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Guru Nanak Dev Ji And Brahmans

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Guru Nanak and Brahmans

Guru Nanak travelled everywhere with his faithful companion Mardana. One day he made his way to a sacred place called Hariduar, which means Gods Gate. This place, where three holy rivers join together was said to have been blessed by the gods, Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. Huge crowds of people gathered there,. They were chanting and praying. Led by so-called holy men, called Brahmins, the people threw water towards the morning sun to honor people in their families who had died. As this huge crowd of people chanted and threw water, Guru Nanak went into the river too and he also began throwing water.

But there was something different about how he did it. Everyone was throwing water towards the rising sun, but Guru Nanak was throwing water in the exact opposite direction as everyone else. A crowd gathered around to see this crazy man. Obviously he didnt know what he was doing! A Brahman said, If you are not Hindu why have you come to a Hindu place of worship? Yes said another Foolish man! Who has taught you to do such a strange thing? Another one said, Why on earth are you throwing water the wrong way?

Guru Nanak looked at the Brahman and said, Why do you throw water to the sun? The priest said proudly, We throw water to the sun to honor our ancestors, it gives them happiness, blessings and prosperity. So, how far away are your ancestors? Asked the Guru. A man nearby heard this conversation. He had read a lot of books, so he thought he had the right answers to everything. He said, Our ancestors live thousands and thousands of miles away.

Again, the Guru started throwing water in the direction away from the sun. He was throwing the water faster and faster now, as though he was putting out a fire. As he splashed the water around, the Brahmans yelled, STOP, STOP, what are you doing!!? Guru Nanak was panting from all his splashing. He told them, I have a farm in the Punjab which is in this direction. My fields really need water, especially at this time of year. If I dont get this water over to them, my crops might dry up!

Now they really thought he was totally crazy. One of them asked, How can water get from here all the way to the Punjab?! The Guru said, Well, my farm is much closer than your ancestors. How can water reach your ancestors if it cant even reach my farm in Punjab? Well, it was true - his fields were much closer than the ancestors who, according to the Brahmins were thousands and thousands of miles away. The Brahmans still did not understand what this strange man was talking about. But Guru Nanak read their thoughts, and pointed to each one of them saying: You were thinking of business you are going to do in Kabul, the man he pointed at looked very surprised. That was exactly what he was thinking. Then Guru ji pointed to another man and said, And you, dear Brahman, you are thinking of your business in Dehli. Guru ji continued, Pundit ji, you were thinking of how you are going to make money from the people who are coming here today. He knew precisely what each of them was really thinking.

Now the men were shocked and defenseless. He had just proven that their minds were somewhere else entirely. Their minds were thinking of money and they didnt hold God in their hearts. They were the spiritual leaders, but they were thinking of money instead of God. Guru Nanak had humbled them. What can we do? Asked the Pundit. The Guru said Sincerely chant Sat Nam and let it fill you with love. Pray from your heart. Be full of God every day and every moment. Help people, be with them and guide them to the Truth. As these deep words sank in, the men stood there still in silence. Mardana and Guru Nanak continued on their journey spreading truth with love and kindness. What does it matter what we do or what religion we believe if we dont keep God in our Hearts? Let us be honest with everyone, and especially with ourselves! Let us chant and meditate together with love in our hearts.

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    • As per usual,  our openness and tolerance is seen as weakness for others, and they take full advantage. 
    • This is nothing new. I tried setting up an initiative to defeat this trend; happened a good few years back on this forum, but some of us decided to establish a body of sorts which would publish and distribute literature regarding the falsity spread by other faiths vis-a-vis Sikhi. Because we were based in different countries we used to stay in contact via email to exchange ideas and finalize publications in our own respective countries. I wrote and dispatched a particular article on the falsity that Bhagat Fareed was a hardcore Muslim and by incorporating his Bani into the Adi Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh Gurus proved their respect for Islam and hence all Sikhs should become Muslims. Here are some examples of what I wrote: "For Bhagat Farid, and Sufis in general, life is but nihilistic. Such a perception, logically, leads to renunciation and asceticism. Farid asserts:

      'Farid, had my throat been slit on the same day as my umbilical cord, I would not have been prey to trouble nor weathered such hardship. Farid, I alone thought I was in pain, but the whole world is in pain. I ascended my roof and witnessed each and every house in flame.' 
      -Saloks 76 and 81, ASGGS, Ang. 1381-82.

