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Death of Guru Nanak

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Tabula Rasa, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Tabula Rasa

    Tabula Rasa
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    This is the first of many questions I'll be asking...but I'm starting at the beginning...

    The death of Guru Nanak...he was covered in a shroud, and the next day the Muslims and Hindus pulled back the shroud and all they found were the flowers they each placed there....so what happened to his body?????

    Sarah
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Its better IF you ask questions from the AUTHENTIC GURBANI of Guru nanak ji in the SGGS.
    These stories coem from THIRD PARTY SOURCES. The GURUS NEVER gave an IOTA of "importance" to bodies..blood lines..sons..families..caste..etc etc all of which the Orniary human considers very valuable....BUT are Left behind in this world. Guru is more concerned with what we Take with us...
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    Without answering your specific question Tabula Rasa ji, I want to demonstrate how the sakhis, or janamsakhis or birth stories, of the life of Guru Nanak and the other Gurus are shrouded in ambiguity. Many Sikhs today discard their authenticity completely, and perhaps that is too radical a stand. Other Sikhs believe them completely. Yet others will state that when a sakhi can be validated against passages from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj, that sakhi probably has some credibility. An example would be the story of Guru Nanak and Babbar, and the sacking of the city of Lahore.

    But what about the others? Scholars have done some fairly extensive comparison of families of sakhis. There are several, and appear to have been composed by various authors over several centuries. When the same story is compared over 2 or 4 or more different variations of the life sketch, frequently there are significant differences in the style of language (earlier, later colloquial versions of Punjabi) stories in one group will be missing from another, or the sequence may be different, or the sakhi itself may contradict more reliable sources, such as the vaars of Bhai Gurdas. Bhai Gurdas was friend, relative and confident of Gurus Angad through Guru Hargobind and stands as an eye witness to the Gurus' lives. A contemporary, his accounts tend to be trusted more. And his writings are among the few scriptures permitted to be used for preaching within a gurdwara, along with Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    The earliest variations among families of sakhis seem to be traced to major divisions within the panth in its early history, by Nirmala and Udasis sects. Others written much later into the 19th Century may be based on heresay, or on personal interpretations of influential persons at the time. So to give you a sense of how complicated the scholarship is on this point, my next post is an excerpt from a scholarly consideration of the sakhis. You will see the name "Colebrook" in this article. He is someone who is also associated with producing a copy of the so-called "Dasam Granth" (correctly the "Bachittar Natak Granth") for the British East India Company. But prior to this, no document of the sort is mentioned in the writing of contemporaries of Guru Gobind Singh. Some volumes are not dated. So it is a ball of wax.

    I think the bottom line is - as Gyani ji said above - the sakhi cannot be verified. But it matters very little anyway, the quality of a life is more important than the manner of death. The important key to believability is whether the sakhi can be associated with shabads from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Sakhis of Guru Nanak's travels do correlate with the shabads. This kind of match occurs in many instances, and not in others. So read on :)
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    This is part of a longer article from the site Gateway to Sikhism. It enumerates the difficulties and the discrepancies that scholars have with the janamsakhi.

    Introduction to Janamsakhis
    Janamsakhis, literally Birth Stories, are writings which profess to be biograhies of the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev ji. These compositions have been written at various stages after the demise of the first Guru. They all record miraculous acts and supernatural conversations. Many of them contradict each other on material points and some have obviously been touched up to advance the cliams of one or the other branches of the Guru's family, or to exaggerate the roles of certain disciples. Macauliffe compares the manipulation of janamsakhs to the way gospels were also in early Christian Church:

    "Vast numbers of spurious writings bearing the names of apostles and their followers, and claiming more or less direct apostolic authority, were in circulation in the early Church - Gospels according to Peter, to Thomas, to James, to Judas, according to the Apostles, or according to the Twelve, to Barnabas, to Matthias, to Nicodemus, & co.; and ecclesiastical writers bear abundant testimony to the early and rapid growth of apocryphal literature. - Supernatural Religion, vol.i, p.292.

    It may be incidentally mentioned that it was the Gospel according to Barnabas which Muhammad used in the composition of the Quran."

    The falsification of old or the composition of new Janamsakhis were the result of three great schisms of the Sikh religion: The Udasis, the Minas and the Handalis.

    Though from the point of view of a historian the janamsakhis may be inadequate, they cannot be wholly discarded because they were based on legend and tradition which had grown up around the Guru in the years following his demise, and furnish useful material to augment the bare but proved facts of his life. The main janamsakhis which scholars over the years have referred to are as follows:
    Bhai Bala Janamsakhi

    This is probably the most popular and well known Janamsakhi, in that most Sikhs and their Janamsakhi knowledge comes from this document. This work claims to be a contemporarry account written by one Bala Sandhu in the Sambat year 1592 at the instance of the second Guru, Guru Angad. According to the author, he was a close companion of Guru Nanak and accompanied him on many of his travels. There are good reasons to doubt this contention:

    * Guru Angad, who is said to have commissioned the work and was also a close companion of the Guru in his later years, was, according to Bala's own admission, ignorant of the existence of Bala.
    * Bhai Gurdas, who has listed all Guru Nanak's prominent disciples whose names were handed down, does not mention the name of Bala Sandhu. (This may be an oversight, for he does not mention Rai Bular either.)
    * Bhai Mani Singh's Bhagat Ratanwali, which contains essentialy the same list as that by Bhai Gurdas, but with more detail, also does not mention Bala Sandhu.
    * It is only in the heretic janamsakhis of the Minas that we find first mention of Bhai Bala.
    * The language used in this janamsakhi was not spoken at the time of Guru Nanak or Guru Angad, but was developed at least a hundred years later.
    * Some of the hymns ascribed to Nanak are not his but those of the second and fifth Gurus.
    * At several places expressions which gained currency only during the lifetime of the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), are used e.g Waheguru ji ki Fateh. Bala's janamsakhi is certainly not a contemporary account; at best it was written in the early part of the 18tyh Century.

    This janamsakhi has had an immense influence over determining what is generally accepted as the authoritative account of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life. Throughout the nineteenth century the authority of the Bala version was unchallenged. An important work based on the Bahi Bala janam-sakhi is Santokh Singh’s Gur Nanak Purkash commonly known as Nanak Parkash. Its lengthy sequel, Suraj Parkash carries the acount up to the tenth Guru and contains a higher proportion of historical fact, this was completed in 1844.

    In the first journey or udasi Guru Nanak Dev Ji left Sultanpur towards eastern India and included, in the following sequence : Panipat (Sheikh Sharaf) Delhi (Sultan Ibrahim Lodi) Hardwar Allahbad Banaras Nanakmata Kauru, Kamrup in Assam (Nur Shah) Talvandi (twelve years after leaving Sultanpur) Pak Pattan (Sheikh Ibrahim) Goindval Lahore Kartarpur.

    The Second udasi was to the south of India with companion Bhai Mardana. Delhi Ayodhya Jagannath Puri Rameswaram Sri Lanka Vindhya mountains Narabad River Ujjain Saurashtra Mathura

    The third udasi was to the north : Kashmir Mount Sumeru Achal

    The fourth udasi was to the west. Afghanistan Persia Mecca Madina Baghdad

    Vilayat Vali Janamsakhi

    In the year 1883 a copy of a janamasakhi was dispatched by the India Office Library in London for the use of Dr.Trumpp and the Sikh scholars assisting him. (It had been givn to the library by an Englishman called Colebrook; it came to be known as the Vilayat Vali or the foreign janamsakhi.) This janamsakhi was the basis of the accounts written by Trumpp, Macauliffe, and most Sikh scholars. It is said to have been written in 1588 AD by one Sewa Das.
    Hafizabad Vali Janamsakhi

    A renowned Sikh scholar, Gurmukh Singh of the Oriental College, Lahore, found another janamsakhi at Hafizabad which was very similar to that found by Colebrook. Gurmukh Singh who was collaborating with Mr.Macauliffe in his research on Sikh religion, made it available to the Englishman, who had it published in November 1885. This biography agrees entirely with the India Office janamsakhi.

    Bhai Mani Singh’s Janam-sakhi or Gyan-ratanavali.

    The fourth and eveidently the latest is the Gyan-ratanavali attributed to Bhai Mani Singh who wrote it with the express intention of correcting heretical accounts of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhai Mani Singh was a Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He was approached by some Sikhs with a request that he should prepare an authentic account of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life. This they assured him was essential as the Minas were circulating objectionable things in their version. Bhai Mani Singh referred them to the Var of Bhai Gurdas Ji, but this, they maintained was to brief and a longer more fuller account was needed. Bhai Mani Singh writes :

    Just as swimmers fix reeds in the river so that those who do not know the way may also cross, so I shall take Bhai Gurdas’s var as my basis and in accordance with it, and with the accounts that I have heard at the court of the tenth Master, I shall relate to you whatever commentary issues from my humble mind. At the end of the Janam-sakhi there is an epilogue in which it is stated that the completed work was taken to Guru Gobind Singh Ji for his seal of approval. Guru Sahib Ji duly signed it and commended it as a means of acquiring knowledge of Sikh belief.

    Other Janamsakhis

    Many other janamsakhis have since been discovered. They follow the above two in all material points. The famous historian, Karam Singh, mentions half a dozen he came across in his travels.

    The term Puratan janamsakhis means ancient janam-sakhis and is generally used with reference to the composite work which was compiled by Bhai Vir Singh and first published in 1926. Of the still existing copies of the Puratan Janam-sakhis the two most important were the Colebrooke and Hafizabad versions. The first of these was discovered in 1872, the manuscript had been donated to the library of the east India company by H.T. Colebrooke and is accordingly known as the Colebrooke or Vailaitwali Janamsakhi. Although there is no date on it the manuscript points to around 1635.

