of striking the Guru. The sword, however, would not come out of the scabbard, a circumstance which gave the fugitive Emperor time to repent of his haste. The Guru, nothing daunted, addressed him: ‘When thou oughtest to have used thy sword against Sher Shah, thou didst not do so. Now when thou comest among priests, instead of saluting them respectfully, thou desirest to draw thy sword on them. In a cowardly manner hast thou fled from the battle, and now posing as a hero thou wishest to attack a body of men engaged in their devotions.’ Humayun repented and craved the Guru's spiritual assistance. The Guru replied: ‘Hadst thou not put thy hand on the hilt of thy sword, thou shouldst at once have obtained thy kingdom. Thou shalt now proceed for a time to thine own country Persia, and when thou returnest thou shalt recover thy possessions.’ The Emperor took his leave, crossed the Indus with great trouble and difficulty, and made his way to his native country. Having obtained a reinforcement of cavalry from the king of Persia, he returned to India, and after a pitched battle recovered his empire and captured Dihli. After his success he felt grateful to the Guru and desired to do him a favour. By this time Guru Angad was no more, and Guru Amar Das reigned in his place. Guru Amar Das sent a message to the Emperor to live honestly, not to desecrate holy places, and not again to come to molest the Guru.
There was a Sikh called Mana who worked in Guru Angad's kitchen. Through good feeding he waxed fat and proud, so that at last he would not obey any of the Sikhs or even perform his ordinary duties. He spent the principal part of his time quarrelling with his fellow Sikhs. He used to say, ‘I am nobody's servant. I am the Guru's Sikh, and I will only do what he ordereth me.’ One day he showed a disposition to work. The Guru told him to serve the saints. He said, ‘I am not their servant, but I will do for thee what thou orderest me.’ The Guru, tired of seeing him suing for service, told him to go to the forest, gather some firewood, and cremate himself. Mana accordingly went to the forest, collected wood, and made a pyre. On setting fire to it and seeing it blaze up he became afraid, and did not relish the idea of death. Mean-while a thief arrived and asked why this great fire? Mana related his whole story. The thief on hearing of the Guru's greatness began to repent, and concluded that he had at last an opportunity of wiping out the sins of his past life. He accordingly said to Mana, ‘Take this casket of gems from me, and let me in exchange for it obey the Guru's order.’ Mana being a greedy man and loving life, a bargain was struck on these terms. The thief obtained faith, cremated himself, it is said, and went to his repose at Guru Nanak's feet. Mana went to the bazar to sell the gems, and was there arrested on suspicion of having stolen them. The result of his trial was that he was hanged, and the stolen gems restored to their owner. ‘So true is it,’ as the Guru subsequently said, ‘that the perverse lose both worlds, and, if folly depart not from the heart, man obtaineth not salvation even by living near the Guru.’
Balwand and Satta continued to please the Guru's visitors with their songs and music; but on seeing his glory increase, their pride and greed increased in the same ratio. They boasted that it was on account of their music the Guru had become renowned. One day an elderly Sikh asked them to sing him a hymn. They made a rude reply, saying, ‘Shall we sing hymns for peasants?’ The Guru on hearing this was not pleased, and, when the minstrels came to sing at the evening seance, turned his back on them. They went round so as to catch his eye, but he again avoided their salutation. They asked what offence they had committed. He informed them and said that, as they would not sing to a Sikh of his, they must not sing to him. They fell at his feet and begged his pardon, which he good-naturedly granted. Their pride, however, was not totally humbled. They determined to sing for the future only on condition that they received higher wages. After a short time they told the Guru that one of their daughters was to be married, and they asked for five hundred rupees to meet expenses. The Guru desired them to wait for two months, and he would settle their accounts at the yearly Baisakhi fair. Balwand said they could not wait so long; they wanted money at once, and pressed him to borrow it for them. The Guru replied that it was not a good thing to borrow, and he asked them to have patience and see what God would do. They then began to address him in an insolent tone: ‘It is we who by singing thy praises have made thee famous. Did we not sing the Guru's hymns, the Sikhs would never make thee offerings. Therefore refuse not our request. If thou choose not to give the money we require, we will go to our homes and sing our hymns there.’
The quarrel was not adjusted, and next morning they did not present themselves. The Guru sent for them, but they failed to answer his summons. He again sent a special messenger to tell them not to delay, but come to him at once. The more, however, the Guru humbled himself, the prouder they became. They replied, ‘The Guru knoweth not our worth. His court shall have no splendour without us. Even Guru Nanak's court would not have been known without the music of Mardana.’ The Guru could endure the ingratitude of the minstrels who owed everything to him, but he could not endure the disrespect shown to Guru Nanak's court, so he cursed them and said, ‘Their children shall wander forlorn, and none shall cherish them.’ The Guru then assigned the duty of singing the hymns to his Sikhs. For a good cause enthusiasts are sometimes found. Bhai Ramu, Bhai Dipa, Bhai Ugarsain, and Bhai Nagauri came from Dalla with two-stringed violins and cymbals, and took the places of the faithless Balwand and Satta. It soon began to rain showers of melody and devotion, and the audiences were delighted. Balwand and Satta on reaching their homes continued to sing the Guru's hymns with the object of withdrawing the Sikhs from the Guru, but in this they completely failed. No one would go to them or listen to their minstrelsy. They found themselves without corn or money to buy it, and then they began to repent of their impudence and imprudence. They said to some Sikhs, whom they expected to perform the office of mediators between them and the Guru, that they would return to their duties, if they even received food and clothes as remuneration. The Sikhs men tioned this to the Guru, but he sternly forbade them to make any representation again on behalf of men who showed disrespect to the house of Guru Nanak. He said he would have the beard and moustaches of any one who again spoke in their favour cut off and his face blackened, and he would then have him mounted on a donkey and led in disgrace through the city.
