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Interfaith Dialog Developed By Guru Nanak During His Itineraries

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Col Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal
Dean R & D Desh Bhagat University

Dialogue is formed by the two words 'dia' and 'logos', which can be literally interpreted as 'dual meaning' or more appropriately the 'two way flow/exchange' of meaning, which is the tone suggested by Boehm, and many modern philosophical writers. Interfaith dialogue here connotes the exchange of communication between representatives of different faiths. Guru Nanak’s period was of religious strife and communal debauchery as described by Guru Nanak himself.

“Kalyug is the knife, and the kings are butchers; righteousness has sprouted wings and flown away. In this dark night of falsehood, the moon of Truth is not visible anywhere. I have searched in vain, and I am so confused; in this darkness, I cannot find the path. In egotism, they cry out in pain. Says Nanak, how will they be saved?”

Bhai Gurdas described the situation vividly :

“The Kalyug with dog’s mouth eats the dead bodies. The kings are the source of evil; destroying what they were required to protect. The public is ignorant; without knowledge they utter falsehood. The Gurus dance variedly at the followers play on instruments. The servants stay at house while the Gurus go for alms. The judges are corrupt and give the share of one to the other once their palm is greased. The women and men go anywhere and to anyone for money. Evil has spread in the entire world”.

It was the period when Babar attacked India and there was mayhem all over. Guru Nanak has described this situation very vividly. He found that : “Modesty and righteousness have gone into hiding and falsehood is strutting about the false glory”. The rulers became tigers and their officers, hounds who awakened the peacefully sleeping public and their subordinates wounded them with their claws and sucked their blood and splitting marrow. They tax the cows and the Brahmins.

The religious leaders the Qazi and Mullahs modified the religious edicts according to the wishes of rulers and according to their own selfish ends. The Mullahs and Brahmins acted as self styled gurus/guides to lead the people to salvation. They however, were themselves ignorant about the true path to the God. They only tricked the people to increase their earnings but provided no solution. They had created a net of rites and rituals which squeezed the public of their hard earned money. Evil as king and avarice as his minister, falsehood as the mint master; the lust his deputy; they all sat in confabulate positions together; the subject was ignorant and bereft of understanding. They submitted to their will like the dead. The qazi (judge) uttered lie like eating filth. The Brahman butchered living beings yet had bath to show piety. The yogi, blind of insight, did not know his true self. All three led the people to desolation.

There had been a wide gap between Muslims and Hindus the two dominant religions. The religion was being used to create barriers whereas it should have been used to build bridges between the societies. Muslims treated Hindus as slaves. The Hindus were either being converted to Islam by force or made to follow the Islamic culture and rituals. Even the Pundits and Brahmans had started behaving like Muslims externally to please Muslims though internally they still maintained their ritual practice. Sense of religion, duty and decency was lost and falsehood prevailed everywhere.

Guru Nanak found Brahmans following the way of Muslims to appease them. He found : “They wear their loin cloths, apply ritual frontal marks to their foreheads, and carry their rosaries, but they eat food with the Muslims. O Siblings of Destiny, you perform devotional worship indoors, but read the Islamic sacred texts, and adopt the Muslim way of life.” The man-eaters say their prayers. Those who wield the knife wear the sacred thread around their necks. In their homes, the Brahmins sound the conch. They too have the same taste. False is their capital, and false is their trade. Speaking falsehood, they take their food. The home of modesty and Dharma is far from them. O Nanak, they are totally permeated with falsehood. The sacred marks are on their foreheads, and the saffron loin-cloths are around their waists; in their hands they hold the knives — they are the butchers of the world!

He explained their down-gradation : “Wearing blue robes, they seek the approval of the Muslim rulers. Accepting bread from the Muslim rulers, they still worship the Puranas. They eat the meat of the goats, killed after the Muslim prayers are read over them, but they do not allow anyone else to enter their kitchen areas. They draw lines around them, plastering the ground with cow-dung. The false come and sit within them. They cry out, “Do not touch our food, or it will be polluted!” But with their polluted bodies, they commit evil deeds. With filthy minds, they try to cleanse their mouths”.

The Quran and Mohmmadan scriptures had become the approved books. The Brahmans, the Puranas and other Hindu scriptures were not respected. The pundits wore blue clothes in order to be acceptable to ruling class. They lost their distinctiveness by pursuing the ways of the foreign rulers. No one cherished any regard for religion and righteousness. They all lost all the sense of self culture, self control, self respect and self help. They had also forsaken the virtues of good conduct, restraint, piety and decency and ate what they were supposed to avoid. The martial races had lost their sheen and had forgotten their true function of protecting the people and had adopted the language of the aliens. This helpless situation affected the overall character of the public. The women had become submissive while men became cruel.

