There is Only one God
While (Guru) Nanak was traveling over the countryside, he often saw people praying before stone images of gods and goddesses. They put the idols to bed at night, woke them in the morning, dressed them in silks, and gave them food to eat. They firmly believed that these idols hand the power of granting them all their wishes and of making them rich and happy. “if we serve them in this way, our gods will be pleased with us,” the people said, “and they will surely reward us.”
(Guru) Nanak tired to show them that their ways of worshipping God were wrong. He question themed, “you say you are good Hindus. Yet all you do is go to the temple once a day and burn incense before stone image. The rest of the day you lie, and cheat and steal. Why should God be pleased with you?”
The people thought for a moment about what Nanak had said, and then replied, “you are right. But our fathers, and their fathers before them, taught us that this is the right way of showing our love for God. Everyone else considers us to be good Hindus, because respect our gods and honor them by taking out in procession on festivals and arranging feasts for them.”
“You are like children, not sure what is right or what is wrong,” (Guru) Nanak told them. “you should asked the advice and guidance of a teach, a guru. He will help you whenever you are in doubt. All men have goodness in them; but as the sunflower only opens to rays of the sun, so men need a Guru to open up the goodness that is in their hearts and show them the way to God.”
“You know that there is only one God.” (Guru) Nanak replied. “he made everything—he made you and me and everyone else. He made the flowers the birds and the trees. You should pray to God often, wherever you are, and repeat His name. but prayer alone is not enough. You should cleanse your mind of all unkind thoughts. Help people in distress, work hard and given some of your earnings to the poor.”
Thus, wherever Guru Nanak Dev Ji went, he converted large number of people by his teachings. These people become his disciplines and called themselves Sikhs, to the day the followers of (Guru) Nanak are known ask Sikhs.
Sajjan the Robber
There lived a famous robber called Sajjan. He was as cunning of a man as he was cruel. He built a temple full of gods and goddesses for the Hindus and the mosque for the Muslims. “this will lure both Hindus and Muslims to my house,” he said to himself, “and, at night, when they are asleep I shall steal all of their money and jewels and kill them.”
One day (Guru) Nanak was passing nearby and decided to spend the night at Sajjan’s house. Sajjan welcomed him warmly and spread out a great feast of tasty dishes before him. but all the time he was thinking, “this man, Nanak looks very happy and content. He must be very rich. Tonight I will rob him of all his money and then murder him. No one will anything about.”
At sunset Sajjan began to urge (Guru) Nanak to go to bed early. “it is getting late you look tired,” he said in a voice full of concern for his guest.
(Guru) Nanak answered that he always sang a hymn before retiring for the night. Sajjan was getting impatient but he agreed to sit down for a few minutes and listen to (Guru) Nanak. Guru Nanak Dev Ji sang a song he had composed himself:
Herons and birds of prey are found in holy places
Yet they eat living things;
They are beautiful
Yet their hearts are evil.
Sajjan realized that what (Guru) Nanak said about herons and hawks applied to him too.
“What Nanak says it quite true,” he admitted to himself. “I might appear kind and friendly, but I am like these birds Nanak speaks of. Although I do not eat people I do almost the same thing, for I kill them.” He fell down at Nanak’s feet and asked his forgiveness.
(Guru) Nanak said, “Sajjan, only God can forgive you. And God only forgives those who admit their sins openly and repair the wrongs they have done. Tell me how many people have you robbed and killed?”
Sajjan looked very ashamed. “I have murdered and robbed many hundreds of men, women and children. how would I possibly obtain God’s forgiveness for all my evil deeds?”
“Give away all you have gained in this way to the poor.” Guru Nanak Dev Ji said.
Sajjan did as (Guru) Nanak had asked and became his follower. The first Sikh temple in India was built by Sajjan the robber, in gratitude to (Guru) Nanak who had changed his way of life.
God is Everywhere
(Guru) Nanak’s last journey was towards the west. He wanted to go and see the places which Muslims considered holy. So he joined a band of pilgrims on their way to Mecca.
One day, during the journey, he fell asleep in the mosque. Suddenly he was shaken awake. Standing above him, glaring down at him furiously, was a Mullah, the Muslim priest of the mosque.
“What do you think you are doing?” the Mullah demanded angrily. “have you no respect for religion? Why are you sleeping with your feet towards Mecca which is the house of God?”
(Guru) Nanak replied gently, “If I have made a mistake, please correct me. Turn my feet to where there is no God.”