Two months after this Balwand and Satta went to Lahore to visit one Bhai Ladha, whom they knew to possess great influence with the Guru. They told him all the circumstances connected with their quarrel with the Guru, and begged him to intercede for them. Bhai Ladha said to himself, ‘Here is a chance of doing good. The body and wealth abide not for ever. The only gain is for him who doeth a good action.’ He sent Balwand and Satta on before him, and having shaved his head, blackened his face, and mounted a donkey with his face turned to the tail, went round the city of Khadur, and finally arrived in the Guru's presence. The Guru asked him what guise he had assumed. He said he was merely obeying the Guru's order, and prayed him to be good enough to pardon and reinstate the rebeck-players. ‘The Sikhs err,’ said Bhai Ladha, ‘but the Guru can pardon and mend what is broken.’
The Guru granted Bhai Ladha's request and, commending his self-devotion, took the opportunity of expatiating on the merits of philanthropy: ‘The best devotion is the remembrance of the True Name; the best act is philanthropy: without both of these accursed is man's human birth. He merely vegetateth and heedeth not what is best for him. He is a beast without a tail or horn, and vain is his advent into the world. At the last moment the myrmidons of Death shall firmly seize him, and he shall depart grieving with empty hands. Almsgifts, penance, and sacrifices are not equal to philanthropy. Of the various sins that man commits none is worse than selfishness.’
When the rebeck-players came, they fell at the Guru's feet, but they were too much abashed to lift their eyes to his. He put rebecks into their hands, and ordered them to sing with the same mouths and to the same instruments the praises of Guru Nanak whom they had reviled. They then composed and sang in Guru Nanak and Guru Angad's praises five pauris in the Ramkali ki War, which, when completed by three pauris more, Guru Arjan subsequently included in the Granth Sahib. The composition is known among the Sikhs as the Coronation Ode (Tikke di War). The pauris or stanzas which relate to Guru Nanak and Guru Angad are as follow :—
How can the words of him who uttereth the Name of the
Omnipotent Creator be weighed?
Grant us true merits that the gift of supreme salvation may be ours, and that our sisters and brothers may share it.
Nanak established his empire by laying a strong foundation of the fortress of truth.
He placed the crown over Lahina's head, and Lahina repeating God's praises quaffed nectar.
The true Guru put into Guru Angad's heart the powerful sword of the Almighty.
The Guru and his disciple Lahina have made the straight road—hail to Nanak!
The King during his lifetime gave the apostolic mark to Guru Angad.
Guru Nanak proclaimed the accession of Lahina as the
reward of service.
He had the same light, the same ways; the king merely changed his own body.
The divine umbrella waved over him; he obtained possession of the throne in the place of Guru Nanak.
Lahina did what Guru Nanak ordered him, and in doing so licked the insipid stone of Jogism.
The kitchen of the Guru's word was opened; in his earnings there was no deficiency.
He liberally spent the Masters gift, himself ate, and gave alms.
The Lord is praised; His light flasheth from the upper to the lower regions.
On beholding thee, O true King, the filth of different births hath been cut away.
Since the Guru ordered us to speak the truth, why should we recede from his order?
His sons would not obey his words; they turned a deaf ear to their priest.
With evil hearts they became rebels; they took sackloads of sins on their heads.
Lahina obeyed what the Guru had ordered him, and earned the reward of his acts.
Let us see who hath lost and who hath gained.
Lahina obeyed the orders of Guru Nanak whether necessary
The Guru is impartial like the god Dharmraj, and intercedeth for those who appeal to him.
The True One doeth at once what the true Guru telleth him.
The sovereignty of Guru Angad was proclaimed and the true Creator ratified the act.
A scion of Guru Nanak exchanged bodies with him and took possession of his throne.
The people waited at the Guru's door, and the rust of their sins was filed off.
The darweshes at his gate became happy by uttering the Master's true name and hymns.
Saith Balwand, Guru Angad's consort Khivi was a good person who afforded very effectual shade to his disciples.
She distributed the Guru's wealth in his kitchen—rice boiled in milk and ghi tasting like ambrosia.
The faces of the Guru's Sikhs were bright; those of the perverse grew pale.
The disciples who toil are accepted in company with their master.
Mother Khivi's spouse is he who supporteth the earth.
Guru Nanak, in bowing to Guru Angad, reversed the order
of things, and everybody said ‘What is this he hath done?’
King Nanak, the lord of the earth, uttered sublime sentiments.
Taking a mountain as his churning staff and the snake as its rope he churned God's word.
He extracted the fourteen gems and illumined the world.