      When Guru Nanak Dev Ji had entered Multan, the local Sufis had tried to eject him on the pretext of his criticism of the Sufi order. The Guru had rejected their renunciation and described their acts of obeisance as charades. With this particular incident in mind, Guru Arjan Dev Ji elected to reply to Farid with the following:

      'The world is akin to a garden, Farid, in which poisonous plants take root. They for whom the Master cares suffer not at all.' 

      And:

      'How sweet be this life oh Farid! With health the body blooms, but they who love their dear beloved Lord are rarely found.' 
      -Mohalla 5, Saloks 82-83, ASGGS, Ang. 1382.

      The writings of Farid were incorporated into the Sikh canon to refute the notion that life, in general, is painful. For the Gurus life is what one makes out of it. Ignorance, naturally, leads to pain whilst knowledge leads to joy. By positing their views below Farids', the Sikh Gurus refuted the Sufi notion of life being suffering in toto.'   "The Sufi path of asceticism is best summed up in the following conversation between Sayid Muhammad Gesu Daraz and a suppliant. Daraz was the acolyte of Shaikh Farid Nasir-u'd-Din-Chiarg-i-Delhi, the disciple of Nizam-u'd-din Auliya who was the successor to Baba Farid. This conversation is recorded in the 'Jawama-u'l-Kilam' and focuses on the physical suffering weathered by Baba Farid in his search for the Divine. Pledging his mind to the Lord's path, the latter Farid hung upside down in a well for forty days and nights. 

      'Then one day when Sayid Muhammad Gesu Daraz was recounting the pledge of (Baba Farid), a man queried: "how is it that blood does not run out of the eyes and mouth of the person who undertakes it and how is it that foodstuff and other bodily elements do not come out of him?" The Saint explained that in a body as emaciated as that of Farid, the question of food and blood no longer lingers as austerities have reduced such a body to mere skeleton.' 

      Bhagat Farid writes:

      'Farid, if one were to hack my body, not a drop of blood would ooze from it. Those who are imbued with the Lord's love have no blood left in their beings.' 
      -Salok 51, ASGGS, Ang. 1380.

      Guru Amardass Ji comments on this Shabad in the following way:

      'The body is all blood, without blood it cannot exist. Those who are imbued with the Lord's love have not a single drop of selfish blood in their bodies. When the fear of Divine enters one's being, it becomes emaciated, and the blood of greed departs. As flames purify metal, so too does the fear of the Divine cast out impure inclinations. They alone are beautiful, Nanak, who are dyed with the love of the Lord.'
      -Mohalla 3, ASGGS, Salok 52, Ang. 1380. 

      Farid's ascetic undertones are sidelined, by the Guru, to provide a more rational interpretation of his words. Farid's "blood" becomes "selfish blood" and the external is transformed into the internal. It is not the physical frame which matters but the internal, the spiritual. Only through spiritual austerities can inimical inclinations depart; physical austerities only invite weakness and prolonged suffering."   "Now, we will look at the Bani of Bhagat Farid along with the relevant commentary by the Sikh Gurus. 

      'Farid, she who did not enjoy her spouse when black-haired, will she enjoy him when grey-haired? Love the Lord with such love that your hair's color will never change!'
      -Salok 12, ASGGS, Ang. 1378.

      Bhagat Farid holds that youth is conducive to following the spiritual path, in old age it is a lost cause. Guru Amardass Ji, who became the third Nanak at the age of 72, provides a commentary on this shabad:

      'Farid, whether one's hair be black or grey, the Lord is ever present if one remembers him. True love does not come from one's own desire, that cup of the Master's love he himself gives to whomever he desires.'
      -Mohalla 3, Salok 13, ASGGS, Ang. 1378.

