Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 at Rai Bhoeki Talwandi now known as Nankana Sahib situated in Punjab province of West Pakistan . This place is about 55 miles north-west of Lahore . His father, Mehta Kalu was a Patwari- an accountant of land revenue in the government. Guru’s mother was Mata Tripta and he had one older sister, Bibi Nanki. From the very childhood, Bibi Nanki saw in him the Light of God but she did not reveal this secret to anyone. She is known as the first disciple of Guru Nanak.
At the age of seven, Guru Nanak was sent to school, which was run by teacher, Pandit Gopal Das, at his village. As usual the teacher started the lesson with an alphabet but the teacher was wonder-stuck when the Guru asked him to explain the meanings of the letters of the alphabet. However at the helplessness of his teacher, the Guru wrote the meanings of each and every letter of the alphabet. This was the first Divine Message delivered by Guru Nanak. This was an explanation of deeper truth about human beings and God and the way to realize God in terms of the alphabet. The teacher stood abashed before the Divine Master and bowed to him. He then took him back to his father and said, “Mehtaji, your son is an Avtar (prophet) and has come to redeem the victims of Kalyug (the age of Falsehood). He is destined to be a world Teacher, there is nothing that I can teach him.”
Many writers believe that Guru Nanak was first sent to different schools belonging to the Hindus and Muslims to learn about Vedas (Hindu Scriptures) and Quran (Muslim Scripture), and only after obtaining the knowledge from those scriptures, he started his religion. According to Malcolm, Guru Nanak is said to have learnt all earthly scenes from Khizr -the Prophet Elias. “There is a reason to believe,” writes Cunningham, “that in his youth he made himself familiar with the popular creeds both of Mohammadans and the Hindus and that he gained a general knowledge of the Quran and Brahmanical Shastras.”
It seems that all these scholars of history have not grasped the basic fundamental fact about the divinity of Guru Nanak. He was born with divine status, thus, his teachings were heavenly. These writers seem to be very much ignorant of the fact that Guru Nanak was an Embodiment of Divine Light.He was a celestial being and his divine attributes put him above mankind and its schools. Historians have failed to visualize the splendor in Guru’s Jot. Heavenly Spirit does not learn from man-made institutions. He was a heavenly messenger and a born world teacher who taught the mankind the path of righteousness and truth. Guru Nanak’s divinity is above all earthly institutions and their teachings. The Message that Guru Nanak gave to this world, came to him direct from God as he confirms himself: It is also mentioned in the Janamsakhi (biography) that many times Guru Nanak said to his companion Mardana, “Mardana, play the rebec, the Divine Word is coming.” This confirms the fact that education from the Hindu and Muslim religious institutions, had no bearing at all on the Divine Word that Guru Nanak received from God and delivered to this world. To say that Guru went to different institutions to learn, is violating the sanctity of Guruship.
CEREMONY OF SACRED THREAD:
Guru Nanak was nine years old and according to the custom among the higher castes of Hindus, he was required to invest himself with the sacred thread called ‘Janaeu’. Great preparations were made by his father for this ceremony. The family priest named Hardyal, started chanting Mantras (Hindu hymns) and was ready to put the thread around Guru’s neck when he refused to wear it. The whole assembly was astonished. They tried to persuade him every way to wear the Janaeu but in vain.
COBRA SERVES THE DIVINE MASTER:
As usually is the case in villages, the father sent his son to graze the buffaloes in the pastures. One day while the Guru was grazing the buffaloes, he fell asleep under a tree and the herd destroyed the crops in the neighboring fields. When the owner saw his crops damaged, he became furious and lodged a complaint with Rai Bular, an officer-in-charge of that area. Rai Bular sent for the son and his father to adjust the quarrel. The Guru told them that no damage was done to the crops; rather it was blessed by God. Rai Bular sent his messengers to inspect the fields. But to everybody’s surprise the investigators could not find any damage in the fields rather the crops were doubly blossoming. The field where this miracle happened is now known as Kiara Sahib. On another day the Guru was sent to graze the buffaloes in the pastures and he fell asleep under the shade of a tree. As the sun rose higher, the shadow moved away. A big cobra came out of its den and provided shadow with its hood over the face of the Divine Master. Rai Bular happened to pass by that side with his attendants. When he saw this strange scene, he was convinced that the boy was a man of God. Upon seeing the people, the cobra retreated to its den and Rai Bular touched Guru’s feet in great reverence and thus became Guru’s disciple.