He found “Women have become advisors, and men hunters. Humility, self-control and purity have run away; people eat the uneatable, forbidden food. Modesty has left her home, and honor has gone away with her”. Greed and sin are the king and prime minister; falsehood is the treasurer. Sexual desire, the chief advisor, is summoned and consulted; they all sit together and contemplate their plans.

Under such a critical situation it was essential to awaken the souls of the general public and make them to understand that the real sufferers should stand against the gross injustice. The kings, ministers, officials, judges, mullahs and pundits; who all were involved in looting and suppressing the public on the name of religion were required to be restrained. Since the religion was being made as a tool of suppression and the public was being befooled by the name of religion; they had to be awakened from the slumber and explained the real religion. The barriers on the name of religions were to be removed and religion was to be used to unite all the people and to stand against the injustice. Sense of equality, fraternity and justice was required to be created. Uniting the people through religion being important, it was essential that the artificial barriers were removed. This could be done through interfaith dialogue which the guru initiated.

Guru Nanak’s Philosophy for interfaith dialogue :

The world around Guru Nanak was strife torn due to religious barriers. Guru Nanak took upon the task of creating bridges between religions through interfaith dialogue. The people at the time were in darkness of ignorance about the real path to reach the God and the followers of different religions as a result. Gradually these different religions created different paths which created dissensions between religions. Guru Nanak took upon to remove the ignorance and spread light of knowledge, the real Truth about the True God and the true relgion. He spread the message of equality, fraternity and justice especially when all were equal in the eyes of God. Along with this he propagated the temporariness of the world of maya the bharmjal and fallacies of rites and rituals created by the religious leaders.

Philosophy of communication of Guru Nanak was to reach the maximum; the ignorant; they may be the low or the high. He was to convey to the highest and the powerful that they are created by the same God as was the poorest of the poor. To the poor he was to convey that they are not the slaves or unpaid servants. No one had the right to oppress others. They should be neither secluded nor the rejected. They had all the right to live and enjoy life as any king, any high official or any religious leader. Religion does not permit oppression and suppression. Role of the religion is to make the life easy for all and not to create barriers or distinctions since God knows no distinction between man and man and loves all equally hence all should remember Him and no one else.

Guru Nanak adopted the philosophy of One God and universal brotherhood to break the barriers of religious misunderstanding and created a bridge of fraternity under one God; the God who is same for all hence all are brethren. He went to the people all around the globe and explained them the truth. He confronted the misleading elements i.e., Pundits at Haridwar, Benaras or elsewhere and Mullahs at Sultanpur, Mecca or elsewhere; the proponents of two chief religions and the kings, ministers and officials who had used religion as a tool for repression. He took upon to propagate ‘Unity of God’, ‘Worship of One God and no idols’, ‘Fatherhood of God’, ‘Brotherhood of man’, ‘Equality of Man’, ‘Inner autonomy of man’ and ‘Meaninglessness of ritualism’ among all the people; people from all faiths and travelled around the globe. He restored their faith and undivided loyalty to One God (Ik Onkar) as source of all creation.

Guru Nanak advocated intense love towards God and towards his beings. He believed that loving and serving His beings is the true service to God. He found that a wall of falsehood had been created by these vested interests. They had become the self-appointed interpreters of God. Guru Nanak felt that the wall of falsehood should be broken by following God’s order i.e. the natural laws and not the man made laws. The natural laws equate everyone. Guru Nanak propagated this philosophy to kings and slaves, high and low, rich and poor alike. He reached out to all and communicated with the maximum which he could. For this he traveled widely around the globe; met the kings and courtiers, qazis, mullahs, siddhas and pundits, the controllers of states as well as the religions along with the ordinary people. He conveyed to the powerful that they being the creation of the same God as others; are in no way higher and better than others. All have equal right on God; all have equal right to survive and to live peacefully and enjoy their hard labour. They must share rather than snatch. He thus conveyed the message of Truth, Truthful Conduct, Unity of God, brotherhood, service to humanity and peaceful living to all which was instantly accepted by all.

He explained true religion to the people : “The supporting mythical bull is actually the Dharma; the son of compassion, which in a spirit of harmony, is holding the whole system of the world in order”, and that he who grasps the truth, realizes that there is but one religion for all mankind; as God, the Creator is One and is ever the same age after age. Further he said : “The master is the tree of contentment, righteousness is its flower, and enlightenment is its fruit. It keeps ever fresh, juicy and green by joy in God; and is ripened by the practice of meditation and performance of good deeds”. He did not ascribe to rituals and explained : “Once the nature of God is known you will realize that all rites and beliefs are futile”.

