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The Guru continued his journey to the north He wore leather on his feet and on his head, twisted a rope round his body, and on his forehead stamped a saffron tilak. He was accompanied by Hassu, a smith, and Sihan, a calico-printer. The party went as far as Srinagar in Kashmir, where they stayed some time and made many converts.

Brahm Das was then the most eminent of the Kashmiri pandits. On hearing of the Guru's arrival, he went to pay him a formal visit. The better to impress the Guru with his piety and learning, he wore an idol suspended from his neck, and took with him two loads of Sanskrit books. On seeing the Guru's dress he said, 'Is that the sort of faqir thou art? Why wearest thou leather, which is unclean? Why twistest thou a rope round thy body? Why hast thou abandoned the observances of thy religion? And why eatest thou flesh and fish?' The Guru, not paying much attention to these impertinent questions, thus unburdened him self of the thoughts which filled his mind:--

There is but one road,. one door; the Guru is the ladder to reach one's home.
Beautiful is God; Nanak, all happiness is in His name.

[1. Âsa.]

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God Himself created and recognized His creation.
He separated the earth from the sky and spread a canopy over it.
He fixed the heavens without pillars by the utterance of it word.
Having created the sun and moon, He infused His light into them.
He made the wonderful play of night and day.
Pilgrimage, religion, meditation, and bathing on holy days-
None of these is equal to Thee, O God; how can I describe Thee?
Thou sittest on a true throne; all else are subject to birth and death.

After a pause the Guru again burst forth in God's praises:--

Thou, O God, who didst diffuse truth, art the truest of the true.
Thou sittest in an attitude of contemplation concealed in the lotus of the heart.
Brahma called himself great, but he found not Thy limit.
Thou hast no father or mother; who begot Thee?
Thou art devoid of all form, outline, or caste.
Thou feelest not hunger or thirst; Thou art satisfied and satiated.
The great God is contained in Himself, and hath diffused His word.
They who are satisfied with the True One are absorbed in Him.[1]

Brahm Das then recognizing the Guru's piety and genius fell at his feet, and asked him what existed before creation? The Guru in reply uttered the following hymn known as Solaha[2] in Rag Maru:--

[1. Malâr ki Wâr.

2. A hymn containing sixteen stanzas.]

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In the beginning[1] there was indescribable darkness;
Then was not earth or heaven, naught but God's unequalled order.
Then was not day, or night, or moon, or sun; God was meditating on the void.
Then were not the mines of production, or voices, or wind, or water;
Neither creation nor destruction, nor coming nor going,
Then were not continents, or hells, or seven seas, or rivers, or flowing streams;
Nor was there paradise, or a tortoise,[2] or nether regions
Or the hell or heaven of the Muhammadans, or the destroyer Death;
Or the hell or heaven of the Hindus, or birth, or death nor did any one come or go.
Then was no Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiv:
No one existed but the One God.
Then was no female, or male, or caste, or birth nor did any one feel pain or pleasure.
There was no Jati, Sati,[3] or dweller in the forest
There was no Sidh, or Striver, or dweller at ease:
No Jogi, or Jangam, or religious garb; nor did any one call himself a Nath;[4]
No devotion, penance, austerity, fasting, or worship
Nor did any one speak or tell of duality.[5]
God Himself having created was pleased, and valued what He had done.
There was no purification, or self-restraint, or necklace of sweet basil;
There was no milkmaid, or Krishan, or cow. or herdsman;

[1. Arbad is here understood to be for arambh. Arbud in Sanskrit means a number of one hundred millions, so arbad narbad may also mean--for countless years.

2. Which some Hindus believe supports the earth.

3. Sati means a faithful wife, especially one who cremates herself with her deceased husband.

4. A superior of Jogis.

5. Dwait, duality. in the Sikh writings means the worship of other than God.]

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No incantations or spells, no hypocrisy, nor did any one play on the flute.[1]
There were no acts attaching to the soul, or religion, or the gadfly of mammon.
No one saw caste or birth with his eyes.
There was not the net of pride, nor was death written on man's brow, nor did man meditate on aught created.[2]
There was no slander, no seed, no soul, no life.
There was no Gorakh or Machhindar.[3]
Nor was there divine knowledge, or meditation, or nobility; nor did any one have conceit of himself.
There was no caste or religious garb, no Brahman or Khatri;
No demigod, no temple, no cow, no gayatri,[4]
No hom, no sacred feasts, no places of pilgrimage to bathe in, nor did any one perform worship.
There was no Mulla or any Qazi;
No Shaikh, no Disciple, no Haji;[5]
No subject or king; nor was pride in the world, nor did any one give himself a great name.
here was no love, no service, no Shiv, or energy of his;[6]
No friend, no helper, no seed, no blood.[7]
God Himself was the merchant, Himself the dealer--such was the will of the True One--

[1. One of Krishan's youthful accomplishments.

