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Janamsakhi Tradition 

— An Analytical Study - 

Janamsakhi Tradition 

— An Analytical Study — 


M.A., Ph.D 

Edited by 

Prithipal Singh Kapur 

Singh Brothers 





M.A., Ph.D. 

Former Professor & Head 
Punjab Historical Studies Deptt. 
Punjabi University, Patiala 

ISBN 81-7205-311-8 
Firs Edition March 2004 
Price : Rs 395-00 


Singh Brothers 

Bazar Mai Sewan, Amritsar - 143 006 

S.C.O. 223-24, City Centre, Amrisar - 143 001 
Website : 




- Preface 7 

-Introduction 13 

1. Genesis of the Janamsakhi Tradition 25 

2. Analytical Study of the Janamsakhi Tradition -1 55 

3. Analytical Study of the Janamsakhi Tradition - II 204 

4. Light Merges with the Divine Light 223 


(i) Glossary of Historical Names in the Janamsakhi 233 

(ii) Bibliography 235 

- Index 241 



With the Guru’s Grace knowledge is analysed 

— Guru Nanak (GG 1329) 

The Janamsakhi literature as such relates exclusively to the life and 
teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The spectrum of this 
genre of literature has several strands. It elucidates mystic concepts of 
spiritual elevation, provides the earliest exegesis of the hymns of Guru 
Nanak and illustrates the teachings of Guru Nanak by narrating interesting 
anecdotes. The most significant aspect of the Janamsakhi literature is that 
it has preserved the tradition of Guru Nanak’s life that became the primary 
source of information for all the writings on Guru Nanak. Of late the 
historical validity of this material has been called to question in the name 
of methodology. I, therefore, propose to dilate on this aspect in the first 

According to R.G. Collingwood, the author of The Idea of History 
(Pages 240-43), “the historian must in two ways go beyond what his 
authorities tell him. One is critical way and this is what Bradley has 
attempted to analyse. The other is the constructive way. Of this he has 
said nothing, and to this now, I propose to return. I described constructive 
history as interpolating, between the statements borrowed from our 
authorities; other statements simply by them. Thus, our authorities tell us 
that on one day Caesar was in Rome and a later day in Gaul, they tell us 
nothing about the journey from one place to other, but we interpolate this 
with a perfect good conscience.” 

“This act of interpolation has two significant characteristics. First, it 
is in no way arbitrary or merely fanciful; it is necessary in Kantian language 

a priori .But if our construction involves nothing that is not necessitated 

by the evidence, it is legitimate historical construction of a kind without 
which there can be no history at all.” 

“Secondly what is in this way inferred, is essentially something 
imagined... That is already an example of historical thinking; and it is not 
otherwise that we find ourselves obliged to imagine Caesar as having 

travelled from Rome to Gaul when we are told that he was in these different 
places at these successive times...” - 

“...That the Historian must use his imagination in a common place, 
to quote Macaulay’s Essay on History, a perfect historian must possess an 
imagination sufficiently powerful to make his narrative effective and 
picturesque.” Commenting on it Collingwood writes, “but this is to 
underestimate the part played by the historical imagination which is 
properly not ornamental but structural. Without it the historian would 
have no narrative to adorn.” “The imagination that ‘blind but indispensable 
faculty’, without which, as Kant has shown, we could never perceive the 
world around us, is indispensable in the same way to history: it is this 
which operating not capriciously or fancy but in a priori form, does the 
entire work of historical construction.” (p. 241) 

At another place Collingwood states, “here and equally in all other 
kinds of art, a priori imagination is at work. Its other familiar functions 
what may be called the perceptual imagination supplementing and 
consolidating the data of perception.” 

But historical imagination is different. For this; following three 
conditions are essential : 

1. Historian’s picture must be localized in space and time. 

2. “All history must be consistent with itself ... there is only one historical 

world, and everything in it must stand in some relation to everything 
else, even if relation is only topographical and chronological. 

3. “It is of utmost importance that historian’s picture stands in a peculiar 

relation to something called evidence.” (p. 246) 

It has been accepted that history is a science as well as an art, ‘no 
more no less’. 

In every work of art some kind of imagination is always involved. So 
is the case with the Janamsakhis. The Janamsakhi writers were men of faith 
with desire for spiritual pursuits. About Guru Nanak’s life, they had before 
them authentic data in two forms. One was the Bani of Guru Nanak as 
enshrined in the Adi Granth, the Sikh scripture, compiled by Guru Arjan 
Dev, the Fifth Guru. Guru Arjan had rejected works attributed to Guru 
Nanak like Nasihat Nama, Pransang/i etc. etc. It is an established fact that 
all the extant Janamsakhis came to be written after the compilation of the 


Adi Granth in 1604 AD. A large number of verses of Guru Nanak quoted 
in the Janamsakhis could not be available before 1604 AD. As a source, 
these verses of the Guru, found in Adi Granth in the form of dialogues 
with the persons of different denominations like Muslim divines, Hindu 
men of learning (Panditsj, Sidhas, Yogis, Brahmins, Qa^is, Shaikhs, traders, 
peasants etc. etc. became basic to the compilation of the Janamsakhis. 

The second important datum available to the Janamsakhi writers was 
the tradition of Guru Nanak as incorporated in the first var of Bhai Gurdas 
(died 1637 AD). Bhai Gurdas was a very close companion of Baba Buddha 
who had lived during the life-time of Guru Nanak, had embraced Sikh 
faith and was witness to the making of the traditions regarding the founder 
of Sikhism. Moreover, his close association with the Guru’s family enabled 
him to know more about the anecdotes relating to the Guru’s travels within 
India and abroad. Bhai Gurdas was the nephew of Guru Amardas, the 
third Sikh Guru, he served the fourth Guru as a missionary and was 
honoured by Guru Arjan when he was asked to act as scribe for the 
compilation of the Adi Granth. As a matter of fact, he possessed 
unimpeachable credentials to record the traditions of Guru Nanak. His 
first var delineating the life of Guru Nanak can be called anchor sheet of 
most of the Janamsakhis which more or less remain elucidation, illustration 
and explanation of the first var of Bhai Gurdas. 

The Janamsakhi writers were not content with the pithy and sketchy 
material as available in the first var. They wanted more details for the life 
of the founder of Sikhism. Consequently, they used this material to 
elucidate the narration as much as they could. For instance Bhai Gurdas 
has stated, “Baba Gaja Tirathin Tirath Purb Sabe Phir Dekhey” viz Guru 
Nanak visited all the places of Hindu pilgrimages. This line was expanded 
to include several Sakhis like Guru Nanak’s visit to Kurukshetra, Haridwar, 
Prayag, Benaras, Jagannath Puri etc. etc. The details were filled from the 
verses of Guru Nanak which were taken as dialogues with the learned 
Pandas of Benaras, the priests performing Aarti at Jagannath Puri, Guru’s 
hymns on death ceremonies of Hindus at Budh Gaya etc. etc. Some 
Janamsakhi writers who ventured to visit the places associated with 
Guru Nanak added in their own accounts of local traditions as well. 
Miharban appears to have visited some such places as his description 


of a few places is very lucid (see his Sakhi of Guru’s visit to Ujjain). The 
Sakhis of the Guru’s visit to Sumer (Kailash mountain) and his dialogue 
with Siddhas, his visit to Mecca and Baghdad and his discussions with 
Muslim divines etc. are based on the first 1 Yar of Bhai Gurdas. Almost all 
the Sakhis with the exception of a few have been constructed on the basis 
of historical data as referred to above and with historical imagination of 
one form or the other. Therefore, most of the anecdotes recorded in the 
Janamsakhis fall within the orbit of history. In my opinion it will be fallacious 
to call them by any other name. 

It is a very pertinent question as to why western scholars could not 
appreciate the Sikh tradition and properly assess the Janamsakhis. 
Unfortunately, for them; Ernest Trump became the sole guide for the study 
of entire Sikh literature. The most popular Bhai Bala’s 

Janamsakhi which was compiled by a follower of Baba Hindal, a 
dissenter, was translated into English by Dr. Trump. It claimed to be an 
eye-witness account which it was not. Bhai Balas name does not appear in 
any of the otherjanamsakhis. Dr. Trump also translated the Puratan or 
Vilayatwali Janamsakhi. Most of the western scholars base their studies on 
both Puratan and Bala traditions. But they could not reach the originals as 
they were not proficient in Gurumukhi script and could hardly delve deep 
into the entire text of Janamsakhis or verses of Guru Nanak. Secondly 
these scholars did not care to study the contemporary conditions and travel 
routes of those times by applying historical imagination which is so essential 
for the construction of every historical narrative. It is in this context that 
Dr. McLeod hastened to conclude that there is no record of the Guru’s 
visit to Ceylon or Mecca. He does not seem to have cast a critical look at 
the conditions prevalent in Ceylon and South India duting 14th and 15th 
centuries. Tamil Kings from South India had been ruling Ceylon uptil 13th 
century. Thousands of Tamils travelled from Nagapatnam to Madakulapa 
modern Batticoloa district on the eastern coast of Ceylon which is 
associated with the Ram ay an a. I toured the whole district and found there 
overwhelming influence of Indian culture visible. When Guru Nanak 
visited South India it was not unlikely for him to visit Ceylon. Only balanced 
analysis could help arrive at such a conclusion. 

A source of medieval history may not be rejected because it 
contains miracles. Miracles have remained an integral part of all types 


of spiritual exercises. Religious books like vedas, Budhist texts, Bible, Quran, 
all contain miraculous accounts. Miracles also find mention in the Adi 
Granth, but only as references. The people in medieval ages believed in 
miracles and considered them as an index of spiritual elevation. Therefore, 
the miracles in the Janamsakhis should not be rejected or decried outright, 
rather their historical settings need to be studied. 

I started the study of janamsakhi tradition in 1966 AD at the Punjabi 
University, Patiala as a major project. I travelled to various places from 
Nanakmatta (Uttaranchal) to Colombo in Ceylon in putsuit of my 
researches tracing the old memorial Gurdwaras built in the memory of 
Guru Nanak’s visit and old routes prevalent during the early sixteenth 
century. All this material was verified and compared with the written 
tradition of Guru Nanak viz the janamsakhis in order to decipher the 
historicity of the tradition of Guru Nanak. Attempts were also made to 
collect material (from the places which I could not visit) through 
knowledgeable persons who were interested in such studies. 

My studies lead me to conclude that the janamsakhis shall ever remain 
the most important source of information on Guru Nanak if we study 
them carefully and intensively. Most of the Muslim saints whom Guru 
Nanak is said to have met and find mention in janamsakhi Miharban Part II 
were contemporaries of Guru Nanak. Their names are found in Ta^kara-i- 
Sufia-i-Punjab, recently published in Karachi (Pakistan). I have tried to 
decipher some proper names mentioned in the janamsakhis. A glossary of 
such names has been given in Appendix I. 

For the translation of hymns of Guru Nanak quoted in this book, I 
have mosdy depended on GS. Talib’s translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib 
published by Punjabi University, Patiala. 

It is my pleasant duty to acknowledge the active help and support 
that I received; during the course of my researches on this project, from 
Professor Prithipal Singh Kapur, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak 
Dev University, Amritsar, who is my nephew as well as student. Since the 
publication of my work janamsakhi Parampara; he has been persuading me 
to carry forward my studies on die janamsakhis and bring it out in English. 
Initially, I remained reticent. Later on I made up my mind and started with 
translation of a portion of janamsakhi Parampara, but could not go ahead. 


When Professor Prithipal Singh Kapur undertook an assignment as Editor- 
in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism with the Punjabi University, Patiala, 
he persuaded his colleague in the Deptt., Dr. Dharm Singh to undertake 
the arduous task of translation of some of the important portions of 
Janamsakhi Parampara. Dr. Dharm Singh did this task with devotion and 
competence. This became the basic draft on which I re-worked to carry 
forward my studies on the Janamsakhis. Professor Prithipal Singh Kapur 
remained associated with the progress of the work at every stage. He edited 
it very minutely and diligently, and has also appended a scholarly 
introduction. I express my profound sense of gratitude to both of them. 

Dr. S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 
has been taking keen interest in this project since the day I mentioned it to 
him. As the things started taking shape, he wanted me to expedite it. I owe 
him my sincere thanks. My thanks are also due to my teacher late Sardar 
Kirpal Singh Narang, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, who 
initially entrusted me this arduous job with full faith and confidence. 

Last but not the least, I am thankful to my wife, Joginder Kaur who 
has always been a great source of help to me during my life-time pursuit 
of researches on Sikh history. Thanks are also due to Mr. Gursagar Singh 
of Singh Brothers, Amritsar who readily agreed to bring out the work 
without any delay and in a befitting form. 

May 7, 2003 

Kirpil Singh 



Janamsakhi literature; produced essentially to preserve the tradition 
of Guru Nanak, defies classification. The Janamsakhis are neither 
hagiographies 1 nor biographies. In fact it is implicit within the word 
janamsakhi that these are no more than compilations of anecdotes about 
the life of Guru Nanak. At best they can be called “anthologies of the 
stories told of his life.” 2 One is sometimes inclined to place them at par 
with the four gospels, appearing at the beginning of the New Testament. 
The Sikh multitude revered the janamsakhi as “good news” (Sakhisf of 
Guru Nanak. Like the four ‘Gospels’, the various Janamsakhis were initially 
not looked upon as rivals of each other but as parallel versions of the 
anecdotes concerning the life of Guru Nanak and were not written 
primarily in the interest of history in the modern sense of the word. On 
the other hand, literature was produced to foster the faith of the Sikhs in 
Guru Nanak and his teachings. But it is interesting to discern; after careful 
appraisal of the janamsakhis that compilers of these janamsakhis strove 
hard to lend authenticity and historical credibility to the anecdotes related 
by them by inserting quotations from the hymns of Guru Nanak (and his 
successors) enshrined in the Guru Granth (whose authenticity remains 
unimpaired) or even narrating the anecdotes as eye-witness accounts. 
Therefore it can be surmised that the janamsakhis are based upon facts but 
they were written from the standpoint of ‘faith’. Therefore any antithesis, 
presented between Nanak of faith 4 and Nanak of history shall always 
remain misleading. 5 

The rise of the Sikh power in the Punjab in the last three decades of 

1. “Life and Critical Study of Lives of Saints”, see Random House Websters College Dictionary, p. 

583 (1997). 

2. Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia, p. 1291 (2001). 

3. “Gospel denotes primarily the ‘good news’ of Christianity,” see Encyclopaedia Britannica, 

Vol. 10, p. 536 (1957 edition). 

4. Some prefer to address Nanak of faith as Nanak Nirankari. 

5. Who Mcleod, Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion, p. 68, Oxford University Press, 1968. 


eighteenth century aroused interest in the history of the Sikhs as people; 
who began to be looked upon as serious contenders for power in the north 
west of India. But emergence of Sikhism ‘as a new system of religion’ was 
hardly noticed by these writers. They only familiarised themselves with 
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh faith as ‘a man of more than common 
genius’ who successfully contended with the furious bigotry of Muslims 
and the deep-rooted superstition of Hindus.” 6 But the process of historical 
investigation of Sikh literature particularly the Janamsakhis started with 
the discovery and translation of Puratan Janamsakhi which Ernest Trump 
described as “fountain from which all the others (Janamsakhis) have been 
drawn largely.” 7 However, Karam Singh was the first among the Sikh 
scholars who took to serious (sceptic in the modern terminology) historical 
scrutiny of Bala Janamsakhi to prove that it was a Hindali version of Guru 
Nanak’s tradition and boldly published his findings in his famous book 
Kafak Ke Visakh in 1908. He earned the ire of ‘traditionalists’ and his 
book was withdrawn from sale. But Karam Singh had conclusively proved 
that Bala Janamsakhi was full of interpolations and had been written to 
extol Hindal Niranjania. 8 Earlier to this, in 1904 A.D., Sewa Ram Singh 
the first biographer of Guru Nanak had stated in preface to his book 
A. Critical Study of the Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak Dev: “materials 
at our disposal are very chaotic and misleading” and of the numerous 
versions of Tala Janamsakhi, “none appears to be quite authentic.” 9 
Thereafter, M.A. Macauliffe scanned all the then extant versions of 
Janamsakhis and found therein fictitious narrations. He gave preference 
to the Puratan version because as he put it; “it contains much less 

6. J.S. Grewal, Gum Nanak in western Scholarship, p. 4,1.I.A.S., Shimla, 1992. 

7. Ernest Trump, The Adi Granth, II, reprint, New Delhi, 1970. 

8. Hindal was a devotee of Guru Amar Das who became prominent during the pontificate 

of Guru Ram Das. For his devotion and dedicated service he was blessed by the 
Gum as Masand (a preacher, deputy). He settled in his native village Jandiala (Amritsar) 
and made many disciples who came to be called Hindalis or Niranjanias (the insulated 
ones). After his death, his son deviated from the Guru’s path and his few followers 
became an heretic sect. It is believed that it was during the period of Bidhi Chand that 
those of his followers who stuck to him compiled a Granth and a Janamsakhi with a 
view to extol Hindal and denigrate the foundet Sikh Guru. Macauliffe, The Sikhs, Vol. 
I (XXXI), Amritsar, 2000, see also Karam Singh, IVytak ke Visakh (Punjabi), 131, 
Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana, n.d. 

9. Sewa Ram Singh, The Divine Master, edited by Prithipal Singh Kapur, XII, ABS Publications, 

Jalandhar, 1988. 


mythological matter than any other Gurmukhi life of the Guru and is a 
much more rational, consistent and satisfactory narrative... It is the product 
of legend and tradition which have been thought to be more trustworthy.” 10 
He also pointed out that the details of all the then current Janamsakhis 
appeared to be simply settings for the verses and sayings of Guru Nanak 
by the followers who devised the framework of a biography to exhibit 
them to the populace. 11 In fact he likened them to the four Gospels; perhaps 
because of the fact that the early Christian church accepted the four gospels 
as authentic and the question of their reliability was not raised for many 
centuries. It is interesting to note that Gospel of John claims to be work 
of an eye-witness 12 like the Bala Janamsakhi. Early attempts to delve deep 
into the Janamsakhi tradition and assess its historical authenticity have 
been characterised as rationalistic with a view to assert that miracles 
associated with the name of Guru Nanak were not miraculous at all but 
events misinterpreted by the devotees. 13 Khazan Singh’s History and 
Philosophy of Sikh Religion which appeared in 1914, gave more attention to 
examination of source material; then available to him. Although Khazan 
Singh was inclined to give credence to the Bala Janamsakhi but he took full 
cognizance of the heretical Hindali interpolations. He comes to the 
conclusion that Janamsakhis that “we possess are not free from defects” 
and advises a careful study before their being accepted as source materials. 14 

The spread of western education and on-set of renaissance among 
the Sikhs in the early parts of twentieth century; led to the quest for what 
can now he termed as empirical and contemporary historical evidence. In the 
process, the Guru’s own compositions enshrined in the Guru Granth came to 
be accepted as impeccable contemporary account. Here the only question 
that remained was that of identifying the historical references and their 
interpretation. The first and the eleventh vars of Bhai Gurdas (who wrote 

10. M.A. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, IXXXVII Vol. I, 2000 (Reprint). 

11. Ibid., op.dt. 

12. Humpherty Catpenter,/i?t»j-, p. 16, Oxford University Press, 1980. 

13. Kanar Singh argues at length that miracles remain a pan of all religious systems and they 

need to be understood in the light of available evidence. See Kanar Singh, Guru 
Nanak Dev-Tift and Teachings, Appendix B, Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana, n.d. 

14. Khazan Singh, Histoiy and Philosopljy of the Sikh Religion, Pan I, pp. 20-21, Lahore 1914. 


these only a little over sixty years after the death of Guru Nanak) contain 
only cryptic account of the life of Guru Nanak which some scholars like 
to take as authentic’s while others describe the same as “very brief and 
least satisfactory.” 16 Bhai Gurdas’s reference to Guru Nanak’s visit to 
Mecca, Medina and Baghdad has been corroborated by the discovery of 
an inscription at Baghdad in 1918 but various versions of the translations 
of this inscription (original supposed be in Arabic, Turkish, Ottomon 
Turkish or an admixture of Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages) have 
come to the fore. It is interesting to note that except one, any of these 
translations has not excluded the mention of Baba Nanak therein. 1 The 
discovery of another inscription in the archaeological museum, 
Anuradhpura (Sri Lanka) has lent new dimensions to the existence of 
evidence pertaining the anecdote recorded in the Janamsakhis regarding 
Guru Nanaks’ visit to Sri Lanka. 18 All in all, the Janamsakhis remain with 
us the most important as well as most voluminous sources of information 
about Guru Nanak. There is hardly any doubt that a very strong oral 
tradition of Guru Nanak remained current among the people of the places 
visited by the Guru in and outside India. The Janamsakhi tradition provides 
us with numerous anecdotes that describe the travels of Guru Nanak to 
far off places and his discourses with the learned men of different faiths, 
that go to prove that of all the world prophets. Guru Nanak was the most 
travelled person and this speaks volumes for his zeal for dissemination of 
his divine doctrine within India and in countries thousands of miles away 
from his homeland. 19 These are the factors that have kept the interest of 
not only the historians but the literati also, focussed on the Janamsakhis. 
This led to the un-earthing of numerous versions of Janamsakhis and some 
apocryphal literature on this pattern. The publication of Miharban’s Goshts 

15. Khushwant Singh^A History of the Sikhs, Vol. I. p. 301, Oxford University Press, 1981. 

16. WHo Mcleod, GuruNanakandtheSikhReligion, p. 29, Oxford University Press, 1968. 

17. Dr. WL. Menage’s translation of the inscription quoted by Mcleod remains inherently 

weak as Mr. Menage clearly states “I regret I am unable to suggest the correct reading, 
but Baba Nanak seems to me to be excluded.” (see Mcleod, G/tmNanak andTheSikh 
Religion, p. 132). 

18. Saddha Mangala Karuna Ratna, “Guru Nanak and Ceylone” in Harbans Singh (ed.), 

Perspectives on GuruNanak, 326-27, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1975. Also see, Sangat 
Singh, The Sikhs in History, 17 (footnote 14), Uncommon Books, New Delhi, 1996. 

19. Ganda Singh (ed.), Sources on the Tift andTeachings of GuruNanak. p. 15, Punjabi University, 

Patiala. 1969. 


under the title: Janamsakhi Miharban (edited by Kirpal Singh) lent a new 
dimension to the study of Janamsakhi tradition and widened its scope. As 
we delve deep into the mass of this material, we are inclined to believe 
and correctly so, that the purpose of compilation of Janamsakhis was neither 
to record history of Guru Nanak nor to provide an exegesis of the Bani 
(hymns) of Guru Nanak. The real motive was to transmit information to 
the younger generations about the ‘wonderful’ personality of Guru Nanak 
and to tell them that Guru Nanak revealed to the world a unique and 
enlightened faith that preached the doctrine of unity and supremacy of 
God, True Name (Namj and service (Daja Dharam). 20 This will bring us to 
the conclusion that the Janamsakhis resent a distinct type of religio-legendary 
literature wherein the ingredients of historical evidence lie embedded deep 
underneath. This fact needs to be emphasized because the age of Guru 
Nanak falls within the period of historical light. 

The thrust of earliest studies on the Janamsakhis was to reach—out to 
the earliest of the versions. A number of manuscripts were unearthed and 
published but search could not go beyond the Puratan tradition. The 
manuscript which became the basic document for most renditions that are 
now current as Puratan Janamsakhis was made available by India Office 
Library to Dr. Ernest Trump when he was working on Inis translation of 
the Adi Granth. 21 Subsequently its copies became available in the Punjab 
also. Bhai Vir Singh the celebrated Sikh scholar attempted to present a 
standardised version of the same. The first edition of this Puratan 
Janamsakhi was published in 1926. However, the work on historical analysis 
of the Janamsakhi tradition started with Sewa Ram Singh in 1904 (Study of 
the Life and Teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev, the Founder of Sikhism) 
followed by The Divine Master (1930) about which it has been rightly said 
that “The outline of Guru Nanaks’ life that emerges from Sewa Ram Singh’s 
sources is clear and plausible.” 22 This will lead us to conclude that a format 
for historical investigation of the Janamsakhis had been prepared despite 
the persistence of confusion 

20. W.H. Mcleod (ed). The ¥>\0 Janamsakhi, 110, GNDU, Amritsar, 1980, Early Sikh Tradition, 

pp. 240-43, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980. 