He found that poetry and music were the best smoothest, easiest and direct way to reach the high and the low. He communicated with people to share knowledge about God and society. He explained the God’s in many forms giving out numerous attributes.

The so called leaders of Hinduism and Islam willingly bowed before Guru Nanak during discussions. Instead of harbouring any ill will they accepted his clarifications that the religion is to serve and unite the humanity and not to create divisions.

Inter Faith Dialogue :

Guru Nanak had to enter into interfaith dialogue at a time when the two religions were at loggerheads; one had become oppressor; the other oppressed. Speaking against religions or denigrating one religion against the other or speaking against the established institutions invited sure death or segregation. The people were living under fear, mistrust, external influences and poor communication conditions. Dialogue is a delicate process. Many obstacles inhibit dialogue and favour more confrontational communication forms such as discussion and debate. Common obstacles including fear, the display or exercise of power, mistrust, external influences, distractions, and poor communication conditions can all prevent dialogue from emerging. But Guru Nanak took the daring step of establishing interfaith dialogue despite of unfavourable situation and ventured to awaken the public against the established institutions

He transferred his philosophy of interfaith dialogue gradually to the people in a very effective manner. He took upon the leaders and commoners of the two religions alike and explained them the underlying philosophy which ought to be followed for becoming God’s own, rather than of a commune. Immediately after receiving God’s message at Vein River; he spread the message that “There is no Hindu no Musalman” .

It meant that all human beings are equal to God and for Him there is no Hindu or Muslim. He created no religion; all religions were started by the followers of those who came close to the God; neither by God nor by his Prophets. He further said : “Those who know God here will recognize him hereafter. The rest whether Hindus or Muslims, all is a vain boast. Everyone is answerable to God and no one is saved but for his good deeds. But they who utter the Name of the truest of the true are not brought to account hereafter”. He thus attacked the very roots of the religions in the existing shape and form.

He found that the propagators of these religions were converting the religions to their own advantage. The Qazi was telling lies; the Brahmin was killing animals on the name of sacrifices and then taking bath to cleanse his self of the crime. The Yogi being ignorant did not know the Way to God. Thus it appeared that the three of them devised their own destruction.

He explained to the Yogis, Muslim and Brahmins : “He alone is a Yogi, who understands the Way, by Guru’s Grace, he knows that there is only One Lord. He alone is a Qazi, who turns away from the worldly attachments by Guru’s Grace and remains like dead while living. He alone is a Brahmin, who contemplates God and saves himself and his generations as well. One who cleanses his own mind is wise. One who cleanses himself of impurity is a Muslim. The Brahman who reads and understands God is acceptable. His forehead is stamped with the insignia of the Court of the Lord”.

He explained to the Muslims the true religion : “It is difficult to be called a Muslim. One can be called a true Muslim only when he understand the religion of the Prophet in its true spirit and does not feel pride in his acquired material wealth. To become a true Muslim; a disciple of the faith of Mohammed; he must put aside the delusion of death and life. He must submit to God’s Will; surrenders to the Creator and get rid of selfishness and conceit. By becoming merciful to all beings, he shall become a true Muslim. Explaining the real importance of prayer, he said : “There are five prayers done five times a day; the five prayers are known by five different names. Let the first be truthfulness, the second honest living, and the third charity in the Name of God. Let the fourth be good will to all, and the fifth -the praise of the Lord. Repeat the prayer of good deeds, and then, you may call yourself a Muslim”.

He explained to Mullah that the death is ultimate and has to come, so live in the Fear of God the Creator. You are a Mullah or a Qazi, only when you worship the Name of God. You may be very educated, but no one can remain when the measure of life is full. Giving the right charactersitivs of a judge he said : “He alone is a Qazi, who renounces selfishness and conceit, and makes the One Name his Support.”

He explained to Brahmins : “O Brahmin, you worship and believe in your stone-god, and wear your ceremonial rosary beads. Chant the Name of the Lord. Build your boat, and pray, “O Merciful Lord, please be merciful to me.” Why do you irrigate the barren, alkaline soil? You are wasting your life away! This wall of mud is crumbling. Why bother to patch it with plaster? Let your hands be the buckets, strung on the chain, and yoke the mind as the ox to pull it; draw the water up from the well. Irrigate your fields with the Ambrosial Nectar, and you shall be owned by God the Gardener. Let sexual desire and anger be your two shovels, to dig up the dirt of your farm, O Siblings of Destiny. The more you dig, the more peace you shall find. Your past actions cannot be erased. The crane is again transformed into a swan, if You so will, O Merciful Lord. Prays Nanak, the slave of Your slaves : O Merciful Lord, have mercy on me.

