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The Guru, knowing that his end was approaching, appointed Angad his successor. The Guru's sons had not obeyed him. Their minds were insincere, and they had rebelled and deserted him. Wherefore he subsequently placed the umbrella

[1. Man shall take with him the result of his acts.

2. Nâthiare is connected with the Panjâbi nathna, to run away.

3. Four days is a common Oriental expression for a short period.

4 The soul is here meant.

5. Who awakes not in God's service.

6. Sri Râg.]

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of spiritual sovereignty over Angad's head, and bowed to him in token of his succession to the Guruship. Then it became known to his people that Guru Nanak was about to die. Whole troops of Sikhs, Hindus, and Musalmans went to bid him farewell. Angad stood up before him in an attitude of supplication. When Guru Nanak had invited him to speak, he said, 'O king, be pleased to attach again to thy skirt those who have seceded from thee.' By this Angad meant the Sikhs whose faith had been tried and found wanting. Guru Nanak replied, 'I have forgiven them all for thy sake.' Upon this Angad fell at his feet.

Guru Nanak went and sat under a withered acacia tree, when lo! it became green, and produced leaves and blossoms. Angad again fell at his feet in adoration. Guru Nanak's family, relations, and disciples began to weep. On that occasion he composed the following:--

Hail to the Creator, the True King, who allotted to the world its various duties!
When the measure[1] is full, the duration of life is at an end; the soul is led away;
When the destined hour arriveth, the soul is led away and all one's relations weep.
The body and soul are separated, O my mother, when one's days are at an end.
Thou hast obtained what was allotted thee, and reaped the fruit of thy former acts.
Hail to the Creator, the True King, who allotted to the world its various duties!
Remember the Lord, O my brethren; all must depart.
The affairs of this world are transitory, only for four days; we must assuredly proceed onwards:
We must assuredly proceed onwards like a guest; why should we be proud?

[1. Pâi.

2. This is an Indian corn measure].

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Repeat the name of Him by whose worship thou shalt obtain happiness in His court.
In the next world thou canst in no wise enforce thine authority; every one shall fare according to his acts.
Remember the Lord, my brethren, every one must depart.
That which pleaseth the Omnipotent shall come to pass this world is an illusion.
The true Creator pervadeth sea and land, the nether regions, and the firmament.
The true Creator is invisible, unequalled; His limit cannot be found.
Profitable is their advent into this world who have meditated with their whole hearts upon Him.
The Adorner by His order demolisheth and again constructeth.
That which pleaseth the Omnipotent shall come to pass this world is an illusion.
Saith Nanak, O Father, they shall be considered to have wept who weep through love.
If men weep for the sake of worldly things, all their weeping, O Father, shall be in vain:
All their weeping shall be in vain; the world is not mindful of God, and weepeth for mammon.
They know not good from evil, and thus lose their human lives.
All who come into this world must depart; false are you who practise pride.
Saith Nanak, men shall be considered to have wept, O Father, if they weep through love.[1]

this the assembled crowd began to sing songs of mourning, and the Guru fell into a trance. When he awoke therefrom, his sons, on seeing a stranger appointed to succeed their father, inquired what provision had been made for themselves. Guru Nanak replied, 'O my sons, God giveth to His creatures; you shall obtain food and clothing in

[1. Wadhans, Alâhaniân.]

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abundance, and if you repeat God's name you shall be saved at last.'

The Musalmans who had received God's name from the Guru, said they would bury him after his death. His Hindu followers on the contrary said they would cremate him. When the Guru was invited to decide the discussion he said, 'Let the Hindus place flowers on my right, and the Musalmans on my left. They whose flowers are found fresh in the morning, may have the disposal of my body.'

Guru Nanak then ordered the crowd to sing the Sohila:--

In the house in which God's praise is sung and He is meditated on,
Sing the Sohila and remember the Creator.
Sing the Sohila of my fearless Lord; I am a sacrifice to that song of joy by which everlasting comfort is obtained.
Ever and ever living things are watched over; the Giver regardeth their wants.
When even Thy gifts cannot be appraised, who can appraise the Giver?
The year and the auspicious time for marriage[1] are recorded; O relations, meet and pour oil on me the bride.[2]
O my friends, pray for me that I may meet my Lord.
This message is ever sent to every house; such invitations are ever issued.
Remember the Caller; Nanak, the day is approaching.[3]

The concluding slok of the Japji was then sung. The Guru drew a sheet over 'him, uttered 'Wahguru', made obeisance to God, and blended his light with Guru Angad's. The Guru remained the same. There was only a change of body produced by a supreme miracle.

[1. Death is here considered a marriage as among the ancient Greeks.

2. Before marriage the bride's relations anoint her with oil.

3. Râg Gauri Dîpaki. Guru Nânak caused this hymn to be repeated for him in token of rejoicing when he was dying. It is still read as a Funeral service.]

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When the sheet was removed next morning, there was nothing found beneath it. The flowers on both sides ere in bloom. The Hindus and the Musalmans removed their respective flowers. All the Sikhs reverently saluted the spot on which the Guru had lain. He breathed his last on the tenth day of the light half of the month of Assu, Sambat 1595 (A.D. 1538) at Kartarpur in the Panjab.

The Sikhs erected a shrine and the Muhammadans a tomb in his honour on the margin of the Ravi. Both have since been washed away by the river, perhaps providentially, so as to avoid idolatrous worship of the Guru's last resting-place.