21. Ernest Trump, A-di Granth, II, reprint, New Delhi, 1970. 

22. J,S. Grewal, Contestinglnterpretations of the Sikh Tradition, p. 62, Manohar Publishers and 

Distributors, 1998. 


regarding dates where external evidence could be used. As for 
ascertaining the efficacy of travels, there was scope for surmise based on 
geographical position of the places visited. The intensive study of the 
Janamsakhis continued along the above lines until 1966; when Dr. Kirpal 
Singh was entrusted with a major but challenging project, to decipher the 
historical content in the Janamsakhi tradition and Professor Harbans Singh 
was asked to undertake the arduous task of producing a perceptive 
biography of Guru Nanak. It is noteworthy that both of these projects 
were conceived before the publication of Dr. WH. McLeods’, Guru Nanak 
and the Sikh Religion which appeared in 1968. The publication of the 
works of Dr. Kirpal Singh and Professor Harbans Singh mark the on-set 
of a new era in study of Janamsakhi tradition and historiography of Guru 
Nanak. For the first time a three pronged approach was applied by Dr. 
Kirpal Singh to verify the historicity of Guru Nanak’s travels which form 
a major part of the Janamsakhi tradition: (a) scrutiny of tradition as per 
historical situations, (b) identification of shrines raised at various places 
to commemorate the visits of the Guru, (c) verification of the trade routes 
of the early sixteenth country. This was perhaps the first rigorous exercise 
undertaken at an historical analysis of the Janamsakhi tradition with the 
institutional support. The current four traditions were accordingly 
compared and assessed. Significantly, we find Professor Harbans Singh 
also applying a similar rigorous methodology while confronting the 
Janamsakhi’s tradition as historical sources. He came to the conclusion that 
“persisting contrariety on incidental details need not affect the essential 
veracity of Guru Nanaks’ picture which can be recreated with a fair degree 
of certainty.” 23 

Meanwhile fresh developments were taking place in the west that 
were to have far reaching effect on the complexion of Sikh historiography. 
It was the time when hordes of Sikhs were migrating to Britain. Jagrar 
Singh Grewal, a lecturer from Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College, 
Ludhiana went to Britain during this very period; not to make a fortune 
but to pursue studies. He chose to join the School of Oriental and 
African Studies (SOAS), London University. He stayed in Britain for 
about six years and completed his doctoral work on ‘Muslim Rule in 

23. Harbans Singh, Guru Nanak and Origins of the Sikh Faith, p. 33, Asia Publishing House, 
Bombay, 1969. 


India: Assessment of British Historians’. It was his grounding and 
assiduous work on medieval India that enabled him to bring out his 
monograph on ‘Guru Nanak in History’ in the quincentennial year of Guru 
Nanak’s birth (1969). A year earlier another student of the SOAS, Hew 
McLeod had brought out ‘Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion’ (a revised 
version of his thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy) 
which according to him; “raised anguish and outrage” among the “more 
devout and loyal members of the Panth.” 24 The entry of Grewal and 
McLeod into the field of Sikh studies set a new trend in Sikh 
historiography. Grewal always remains cautious and restrained in 
pronouncing his judgements on matters sensitive. Nonetheless he never 
hesitates to lay stress on the importance of contemporary accounts, 
empirical evidence as also modern research methodology. McLeod, on the 
other hand pronounces loudly that he had to apply ‘a certain range of 
techniques for a scholarly analysis. His methodology has been carried 
forward by Pashaura Singh and Harjot Singh Oberoi. All three of them 
follow the same methodology deftly but with what results? While rejecting 
most of the anecdotes of tradition recorded in the Janamsakhis, the 
‘Sceptical’ historian in McLeod remains unsure about his own conclusions 
e.g. about the Haridwar visit of Guru Nanak he says “the rejection of the 
actual incident does not however mean that the Guru was never in 
Haridwar.” 25 Similar conclusions are drawn about the Kashmir visit of the 
Guru. McLeod seems to suggest that the Guru might have been to Haridwar 
for a pilgrimage like any other Hindu-a cotention which cannot find support 
from any circumstantial evidence. About visits to other Hindu pilgrim 
centres like Allahabad, Benaras, Jagannath Puri, Rameshwaram and Ujjain, 
McLeod again states “we cannot however assume that Guru Nanak did 
not visit any of these places.” About Nanakmatta (Gorakhmatta earlier), 
he also takes the same position viz; “the possibility that the area was visited 
by Guru Nanak cannot be ruled out completely.” 26 As for Guru Nanak’s 
visit to Mecca, McLeod prefers to call it ‘a possibility but a remote one’. 27 
The inscription testifying the visit of Guru Nanak to Baghdad is rejected 

24. W.H. Mcleod, HxploringSikhism, pp. 267-68,0.4. Oxford University Press, 2000. 

25. Ibid., p. 90, op.dt. 

26. Ibid., pp. 85, 88, op.dt. 

27. Ibid., p. 125, op.dt. 


on the basis of translation of the inscription and the conclusion of analysis 
of this tradition provided by WL. Menage a Reader in Turkish at the School 
of Oriental and Mrican studies. Again it still remains a ‘possibility’ but 
‘unsubstantiated’. 28 To our good luck, McLeod refrains from finding fault 
with Guru Nanak’s eye-witness account; Babur Vani, of devastation caused 
by Babur’s invasions although he remains fiddling with the evidence to 
relate it to either of the three different invasions of Babur in 1520, 1524 
or 1526. 29 In conclusion, McLeod accepts the historical identity of Guru 
Nanak, his stay at Sultanpur, Inis employment with Daulat Khan Lodhi; 
his having received a divine call at Sultanpur and after that undertaking 
long travels within India and ‘perhaps beyond’. He says that it is not possible 
to determine the extent or pattern of the travels but he accepts that Guru 
Nanak visited ‘more important centres of Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage’. 
McLeod also examines the events of foundation of Kartarpur on the bank 
of river Ravi (now in Pakistan) and nomination of Lehna as successor and 
accepts them as historical facts. The style and methodology adopted for 
examination of the Janamsakhi tradition brings forth two questions: (a) 
whether the only job of a ‘sceptical historian’ is to pursue the task in a 
negative fashion; (b) whether methodology is the be all and end all of 
historical research. McLeod’s students, Pashaura Singh and Harjot Singh 
Oberoi follow him literally. The former applied McLeod’s theory of 
evolution to the textual study of Adi Granth and the later looked at the 
transformation of Sanatan (literally ancient, essentially a word used in 
Brahmanical terminology) Sikh tradition or what he calls ‘pluralist tradition’ 
into ‘an orderly, pure singular form of Sikhism’. 30 Harjot pursued his 
research at the Australian National University but it carries the imprint of 
London University School of Oriental and African Studies methodology 
as it was closely monitored by Hew McLeod. It is noteworthy that Harjot 
fails to identify and appreciate the first step with regard to demarcation of 
distinct ‘religious boundaries’ taken by the founder of Sikhism himself 
with the nomination of Guru Angad as his successor and his refusal to 
recognise the Hindu Pantheon in his religious scheme. On the other hand, 

28. W.H. Mcleod. Exploring Sikhism, p. 132. 0.4. Oxford University Press. 2000. 

29. Ibid., p. 138, op.dt. 

30. Harjot Singh Oberoi. The Construction of Religious Boundaries, p. 421, Oxford University 

Press, 1997. 


he says, the process of demarcation of religious boundaries started with a 
“dramatic change that came about with the rise of the Khalsa in the 
eighteenth century; sections of the Sikh population now began to push for 
a distinct and separate religious culture.” 31 The fallacy of this statement 
shall be well understood if a reference is made to Mobid’s observations in 
his Dabistan-i-Ma^ahib written in the seventeenth century. He says, “To be 
brief, Nanak’ followers scorn images. Their belief is that all the Gurus are 
Nanak as has been said above. They do not recite mantras of the Hindus 
and they do not pay respect to their idol temples. They do not count avtars 
for anything. They do not have any attachment to Sanskrit, which the 
Hindus call the language of angels.” 32 Also, a close study of the Janamsakhis, 
sufficiently reveals the anxiety of the compilers to lay stress on the distinct 
identity and superiority of Nanak’s faith and they frequently bring in the 
Hindu legendary accounts only to prove their hypothesis. However, the 
heretical versions like that of the Hindalis played havoc to denigrate the 
original Janamsakhi tradition. 33 This emerging school of Sikh historiographers 
from the School of Oriental and African studies, London University should 
have taken these important factors into consideration before characterising 
all the janamsakhis as hagiographies devoid of historical elements. No doubt 
Sikh history is only 500 years old, yet the critical or so to say the ‘sceptical 
historian’ equipped with modern methodology, needs to take into account, 
the earlier concepts of history as ‘accumulation of records’ and ‘story 
telling’ besides the dominance of Christian historiography that prevailed 
throughout the middle ages. 

It is in this backdrop that we should define a ‘traditionist’ or a ‘sceptic’ 
historian, the ‘historical method’ or ‘scholarly method’ as applicable to 
Sikh historiography. In the early twentieth century; we come across 
western educated Sikh officers/lawyers and some enthusiasts like 
Karam Singh imbued with intrinsic zeal for historical investigation, 
embarking on the path of constructing a reliable but objective narrative 
of Sikh history. It is wrong to presume that these pioneers ‘put their trust 

31. Harjot Singh Oberoi. The Construction of Religious Boundaries, p. 24, Oxford University 

Press. 1997. 

32. Sikhism and the Sikhs (1645-46) from Mobid, Dabistan-i-Ma^ahib (Trans, by Irfan Habib); 

J . S. Grewal and Irfan Habib (ed.) Sikh History from Persian Sources, p. 66. Tulika. New 

Delhi 2001. 

33. Khazan Singh. History and Philosophy of the Sikh Religion, p. 13. 


in tradition’ and that the material handed down by tradition was never 
subjected to ‘rigorous scrutiny’. Sewa Ram Singh, Khazan Singh and Karam 
Singh all ventured to critically analyse the Janamsakhi tradition. Karam 
Singh’s anxiety to insist on contemporary documentary evidence is also 
evident from his work on Banda Bahadur published in 1905. 34 In this regard 
the application of methodology also comes into play to bring forth 
disagreements. May be, that “every fact requires believable evidence to 
support” is an ideal position for the ‘sceptic historian’ but here the word 
‘believable’ will carry relative meaning, connotation and perception for 
individual historians dealing with facts and evidence. The fixation with 
McLeod is; ‘I cannot possibly (like the traditional historians) call them 
Janamsakhzs) biographies’. But here the question arises whom does McLeod 
brand ‘traditional historians’ and which of the ‘traditionalist historians’ 
(possibly he means Sikh historians) has insisted or even tried to prove that 
Janamsakhis are biographies of Guru Nanak in the modern sense? The 
only point to be noted here is that janamsakhis are looked upon as repository 
of early Sikh tradition that is embedded within the Panth. They are open 
to scrutiny and historical analysis but every component of the tradition 
need not be analysed and rejected only to prove a hypothesis. 

Also, a scholar from the SOAS, London, J.S. Grewal has extensively 
worked on almost every period of Sikh history. He started by trying to 
place Guru Nanak in historical perspective. A glance at the contents of 
his book Gum Nanak in History will bear out the premise. His understanding 
and analysis grounded in modern methodology is more explicit. He asserts 
that Guru Nanak was ‘an originator and a founder’. 35 His work on Contesting 
Interpretations of the Sikh Tradition (published in 1998) seeks to assess the 
entire gamut of research work on Sikh tradition. A close reading of this 
work reveals Grewal’s anxiety to define what he calls ‘modern 
methodology.’ In the process, he fails to concur with Mcleod’s theory of 
evolution and transformation. He finds that ‘McLeods’ interpretation 
(Evolution of the Sikh Community) had a serious flaw 

as he made the simplistic assumption that Guru Nanak’s mission 

34. For details see Prithipal Singh Kapur, Historiography of Banda Singh Bahadur, as Ediror’s 

note in Sohan Singh, Lift and Exploits of Banda Singh Bahadur, Punjabi University, 
Patiala, 2000. 

35. J.S. Grewal, Guru Nanak in History, p. 236. Panjab University, Chandigarh, 1969. 


was the same as that of the Bhakt. 36 But he looks at the work of Mcleod 
on Sikh tradition (Janamsakhis) as representing historical methodology. 37 It 
is strange that Grewal did not come across or he preferred not to take note 
of Kirpal. Singh’s important work Janamsakhi Prampra (first published In 
1969) which appeared almost simultaneously with his own work; Guru 
Nanak in History and was preceded by McLeod’s Guru Nanak and the Sikh 
Peligion. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that work was produced in Punjabi. 
Kirpal Singh did not undertake the project either to contest the 
interpretations of Mcleod or refute his conclusions. It was pursued 
independently. In his foreward to the work, Professor Kirpal Singh Narang, 
the then Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University wrote “the purpose of 
the project was to critically analyse the Janamsakhi tradition with a view to 
discover the elements of historicity contained therein and more so to present 
before the people a historical Janamsakhi. ’’This challenging task took Kirpal 
Singh to many places within India and Sri Lanka. And as stated above; 
Kirpal Singh evolved his own methodology to accomplish the arduous 
task which is decidedly analytical and is aimed at search for historical 
content in the Sikh tradition. But Kirpal Singh refraim; from becoming 
negatively ‘sceptical’. His work also takes care of the available 
corroboratory evidence besides ensuring that no inconvenient evidence is 
suppressed. Consequently, he rejects many an anecdote found in the 
Janamsakhis. He demonstrates full well that the scholars/historians branded 
as ‘traditionalists’ (by the scholars avowedly committed to modern 
historical methodology), are fully conscious of the demands of the modern 
historical methodology but they are not inclined to subscribe to the negative 
‘sceptical approach’. This also explains how Jagtar Singh Grewal also a 
product of School of Oriental and Afro-Asian studies manages to pursue 
his methodology and at the same time remains conscious about the 
sensibilities of the faithful without in any way compromising with the 
results of his research. It is however regretted that Grewals’ Contesting 
Interpretations of the Sikh Tradition could not carry a fuller assessment of 
the work on Sikh tradition. It appears, he intended only to defend McLeod’s 
thesis in his typical style. Therefore, it was left to Dr. Kirpal Singh himself 

36. J.S. Grewal, Contesting Interpretations of Sikh Tradition, p. 125. Manohar Publishers and 

Distriburors, 1998. 

37. Ibid, p. 18. 


to present before the scholarly world, the findings of his assiduous research 
as Janamsakhi Tradition: An Analytical Study’. On my part, I feel honoured 
for having been entrusted with the onerous and inspiring task of editing 
this remarkable study of the Janamsakhi tradition and appending an 
introduction thereto. I am sure this study will inspire many a scholar and 
lead to a more fruitful and objective study of the early Sikh tradition. 

10-C, Raj Guru Nagar Prithipl Singh Kapur 

Ludhiana - 141 012 
March 15, 2003 



Genesis of the 
Janamsakhi Tradition 

The Janamsakhi tradition had its origin with attempts to compile 
popular anecdotes connected with the life of Guru Nanak (1469-1539), 
the founder of Sikhism. These collections were compiled during the 17- 
19th centuries in Punjabi language (Gurumukhi script). It is not fair to 
compare a Janamsakhi with biography as a literary genre which is of recent 
origin wherein attempts are made to portray the important events and 
influences that shaped the life of an individual from his birth to the last 
day of his life and also endeavours to assess his/her works and contribution 
to human life. The Janamsakhis cannot be categorised as earliest attempts 
at preparing biographical accounts of the life of Guru Nanak either. They 
fall in a different category as regards its form and content because they 
seek to present the life of the Guru in the form of Platonion dialogues 
highlighting Inis teachings through the medium of ancedotes delineating 
his spiritual greatness. 

Alfred Lyall states that the first impulse which brought forth the stories 
of great men was based on the element of amazement at their marvellous 
deeds. At that point of time mankind had not developed the critical faculty 
of discriminating between fact and fiction, as well as right or wrong. People 
usually accepted as true and authentic whatever was related to them about 
the deeds of gods or heroes. As such “the hazy atmosphere, marvellous 
and miraculous obscures the early origin of race and religion clouds the 
beginning of history.” 1 However, this state of affairs did not last long. The 
concept of authentic history began to emerge slowly out of the sea of 
fables and gradually things which appeared natural and acceptable to elder 
generation became incredible or improbable. The awe and 

1. Alfred Lyall, Asiatic Studies, Religious and Social, Vol. VI, p. 326. 


amazement phenomenon was superseded by a taste for an accurate 
thought and empirical evidence. However “historian’s point of view is 
one of the mankind’s more recent acquisitions.” 2 3 

It is however certain that legends about the great savants and heroes 
of the past form the earliest source of information. A man who made his 
mark in a generation and who outdistanced the rest in bravery, piety or 
some peculiar powers of mind or body became the source and subject of 
legend among the unlettered. These legends rescued and transmitted to 
posterity were what could come down to us out of the flood of deep 
oblivion. Thus, however exaggerated or complicated a legend might be, it 
was surely based on a kernal of truth. At times that kernal even might 
seem to be insignificant. To us, sometimes the attending circumstances 
make the situation look complicated. This can be explained by an example 
from Indian history. In a part of Rajputana, the Minas (an aboriginal tribe) 
used to worship the pig. When they took a turn towards Islam, they changed 
their pig into a saint called Father Adam and worshipped the animal as 
such. When the brahmins came to have influence over them, the pig became 
identified with the famous Boar, an incarnation of Vishnu and was named 
Varaha? This led to the development of symbolism. The animal fables of 
Aesop and the Punch Ttmtar stories are landmarks in the symbolic literature. 
During the medieval period, religion being a dominant force brought a 
new type of symbolism to indicate the spiritual progress of an individual. 
Muntkul Tahir and Gita Govinda can be quoted as fine specimens of this 
type of literature during the 12th and 13th centuries. Therefore while 
studying any piece of religious literature and for that matter the Janamsakhis, 
one has to keep in mind the state of contemporary religious literature and 
its stage of development. 

The tradition about Guru Nanak got current when he was still alive. 
The contemporaries began to talk about his itineraries, his visits to Mecca, 
Madina and Baghdad, his discourses with the Pirs of Uch and Makhdunes 
of Multan, his religious debates with Gorakhpanthis and Pandits (Hindu 
wise men) of Kurukshetra and Kashi. With all this, began a process that 
brought into being, what we now describe as continuing tradition of Guru 

2. Anjoid Toynbee, An Historian’s Approach to Religion, p. 3. 

3. Alfred Lyall. Asiatic Studies, Religious and Social, Vol. VI, pp. 50-51. 


The Muslims came to India through the north-west and therefore 
Punjab was the first to bear the brunt of Muslim domination. Guru Nanak 
himself described the Muslim domination in his Asa di 1 '/dr: 

In this age people wear blue and is established the rule of Turks and 

Each of the four Vedas have expressed some truth. 

Those studying and expounding them realize what is appropriate 
action from what is inappropriate 

Whoever by practice oflove and devotion takes a humble appellation, 
Saith Nanak, liberation obtains. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 470 

As a result, the tradition of Guru Nanak got influenced by Islamic 
domination. The miracles of Prophet Jesus are found even in the Holy 
Quran, a fact that makes us believe that miracles remain an essential 
attribute of a religious leader-Nabi or Aulija. That is why, we come across 
the accounts of Muslim Pirs and saints replete with portrayal of miracles 
in the Janamsakhis. Among the most widely known books of Guru Nanak’s 
times, were Kashaful-Mahjub and Ta^kara-i-Aulija. The writer of Kashaful- 
Mahjub was Abu-ul—Hasan Hajwari (1009-1072 A.D.), also known as Data 
Ganj Baksh. He settled in Lahore and authored this book. It contains 
many miracles. At one place, he wrote that a saint named Abdullah was 
sleeping in the garden under a tree and a snake was fanning him by waiving 
a branch of a bush at him. 4 Similarly, Ta^kara-i-Auliya also contains 
innumerable miracles. The writer of the book is Farid-ud—Din Attar (1119- 
1230 A.D.) whose real name was Shaikh Ibrahim. This book has now been 
published in Lahore wherein we come across many miracles of different 
kinds. It contains a story of an old lady named Rabaya. She makes an 
earnest prayer that she being very weak and old could not walk to the holy 
Ka’ba. In response to her prayers, Ka’ba moved towards her in a far off 
forest. When prophet Ibrahim went to Ka’ba, he found that it was not 
there. 5 There was a time when miracles were taken to be outward signs of 
prophethood or a spiritually elevated person. In the Quran, some miracles 
of Moses are inscribed that led the Muslims to believe that a miracle on 
physical plane is an essential part of an elevated soul. Therefore 

4. Mufrah-ul-Hiqiqat, Urdu translation of Kashafnl-Majub, Lahore, 1945, p. 43. 

5. Ta^kara-i-Auliya, Urdu translation by Hakim Mohammad and Abdul Rashid, Lahore. 


the accounts of the supernatural or miracles have found their way into the 
Janamsakhis under the influence of Islamic religious literature. Besides, 
the miracles of the supernatural constituted the main features of medieval 
religious literature. Apart from the Islamic literature, we come across 
miracles in the Vaishnava literature as well. How Prahlad was saved from 
fire and miracles of the like can be cited as examples. Bhai Gurdas has 
significantly described the miracles of rogis and Sidhas in his first var: 

The Jogis changed their bodies into those of lions, leoprads, etc. 

Someone wore wings and began to fly in the blue sky like a bird, 

Someone became a cobra making hissing sounds, 

While some other went mad and rained fire. 

BhangarNath snatched stars from the heaven. 

Some others flew and floated on water. 6 

Guru Arjan and Traditions of Guru Nanak 

Various traditions about Guru Nanak continued in circulation up till 
the time of Guru Arjan (1581-1606 A.D.). When Guru Arjan met Mughal 
Emperor Akbar at Goindwal, he is said to have narrated the following 
popular story of Guru Nanak. It maybe necessary to mention here that 
Abul Fazal has recorded the meeting of Guru Arjan with Emperor Akbar 
in the Akbar-Nama. 8 

When one day Guru Angad made a request to Guru Nanak to be 
pleased to visit a jungle. Guru Baba (Nanak) came to the jungle, 
nearby Kartarpur. Then Guru Baba, along with his Sikhs, walked 
through the jungle. Then his Sikhs said, “Gracious Babaji, we are 
thirsty.” Babaji said, “Are you really thirsty ?” They replied, “Yes 
our Lord, very thirsty.” Then Guru Nanak said, “What should we 
do. There is no Ganges nearby.” Soon there was heard a sound like 
storm and water came out gushing and bubling. Then Guru Nanak 
asked the Sikhs, “If you are thirsty, drink water.” The Sikhs drank 
water and took bath also. Other people who were also there, said, 
“There was earlier no water in this jungle, wherefrom this river has 
now emerged.” Then those onlookers went forward to find out. Guru 
Nanak said, “They are sightseers, they would make noise.” Then 
Guru Nanak lifted his hand, waved it backward. All those people 
went back. None could go forward. 

6. Varan Bhai Gurdas, I. 41. 

7. Miharban, Janamsakhi Guru Nanak Dev, Vol. II, Amritsar, p. 137. 

8. AkbarNamah, Lucknow, Vol. Ill, p. 514. 


It is not our subject here to discuss or determine which Ganges it 
was and how it came forth gushing. From this account it can be transpired 
that tradition concerning Guru Nanak had not been put to pen by that 
time. It is probable that these sakhis were written after the compilation of 
Guru Grant.h Sahib by Guru Arjan in 1604 A.D. A large number of Guru 
Nanak’s hymns found quoted in the Janamsakhis could not be available to 
any writer of the janamsakhis before that. No doubt hymns of Guru Nanak 
were very much on the lips of the Sikh devotees and were recited in the 
congregations but still only a few of the hymns could be committed to 
memory by devotees. Before compilation of Guru Granth Sahib, the hymns 
were not available in large numbers in written form. This can easily be 
verified from the fact that Guru Ram Das himself transcribed Guru Nanak’s 
Jap// which became the basic document for transcription of Japu in the 
Sikh scripture. That is why in some of the old manuscripts of the Guru 
Granth Sahib, a prominent insertion Japu Nishan Guru Ram Das is found 
written at the start of the Japu. The fact that janamsakhis and other related 
works came into existence after the compilation of the scripture in 1604 
is irrefutably established by the oldest available copy of janamsakhi of 
Bhai Bala, dated 1658 A.D., which includes the hymns of Guru Arjan. 
There are many hymns of Guru Arjan in the Puratan janamsakhi as well. If 
these Janamsakhis had been compiled/written earlier, these could not have 
contained the hymns of Guru Arjan. 

Many a prevalent tradition of Guru Nanak found their way into the 
Guru Granth Sahib one way or the other, var Ramkali by Satta and Balwand 
is included in the scripture. Satta and Balwand were contemporaries of 
Guru Angad and were famous Gurbani singers (Kirtanias) of the time. They 
were brothers. Satta lived up to the time of Guru Hargobind. He used to 
compose pauris or stanzas in praise of each Guru at the time of his 
succession. Internal evidence in the writself suggests that it was composed 
during the pontificate of Guru Angad. This var contains some of the 
traditions of Guru Nanak Dev. For example it says: 

The Master to the Disciple made obeisance. 

With Nanak still alive: 

While living himself, the Master drew on Angad’sftrehead the paste mark. 