To the pundits he explained : Those who have truth as their fast, contentment as their sacred shrine of pilgrimage, spiritual wisdom and meditation as their cleansing bath, kindness as their deity, and forgiveness as their chanting beads — they are the most excellent people. Those who take the Way as their loincloth, and intuitive awareness their ritualistically purified enclosure, with good deeds their ceremonial forehead mark, and love their food — O Nanak, they are very rare. He advised them : “ On the ninth day of the month, make a vow to speak the Truth, and your sexual desire, anger and desire shall be eaten up. On the tenth day, regulate your ten doors; on the eleventh day, know that the Lord is One. On the twelfth day, the five thieves are subdued, and then, O Nanak, the mind is pleased and appeased. Observe such a fast as this, O Pandit, O religious scholar; of what use are all the other teachings?

He found kings, rulers and monarchs enjoy pleasures and gather the poison of Maya. In love with it, they collect more and more, stealing the wealth of others. They do not trust their own children or spouses; they are totally attached to the love of Maya. But even as they look on, Maya cheats them, and they come to regret and repent. Bound and gagged at Death’s door, they are beaten and punished; it pleases the Will of the Lord. Meditate with deep faith; without the True Guru, no one finds the Way. Renounce your hypocrisy! Taking the Name of the Lord, you shall swim across. Says Nanak, meditate on the True Lord. If you are pure, you will obtain the True Lord”.

He warned the Yogis : “You smear your outer body with ashes, but within, you are filled with darkness. You wear the patched coat and all the right clothes and robes, but you are still egotistical and proud. You do not chant the Word of Your Lord and Master; you are attached to the expanse of Maya. Within, you are filled with greed and doubt; you wander around like a fool. Says Nanak, you never even think of the Naam; you have lost the game of life in the gamble.” He explained them the true path : He told them : “Yoga is not the patched coat, Yoga is not the walking stick. Yoga is not smearing the body with ashes. Yoga is not the ear-rings, and not the shaven head”. …….“Yoga is not the blowing of the horn…..By mere words, Yoga is not attained”. …….”Yoga is not wandering to the tombs of the dead; Yoga is not sitting in trances. Yoga is not wandering through foreign lands; Yoga is not bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage”…..Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world — this is the way to attain Yoga. …..” “ One who looks upon all with a single eye, and knows them to be one and the same — he alone is known as a Yogi.” “Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world — this is the way to attain Yoga. Meeting with the True Guru, doubt is dispelled, and the wandering mind is restrained. Nectar rains down, celestial music resounds, and deep within, wisdom is obtained. Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world — this is the way to attain Yoga”. “ … O Nanak, remain dead while yet alive — practice such a Yoga. When the horn is blown without being blown, then you shall attain the state of fearless dignity. Remaining unblemished in the midst of the filth of the world — this is the way to attain Yoga.
To Sanyasis Guru Nanak asked to “renounce sexual desire, anger, falsehood and slander; and to forsake Maya and to eliminate egotistical pride. They must renounce sexual desire and promiscuity, and give up emotional attachment. Only then shall you obtain the Immaculate Lord amidst the darkness of the world. They must renounce selfishness, conceit and arrogant pride, and love for their children and spouse. They must abandon their thirsty hopes and desires, and embrace love for the Lord. Then only the True Lord shall come to dwell in their mind. Through the True Word, they shall be absorbed in the Name of the Lord”. If God so pleases, one can meditate on Him. The soul is attracted and gets concentrated on Him. The soul and the God have to become one. The internal strife is then killed inside only. Remembering the True Lord in meditation, one is enlightened. Then, in the midst of Maya, he remains detached. Such is the Glory of the True Guru; in the midst of children and spouses, they attain emancipation.

He found kings, rulers and monarchs enjoying pleasures and told them that pleasures are nothing but poison of Maya. They get in love with pleasures and want to have more and more, stealing the wealth of others. They do not trust their own children or spouses; they are totally attached to the love of Maya. But even as they look on, Maya cheats them, and they come to regret and repent. Bound and gagged at Death’s door, they are beaten and punished. He asked them not to get bound to the pleasure and do as it pleases the Lord.

He further said : “Neither the kings, nor their subjects, nor the leaders shall remain. The shops, the cities and the streets shall eventually disintegrate, by the Hukam of the Lord’s Command. Those solid and beautiful mansions—the fools think that they belong to them. The treasure-houses, filled with wealth, shall be emptied out in an instant. The horses, chariots, camels and elephants, with all their decorations; the gardens, lands, houses, tents, soft beds and satin pavilions—Oh, where are those things, which they believe to be their own? The True One is the Giver of all; He is revealed through His All-powerful Creative Nature”.