2. Literally--nor did any one meditate on any one else. That is, no one then worshipped the gods or idols of the Hindus.

3. Machhindar is described in a verse attributed to Gorakhnâth as his father.

4. The gâyatri is the spell of the Hindus. It is now recited as follows: Oam, bhûr, bhuvas, svar, tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya, dhîmahi dhîyo yo nah prachodyât 'Oam, earth and air and sky, let us meditate on that excellent sun the bright god, which stimulateth our intellects.' The late Professor Max Müller gave the following translation--'We meditate on the adorable light of the divine Savitri, that he may rouse our thoughts.'

5. This word is applied to Muhammadans who have made the pilgrimage to Makka.

6 Shiv's energy or consort was variously named Pârbati, Durga &c.

7. 'No seed, no blood': this refers to the male and female functions of generation.]

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Then were no Veds or Muhammadan books,[1] no Simritis, no Shastars;
No reading of the Purans, no sunrise, no sunset.
The Imperceptible God was Himself the speaker and preacher; Himself unseen He saw everything.
When He pleased He created the world;
Without supports He sustained the sky.
He created Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiv, and extended the love of mammon.
He communicated the Guru's words to some few persons.
He issued His order and watched over all.
He began with the continents, the universe, and the
nether regions, and brought forth what had been hidden.
His limit no one knoweth.
From the True Guru I have learned,
Nanak, that they who are imbued with the truth are wonderful, and delight in singing God's praises.

Upon this Brahm Das again fell at the Guru's feet, cast away the idol from his neck, and, becoming a worshipper of God, performed service for the Guru. His evil desires, however, departed not. Whatever service he performed was brief and perfunctory, for he thought to himself that he had performed similar service before; but whatever he did was of no avail on account of his pride.

At one of their meetings the Guru told him to take a guru. He inquired, 'What guru shall I take?' The Guru bade him go to a certain house in the wilderness where he should find four faqirs, and they would inform him. The pandit went to them, and they, after some delay, pointed out a temple in which they said he should find his guru. The pandit proceeded thither, but instead of receiving a courteous reception, was shoe-beaten in a piteous manner by a woman in red who guarded the temple. Crying bitterly he returned to the four men who had dispatched

[1. They are described as the Psalms of David, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Quran.]

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him on the unpleasant errand. They inquired if he had found a guru, and in reply he told them his painful story. They explained to him that the woman was Maya, or worldly love; and that she for whom he had so longed was his guru. The pandit returned to the Guru, and fell at his feet. He then cast away his two loads of books, began to repeat God's name, and became so humble as to be, as it were, the dust of the earth. The pandit inquired who were happy in this world. The Guru replied with the following sloks, which Hassu and Sihan committed to writing:--

Indar wept after his thousandfold punishment;[1]
Paras Ram wept on his return home;[2]
King Ajai[3] wept after eating what he had obtained as alms-
Such is the punishment meted out in God's court -
Ram wept when he was expelled from his kingdom,
And separated from Sita and Lachhman.[4]
Rawan, who took away Sita with beat of drum,
Wept when he had lost Lanka;[5]
The Pandavs[6] though their master[7] had been with them,
Became slaves and wept;

[1. Indar was the god of the firmament. His punishment was for his effort to seduce Ahalya, the wife of the sage Gautama.

2 Paras Râm. Râm with the axe was the sixth avatar of Vishnu and preceded the Râm of Indian popular worship. He is said to have cleared the earth twenty-one times of the Kshatriyas. He then gave it to the sage Kashyapa and retired to the Mahendra mountains. The text alludes to his subsequent homeward return.

3 Aj was grandfather of Râm Chandar. One day when hunting he dipped a cloth in the blood of a deer which he had shot; and in order to test his wife's affection sent it to her with a dying message that he had been killed in the hunting-field. She, believing the messenger, at once cremated herself with the cloth she had received. King Aj on returning home found out what had occurred, and was so overcome with grief and sorrow, that he abandoned his throne and retired from the world to do penance for his crime.