      Bhagat Farid believes effort to be necessary vis-a-vis the spiritual path; the Sikh Gurus concur but to an extent. All transpires due to the Divine Will and man's efforts have a limit. Divine Will is more pontificate than man's efforts; man should elect to reside in this will and recognize where effort ends. From a Nanakian perspective effort is necessary in the temporal paradigm, but in the spiritual paradigm success depends on the Divine initiative. Guru Nanak Dev Ji states:

      'Does it matter if one is a swan or heron on whom the Lord casts his glance? Sayeth Nanak that if he so desires, crowns turn into swans.'
      -Mohalla 1, Salok 124, ASGGS, Ang. 1384. 

      The Lord is supreme in all that he does.

      Bhagat Farid then utilizes martial scenery:

      'One who is not welcome by her in-laws, and who has not place at her parents' house; and whose spouse does not care an iota for her, is she truly a happily married wife?'
      -Salok 31, ASGGS, Ang. 1379. 

      The 'parents' house' symbolizes societal life, the 'in-laws' spiritual life and the 'spouse' the Lord. Bhagat Farid is commenting on those spiritualists, those devotees, who desire the best of both spiritualism and societal living. He feels that by pursuing both concepts, one ultimately fails in all that he/she commits to. Guru Nanak Dev Ji comments:

      'At her in-laws and at her parents' house, she belongs to her spouse, the Divine beloved who is inaccessible and unfathomable. Oh Nanak! That one is indeed a happily married bride, who pleases the indifferent one.'
      -Mohalla 1, Salok 32, ASGGS, Ang. 1379.

      In contrast to Farid, the Guru elaborates that via Divine Grace both the temporal and spiritual paradigms become successful for the devotees. The true spiritualist is one who pursues both fields rather than renouncing one over the other. Nonetheless, hypocrisy in both fields should be avoided."   "In Suhi Lalit, Bhagat Farid forewarns:

      'You could not construct a raft when required. Now that the ocean is full and overflowing, it is hard to traverse. Do not touch the saffron flower for it's color will depart, my beloved. Rahau.
      The bride is weak and her husband's command is too hard to bear. As the milk does not return to her breast, nor will the soul return to the body. Sayeth Farid, friends, when the spouse calls this soul departeth crestfallen and the body is reduced to ashes.'
      -Suhi Lalit 1, ASGGS, Ang. 794.

      Guru Nanak Dev Ji, prior to Farid's verse, expounds:

      'Make meditation and restraint the raft via which to traverse the flowing stream. Your pass will be comfortable as if there is no ocean or overflowing stream. Your name alone is the unfading matter with which this cloak is dyed; my Beloved Lord, this color is perennial. My dear companions have departed, how will they meet the Lord? If they are united in virtue, the Lord will unite them with himself. Once united the mortal does not separate if the union be true. The cycle of birth and death is nullified by the True, Eternal Lord. She who removes her own self-centrism sews herself a garment to please her spouse. By the Guru's words, she obtained the fruit of the nectar of the Lord's word. Sayeth Nanak, my companions, my spouse be dear to me. We be the Lord's handmaidens; he our husband.'
      -Mohalla 1, Suhi 4, Ang. 729.

      Bhagat Farid provides a picture of doom and gloom by lamenting lost opportunities. He focuses on old age, where mental and physical faculties are too frail to be attuned to Divine contemplation. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, instead, expounds that it is never too late to focus on the Lord (one should remember Guru Amardass Ji here) for the Beloved is not harsh nor his commands. Via the saffron flower, Bhagat Farid warns of the fleeting pleasures of the world -here today, gone tomorrow- Guru Nanak Dev Ji instead elaborates that all pleasures belong to the Lord and via merging with him, all pleasures become permanent for he is the highest pleasure of all. 

      For Farid, death is the final test; even the faithful, in his view, should fear it for the soul never returns to the body. Guru Nanak Dev Ji however believes death to be a joy and a privilege of the valorous, for it is via death that one perfects his/her union with the Divine.