He displayed such power when he tested so great a man as Angad.
He put his umbrella over the head of Lahina who then was exalted to the skies.
Guru Nanak's light blended with Guru Angad's, and Guru Nanak became absorbed in him.
He tested his Sikhs and his sons, and the whole sect saw what he had done.
It was when Lahina was purified that Guru Nanak consecrated him.
After Guru Nanak, Pheru's son the true Guru, went and
Devotion, penance, and austerities abide with thee, O Lahina; great pride with other people.
Greed spoileth men as slime doth water.
Natural light streameth into the Guru's court.
They who can find no shelter elsewhere find it in thee, O Lahina. Thou art completely filled with the Name, which is wealth and the nine treasures.
He who slandereth thee shall be ruined.
The people of this world only see with their eyes, but thou seest afar with thy mind.
Pheru's son the true Guru went and inhabited Khadur after Guru Nanak.
There resided in Khadur the purse-proud Chaudhri of the Khahiras, who placed himself in opposition to Guru Angad. He used to laugh at the Sikhs when he saw them doing service for the Guru. The Chaudhri had a son who was betrothed in childhood at vast expense. When he grew up he used to drink wine and frequent the society of women of ill fame, and he became an enemy of those who endeavoured to dissuade him from evil courses. Once he fell ill with fever, and epilepsy subsequently supervened. He became insensible and foamed at the mouth. His parents and relations tried every remedy and every form of incantation, burnt incense to exorcise the evil spirits who they thought possessed the patient, but all their efforts were in vain. At last friends suggested to the young man's parents to place him under the Guru's treatment. Persons suffering from various ailments came long distances to the Guru, and all returned to their homes restored to health, so why should not the Guru heal the Chaudhri's son? Moreover, the Chaudhri's family lived near, and a trial at any rate might be made of the Guru's healing power. The young man's parents and friends yielded to the representations made them, and took him to the Guru. The Guru's prescription was not elaborate. He ordered the patient to abstain from wine, serve holy men, repeat God's name, and he should be effectually cured. When he recovered by this mode of treatment he was informed that if he disregarded the Guru's injunctions his malady would return.
There lived in Khadur a pretended religious man known as the Tapa, or Penitent, to whom recourse had been made at an early stage of the young man's illness. He boasted that it was his own prayers which had effected the cure. When the Guru heard this, he said he did not desire to speak evilly of any one, and he repeated from the Asa ki War, ‘Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.’ A year passed, however, without any evil to the young man. When the month of Sawan came round with its gathering clouds, its flashing lightning, and its cooling rain, he said, ‘When shall this pleasant time come again? Following the Guru's instructions I have passed a whole year in misery and suffering. Now bring wine and let me drink.’ Several persons tried to dissuade him, but in vain. He drank wine without measure, saying, ‘What knoweth Angad of the pleasure I feel?’ That moment his epilepsy returned, he fell to the ground from the top story of his house, and was immediately killed. Every one said that his death was the result of his opposition to the Guru and disregard of his warnings. The Guru, much distressed at the young man's untimely fate, repeated Guru Nanak's Alahanian or Lamentation.
When the Guru subsequently visited Harike, the scene of his childhood, his Sikhs went to do him homage, and brought him a couch to rest on after the fatigue of his journey. The owner of the village, who had known the Guru when a boy, refused to accept him as a prophet, to show him honour, or to make him an offering, but sat down familiarly beside him at the head of the couch. As soon as he did so his head became giddy, and he fell from his seat. The Sikhs told him that that was the result of his having put himself on an equality with the Guru. He replied, ‘I am of higher caste than the Guru, and owner of a village. How is he superior to me?’ Then the Sikhs repeated for his edification the eleventh slok of Asa ki War. On hearing it the man's pride and malevolence departed, and he became a devout Sikh.
King Ram Chandar, accepted by the Hindus as a god, had a younger half-brother named Bharat. It is said that from him the Khatris of the Bhalla tribe have descended. Tej Bhan of that line went and dwelt in the village of Basarka not far from Amritsar. His wife Bakht Kaur bore him four sons, the eldest of whom was Amar Das. He was born before day on the 14th of the light half of Baisakh in the Sambat year 1536 (A. D. 1479). He lived partly by agriculture and partly by trade. At the age of twenty-three years and ten months he was married to Mansa Devi. There were two sons, Mohri and Mohan, and two daughters, Dani and Bhani, born of the marriage. Amar Das was a zealous believer in the Vaishnav faith, and used to fast every eleventh day. He ever reflected that his human life was passing in vain, and he longed for the guidance of a religious teacher to make it profitable. ‘How can the lotus bloom without the sight of the sun,’ he asked, ‘and how can man obtain salvation without a guru?’ He made a vow to bathe yearly in the Ganges, and zealously discharge all the duties of a pious Hindu. On returning for the twentieth time from that sacred river, wearied with travel and the noonday heat, he lay down to sleep outside the village of Mihra.
