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Gurus The Emperor Babur Meets Guru Nanak


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The Emperor Babur Meets Guru Nanak

By The Poet Warrior


The Emperor Babur was the grandson of Tamerlane (Timur The Lame) who is chiefly remembered in history for the sacking of the Great City of Samarkand which lay along the ancient Silk Road stretching from Constantinople to China. In the sack of Samarkand over 700,000 inhabitants of the City are said to have been put to the sword. Tamerlane was the great grandson of Ghengiz Khan – the Great Khan who conquered half the world.

During the early sixteenth century Babur set out from Afghanistan to conquer India. And when he reached the great mercantile City of Multan in the Province of Sind, the City was sacked and there was terrible carnage and a ungodly portion of the city’s greedy merchants were fed to the sword. It so happened that Respected Guru Nanak had embarked on the third of his preaching tours and had reached the City by foot shortly before it was sacked. During the sack of the City, Guru Nanak was cast into a prison and put to the task of grinding corn for the army of the invaders.

A short time thereafter, guards at the prison worried by the apparently ill-omened incarceration of Nanak, reported to Babur that there was a very holy man in the prison and that it was imperative that the Emperor see him. Babur then attended at the prison and visited with Guru Nanak. Upon the conclusion of this visit, Babur very much affected, granted Respected Guru Nanak his liberty and invited him to attend in his tent for further discussions. The painting above immortalizes that singular event where Guru Nanak Ji met Babur in his tent and where surely a discussion on God and Philosophy transpired. In the background of this very fine painting is Mardana the Rebec player and companion of Guru Nanak on his long travels over 35 years. To the left of Babur is his young son Hamayun. Notice a guard holding Babur’s falcon. Noblemen and soldiers of Babur’s Afghan Army listen intently as the discourse carries on into the night.

And some of the above events are recounted in the portion of the Respected Guru Granth Sahib which is called the Babur Vani. The Babur Vani is one of the very rare parts of the Guru Granth Sahib which mentions a historical event. In the Babur Vani there are allusions to a rich, corrupted and depraved mercantile class in the City enjoying vast and sumptuous marriages and pomp and finery. Also mentioned is the the terrible carnage unleashed by Babur on the inhabitants of the mercantile City and especially the maidens of rich merchants who were taken into slavery.

Coming from the spartan breed of Genghiz Khan, Babur had scant inclination for the luxurious and effeminate finery of the City’s Hindu merchant caste.

Babur went on to conquer India. At the crucial battle of Panipat in 1526, his army of 70,000 soldiers defeated the much larger army of the Tughlak Slave Dynasty numbering some 200,000 soldiers including over a 1000 armoured elephants.

Respected Guru Nanak went on to travel with his companions Bala and the Muslim rebec player Mardana, through Pakistan, Khorasan(Afghanistan), Iran, Khazakistan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Mecca, Medina, Jordan and Oman, a journey of some 12,000 miles by foot, preaching the divine, revealed and True Word Of God

Karminder Singh Dhillon, Ph.D (Boston University) further elucidates:
When Babur invaded India in the 1490s, the people went to the Yogis to ask for their assistance to lead their courageous resistance to the pending inhumanity and cruelty of the invading forces. The Yogis gave them the same reply that this Malaysian Baba is providing. “We are healers, we are people of peace, we will shower our blessing on all of you and we will meditate and perform Yoga. Just go home and sit in peace. We will read the mantras (buzz word of the 15th century) and the invading forces will become blind.”

Guru Nanak records this cowardice of the spiritual leaders on page 417 of the GGS. Koe Mughal Na Hoa Andha, Kiney Na Parcha Laiya. Meaning: No Mughal was blinded and none of their mantras worked. Guru Nanak took the Yogis to task for being cowardly in not providing courageous spiritual leadership. The philosophy of Guru Nanak in this shabad focuses on courage, bravery and inner strength. Spirituality without courage is cowardice. Of what use is being pious if one does not have the courage to speak out, to take actions against injustice or to stand beside the weak, the oppressed and the needy. This is the essence of the Sant-Sipahi Sikhi of Guru Nanak and that of Guru Gobind Singh’s Saint-Soldier Khalsa.



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