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THERE is but one God whose name is true, the Creator, devoid of fear and enmity, immortal, unborn, self-existent, great and beneficent.


This War includes sloks. The sloks also were written by the first Guru, and should be sung to the air of 'Tunda As Raja'.[2]


Guru Nanak

I am a sacrifice to my Guru a hundred times a day,
Who without any delay made demigods out of men.

Guru Angad

Were a hundred moons to rise, and a thousand suns to mount the sky;
Even with such light there would be appalling darkness without the Guru.

Guru Nanak

Nanak, they who very clever in their own estimation think not of the Guru,
Shall be left like spurious sesames in a reaped field.

[1. The word Wâr originally meant a dirge for the brave slain in battle, then it meant any song of praise, and in this collection it means God's praises generally. Wârs were composed in stanzas called pauris, literally ladders, which were sung or chanted by professional minstrels.

The Âsa ki Wâr is repeated by religious Sikhs after the Japji as a morning divine service.

2 As, son of Chitrbîr, was a holy prince against whom a false charge had been preferred by his lascivious stepmother, which led to his hands and feet being cut off as punishment. One of the many Oriental versions of the story of Potiphar's wife.]

{p. 219}

They shall be left in the field, saith Nanak, without an owner:
The wretches may even bear fruit and flower, but they shall be as ashes within their bodies.


God Himself created the world and Himself gave names to things.
He made Maya[2] by His power: seated He beheld His work with delight.
O Creator, Thou art the Giver; being pleased Thou bestowest and practisest kindness.
Thou knowest all things; Thou givest and takest life with a word.[3]
Seated Thou didst behold Thy work with delight.


Guru Nanak

True are Thy regions and true Thy universes,
True Thy worlds and true Thy creation
True Thine acts and all Thy thoughts;
True Thine order and true Thy court;
True Thy command and true Thy behest
True Thy favour and true Thy signs.
Hundreds of thousands and millions declare Thee true
True is all Thy power, true all Thy strength
True Thy praises, true Thy eulogies
True Thy might, O true King.
Nanak, true are they who meditate on the True One.
They who are born and die are the falsest of the false.[4]

[1. The pauris in this collection are all by Guru Nanak, so in the original his name is omitted at their head.

2. In Sanskrit literature, Mâya is styled anâdi, without a beginning, hence uncreated, but this is not the doctrine of the Gurus. To believe that God did not create Mâya would be to believe in a limitation of His power.

3. Also translated--Thou givest and takest life from the body.

4. Koch is here used as the correlative of sach, true.]

{p. 220}

Guru Nanak[1]

Great is His glory whose name is great;
Great is His glory whose justice is true;
Great is His glory whose seat is immovable;
Great is His glory who understandeth our utterances;
Great is His greatness who knoweth all our feelings;
Great is His glory who giveth without consulting others;
Great is His glory who is all in all Himself.
Nanak, His acts cannot be described.
All that He did and hath to do dependeth on His own will.

Guru Angad

This world is the True One's chamber; the True One's dwelling is therein.
Some by His order He absorbeth in Himself; others by His order He destroyeth.[2]
Some at His pleasure He withdraweth from mammon; others He causeth to abide therein.
It cannot be even told whom He will regenerate.
Nanak, he to whom God revealeth Himself, is known as holy.


Nanak, God having created animals recorded their names, and appointed Dharmraj to judge their acts.
At His own court the real truth is adjudged; He separateth and removeth those who are attached to mammon.
There the false find no place: they go to hell with blackened faces.
They who are imbued with Thy name win; the deceivers lose.
God recorded names and appointed Dharmraj to record acts.

[1. In the original, Mahala I. It is so written to mark the distinction between the preceding verses, which are sloks, and the following verses, which are in a different measure.

2. By separating from Himself.]

{p. 221}


Guru Nanak

Wonderful Thy word, wonderful Thy knowledge;
Wonderful Thy creatures, wonderful their species;
Wonderful their forms, wonderful their colours
Wonderful the animals which wander naked;
Wonderful Thy wind; wonderful Thy water;
Wonderful Thy fire which sporteth wondrously;
Wonderful the earth, wonderful the sources of production
Wonderful the pleasures to which mortals are attached
Wonderful is meeting, wonderful parting from Thee;
Wonderful is hunger, wonderful repletion;
Wonderful Thy praises, wonderful Thy eulogies;
Wonderful the desert, wonderful the road;
Wonderful Thy nearness, wonderful Thy remoteness
Wonderful to behold Thee present.
Beholding these wonderful things I remain wondering.
Nanak, they who understand them are supremely fortunate.

Guru Nanak

By Thy power we see, by Thy power we hear, by Thy power we fear, or enjoy the highest happiness;
By Thy power were made the nether regions and the heavens; by Thy power all creation;
By Thy power were produced the Veds, the Purans, the Muhammadan books, and by Thy power all compositions;
By Thy power we eat, drink, and clothe ourselves; by Thy power springeth all affection;
By Thy power are the species, genera, and colours of creatures; by Thy power are the animals of the world.[1]
By Thy power are virtues; by Thy power are vices: by Thy power, honour and dishonour;[2]

[1. Also translated--By Thy power was created animate and inanimate nature.