The Mullah was taken aback. “You know that you should always face Mecca,” he said. “even our dead are buried with their faces towards Mecca.”
Guru Nanak Dev Ji replied, “But God is everywhere. Your own holy book the Koran says ‘whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah.’
On hearing such wisdom the Mullah fell down at Nanak’s feet in admiration and asked Nanak to forgive him.
After this, (Guru) Nanak went to Mecca and from there Medina and westwards to Baghdad. Everywhere he met people who believed firmly that they were very religions and devoted to God.
“It is obvious that we love God,” they told (Guru) Nanak whenever he questioned them. “we observe our yearly fast, we go on pilgrimages and we pray five times a day.”
“Yes, you do all these things,” (Guru) Nanak gently scolded them, “but you forget to be honest, kind and generous. Giving one rupee to a poor, hungry child is more important to God than 100 prayers. Being truthful is of greater value than a thousand fasts. Kindness and consideration please God more than any number of pilgrimages.”
In this way (Guru) Nanak won the hearts of many Muslims.
God Made all Men Equal
(Guru) Nanak returned to the Punjab after many months. He wished to end his days in the country-side he knew and loved best. So he settled down with his family at a small town named Kartarpur.
One question kept troubling him, “are not all men equal? When then is the Brahmin regarded as holier than the Sweeper? Surely this division of man from man is inhuman?” (Guru) Nanak often said.
So he decided to true and change the system which by building walls better men cause such bitterness.
“I will make sure that that any men or women who come to me, be they rich or poor, or high case or low, shall eat together. They shall take it in turn to cook and wash dishes. For why should only the Brahmin be considered clean enough to cook?” Nanak said. “And moreover all shall recite prayers. Then we shall have no priests who can look down other men.”
Large numbers of people began to gather to see (Guru) Nanak and hear him speak of god. (Guru) Nanak told them how they should live. He asked them to wake up three hours before sunrise, bathe in the stream and then go to the temple to recite morning prayers and sing hymns. Thereafter they were to be free to earn their livings. In the evening after having done a full day’s work, be it farming, shop-keeping or weaving, the people were asked to gather to pray and sing hymns. After this they all dined together in the temple. Before going to bed to sleep, everyone was expected to say another short prayer.
This become the life of work and prayer of (Guru) Nanak’s followers all over the country.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji chooses a Successor
As (Guru) Nanak grew older, he began to look around for someone who could carry on the worked he had started. He did not think either of his two sons fit for the job. His elder son, Sri Chand, had become a hermit. He lived alone in the forest, praying and fasting. “how can a man guide people if he cuts himself away and goes and prays alone in the forest,” (Guru) Nanak always said. Nanak’s younger son, Lakshmi Das, was the exact opposite. He was only interested in making money. So who could Nanak choose as his successor?
Among his followers, (Guru) Nanak was very impressed by a man named Lehna, who had repeatedly proved his great devotion to God. (Guru) Nanak changed Lehna’s name to Angad which means ‘of my own body’ and told him to spread his message and set an example for all.
The years went swiftly by and (Guru) Nanak was now approaching 70. with old age he became frail, but his interest in the world around did not wane. The woodlands in the flower, the mustard in bloom and the calling of the Papeeha as the monsoon broke, still sent him into poetic rapture.
Nor did his love for the people lessen with the years. He was never too tired to listen to their problems and was always ready to offer words of comfort and advice. The circle of peole who respect him and followed his guidance increased daily…..
There is Never Enough of Goodness
People often ask, “What did Guru Nanak Dev Ji do which was so unusual?” he himself admitted that he was not a special messenger of God and could perform no miracles except reciting the name of God. He was just a teacher like so many others. And India is full of teachers and holy men.
(Guru) Nanak answers this when he tells of an incident at Multan, during his travels. A local priest came up to him and presented him with a cup of milk, filled to brim saying, “This city is already full of holy men. We have no room for, nor need of anyone else.”
(Guru) Nanak plucked a petal of jasmine flower and put it in the cup, where it floated on the milk and scented it.
“There is always room for holiness and goodness,” Guru Nanak Dev Ji answers. “Just as one jasmine petal can perfume a whole bowlful of milk so can one man re-fill the world with the fragrance of faith in God and in good deeds!”
Nanak Naam Milay Taa Jevaa
Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Dhan Dhan Guru De Sikh
Dhan Dhan Guru De Sangat
Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Nanak Naam Milay Taa Jevaa