Methodology of interfaith dialogue :

He adopted dialogue action, poetry and music as the methods of communicating his ideas.
His characteristic dialogue delivered through poetry and music followed by actions made them speechless and accept him as God’s agent. His dialogue on question-answer based is exemplary. In the first pauri of Japuji the Master poses a question “How to break away from falsehood?” and gives a brief answer : “Through complete surrender unto His will, O Nanak that is the writ Devine.”
ikv sicAwrw hoeIAY ikv kUVY qutY pwil?(jpujI pMnw 1) hukim rjweI clxw nwnk iliKAw nwil[ (jpujI pMnw 1)

A brief of open dialogue between Guru Nanak and Siddhas is tabulated here :
Table 1 : Guru Nanak’s dialogue with Yogis
jogIAW dy pRSn gurU nwnk dyv jI dy auqr
dunIAw swgrU duqrU khIAY ikaukir pweIAY pwro? (pMnw 938) jYsy jil mih kmlu inrwlmu, murgweI nYswxy; suriq sbid Bv swgru qrIAY nwnk nwmu vKwxY[ (pMnw 938)
ikn ibiD swgru qrIAY ] jIviqAw nh mrIAY ] (pMnw Awsw BIqir rhY inrwsw qau nwnk eyku imlY ] 4 ] ien ibiD swgru qrIAY ] jIviqAw ieau mrIAY[(pMnw
AwKx isD sux bwilAw Apxw nW qum dyhu bqweI ] (BweI gurdws vwr, 1-28-6) bwbw AwKy nwQ jI nwnk nwm jpy gq pweI]
(BweI gurdws vwr 1-28)
isD puCix : “suix bwilAw!kaux skiq quih eyQy ilAweI?” (BweI gurdws vwr 1 : 28) “hau jipAw prmysro Bwau Bgiq sMig qwVI lweI[ (BweI gurdws vwr 1 : 28)
puCy jogI BMgR nwQ quih duD ivc ikauN kWjI pweI]
iPitAw cwtw duD dw irVikAW mKx hQ n AweI]
ByK auqwr audws dw vq ikauN sMswrI rIq clweI] (BweI gurdws vwr 1-40-4) nwnk AwKy BMgRnwQ qyrI mwau kuc`jI AweI[ BWfw Doie n jwiqEn Bwie kucjy Pul sVweI] hoie AqIq igRhsq qj iPr aunhUM ky Gr mMgn jweI] ibn idqy ikC hQ n AweI ]40] (BweI gurdws vwr 1-40-8)
isD boly sun nwnkw quih jg nUM ikAw krwmwq idKlweI] kuJ ivKwly Aswny quih ikauN iFl AvyhI lweI] (BweI gurdws vwr, 1-42-2) bwbw boly nwQ jI! Sbd sunhu sc muKhu AlweI] bwjhu scy nwm dy hor krwmwq AswQy nwhI] (BweI gurdws vwr, 1-43-2)
Questions of Yogis Answers of Guru Nanak
Charpat Nath said : The Ocean of Existence is said to be impassable. How then can we cross it and safely reach the other shore? (p.938) As the lotus remains above the water; and does not drown as the duck swims and does not become wet while swimming so can we cross safely and unaffected, the ocean of existence by attuning our minds to the word of Guru and repeating Holy name of God (p.938)

Siddhas enquired for Guru Nanak’s name and hhow he got emancipated? (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 28 : 6) Guru Nanak said : My name is Nanak and I got emancipation through God’s Name. (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 28 : 7-8 )
Siddhas enquired further : Which power brought you here? (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 28) Guru Nanak answered : “ I have meditated on God with love and dedication” (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 28)
Yogi Bhangar Nath was irritated at the success and following of Guru Nanak. He questioned the Guru : “Why have you mixed sour in milk? The entire vessel of milk is spoilt and by billowing it butter cannot be obtained. Why have you removed the dress of a renunciate and adopted the system of a family life?”(Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 40 : 4) Guru Nanak answered in the same tone : ” Your mother was ill mannered. She did not know how to clean the vessel properly and used base flowers to clean it. You too left the family and went begging to the same house. To get something you have to pay for it. (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 40 : 8)
Siddhas spoke : ” O Nanak! Tell us what miracle did you show to the world? Why do you delay? Show some to us as well. (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 42 : 2) Guru Nanak replied : Nath ji! Hear the Word of the Lord coming out of my mouth. Without Lord’s True Name I have no other miracle.( Bhai Gurdas Vaar `1 : 43 : 2)