- Guru Granth Sahib,p. 967 

Guru Nanak taught his followers to lead a detached life even while 


living in riches (Anjun-mahen-Niranjan). This was known in the Hindu 
terminology as Rajyoga. The mythological Raja Janak was accepted as the 
ideal Rajyogi. His Bishan Padas were commonly recited among the Hindus 
of Punjab. The influence of such Hindu literature made the tradition of 
Guru Nanak susceptible to mythological colouring and Guru Nanak began 
to be projected as the incarnation of Raja Janak. Dabistan-i-Magahib written 
in the 17th century states that Guru Nanak was accepted as the incarnation 
of Raja Janak. This statement is a mis-representation that seems to have 
been made by getting information from such quarters which ever remained 
anxious to place Guru Nanak and his faith within the orbit of Hinduism. 
The position is made clear in one of the svaiyyas sung in praise the Guru 
Nanak by Kalh one of the Bhatts (traditional bards or panegyrists who 
recited poetry in praise of warriors or rulers. In Sikh terminology, Bhatts 
are those spiritually exalted people who sang the praise of the Gurus), as 
enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib: 

Of the Supreme Preceptor, ocean of joy, eraser of sins, 

Pool of the holy Word I sing laudation. 

His laudation sing too in deep meditation men of profound poise, 
oceans of wisdom, 

Yogis and wandering hermits. 

His laudation sing too Indra and gods, 

devotees like Prahlad Who of spiritual joy have tasted. 

Saith the bard Kala: Noble laudation sing I of Guru Nanak, 

Who Raja-Yoga practised. 

Janak and the rishis, 

Supreme Yogis united to God sing too laudation of the Guru, 

Perfectly endued with joy in God, master of all faculties- 

His laudation is sung by those who by guileful maya are not beguiled, 

By Brahma’s sons, 

by the holy and accomplished Yogis too is sung. 

His laudation is sung too by Dhoma Nshi and by Dhruva of 
immutable station, 

Who joy of devotion have tasted. 

Saith the bard Kala : Noble laudation sing I of Guru Nanak, 

Who Raja-Yoga practised. 

His laudation sing rishis like Kapila, Supreme Yogis 
And the endless line of divine incarnations. 

His laudation sing too Jamdagani’s son Parshuram 
Whose strength of arm and axe Rama, glory of the Raghu clan 


His laudation sing too Udhav. Akroor and Bidur 
Who the Lord, pervasive in all selves realized. 

Saith the bard Kala: Noble laudation sing I of Guru Nanak, 

Who Raja-Yoga practised. 

His laudation sing too the four castes, the six-hermit orders 
And deities like Brahma. 

His laudation sings in ecstasy Shesh-Naga with his thousand tongues, 

In unbroken absorption of meditation. 

His laudation sings too Mahadeva the ascetic 
Who endlessly has meditated. 

Saith the bard Kala: Noble laudation sing I of Guru Nanak, 

Who Raja-Yoga practised. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1389 

For the sake of better understam;ling, it seems appropriate to give 
below the translation by Manmohan Singh as well : 

Single-mindedly contemplate thou thy Lord, the Bestower of blessings. He is the 
Support of the saints and is ever manifest. Grasping His feet I enshrine them in my 

Then sing I the praises of the most exalted Guru Nanak. I sing the praise of the 
most sublime Guru, the ocean of bliss, the destroyer of sin and the fountain 
of the Lord’s Name. 

Yea, of Him, sing the profound, the sober and the supremely wise, The Yogis and 
the wandering saints also reflect upon him. 

Indra and the like and the saints like Prahlad, who realise the spiritual 
bliss, sing the praise of Guru Nanak. 

Kal, the poet, sings the sublime praise of Gum Nanak who enjoys both the 
temporal and spiritual kingdoms. 

Kingjanak and the great Yogis of the God’s way, sing the praise of the Omnipotent 
Guru Nanak, who is brimful with the Lord’s elixir. 

Janak and the like, saints, adepts etc. and the silent sages sing and chant the praises 
of Guru Nanak, whom mammon, the deceiver, can deceive not. 

Dhoma, the saint, immovable is whose realm, sings’ the praise of Guru Nanak, 
who realises the love and relish of the Lord’s meditation. 

Kal, the poet, sings the sublime praise of Gum Nanak, who enjoys of the temporal 
and spiritual empires. 

- Guru Granth Sahib (Translation by Manmohan Singh, Vol. 8 ,pp. 4587-88) 

Contribution of Guru Hargobind 

After the compilation of the Guru Granth Sahib, the tradition of Guru 
Nanak became available in written form. This was the time of Guru 
Hargobind (1606-1644 A.D.) who sought to locate and identify the 


historical places connected with the life of Gum Nanak. He himself went 
to places such as Nankana Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi, Nanakmatta and many 
other places which Guru Nanak had visited. It is due to this fact that at 
the places visited by Guru Nanak we find memorial shrines established in 
the honour of Guru Hargobind also. There is a gurdivara in the memory of 
Guru Hargobind at Nankana Sahib. Similar is the case with other towns 
such as Sultanpur Lodhi. The Sikh tradition has it that Maharaja Ranjit 
Singh got traced the site of Guru Nanak’s visit to Srinagar (Kashmir) in 
the fort of Hari Parbat which exists till today. There is a gurdivara in the 
memory of Guru Hargobind outside the Hari Parbat fort. When Guru 
Hargobind came to know that the peepal tree at Nanakmatta (presently in 
district Nainital, Uttaranchal), under which Guru Nanak Dev sat, was set 
ablaze by the yogis of that place, he went there and put vermilion (sindhoor) 
mixed in water in the roots of the tree which helped it regerminate into 
full blossom. 1 ' That peepal tree is full of green leaves even now and is also 
known as Panja Sahib by the followers of the Guru in that area as every 
leaf of the tree is marked with some dots. BUt for these timely measures 
taken by Guru Hargobind, these historical places might have gone into 
oblivion for all times to come. 

Although the tradition of Guru Nanak was put to writing for the 
first time during Guru Hargobind’s time, a more important step was taken 
by Bhai Gurdas. He composed the first Var giving biographical details of 
Guru Nanak. Internal evidence goes to prove beyond doubt that it was 
written in the thirties of 17th century. The reference to Guru Hargobind 
as ‘army-defeating warrior’ indicates that the Var was composed when 
the Guru’s reputation as warrior had been well established. 9 10 

First Var of Bhai Gurdas 

Bhai Gurdas hailed from Basarke in District Amritsar. His father, 
Datar Chand, was the real brother of Guru Amar Das. Therefore, Bhai 
Gurdas was a close relation of the third and the fifth Gurus and was first 
cousin of Bibi Bhani as well. When Guru Amar Das established the town 
of Goindwal, the whole family left Basarke and 

9. Historj of Gurdivara Nanakmatta, Nanakmatta, p. 12. 

10. For more details, see the author’s note in JanamsakhiMiharban, Introduction, p. 82. 


came away to settle at Goindwal. It was at Goindwal that Bhai Gurdas 
was bornin 1558. His mother was Bibijeewani. 11 As he grew up, he devoted 
himself to the propagation of the Sikh faith. He made significant 
contribution as a Sikh preacher during the time of Guru Ram Das, Guru 
Arjan Dev and Guru Hargobind. He acted as scribe when Guru Arjan 
compiled the Sikh scripture. His demise took place at Goindwal in 1637. 12 

Being so close to the house of the Gurus, Bhai Gurdas was well 
aware of the tradition that had enveloped the personality of Guru Nanak. 
At the time of writing his first Var, many Sikhs were alive who had 
themselves witnessed and experienced the glory of Guru Nanak. One 
such person was Baba Buddha. Bhai Gurdas makes a mention of him 
among the Sikhs of Guru Nanak in his eleventh var: 

Jitta Randhawa is a good man and the old Baba Buddha is absorbed in 

Like Bhai Gurdas, Baba Buddha was also very closely associated 
with the house of the Gurus. He used to perform the succession ceremony 
of the Gurus. His death took place during the pontificate of Guru 
Hargobind in 1631 A.D. 

As distinguished Sikhs, Bhai Gurdas and Baba Buddha were very 
close to each other. Baba Buddha was a contemporary of Guru Nanak 
and had been an eye-witness to the great impact of the first Guru. It can 
be easily accepted that whatever Bhai Gurdas recorded about the life of 
Guru Nanak was embedded in the information passed on to him by Baba 
Buddha. In this way, the first Var of Bhai Gurdas, the first written account 
on the life of Guru Nanak, carries the authority of a contemporary source. 

The objective of the composition of this Var is found in the Janamsakhi 
of Bhai Mani Singh: 

Once the Sikhs asked Bhai Mani Singh that since some people 
belonging to small sects have adulterated and assimilated many 
discordant elements in the biography of Guru Nanak, it is necessary 
to separate water (untruth) from the milk (truth). You being the 
Guru’s gifted person, kindly differentiate between the genuine and 
the spurious material. 

11. Bhai Gurdas, Patiala, p. 5. 

12. Bhai Kahn Singh, Mahan Kosh, Patiala, 1970. 


Bhai Mani Singh told the congregation that when the Gum Granth 
Sahib had been compiled, the Sikhs made a request to the Guru that since 
there was no recorded tradition it was apprehended that the Sikhs might 
be misled by some unbecoming narrative getting into the tradition of Guru 
Nanak. Then the Guru asked Bhai Gurdas to compose a var delineating 
the Guru’s life so that the Sikhs might be able to read or listen to the sakhis 
(reverential accounts) which remained in conformity with the teachings 
of the Guru. Thus this var of Bhai Gurdas came into being. 1 ’ It contains 
an account of different events of the life of Guru Nanak. Although it is 
brief and cryptic in style, it contains mention of all the eastern and western 
itineraries of the Guru and confirms that the Guru visited all the places 
of pilgrimages. Mention has also been made of the Guru’s visit to the hills 
in the 28th and 29th stanzas of the var The Sumer Parbat stands for Mer or 
Mem hill about which referneces are found in the vedas and the Puranas. 
Since the ancient period, this had been a very popular resort for the Indian 
mendicants. Merit means Kailash mountain. The 32nd and 33rd stanzas 
contain the account of his visit to Mecca. The Baghdad visit is described 
in the 35th and 36th stanzas. The habitation of Kartarpur is mentioned in 
the 38th stanza: “The Guru came to Kartarpur and put on worldly dress. 
He established his seat to preach his gospel.” One verse from this stanza 
surprisingly resembles with a verse of Satta and Balwand, as included in 
the Guru Granth Sahib. It reveals that the issue of succession had remained 
in focus in those days. The verse is: “The sons did not obey the father and 
showed signs of disobedience.” The preceding verse is: “The Guru made 
Ganges flow backward by giving succession to Guru Angad.” 

The 39th and 43rd stanzas describe the Guru’s visit to Achal near 
Batala and Inis discourse with the Siddhas of that place. The visit to Multan 
is narrated in 44th stanza. The final phase of life of the 
Guru,proclamation at Kartapur, the succession of Bhai Lehna and 
breathing his last are the subject matter of 45th stanza. 

This var can be described as the basic document enshrining the tradition 
of Guru Nanak. It contains that version of tradition which had come to 
be accepted up to the time of Guru Hargobind. 

13. Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhi, Bombay, 1892, p. 12. 


One prevalent belief is that Miharban’s Janamsakhi, which is also 
termed as gosht of Miharban, preceded Bhai Gurdas’ above-mentioned 
var. The janamsakhi by Bhai Mani Singh, also known as Gian Ratnaimli, 
clearly mentions that gosht of Miharban was in existence before the 
compilation of the varhy Bhai Gurdas. We have already quoted the relevant 
reference of Gian Ratnawali in this connection. 

Manohar Das Miharban (1581-1640 A.D.) was the son of Guru 
Arjan’s elder brother, Prithi Chand, and the grandson of Guru Ram Das. 
He took his education under the tutelage of Guru Arjan. He was a great 
writer and musician of the Gurus’ verses (Kirtania) in his own right. Perhaps 
he was the first to make an attempt at the exegesis of the hymns of Guru 
Nanak and explain their spiritual significance in a dialogue form. Being a 
direct descendant of the Guru’s family, he was conversant with the 
traditions of Guru Nanak. This fact gives added significance to his gosht 
or his Janamsakhi from historical point of view. 14 Very few manuscripts of 
this janamsakhi are available. Only two manuscripts could be traced till 
1962, when this writer edited this janamsakhi. The original manuscript 
could not be traced. Like other janamsakhis, it contains numerous 
interpolations. Therefore, it was thought proper to name itjanamsakhihj 

This is the first Janamsakhi which contains a realistic and detailed 
description of Guru Nanak’s itineraries (aclasis). Other Janamsakhis give 
account of the Guru’s travels towards different directions, i.e. North, 
South, East and West. But janamsakhi Miharban suggests that the Guru 
went towards the South on his way back from eastern tour; which appears 
to be a likely possibility because a person who had to go to the South 
should not have come back to Punjab from Jagannath Puri Also, many 
direct routes connect the famous temples of the South with Jagannath 
Puri Therefore, it appears more plausible that Guru Nanak went to the 
South from Jagannath Puri. 

Miharban seems to have had some knowledge of geographical 
locations of places which makes his account of the Guru’s travels appear 

14. For more details, see the introduction ofjanamsakhiMiharban, edited by the author and 
published by Khalsa College, Amritsar; and also authors Miharbanjhvan te Rachnavan, 
published by Punjabi University, Patiala. 


more realistic. This Janamsakhi mentions tha Bhai Jai Ram, husband of 
Bibi Nanaki, was Uppal Khatri whereas Bhai Bala Jamasakhi says that he 
was Palta Khatri. Even today, there are some Uppal families in Sultanpur 
but none from the Palta caste. It is possible that some Uppal families 
might have been there in the 16th and 17th centuries from which fact 
Miharban drew this conclusion. Similarly, the details about the Mathura 
twon given in his Janamsakhi appear to be correct : 

“Thereafter the Guru spent five years in the country of the South 
after which he came to the North and visited Mathura, on the bank of the 
Jamuna. He visited the temple of Keshav” (p. 360). Keshav’s temple is 
the most famous shrine at Mathura which goes to prove that the author 
was not only conversant with the geographical location of Mathura town 
but was also aware of the importance of Krishna shrine at Mathura. It 
was a small temple during Guru Nanak’s time and its building was 
reconstructed during Jahangir’s time. Similarly, the surroundings of the 
Bharthari cave in Ujjain given in this janamsakhi appears to be correct as it 
was located on the banks of river Sapra. But no mosque is to be found 
there these days. It is stated that Guru Nanak held repeated discussions 
with the thags (cheats) in the South and thereafter visited the town of 
Ujjain. “There was located the cave of Gosain Gorakh Nath. Pilgrims 
took bath there. After this, the pilgrims went to Anantkapur and the cave 
of Bharthari Hari. Guru Nanak also reached there. There was a mosque 
near the cave as one enters it from the right side. Further ahead was a 
platform which had a tamarind tree and on the right side of the tree was 
the entry of the cave. Another tamarind tree was beyond the cave at the 
platform of the mosque. Guru Baba sat there (p.300).” 

In part II of the Miharban janamsakhi, references to Muslims appear 
to be correct. Guru Nanak had a discussion with Mian Daud, the Pir of 
Shergarh (janamsakhi, Part II, p. 182). Miharban states janamsakhiV&st I, p. 
511) that Guru Nanak went ahead from Shergarh. As described in the 
janamsakhi there was a celebrated Muslim faqir Daud Kirmani in Shergarh. 
According to Ta^kara-i-Sufia-i-Punjab, his death took place in 1574 AD. 
and till today a festival is held at Inis tomb. 15 Similarly, Sayyad Abdul Qadir 
Gilani was another well-known saint who lived in Lahore. He was the 

15. Ahjaz-ul-Haq. Ta^kara-i-Sufta-i-Punjab. Kadusi. Salman Academy. Karachi. 1962. p.273. 


preceptor of the Pir of Shergarh. He was a householder and lived on the 
bank of the Ravi. His death took place around 1535-36 AD. A detailed 
discourse between the Guru and this saint is also recorded in Part II of 
this Janamsakhi (pp. 179-182). Thus the Miharban Janamsakhi provides us 
with some vital historical facts/clues. 

An anecdote, about the composition of the Japu is also found in this 
Janamsakhi (Part II). It relates how Bhai Lehna, who later on became Guru 
Angad, edited the Japu by selecting pauris or stanzas of Guru Nanak from 
his verses, gave them the present form and recited it to Guru Nanak. On 
assuming the pontifical office, he authenticated this composition by adding 
his own sloka at the end. 

Miharban’s Janamsakhi (Part II) is the only work which contains 
valuable details about the life of Guru Nanak during his stay at Kartarpur. 
It also states that Bhai Lehna (who became Guru Angad) remained with 
Guru Nanak for a long time and took part in Guru Nanak’s discussion 
with the Siddhas of Achal near Batala. He also accompanied the Guru to 
other places. This Janamsakhi also gives detailed information regarding the 
verses composed at Kartarpur by Guru Nanak. 16 

The 1 VilayatwaliJanamsakhi, written in the first half of the 17th century, 
came to light when Bhai Vir Singh edited and published it under the name 
Puratan Janamsakhi. I prefer to call it Vilayatwali Janamsakhi because a copy 
of it, written in 1815 AD., was taken to England by Henry Thomas 
Colebrook. He was a Sanskrit scholar and also a member of the East India 
Council and Vice-President of Asiatic Society, Calcutta. He donated this 
manuscript to the East India Company Library in England and after the 
formation of India Office in 1857, it came into the India office Dbrary 
where it is preserved till today. Presently, this library functions with a new 
name. Commonwealth Relations Library. Ernest Trump studied it in 1872 
and drew the attention of other scholars towards it. The Lt. Governor of 
Punjab, Charles Atchison, brought some copies of it to the Punjab and 
Bhai Vir Singh edited and published it for the benefit of the Sikh multitude. 
Thus it came to be known as Vilayatwali Janamsakhi. Another manuscript 
of this work was acquired by Bhai (Prof.) Gurmukh Singh from Hafizabad 

16. For details, see Janamsakhi Miharban. Vol. II. Amritsar, p. 248. 


(District Gujranwala, Pakistan) which resembles the earlier copy to some 
extent. This was published by Macauliffe for which it began to be named 
as Macauliffe Wali or Hafizabadi janamsakhi. The colophone of the 
1 Vilayatwali Janamsakhi mentions the year of its compilation as : Kaljug Char 
Hagar Sat Sau Panti Barsbitya viz the Kalyug has passed 4735 years. If we 
try to find out the corresponding year of the Christian era, according to 
the Indian Ephemeris of Kannu Pillay, it works out to be 1634 AD which 
suggests that this Janamsakhi was written at the time when Bhai Gurdas 
was alive. It is just possible that the author might have before him the first 
Var of Bhai Gurdas, as its influence is evident on his work. The Miharban 
Janamsakhihad also been written by that time. These three writings resemble 
with one another very much. Many sakhis are quite similar in these two 
Janamsakhis and at places their language is also the same. 17 From this, it 
can be safely surmised that all these writings are based on the early tradition 
of Guru Nanak. 

Some scholars are of the opinion that the Pnratan Janamsakhi was 
written by Bhai Sewa Das in 1588A.D. and that it was the oldest Janamsakhi 
but the name of its author and the year of its writing is not corroborated 
by any reliable source. None of the available copies of this Janamsakhi 
suggest the name of the author or an earlier date of compilation. Its internal 
evidence suggests that it was compiled in 1634. Historically speaking, it is 
very useful for compiling the biography of Guru Nanak as it provides very 
reliable information. For example, wherever the vanjaras made their halts, 
the habitation known as Tanda was established. A town known as Vanjarian 
da Tanda is still in existence in the south of Nanakmatta in the Tarai area 
of Rudarpur District in the Uttaranchal state. According to this Janamsakhi, 
Guru Nanak visited this town. 

Some inhabitants viz. Afghan Muslims of Village Kiri Afghana, in 
present day Gurdaspur district near Sri Hargobindpur, became disciples 
of Guru Nanak. This incident is found in the Puratan Janamsakhi only. 
Kirh Nagar or Kirhgram was the ancient name of Baijnath. Here, people 
of Kirh clan lived which is evident from an edict found in the temple of 
Baijnath. Guru Nanak’s visit to Baijnath in Kangra district (HP) is described 
in Puratan Janamsakhi. The Guru’s visit to another town Kotla Mian Mitha 

17. Miharban. janamsakhi Guru Nanak Den edited by Kirpal Singh, pp. 90-91 


Pasrur (District Sialkot, Pakistan) is also known from this source. This 
Janamsakhi describes Assam as Assa Desh. The Rajas of this region are 
mentioned as the descendants of Raja Samandar. The name of Raja 
Samandar suggests that the area under reference was Assam as Samandar 
was ancestor of Ahoms. Similarly, we find mention of Dhanasri which is 
the name of a valley of river Dhanasri towards the east of Assam. 

‘Makhdum Bahavdi’ was the descendant of the Baha-ud-Din Zakaria 
of Multan and was the custodian of his tomb. He was a contemporary of 
Guru Nanak. He is named Makhdum Bahaudi’ in the Janamsakhi. The 
details of Inis meeting with the Guru are also contained therein. 

According to Ain-i-Akhari, Peshawar was founded with the name of 
Goralch Hatri. Gorakh Hatri is an important tourist place in Peshawar 
even now. The Guru’s visit to Goralch Hatri is mentioned in this Janamsakhi. 
Another significant fact which is not given in any other text is that before 
Guru Nanak breathed his last, he himself handed over his hani to Guru 
Angad. “What was revealed to the Guru was recorded in the Pothi that 
was passed on to Guru Angad.” 

The P>ala Janamsakhi mentions at the very outset that it was got written 
by Guru Angad. Bhai Bala who is mentioned as companion of the Guru 
during his travels went on relating these episodes to Paira Mokha of 
Sultanpur who recorded them. If we accept this version as correct, this 
Janamsakhi would have to be accepted as most authentic and the earliest 
of all the versions but from its study no such conclusion could be drawn. 
Compared to the Vilayatwali text, its language is of much later period. In 
the Vilayatwali Janamsakhi Bhai Lalo is named as Badisut, but the Janamsakhi 
of Bhai Bala refers to him as tarkhan : tarkhan is a more modern word than 
badisut. According to the Gujranwala Gazetteer, the place Eminabad was 
named after Mohd. Amin Khan during Akbar’s reign. The Bala Janamsakhi 
gives its name as Eminabad while It is called ‘Saidpur’ in the Vilayatwali 
version. The place was known as Sayyadpur during Guru Nanak’s time. 
And Babur also mentions the name Sayyadpur in his Memoirs. Besides this, 
the language and word structure of the Bala text show that it is of later 
period than that of the Vilayatwali or Miharban versions. For details, a 
reference can be made to the book Katik ke Visakh by Karam Singh which 
contains a detailed discussion about this Janamsakhi. 


It is written in the Bala text that Bhai Bala was a Sandhu Jat by caste 
and was the Guru’s friend of childhood. But this is not supported by any 
other source. In the par of Bhai Gurdas mention of Bhai Mardana is there 
but Bhai Bala does not figure anywhere. In the 11 th par of Bhai Gurdas 
names of prominent Sikhs up to the time of Guru Hargobind are given, 
but Bala’s name is missing in this list also. Even the Vilajatwali and the 
Miharban texts are also silent about him. No other old source lends support 
to his existence. All agree that Lehna remained with Guru Nanak for a 
minimum period of 3 years and a maximum period of 7-8 years. Therefore, 
he knew all the disciples and companions of the Guru. It is surprising that 
neither Bhai Bala nor Guru Angad recognised each other. The opening 
account of the Bala text dearly mentions that they did not 1-mow each 

Bhai Bala yearned to have a glimpse of the Guru when Guru Angad 
came to limelight. Bala Sandhu had heard that Guru Nanak had 
nominated a Khatri, Angad by name, as his successor. His caste was 
Trehan, but he had hid himself at some unknown place. He heard 
that he lived at Khadoor Khehras. Bala Sandhu set out for Guru 
Angad’s darshan. He brought offerings whatever he could afford. He 
found him sitting and making grass strings (munj). Bala Sandhu made 
his obeisance and Guru Angad spoke: “Bhai Bala Sat Karrar. Be 
seated.” Guru Angad stopped making grass strings. He enquired from 
Bala wherefrom he had come, what brought him there and who he 
was. Then Bala Sandhu folded his hands and told the Guru that he 
was named Bala, got Sandhu, resident of Talwandi Rai Bhoe. 

When Ernest Trump made a comparison of Bhai Bala Janamsakhi 
with the VilayatwaliJanamsakhi in 1872, he made the following observations: 

The later tradition which pretends to have knowledge of all the 
details of life of Nanak was therefore compelled to put forth as 
Voucher for its sundry tales and stories, Bhai Bala, who is said to 
have been the constant companion of Nanak, from his youth days 
up, whereas our old Janamsakhi does not even once name Bhai Bala. 
If Bhai Bala had been a constant companion of Nanak and a sort of 
mentor to him, as he appears now in the current Janamsakhi, it would 
be quite incomprehensive why never a single allusion should have 
been made of him in old tradition. “ 18 

18. Earnest Trump, TheAdiGranth, London, 1877. Preface p.(v). 


We are fortunate to have come across a copy of the manuscript of 
the Bala Janamsakhi written in the 17th century during the time of Guru 
Har Rai. This was written by one Gorakh Dass in 1658 A.D. This 
manuscript is lying with Piara Lai Kapur at Delhi and its copy is available 
in the Punjab Historical Studies Department of the Punjabi University, 
Patiala. The ancestors of Piara Lai Kapur were residents of Lahore who 
migrated to Delhi and settled there in 18th century. 