2. Mân abhmân. The latter word is for apmân, as so often in the Granth Sahib. Compare mân abhimân madhê so sewak nâhîn, He
who hath regard for honour or dishonour is not a holy man.]

{p. 222}

By Thy power are wind, water, and fire; by Thy power is the earth.
Everything existeth by Thy power; Thou art the omnipotent Creator; Thy name is the holiest of the holy.
Saith Nanak, Thou beholdest and pervadest all things subject to Thy command: Thou art altogether unrivalled.


Man having enjoyed himself becometh ashes, and the soul passeth away.
However great and wealthy a man may be, the ministers of Death throw a chain on his neck and take him away.
There an account of his acts is read; the Judge on his seat taketh the account and passeth sentence.
Such a man shall find no place of shelter; when he is beaten, who will hear his cries?
Man, blind that thou art, thou hast wasted thy life.


Guru Nanak

In fear[1] the winds and breezes ever blow
In fear flow hundreds of thousands of rivers
In fear fire performeth its forced labour;
In fear the earth is pressed by its burden
In fear Indar moveth headlong: in fear sitteth Dharmraj at God's gate;
In fear is the sun, in fear the moon; they travel millions of miles without end;
in fear are the Sidhs, the Budhas, the demigods, and the Naths; in fear are the stars[2] and the firmament;
In fear are wrestlers, very mighty men and divine heroes;
In fear cargoes of men come and go.
God hath destined fear for every one;[3] Nanak, the Formless One, the True, is alone without fear.

[1. The fear of God is, of course, meant.

2. Adânê, from the Sanskrit ûdûgan. The phrase is also translated--In fear is the firmament extended.

3. Literally--God hath written the destiny of fear on tile heads of all.]

{p. 223}

Guru Nanak

Nanak, the Formless One is without fear; all the Rams were dust.
How many stories there are of Krishan! how many Veds and religious compositions![1]
How many beggars dance, and fall, and again beat time!
Actors enter the market-place and draw forth their appliances;[2]
Kings and queens sing and utter nonsense;[3]
They wear earrings worth hundreds of thousands, and necklaces worth hundreds of thousands.[4]
The body on which they are worn, O Nanak, shall become ashes.
Divine knowledge is not sought in mere words; to speak concerning it were as hard as iron;
By God's grace man obtaineth it; skill and orders are useless therefor.


If the Kind One look with kindness, then is the true Guru obtained.
The soul hath wandered through many births, and now the true Guru hath communicated the Word.
There is no benefactor so great as the true Guru; hear this, all ye people.
By meeting the true Guru who hath removed pride from his heart, and who preacheth the Truest of the true,
The True One is obtained.


Let all the gharis be your milkmaids, and the pahars your Krishans and Gopals[5]:
Let wind, water, and fire be your jewels; and the moon and sun your avatars;

[1. Also translated--How many expound the Veds!

2. Also translated--draw a crowd around them. This hymn purports to give a brief description of the miracle-plays of Ram and Krishan.

3. Literally--speak of the upper and lower regions.

4. Lâkh takiân. Takâ is really a double pice, or about a halfpenny of English money, but in the plural it means money in general.

5. Gopâls are herdsmen among whom Krishan used to sport.]

{p. 224}

The whole earth your stage properties and vessels, which are all entanglements.
Nanak, they who are devoid of divine knowledge are robbed; the minister of death hath devoured them.

Guru Nanak

The disciples play, the gurus dance,
Shake their feet, and roll their heads.
Dust flieth and falleth on their hair;[1]
The audience beholding laugh and go home.
For the sake of food the performers beat time,
And dash themselves on the ground.
The milkmaids sing, Krishans sing,
Sitas and royal Rams sing.
Fearless is the Formless One, whose name is true,
And whose creation is the whole world.
The worshippers on whom God bestoweth kindness worship Him;
Pleasant[2] is the night for those who long for Him in their hearts.
By the Guru's instruction to his disciples this knowledge is obtained,
That the Kind One saveth those on whom He looketh with favour.
Oil-presses, spinning-wheels, hand-mills, potters' wheels,
Plates, whirlwinds, many and endless,
Tops, churning-staves, threshing-frames turn round
Birds tumble and take no breath.
Men put animals on stakes and whirl them.
O Nanak, the tumblers are innumerable and endless.
In the same way those bound in entanglements are swung round;
Every one danceth according to his own acts--
They who dance and laugh shall weep on their departure;

[1. Jhâlâ is a woman's head of hair. The actors, who in India are generally all men, wear female wigs.

2. Bhini. Literally--dewy; when the atmosphere is calm and the heat not excessive.]

{p. 225}

They cannot fly or obtain supernatural power.
Leaping and dancing are human recreations,
Nanak, they who have the fear of God in their hearts have also love.


Thy name is the Formless: by repeating it man goeth not to hell.
The soul and body are all Thine: what Thou givest man eateth: to say aught else were waste of words.
O man, if thou desire thine advantage, do good acts and be lowly.
Even though thou stave off old age, it shall come to thee in the disguise of death.
None may remain when his measure is full.