The actions and reactions of Guru Nanak were so dramatic, perfect and effective that they cleared the doubts in a silent mode. Examples are given below :
Guru Nanak’s dialogue with Mullahs, Qazis & Muslim Faqirs
Peer/Faqir/Qazi Guru Nanak
myilEN bwbw auiTAw mulqwny dI izAwrq jweI]
AgoN pIr mulqwn dy duD ktorw Br lY AweI] (BweI gurdws vwr, 1-44-6) bwby kF kr bgl qy cMbylI du`D ivc imlweI]
ijauN swgr ivc gMg smweI ]44] (BweI gurdws vwr 1-44-8)
jW bwbw su`qw rwq nUM v`l mihrwby pWie pswrI] jIvn mwrI lq dI kyVHw suqw ku&r ku&wrI] hoie hYrwn kryn juhwrI ]32] lqW vl ^udwie dy ikauNkr pieAw hoie bjgwrI] (BweI gurdws vwr 1-32-7) tMgoN pkV GsIitAw iPirAw m`kw klw idKwrI] (1-32-7)
puCx Kol ikqwb no, “ihMdU vfw ik muslmwnoeI”? BweI gurdws vwr 1 : 33) bwbw AwKy kwjIAW ‘SuB Amlw bwJhuM donoN roeI” BweI gurdws vwr 1 : 33)
Guru Nanak got out of the fair and went around Multan. The Peer of Multan presented a cup full of milk (to show that there is no space in Multan for any other God man) (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 44 : 6) Guru Nanak took a flower of jasmine and kept on the milk. It settled on milk as does Ganges in ocean. (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 44 : 8)
Guru Nanak slept at night keeping his feet towards Qaba. Jeevan, the caretaker of the Masjid, kicked him and said : ‘Who is this non-believer sleeping here?’ Everyone was astonished and showed annoyance : “Why have kept your legs towards God?” They enquired (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 32 : 7) On having replied by Guru Nanak to move his legs to the direction where God is not there , Jeevan dragged him around catching his legs. The Mecca moved where ever his feet moved. Everyone considered him a miracle man. (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 32 : 7, 8)
The Qazis opened their book and put a question to Guru Nanak : Who are better : Hindus or Muslims?” (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 33) Guru Nanak told Hajis : Both Hindu and Muslims cry without good deeds and do not get shelter in God’s Home. (Bhai Gurdas Vaar 1 : 33 : 8)
Guru Nanak held meetings with other saints and wrote verses comparing the verses of other saints representing various relgions to clarify his philosophy. Here veerses of saints like Baba Farid, Sheikh Ibrhim, Mian Mitha, Ruqandeen and Ali Yaar as recorded in Sri Guru granth sahib and Janamsakhis is compared :
PrId gurU nwnk
pihly phry PulVw, Pl BI pCw rwiq[ jo jwgMin lhMin sy, sweI kMny dwiq[ (slok SyK PrId pMnw 1384) dwqI swihb sMdIAw, ikAw clY iqsu nwil? ieik jwgMdy nw lhin ieknw suiqAw dyie auTwil[(pMnw 1384)
byVw bMiD n sikE, bMDn kI vylw[ Bir srvru jb aUCly, qb qrxu duhylw[ (pMnw 794) jp qp kw bMDu byVulw, ijqu lMGih vhylw[ nw srvru nw aUClY, AyYsw pMQ suhylw[ (pMnw 729)
A tree was flowered in the part of the night and got its fruit in the later part of the night. Those who remain awake, get the blessing of the Lord. (Sheikh Farid, p.1384) The blessings of the Lord do not go with a man always. Some do not get into Him while awake while others may be woken by the Lord Himself to give the blessings.
The float counld not be controlled at the required time. When the lake is full and overflows, it is difficult to cross it.(p.794) Have a float of meditation and remembeereance of God so that you can cross in difficult time. There will be no lake nor overflowing waters; the path will be easy. (p.729)
SyK bRhm gurU nwnk
AkY qy loVu mukdmI, AkY q Alhu loVu[ duih byVI n lq dru mq vM\hu vKru boVu[ (purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 48) duhI byVI lq Dru, duhI vKru cwiV[ koeI byVI fubsI koeI lMGy pwir[ [(purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 48)
PrIdw cUVylI isau riqAw, dunIAw kUVw Byq[ hy nwnk! A~KI dyKidAw, aujiV hovy Kyq[[(purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 49) PrIdw Durhu Durhu hoNdw AwieAw, cuVylw isau hyqu[
nwnk Kyqu n aujVY, jy rwKw hoie sucyq[[[(purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 49)
iek swihbu qu duie h~dI[ ikhVw syvI, ikhVw r~dI? (purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 62-63) ihko swihbu, ihkw hid, ihko syiv qy dUjw rid[[[(purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 62-63)
Sheikh Ibrahim Guru Nanak
One side you want the world and the other side you wish for God. You cannot keep your legs on two boats; it may drown you in between. (Puratan Janamsakhi p. 49) Keep you legs on both the boats, have your floats on both. One may drown while other will get you accross. ( Puratan Janamsakhi, p.48)
Farid Says : O the one engrossed in the wife‘s beauty; the world is false secret. Even when you keep a watch, your field will be destroyed. ( Puratan janamsakhi, p.49) Guru Nanak replied Farid : The wife’s beauty has been amatter of attraction from the very beginning. The field will not be destroyed if the protector is cautious.
God has two boundaries. I do not know which to serve and which to reject. There is only one God who jhas got only one boyundary. You serve Him and reject any other.
mIAW imTw gurU nwnk
Avil nwauN Kudwie dw, dUjw nbI rsUl[ nwnk! klmw jy pVih qw drgih pvih kbUl[[[[(purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 78-79) Avil nwauN Kudwie dw dir drvwn rsUlu]SyKw! nIAq rws kir qw drgih pvih kbUl[[[(purwqn jnmswKI : pMnw 78-79)
Mian Mitha Guru Nanak
First comes the name of God; second the Prophet Mohammed. O Nanak if you read qalma, you will be accepted in God’s court First comes the name of God; whose gatekeeper is Mohammed. O Sheikh! You must mend your nature so as to be acceptable to God
Guru Nanak’s clarification to Peer Ruqkndeen
pIr rukndIn gurU nwnk
Asw jo ldx lidAw AswfI BI kir kwie[ jo BirAw so ldsI sBnw Ksmu rjwie[ nwnk qy muK aujwly, cly hk kmwie[ (jnmswKI )
Peer Ruqndeen Guru Nanak
My life time is complete and I am ready to depart. Pray bless me too with your grace ( for journey to next life) He whose life time is complete shall surely deopart taking with him result of his deeds; for all are bound by the will of God. They who depart after living truthfully are honoured by the Lord and their faces radiate glory