As Amar Das continued his journey, he met a monk with whom he became so intimate and friendly that they cooked for each other. The monk on seeing Amar Das's merits asked him what guru had taught him such piety and wisdom. Amar Das replied that he had no guru. On hearing this the monk said, ‘Alas! I have committed a great sin. I have eaten from the hands of a man who hath no guru. My ablutions in the Ganges are now of no avail. It was only when Narad and Shukdev appointed gurus that they themselves became worthy of worship. I can now only be purified by returning to bathe again in the Ganges.’ Thus lamenting the monk departed. Amar Das then began seriously to consider how he could find a guru. Until he had found one, he had no heart to eat or perform his secular duties. He prayed, ‘O God, mercifully grant that I may meet such a guru as will possess the alchemic power of turning dross into gold.’ One morning before day, while engaged in such reflections on the upper parapet of his house, he heard the dulcet chanting of the Guru's hymns. The voice came from his brother's house where lived Bibi Amro, Guru Angad's daughter, recently married to his (Amar Das's) brother's son. It was Bibi Amro's practice to rise a watch before day, bathe, and recite the Japji and other hymns of Guru Nanak, and then make butter for the family. When over heard by Amar Das, she was singing the third hymn in the Maru measure, already given in the Life of Guru Nanak.
On hearing it, Amar Das became deeply absorbed in devotion. From the concluding lines in particular he derived the sublime consolation that he should be changed from dross into gold. He could not avoid asking the lady to sing the hymn again, and inquired where she had learnt it. She readily consented, and added that she had learned the composition from her father. Amar Das committed the hymn to memory, and prevailed on her to take him to see the Guru. The devotion of a former existence was kindled in his heart, and until he had the advantage of beholding Guru Angad, he deemed every moment an age.
After some days, during which suitable arrangements were made for their travel, Bibi Amro accompanied by Amar Das set out on a visit to her father in Khadur. When Amar Das arrived, the Guru, on account of his close affinity, desired to embrace him, but Amar Das courteously remonstrated. He said, ‘Thou art as God, I am only a worm,’ and then fell at the Guru's feet. Amar Das, on doing homage to the Guru, felt as delighted as a poor man would who had obtained the wealth of the world.
One day the Guru had a meat dinner prepared. Amar Das said, ‘If the Guru is a searcher of hearts, he must know that I am a Vaishnav and do not touch flesh.’ The Guru, knowing this, ordered that dal should be served him. Amar Das then reflected, ‘The Guru knoweth that meat is forbidden me, so he hath ordered that dal be served me instead.’ Amar Das then rapidly arrived at the conclusion that any disciple, whose practice differed from that of the Guru, must inevitably fail. He therefore told the cook that if the Guru were kind enough to give him meat, he would partake of it. The Guru, on hearing this, knew that superstition was departing from Amar Das's heart, and he handed him his own dish. When Amar Das had partaken of it, he for the first time felt peace of mind, and, as he became further absorbed in his attentions and devotion to the Guru, celestial light dawned on his heart. Thus did he break with the strictest tenet of Vaishnavism and become a follower of the Guru.
One day the Guru, in order to further remove Amar Das's prejudices, thus began to instruct him: ‘The meats it is proper to abstain from are these—Others' wealth, others' wives, slander, envy, covetousness, and pride. If any one abstaining from meat is proud on the subject and says, “I never touch meat,” let him consider that the infant sucks nipples of flesh, that the married man takes home with him a vessel of flesh.’ Guru Angad then repeated and expounded Guru Nanak's sloks on the subject. He also related to Amar Das the story of Duni Chand and his father, given in the Life of Guru Nanak.
‘If you think of it,’ continued the Guru, ‘there is life in everything, even in fruits and flowers, to say nothing of flesh; but whatever thou eatest, eat remembering God, and it shall be profitable to thee. Whatever cometh to thee without hurting a fellow-creature is nectar, and whatever thou receivest by giving pain is poison. To shatter another's hopes, to calumniate others, and to misappropriate their property is worse than to eat meat.’ The last vestige of Amar Das's superstition had by this time departed. He remained night and day in attendance on the Guru, and is said to have performed for him the menial offices of many servants. One day, as the Guru and Amar Das were walking together, Amar Das thoughtlessly put his left arm forward in advance of the Guru's body. Amar Das was himself the first to notice and regret the occurrence. He said, ‘This arm which hath caused disrespect to the Guru should be cut off. What sort of servant am I if I revere not my master?’ The Guru replied, ‘It is of no consequence; swing thine arm by all means. It is by austerities the senses should be controlled. Move thy feet and hands in the saints' service and thy devotion shall be profitable. He who performeth such service shall be happy. Let man renounce pride, fear and love God, accept His will, and obey His commands. These are the marks of a true Sikh.’
One day a man called Gobind came to make a complaint to Guru Angad. He had been involved in a lawsuit with his relations, and vowed that if ever he were victorious, he would found a city in honour of the Guru. Fortune having favoured him, he began to found the city on an open plot of land on the bank of the Bias, of which he had obtained a lease from the Emperor. Having received from astrologers an auspicious time for the inception of the work, he laid out the boundaries, employed masons, and began to build; but what was done by day was in some mysterious manner undone by night. It was supposed that this was the work of demons, but probably the enmity of Gobind's relations has not been taken sufficiently into consideration. Gobind prayed the Guru to have the village completed and called after himself. The Guru then read him a homily on the futility of fame. ‘Why trouble about miserable human affairs? There ought to be naught dearer to man than the True Name.’ Gobind then prayed him to grant his desires, even if he had no ambition to have the city founded in his honour.