Before the discovery of this manuscript scholars like Karam Singh, 
Bhai Vir Singh and others believed that the Janamsakhi of Bhai Bala was 
written during the time of Guru Gobind Singh and not earlier. Karam 
Singh, (Kafak Ke Visakh, p. 240), says that “Guru Gobind Singh had 
assumed gurgadi in 1732 Bikrami i.e. 1675 AD. Therefore, it could be safely 
presumed that this Janamsakhi did not come into existence before that. It 
would have been written in the last years of the 10th Guru.” This newly 
discovered manuscript has proved that Bhai Bala’s Janamsakhi was in 
existence in 1658 AD., but we have yet to ascertain as to how and when 
this Janamsakhi came into existence. 

This is generally accepted that this Janamsakhi was written some time 
after the Parchi of Baba Hindal. According to the Guru Hindal Parkash, 
Baba Hindal was born in 1573 AD. and he died in 1648 AD. 19 Bidhi Chand, 
the son of Baba Hindal, died in 1658 A.D. and in this very year the Janamsakhi 
manuscript was written. According to Karam Singh, the work which 
influenced this work Was Parchi of Baba Hindal which contains the life of 
Baba Hindal. This Parchi was written in 1655 AD. 20 In this way, the above 
referred to manuscript could be the first or second copy of Bala Janamsakhi 
which was written in 1658 AD. A reference to masands therein had made 
many people believe that it was written in the time of Guru Gobind Singh 
but the said extract about the masands is also found in this recently found 
manuscript of 1658 AD. Before the death of Bhai Bala, it is recorded at 
the end of the Janamsakhi, Guru Angad said, “God has made dear that 
such people came under strong temptation when they came to see the 
offerings of the Sikhs to the Guru. They cannot remain honest. Bhai Bala, 
you have the full grace 

19. Masand Mai Das Uif SunderSingJi, Guru Hindal Parkash, Amritsar. 

20. Karam Singh, Katak Ke Visakh, p. 240. 


of Guru Nanak.” This suggests that the masands had become corrupt during 
the time of Guru Har Rai. Guru Gobind Singh ultimately put an end to 
this institution. The contention that this Janamsakhi was got written by 
Hindalis is supported by the following five sakhis included therein: 

1. Sakhi of Prehlad Bhagat 

2. Sakhi of Dhru 

3. Sakhi of Sidhas 

4. Sakhi of Pt. Dinanath 

5. Sakhi of Ghoi Jat 

In all these sakhis it is stated that Baba Hindal would be born after 
Guru Nanak and he would be a more powerful and glorious person. This 
goes to prove that its author is a disciple of Baba Hindal who goes on 
repeating that Baba Hindal was greater than Guru Nanak. As given in 
Hindal Parkash, these five sakhis continued to be published till 1896 AD. 
These five sakhis had been very popular and in wide circulation among the 

The Bala Janamsakhi manuscripts of 1658 AD. starts with Bhai Bala 
and ends with Bhai Bala as is evidenced by the following extract: 

“Ek Onkar Satgur Parsad : Janamsakhi Sri Guru Baba Nanak. Pothi 
written by Paira Mokha Khatri of Sultanpur on Vaisakh Sudi fifth 
1582 Bikrami at behest of Guru Angad. Paira Mokha along with 
Bala Sandhujat ofTaiwandi Rai Bhoe found out Guru Angad and 
they verily took two months and seventeen days. Whichever places 
the Guru visited was narrated by Bhai Bala in a simple and steady 
way. Bhai Bala and Mardana, the rebeck player kept company of 
the Guru. At the time of the Guru serving in the Sultanpur 
Modikhana; Bhai Bala was also with him.” 

This is the beginning of the Bala Jana?nsakhi. The next sakhi is the 
extension of this sakhi. Samvat 1582 is also wrong because Guru Nanak 
was at Kartarpur at that time. His demise took place in 1596 Bikrami 
(1539 AD.). A critical study of this initial part of the Janamsakhi reveals 
that it is just an introduction of Bala who is projected as a companion of 
Bhai Mardana. Bala and Mardana are stated to have accompanied the Guru 
during his travels. As already stated, no other Janamsakhi or other sources 
mention the name of Bala whereas Mardanas name occurs in most of 


them. Balas name has been given prominence in this Janamsakhi only. The 
name of Bhai Bala has been mentioned four times in the last two sentences 
of the extract given above. 

The epilogue of this Janamsakhi ends with the death of Bhai Bala. 
Then Bhai Bala said to Guru Angad: “Guruji, my body has grown old, it 
should depart from this world.” At this; Guru Angad said, “there is still 
two months time for your body to leave this world. These two months you 
should stay with us.” Then Bala stayed with Guru Angad for two months. 
When two months elapsed, he died. Then Guru Angad lit his pyre with his 
own hands. Other Sikhs wanted to stop him, but Guru Angad said, “there 
was no difference between Guru Nanak and Bala. The difference was 
only of the master and the disciple. Speak Sat Kartar, Speak Sat Kartar. ” 

There are two sakhis preceding this, a close study of which along 
with the aforesaid five brings out clearly the real motive of the author for 
writing this Janamsakhi. The motive evidently was to degrade Guru Nanak 
in comparison with Baba Hindal. Apparently, the author is a follower of 
Baba Hindal. 

Besides the followers of Baba Hindal, a line of copyists of this 
Janamsakhi also came into existence who refused to believe that this had 
been the handi-work of a follower of Hindal with a motive to degrade the 
Guru. They believed that the original Janamsakhi had been tampered with 
and new material was interpolated by the followers of HindaL Therefore, 
the copyists tried to ‘improve’ the text by eliminating objectionable sakhis. 
Bhai Santokh Singh, author of Nanak Parkash, was one of them. The 
‘improvement’ had been made in this Janamsakhi by different writers at 
different times. If we compare these ‘improved’ versions with the original 
one, we find hardly any resemblance between them. The additions and 
deletions have been made in each copy. Some copies have recorded only 
once Instead of repeating five times the prophecies about Baba Hindal. 
Some have excluded this portion presuming it to be interpolation by 
Hindalis. In fact most of them have deleted it altogether. Some have written 
the sakhis of Guru Nanak’s demise before the death of Bala at the end. 
Some have given the dialogue of Guru Angad and Bala at the end along 
with the death of Bala. Yet some others have shown Bala reaching Talwandi 
at the end and have tried to explain the absence of the account of death 
of the Guru. 

One manuscript of the Ba/a Janamsakhi available in the library of 


Languages Department, Patiala (MS.420) is dated 1788 A.D. In the last 
sakhi of this manuscript Bala is shown as taking leave of Guru Angad and 
going back to Talwandi. If we accept this as true, we will have to believe 
that Bhai Lehna did not meet Guru Nanak long before his death which 
appears to be incorrect because Miharban says in his Janamsakhi that Bhai 
Lehna remained with Guru Nanak at Kartarpur for quite a long time which 
appears to be more probable. 

The Bala Janamsakhi was first printed at Lahore in 1874 A.D. by 
Chiragh Din Book Sellers. Subsequently, it was published by Rai Sahib 
Munshi Gulab Singh. Both these publishers excluded the portions relating 
to the prophecies about Hindal and also omitted sakhis of Majaut and Sehj 
Kusehj in order to make this acceptable to the people. The sakhi of Majaut 
where Guru Nanak had been stated to have married a Muslim woman was 
included in the 

Janamsakhi to justify the marriage of Bidhi Chand, son and successor 
of Baba Hindal, with a Muslim woman. The descendants of Baba Hindal 
at Jandiala Guru (District Amritsar) accept that one of the successors of 
Baba Hindal married a Muslim woman whose tomb is still extant at Jandiala 
Guru (statement of Bishan Das of Jandiala Guru). Thus this sakhi is a 
clear case of interpolation by the Hindalis. 

Bala may be a fictional character or a real life-long companion of 
Guru Nanak, his work does contain some earlier traditions of Guru Nanak’s 
life. Guru Nanak’s mother-in-law was greatly upset with Guru Nanak on 
account of Inis going on long tours. Only this version gives us the unique 
relationship of mutual love and affection between Nanak and his sister. The 
conversation of Bibi Nanaki with the mother-in-law of Guru Nanak is very 
natural and realistic and her complaint about Guru Nanak’s indifference for 
homely affairs was understandable. Nanaki who was herself issueless had 
fondness for the issues of her brother, Nanak and that is also understandable. 

The author of this Janamsakhi appears to be presenting psychological 
situations at places; while describing Guru Nanak’s life. He has tried to 
highlight Guru Nanak’s character and the atmosphere of his household. 
He has portrayed in a subtle way how groups of saints used to visit his 
house and how they were entertained. The Guru’s charitable and merciful 
disposition and his mother-in-law’s dislike for such things is also well 
brought out. The decision to entrust Sri Chand to the care of Nanaki and 
sending Lakhmi Chand to his grand-maternal parents, on the eve of the 


Guru’s departure from the house on the missionary tours ( Charya Sodan 
Dharat h,nkai) and his mother-in-law Chando Rani’s outburst of anger are 
outcome of such situations. It has also dramatically represented the royal 
dishes of Malik Bhago as full of blood and the dry loaves of Bhai Lalo as 
full of milk. The presentation of such social and domestic/family situations 
in this work make it more acceptable. 

Janamsakhi Bhai Mani Singh 

What form the tradition of the Guru took after the creation of Khalsa 
by Guru Gobind Singh has been recorded in Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi. 
In the opening lines, it is stated “Once the Sikhs enquired from Bhai Mani 
Singh (the most prominent religious personage of the time) to present 
before them in detail the information about Guru Nanak contained in the 
first var of Bhai Gurdas.” Bhai Mani Singh replied, “Just as an ant cannot 
lift an elephant and a crocodile of a small pond cannot cross the mountain, 
I am unable to give exposition of Guru Nanak’s traditions. However, just 
as swimmer gives indication by fixing reeds in a stream to mark the safe 
way to cross the river, I keep in view the first varoi Bhai Gurdas and other 
details of Guru Nanak gathered from the court of Guru Gobind Singh 
and shall try to explain them according to my limited capacity.” 

This Janamsakhi is based on the exegesis of the first varoi Bhai Gurdas 
and the then prevalent traditions about Guru Nanak. The influence of the 
time on the form and content of tradition is quite evident. From his 
childhood, Guru Nanak’s respect for the holy book is shown in this work. 
It is stated that he used to make pothis at home, then covered them with 
fine pieces of cloth. When other children called him to play, he would say 
T am reading the pothi. It appears that the Bala and Vilayatwali versions 
had a deep Impact on the work of Bhai Mani Singh. Mani Singh gives 
Guru’s birth in the month of Visakh, which shows that the author was 
fully conversant with these earlier works; besides this, there is no mention 
of Bala accompanying Guru Nanak in the first two itineraries towards 
East and the South. Bala is mentioned for the first time in the journey to 
the North. It is mentioned that Guru Nanak returned to Talwandi after his 
travels to the South. It is stated: When Kalu left that place, Bala and 
Mardana came to Baba Nanak. They made obeisance to him. The Guru 


asked, “Will you, Bala, go with us or would you stay at home ?” Then Bala 
replied, “I had already made a mistake by not accompanying you.” “Let us 
go to north, Bala,” said the Guru. Then Bala and Mardana set out with 
Guru Nanak. This goes to prove that Bala did not accompany the Guru in 
the first two travels. It also proves that this portion of the janamsakhi is 
free from influence of the Bala version. So the claim that Bala always 
remained with Guru Nanak does not appear to be correct. In this janamsakhi 
account of the visit to Mecca-Madina is taken from the Macce di Gosht, as 
has been indicated in the text itself. It is stated: “full one year passed in 
religious dialogue with Muslim saints and the detail of the interview with 
Rukn-ud-Din has been given in the Gosht. Any detailed mention of this 
account here, is uncalled for.” 

From this; it is evident that the traditions of Guru Nanak’s visit to 
Mecca had already been written in the form of Macce di Gosht before the 
writing of Janamsakhi of Bhai Mani Singh. When this Gosht of Mecca was 
written is not known. But one thing is certain that it was written sometime 
after the Vilajatwali, Miharban and Bala Janamsakhis had been written. About 
the GoshtojMecca and Madina, Mahan Kosh (Kahn Singh) has written as 
under: “This Gosht which is also named Paknama, was composed by some 
Sikhs after the composition of RagMala by Alam Poet, because it contains 
the additional names of six ragas and raginis apart from those of other 
ragas. ” Bhai Mani Singh’s text also contains many imaginary and baseless 
stories as it says that Mohammedans do not eat pigs because God was 
incarnation in the form of Varah and Mecca had a Shivling, etc. etc. 

There is a lot of disagreement whether Bhai Mani Singh himself was 
the author of this work or not. As revealed by a close study of this text, it 
appears to be the work of someone from among the audience of Bhai 
Mani Singh, who came under his influence to undertake this task. Under 
the inspiration of Bhai Mani Singh’s interpretation many works have been 
written as the author of Guru Bilas Patshahi Chhevin writes: “Bhai Mani 
Singh related this katha to Bhai Bhagat Singh and preceptor of my poet- 
Dharam Singh -also heard it. He related it to me and I gave it this poetic 
form.” Thus it appears that Bhai Mani Singh related this katha of the first 
Varto the sangat and someone gave it the form of a Janamsakhi by including 
some other sakhis current among the people at that time. 


Because the authorship of the ]anamsakhi is attributed to Bhai Mani 
Singh, it became popular as Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi irrespective of 
the fact whether It was written by him or not. 

Notwithstanding this, it is important from historical point of view 
for the following reasons: 

a) This is the only Janamsakhi which states that Guru Nanak visited 

Pakpatan twice. Maybe he might have visited many other places in 
Punjab also twice, but visiting Pakpattan twice is mentioned in this 
Janamsakhi only. 

b) Giving financial assistance to Mardana for the marriage of his daughter 

and preparing other articles for her is recorded in this Janamsakhi 

c) The idea of visiting places of pilgrimages came to Guru Nanak when 

he was at Talwandi because it says that Guru went on pilgrimage 
at the age of twenty. 

d) Visiting Jwala Ji by the Guru is recorded in this Janamsakhi only. 

e) Guru’s visit to areas of West specially to Baghdad etc. is 

described in greater detail. No other Janamsakhi describes this part 
of Guru travels. 

f) Details based on the var of Bhai Gurdas are of great historical 

significance because that var remains the only primary source for 
writing any credible account on the life of Guru Nanak. 


While analysing the Janamsakhi tradition in the following pages I have 
kept the following important points before me to measure upto the modern 
historical methodology: 

(i) Critical examination of the extant Janamsakhi traditions in order to 

decipher earliest traditions and their affinity with historical events. 

(ii) The shrines dedicated to the memory of Guru Nanak vis-a—vis their 

connection with Janamsakhi tradition. 

(iii) Land and sea routes of the 16th century. 

It has to be noted that all the Janamsakhis coming down to us .viz. 
Vilayatvali, Miharhan, Bala and Mani Singh versions were written during 
different periods of history and from different perspectives. The Vilayatvali 


Janamsakhi written in a terse style during the period of Muslim domination. 21 
Miharban’s Janamsakhi follows the style of goshtis (exegesis) before the 
congregations, wherein background is provided for explaining the hymns. 
The Bala Janamsakhi follows a typical Socio-Psychological approach which 
kept it popular with average devotees for a long time. Mani Singh Janamsakhi 
is based on classical Vendantic pattern and with a view put forth the 
objective (Parmarath) of each anecdote. That is why, it was not received 
well. 22 The perspectives of each of these Janamsakhis being different, there 
is marked variance in details as well. This makes the task of constructing 
the life story of Guru Nanak difficult. I have scanned all the Janamsakhi 
texts to find out events and areas of tradition closer to reality and truth 
with detailed end-notes with regard to rationale of the conclusions. 

The situations as they existed in the sixteenth century India and the 
west were quite different as they obtain today. Khurasan, which Guru 
Nanak has referred to in his Bani “encompassed a vast territory including 
what is now called southern Turkmanistan and northern Mghanistan” 23 
but now “it is a province of north-eastern Iran with its capital at Mashhad.” 
Likewise many towns and cities have since perished due to vagaries of 
time and new towns have come up in their place. In India Hajipur was a 
flourishing town on the northern bank of the Ganges (in the present state 
of Bihar). But now we find the capital town of Patna opposite to the site 
of Hajipur on the southern bank of the Ganges. Similarly Nizamabad on 
the bank of Tansi river was once an important town of Jaunpur kingdom. 
In this way an attempt has been made to trace the names of places as they 
existed five hundred years ago so as to identify the names ofv arious towns, 
villages and cities mentioned in the Janamsakhis. Saidpur is mentioned, as 
the place where Lalo a devotee of Guru Nanak lived; in the Vilayativali 
and Miharban Janamsakhis. Babur in his Tugak calls it Sayyadpur. After its 
devastation by Babur,, it got the name Shergarh 

during the short lived Suri hegemony. During the reign of Akbar, Mohd. 

21. Influence ^/"Muslim domination is indicated from an episode wherein Gum Nanak is 

carried before God and is made to drink a cup of amrita or asking Raja Shiv Nabh to 
sacrifice his son just as in Muslim tradition, Hazrat Ibrahim is asked by God to 
sacrifice his son. 

22. Mani Singh Janamsakhiw&s published only once in 1892 A.D. Thereafter it was published 

in 1993 by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar as Gian Bamavali, edited with critical 
analysis byjasbir Singh Sabar. (Ed.) 

23. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, pp. 1008. 2002. 


Amin Khan revived it with a new name Eminabad (modem Gujranwala 
district of Pakistan). Prayag was renamed as Allabad under Akbar. Baijnath 
was Kirgram or Kir’ Nagar, Peshawar was Gorakh Hatri and Assam was 
Asa Desh. We find the mention of these very names in Janamsakhis. The 
names of Sufis and others holy men like Makhdum Baha-ud-din, Abdul 
Qadir Gilani, Mian Daud Shergarh etc. etc. which appear in the Janamsakhis 
have been closely scrutinized to ascertain whether they were 
contemporaries of Guru Nanak. Thereafter, the details of the discourses 
given in the Janamsakhis have been analysed. The authenticity of hymns 
recorded in the Janamsakhis as central points of the majority of the episodes 
has also been duly verified. In this process my anxiety has been to clear 
the historical facts of the mist that had shrouded them with exegesis of 
hymns or hearsay accounts. 

The historical shrines commemorating Guru Nanak’s visit to various 
places have a special significance vis-a-vis the Janamsakhi tradition. It is 
significant that Guru Hargobind initiated the steps to establish and preserve 
these shrines. He paid a visit to Talwandi Rai Bhoe (modern Nankana 
Sahib) to identify a few places connected with the early life of Guru Nanak. 
The process was continued by the Sikh Sardars and Maharaja Ranjit Singh 
when theycame to power. The Maharaja visited Gurudwara Babe-di-Ber 
at Sialkot (Pakistan) as also Rori Sahib at Eminabad (Gujranwala, Pakistan) 
to pay obeisance and make offerings. 24 Raja Udai Singh of Kaithal also 
took steps to locate historical places connected with Guru Nanak’s tradition 
and got many shrines constructed at Pehowa and Kara (modern Haryana). 
These shrines enable us to know about the route taken by Guru Nanak 
while travelling up to Kurukshetra. Similarly, there is an old gurdwara at 
Sirsa, which has been referred to by Tara Singh Narotam. The Sikh chiefs 
of Patiala, Nabha and Jind States also got identified and erected several 
such holy places In the Guru’s memory. 

In the first half of the 19th century, there happened to be a minister 
named Chandu Lai Bedi in Hyderabad (Deccan) who belonged to Dera 
Baba Nanak. He also got located some places which had been visited by 
Guru Nanak in the south and got shrines 

built there. He got gurdwaras built at the following five places: 
24. SohanLa! Suri. Umadat-ut-Twarikh, translated by V.S. Sufi, pp. 311-313. Delhi 1961. 


1. Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) 

2. Sri Rangam- Trichunapalli (Tamil Nadu) 

3. Trinamallai (Tamil Nadu) 

4. Kanchipuram (Chennai) 

5. Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) 

However, the gurdwara at Trichunapalli which happened to be by 
the side of Sri Rangam temple has since fallen down. All others are managed 
by the Udasi saints and are not in a good state of maintenance. Tilganji 
Sahib Gurdwara, also known by the name of Kundikutlam, is said to be 
near Palamkota, Tiruvanantpuram (Kerala). But whether it still survives 
could not be ascertained. The shrines in Baroch (Gujrat) and Nanakmatta 
(Uttaranchal Pradesh) are of special historical significance. 

An apocryphal work entitled Haqiqat Rah Muqam Raje Shivnahh Ki 
mentions a tradition of Guru Nanak’s visit to Sri Lanka. This has been 
confirmed by an epigraph found around the mid-20th century. In this 
epigraph a reference is found about Guru Nanak meeting the king of Koti, 
Dharmaprakarma Bahu IX. His grandson was King Mayaduni who had 
Sitavaka as his capital. The fact that the Haqiqat Rah Muqam... text mentions 
King Mayaduni of Sitawaka is of special significance. Close to Matiakalam 
(Batticola) is a village called Kurukalmandap which it seems, was founded 
in the memory of the Guru. Just like an epigraph, in Turkish language, 
found towards the west of Baghdad authenticates the tradition of Guru 
Nanak’s visit to Baghdad, similarly, the epigraph of Sri Lanka and the 
village founded in the Guru’s memory helps us to approach the truth about 
Guru Nanak’s visit to Sri Lanka. 

Statues of Guru Nanak are often found installed in the temples of 
Ladakh and Tibet, especially in the Tibetan temples of the Mansarovar 
Lake, Chamoli valley, etc. Of course, the Tibetans revere and worship 
Guru Nanak talcing him to be an incarnation of Padamsambhava. But this 
simple fact is an indication enough to conclude that the Guru had journeyed 
through this region. It will be appropriate to explain here that wherever 
Guru Nanak went the natives of that area accepted him as a religious 
divine in their own way. The original Dharu population of the Terai and 
Nanakmatta area give importance to the dhooni of Guru Nanak like that 
of Gorakh Nath. They take the ashes of the dhooni to their respective 


homes at night. The Subis of Iraq who keep flowing hair and hang around 
their necks the portrait of Guru Nanak call themselves the following are 
of the Guru. In Sri Lanka, Guru Nanak is remembered as Sidh Nath and 
Id lag Guru. Decidedly the shrines and tradition have a close link and they 
are of great importance in helping us to outline the historical events of 
the life of Guru Nanak. 

The trade and travel routes of the times of Guru Nanak remain the 
only corroboratory evidence with us to verify the travels of Guru Nanak. 
While travelling through Punjab especially travelling from Talwandi to 
Sultanpur or from Sultanpur to Batala, Guru Nanak might have taken 
local routes connecting one village with another but outside the Punjab he 
could travel only on the popular routes and through prevalent means. If 
the travellers took boats in the river Ghaggar while going to Ayodhya, 
Guru Nanak also could have travelled by boat. Some rivers in India have 
ever remained an important means of travel and the same was the case in 
sixteenth century. That is why the gurdwaras commemorating his memory 
are on the banks of the prominent navigable rivers. For example, Nizamabad 
(District Azamgarh, in UP) is on the bank of the river Tansi. Baroch (Gujrat) 
is on the bank of river Narbada and Benaras (Varanasi) is on the bank of 
the Ganges. Lakhpat, a port in the Katchh area is on the bank of river 
Kori, a tributary of the Indus. The tradition of Guru Nanak travelling by 
boat is still related to a small boat preserved in the khanqah of Uch Sharif 
(Bahawalpur, Pakistan). 