The Musalmans praise the Shariat, read it, and reflect on it;
But God's servants are they who employ themselves in His service in order to behold Him.
The Hindus praise the Praised One whose appearance and form are incomparable;
They bathe in holy streams, perform idol-worship and adoration, use[1] copious incense of sandal.
The Jogis meditate on God the Creator, whom they call the Unseen,
Whose form is minute, whose name is the Bright One, and who is the image of their bodies.[2]
In the minds of the generous contentment is produced in their desire to give.
Others give, but ask a thousandfold more, and still meant the world to honour them.
Why mention thieves, adulterers, perjurers, evil and sinful men?

[1. Some suppose kâr to be a noun meaning the lines Hindus draw on the ground to enclose cooking-places, within which others are not

2. The Jogis, when in intensely deep meditation, close their eves. On opening them and looking upward they suppose that they behold God in their own image in the firmament.]

{p. 226}

Many depart from here after eating what they had amassed in previous births;[1] shall they have any business whatever in the next world?[2]
The animals which live in the water, dry land, the fourteen worlds, and all creation--
What they say Thou alone knowest; for them too Thou carest.
Saith Nanak, the saints hunger to praise Thee; the true Name is their support.
In everlasting joy they abide day and night: may I obtain the dust of the feet of such virtuous men!

Guru Nanak and Shaikh Brahm discussed the question of the disposal of the dead. The Shaik maintained that a man who was burned would either go to hell or not rise at the day of judgement.

Guru Nanak

The ashes of the Musalman fall into the potter's clod;
Vessels and bricks are fashioned from them; they cry out as they burn.
The poor ashes burn and weep, and sparks fly from them.
Nanak, the Creator who made the world, knoweth whether it is better to be burned or buried.


Without the true Guru none hath found God: without the true Guru none hath found God.
God hath put Himself into the true Guru; He hath made manifest and proclaimed this.
Salvation is ever obtained by meeting the true Guru who hath banished worldly love from within him.
Best are the meditations of him who hath fixed his mind on the True One:
He hath found the Giver of life to the world.

[1. And have done nothing meritorious in this birth.

2. This verse is also translated--Many depart from here after spending what they possessed; had they any other business in this world?]

{p. 227}


In pride man cometh, in pride he departeth;
In pride is man born, in pride he dieth
In pride he giveth, in pride he taketh;
In pride he earneth, in pride he spendeth;
In pride man becometh true or false;
In pride man meditateth evil or good;
In pride he goeth to hell or heaven;
In pride he rejoiceth, in pride he mourneth;
In pride he becometh filthy, in pride he is cleansed;
In pride man loseth his caste and race;
In pride are the ignorant, in pride the clever;
In pride one knoweth not the value of deliverance or salvation;
In pride is mammon and in pride its effect on the heart;
In pride are animals created.
When pride is removed, God's gate is seen.
Without divine knowledge man worrieth himself by talking.
Nanak, the Commander hath thus ordained it
As man regardeth God, so God regardeth him.[1]

Guru Angad

It is the nature of pride that it produceth pride.
This pride is a trammel which subjecteth man to repeated transmigration.
What is the origin of pride, and by what device shall it depart?
For pride it is ordained that, man wander according to his previous acts.
Pride is a chronic disease, but there is also a medicine for it in the heart.
If God bestow His grace, man shall avail himself of the Guru's instruction;
Saith Nanak, hear, O ye men, in this way trouble shall depart.

[1. Also translated--

(a) Treat men according to their acts.

(b) Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.


{p. 228}


They who have meditated on God as the truest of the true, have done real worship and are contented;
They have refrained from evil,[1] done good deeds, and practised honesty;
They have lived on a little corn and water, and burst the entanglements of the world.
Thou art the great Bestower; ever Thou givest gifts which increase a quarterfold.
They who have magnified the great God have found Him.


Men, trees, the banks of sacred streams, clouds, fields,
Islands, peoples, countries, continents, the universe,
The sources of production from eggs, wombs, the earth, and perspiration,
Lakes, mountains, animals--O Nanak, God knoweth their condition.
Nanak, God having created animals taketh care of them all.
The Creator who created the world hath to take thought for it also.
It is the same Creator who made the world who taketh thought for it.
To Him be obeisance; blessings be on Him! His court is imperishable.
Nanak, without the true Name what is a sacrificial mark? what a sacrificial thread?

Guru Nanak

Man may perform hundreds of thousands of good acts and deeds, hundreds of thousands of approved charities,
Hundreds of thousands of penances at sacred places, sahaj jog[2] in the wilderness,

[1. Literally-Have not put their feet into evil.

2. There are two forms of Jog or exercise for the union of the soul with God. Sahaj jog or râj jog is the repetition of God's name with fixed attention and association with the holy, as contradistinguished from the hath jog of Patanjali, the severest and most painful form of a Jogi's austerities.]

{p. 229}

Hundreds of thousands of braveries, and part with his life in the conflict of battle;
He may study hundreds of thousands of Veds and works of divine knowledge and meditation, and read the Purans--
Nanak, these devices would be of no avail; true is the mark of grace.
The Creator who made the world hath decreed transmigration.