Upon this Guru Angad sent Amar Das his walking-stick and commissioned him to remove whatever obstructed the construction of the city. Amar Das prayed to God for His assistance, and everything succeeded according to the Guru's wishes. Gobind founded without further molestation a beautiful city, which Amar Das called Gobindwal in honour of him. The city is now known as Goindwal. Gobind did not forget to build a palace in it for his benefactor Amar Das. When everything was completed, Gobind went again to Khadur to offer his thanks to the Guru for sending with him such a potent envoy as Amar Das, and also to beg the Guru to go and live in the newly-founded city. The Guru did not wish to leave his old town and residence, so he ordered Amar Das to go and live in Goindwal by night, and come to him by day. On account of the presence of Amar Das and the religious atmosphere which pervaded the place, Goindwal became a species of earthly paradise. Amar Das in process of time took with him all his relations from Basarka and per manently settled in Goindwal.
Amar Das was now old, but a halo of devotion shone round him. His daily duties were as follows: He rose at Goindwal a watch before day, and proceeded to the river Bias to take water to Khadur for the Guru to bathe with. Meanwhile he repeated the Japji and generally finished it half-way between Goindwal and Khadur. After hearing the Asa ki War in Khadur he fetched water for the Guru's kitchen, scrubbed the cooking utensils, and brought firewood from the forest. Every evening he listened to the Sodar and the daily vespers and then shampooed the Guru. After putting him to rest he returned to Goindwal, walking backwards in his supreme reverence for his spiritual master. The half-way spot where he used every morning to finish the Japji is called the Damdama or breathing-place. A temple was erected on the spot, and is now an object of pious pilgrimage to Sikhs.
Mention has already been made of the Tapa who lived at Khadur. He was worshipped as a guru by the Khahira Jats. He was constant in his external devotions, and knew how to practise spells and incantations, but he cherished a most unholy jealousy of the Guru, and did all in his power to hinder the Guru's followers from making him the object of a reverence which, the Tapa contended, should never be shown to a family man. He maintained that it was he himself, who was both continent and a penitent, whom all men should worship.
It happened that one year there was a great drought in the land. The months of Har, Sawan, and even half of Bhadon—from the middle of June to the end of August—had passed, and the usual rains of the season had not appeared. Food stuffs became scarce and dear, and the people were greatly distressed. Cattle too suffered severely, and died in large numbers, for all the tanks were dry and no water came from heaven. The people went in a body to the Tapa and represented their condition. He said it was a small calamity in comparison with another which had befallen their town. ‘I am a monk,’ he said, ‘yet no one worshippeth me, but all worship the family man. Go now and tell the Guru to procure you rain.’ The cultivators replied: ‘The Guru telleth no one to worship him. He careth naught for king or emperor, he thinketh not of eating or drinking. Every offering made him is sent into his kitchen, whence the poor, the indigent, the traveller, and the stranger are fed. We have no power to compel the Guru.’
The Tapa replied, If you expel him from the city I will send you rain in less than twenty-four hours. If, on the other hand, you allow him to remain, let him cause rain to fall. On hearing this the ignorant Jats lost their heads, went to the Guru, and requested him to send rain. The Guru said, ‘Rest satisfied with God's will. God hath no partner in His designs, and no one can influence Him.’ The Jats then delivered to the Guru the Tapa's message. The Guru replied that if they thought they could thus gain their object, he would willingly leave their town. Bhai Budha was very angry with the Jats, but the Guru restrained him and said, ‘Our religion teacheth pardon for offences.’ Saying this the Guru turned his back on the town, proceeded some distance, and sat under a tree. The cultivators who lived in that neighbourhood were warned not to receive him. In this way he had to leave seven villages in succession, until at last he found refuge in a forest near Razad Khan's hillock, south of Khadur, where he was visited by neighbours who bore no allegiance to the haughty and hypocritical Tapa.
When Amar Das arrived in Khadur next morning, he found the Guru's house empty. On inquiring of the villagers, he learned all the circumstances connected with his master's exile. Amar Das told them they were fools, asked them if they had taken leave of their senses, and if a lamp could ever be substituted for the sun; that is, how could they have kept the Tapa and expelled the Guru? Upon this occasion Amar Das composed the two following sloks :—
By meeting the true Guru worldly hunger departeth, but it departeth not by merely putting on a sectarial garb.
Through the pain of hunger the Tapa wandereth from house to house; in the next world he shall obtain twofold punishment.
His appetite is not satisfied, and he never eateth in comfort what he obtaineth.
He ever beggeth with persistency and annoyeth the giver.
Leading the life of a householder, by which somebody may gain, is better than putting on such a sectarial dress.
They who are imbued with the Word acquire understanding; others are led astray by doubt.
They act as they were destined; it is of no use to address them.
Nanak, they who please God are fortunate; they are honoured and acceptable.
The fire of avarice is not extinguished by wearing a
sectarial dress; anxiety still continueth in the mind.
As striking a serpent's lair killeth not the serpent, so a man without the Guru performeth useless acts.