The popular routes of travel during the 16th century help to determine 
the routes of the odysseys of Guru Nanak. A study of the old mountanous 
routes reveals that during the summer days many people travelled from 
Haridwar to the Terai region passing through Kedarnath and Badrinath, 
and through the Antdhara and Lopu Lekh Passes. This was a centuries-old 
route taken by the Indian mendicants. If we study the places connected 
with Guru Nanak on this route, we find that he had also taken this route 
to reach Nanakmatta. Haridwar at the one end and Nanakmatta at the 
other, have shrines dedicated to the memory of the Guru. Besides, Srinagar, 
Tihri Garhwal, Kot Duar also fall on this route and at these places We also 
find shrines cOfumemorating the Guru’s visit. The route of travel from 
Kamrup to Dhaka was via the Brahmputra river. This was the popular 
route for going to Kamrup. That is why all the shrines commemorating the 


Guru’s memory that are situated on the bank of the Brahmputra, such as 
Dhubri, Gauwahati (Kamrup), etc. A reference to the route taken by Guru 
Nanak on his way to Mecca and Medina is made by Bhai Gurdas in his var 
I. In that route Mecca comes prior to Baghdad. This shows that Guru 
Nanak reached Mecca by the sea route. No sea route has ever been 
considered appropriate for going to Puri as there was ever a danger of 
cyclones and travel by ship in the Bay of Bengal was considered dangerous. 
Therefore, a land route was most frequented for going to Puri from the 
Bengal side. It was a popular route for travellers from Puri to travel 
southwards and all the important religious places of the south such as 
Kanchipuram, Trivanmalai and Trichnapalli, etc. fall on this route. The 
route from south to the north touches Bidar (Karnataka State), Nanded 
(Maharashtra State) and Baroch (Gujrat). If we analyse the route taken by 
the Hajis from Mecca to Baghdad, we learn that Caliph Harun Rashid’s 
wife Begum Zubaida had got a direct route especially built from Medina 
to Baghdad. This route has been in use from the tenth century onwards. 
The possibility of Guru Nanak having taken this very route cannot be 
ruled out. 

The route from Baghdad to Kabul was via northern Iran and northern 
afghanistan. The caravans often travelled on these routes. During the Lodhi 
regime, the trade between India and Kabul had declined due to frequent 
Mughal incursions. There was no direct route from Kabul to Peshawar 
then. Abul Fazal says in Inis Ain-i-Akbari, that a direct route from Kabul to 
Peshawar came into being during the regime of Akbar. Prior to this, if one 
wanted to reach Peshawar from Kabul, one had to travel through Parachinar 
region and via the Bannu and Kohat. That is why the gurdwaras 
commemo-rating Guru Nanak’s visit are found in Peshawar from Kabul 
and Parachinar region. 

It is in this context that an analysis of the routes current during the 
times of Guru Nanak is very important for the study of the Janamsakhis. 

The Janamsakhi tradition does not help much in deciding about the 
dates connected with Guru Nanak’s life. The Vilajatwali and the Bhai 
Mani Singh Janamsakhis mention only two dates: the dates of birth and 
demise. Both the texts give Vaisakh Sudi 3 Samvat 1526 as the date of 
birth. The Miharban text also gives the same date. In fact, all the 
Janamsakhis except that of Bala accept Vaisakh to be the month of Guru’s 


birth; therefore, we have taken this date to be the correct one. For more 
details, see Karam Smgh, Kattak Ke Visakh. The Mtharban and the Bala 
Janamsakhis do not give any date of the Guru’s demise. The 1 Vilayatwali 
and the Marti Singh versions mention as follows: 

Vilajatvalijanamsakhi - Samvat 1595 Assu sudi 10 

Bhai Mani Singh janamsakhi - Samvat 1596 Assu sudi 10 

The latter date, i.e. Samvat 1596 Assu Sudi 10, is the correct one. In 
the Vilajatvali text 1595 Samvat is mentioned which is Gat (previous) 
Samvat. Since Karam Singh has proved that the Bikrami Samvat was written 
in this way. Therefore, Samvat 1595 is previous (Gat) year whereas the 
real Samvat is 1596. It appears the author of the Vilajatvali Janamsakhi 
gives the actual Samvat while referring to the Guru’s birth, but gave the 
Gat (previous) one while referring to the year of demise. 

The dates mentioned in the oldest extant manuscript of the 
Balajanamsakhi create a lot of confusion. To say that thisjanamsakhi was 
written in 1582 Bikrami is not correct because in 1582 Bikrami A.D. 1525 
Guru Nanak still lived at Kartarpur. As compared to this, the chronology 
followed by Miharban Janamsakhi is nowhere self-contradictory. That is 
why some scholars take these dates to be more trustworthy. 

These dates are noted here: 

1. Birth of Guru Nanak 1526 Bk = 1469 A.D. 

2. Going to Pandit for learning 1533 Bk = 1476 A.D. 

3. Going to Mulan for learning 1534 Bk = 1477 A.D. 

4. Sacred Thread Ceremony 1535 Bk = 1478 A.D. 

5. Marriage 1541-42 Bk = 1484 A.D. 

6. Birth of Sri Chand 1553-54 Bk = 1496-07 A.D. 

7. Going to Sultanpur 1561 Bk = 1504 A.D. 

But it is not known what is the basis of ascertaining these dates. Still, 
some references and allusions in the Janamsakhis can help determine some 
dates. All the Janamsakhi texts agree that Guru Nanak took up a job in the 
Modikhana at Sultanpur when Daulat Khan Lodhi lived at Sultanpur. Daulat 
Khan was appointed governor of Punjab by Sikandar Lodhi and he shifted 
his residence from Sultanpur to Lahore which was then the capital of 
Punjab province. But before Guru Nanak went on preaching odysseys 
and at the time of the Bein episode and a discourse with the Qazi; Daulat 


Khan was still at Sultanpur. Ahmad Yadgar, author of Tarikh-i-Shahi, states 
that when Babur conquered Punjab in 1524 AD, Ibrahim Lodhi wrote a 
letter to Daulat Khan Lodhi saying that his father had appointed the latter 
as governor of the Punjab twenty years back and that he had treacherously 
gifted away the Punjab to the Mughals. This shows that Daulat Khan Lodhi 
became governor of Punjab in 1504 A.D. Therefore, the Bern incident and 
the discourse with the Qazi took place either in 1504 or before that. In the 
light of this, it can be presumed that Guru Nanak’s preaching odysseys 
started in 1504. This gets confirmed in another way also. Both the Miharban 
and BhaiMarti Singh texts mention that the Guru Nanak was at Kurukshetra 
on the day of the solar eclipse and that he was at Haridwar on the following 
Baisakhi day. In those days the route from Punjab to Haridwar was via 
Kurukshetra. This is the same route which Guru Amar Das took for going 
to the Ganges and which finds mention in a hymn of Guru Ram Das in 
the Tukhari raga. Therefore Guru Nanak left Kurukshetra after the solar 
eclipse and reached Haridwar by the Baisakhi day. For journey through 
the mountains beyond Haridwar, one could go only during the summer. 
Therefore, Guru Nanak’s reaching Haridwar on Baisakhi seems significant. 
If we try to ascertain the dates of Baisakhi and the solar eclipse in the first 
decade of the 16th century, we can work out at least the year (1504 A.D.) 
when Guru Nanak started for his odysseys from Sultanpur. 25 

The above discussion should make it clear that the basic objective 
of this treatise on the Janamsakhi tradition has been to identify the historical 
elements that lay deep beneath Sikh tradition which developed round the 
personality, teachings and preachings of Guru Nanak. The modern 
methodology being applied to dig out the historical truth has been kept in 
view but it has not been applied with a bias to reject such happenings 
embedded in tradition that could stand the test which is applied keeping 
in view the contemporary situations. 

25. For details see, Swami Kannupillay, Indian Ephemeris. See also Jantri 500 Yean, pal Singh 
Purewal (Published by Punjab School Education Board, Chandigarh), 1994. Solar 
eclipse was on 24th January, 1506 A.D. and the following Baisakhi was on 29th 
Match, 1506. Therefore it is likely that Guru Nanak would have started from Sultanpur 
in 1504 and reached Kurukshetra in early 1506 A.D. as he halted on the way at 
Eminabad, Makhdumpur. Pakpatan etc. etc. 



Analytical Study of the 
Janamsakhi Tradition - I 


There was a village called Talwandi Rai Bhoel situated in the tcipci of 
the Bhattis, thirty-four miles south-west of Lahore, the capital of ancient 
Punjab: this village is these days known as Nankana Sahib. Here was born 
Guru Nanak in the house of Mahita Kalu (father) and Tripta (mother)2 
on Vaisakh Sudi 3, 1526 BikramP (15 April, 1469) at 1 o’clock at night. 
Mahita Kalu was Bedi Khatri by caste and was posted as PatWari4 (a 
revenue official) in the village. At the 

1. The accounts In the Viloyatvalijanamsakhi and those of Bhai Bala and Bhai Mani Singh say 

that Guru Nanak was born at Talwandi Rai Bhoe. The Mihatban janamsakhi records 
the village Chahlanvala, Police Station Barki (District Lahore) as Guru Nanak’s 
binh-place. Chahlanvala was the place where lived the maternal grandparents of Guru 
Nanak. However, this fact is not corroborated by any other source. The second 
manuscript of the Mihatban janamsakhi mm preserved in the Khalsa College Library, 
Amritsat, gives Talwandi Rai Bhoe as Guru Nanak’s birth-place. Besides, page 52 of the 
janamsakhi by Mihatban records: “Then Guru Baba Nanakji [was born on] the land of 
Punjab, village Talwandi Rai Bhoe place of birth of Guru Baba Nanak.” This implies that 
Talwandi Rai Bhoe has to be accepted as the actual place of birth of Guru Nanak. 

2. The name of Guru Nanak’s father is found mentioned in all the janamsakhis. The name of 

his mother is not given in the Puratan janamsakhi. The janamsakhis of Bhai Bala and 
Bhai Mani Singh mention Tripta as mother’s name. Miharban janamsakhi gives the 
name as Tripro. The word ‘tripta’is found in the ancient Puranas as well and is thus 
quite old. The word ‘tripro’ seems to be a derivative. 

3. Puratan janamsakhi and Miharban janamsakhi mention Vaisakh Sudi 3 as the day of Guru 

Nanak’s birth, but Bala janamsakhi gives it as the full moon day of Kartik. The old 
manuscript copies of Bhai Mani Singh’s janamsakhi also give Vaisakh. The Guru 
Nanak Barn Prakash of Sukhbasi Rai, a direCt descendant of Guru Nanak, also fives 
Vaisakh as the date of birth. Mahima Prakash (prose) and or Mahima Prakash by Sarup 
Dass Bhalla also support Vaisakh. Thus, Vaisakh seems to be the correct month of 
the Guru’s birth. 

4. In the Bala JanamsakhiMahita Kalu is mentioned as pativari. VilayatvaliJanamsakhi mentions 

him as ‘Kalu Khatri Bedi by caste.’ In the Miharban janamsakhi, Mahita Kalu addresses 
his son thus: ‘Child Nanak, we are peasants (Miharban janamsakhi, 67, Appendix 77). 
All this proves that he was both a pativari and a peasant. 


time of his birth Guru Nanak did not weep like any other ordinary child, 
rather he uttered “Thy Name, Thy Name.”5 Guru Nanak possessed an 
equipoised and peaceful temper by birth.6 He was not inclined to weeping 
like other infants. When he was 13 days old, he was named Nanak after 
the name of his elder sister Nanaki.7 He learnt to hold his neck straight 
when he was of three months and learnt how to sit when 7 months old. 
He learnt how to crawl as he was of 9-10 months of age and as he grew to 
be of one-and-a-half years he began to speak in a lisping manner. He 
started playing with other children as he was of 3-4 years. 8 He would 
sometimes get aloof of other children and become absorbed in God.9 .fu 
he was of five years, he made an impact on the people of his village. He 
would discourse with both the Hindus and the Muslims aboUt the Creator 
and His creation which assured the people of the child’s divine inspiration.lo 

5. ]anamsakhi, p. 9 (Appendix 58). BhaiMani Singh'sjanamsakhi states that Guru Nanak uttered 

‘Vahiguru’ at the time of his birth which does not seem to be correct because the 
significance of the word ‘Vahiguru’ became current only aftet Guru Arjan had compiled 
the Sikh Scripture as the Bhatts recited ‘Vahiguru’. The utterance “Thy Name, Thy 
Name” seems more akin to the temper and ideal of Guru Nanak’s life. 

6. Miharban Janamsakhi, p.10 (Appendix 58 ), janamsakhi Bhai Mani Singh, p. 42 (Appendix 

331). In both of these works it has been explicitly stated that child Nanak had a very 
peaceful and equipoised disposition, and this also seems true of the Guru’s life. 

7. Miharbanjanamsakhi, p.10 (Appendix 58). When he was of nine days, the naming ceremony 

was performed. The Balajanamsakhi says that this ceremony took place and he was 
named Nanak when he was of 13 days. The practice of performing naming ceremony 
after 13 days of birth is still prevalent among the Khatris. Thus, the latter view can be 
accepted as correct. 

8. The details of the physical growth of child Nanak are given in both Miharban and Mani 

Singh’s janamsakhis, but no such details are given in the Vuratan and Bala janamsakhis. 
However, these details are of general nature, and are usually taken as correct. 

9. In the Vilayatvalijanamsakhnx is said-’contemplated on God.’ Bhai Mani Singh’s janamsakhi 

also states: ‘sat in a posture of the siddhas and recited “Vahiguru’ with each breath. The 
Miharbanjanamsakhi records-, ‘other children had different desires, Guru Baba Nanak 
had different aspirations. The Bala janamsakhi has nothing to say on this point. 

10. The Vilayatvali janamsakhi says : ‘he began talking of higher spiritual things. The Bala 

janamsakhi repears the same sentence. The Miharban janamsakhi also testifies ir. But 
Mani Singh janamsakhi refers to the recitation of Gita—a contention which is hard to 


The chief of the village and the chief of Bhattis Rai Bhoe, and his son, 
Rai Bular, also learnt of this child’s prodigy. 11 


When Guru Nanak was of 7 years, 12 his father chose an auspicious 
dayl3 to send him to a pandha (teacher) to learn. 14 The pandha wrotel5 
for him landa alphabets 16 which were then called sidhojnaia.17 A few years 
were thus spent in learning, and during this period child Nanak created a 
deep impress on his teacher. 18 He completed his studies before long and 

11. Miharbanjanamsakhi states in an explicit manner that Rai Bular was Rai Bhoe’s son. The 

tomb of Rai Bular is also extant nearby Nankana Sahib, it seems both the father and 
son would have been at Talwandi during Guru Nanak’s childhood. Rai Bular could 
have been more fond of Guru Nanak than his father because the janamsakhis refer to 
him quite often. 

12. The Vilayah’ali, the Miharban and the Bala janamsakhis say that Nanak was sent for schooling 

at the age of 7. Mani Singhjanamsakhi refers to child Nanak being of 5 years then. The 
age of seven years to begin schooling seems more correct. 

13. The Vilayah'ali and the Miharbanjanamsakhis refer to no choice of an auspicious day, but 

the texts of Mani Singh and Bala janamsakhis state that an auspicious day was chosen 
to send him to school. In olden times, it was a practice to choose an auspicious day for 
every important occasion. Thus, Guru Nanak’s father could have chosen an auspicious 
day to start the schooling of his only son. 

14. Mani Singh janamsakhi gives the pandha's name as Brij Nath Pandit, but this is not 

corroborated by any other source. 

15. The Vilayatvali and Balajanamsakhis do not specify as to what was written on the wooden 

slate (pattj). The Miharban text says it was sidhojania but Mani Singh janamsakhi says it 
was bairakhari (a muharani of 12 consonants and vowels). Since the landa script has no 
vowel sounds, Miharban text seems to be correct. 

16. It was the general practice to learn Shardain the hilly region of Punjab and landa script in 

the plains of Punjab. Some traders make use of rhis script even in modern rimes. 
Mani Singh janamsakhi says that the padha taught the Guru. 

17. The term belongs to the muharani of the landa script. Beginning with the invocation to 

God (om sidhat), these words went on consecutively to say that “the entire world was 
manifested (by Him) and Kalor death stood ahead of it,” “Creatures do different 
sinful deeds and they imbibe evil and give up virtue,” “they remember not Him, nor 
recite His Name,” etc. In this context there is a hymn in the Guru Gramh Sahib under 
title “Patti’ in Rarnkali measure (raga) wherefrom these lines have been taken. 

18. All the janamsakhis record that Nanak left a deep impress of his ability on the padha. All 

these works say that at this time Guru Nanak composed a hymn: ‘Burn worldly love 
and pound it into ink and turn thy intelligence into superior paper...” (Sri Rag I Adi- 
Granth, 16. The Vilayah’ali and Mani Singh janamsakhis say that Guru Nanak then 
uttered the hymn now titled” Patti’ included in the Sikh scripture under Asa measure 
(raga) but the latter source also says that prior to this the Guru recited seven slokas of 
Gita for the benefit of his parents. In Guru Nanak’s ‘Patti’ and 


acquired considerable knowledge of Hindu religion about which we learn 
from various allusions made in his hymns. Thereafter, Mahita Kalu thought 
of sending his son to learn Persian. 19 One day he took him to a maulvi. 
The first day the maulvi wrote alphabets on the wooden slate and taught 
him the initial alphabets of Persian script. Guru Nanak learnt all this quite 
soon and acquired proficiency in Persian.20 He also learnt arithmatics 
and how to add and subtract. Thus, he was far ahead of his companions in 
a few days. The maulvi was quite surprised at the intellectual genius of this 

Religious Ceremony: Yajnopavit 21 

When Guru Nanak grew up to be of nine years, his parents thought 
of performing the ceremony of Yajnopavit i.e. investing the child with the 
sacred thread called janeu.21 The pandit brought along a janeu made of 

"* the hymn quoted above; is summed up the vast experience of life, viz., ‘They who go 
by the names of kings and lords are beheld being reduced to dust, says Nanak when 
mortal departs, all false affections and ties crumble down” (Sri Rag I, G.G.; 16). All 
these compositions do not seem to have been possibly composed by a seven or eight 
year old lad. 

19. The Vilayati'ali Janamsakhi says Turkish whereas the Miharban version calls it Muslim 

(Musalmani) and Turkish. Marti Singh Janamsakhi refers visit to the maulviwhosc name 
Qutab-ud-Din is also mentioned. Bawa Sarup Das Bhalla, in his Mahima Prakash, 

Kaluji took along [Nanak] to Mullah’s (Maulvis) house for srudy; 

The Lord sat in the school-great was his splendour there. 

Words of Persian are found in the hymns of Guru Nanak which shows that the Guru 
had learnt the Persian language. 

20. Mani Singh Janamsakhi says that Guru Nanak asked the maulvi the meaning of the alphabets 

which the latter had written on his wooden slate. As the maulvi could not explain, the 
Guru uttered Siharfi. 

Alif [the first alphabet of Persian script] expects of us to remember God, And discard 
all ego from mind. 

This Siharfi attributed to the Gum is not included in the Sikh scriprure. The Vilayatvali, 
Miharban and Rala texts make no such mention of it. According to the Miharban 
version, the Guru recited to maulvi a hymn; which is also not correct because there is 
nothing in it to suggest its composition in childhood. 

21. The Miharban and Mani Singh Janamsakhis say the ceremony of puttingjaneu took place at 

the age of nine. The Vilayatvali and the Rala versions give no such detail. The Gum 
has condemned janeu in quite a harsh tone in his hymns, and has rather said: 

The thread is spun of cotton, and Brahmin twists it; 

They kill a goat to eat and then ask one to wear [this thread]; 


cotton. As per the practice, then prevalent, a special area was earmarked 
for the ceremony. The ground was sanctified by smearing it with a paste 
of cow-dung mixed with mud. Nanak was made to sit there, and it was 
whispered in his ear that it was the religion of Brahmins and Khatris to 
wear janeu. 22 The ceremony was complete and all the relations who had 
come to see it went back. However, all this did not leave any special 
impact on Guru Nanak’s mind. The Guru has explained thus the real janeu 
in one of Inis hymns: 

Make compassion the cotton, contentment the yarn; 

Continence the knot and purity the twist; 

Such is the true sacred thread of the self 

Thou Brahmin-priest! put this on me shouldst thou have it. 

This thread neither snaps nor is soiled; 

Neither burnt nor lost. 

Saith Nanak : Blessed are the beings that around their neck put this. 

For four cowries is the thread bought, and inside the cooking-space 
put on. 

With it some teaching into the wearer’s ear is whispered. 

By the Brahmin turned preceptor. 

When the wearer dies, the thread falls off- 

To the next world without the thread he departs. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 471 

The Guru says that the pandits who perform the ceremonies of 

"* This proves that the ceremony was current in Guru Nanak’s time and his parents might 
have also performed it and he seems to be writing everything from personal experience. 

22. There is considerable difference of detail as regards the observance of his ceremony in 
the Janamsakhis of Miharban and Mani Singh. The latter refers to the performance by 
Kalu of a hug cjajna for which Rai Bular hunted a deer, distribution of the meat of 
ten he-goats, and distribution of pancake (luchis) and karah-prasad (sweet pudding) 
among the holy men. There are many details of janeu- ceremony, Gayatri mantras 
recited by Pandit Brij Nath. Contrary to it, the former which is of much earlier date 
than the latter; mentions none of these details. The former version has been taken as 
correct. Mani Singh says that at the time of wearing) aneu Gum Nanak recited to the 
Pandit the hymn-’O Nanak! my body is a chariot and it has one charioteer’ whereas 
the Miharban version says that he recited the hymn-’Make compassion the cotton, 
and contentment the thread, continence the knot and truth the twist.’ 

However, both these hymns reflect wide experience and deep thought. Therefore 
these hymns might have been composed at a marure age. Another such example is 
found in a hymn. 

“The thread is not for organ, nor for woman (\PrAsaj. ” These hymns do not seem 
to have been composed by the nine year old Nanak. 


wearing janeu are themselves engrossed in passions. They cannot put 
on a janeu which helps increase contentment in man that can save him 
from evil propensities: 

The Brahmin throws not the sacred thread over his passions and lust 
for woman. 

Each morning is his face covered with shame. 

His feet and hands by the thread are not restrained; 

Nor his tongue and eyes. 

Unrestrained by the thread he moves along. 

Through twisting yarn, others with the thread he invests. 

- Guru Grant.h Sahib, p. 472 

Grazing the Cattle 

Guru Nanak kept the company of the holy men during his childhood. 
Many such saints used to come to Talwandi and Guru Nanak would engage 
in dialogue with each one of them. He would listen to them attentively.23 
As he grew up in years, Mahita Kalu felt concerned to put him in some 
useful vocation. One day he asked Nanak to take the cattle to the fields to 
graze them. Nanak agreed, and next day he took the buffaloes and cows 
along and left for the pastures.24 This became his daily routine. One day 
Nanak sat, as was his wont, wrapt in thoughts. His cattle strayed into the 
field of a Bhatti who in turn complained to the chief of the village, Rai 
Bular.25 He sent for Mahita Kalu and enquired from him about Bhatti’s 
complaint. Nanak replied that they should go and see the crop themselves. 

23. The Vilayatvali Janamsakhi says-”he held discourses with the faqirs.” The Vuratan (p. 8, 

App. 4) and the Mani Singh (p. 47, App. 331) versions say-uas a saint came, he would 
bring him home and warmly serve him.” 

24. All thejanamsakhi accounts agree that Guru Nanak went out grazing the cattle. The Ba/a 

account goes further and adds the story of snake providing shadow and the shade of 
a tree remaining fixed. It says that those were the days of the month of Vaisakh. The 
Guru was overtaken by sleep. A snake provided shadow with its hood to the divinely 
radiant face. Even the shadow of the tree under which child Nanak slept on another 
day did not move with the moving of the sun. Rai Bular saw this miracle. The 
Vilayatvali, the Miharban and the Mani Singh texts do not mention the story of snake, 
but they do tell of the crop being intact even after the cattle had trampled over it. Both 
Mani Singh and Miharban versions also give the story of tree keeping its shadow 

25. SheMiharbanJanamsakhigwcs the name Rai Bhoe. The Vilajatvali and Mani GzgA versions 

mention it as Rai Bular. Perhaps each peasant did not have access to Rai Bhoe, and Rai 
Bular used to resolve minor issues. 


When they reached there, they found no harm done to the crops. Bhatti 
felt slighted. 26 

Betrothal and Marriage 

When Guru Nanak came of 16 years 27 , his parents thought of his 
marriage. 28 They saw that he was not interested in any worldly vocation. 
They called in the family priest and asked him to find out a suitable match 
for Nanak. In search of such a match, he reached Pakhoke Randhawe (in 
modern-day Gurdaspur district), a village situated on the eastern bank of 
the Ravi. There lived a person named Moola, a patwari by profession and 
Chona Khatri by caste. He offered to marry his daughter, Ghummi, 29 to 
Nanak. 30 As per a local tradition, Ghummi was the only child of her parents. 
According to prevalent practice, Moola’s brother and the family priest went 
to Talwandi Rai Bhoe, performed the betrothal ceremony of (Guru) Nanak 
and came back after fixing a date for marriagey It was also decided that 

26. This episode is given in this way in the Vilayatvali, Miharban and Marti Singh Janamsakhis, 

and it seems correct. When Bhatti saw from a distance that the herdsman is absorbed 
in himself and his cattle were grazing in his fields, he felt rather enraged and made the 
complaint immediately. When the field was inspected, there was no visible loss to the 

27. Nanak’s age at the time of his marriage is given differently in differentjanamsakhis. The 

Vilajatvali text gives it 12 years, Mani Singh makes it 14 years, Miharban 16 years while 
the Bala text gives 18 years. Since age in all the accounts is said to be adolescent, it will 
be proper to accept age of 15-16 years as correct. 