Thou alone art the true Lord who hath diffused the real truth.
He to whom Thou givest obtaineth truth, and he then practiseth it.
Man obtaineth truth on meeting the true Guru in whose heart the truth dwelleth.
The fool knoweth not truth, and hath wasted his life by obstinacy;
Why hath he come into the world?


Guru Nanak

A man may load carts with books; he may load men with books to take with him;
Books may be put on boats; pits may be filled with them.
A man may read books for months; he may read them for years;
He may read them for life; he may read them while he hath breath-
Nanak, only one word, God's name, would be of account; all else would be the senseless discussion of pride.

Guru Nanak

The more one readeth and writeth, the more is one tormented;
The more one wandereth on pilgrimages, the more one babbleth;
The more religious garbs man weareth, the more discomfort he causeth his body.

{p. 230}

Bear, O my soul, the result of thine own acts.
He who eateth not corn[1] hath lost the relish of life.
Men suffer much pain through their attachment to mammon.
They who wear not clothes suffer terribly day and night.
Man ruineth himself by perpetual silence; how can he who sleepeth in ignorance be awakened without a guru.
Even though man go barefooted, he must still suffer for his own acts.[2]
If a man eat filth, and put ashes on his head,
The blind fool loseth respect; without the Name he obtaineth no abiding place.
The ignorant man who dwelleth in the wilderness and at burial and cremation-grounds, knoweth not God and shall afterwards regret.
He who meeteth the true Guru and fixeth God's name in his heart, obtaineth comfort.
Nanak, he on whom God looketh with favour obtaineth Him.
He becometh free from hopes and fears, and destroyeth his pride by means of the Word.


The saints, O Lord, please Thy heart, adorn Thy gate, and hymn Thy praises.
Nanak, they who are outside Thy favour, find no entrance and wander in many births.
Some know not their origin, and have an excessive opinion of themselves.
I am a singer of low caste; others call themselves of high caste.
I only beg of those who meditate on Thee.[3]

[1 Several faqîrs do not eat corn, some go naked, some practise perpetual silence, some go barefooted, some eat filth, &c.

2 The gyanis generally translate--If a man go barefooted, he is merely suffering for his folly.

3. Also translated--I beg for a sight of those who meditate on Thee.]

{p. 231}


Guru Nanak

False are kings, false their subjects, false the whole world
False are mansions, false palaces, false those who dwell therein;
False is gold; false silver; false he who weareth them
False the body; false raiment; false peerless beauty;
False husbands; false wives; they waste away and become dust.
Man who is false loveth what is false, and forgetteth the Creator.
With whom contract friendship? The whole world passeth away.
False is sweetness; false honey; in falsehood shiploads are drowned.
Nanak humbly asserteth--except Thee, O God, everything is thoroughly false.

Guru Nanak

Man is known as true when truth is in his heart
When the filth of falsehood departeth, man washeth his body clean.
Man is known as true when he beareth love to the True One;
When the mind is enraptured on hearing the Name, man attaineth the door of salvation.
Man shall be known as true when he knoweth the true way;
Having prepared the field of the body, put into it the seed of the Creator.
Man shall be known as true when he receiveth true instruction;
Let man show mercy to living things and perform some works of charity.
Man shall be known as true, when he dwelleth in the pilgrimage of his heart:

{p. 232}

Let man after inquiry from the true Guru rest and abide in his own heart;
Truth is the medicine for all; it removeth and washeth away sin.
Nanak maketh supplication to those who are in possession of truth.


Be mine the gift of the dust of the saints' feet: if I obtain it, I shall apply it to my forehead.
Forsake false covetousness; concentrate thy mind and meditate on the Unseen One.
Thou shalt obtain a reward in proportion to what thou hast done.
If it have been so allotted from the beginning, man shall obtain the dust of the saints' feet.
Ruin not thyself with scant service.


Guru Nanak

There is a dearth of truth; falsehood prevaileth; the blackness of this age maketh men demons.
They who have sown the seed of the Name have departed with honour; how can half-seed germinate?
If the seed be whole, it will germinate in the proper season.
Nanak, unbleached cloth cannot be dyed without a base.
If the body be put into the vat of fear, modesty be made its base,
And it be dyed with devotion, O Nanak, there will not be a trace of falsehood in it.

Guru Nanak.

Greed and sin are ruler and village accountant; falsehood is master of the mint.
Lust, his minister, summoneth and examineth men, and sitteth in judgement on them.
The subjects are blind and without divine knowledge, and satisfy the judge's greed with bribes.

{p. 233}

Priests dance, play musical instruments, disguise, and decorate themselves;
They shout aloud, sing of battles, and heroes' praises.
Fools call themselves pandits and with tricks and cavilling love to amass wealth.
Pretended religious men spoil their religious acts, and yet want the door of salvation;
They call themselves continent, and leave their houses and homes, yet they know not the way.
Every one is perfect to himself: no one admitteth himself wanting.
If the weight of honour be put into the scale, then, Nanak, man shall appear properly weighed.

Guru Nanak

Man's evil becometh known, O Nanak; the True One seeth all.
Every one maketh endeavours, but it is only what the Creator doeth that taketh place.
Caste hath no power in the next world: there is a new order of beings.
They whose accounts are honoured are the good.