4. Lachhman was Râm's brother.

5. Lanka. This was the ancient name of Ceylon, where Rawan ruled.

6 The opponents of the Kauravs in the great war which forms the subject of the Mahâbhârat.

7 Krishan.]

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Janameja[1] wept when he went astray;--
For one offence he was deemed a sinner--
Shaikhs, Disciples and Pirs[2] weep
For fear of suffering at the last moment;
Kings wept when their ears were torn,[3]
And they went to beg alms from door to door;
The miser wept at his departure from the wealth he had amassed;
The pandit wept when he had lost his learning;
The young girl who hath no husband weepeth
Nanak, the whole world is in misery.
He who revereth the Name is victorious
No other act is of any avail.[4]

The Guru, leaving Srinagar, penetrated the Himalaya mountains, and scaled numerous lofty peaks

[1. Janameja, king of Hastinapura, who listened to the long Sanskrit epic Mahâbhârat in expiation of the sin of killing Brahmans.

2. Pîrs are Muhammadan saints.

3. The reference is to Gopi Chand and Bharthari. Bharthari was king of Ujjain. In his state there lived a Brahman who by his austerities had obtained the fruit of immortality. Not deeming it useful to himself he presented it as a fitting offering to his monarch. He being in love with his queen presented it to her. She being in love with the head police officer of the state presented it to him. He being in love with a favourite courtesan presented it to her. She being in love with the king presented it to him. On being informed of the strange vicissitudes of the fruit of immortality, and pondering on the instability love and friendship, Bharthari abdicated and became a religious mendicant.

Gopi Chand was king of Bengal, whose capital, according to legend, was then Doulagarh. His mother Menâwati was Râja Bharthari's sister. One day as Gopi Chand was bathing, his mother, seated in an upper chamber, admired his beauty, but at the same time felt that he was not so handsome as his father, her late husband. Death had taken him, it would also take Gopi Chand. Gopi Chand as he bathed felt moisture falling on him, and was told in reply to his inquiries that it was his mother's tears. tried to console her and said that death was the way of the world, and one must not endeavour to resist Nature's primordial law. On reflection she decided that Gopi Chand should become a faqîr under the spiritual guidance of Jalandharnâth. Gopi Chand abdicated, proceeded to him, and after many troubles received, it is said, instruction how to overcome death.

4. Râmkali ki Wâr.]

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until he arrived at Mount Sumer. He there met many renowned Sidhs. When the Guru had made his obeisance and sat down, they inquired whence he had come and in what state he had left Hindustan. He replied:--

The Kal age is a knife, kings are butchers; justice hath taken wings and fled.
In this completely dark night of falsehood the moon of truth is never seen to rise.
I have become perplexed in my search:
In the darkness I find no way.
Devoted to pride, I weep in sorrow:
Saith Nanak, how shall deliverance be obtained?[1]

On this the Sidhs requested the Guru to join them in praising God. Having done so he put his subsequent conversation with them into the following form:--

The Sidhs holding an assembly sat in religious attitude--hail to the assembly of the saints!
I offer my prayer to Him who is the true and Infinite One.
I will cut off my head and lay it before Him; I will place before Him my soul and body.
Nanak, by meeting a holy man the True One is found, and honour is easily obtained.
Is the True and Pure One obtained by wandering?
There is no salvation without the True Word

The Sidhs asked:--

'Who art thou? What is thy name? What is thy sect and what thine object?
'Speak the truth; this is what we urge; we are a sacrifice to saintly men.
'Where is thy seat; where dwellest thou, O youth?
Whence hast thou come, and whither goest thou?
'Hear, O Nanak,' said the Sidhs, 'What are thy tenets?

[1. Mâjh ki Wâr.]

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Nanak--'I dwell in God who hath His seat in every heart; I act according to the will of the True Guru.
'I came in the course of nature, and according to God's order shall I depart. Nanak is ever subject to His will.
'To be fixed in God is my prayerful attitude; such know ledge have I obtained from the Guru.
'If one understand the Guru's instruction and know him self, then he being true shall be absorbed in the True One.'

A Sidh called Charpat asked .--

'The world is an ocean, and is said to be difficult to cross how shall man traverse it? '
Saith Charpat, 'O Audhut Nanak, give a true reply.'
Nanak--'Thou sayest so; thou thyself understandest What answer can I give thee?
'I speak truly; thou hast reached the distant shore how can I argue with thee?
'As a lotus in the water remaineth dry, as also a water-fowl in the stream,
'So by meditating on the Word and repeating God's name,' 'shalt thou be unaffected by the world.'
Nanak is a slave to those who remain apart from the world, in whose hearts the one God abideth, who live without desires in the midst of desires,
And who see and show to others the inaccessible and incomprehensible God.[1]

The Sidhs then, said 'All hail!' The Guru replied, 'All hail to the Primal Being!' Several Sikhs suppose that Guru Nanak com posed the Sidh Gosht on that occasion when he found leisure and retirement for composition.

Next: Life Of Guru Nanak: Chapter XV