28. Except the Balajanamsakhi, all other accounts agree that Nanak’s marriage took place at 

Talwandi which seems correct. The Bala account says it took place at Sultanpur. Among 
the Hindu Kharris, it is not considered proper for parents to go to the daughter’s 
house for the son’s marriage. It can be safely presumed that Mahita Kalu performed 
marriage ceremony of his son at Talwandi. Sukhbasi Rai Bedi, a direct descendant of 
Guru Nanak, also says in his Guru Nanak Bans Prakash that the nuptial ceremonies 
took place at Talwandi. 

29. Miharban janamsakhi (Kirpal Singh, janamsakhi Prampra, App. 338, Punjabi University 

Patiala, 1969 hereafter cited as J.S.P.) but the Bala janamsakhi gives it Sulakhani (App. p. 
338). Maybe, her maiden name was Ghummi which was changed to Sulakhani after 
her marriage as per the practice. 

30. The fact of the visit of the family priest of Bedis to Pakhoke Randhawe is given in the 

Miharban janamsakhi. Bawa Sarup Das Bhalla says: 

Then Kalu said to priest: 

You go where lives the maiden’s family. 

Then Nanak’s betrothal be done: 

Thereafter his marriage be fixed-so say all. 


the marriage party should reach Batala (Gurdaspur district) which was 
twenty miles (32 kms.) off Pakhoke Randhawe; the native village of 
Moola. 32 A gurdwara, Dera Sahib, exists now on the site of Moola’s house. 
Mahita Kalu went to Batala with the marriage party of his son. Marriage 
ceremonies of Nanakwere performed there. The place where the marriage 
party halted is still marked by an old wall preserved since then: this gurdwara 
is named Kandh Sahib. 

Saccha Sauda 

Guru Nanak did not show much interest in business or worldly affairs 
even after his marriage. He remained restless, as ever before. He would 
meet saints and faqirs visiting Talwandi and had dialogue with them. On 
return home, he simply kept quiet and would lie down. 33 It was a matter of 
deep anguish for the parents that Nanak who was now a married person 
did nothing to earn livelihood but instead went about with saints and faqirs. 
They apprehended that he might not turn to the life of an ascetic. They 
also felt scared of the taunts of the people: who say that Kalu’s son was 
good for nothing. 34 Thus, the parents always impressed upon him the need 
to take up some useful vocation. 

One day Mahita Kalu advised his son to do some work. He gave him 
twenty rupees, saying that he could make a good deal with the money. 35 
With Inis father’s permission, Nanak left home along with another person 

31. All these details are mentioned in the Miharban Janamsakhi (p. 68 of App.) which can be 

accepted as correct. 

32. All thejanamsakhis agree that the marriage took place at Batala (District Gurdaspur). 

33. Vilajatvali Janamsakhi records: “he felt interested in nothing, cared not for home.” “Members 

of the family said that he goes about with the faqirs” (Pnratanjanamsakhi, p. 8 of App., 
J.S.P.). The Miharban account (p. 70 of App.) says: “as he got married, he maintained 
silence, spoke nothing.” “Then he stopped talking and developed indifference towards 
household life. The mind of Guru Nanak did not show concern for worldly matters.” 

34. The Vilajatvali Janamsakhi (p.12 of App., J.S.P.) says: “Then rhe entire family felt sad and 

said that ‘he had gone crazy.’ Then Guru Nanak’s mother came. She said, ‘Leave these 
foolish things, People laugh at us saying that Kalu’s son is good for nothing.’ “ 

35. This episode of Sacha Sauda ’ is available only in the Salajanamsakhi. The Vilajatvali version 

(p.13, AppA, J.S.P.) says: “The sons ofKhatris do business even if they have a fiver.” 
Twenty rupees was then considered a huge amount. A single rupee amounted to 
forty dams and twenty rupees meant 800 dams. Hence, the need for an escort. 


who was asked to accompany him. ,s 

When Gum Nanak reached near Chuharkana, a village 15 miles (24 
kms.) away from Talwandi, he met a group of mendicants (sadhus) who 
were hungry. 37 He thought what else could be a better deal than providing 
food to the hungry holy men. Thus spending the entire amount on feeding 
the hungry mendicants, he returned home. 38 When Mahita Kalu learnt this, 
he was much annoyed because he had given him money to do some good 
business transaction and not to feed the ascetics. Nanak was also well 
aware of his father’s temper and instead of going straight to home, he hid 
himself under a huge tree in a dry pond beyond the woods a little away 
from the village. From there Mahita Kalu and sister Nanaki brought him 
home. The site where stood the bushes then is now marked by a gurdwara 
named Tamboo Sahib. 39 The place where he fed the hungry ascetics is now 
called Saccha Sauda (the true bargain). 40 

Thought for Sojourn 

When Guru Nanak was 20 years of age, he asked Mardana to 
accompany him on a pilgrimage. 41 Mardana was also a native of Talwandi. 
He was a Mirasi by caste and used to play rebeck and sing verses of saints 

36. Shai Sala Janamsakhi says that the person who accompanied Nanak was Bala, but this is 

not confirmed by any other source. Mahima Vrakash also says that he was an ‘attendant’ 
and not Bala: 

The advice of father Nanak abided. 

Taking attendant along, he left. 

37. According to the Sala Janamsakhi (p.12, App. J.S.P., 226) the saint whose name is written as 

Sant Ren, said: “[We] eat whatever God sends. That is why we live detached in 

38. The Sala Janamsakhi says that Nanak went to a nearby village. He bought various things 

ftom there, prepared the food, offered the cooked food to them and then returned 

39. The Gurdwara Tamboo Sahib is one of the important shrines at Nankana Sahib (District 

Shaikhpura, Pakistan). 

40. The town is also named Saccha Sauda and it also has a railway station of the same name. 

41. TheMani Singh Janamsakhi (App. J.S.P., 338) records: “When Baba became 20 years of age, 

one day he told Mardana that he would go on a pilgrimage and futther asked him if 
he would accompany him. “This fact is not corroborated by any of the Vilayatvali, 
Miharban or Sala versions. But one thing comes out clear that the idea of going on a 
travels accross the sub-continent was the result of his past reflection and that he used 
to share such thoughts wirh Mardana. 


like Kabir, Trilochan, Ravidas and others. Nanak would listen to the 
recitation of such hymns from him. 42 When Mardana heard this proposal, 
he responded by expressing his inability to go on pilgrimage because he 
was to marry off his young daughter. 43 Yet Nanak one day asked his father’s 
permission to go on a pilgrimage. Mahita Kalu did not accede to this request. 
Instead he said: ‘We have just performed your marriage. There is lot of 
time to do pilgrimages.” 44 Hearing this, the Guru kept quiet. 

Calling in the Physician 

Guru Nanak was now past 20, but he was still indifferent to any 
worldly vocation. Once Guru Nanak did not eat anything for a few months 
and remained absorbed in meditation. 45 His mother and other relatives got 
worried and thought that Nanak has fallen prey to some ailment. Father 
Kalu sent for a physician. The physician came and felt Nanak’s pulse and 
asked him as to what ailed him. Nanak in response laughed and said that 
he suffered from no illness. Only he pines for union with the Lord. The 
physician was surprised at this and left without prescribing any medicine. 
On Mahita Kalu’s enquiry about diagnosis, he replied that he had no 
prescription for such a malady. 

After some time 46 the Guru delineated this incident as follows: 

42. The Miharbanjanamsakhi (p.73, 78-79 of App., J.S.P.) says: “He used ro play with Nanak 

during their childhood days. Mardana of Talwandi was of the Dum Kalal family. He 
played on rebeck and sang verses of Namdev, Kabir, Trilochan, Ravidas, Dhanna and 
Beni. He recited these verses ro Gum Nanak.” 

43. Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi (App. J.S.P., 338) records: “My daughter is of marriageable 

age. First I will marry her off. Only after that I could go.” 

44. Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi (pA10, App.J.S.P., 337) says: “Baba one day asked Kalu that 

his mind is on going for a pilgrimage. Kalu replied: “Son, you have just got married.” 
This shows that the idea to travel through the country had come to Nanak during his 
stay at Talwandi, but it could be translated into reality only after the Bern episode at 

45. The Vilayatvali text (p.17, App. J.S.P, 7) says: “Then for three months Baba Nanak did not 

eat or drink anything.” Miharban records: “Then four or five months passed and 
Baba Nanak neither ate anything nor conversed nor quarreled (p. 45, App. J.S.P, 12). 
This episode is narrated in the Mani Singh version also (p. 109, App. J.S.P, 337). The 
Bala Janamsakhi makes no mention of it. However, sensing Nanak’s general temper, 
this episode can be accepted. 

46. The Vilayatvali, the Miharban and the Mani Singh Janamsakhis record that Guru Nanak 

recited this hymn ro the physician. 


Some brand me as a ghost, some goblin; 

Some call me man: Nanak is a simple, humble man. 

Nanak is mad after the Divine King, after Him crazy. 

Other than the Lord recognize 1 none. (I-Pause) 

To be really crazy is to be fear-crazed of God. 

And other than the Lord, none other to recognize. 

A man would be mad after God, if in this one sole task he were to 

He should realize the Lord’s command and other kind of understanding 

Truly mad after God would he be, should he love the Lord, 

Should look upon himself as foul, 

And the rest of the world as good. - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 991 


The elder sister of Guru Nanak was married to Jai Ram. 47 Jai Ram 
lived at Sultanpur, a town situated on the eastern bank of rivulet Bein a 
tributary of river Beas. The town is 45 kms. (28 miles) south-west of 
Jalandhar, a famous city of the Doaba region. The earlier name of 
Sultanpur was Tamasvan. 48 Sultan Khan, 49 an officer of Mahmood 
Ghazanavi’s army, named it after his own name. He also tried to make it 
prosperous. However, Sultanpur of Guru Nanak’s time acquired more of 
its splendour from Daulat Khan Lodhi, 50 a relative of Bahlol Khan Lodhi 
who was the founder of the Lodhi dynasty. In fact, it was the major town 
of Daulat Khan’s jagir. Guru Nanak’s brother-in-law, Jai Ram, was an 
employee of Daulat Khan. 51 

47. As per the Bala JanamsakMfds Ram a Palta Khatri by caste; once visited Talwandi and saw 

Nanaki drawing water from the well. He sent a request to Mahita Kalu, through chief 
of the village, Rai Bular, for marriage with Nanaki. Kalu agreed, and thus Nanaki was 
married ro Jai Ram. These details do not find mention in any other Source, though all 
the fanamsakhis record Nanaki’s marriage with Jai Ram. According to Miharban, Jai 
Ram was a Uppal Khatri. 

48. Heun Tsang says that here was once a Buddhist shrine which was razed to make way for 

a royal inn. Since the water of this rivulet as well as the earth here is black, the place was 
called Tamasvan (tamas=black; van=jungle). Daulat Khan Lodhi built a fore here 
which finds mention in the Ain-i-Akbari. For more details, see Report of the Tour in 
Punjab 1878-89 by Alexander Cunningham, Superintendent, Government Printing 
Press, Calcutta, 1882, p. 55. 

49. See Report of the Tour in Punjab, pp. 55-58. 

50. Daulat Khan Lodhi was the son of Tatar Khan. Ahmad Yadgar, Tarikh-i-Shahi, says he 

became governor of Punjab in A.D. 1504. According to Tu^k-i-Babari, he died in 1526. 

51. The Bala Janamsakhi says that Jai Ram had gone ro Talwandi to measure lands;. 


When Jai Ram learnt that Nanak did not feel interested in any worldly 
vocation, he wrote a letter 52 to Mahita Kalu suggesting that Nanak be sent 
to Sultanpur. Maybe, he felt at home there. He even hinted at trying for a 
job for him. Before the receipt of this letter Mahita Kalu had already tried 
to put him in varied vocations but had failed. Therefore, the family agreed 
to send him to Sultanpur. Hearing of this letter, 53 Nanak also agreed to go 
to Sultan pur to visit his sister there. 

When Guru Nanak was about to leave Talwandi, his wife was sad 
and began weeping. She said, “What will become of me? Though you 
were despondent in Talwandi but I had the satisfaction that you were at 
home. Now you set out for a far off place. God knows when you would 
return home or may not return at all.” Hearing such words, Nanak gave 
her solace and said, “When I get some job, I shall send for you to 
Sultanpur.” 54 Saying this Guru Nanak set out for Sultan pur. 


When Guru Nanak reached Sultanpur, he was affectionately received 
by Nanaki and Jai Ram. Next day Jai Ram took him to Daulat Khan and 
recommended his name for a job. Daulat Khan gave Nanak a searching 
look and was impressed by his personality. He appointed Nanak to work 
in his Modikhana (the stores) along with Jai Ram. 55 

... it means that Jai Ram was a revenue official. But this fact is not corroborated by any 
other source. The Vilayatvali and the Miharban Janamsakhi refer to him as modi or 
keeper of scores of Daulat Khan. 

52. The Vilayatvali and the Miharban accounts say that Jai Ram wrote a letter. The Bala text is 

also one with it. Nanak’s despondency was as worrisome for Nanaki as for any other 
member of the family. Such a letter from Jai Ram was only natural. Bala Janamsakhi 
says that Rai Bular wrote a letter to Jai Ram suggesting that Nanak be invited to 
Sultanpur but no other source corroborares this fact. 

53. The Miharban]llnamsakhi (p. 73, 79 App. J.S.R) says thar Jai Ram sent two letters, one to 

Mahita Kalu and another co Nanak. 

54. The Vilayatvali and the. Miharban Janamsakhisseies co the solace given co Sulakhani. The 

Bala and Mani Singh versions make no such mention. 

55. Bhai Mani Singh and Bala accounts say thatjai Ram requested Nanak co rake up a job. At 

first he did not agree but after a lot of persuasion he consented. This statement is not 
in conformity with the prevailing circumstances. It is dear from the Vilayatvali and 
Miharban Janamsakhis that Jai Ram met Daulat Khan along with Nanak. Looking at 
Nanak, Daulat Khan remarked that he looks honest. Thereafter, he appointed him. 


Jai Ram was the chief executive of the Modikhana. Modikhana 56 was 
considered a very important institution of a faujdar since those days (the 
time of Sikandar Lodhi, 1488-1517) revenue was collected in the form of 
grains. Although there was no ban on paying revenue in cash (which Ibrahim 
Lodhi put after 1517) 57 yet the problem of safe custody of currency made 
the land tenants pay revenue in kind. The revenue was a fixed part of the 
total produce. 58 

During the last decade of the 15th century Daulat Khan became 
Governor of Punjab after the death of his father, Tatar Khan, in 1504. 59 
When Nanak was appointed in the Modikhana, Daulat Khan was only the 
jagirdar (or faujdar) of Sultanpur. 60 

The Lodhi Kings conferred jagirs on their select officers and these 
jagirdars in turn used to give lands to some of those who worked for them. 
All military positions were based on land grants. The employees in the 
Modikhana (where Nanak was employed) received paltry amount as salary 
and their main source of livelihood was alufa 61 which meant they were 
also given fixed quantity of grains on daily basis. 

In the Modikhana, Nanak was entrusted with the job of weighing 
grains 62 and keeping records of it. He would daily write 

56. Modikhana is a Persian word which implies a place where grains are stored and then 

distributed as per requirement. Implicitly, Modi is the person who is in charge of the 
grain stores. 

57. All the Janamsakhi accounts agree that Guru Nanak came to Sultanpur after he was 20 years 

of age. Sikandar Lodhi ascended the throne in 1488. As such, Guru Nanak’s stay at 
Sultanpur coincides with Sikandar Lodhi’s time. 

58. In the Lodhi Kingdom, there was no port as a result of which trade with foreign 

countries was minimal. Thus free flow of currency was not possible. Therefore, 
grains were rather cheap and currency was rare. For details see, Moreland, Agrarian 
System of Moslem India, Allahabad, 1929, p. 68. 

59. According to Tugk-i-Babari, Daulat Khan died in A.D. 1526. He became Governor of 

Punjab in 1504. See Tarikb-i-Shahi by Ahmad Yadgar, Asiatic Society, Calcutta, 1939, p. 
22. It is written therein that when Babur conquered Punjab in 1524, Ibrahim Lodhi 
wrote a letter to Dau/at Khan Lodhi that my father had made you the Governor of 
Punjab and that you have been in this position for the last 20 years, how come you 
have now called in the Mughals. This proves that Daulat Khan Lodhi became the 
Governor of Punjab in 1504. 

60. According to Tugk-i-Babari, Daulat Khan had first of all the jagiroi Sultan pur. See Lucas 

King, Memoirs of Babar, Vol. II, p. 170. 

61. The Puratan janamsakhi records thar Guru Nanak got alufa which implies that Guru Nanak 

received grains daily as stipend or livelihood. 

62 .All the Janamsakhi versions are unanimous that Guru Nanak’s job in the Modikhanawis to 
distribute grains. 


the details on the account-book. He used to complete this work by each 
evening even if he had to sit late hours. He would not rest until all accounts 
were resolved. On the site of the Modikhana now exists Gurdwara Hatt 
Sahib. Some of the weight measures said to be of Guru Nanak’s time are 
preserved there. 

Nanak has two sons: Sri Chand, Lakhmi Chand 

A few years went by after Nanak’s marriage. He remained despondent 
as ever. Both mother Tripta and wife Sulakhani felt rather sad at this. 63 
Nanak’s elder sister, Nanaki, was also issueless although quite some years 
had passed since her marriage. 64 Because of this reason also, Nanak’s parents 
wished him to sire a child soon. Nanak’s mother-in-law, Chando Rani, was 
also worried. One day she talked to Nanaki suggesting that she advised 
her brother. 65 Nanaki also shared her desire with him when she and her 
husband visited Talwandi. 66 After some time a son was born to Nanak 
who was named Sri Chand. Thereafter Nanak was blessed with another 
son, Lakhmi Chand. 67 

63. The Vilayatvali text (p.12 of App. J.S.P.) says, “Then Baba Nanak’s wife came to her 

mother-in-law. She said, “O mother! How do you relax while your son is on bed for 
the past four days without taking any food or drink.” The Miharban version (App. p. 
70) also says that the mother felt concerned at the silence of her son. However, the 
Bala version makes no such reference. Maintaining long silences seemed to be a habit 
with Nanak. 

64. It is generally accepted that Nanaki had no issue. She was born in A.D. 1464 and was thus 

five years oldet than Nanak. No janamsakhi account makes any reference to her issues. 
Only Marti Singh janamsakhi mentions that Guru Nanak gave Nanaki a clove and a 
cardamom and said that a son and a daughter will be born to her. 

65. In the Bah account we come across a detailed description of Nanak’s mother-in-law going 

to Sultanpur and complaining to Nanaki. She lamented that Nanak did not pay any 
attention to his wife. The account of the Guru not talking to his wife is also found in 
the Vilayatvali and Miharban janamsakhi. Then Nanaki advises Nanak. The episode 
regarding complaint ofNanak’s mother-in-law to Nanaki is not available in the 
Vilayatvali, Miharban and Mani Singh versions. But as were the then prevalent family 
traditions, this seems probable. 

66. The Balajanamsakhi says Sri Chand was bom at Sultanpur. The Vilayatvali, Miharban and 

Mani Singh janamsakhis place the birth of both Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das at Talwandi. 

67. The Vilayati'alijanamsakhi (p.ll, App. J.S.P., 4) says: “Then the Lord willed and two sons 

were born to Gum Nanak-Lakhmi Dass and Sri Chand.” This will lead us to constme 
that Lakhmi Das was the elder and Sri Chand the younger of the two. However, the 
Miharban and the Bala texts state that Sri Chand was the elder. 


Audit of Accounts 

Many categories of people such as landlords, overlords, chiefs, etc. 
came to the Modikhana to deposit grains, jaggery, etc. as land revenue. 
Daulat Khan’s officials, soldiers, accountants and others received grains 
in the required quantity in lieu of salaries. 68 Guru Nanak behaved honestly 
with each one of them. All the Modis who worked there before him used 
to keep unto themselves one-tenth of the required quantity: it was called 
dahinimi. 69 It was a corrupt practice in vogue. Guru Nanak put an end to 
the this practice and weighed as much as was sought by anybody. In this 
manner, those who received grains were favourably affected. They began 
singing eulogies of the new Modi. The reputation of Nanak as honest 
Modi spread all around. 

Many mendicants, monks, ascetics, faqirs and other poor people of 
different groups began to flock to Modikhana to get grains. Nanak had a 
special love for such people. Sometimes Nanak would take a faqir along 
and got a daily livelihood quota fixed for him. " Thus, all these holy men 
were much pleased at this newly-appointed Modi, and they had special 
words of appreciation for him. In this way, fame and glory of Nanak spread 
far and wide. 

There was a village called Malsihan, 13 kms. (8 miles) off Sultanpur. 
The chief of this village was Bhagirath. 1 He was a God-fearing man, and 
was a devotee of the goddess Kali. 72 One day as he went to Sultanpur to 
deposit grains (as land revenue) in the 

. son. Gum Nanak Bans Prakash also mentions that Sri Chand was elder. Therefore Sri 

Chand is mostly accepted as first of the two. 

68. The Miharbanjanamsakhi, p. 76, App. J.S.P., 81-82. These details are not available in any 

other source. 

69. The reference to ‘dahinimP is found only in the Miharban version (p. 76, App.J.S.P.). Such 

practices were rampant during rhe times of rhe Lodhis. 

70. The Vilayatvalijanamsakhi calls it aluft: “Took rhem to (Daulat) Khan and got alnja fixed. 

Thus they filled their bellies.” - Sakhi No.9, App. J.S.P., 8. 

71. It is apparent that Malsihan is near Sultanpur. According to the Miharban janantsakhi, the 

chiefs of the region had to go to Modikhana to deposit grains etc. there. The details of 
Nanak sending Bhagirath to Lahore and the story of Bhai Mansukh are found only in 
the Vilayatvali, Bala and Mani Singh versions. Miharban's account makes no mention 
of Bhagirath. However, the fact of Bhagirath becoming a Sikh of Guru Nanak at 
Sultanpur seems correct as Bhai Gurdas records: “Bhagirath is said to sing eulogies of 
(goddess) Kali in Malsiha.”. 

72. Varan Bhai Gurdas, XI, 15. This story is recorded in the Nanak Prakash (Ch.27) also. 


Modikhana, he was highly impressed by the new Modi. He recognized the 
great spirit within Nanak which nourished the poor. Besides, Nanak was 
fully proficient in the job assigned and was ever absorbed in God. He felt 
as if the goddess whom he worshipped also served this great soul. All the 
doubts in his mind were cleared and he became a disciple (Sikh) of (Guru) 
Nanak. Now whenever he visited Sultan pur, he experienced peace and 
poise after meeting Nanak. 

As Nanak’s glory spread with each passing day, someone jealous of 
him made a complaint to Daulat Khan saying that Nanak squandered the 
Modikhana grain among the ascetics and faqirs. The job of the Modi was of 
great responsibility. So Daulat Khan called for Jai Ram and asked him to 
check the accounts of the Modikhana. Jai Ram told Nanak and the officers 
so appointed by Daulat Khan checked the accounts. Everything was found 
in order. The complaint made by the jealous proved to be false. 7 ’ 

Marriage of Mardana’s Daughter 

The news of Nanak’s appointment as Modi had reached Talwandi. 
The fame of his alms-giving and liberality had also accompanied. 
Whosoever from Talwandi on a visit to Sultanpur met Nanak, he would 
get his alufa fixed 74 and the fellow returned to Talwandi in a very happy 
frame of mind and sang praises of Nanak. 

The stories of Guru Nanak’s liberality touched Mardana deeply, and 
he felt a keen desire to meet Nanak. As chance would have it, Mahita 
Kalu one day asked Mardana to go to Sultanpur and bring some news of 
his son. On getting this message, Mardana went over 

73. The reference to the checking of Modikhana accounts is not found in the Vilayatvali and 

Miharban Janamsakhis, but is available in Bala and Marti Singh versions. In the Bala 
Janamsakhi, the narrative of the checking of Guru Nanak’s accounts is given in full 
detail. It also records the name of the complainant and details of the alleged dues. 
Looking at the liberality of Guru Nanak, making of a complaint and checking of the 
accounts remained a possibility. Since Guru Nanak maintained proper accounts, no 
discrepancy could be detected. 

74. The Vilayatvali Janamsakhi (p. 22, App. J.S.P., 8) records: “And he who came from his native 

place, he (Nanak) would get him to meet (Daulat) Khan and fix alufa for him. 
Thereafter he (the visitor from Talwandi) had enough to survive. All were pleased 
with Guru Nanak’s grace.” Miharban version also gives a likewise account (p. 70, App. 
J.S.P., 81). The Bala and Mani Singh traditions make no mention of it. 


to Sultanpur. 75 Guru Nanak made him stay with him for some time. Baba 
Nanak would get up early every morning and go to Bein rivulet for a bath. 
Thereafter, he remained absorbed in meditation for a while. Then Mardana 
would sing verses of saints and similarly kirtan used to take place every 
evening. 76 Some time went by this way. Sensing the liberal nature of Nanak, 
one day Mardana placed his problem before him. He sought some help for 
the marriage of his daughter. 77 On hearing this, Nanak replied that he 
should think of the articles required for the purpose and then make a list 
of them so that these could be arranged. 78 Mardana brought such a list and 
gave it over to Baba Nanak. 