They whom Thou didst so destine from the beginning meditate on Thee, O Lord.
There is nothing in the power of creatures; O God, it is Thou who hast created the different worlds.
Some Thou blendest with Thyself; others Thou leadest astray from Thee.
I Thou art known by the favour of the Guru, through whom Thou revealest Thyself.
They who know Thee are easily absorbed in the True One.


Guru Nanak

Pain is medicine, worldly pleasure a disease; where there is such pleasure, there is no desire for God.
Thou art the Doer, I do nothing; if I try to do anything, it cometh to nothing.

{p. 234}

I am a sacrifice unto Thee; Thou abidest in Thine omnipotence:
Thine end cannot be seen.
Thy light pervadeth creatures; creatures are contained in Thy light; Thou fillest inanimate and animate creation.[1]
Thou art the true Lord; beautiful is Thy praise; he who uttereth it is saved.
Nanak uttereth the words of the Creator; what is to be done God continueth to do.

Guru Angad

The Jogis deem it their duty to acquire divine knowledge, the Brahmans to read the Veds,
The Khatris to exercise bravery, the Sudars to work for others;
But the highest duty of all is to repeat the name of the one God.[2]
He who knoweth the secret of this
Is a bright God himself, and Nanak is his slave.

Guru Angad

There is one God, the God of all gods, the Supreme God of souls.
He who knoweth the secrets of the soul and of God,
Is a bright God himself, and Nanak is his slave.

Guru Nanak

Water remaineth if confined in a vessel; but it cannot remain without a vessel.
The mind controlled by divine knowledge is restrained; but without a guru there can be no divine knowledge.

[1. Also translated--Thy power (kala) is inconceivable (a, not, and kalna, to know).

2 Also translated--

The Jogis speak of divine knowledge, the Brahmans of the Veds;
The Khatris of bravery, the Sûdars of working for others.
All that they speak is concerning the one God.


{p. 235}


When the literate man is sinful he deserveth Punishment; but punish not the illiterate saint.
As man acteth so shall he be described.
Play not such a game as shall bring thee defeat on arriving at God's court.
The literate and the illiterate shall be judged hereafter The headstrong shall be punished in the next world.


Guru Nanak

Nanak, this body of ours[1] hath one carriage and one driver.
They are both changed in every age: the holy man knoweth this.
In the Sat age contentment was the carriage, piety the driver in front;
In the Treta age continence was the carriage, strength the driver in front;
In the Dwapar age penance was the carriage, truth the driver in front;
In the Kal age passion[2] is the carriage, falsehood the driver in front.

Guru Nanak

The Sam Ved saith that the Lord is white-robed,[3] that men desired truth, abode in truth, and that all were absorbed in truth.
The Rig saith that God's name is everywhere contained, that it is as the sun in heaven;
That by repeating it sins depart,

[1. Meru is the large bead in which the two ends of a rosary are joined, without which it is believed that prayers repeated on the rosary are of no avail. Mer sharîr here means man's body, which is superior to that of other animals.

2. Agan. Literally--fire. This word is often used for wrath, but Guru Nanak has more often inveighed against avarice or covetousness than against wrath, and perhaps it is the former that is taken as a special attribute of this degenerate age.

3. Setambar. The Hans or Swan avatar.]

{p. 236}

And that then, Nanak, man obtaineth salvation.
The Yajur stateth that Kan Krishan, who was a Yadav, seduced Chandrawal;
That he brought the tree of life for a milkmaid, and amused himself in Bindraban.
The Atharv belongeth to the Kal age, when God's name was called Allah.
Men then wore blue clothes, and the Turks and Pathans exercised sway.
The four Veds are true according to the Hindus; but if they are read and studied there are found therein four different doctrines;
When man hath love and devotion and is himself lowly, it is then, O Nanak, he obtaineth salvation.


I am a sacrifice to the true Guru by meeting whom the Lord is remembered,
Who gave me the salve of divine instruction; with these eyes I then beheld God in the world.
The dealers who leave the Lord and attach themselves to mammon are wrecked.
The true Guru is a boat; few there are who consider this, And those who do he mercifully saveth.


Guru Nanak

The simmal-tree of the desert is very tall and very thick.
Why should the birds which go to it with hopes depart disappointed?
Because its fruit is insipid, its flowers unwholesome, and its leaves useless.
The tree which yieldeth sweet fruit is lowly, O Nanak,
but its qualities and virtues are exquisite.
Every one boweth to himself; no one boweth to another.
If anything be put into a scale and weighed, the side which descendeth is the heavier.[1]

[1. The man who is lowly is the most worthy.]

{p. 237}

The wicked man like a deer-stalker boweth twice more than any one else;
But what availeth bowing the head, if the heart be impure?

The following hymn was composed by Guru Nanak at Banaras on the occasion of a discussion with the local pandits who pressed him to dress in
the style of the Hindus:--

Guru Nanak

You read books, perform your twilight devotions, argue, worship stones, and sit like cranes;
You utter falsehoods as excellent jewels; you meditate on the Gayatri[1] three times a day;
You wear necklaces, put sacrificial marks on your foreheads, carry two dhotis, and put towels on your heads.
If you knew God's designs, you would know that yours is verily a vain religion.
Saith Nanak, verily reflect that without the true Guru you shall not find the way.