gurU nwnk jI dw pIr AlI Xwr nUM SpStI krx (goSt : jnmswKI, BweI bwlw pMnw 476)
pIr AlI Xwr gurU nwnk
AY drvyS!Az kujweI v nwm ich dwrI? mn Az iKqwey pMjwbm v nwmm nwnk inrMkwrI Asq[
mwieny inrMkwrI n PihmIdm[ inrMkwr nwmy Kudw Asq, inrMkwrI mnsUb ibdW, XwnI bMdw ie Kudwiem[
rihnumwey qo kIsq Kudwie mn
Kudw rw bcih XwPqI? bqrik KudIey Kud v bqrik misvwey A~lw[
Guru Nanak’s clarification to Ali Yar (Gosht : Janamsakhi Bhai Bala p.476)
Peer Ali Shah Guru Nanak
O Darvesh! Where have you come from and what is your name? I have come from Punjab, the land of five rivers and my name is Nanak Nirankari
I do not understand the meaning of the word Nirankari. Nirankar is the name of God. Nirankar means one who belongs to Him. Being one of God’s men and associated with Him as such.
Who is your guide and teacher? God, our Creator.
How have you attained to God? By subduing my ego and by dwelling on notrhing else but God.

Effectiveness of Guru Nanak’s Inter-faith dialogue
He traversed the four quarters of the earth on foot.… In every land that he visited, an appreciative uproar arose over his utterances and sayings, and in every clime his words and expressions, imbued with truth and reality, stirred up enthusiastic response. He conversed with men of pious hearts who had attained nearness to God and he had garnered gifts from laudable virtues of men possessed of the power of ascertaining the truth.

Initially his message was not taken seriously. He was scoffed at by Pandits at Hardwar, Mullahs at Mecca and Babar at Saidpur. His follower Ruqun Deen was stoned to death and his other followers were exiled from the country. Babar jailed him and gave the punishment like carriage of stones. But Guru Nanak was undaunted in his effort and ultimately his message was rightly taken by all.

His sweet and attracting behaviour, magnetic personality and the heart-touching poetry sung in rhythm and sweet and lilting voice accompanied with music and the continuously energy generating body attracted the beings instantly. Music makes these ‘poetic arrows’ piercing and the sharp but sweet shots of these arrows leave an undeniable impression on one’s mind.’ Every aspect and idea of life has been presented in a metaphorical form which can help one attain spiritual height and interpret life in true perspective. He offered gentle but sharp and intelligent criticism of prevalent concept, traditions, customs, religions etc.