    According to the Puratan Janamsakhi Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in the month of Vaisakh, 1469. The date is given as the third day of the light half of the month and the birth is said it have taken place during the last watch before dawn. His father Kalu, was a khatri of the Bedi sub-cast and lived in a village Rai Bhoi di talwandi, his mothers name is not given. When Guru Ji turned seven he was taken to a pundit to learn how to read. After only one day he gave up reading and when the pundit asked him why Guru Ji lapsed into silence and instructed him at length in the vanity of worldly learning and the contrasting value of the Divine Name of God. The child began to show disturbing signs of withdrawal from the world. He was sent to learn Persian at the age of nine but returned home and continued to sit in silence. Locals advised his father that Nanak should be married. This advice was taken and at the age of twelve a betrothal was arranged at the house of Mula of the Chona sub-caste. Sometime later Nanak moved to Sultanpur where his sister Nanaki was married. Here he took up employment with Daulat Khan. One day Nanak went to the river and while bathing messengers of God came and he was transported to the divine court. There he was given a cup of nectar (amrit) and with it came the command “ Nanak, this is the cup of My Name (Naam). Drink it.” This he did and was charged to go into the world and preach the divine Name.

    The Miharban Janam-sakhi.

    Of all the manuscripts this is probably the most neglected as it has acquired a disagreeable reputation. Sodhi Miharban who gives his name to the janam-sakhi was closely associated to the Mina sect and the Minas were very hostile towards the Gurus around the period of Guru Arjun Dev Ji. The Minas were the followers of Prithi Chand the eldest sone of Guru Ram Das Ji. Prithi Chands behaviour was evidently unsatisfactory as he was passed over in favour of his younger brother, (Guru) Arjun Dev, when his father chose a successor. The Minas were a robber tribe and in punjabi the word has come to mean someone who conceals his true evil intent. The Minas were subsequently execrated by Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Sikhs were instructed to have no dealings with them. The sect is now extinct. It is said that it was due to this janam-sakhi and its hostility towards the Gurus that prompted Bhai Gurdas Ji’s account and the commission of the Gyan-ratanavali.

    The first three sakhis recount the greatness of Raja Janak and describes an interview with God wherein Raja Janak is instructed that he is to return to the world once again to propagate His Name. Details of Guru Nanak’s birth are given in the fourth sakhi and his father was Kalu, a Bedi and his mother Mata Tripta. The account of Guru Ji learning to read from the pundit is also recounted here. After the interlude at Sultanpur Guru Nanak Dev Ji set out to Mount Sumeru. Climbing the mountain Guru Ji found all nine Siddhus seated there – Gorakhnath, Mechhendranath, Isarnath, Charapatnath, Barangnath, Ghoracholi, Balgundai, Bharathari and Gopichand. Gorakhnath asked the identity of the visitor and his disciple replied, “ This is Nanak Bedi, a pir and a bhagat who is a housholder.” What follows is a lengthy discourse with the siddhas which ends with the siddhas asking what is happening in the evil age of kaliyug. Guru Ji responds with three sloks :

    There is a famine of truth, falsehood prevails, and in the darkness of kaliyug men have become ghouls ..1
    The kaliyug is a knife, kings are butchers, dharama has taken wings and flown …..2
    Men give as charity the money they have acquired by sinful means …….3

    Source: The Sikh Encyclopedia

    http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/janamsakhis/introduction-to-janamsakhis.html
     
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  6. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    The Most IMPORTANT point sorely missed in this particular sakhi/account is the....MISSING GURU ANGAD JI and the SIKHS of Guru Nanak Ji. Guru Angad Ji is the chosen successor and gurgadee da malik of Guru nanak Ji..installed on His Seat by Guru Nanak ji Himself. ALL the SIKHS then bowed to Guru Anagd Ji and accepted Him as the Guru.
    So isnt it surprising thta this Large Group of FOLLOWERS is Comletely OUT of the "picture" in this sakhi ?? Didnt the SIKHS and Guru Angad Ji have anything to say about the body of their GURU ?? Why did they stand aside and let the HINDUS and MUSLIMS - people of different faiths, who dodnt beleive in the Gurmatt Way of Guru nanak Ji decide what to do witht he Guru of the SIKHS ?? Were Sikhs so impotent ?? or indifferent ?? or accomodating ?? How come no such story was spun about the Guru Angad Ji..Guur Amardass Ji who would have also passed on in just a few years ? Guru nnak ji travelled the WORLD..and also delcared..Na HUM HINDU na hum Mussalmaan...so why would Hindus and Musslamans be concerned about His body ?? So many loopholes and inconsistencies...
    Looks like a spun tale to make it look like Guru Nanak ji was popular with Hindus and Muslims..BUT not with SIKHS ?? Or the Sikhs and Guur Anagd Ji were not at all important/worthy of even such a task?..and this flower tale also SIDESTEPS the SIKH/GURMATT WAY of body disposal...in GURMATT, the body has no intrinsic value...thus any and all ways of disposal are as per Gurmatt..unlike the Muslim way where its absolutley vital to bury the dead or they wont be able to wake up on Kiamat day...and to Hindus to cremate...Gurmatt and Guru nanak ji took a more PRACTICAL APPROACH away from all this dogamtics and fanaticism.....

    Btw Samaadhs and Graves are also ANTI-GURMATT....simply by attaching the August Name of GURU NANAK JI to this sakhi another ANTI-GURMATT practice has been legitimised....
     
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