Some suppose that the following was addressed to Sultan Ibrahim Khan Lodi who it is believed at one
time sought to persecute the Guru:--


Raiment and pleasing beauty man must leave on earth and depart.
Man shall obtain the fruit of the bad or good deeds he hath done:
He may have exercised sovereignty to his heart's content, yet must he proceed by the narrow road.
He shall be sent naked to hell, which will then appear very formidable to him;
And he shall regret the sins he committed.

The following slok, addressed by Guru Nanak to pandit Hardial, his family priest, when he came to invest him with a janeu, the sacrificial thread of the upper classes of Hindus, has already been given:--

[1. Traipâl is understood to be for tripada, the gâyatri or spell of the Hindus.]

{p. 238}


Make mercy thy cotton, contentment thy thread, continence its knot, truth its twist.
That would make a janeu for the soul; if thou have it, O Brahman, then put it on me.
It will not break, or become soiled, or be burned, or lost.
Blest the man, O Nanak, who goeth with such a thread on his neck.
Thou purchasest a janeu for four damris, and seated in a square puttest it on;
Thou whisperest instruction that the Brahman is the guru of the Hindus--
Man dieth, the janeu falleth, and the soul departeth with out it.

Guru Nanak

Though men commit countless thefts, countless adulteries, litter countless falsehoods and countless words of abuse;
Though they commit countless robberies and villanies night and day against their fellow creatures;
Yet the cotton thread is spun, and the Brahman cometh to twist it.
For the ceremony they kill a goat and cook and eat it, and everybody then saith 'Put on the janeu '.
When it becometh old, it is thrown away and another is put on.
Nanak, the string breaketh not if it be strong.

Guru Nanak

By adoring and praising. the Name honour and a true thread are obtained.
In this way a sacred thread shall be put on, which will not break, and which will be fit for entrance into God's court.

Guru Nanak

There is no string for the sexual organs, there is no string for women;
There is no string for the impure acts which cause your beards to be daily spat upon.
There is no string for the feet, there is no string for the hands,

{p. 239}

There is no string for the tongue, there is no string for the eyes.
Without such strings the Brahman wandereth astray,
Twisteth strings for the neck, and putteth them on others.
He taketh hire for marrying;
He pulleth out a paper, and showeth the fate of the wedded pair.[1]
Hear and see, ye people, it is strange
That, while mentally blind, man is named wise.


He to whom the Lord is compassionate and merciful will do the Master's work.
That worshipper whom God causeth to abide by His order, will worship Him.
By obeying His order man is acceptable, and shall then reach his Master's court.
He shall act as pleaseth his Master, and obtain the fruit his heart desireth;
And he shall be clothed with a robe of honour in God's court.

A man at Lahore presented a cow to a Brahman. The Brahman took her with him, but had not wherewithal to pay toll at the Sultanpur ferry. He was stopped by the Khatri toll-keeper. The latter collected the cow's dung, and at once set about plastering his cooking-place therewith. Mardana went towards him, but was ordered off, lest he should defile the toll-keeper's cooking-place. Upon this Guru Nanak uttered the following:--


Thou takest toll for a cow and a Brahman, the cow-dung will not save thee.
Thou wearest a dhoti[2] and a frontal mark, and carriest a rosary, yet thou eatest the bread of malechhas.

[1. That is, he draws a horoscope.

2. Dhoti is a cloth tied round the loins, the Latin subligaculum.]

{p. 240}

Thou performest the Hindu worship at home, thou readest the Quran in public, and associatest with Muhammadans,[1] O my brother.
Lay aside hypocrisy, repeat God's name, and thou shalt be saved.

Guru Nanak

They who have strings on their necks eat men, recite the Muhammadan prayers,
And use knives to cut men's throats.[2]
Although the Brahmans sound shells in their houses,
And enjoy their viands as they do themselves;[3]
Yet false is their capital and false their dealings.
By uttering falsehood they maintain themselves.
Far from them is the abode of bashfulness and honesty: Nanak, falsehood everywhere prevaileth.
On their foreheads are sacrificial marks; on their waists reddish[4] dhotis;
And in their hands knives; they are the world's butchers.
Putting on blue clothes, they are acceptable in the Muhammadans' court,
And, while taking bread from the malechhas, worship the Purans.
They eat he-goats killed with unspeakable words,[5]
And allow no one to enter their cooking squares.
Having smeared a space they draw lines around it,
And sit within, false that they are,
Saying, 'Touch not! O touch not!
'Or this food of ours will be defiled.'
But their bodies are defiled; what they do is defiled;

[1. Also translated--Thou actest like Muhammadans.

2. Also translated--They who read prayers devour men, and they who wear strings on their necks ply knives.

3 According to the holy books of the Hindus, Brahmans should not eat in the houses of men who recite Muhammadan prayers.

4. Kâkhâi, reddish, or partially soiled from frequent washing The w word is also applied to the tucking in of a dhoti in a particular way.

15 The Muhammadan expression Bismillâh (in the name of God), used when slaughtering animals as well as on other occasions. It is, of course, unacceptable to Hindus.]