In spite of the accumulating evidence about the spiritual greatness of the Guru, Mehta Kalu was not convinced and thought that his son was wasting time in profitless contemplation. So he wanted to put him to trade. He gave the Guru twenty rupees (Indian currency) and sent him to the nearest town- Chuharkana, to buy goods of common use and then sell them at a profit. The family servant Bala was also sent with him. On his way the Guru met a group of faqirs (ascetics) who were hungry for several days. The Guru spent all the money in feeding the faqirs and called it a true bargain. He realized the nature of his act and did not go home but sat under a tree outside his village. Bala went home and he narrated the whole story to his father. The father became very angry but the Guru explained to him that he could not think of a more profitable bargain. The aged tree under which he sat is still preserved. It is called Thumb Sahib or the holy tree in memory of the Guru. All this failed to have any effect on Guru’s disinclination towards ordinary world affairs and he remained deeply immersed in meditation.
In order to bring him around the worldly affairs, the next step came the marriage. The marriage date is given different in different Janamsakhis (birth stories), and it is presumed that he was between 14 to 18 years of age when he got married. His wife, Sulakhni, was the daughter of Bhai Mula, a resident of Batala in Gurdaspur district. She gave birth to two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. His father soon found out that even the married life did not divest him of his pre-occupation with matters pertaining to his Divine mission. As a matter of fact, his concept of duty was not to serve himself and his family rather to transcend it so that the self might participate in the divine scheme of things and spiritualize the world around him. Humanity was his family and serving the humanity was the service of the Lord. Bhai Gurdas writes that the Guru saw the whole world in flames; flames of falsehood, tyranny, hypocrisy and bigotry. He had to go and extinguish that fire with eternal love, truth and dedication. He had the divine mission to teach to humanity, the lesson of the brotherhood of mankind and the fatherhood of God. “The Primal Being created the Light; all men are the creation of Providence : all human beings have sprung from one Light. Who, then, is bad and who is good?”
GURU NANAK COMES TO SULTANPUR:
Jai Ram, Guru’s brother-in-law was serving as Dewan (steward) to the governor, Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi of Sultanpur. It is said that both Jai Ram and Rai Bular were of the opinion that Nanak was a saint ill-treated by his father; and thus Jai Ram promised to find a job for him in Sultanpur. Guru’s sister was deeply devoted to her younger brother. On their annual visit to Talwandi, when she noticed her father’s impatience at her brother’s indifference towards worldly activities, she decided to take him to Sultanpur. Her father gave his consent. Jai Ram got the Guru the post of a store-keeper of Nawab’s state granary where the grain was collected as a part of land revenue and later sold. The Guru carried out the duties of the store-keeper very efficiently. The minstrel Mardana subsequently joined the Guru and other friends too followed. Guru Nanak introduced them to the Khan, who provided them suitable jobs in his administration. Every night there was Sabad-Kirtan (singing divine hymns). One day he was weighing provisions and was counting each weighing as ‘one, two, three………ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen’. When he reached the number thirteen (13)- ‘Tera’ (in Punjabi language Tera means number 13, and Tera also means ‘thine’, that is ‘I am Thine, O Lord’), he went into ecstasy. He went on weighing by saying,”Tera, tera, tera,…….” The customers did not know how to carry the bountiful gifts of this store-keeper. They could not understand the bounties of the Lord. Ultimately the situation reached its climax when a charge was levied against the Guru that he was recklessly giving away the grain. The Nawab ordered an inquiry which was conducted very carefully. The Guru’s detractors were surprised when the stores were found full and the accounts showed a balance in favor of the Guru. After that the Guru sent in his resignation to the employer to embark on his divine mission.
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