      From a Nanakian perspective, Farids's words apply to the manmukh and not the Gurmukh. But even a manmukh is worthy of Divine Grace, provided he recants at the ultimate moment."   "Bhagat Farid, a Sufi, informs us:

      'My physical frame is oven-hot; my bones are the firewood. If my feet fail, I shall walk upon my head to meet my Beloved.'
      -Salok 119, ASGGS, Ang. 1384.

      Bhagat Farid utilizes the metaphor of a kiln to depict his love for the Lord. A Sufi, his ascetic concepts however were not in line with Gurmat. Guru Nanak Dev Ji refutes his call for such asceticism by commenting:

      'Do not heat your physical frame oven-hot; burn not your bones like firewood. What harm have they committed that you torture them such? Rather behold the Beloved within your soul, Farid.'
      -Salok 120, ASGGS, Ang. 1384.

      Bhagat Farid is of the mind that the human body is but a prison and the soul it's captive. The Sikh Gurus believe that the human body is a temple, a locus where the Lord resides and awaits his devotee. By utilizing this Shabad of Farid, the Gurus desired that their Sikhs imbue the same zeal as the Sufi did whilst also discarding his asceticism; hence the refutation. Throughout Bhagat Bani we find a similar concept at play. The Sikh Gurus initiate a written dialogue with the radicals of their time and provide an unalloyed picture of the Divine Truth. For Farid, creation is a falsity; for the Gurus it is a truth. Farid's asceticism renders the body as simply an object; the Gurus however perceive it to be divine and encourage their Sikhs to employ it in the service of the Divine by societal living." I printed all this out in pamphlet form and took it to a local Nagar Kirtan when I was in Australia and man, some of the Muslims burned. A few confrontations occurred, "how can you say Guru Nanak was a non-Muslim?!" "Gobind Singh made you anti-Muslim." "Your history is a lie, all Gurus were Muslims and they even married Muslims!" Basically they were clutching at straws. The pamphlets were enough to make the Sikhs ignore these idiots and they grew worried and left the scene. Later a famous attendant Gyani, from Taksal (and who I will not name), got hold of one of the pamphlets. After having it explained to him he called me over and asked me what jatha I belonged to. I told him none. Then he asked me where I got this information from. I told him my sources. Basically his problem was that I was not crediting any jatha on my pamphlet. He asked me to mention Taksal in them but I refused. Few days later all the pamphlets were thrown in the trash and I was told to abstain from publishing such (and here's how they described them) lies. The youth wanted more, but the Gurughar committee would have none of it. The main problem, here, is the liberal fuddu attitude our qaum has that respect all faiths at the expense of your own.  After this some of us decided to stick to the social media. There was veer Bijla Singh Ji with his Search Sikhism page which, back in the heyday of grooming, forced several Muslim preachers to quit their anti-Sikh proselytizing. There were a few more who set up Tisarpanth. Then there was The Truth of Sikhi and Shamshir Publications. Bijla Singh Ji advised us but out of the three initiatives set up, only one is going strong and the others were forced to close down. Why? Because they had to hit the streets and they faced the same problem which I did- our own elders were and still are shooting us down. If we had claimed affiliation with some jatha, then we would have been lionized.   
    • In that way you're right. It is a big deal. My heart would pain to see anyone lost to Islam especially on a large scale. And your cautionary message is well founded.  But in the fake news, shame Sikhi, propaganda way I feel it was being used. Pfft. In that context I feel more a response of "And? Big deal. Who gives a ****"
    • That's her father in law Tarsem Singh of Hushiarpur, he is the village Granthi.   Her father's name is Monohar Lal of Delhi and her name is Kiran Bala. Sikhs don't have names like Lal and Bala. These are typical Hindu names.
    • I'm surprised to learn there are differences in Bani. If Ram rai can be excommunicated for changing the meaning of a verse (to please the emporer), then it should be impossible for a Sikh to change the words or spellings of Bani. Apart from layout differences (which would occur due to variations in handwriting style and page size), the Bani should be identical in all versions. To allow variations can lead to questioning the authenticity and hence validity of Bani.    Yes it can lead to attacks from without by muslims and others looking to destroy Sikhs faith in Bani, but it can also lead to disruption from within. 
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