{p. 241}

Their hearts are false while they perform ablutions after their meals.
Saith Nanak, meditate on the True One;
If thou art pure, thou shalt obtain Him.


All are within Thy ken, O Lord; Thou seest all, and Thou movest them beneath Thy glance.
God himself bestoweth greatness; He Himself causeth men to do good works.
He is the greatest of the great; great is His world; He appointeth all men to their respective duties.
If He cast a backward glance, He maketh monarchs as grass;[1]
They may beg from door to door and receive no alms.

Guru Nanak composed the following slok on being invited by a dishonest shopkeeper to attend a shradh, or religious service, for his deceased father:--


If a robber break a house and sacrifice the fruits of that robbery to his ancestors,
The sacrifice shall be known in the next world, and make out the ancestors to be thieves.
The hand of the Brahman go-between shall be cut off; thus will God do justice.
Nanak, it is only the fruit of what man giveth from his earnings and toil that shall be obtained in the next world.

Guru Nanak:

As a woman hath her recurring courses, so falsehood dwelleth in the mouth of the false one, and he is ever despised.
He should not be called pure who sitteth and washeth his body;
Rather is he pure, Nanak, in whose heart God dwelleth.

[1. Ghâh. Generally translated 'grass-cutters' by the gyânis: a third interpretation too is current. In former times men of position appeared before conquerors with grass in their mouths, implying that they were the conquerors' cows whose lives should be saved. Accordingly, the phrase is also translated--and He would cause kings to put grass in their mouths.]

{p. 242}


Caparisoned horses fleet as the wind and women adorned with every aid to beauty[1]--
Men fix their hearts on them, dwell in mansions, pavilions and palaces, and make display;
They enjoy pleasures to their hearts' content; but they know not God and therefore fail.
They live by their authority, and, beholding their women's chambers, forget death;
But old age shall come and youth fail them.

A rich man gave a feast to which Guru Nanak and several Brahmans were invited. During the feast a child was born in the house, whereupon the Brahmans refused food and. departed, deeming the house impure. Guru Nanak remonstrated with the following:--


If the idea of impurity be admitted, there is impurity in everything.
There are worms in cow-dung[2] and in wood;
There is no grain of corn without life.
In the first place, there is life in water by which everything is made green.
How shall we avoid impurity? It falleth on our kitchens.
Saith Nanak, impurity is not thus washed away: it is washed away by divine knowledge.[3]

Guru Nanak

Impurity of the heart is greed, impurity of the tongue is falsehood;
Impurity of the eyes is gazing on another's wealth, his wife, and her beauty;
Impurity of the ears is listening to slander.

[1. Har rangi. Literally--with every colour.

2. In India cow-dung, besides being used for religious purposes, is ordinarily used as fuel by poor people.

3. In the current Janamsâkhis it is stated that this slok was composed on the proposed purification of the Guru's house after the birth of his son, Sri Chand.]

{p. 243}

Nanak, even the pretended saint who practiseth such things, shall go bound to hell.
All impurity consisteth in Superstition and attachment to worldly things.
Birth and death are ordained; as it pleaseth God, we come and go.
The eating and drinking which God sent as sustenance are pure.
Nanak, the Pious persons who know God have no impurity,


Magnify and praise the True Guru in whom there is all greatness.
If the Guru cause us to meet God, we shall behold His greatness.
If it please the Guru, he will cause God's praises to dwell in the heart.
He putteth his hand on our foreheads; and when he giveth the order, removeth evil from within us.
When God is pleased the nine treasures are obtained.


The Brahman having first purified himself sitteth in a purified square.
The purified food is placed before him; no one may touch it.
Being thus purified, he beginneth to eat and read Sanskrit verses.
If it is thrown into a filthy place; whose fault is that?
The corn was holy, the water was holy, the fire and salt
were holy; when the fifth ingredient, ghi,[1] was added,
Then the food became holy.
When the food entereth a sinful body, it becometh impure as if spat upon.
The mouth which uttereth not the Name, and eateth even delicacies without the Name,
Consider, O Nanak, as if spat upon.

[1. Clarified butter, always deemed pure by Hindus and kindred sects.]

{p. 244}

The following was Guru Nanak's remonstrance to a man who reviled the female sex:--

Guru Nanak

In a vessel[1] man is conceived, from a vessel he is born, with a vessel he is betrothed and married.
With a vessel he contracteth friendship; with a vessel he goeth through the world.
When one vessel dieth, another is sought for; to a vessel he is bound.
Why call her bad from whom are born kings?
From a vessel a vessel is born; none may exist without a vessel.
Nanak, only the one True God is independent of a vessel.
The mouth which ever praiseth Him[2] is fortunate and beautiful.
Nanak, that face shall be bright in the court of the True One.


Every one calleth Thee his own, O Lord; those who do not so call Thee Thou puttest away.
Every one must bear the result of his own acts, and adjust his own account.
Since ye are not to remain in this world, why practise ye pride?
Call no one bad; know this by reading these words.
Dispute not with a fool.