After some days Bhagirath came to offer his respects to Nanak. At 
that time Nanak put before him the paper; Mardana had given him. 
Bhagirath attentively listened to everything and said that he would go to 
Lahore and fetch all these articles. Keeping in mind that there is no delay 

75. The Vilayatvali and the Miharban Janamsakhis (p. 8 & 22, App. J.S.P.) tell us of Mardanas 

visit to Sultanpur. The Vilayatvali text says: “Matdana, the dum by caste, came from his 
place. He came from Talwandi and stayed with Baba Nanak. The Janamsakhis of Bhai 
Mani Singh and Bala also refer to Mardanas visit to Sultanpur. Sarup Das Bhalla says 
in his Mahima Prakash that Mahita Kalu sent Mardana to Sultanpur which appears 
correct. Mahima Prakash says: “Mardana, the balladeer, came (Mahita Kalu’s) home and 
Kalu sent him to bring news. 

76. The reference to Gum Nanak making Mardana perform kirtan at Sultanpur is made in the 

Miharban Janamsakhis follows (p. 76,81, App. J.S.P.): “At night Guru Nanak would 
perform and make others perform kirtan, and go for a bath early in the morning. 
After bathing at the river, he would meditate on remember God.” Such a statement 
is not found in any other Janamsakhi. But this is in keeping with the nature of Guru 

77. In the Vilayatvali Janamsakhi, this is the 41 st Sakhi and is at the end of the first odyssey. 

There, it is stated that the Guru sent for this material for the marriage of a poor 
Khatri’s daughter and that the event took place at Sultanpur since village Malsihan is 
quite nearby. Bala and Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhis place this event at Sultanpur. The 
Miharban text does not contain Bhagirath and Mansukh episodes. Bhai Gurdas has 
also referred to Bhagirath and this lends credence to this story. Now the question 
remains as to when did this event take place. Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi says that when 
Nanak asked Mardana at Talwandi to go for travels in the country, he replied that he 
had a grown-up daughter and that he could go out only after marrying her off. When 
Nanak became a Modi with Daulat Khan, Mardana again put forth his problem. 
Therefore, this event could have taken place at Sultanpur before Nanak embarked on 
the odysseys. Bala Janamsakhi and Bhai Santokh Singh’s Nanak Prakash also make 
mention of sending for things for Mardana’s daughter 
78 It is recorded in the Vilayatvali Janamsakhi (p. 123, App. J.S.P.): “You get a list prepared of 
things that you need. I shall arrange for them.” 


in bringing this material in time for the marriage, Nanak directed Bhagirath 
not to spend more than one night at Lahore. 79 

Bhagirath had a friend named Mansukh who was a trader at Lahore. 
Bhagirath put that paper before Mansukh and told him everything. Mansukh 
was able to collect all the things in a day but he was deeply influenced by 
this gesture. He thought what a great man he would be who was buying so 
many things to give away in the marriage of a poor man’s daughter. He 
also appreciated the devotion of Bhagirath who was taking all these things 
for his Guru in the course of one single day. It was natural for Mansukh to 
ask Bhagirath many things about his Gum. He was so influenced by the 
personality of Nanak that he accompanied Bhagirath to Sultanpur so that 
he could also see the great man at whose feet his friend Bhagirath had 
sought shelter. Both of them reached Sultanpur. Mansukh felt elated on 
having seen Nanak and, like Bhagirath, he also became his disciple (sikh). 80 

Mardana went back to Talwandi taking with him the things meant 
for his daughter’s marriage. After marrying off his daughter he returned 
again to Sultanpur. 81 

Sulakhani (Nanak’s Consort) at Sultanpur 

When Nanak left Talwandi, he had told his wife that he would invite 
her to Sultanpur after he got an employment. 82 After his appointment in 
the Modikhana, he sent for his wife from Talwandi. He hired a separate 
house in Sultanpur and made it the residence of his family. These days 
Gurdwara Guru Ka Bagh stands at that site. 

79. The reference directing him not to spend more than one night in Lahore is found in 

Vilayatvali, Bala and Marti Singh Janamsakhis. 

80. The reference to Mansukh visiting Sultanpur and becoming a Sikh of the Gum is found 

in Vilayatvali, Bala and Mani Singh Janamsakhis. There is no mention of Mansukh in 
the Miharban text. However, the tradition of Mansukh becoming a Sikh seems 

81. It seems that Mardana returned to Sultanpur after performing the marriage ceremonies of 

his daughter, because according to the Vilayati’aliJanamsakhi, he was at Sultanpur at 
the time when Nanak is stated to have disappeared in the Bein rivulet. 

82. The Vilayatvali Janamsakhi records that Nanak had told Sulakhani that he would send for 

her to Sultanpur as soon as he got employment. As per the Bala Janamsakhi, Nanak’s 
betrothal and marriage took place at Sultanpur which does not appear to be correct. 


Many ascetics, saints and faqirs flocked to the Modikhana because of 
the liberal temper of Nanak, the Modi. He would daily get some quota 
fixed for such holy men by Daulat Khan. Those who could not somehow 
be accommodated were taken by him to his own house and were offered 
food there. Thus, there was a crowd of ascetics and other holy men at the 
house of Nanak at both the meal-times. 83 When the parents-in-law of 
Nanak heard of this, they came to Sultanpur. They wanted him to lead life 
like any other worldly person and not throwaway everything before the 
ascetics, mendicants and the poor. 84 The mother of Sulakhani and wife of 
Mula Chona, Chando Rani, met Nanaki and asked her to prevail upon her 
brother and stop him from indulging in such charities. She replied that 
Nanak gives alms out of what he earns and that the family has enough to 



Nanak Disappears in Rivulet Bein 

While at Sultanpur, Guru Nanak would go daily to the Bein rivulet 
to have his bath. The place where he used to bathe was about half a mile 
(1.60 km.) west of the town. The scene around the banks of the rivulet 
was enchanting because of its natural beauty. Here he used to meditate 
for a while. According to a local tradition, there was a hut of a Muslim 
holy man, Allah Ditta (popularly known as Kharbuje Shah), nearby that 
place. Nanak used to have discourse with him once in a while. After Allah 
Ditta’s demise, his tomb came up near the hut. This tomb remained extant 
till 1941 when the Maharaja of Kapurthala got constructed a gurdwara on 
that site, and named it Gurdwara Ber Sahib. A modest Sikh shrine built of 

83. The Vilayati'aliJanamsakhi (p. 8 of App.) records that “As food began to be prepared in the 

Baba’s kitchen, they would come and sit outside his house. Although this kind of 
statement is not found in any other Janamsakhi, but this remains something in keeping 
with the aura that had been created round the personality of Nanak. 

84. This detail is available in the Bala Janamsakhi. Although this is not confirmed by any other 

Janamsakhi accounts. It was natural for the parents to feel concerned for their daughter’s 
house, especially when they had only one issue. 

85. The details of this dialogue are not available in any Janamsakhi other except Bala’s which 

gives vivid details of this aspect of the Guru’s household life. The dialogue between 
Nanaki and Chando Rani is quite long but the essence of it is that somehow Nanak 
must cultivate attachment for his home. Nanaki being the Guru’s elder sister and also 
being close to him felt herself responsible for his family’s well-being. 


sized bricks existed at the site before this new building came up. 

One day Nanak got up early in the morning and went over to the 
Bein to have his bath. He was accompanied by an attendant with whom 
he left his clothes before he himself entered the rivulet to bathe in. When 
he did not come out for quite some time, the attendant raised a hue and 
cry that Nanak has got drowned. Soon the news spread throughout 
Sultanpur that Daulat Khan’s Modi who had gone for a bath in the Bein, 
got drowned there. When Nanaki and Jai Ram heard this, they were much 
upset. As Daulat Khan learnt of this happening, he took Jai Ram along 
and reached the Bein. He asked the fishermen to put in their nets and try 
to get hold of the body.86 All efforts yielded no trace of Nanak. Now he 
ordered that the accounts of the Modikhana be checked. As Jai Ram 
checked the accounts, he found everything in order. Some surplus grains 
found were kept aside. 87 

It is likely that Nanak swam across the rivulet, went to the other 
bank and remained in communion with God. He re-appeared only after 
three days. It is not possible to describe the ecstasy of this state of 
realization.88 He came out of the Bein at a place that was about one-and- 
a-half miles (2.80 kms.) away from the spot where he had entered the 
Bein. He was seen sitting in a cremation ground close by. The place from 
where Nanak is believed to have come out of the rivulet is now marked 
by Gurdwara Sant Ghat. 

The people of Sultanpur were highly astonished and excited when 
they learnt about Nanak’s return. The news spread around that Nanak has 
come to life after three days. Many said that it was a ghost of Nanak who 

86. The Bala janamsakhi makes mention of throwing in the nets, but none of the other 

janamsakhis contain such a reference. 

87. The fact of checking the accounts is also to be found only in Bala janamsakhi 

88. Varied versions are found in differentjanamsakhis. The Vilayatvali text (p. 9 of App.J.S.P.) 

records: “With the permission of God, the servants took [Nanak] to the Divine 
Court. They prayed that Nanak was present... With the Divine sanction he was served 
a bowl full of nectar “Similarly, the Miharban version also relates Nanak’s attendance 
before Akalpurakh and being offered a bowl full of milk. At that moment are showered 
grace and compassion. Bhai Gurdas has described this state calling it the “Door of 
Compassion.” As per the Mani Singh version, God asked Nanak that he should visit 
the centres of pilgrimages and make people remember the Divine Name. According 
to the Vilayatvali version, the MulMantra and the hymn entitled Arti were uttered at 
this time. The Mani Singh text says that the hymn So Dam was uttered at that time. 
The Miharban Janamsakhi does not specify any hymn to have been uttered at that time. 
It is recorded in the Janamsakhi of Bhai Mani Singh that Guru Nanak emerged out of 
the Bein after eight days. 


died three days back and now sits there in the cremation ground. 

Thereafter Nanak, got up from the cremation ground and left for the 
Modikhana. He distributed among the ascetics and the poor, the surplus 
grains which were kept apart and which formed Guru Nanak’s share. Many 
people gathered there and said that since Nanak had remained in the rivulet 
for three days, he had lost balance of mind and had gone crazy. After 
giving away all his belongings, Nanak went to sit among the faqirs. 89 When 
Guru Nanak’s father-in-law learnt this, he came over to Sultan pur. On 
seeing Guru Nanak sitting in the cremation ground, he felt sad. He took a 
pandit along and tried to persuade Nanak, but all this had no effect on 
him. 90 Mula Chona was quite full of sorrow. He took his daughter Sulakhani 
and her son Lakhmi Das along to Pakkhoke. Nanaki herself undertook the 
guardianship of Sri Chand. 91 

‘No Hindu, No Musalman’ 

The first words that Guru Nanak uttered after he came out of the 
Bein were “There is no Hindu and no Musalman.” This caused a furore 
throughout Sultanpur. All were astonished on hearing these words because 
Sultanpur was a centre of Muslim learning 92 and it was not devoid of 
danger to say so in the Muslim regime. 93 People went to Daulat Khan and 
informed him that Nanak was repeatedly uttering the words “there is no 
Hindu and no Musalman.” Daulat Khan sent for Nanak. At the same time 
he sent for the qa%i of the 

89. This incident is not mentioned in Bala and Mani Singh Janamsakhis. The Vilayati'ali and the 

Miharban have it and this appears to be in consonance with the happenings related in 
the anecdote. 

90. The Vilayatvali, Miharban and Mani Singh versions make no mention of Guru Nanak’s 

father-in-law coming over to Sultanpur. But the occurrence so does not seem to be 
improbable. Surely, the father-in-law would not like his daughter’s husband take to 
spiritual pursuits. The Bala Janamsakhi records that Mula Chona took along S.hama 
Pandit and met Nanak. They had a long discussion with Nanak. The latter silenced 
Shama Pandit by a hymn which is not to be found in Guru Granth Sahib. 

91. This fact is stated only in Bala Janamsakhi, but this does nor seem to be unlikely as Nanaki 

had no issue of her own. 

92. During the Lodhi regime, Sultanpur was a cencre of Muslim learning. Later on, Mughal 

princes Dara and Aurangzeb received their early education here. See Mufti Ghulam 
Sarvar, Tarikh-iMakh^an-i-Punjab, p. 192. 

93. The reign of Sikandar Lodhi (1488-1517) was oppressive for the Hindus because 

during this time the temples of Nagarkot and Mathura were felled down. In -1499, 
a Brahmin named Bodhan of Lucknow was got killed because he had claimed that 
Islam was true, and Hinduism was also true. See J. Briggs, Rise of Mohammedan Power 
in India, Calcutta, 1966, Vol. I, p. 330. 


town. 1 ’ 4 When Nanak came to Oaulat Khan, the qa%i was already there. 
Seeing Nanak in an ascetic’s robes, Oaulat Khan gave him due respect 
and said that the qa%i has a question to ask. Nanak looked at the qa%i who 
asked: “You say that there is no Hindu and no Musalman. What is meant 
by this? Does the faith founded by Prophet Muhammad not exist ?” 95 Nanak 
replied that it is difficult to be a Musalman. One has to live life as per the 
will of God. Getting one’s mind cleansed of ego and inculcating 
compassion, mercy and love for all is the true path of religion and only the 
rare tread this path. Guru Nanak enunciated this in the following hymn: 

Hard it is to deserve the name of Musalman- 
Only one truly so, may such be called. 

First, must he hold in love the way of the holy; 

Like iron on grindstone should he cast off his possessions. 

In the way of the Preceptor should be have faith, 

And banish illusion of death and life. 

To the Lord’s will should he be obedient: 

With faith in the Creator as compassionate he becomes, 

May he be called a Mussalman. -Guru Granth Sahib, p.142 
Five are the Muslim prayers; five their appointed hours, Five their 

These be the true prayers: 

Truthfulness is the first, legitimate earning the second; 

The third, prayer to God for universal weal. 

The fourth is sincerity of heart and mind; 

The fifth, laudation of God. 

Recite the Kalima of noble acting- 
Thus may one be truly called Mussalman. 

Saith Nanak: Of all hypocrites, ignoble is the end. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 141 

The qatft said, “Hindus have one path and the Muslims have another. 
Which path do you tread?” Nanak replied, “I am 

94. According to Moreland, during the Muslim regime a <^z^z’was appointed in each town to 

provide justice and administration. See Moreland, Agrarian System oJMoslem India, 
1929, p.276. 

95. The MiharbanJanamsakhi records the dialogue that is presumed to have taken place between 

Gum Nanak and the qa^i. There appears to be a distinct possibility of such a happening 
in the context of narration of this episode. 


on the path, to God, and God is neither Hindu nor. Muslim.”96 The qaqi 
agam said, If you are on the path to God, it is now time to say the nama 
you may accompany us (to the mosque) and say the prayers.” Nanak agreed 
to go with him to say the nama Daulat Khan, the qaqi and the Nanak 
went to the mosque to say namaq.97 

When Guru Nanak went to the mosque to say nama % the Hindus of 
the town became apprehensive that the qaqi and Daulat Khan might convert 
Nanak to Islam since they had succeeded in raking him to the mosque for 
the prayer. Jai Ram also shared similar apprehensions with Nanaki as he 
came home. Nanaki was a person with firm faith and she was sure of her 
brother’s commitment. So she allayed Jai Ram’s fears on Nanak’s count.98 

The qa%i, Daulat Khan and Nanak stood in a row. The qaqi and Daulat 
Khan began saying their nama% and Nanak only attentively looked at them. 
Once he looked at the qasqi and laughed because he had a strong insight to 
assume that the qaqi’s mind was not in the nama ^ rather it was in something 
else. When the nama^ was over, the qaqi asked Nanak in a furious tone, 
“O Nanak ! why did you laugh at my saying the namaq?” Nanak patiently 
replied, “Your nama ^ has not been accepted (in the Divine Court) because 
your mind was somewhere else. Since you yourself were not present in the 
nama^j I could not have been with you in saying it.”99 This enraged the 
qaqi furthermore, and he declared that his mind was very much in the 
prayer, but you were laughing standing nearby. Nanak said that it was not 
necessary that mere physical bowing could mean homage to God. It was 
the mind that had to pay the homage, and that one could do any way. 
Similarly, if mind was in the nama% one might say it any way; but if the 
mind was not in the prayer and was rather anxious about the new-born 
filly at home, such saying of nama% was of no use. Listening this, the qaqi 
was astonished. He realized that Nanak had correctly assessed his mental 
state. Finding 

96. These questions and answers are mentioned in the Miharban Janamsakhi. They are not 

found in any other Janamsakhi. 

97. All the Janamsakhi versions agree that Guru Nanak went to the mosque, along with the 

qaqi, to say the namaq. It has to be taken as correct. 

98. This detail is given only in the Balajanamsakhi, and in no one else. But this dialogue fits 

into the given situation. 

99. This event is mentioned in all the Janamsakhi versions. 


qaqi in such bewilderment, Daulat Khan asked qatji the reason of his 
silence. He replied, what Nanak had said was right. 100 

Listening this, Daulat Khan was also highly surprised. He again asked 
the qa^i if it was true that his mind wandered to the new-born filly at 
home while he was saying nama ^ in the mosque. The qa%i replied that 
Nanak had the correct insight. Both the qa^i and Daulat Khan were 
surprised. 101 

Receiving Rebeck from Bhai Phiranda 

Guru Nanak prepared himself physically as well as mentally before 
undertaking long journeys to preach the True Name (Satinam). After the 
Bein episode, he did not return home and thus broke off all attachment 
with the family. 102 He meditated, lessened his daily food intake and began 
living on cow milk alone. 103 Mardana was ever with him. While at Talwandi, 
Guru Nanak improvised a musical instrument with the reed which played 
like a rebeck. Mardana had pleased Nanak by singing hymns to the 
accompaniment of this instrument. 104 

Guru Nanak felt that Mardana was in need of rebeck. The rebeck, a 
musical instrument made of wood and steel strings, was 

100. This episode is mentioned in all the Janamsakhi versions. The Bala Janamsakhi records that 

Daulat Khan asked the Nanak that he could have said the nama^ynth him if the qasj 
had not been saying his. In reply, Nanak told him (Daulat Khan) that he himself was 
then buying horses in Kabul and Kandahar. At this Daulat Khan also became silent. 

101. Bhai Gurdas in his var'Kl makes the following reference to Daulat Khan; “Daulat Khan 

was a virtuous person, a Muslim holy man, find, was also there who was beyond 
death.” Mufti Ghulam Sarvar’s Tarikh-i-Makh^an-i-Pnnjab (pp.28-29) says that Shaikh 
Badr-ud-Din Sherwani was called Jind Pir. He was a man of considerable influence. 
Bahlol Lodhi’s daughter was married to him. He got several villages in jagir with 
which he founded the Malerkotla State. He died in A.D. 1515. See also Griffin’s Chieft 
and Families of Note in the Punjab, 1940, Vol. II, p. 529. Bhai Randhir Singh says that 
Shaikh Badr-ud-Din jind Pir was the qa^i at Sultanpur when Guru Nanak went into 
the mosque to say nama%. However, this fact is not supported by any other source. 

102. See Dabistan, Naval Kishore Press, Kanpur, p. 223 (broke off all attachment with wife 

and son(s). 

103. Ibid. (At last Nanak practised severe austerities and meditation. First, he decreased his 

intake of food. Then lived on cow milk. Thereafter he massaged with ghee and lived 
on water alone. Such a person is called pavan-ahari or one who lives on air only). 

104. Ratan Singh Bhangu, Prachin Panth Prakash, Amritsar, p. 9. 


not easily available then. On enquiry, it became known that Bhai Phiranda, 
a native of village Bharoana towards the south-west of Sultanpur, possessed 
a rebeck and that he might part with it if so requested. Guru Nanak asked 
Mardana to get some money from sister Nanaki and then meet Phiranda 
and bring the rebeck. 105 Mardana went to Bharoana. This village these days 
falls in the Beas basin where the Bein rivulet falls in the Beas. Now a 
gurdwara stands there in the memory of Bhai Phiranda. The latter himself 
came to Sultanpur and gave his rebeck to Nanak. 106 

Bhai Lalo 

Mardana expressed a desire to meet his family before embarking on a 
long journey. Nanak left Sultanpur and reached Sayyadpur (Saidpur) Saloi 
which has since been renamed Eminabad (in Gujranwala district of 
Pakistan). 107 Here lived Bhai Lalo who was a carpenter by profession. 108 
Guru Nanak stayed with him and from here Mardana went over to Talwandi 
to meet his family. 109 Walking through short-cut routes, Talwandi was not 
more than 20-25 miles (40 kms.) from here. 110 

105. The reference to asking for money from Nanaki is found in the BalaJanamsakhi only 

and nowhere else. 

106. The episode of getting rebeck from Bhai Phiranda is also mentioned only in Bala 

Janamsakhi. In village Bharoana, (present-day Kapurthala district) stands a shrine 
(Gurdwara) of Bhai Phiranda commemorating this episode. 

107. Babur, in his Tu^ki-Babari, refers to this village as Sayyadpur, bUt the Vilayatvali and the 

Miharban versions of the Janamsakhis call it Saidpur. Sher Shah Suri had razed chis 
town to ground in the 16th century and had founded Shergarh on the site. The debris 
of this village can still be seen one mile (1.60 kms.) south-west of rhe present town. 
Amin Beg, a general of Emperor Humayun devastated this town and with its debris 
erected a new township, which he named Eminabad. See Gujranwala District Gazetteer, 
1935, p.354. 

108. According to Bhai Kahn Singh, Bhai Lalo was a devotee who was a carpenter of Ghataura 

sub-caste. He had no son. He had only one daughter whose descendants lived in Tatla 
village (District Gujranwala now in Pakistan). S ee Mahan Kosh, p. 1065 (1974 reprint). 

109. It seems that one purpose of Guru Nanak’s visit to Eminabad was that Mardana 

should get an opportunity to meet his family before proceeding on long journey. 
Nanak himself did not go to Talwandi because he knew that his family members 
were upset at his decision to undertake spiritual pursuits. Bhai Mardana’s visit to 
Talwandi is recorded in the Bala Janamsakhi which seems probable. 

110. Eminabad is about 8 miles (about 13 kms.) from Gujranwala and 35 miles (56 kms.) 

from Lahore. Nankana Sahib is also 35 miles (56 kms.) from Lahore. Nankana Sahib 
from Emmabad via Shahadra is about sixry miles (96 kms.) by rail. 


During his stay with Bhai Lalo, Gum Nanak would daily go out and 
remain absorbed in communion with God throughout the day away from 
the village. In preparation of a long journey, he also began to condition his 
body, by talcing little food and living in rough environs. He used to sit on 
hard pebbles and meditate. 111 According to a local tradition, this place is 
now marked by Gurdwara Rori Sahib. 112 Before Pakistan came into 
existence, devotees from far and near used to throng this place. 

During the Guru’s stay with Bhai Lalo, a feudal lord of Sayyadpur, 
Malik Bhago, arranged a brahm-bhoj (feast for the holy). People from all the 
varnas (castes) were invited to take meals. This feudal chief committed all 
sorts of tyrannies on the people who were fed up with him. An invitation 
was also sent to Nanak, but he did not respond. 11. The caste-conscious 
Brahmins made a complaint to Malik Bhago saying that Nanak was a faqir 
and that he had not partaken of food in the brahm-bhoj. Malik Bhago sent 
for Nanak. Nanak, along with Bhai Lalo went to Malik Bhago, who wanted 
to know as to why he did not join the brahm-bhoj. The Guru boldly replied 
that he saw the blood of the poor in his victuals. Then he asked the Guru 
as to why he stayed with Lalo of the low caste. To this Guru Nanak replied 
that the coarse bread of Lalo was milk-like to him because Lalo earns by 
honest labour. At this, Malik Bhago got infuriated, but others who had 
gathered there advised restraint as at the time of the brahm-bhoj, no faqir 
or ascetic was to be spoken to in a disparaging tone. Guru Nanak left 
Malik Bhago’s place and returned to Bhai Lalo. 

111. Bhai Gurdas (Vttran, 1:24) says: 

“After having been bestowed with the grace of God, Baba Nanak began to practice 
austerities. He lived on bitter wild plant; Calotropisprocera and sand, pebbles on earth 
remained his bedding. Long spells of penances enabled him to have proximity to 

References to austerities and meditation are found in the Dabistan as well, as we have 
said earlier. According to a local tradition, Eminabad was the place where Nanak 

112. Maharaja Ranjit Singh on his way from Lahore to Peshawar visited this shrine and made 

special offerings. See Sohan Lai Suri, Umdat-ut-Timrikh, Daftar III, Tr. V.S. Suri, 1961, 
p. 257. 