His dare and gentleness, sweetness and humility, saying and doing, poetry and music, exquisite dress and smooth but impacting delivery of words caused long lasting impact on whomsoever he communicated with. Kauda the cannibal; Bhumia, the thief, Sajjan, the Thhugg, Beh lol, the established peer, Chaturdas; the proud pundit, Malik the haughty rich, Siddhas, the egoistic mendicants; all were so changed that their character of anti-society became that of serving the society.

His method of delivering the message was unique. His address to a particular person was actually a universal message; meant for the entire society e.g.,
O my merchant friend, the cruel old age will ultimately grip you :
And then comes the end of your life
You have not imbibed even an iota of God
O my merchant friend
You were egged on by Evil all your life
Only he escapes the cycle of birth and death
Who treads the way of God and continence?
Maya and Death cannot snare him
Love and Devotion help him swim across (the sea of Fear)
He departs with honour and is freed of all woes
And merges in the Great Peace
O Nanak “Man attains Salvation by being the Gurmukh
And wins honour through Truth”

The echoes of his sabds were heard all over the endless universe and this redeeming boon of the eternal and inexhaustible spiritual treasure showed the true path of salvation to the entire mankind. It bestowed peace on the disturbed heart, bringing the restless mind in tune with the Lord, and by propagating the philosophy or equality as embodied in sangat and pangat, spurred the minds to understand, enjoy and derive inspiration from the greatness and uniqueness of the Lord and His creation. It enkindled the soul, dispelled the dark clouds of ignorance and enabled man to attain Sahaj. In addition to the supreme joy and awareness that man enjoyed when he attained this stage, it helped him to lead a dynamic and pious life full of noble deeds in the service of mankind. Thus it ennobled and uplifted the individual as well as the society. An example is here given from Janamsakhi Meharban, how Guru Nanak converted the hardened mind changing attitude towards service to the humanity.

‘Then from Narbda River the Guru Baba Nanak stood on the lands of the thhuggs. The thhuggs got into his company. Thhuggs thought, “This person appears to have a great wealth with him. He is in the dress of a faqir, but he has great wealth. Wealth shines on his face. The dress is of faqir but the shine on his face is of the worldly men. And they moved along. Guru Baba Nanak understood their intention, saw towards them and laughed. Guru Nanak then sang a hymn directed to them : “piru sagi moothhdi : e : khabri na pa : i : e : ji : o : …(Dhnasari Chhant M.1, p.222) Their mind woke up, “ He is not the worldly persons. He is not a faqir either. He is a great man. He has reached the God. To our good, we have met a God’s man. Let us touch his feet and leave this dirty profession forever and do as the Baba guides us. They then threw away the killing ropes and fell at Guru Nanak’s feet. Guru Nanak asked them, “Gentlemen, who are you?” They replied,” We are the thhuggs. We have been looting the entire area. We have these ropes to hang the people. We were after you since last three days. We thought you to be a worldly person in the garb of a faqir. We wanted to hang you with the rope and take away what you have.” Guru Nanak asked, “What sign of wealth did you see on us?” They said, “You had the shine on your forehead which depicted that you are a wealthy person. We expected to get the wealth from you enough for our generations to enjoy. We had not realized then that you are a great man. Now we realize this.” The Thhaggs were impressed and touched Guru Nanak’s feet. …. Guru Nanak asked their leader, “How many murders have you committed? Their leader (Sajjan Thhugg) spoke, “I have murdered many.” Guru Nanak asked him to bring all that he had looted so far and distribute among the people on the name of God, which he did. He started reciting Gurbani and became a permanent follower of Guru Nanak. The first Dharamsal started from that place.

Impact of the teachings of Guru Nanak was immense. It not only raised his followers spiritually into, “men of truthful word, devout austerity and of accepted prayer-mindedness, looking upon friends and foes alike” but also transformed them into saint warriors who took upon themselves the protection of the poor and helpless against the tyrannical aggressor of the land.

Guru Nanak stirred the inner soul of the people and freed them from the thralldom of the priestly classes and fear of the ruling class. His following increased continuously and has been increasing now. Freed from the worship of idol and image worship they came to their own and introduced into the country a monotheist casteless and classless society of mainly servants of the people-an order of fearless and saint soldiers, the Khalsa, who in their turn made innumerable sacrifices to free their land from its tyrannous rulers and foreign usurpers. They ultimately succeeded in creating on the north-west an independent sovereign state of the Punjab and made a gift of it to India as the guardian of honour and independence.
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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The article is copied from an already published document containing proprietary fonts. I was the one who posted this for Dr. Grewal. On the document the fonts look fine to the author, who therefore would not realize in advance that the fonts do not translate to a forum view. Someone would have to go into the OP and convert the fonts to fix the problem. Conversion on the original document does not always work.
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