Nanak, the mind and body of him who talketh evil are evil:
He is most evil, and most evil is his reputation.
The evil person is rejected in God's court; his face is spat upon.
The evil person is a fool, and receiveth shoe-beatings as punishment.

[1. Woman is meant.' The Greeks sometimes used the word {Greek skeu^os} in the same sense.

2. Some suppose that woman is the missing word here, as the preceding part of the slok is a defence of women, not a eulogy of God.]

{p. 245}

Guru Nanak

If a man, foul within and fair without, Puff himself up in the world,
His filth will not depart even though he bathe at the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage.
They who wear silk within and rags without, are good in this world.
They have conceived love for God and contemplate beholding Him.
In God's love they weep, in God's love they laugh, or are even silent.
They care not for anything except the true Master.
They beg for food at God's door, and only eat when He giveth it to them.
For them there is but one court as there is but one pen;[1] we and you shall meet for justice.
The accounts of the wicked shall be examined in God's court, and they shall be pressed, O Nanak, like oil in a mill.[2]


Thou Thyself didst create the world, and Thou Thyself didst infuse power into it.
Thou beholdest Thine own work, the losing and winning dice[3] upon earth.
Whatever hath come shall depart; his turn shall come to every one.
Why forget that Lord who owneth life and soul
With thine own hands arrange thine own affairs.

[1. That is, there is no mediator between God and man. It is God Himself who decides man's fate.

2 This with half the last line is also translated-They who confound meum and tuum shall have their accounts examined in God's court, and shall be pressed, O Nanak, like oil in a mill.

3 That is, the sinners and the virtuous. The game of chausar or chaupar is played with sixteen pieces, called sâris, and three dice, called pâsâ. The sâris while being moved round the board, like creatures in transmigration, are called kachi, unripe: when they reach their goal, they are called pakki, or ripe.]

{p. 246}


Guru Angad

What love is that which attacheth itself to worldly things?
Nanak, call him a lover who is ever absorbed in God.
He who deemeth what is good good, and what is bad bad,
Shall not be called a true lover if he proceed in this manner.[1]

Guru Angad

He who offereth salutation and at the same time criticizeth God's works, hath made a mistake from the beginning.
Both his salutation and criticism are in vain; Nanak, such a person shall not obtain a place in God's court.


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.


Guru Angad

When a servant while performing service is proud and quarrelsome besides,
And talketh too much, he pleaseth not his master.
If he efface himself and perform service, he shall obtain some honour.
Nanak, he who longeth for God shall meet Him, and his longing shall be acceptable.

[1. He shall not be called a lover, if he rail at God in adversity. This idea often occurs in Oriental poetry.]

{p. 247}

Guru Angad

What a man hath in his heart cometh forth; lip-worship is of no avail.
Man soweth poison and expecteth ambrosia; behold that for justice!

Guru Angad

Contracting friendship with a fool would never be profitable.
He acteth according to his understanding: let any one see and inquire into this.
One thing can be put into a vessel if another be first removed.[1]
Commands will not succeed with God; supplications must be addressed to Him.
By practising falsehood falsehood is obtained: Nanak, there is pleasure in praising God.

Guru Angad

Friendship for a fool and love for a great man
Are like lines drawn on water, which leave neither trace nor mark.

Guru Angad

If a man be a fool and do anything, he cannot do it well
Even though he do one or two things well, he will spoil the rest.


If the servant who is employed in service act according to his master's wishes,
His honour is all the more, and he receiveth double wages.
If he vie with his master, he will excite his jealousy,
Lose his large salary, and receive shoe-beating on the mouth.
Thank Him by whose gifts thou liveth
Nanak, commands will not succeed with Him; the Master must be implored,

[1. The love of God will enter man's heart if he first expel worldly love.]

{p. 248}


Guru Angad

What sort of gift is that which we obtain by our own asking?
Nanak, wonderful is the gift we obtain when the Lord is pleased.

Guru Angad

What sort of service is that in which the fear of the master departeth not?[1]
Nanak, he is called a servant who is absorbed in the love of his master.


Nanak, God's end is not seen, nor hath He a thither or a hither side.
He Himself createth, and He Himself again destroyeth.
Some have chains on their necks, and some ride on many horses.
It is God who causeth to act and who acteth Himself to whom else shall we complain?
Nanak, it is for Him who made the world to take care of it.


Guru Nanak

It is God Himself who made vessels[2] and He Himself who filleth them.
In some is contained milk[3] others are put over the fire.
Some sleep on mattresses, and others stand and watch over them
Nanak, God regenerateth those on whom He looketh with favour.

[1. That is, when perfect understanding does not exist between master and servant, and the service is performed without love.

2. Here the word bhânde means human beings generally.

3. That is, God's love, milk being deemed pure.]

{p. 249}

Guru Angad

God Himself arrangeth, He Himself putteth what He hath made into its proper place;
Having in this world created animals, He Himself be holdeth their birth and death.
Whom shall we address, O Nanak, since God doeth every thing Himself?


The greatness of the great God cannot be expressed;
He is the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Bounteous; He provideth His creatures with sustenance.
Man must do the work which God destined for him from the beginning.
Nanak, except in the one God alone there is no abiding Place.
He doeth what He pleaseth.

{p. 250}

Next: The Rahiras