Bhai Gur Das, a brief account of whom we have given in the Introduction, draws a gloomy picture of the wickedness of the world at the rise of the Sikh religion:--Men's ideas. and aspirations were low. Mammon fascinated the world and led every one astray. Good acts no longer commended themselves to men. They burned with pride, and respected not one another. The high and the low forgot their mutual duties. Monarchs were unjust, and their nobles were butchers who held knives to men's throats.

Everybody thought he possessed knowledge, but none knew in what knowledge or ignorance consisted. Men did what pleased themselves. Alchemy and thaumaturgy were professed, incantations and spells practised, and men indulged in strife, wrath, and mutual jealousies. In the general disorder every one adopted a religion of his own. Out of one God they made many, and carved gods attractive and unattractive from wood and stone. Some worshipped the sun or moon, others. propitiated the earth, sky, wood, water, or fire, and others again the god of 'death, while the devotion of many was addressed to cemeteries and cremation grounds. Thus did mankind go astray in vain religions and vain worship.

Men despised one another and hence caste received

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religious sanction. The Brahmans set the Veds, the Purans, and the Shastars at variance. The professors of the six schools of Hindu philosophy quarrelled with one another, and while so employed indulged to their hearts' content in hypocrisy and superstition.

Not only were the Hindus divided into four castes, but the Muhammadans were divided into four sects,[1] and while the Hindus worshipped the Ganges and Banaras, the Muhammadans addressed their devotions to Makka and the Kaaba. The devil fascinated the members of both religions; they forgot their holy books; they went astray on every road; and truth was the one thing they failed to discover.

There was no guru or religious guide, and without one the people were pushing one another to their destruction. Sin prevailed throughout creation. Pure religion was weeping day and night, and finally began to disappear from men's gaze beneath the earth. She was weighed down by human transgressions. In lowly attitude she appealed to God for a guide. God observing men's anguish and hearing their piteous cries, conferred supernatural attributes on Guru Nanak. He bestowed on him the supreme wealth of the Name and humility, and sent him into the world to relieve its sufferings. When Guru Nanak contemplated the world, he everywhere saw spiritual darkness, and heard the cry of pain. He endured the greatest privations and travelled to different countries in order to regenerate the human race.

He pointed out to men the straight way--that there was but one God, the primal and omnipresent. He restored the three legs which religion had lost, and reduced to one the four castes of the Hindus. He placed the king and the beggar on a spiritual equality, and taught them to respect each other.

[1. Hanifi, Shâfai, Mâliki, and Hanbali.]

{p. 193} He preached to all a religion of the heart as distinguished from a religion of external forms and unavailing ritual.

He found that the acts and austerities practised by professedly religious men of his age and country were without divine love or devotion, and consequently contained no merit before God. He satisfied himself that Brahma, the reputed author of the Veds, did not include love in them, nor was it mentioned in the Simritis. He declared that God who has no form or outline was not found by wearing religious garbs, but by humility, and that if men rejected caste and worshipped God in spirit they should be accepted in His court.

The Guru examined all religious sects, contemplated the gods, goddesses, and spirits of earth and heaven, and found them all immersed and perishing in spiritual pride. He scrutinized Hindus, Moslems, priests, and prophets, and found not one godly person among them. They were all groping in the blind pit of superstition.

Religious men who ought to be guiding their flocks, had retreated to the solitude of mountains. There was no one left to instruct and save the world. Though hermits rubbed ashes night and day on their bodies, they possessed no knowledge, and the world was rushing to its ruin for want of a divine guide. Rulers were everywhere oppressive. The fence began to eat the field instead of protecting it. Guardians proved faithless to their trusts and consumed the wealth of their wards. Some disciples played while their spiritual guides danced. Other disciples sat at home while, contrary to all custom, their spiritual guides waited on them. judges took bribes and perpetrated injustice. Women only paid regard to their husbands for the wealth they possessed, and sin was diffused throughout the world. When Guru Nanak appeared, the fog of spiritual ignorance dispersed, and light shone in the world,

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as when the sun rises the stars disappear and dark ness fades away, or as when the lion roars in the forest the timid deer incontinently disappear. Wherever the Guru planted his foot, there was established a seat of worship. Every house of his followers became a temple in which the Lord's praises were ever sung and the Lord's name continually repeated. The Guru established a separate religion, and laid out an easy and simple way of obtaining salvation by the repetition of God's name. The Guru extricated men from the terrible ocean of the world, and included them in the boon of salvation. He cut off the fear of transmigration, and healed the malady of superstition and the pain of separation from God. Until the Guru's advent death's mace ever impended over men's heads, and the apostate and the evil spent their lives in vain. When men grasped the feet of the divine Guru, he gave them the true Word and effected their deliverance. He inculcated love and devotion, the repetition of God's name, and the lesson that as men sow so shall they reap.

The four castes of the Hindus he reduced to one. Whether a Sikh had a caste or not, he was distinguished in the society of the holy. The six schools of philosophy are like the six seasons of the year, but the sect of the Guru is the sun which shines over them all. Guru Nanak having abolished all sects shed great splendour on his own. Setting aside the Veds and the books of Islam, he taught his sect to repeat the name of the infinite God who surpasses all conception. By falling at one another's feet and by practising humility are the Guru's Sikhs recognized. They live as hermits among their families, they efface their individuality, they pronounce the ineffable name of God, and they transgress not the will of the Creator by uttering blessings or curses upon their fellow-creatures. Thus were men saved in every direction and Guru Nanak became the true support of the nine regions of the earth.

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