Serve the generous true Guru, and let the Word abide in your hearts;
So shall your bodies be refreshed, your minds become happy, and the fire of avarice be extinguished.
You shall feel the height of bliss when you have banished pride from within you.
The holy man, the real hermit, is he who continueth to fix his attention on the True One.
He who is contented and satisfied with God's name, shall feel not a particle of anxiety.
Nanak, without the Name man will not be delivered ; he shall perish in his pride.
The people all flocked around the Tapa, and said, ‘On account of thee have we fallen out with the Guru. When he was here, we always had enough even of dainties to eat from his kitchen. We have now expelled him, and yet no rain falleth.’ The Tapa replied, ‘Have patience; rain shall fall immediately.’ He then made every form of incantation, but without success. Amar Das explained to the people that, excepting God, nobody had power to send rain, and they had been most unwise in accepting the statements of a hypocrite against a man who had never harmed any human being. If the Tapa could cause rain to fall, why should he beg from house to house ? On this the people were satisfied of the Tapa's hypocrisy, and greatly repented of their treatment of the Guru. They then inflicted suitable punishment on the Tapa, so that other evil men might not be tempted to follow his example. After that they went in a body to solicit the Guru's forgiveness for their acts.
When Guru Angad heard of the Tapa's punishment, he felt much grieved and thus addressed Amar Das: ‘Thou hast not obtained the fruits of companionship with me, which are peace, forbearance, and forgiveness. Thou canst not endure things difficult to be endured. What thou didst, thou didst to please the rabble.’ On hearing this, Amar Das threw himself at the Guru's feet and humbly besought his pardon. He promised that he would for the future rigidly abide by such instructions as the Guru was pleased to communicate. The Guru replied: ‘Thou shouldst have endurance like the earth, steadfastness in woe and weal like a mountain; thou shouldst bear pardon in thy heart, and do good to every one irrespective of his acts. Thou shouldst deem gold and dross as the same, and practise humility, for the humble shall ever be exalted. Behold how valuable even minute diamonds are. The pearl is small, but consider its price. Reflect on the tiny fruit of the bohr-tree, and to what a prodigious size it groweth, filling a forest far and wide.’
The Guru on his return to Khadur passed by a village called Bhairo, where lived a friend of his called Khiwan. Hearing of the Guru's coming, he went forth to meet him, and invited him to visit his house and bless it. The Guru accepted his hospitality, and made him supremely happy. Amar Das promised that the true Guru would grant Khiwan a son, and that that son should be a saint. On hearing this everybody was astonished that Amar Das during the Guru's lifetime should have adopted the role of prophet and bestower of offspring. Amar Das on reflection felt that he had again transgressed the Guru's injunctions, and expressed his contrition therefor. The Guru consoled him: ‘My light is in thee. For the future, whatever thou sayest, say with deliberation.’
There was great rejoicing in Khadur on the Guru's return. It was everywhere believed that the Tapa's punishment was a supernatural event to attest the Guru's divine mission. Henceforth no rival of Guru Angad set foot in Khadur.
The Guru, on now observing Amar Das's devotion, great merits, and innate nobility of character, said to his Sikhs: ‘Amar Das will save innumerable persons. Blest be the eyes which behold the saint of the True Guru, blest the hands which serve him, blest the feet which tread the way to the society of the holy, blest the ears which hear God's praises, and blest the tongue which refraineth from calumny, slander, and falsehood. Ever speak the truth, and sing the hymns of the Guru.’
The Guru's sons Dasu and Datu remained with him, but he was better pleased with Amar Das's service. It was the Guru's custom to distribute robes of honour half-yearly to his Sikhs. When Amar Das received his, he used to wear it as a turban or cushion on his head, and never remove it; and when he received another he used to tie it on the top of the last presented him. In this way he carried twelve turbans on his head by the time he was appointed Guru. On seeing him carry such a weight people said he was in his dotage, but in reality his faith and devotion daily increased. He felt no desire for wealth or supernatural power. His thoughts were ever absorbed in God, the Guru's service, and the distribution of alms to the indigent.
Once a rich Sikh presented a costly dress to the Guru. A drop of blood fell on it from a sore on the Guru's foot, and the Guru told Amar Das to take it to be washed. When the washerman examined it he said he feared the stain could not be removed. The cloth was of very fine material, and he asked not to be blamed if it were injured in the washing. Amar Das, on hearing this, sucked the blood from the dress, an extreme act of humility and devotion. The stain disappeared, and he took the dress thoroughly clean to his master, saying, As the stain hath vanished from this dress, so by thy favour hath impurity from my mind.’
Guru Angad's sore foot occasionally gave him great pain. One night, as matter was issuing from it, he complained to Amar Das that he could not sleep for the pain. Amar Das promptly applied his mouth to the sore and sucked it. The Guru obtained immediate relief and thus secured a good night's rest. He then told Amar Das to ask a favour. Amar Das replied, ‘Why suffer from this sore? The favour I ask is that thou heal it by thy supernatural power.’ The Guru replied by the twelfth slok of Asa ki War, and added :— ‘In pain God is remembered and the mind remaineth humbled. At night man awaketh in God's service and is estranged from the world.’
One day Guru Angad said that his life was drawing to a close, and he must depart. In reply to his Sikhs, who desired that he should remain longer among them to bestow instruction and divine happiness, he said, ‘The saints of the true Guru are of the nature of clouds. They assume a body for the benefit of the world, and confer benefits on men. The body, which is merely a store-house of corn, shall perish. As a rich man casteth aside his old clothes and putteth on new ones, so do the saints of the true Guru put away their crumbling bodies, and take new vesture for their souls. A man in his own house may remain naked or clothed, may wear old or new raiment—that is the condition of the saints—they are bound by no rules.’ The Guru's disciples listened to this discourse with rapt attention and their anxieties were removed.
While the Guru was considering that his sons were not, but that Amar Das was, fit to succeed him, an accident occurred which finally confirmed him in his determination. On the 14th of the month of Chet, when there was no moon, it rained all night. Cold winds blew, lightning flashed, and every human being was glad to find shelter in his house and go to sleep. Three hours before day the Guru called out that he wanted water. He called again but no one answered him. The third time he shook one of his sons to awaken him, and told him to go and fetch water. When the son showed no inclination to obey his father, Amar Das at once said, ‘Great king, thy slave will fetch thee water.’ The Guru objected and said that Amar Das was now too old for such service. Amar Das replied that he had grown young on hearing the Guru's order. He at once put a pitcher on his head and started for the river. Intoxicated with the wine of devotion he thought not of his body. On arriving at the Bias, he filled his vessel, began to repeat the Japji, and made the best of his way to his master. He paid no regard to the elements, but went straight towards the Guru's house, feeling his way in the thick darkness as he went along.
On the outskirts of Khadur there was a colony of weavers. The holes in the ground, into which the weavers put their feet when sitting at their looms, were filled with water. Into one of these holes Amar Das fell, striking his foot against a peg of karir wood. Notwithstanding his fall he still succeeded in saving the water on his head. On hearing the noise and uproar, some of the weavers awoke. They cried out, ‘Thief! thief!’ and called on their people to be on the alert. On going out of doors they heard some one repeating the Japji, and one of the weavers wives said, ‘Fear not, it is not a thief. It is that poor homeless Amru whose beard hath grown gray, and who hath taken leave of his senses. Having abandoned his sons and daughters, his house and home, his commerce and his dealings, he is now without occupation, and wandereth from door to door. Other people go to sleep at night, but he will not rest even then. Single-handed he doeth the work of twenty men. He is ever bringing water from the river and firewood from the forest; and what a guru to serve!’
Amar Das could endure hearing disrespectful language of himself, but not of his Guru. He told the weaver's wife that she had gone mad, and hence her slander of the Guru. Saying this, he took his vessel of water to the Guru. It is said that the weaver's wife did in fact go mad as the result of Amar Das's censure. They sent for physicians, who, however, knew no medicines to restore her. It soon became known that she had offended the Guru by her language, so on the failure of the physicians the weavers decided to take her to him with the object of imploring his pardon.
The weavers informed the Guru of what had occurred, and implored him to pardon the mad woman's error. The Guru said, Amar Das hath done great service and his toil is acceptable. His words prove true; wealth, supernatural power, and all earthly advantages wait on him. The peg against which he struck his foot shall grow green, and the weaver's wife shall recover. He who serveth Amar Das shall obtain the fruit his heart desireth. Ye describe him as homeless and lowly, but he shall be the home of the homeless, the honour of the unhonoured, the strength of the strengthless, the support of the unsupported, the shelter of the unsheltered, the protector of the unprotected, the restorer of what is lost, the emancipator of the captive.’
After that the Guru sent for five copper coins and a coco-nut, bathed Amar Das, clothed him in a new dress, and installed him in the Guru's seat. He placed the five copper coins and the coco-nut before him while Bhai Budha affixed to his forehead the tilak of Guruship. Thus was Guru Amar Das regularly and solemnly appointed Guru Angad's successor. All the Sikhs, with loud acclamations, fell at his feet. Guru Angad sent for his two sons, Dasu and Datu, told them that the office of Guru was the reward of humility, devotion, and service; and Guru Amar Das had obtained the high position as the reward of his ceaseless toil, manifold virtues and piety. He then ordered his sons to bow before the new Guru, which they were very reluctant to do, as they had always deemed him their servant. Guru Angad then summoned Punnu and Lalu, the head men of the town, and all his Sikhs, told them he was going to depart this life, and that he had appointed Guru Amar Das as his worthy successor on the throne of Guru Nanak. ‘Whoever serveth him shall obtain happiness in this world and salvation in the next, and he who envieth him shall have sorrow as his portion.’
On the third day of the light half of the month of Chet in the Sambat year 1609 (A. D. 1552), Guru Angad gave a great feast to his Sikhs, and reminded them of the tenets and principles of the Sikh religion. On the following day he rose before dawn, bathed, and put on new raiment to prepare for his final departure. He then repeated the Japji, summoned all his family, consoled them, and enjoined them to accept God's will. He ordered Guru Amar Das to live in Goindwal, and there save men by his teaching. Guru Angad then fixed his thoughts on Guru Nanak and, with ‘Wahguru’ on his lips, passed from this transitory world on the fourth day of the light half of Chet, 1609, having enjoyed the Guruship for twelve years six months and nine days.
Guru Angad's sons and Sikhs grew sad, but Bhai Budha bade them lament not, but repeat God's name. They then began to sing the Guru's hymns to the accompaniment of rebecks, drums, bells, and trumpets. They erected a splendid bier on which they placed the body of the deceased Guru and recited the Sohila of Guru Nanak and the lamentations in the Maru and Wadhans measures. After this they placed the Guru's remains on a pyre of sandal-wood and cremated him according to his express wish near the tree which sprang out of the karir peg against which Amar Das had struck his foot.
Guru Amar Das enjoined his flock to console themselves and said to them, ‘Guru Angad is imperishable and immortal. It is a law of the body to be born and die, but the soul is different. It is ever the same essence. Holy men have deemed human life temporary, like the roosting of birds for a night on a tree, or like the brief occupation of a ferry-boat by passengers. Wherefore renounce all worldly love. A child may tremble and suppose his shadow to be a ghost, but the wise entertain no such alarm. And so the man who possesseth divine knowledge hath no apprehension of further transmigration.‘
On hearing the Guru's words many Sikhs obtained divine knowledge, and crossing over the troublous ocean of the world, obtained beatitude in God.
The principal points in Guru Angad's character were to serve and love the Guru and worship God. It was by this means he succeeded in obtaining the spiritual leadership of the Sikhs in opposition to the wife, sons and relations of Guru Nanak. For the same reasons Guru Angad in spite of the opposition of his own relatives conferred the Guruship on Amar Das, who was proved to be the most worthy of the high dignity.
- A place in the Himālayas where flame issues from the mountain. It is held sacred by Hindus, who make it an object of pilgrimage. It appears from one of Seneca's letters that the ancient Romans worshipped similar places, such as springs of hot water, sources of rivers, &c.
- Asa ki War.
- Baba means father. The word was and is frequently applied to Guru Nanak.
- The Greek partridge.
- That is, they will not suffer transmigration.
- Water in the Panjab is most generally raised by Persian wheels which are worked by bullocks or buffaloes.
- Wār I, 46.
- Guru Nānak's successors assumed the name Nānak as their nom de plume.
- Pinjar. Literally—a skeleton; here used contemptuously for the body.
- Sri Rāg ki Wār.
- Mājh ki Wār.
- See the Yoga Sutra of Pātanjali, by Manilāl Nabhubhāi Dvivedi, Bombay.
- So also Guru Amar Dās; see below, paragraph on salvation, p. 252.
- An account of this saint will subsequently be given.
- In this narrative we have followed Bhāi Dhiyām Singh Gyāni, grand-uncle of Bhāi Sardūl Singh Gyāni. Bhāi Santokh Singh states that the above composition was written in the time of Guru Arjan. This receives some support from Gur Dās also. He makes ‘Bhāi Ladha parupkāri,’ who interceded with Guru Angad for Balwand and Satta, live in the time of Guru Arjan. It does not, however, follow that Bhai Ladha did not live in the time of Guru Angad also. The statement that the circumstance occurred in the time of Guru Arjan is totally negatived by the internal evidence of the composition itself, if it be carefully examined. It was written by the minstrel Balwand to make his peace with Guru Angad. Satta afterwards, as we shall see, added three pauris to it in the time of Guru Arjan when the apotheosis of the Guru had become complete. The pauris were added with the intention of making a complete panegyric on the Gurus up to the time of Guru Arjan, and obtaining for the ode the honour of insertion in the Granth Sāhib.
- Also translated—He whose name is the Omnipotent Creator doeth everything; how can His words be weighed?
- Also translated—Grant us virtues, truth, &c., as our sisters and brothers.
- Also translated—Nanak established the true empire and made firm the foundation of his fortress.
- That is, assumed another form.
- So called because man must suffer worldly discomfort while striving to obtain union with God.
- A reference to Gur Dās, Wār I, 38, and XXVI, 33, will show that this line is correctly translated.
- This is on the supposition that khatiai is read as the last word of the verse. Those who read thatiai translate—What Guru Nanak said he did and what he attempted he successfully accomplished.
- Ko sāl jiwāhe sali. Also translated—(a) which is better, thistle or rice? (The Guru's sons are thistles, and Lahina rice.) (b) As man doeth good or evil so shall he be accepted.
- Horio Gang wahāiai. Literally—made the Ganges flow backwards.
- Balwand here censures himself.
- The headman of a village. There were originally four (chau) men in whom confidence was placed (dhar); hence the name.
- A brief account of Nārad has already been given. Shukdev was a rikhi the son of Vyās, the author of the Mahābhārat and arranger of the Veds. As usual in his epoch, he desired to place himself under a guru. He succeeded in finding Rāja Janak, the father-in-law of Rām Chandar, who made him his disciple.
- Dāl is the pulse of certain Indian leguminous plants such as chana, masūr, moth, ūrad, mūng, &c. It is not the name of any particular vegetable.
- Wadhans ki Wār.
- The bohr-tree is the Ficus Indica, generally known as the Indian fig-tree.
- Capparis aphylla, the wild caper tree.