113. According to the Miharban janamsakhi, the episode of brahm-bhoj took place at Lahore, 

and not at Sayyadpur, during the later years of Guru Nanak’s life, but the Bala janamsakhi 
says that it took place at Sayyadpur (Eminabad). The Sikhs in general believe that this 
incident took place at Eminabad. 


After a few days Mardana came back from Talwandi. Thereafter the 
Guru sought Bhai Lalo’s permission to move further ahead. 

Sajjan, The Swindler 

While at Talwandi, Mardana had once seen a group of pilgrims that 
was going to Pakpatan for ^iarat (pilgrimage) at the tomb of Shaikh Farid 
Shakarganj. At that time Mardana asked Guru Nanak to take him to 
Pakpatan. 114 Guru Nanak left Sayyadpur for Pakpatan so as to fulfil 
Mardana’s wish. 

Those days one who wanted to go to Pakpatan from Sayyadpur had 
first to take the road leading to Lahore and thence the one leading to 
Multan. Both Lahore and Multan were capital towns of their respective 
Subas and both had different governors. Both these principal towns were 
connected by road. Besides, boats also ferried in the Ravi from Lahore to 
Multan, and traders used to transport their wares by them. 113 Travelling 
from Lahore to Multan either by boat or road transport, one passed through 
an important town Tulamba on the bank of the Ravi. The town has since 
got a new name: Makhdoompur (district Multan). There was no inn around 
Tulamba where the passengers could halt. One inn was constructed during 
the regime of Emperor Shah Jahan which was ravaged by the Ravi waters 
in 1750. 116 Around the time Guru Nanak lived there was no inn at this 
place. Therefore, a swindler by the name of Sajjan 11 got a private inn 

114. Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamakhi records: “One day Mardana, the Mirasi, came to meet Baba 

Nanak when the people were going for %iarat of Shaikh Farid’s (shrine). Mardana 
asked Guru Nanak that he would also perform cjarat if he (the Guru) accompanied 
him. To this Guru Nanak replied that he would go if Mardana accompanied him 
permanently. Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhi. (App. J.S.P., 332). 

115. Ee. Arora, Commerce by Rivers in the Punjab, Pb. Govt. Office, Lahore, 1930, pp. 92-93. 

116. Multan District Gazetteer, Lahore, 1923-24, p. 283. 

117. A manuscript copy of the Bala janamsakhi, dated A.d. 1658, says that Sajjan belonged to 

Tulamba. Bhai Sanrokh Singh (Nanak Prakash) also makes a similar Statement. The 
Miharban version says that this episode took place in the South. The Vilayatvali 
janamsakhi does not specify any place but puts it prior to the Guru’s visit to Panipat 
and Delhi: this comes nearer to Tulamba. The Miharban text refers to watet-pitchers 
having been placed there for both Hindus and Muslims. Bhai Mani Singh’s version 
declares Sajjan to be of a place around Hastanapur. This place does not seem Delhi 
because it comes after Nanakmatta (District Nainital) and before Benaras. So 
norhing can be said abour ir. The Sikh perception takes Nanak’s meeting Sajjan at 
Tulamba as correct. However, swindlers can be met at any other place also and at more 
than one place. 


constructed outside the town. Herein he also erected a temple (Thakur 
Divara) as well as a mosque. He would take innocent passengers to his inn 
and kill them to deprive them of their belongings. Pitchers of water were 
placed on the roadside which were marked for both Hindus and Muslims. 

When Guru Nanak went by that road, he was also invited to halt for 
the night. 118 Sajjan offered the Guru food, manifested the feelings of selfless 
service and then asked the Guru to go to sleep since he might be feeling 
tired. The Guru, however, guessed his real intentions. He gauged the mean 
thoughts in Sajjan’s mind. He asked Mardana to play the rebeck and uttered 
the following hymn 119 

Tinned copper so brighr and lusrrous, 

When rubbed, appears a surface inky black. 

Its impuriry by washing shall nor go, despire washing a hundred times. 
Those are rrue friends who are one’s companions of the way; 

And when rheir reckoning is called for, insrandy render it. (I Pause) 
Chambers, domes and bowers, painred all over. 

When crumbled are lirde good , found deserred within. 

Storks white-robed rhar ar holy spots abide, 

Gripping crearures swallow them-such immaculare cannot be called. 
Like rhe cotton-wool tree is my body, that deludes parrots. 

Useless its fruit- 
Such are my qualiries. 

I the blind man, carrying a heavy load, a long mounrain-path have 
to traverse. 

Nothing wirh my eyes can I behold- 
How may I ascend this parh ro cross? 

What good other devotion, merits and clever devices? 

Saith Nanak: Contemplate thou the Name, whereby from bonds 
mayst thou be freed. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 729 

This hymn left a deep impact on Sajjan. Each verse of it seemed to 
have washed off the evil that had got embedded in his mind. Sajjan thought 
that all the evils referred to in this hymn were within him, and this holy 

118. The Miharban, Vilayatvali and Marti Singh versions refer to Sajjan’s asking rhe Guru to stay 

in the temple which seems correct. As per the Ba/a Janamsakhi and Nanak Vrakash, 
Sajjan had imprisoned Mardana’s son, Shahzada, and Guru Nanak goes there to get 
him released. 

119. The Vilayati'ali, the Miharban and the Marti Singh versions of the Janamsakhis as also 

Nanak Vrakash state that the Guru uttered this hymn here. 


person could read his inner mind. As such he fell at the Guru’s feet and 
wept bitterly. He realized his vices and he became a noble, honest person. 12 " 
The Guru stayed with him overnight and then went ahead. 


Pakpatan (in the present day district of Sahiwal in Pakistani Punjab) 
has been a famous ford on a bank of the Saduj. 121 Two roads coming from 
the west join here. One of them led to Pakpatan via Dera Ismail Khan, 
Multan, Shorkot and Harrapa whereas the second one led to Pakpatan via 
Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan. Since both the roads joined together at this 
famous ford, people like Sabuktdin, Mahmood of Ghazni, famous traveller 
Ibn Batuta and Taimur passed through here. Pakpatan is famous as 
‘Pakpatan Shaikh Farid Ganj-i-Shakar (Shakarganj): Here stood the tomb 
of Shaikh Farid and devotees from far and near came to pay their homage. 
It is said that Shaikh Farid’s loaf made of wood and some dates are still 
preserved there. 122 It was also as a result of his respect for Farid that Taimur 
had forbidden his forces from ransacking this town. At that time Pakpatan 
was known as Ajodhan. Later on, it being a place sacred to the memory of 
Farid came to be called Pakpatan. 123 It is said that Shaikh Farid came to 
this place in the thirteenth century first of all. At that time a jogi by the 
name of Bir Nath lived here. At first, he challenged Farid, but later on he 
became Farid’s disciple. He got converted to Islam and became popular as 
Pir Kamal. 124 From Tulamba, Guru Nanak reached Harrappa which was 
not far away towards the north. Then he reached Pakpatan passing through 

120. The Vilayatvali]anamsakhi sccosAi that Sajjan gave away all his ill-gotten wealth in charity, 

sought forgiveness for his sins and became a noble person for ever. The Miharban 
version states that Sajjan fell at the Guru’s feet and wept profusely, and thus wiped 
off the filth of sins from his mind with tears (of repemence). Thereafter he pulled 
down all the buildings he had erected to swindle the people. 

121. Montgomery District Gazetteer, Lahore, 1933, p. 65. 

122. Ibid., footnote of p.31. 

123. Ibid. 

124. Montgomery District Gazetteer, p. 65. The name of Pir Kamal also occurs in the Janamsakhis, 

but both of them cannot possibly be the same person; since this Pir Kamal belongs 
to the 13th Century. Arnold’s Preaching of Islam in India records that Shaikh Farid 
converted sixteen tribes of the area to Islam. 


Dera Ismail Khan and Shorkot. 125 He sat in a jungle outside the town. At 
that time Shaikh Ibrahim adorned the spiritual seat of Shaikh Farid. 126 
This Shaikh Ibrahim is referred to as Shaikh Braham in the Janamsakhis. 
One of his disciples was Shaikh Kamal. He came to the jungle to collect 
firewood and saw Guru Nanak and Mardana singing hymns. Leaving aside. 

125. We come across, two episodes (Sakhis) recorded in the Vilayatvali and the Bala Janamsakhis. 

One of them is related to Shaikh Farid and the other to Shaikh Ibrahim. In the sakhi 
of Shaikh Ibrahim, he is stated to be Shaikh Farid’s grandson. On the basis of this 
Bhai Vir Singh has said that Shaikh Farid might be some other person who met Guru 
Nanak in the Asa country. Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi elucidates this point It records 
that the Guru went to Pakpatan twice-once when he was quite young and then during 
his mature days. This seems correct. 

In the sakhi relating to meeting with Farid, there is no mention of the rouee 
followed by Guru Nanak to reach Pakpatan. Vilayati'ali and Bala Janamsakhis say that 
the Guru was siccing in the forest of the Asa country when Farid came and met him. 
In both these Janamsakhis the sakhi of Farid comes first. 

In the sakhi of Shaikh Ibrahim as recorded in the Vilayatvali, Miharban and Bala 
Janamsakhis, the route followed by the Guru is mentioned. The Vilayatvali version 
says (in the beginning of the second odyssey and while leaving Talwandi): “Then 
Guru Baba Nanak set out from there. Finding the Ravi and the Chenab nearby, he went 
to an isolated place and reached Pakpatan.” If the Guru took the road from Lahore via 
Mulcan, this path leads to Tulamba going parallel to Ravi. If the Guru had reached 
Tulamba by boat, even then seeing the Ravi is correct since he came to Pakpatan direct 
from Talwandi. The fact of seeing Chenab close by does not seem correcc. Th & Miharban 
text says: “setting out from Talwandi, Rai Shoe, passing through places like Garba, Mani Gopal 
twining through Khanpur Sehande, Mithe Arain, Satghare, the land of Majha on the Ravi, 
landed at about tWo Kos (about 5 kms.) from Parid's Patan. “ 

As per the Vilayatvali and the Miharban versions, the Guru stareed from Talwandi, 
bue here it is recorded that he came through the Ravi and the Beas which means that the 
Guru first came to Sulcanpur and thence to the bank of Satluj which does not seem 
correct. Its second connotation could be that he came through the Ravi and the Beas. 
According to Alexander Cunningham, Beas merged in the Ravi in olden times. The 
names mentioned on this route seem correct. Satghara is in Montgomery (modern 
Sahiwal) district. 

The Bala Janamsakhi records that he reached Pakpatan via Uch Sharif (Bahawalpur, 
Pakistan) which does not seem correct because this village does not fall on the way if 
one navels to Pakpatan from Talwandi or Sayyadpur. 

126. The following were the descendants of Shaikh-Farid-ud-Din Mahmood, who were 

contemporary or near-contemporary of Guru Nanak: (1) Shaikh Ahmed in rhe ninth 
generation, (2) Shaikh Ata Ulah in the tenth generation, (3) Shaikh Mohammad in the 
eleventh generation, (4) Shaikh Ibrahim Farid Sani in the twelfth generarion who 
occupied the spiritual seat for more than forry years. See Montgomery District Gazetteer, 
p. 67. Since he sat on the spiritual seat of Farid, he has also been referred to as Farid in 
the Janarnsakhi literature. 


his task of collecting firewood he came up to them. At that time the 
following hymn was being sung 127 : 

Thou, the sole doer, all existence is of Thy making. 

-Gum Granth Sahib, Sloka, p. 1291 

At first Shaikh Kamal did not understand the hymn, but he requested 
the Guru to recite it once again. Thus he remembered the hymn. He threw 
the woods aside and went to his teacher to tell him that a faqir has arrived 
who is accompanied by a rebeck-player and that the faqir sings his own 
verse. He also told that he had remembered the above couplet. 128 

Shaikh Ibrahim found the couplet to be strange because according to 
the Islamic thought there is one God and after Him is Muhammad, His 
prophet. The first verse of the statement of Islamic creed Kalma also reads 
thus. The teacher asked Kamal if that faqir was a Hindu or Muslim. Kamal 
replied that he was a Hindu. He was highly astonished that a Hindu faqir 
could be so committed to the unity of God. Next day Kamal and his teacher 
both came to see Guru Nanak 129 and took him to the monastery. 

After taking Guru Nanak and Mardana to the monastery, Shaikh 
Ibrahim recited the couplets of Shaikh Farid to them, 130 which were liked 

127. It is recorded'vn all the fanamsakhisxlcax Guru Nanak and Mardana were singing this hymn 

when Shaikh Kamal came to them. 

128. In both the Vilayati’ali and the Miharban versions, the episode has been given as above. 

129. This account is similarly given in Miharban and Vilayatwali. 

130. The Vilayati’ali and the Bala Janamsakhis record the questions-answers with Guru Nanak in 
the sakhis of Farid and Shaikh Ibrahim in verse. A similar reference is made in the 
Miharban text. This proves that the Guru listened to the couplets of Shaikh Farid 
Ganj-i-Shakar and then under their influence composed some hymns. We have told 
about this subject in detail in the sakhi of Shaikh Ibrahim when the Guru again 
visired Pakpatan. 

There seems to be no doubt in this that Gum Nanak did possess hymns of Shaikh 
Farid because the hymns of Farid as included in the Gum Granth Sahib and the hymns 
of Guru Nanak are quite identical. For example. Shaikh Farid’s hymn in Suhi measure: 
Listen, thou Man! thou didst not look to the taclde of thy boat while it was yet time. 
In the swollen lake how shall it float? 

Beloved! touch not the world's pleasures, frail like Kasumbha, 

At a touch withering away. (I-Pause) 

This frail life-female is a tremble under the master’s stern reprimand. 

With youth passing, never again will the breast be brimful of milk. 


very much by Guru Nanak. The Guru stayed here for a while and then set 
out towards cast. 


Leaving Pakpatan, Guru Nanak crossed the Satluj and took the road 
leading to Delhi via Sirsa and Hansi. 131 In Sirsa there is an old Gurdwara 
commemorating the visit of Guru Nanak. 132 From Sirsa, another road led 
to Thanesar. 133 Taking the road to Thanesar, Guru Nanak reached 
Kurukshetra passing through Kara and Pehowa. The village Kara is situated 
in Kaithal district of modern Haryana and is seven miles (11.2 kms) west 
of Pehowa. Here Raja Udai Singh (also called Bhai) a Sikh ruler of Kaithal 
state got built a gurdwara in the memory of Guru Nanak. Pehowa is a 
centre of pilgrimage for Hindus. It is believed that river Saraswati once 
flowed through here. This place is twenty miles (32 kms.) west of 
Kurukshetra. As per a local tradition, the Pandavas performed the last 
rites of their kin here after the fierce battle of Kurukshetra. At first Raja 
Udai Singh and then the local Sang at built a gurdwara here in the memory 
of Guru Nanak. There is a spring of Guru Nanak’s time which continues 
to ooze water. This is believed to have sprouted in old bed of Saraswati 
river. Later on Guru Hargobind got a baoli built over this spring. 

Kurukshetra is the name of that important site where, according to 
the Mahabharata, the Kauravas and the Pandavas fought a war. It is situated 
south of Thanesar, forty miles (64 kms.) north ofPanipat and thirty miles 
(48 kms.) south of Ambala. Heun Tsang has recorded it as “Dharam- 
Khetra.” 134 Guru Nanak reached Kurukshetra at the time of the solar- 
eclipse. 135 He sat on a high 

Never again union in love. 

Saith Nanak: Listen, sisters of my soul! 

As the Lord makes the call. 

Life’s swan its reluctant flight shall take; 

This frame turning a dust heap. 

131. Sita Ram Kohli, Historical Atlas of India, Allahabad, 1954, p. 15. 

132. Kahn Singh, Mahan Kosh, Patiala, 1960, p. 123. 

133. Sita Ram Kohli, op.dt. 

134. Alexander Cunningham, Report of a Tour in the Punjab, Calcutta, 1882, p. 87. 

135. The Bala and the Mani Singhfanamsakhis record that Guru Nanak reached Kurukshetra at 

the time of solar-eclipse. According to Miharban, Gum Nanak went to Kurukshetra 
from Karrarpur which shows that the episode took place much later. According to the 
Miharban version, the Guru came from Mathura and 


mound. The site where the Guru sat was got discovered by Maharaja Ranjit 
Singh. He purchased the land ans got a gurdwara built there.The shrine is 
named Gurdwara sidh Bati. The building of this shrine is built of small 
bricks and seems to be more than a hundred years old. The well nearby is 
also bricklined with small bricks. This site is just near the Kurukshetra 
saroivar (tank) and the boundary of the gurdwara tOuches the boundary of 
the Kurukshetra University Campus. 

When Guru Nanak sat near the sacred pool of Kurukshetra, a prince 
and his mother came there. 136 The prince did not know about the fair on 
the day of solar eclipse. So he brought along the body of the deer he had 
hunted down on his way. He offered that deer to Guru Nanak. The Guru 
was touched by the devotion of the prince and accepted his offer. He 
asked for an earthern kettle and wanted to put it on fire so as to cook the 
meat. 1 ' 7 As they did so, the pandas rushed to the site seeing smoke coming 
from there. Some of them were got aggressive and they started a quarrel 
with the Guru as to why he had started cooking during the solar eclipse. 
They were further enraged on learning that it was the meat of a deer that 
was being cooked. The Guru counselled them patience and told them that 
it was not proper to quarrel with anyone during the solar eclipse. Among 
them was a pandit by the name of Nanu Mai who considered himself very 
clever. So he surged ahead of others and began arguing with the Guru 
with his sharp tongue. The Guru in reply uttered the following hymn: 

according to Bhai Mani Singh, he came from Sultanpur. The Miharban text also records that 
first of all, Guru Nanak went to the Ganges (Haridwar) and that Kurukshetra fell on 
the way while going to the Ganges from the Punjab. Guru Ram Das has also referred 
to Guru Amar Das first visiting Kurukshetra and then the Ganges. See Gum Granth 
Sahib, p. 1116-17" 

136. Bhai Mani Singh’s ]anamsakhi says that he was the king of Patna which does not seem to 

be correct because Patna (the present capital of Bihar State) is quite far off from 
Kurukshetra. He can possibly be a chief from a nearby state. A village named Patanvala 
existed at the site where now thrives the city of Patiala. See Kirpal Singh, Maharaja Ala 
Singh and His Times, p.77 Maybe, he was the chief of Patanvala. 

137. The Balajanamsakhi records that Guru Nanak brought fish and put it on fire for cooking 

which does not seem to be correct. The Miharban version is silent about the episode 
of cooking meat, rather it says that the pandits had a discourse with Guru Nanak 
about the use of bathing on pilgrim centres. The Janamsakhis of Bhai Bala and Bhai 
Mani Singh record the episode of cooking meat which seems more probable. 


Born out of flesh, in flesh does man live. 

With life comes love of flesh, bones, skin, limbs- 
All are flesh. 

As from flesh the living body issues, the breast that is flesh. 

It grasps in mouth. 

Of flesh is the mouth, of flesh the tongue, 

Through flesh is breath drawn. 

As is man grown up, matrimony he enters, 

And brings home flesh. 

Of flesh is born flesh, 

With flesh are all relationships established. 

By touch of the holy Preceptor is the Divine Ordinance realized. 

Whereby comes fulfilment. 

Not by man’s own effort comes liberation: 

Saith Nanak: Such talk only to perdition leads. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1290 

Over the fetish of flesh dispute blind fools. 

Of enlightenment and contemplation ignorant. 

Which is flesh, which vegetation? 

Which to sin leads? 

Mter the tradition of the gods, was the rhinoceros slaughtered, 

And of its flesh burnt sacrifice offered. 

Those that at night-time gobble up flesh. 

Pose to discard flesh and stop their noses. 

A great show of piety they make before others- 
Of enlightenment and contemplation ignorant. 

Saith Nanak : What avail arguing with the purblind. 

Neither would they say anything sensible, 

Nor follow whatever is told them. 

Truly blind is one whose actions are blind- 
The mind’s eye he lacks 

From mother’s and father’s blood are they born, 

Yet flesh and flesh they abjure. 

As at night come woman and man together, 

Foul is their conduct. 

Of flesh are we begotten, from flesh born; 

Of flesh are we vessels. 

Brahmin! ignorant of enlightenment and contemplation, 

Thou art yet reputed to be wise. 

Revered Sir! the flesh that is brought from outside dost thou discard. 

But those in thy home, of flesh made, thou thinkst good. 

From flesh are all living objects made. 

In flesh is life lodged. 


Those by the false preceptor imtructed; 

Consume what is forbidden and discard what is lawful to each; 

Know, that of flesh are we begotten, from flesh born; 

Of flesh are we vessels. 

Brahmin! ignorant of enlightenment and contemplation. 

Thou art yet reputed to be wise. 

In Puranas and in Muslim books is comuming flesh commended; 

In all Four Ages is flesh in general use. 

In sacrifices and in fine wedding ceremonials 
In use of flesh in vogue. 

Women and men, of flesh are born. 

As also kings and great potentates. 

Shouldst thou feel to hell are they wending their way. 

Receive thou not their charity. 

What absurdity that the donor to hell may go, 

While the recipient to enter heaven is believed. 

Brahmin! thou knowest not where from is flesh born : 

From water grows grain, sugarcane and cotton; 

From water is the world reckoned born. 

Water claims to be pure, yet from water comes much that arouses evil. 
Saith Nanak after contemplation: 

Shouldst thou discard all such delectable objects, 

Mayst thou claim to have exercised true renunciation. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 1290-91 

Listening to the ideas of Guru Nanak, Pandit Nanu and his 
companions were much impressed. The Guru halted there at Kurukshetra 
for sometime and then proceeded further. 


The passage from Kurukshetra to Haridwar seems quite old. People of 
the Punjab often went to the Ganges via Kurukshetra. Giving a detailed 
description of the path followed by Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das has said: 

First came the holy preceptor to Kurukshetra, holy occasion 
solemnized.. ..Next went the Master to Jamuna where the name Divine 

was chanted .In the third place the master came to the Ganga where 

happened a wonder. 138 

Leaving Kurukshetra, People had to first travel on what is now Pipli, 
Ladwa, Jagadhari road and then cross the Yamuna. Thence they 

138. Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1116. 


reached the Ganges. Thus, Guru Nanak after crossing the Yamuna reached 
the bank of Ganges river at what is now called Haridwar. 139 

At the time of Guru Nanak, the present day town of Haridwar did 
not exist. Heun Tsang has recorded this place as ‘Maulo’ 140 and the Ain-i- 
Akbari calls it Mayapur. 141 

Guru Ram Das has also referred to Kurukshetra but has made no 
mention of Haridwar. 142 The devotees of Shiva call Haridwar ‘the door of 
Shiva’ and those of Vishnu call it Haridwar or door of Vishnu and Hari- 
ki-Pauri. Guru Nanak stayed about one-and-a-half furlong away from this 
Hari-ki-Pauri. There was no habitation around there then. The site where 
the Guru is said to have halted got the name ‘Nanak Vara’ or ‘Nanak 
Bara’. 143 A shrine exists there. The building is made of small bricks and is 
now occupied by some celibate mendicants (Udasis). They have installed 
there a huge portrait of Guru Nanak. The seat of Dera head is now 
occupied by a disciple of Bhagat Bhagwan. 144 Bhagat Bhagwan was a Sikh 
preacher of Guru Har Rai’s time: the Guru gave him this name and he 
preached Sikh tenets in far-flung regions. 145 It seems Guru Har Rai located 
this site and gave the responsibility of looking after it to Bhagat Bhagwan. 146 

When Guru Nanak reached Haridwar, there was a considerable rush 
of pilgrims because of the Vaisakhi fair. The Guru stood in the waters of 
the river. All the pilgrims bathing there were offering water to the sun 

139. The Vilayatvali and the BalaJcmamsakbis do not mention Guru Nanak’s visit to Haridwar. 

However, this sakbi is found recorded in the Janamsakhis of both Miharban and Mani 
Singh. The details in both these versions are similar. Both record that the Guru 
reached Haridwar on the day of Vaisakhi. 

140. Imperial Gazetteer of India, Oxford, 1908, Vol. 13, p.51. 

141. Ibid. 

142. Guru Amar Das stayed at Kankhal, near Haridwar. Here a gurdwara commemorates his 

visit. Kankhal is an ancient place which has been ~eferred to even by poet Kalidas in 
his Meghdoot. 

143. In Haridwar, this seems to be the only old Sikh centre. 

144. The present Udasi Swami Sant Ram has given his genealogy as under: Baba Bhagat 

Bhagwan, Baba Narain Das, Baba Balak Das, Baba Jogi Das, Baba Das, Baba Brahm 
Hasmukh Das, Baba Jai Prakash, Baba Ram Sharan, Baba Mangani Ram, Baba Bhagar 
Ram, Baba Atma Ram, Baba Moti Ram, Baba puran Das, Udasi Swami Sant Ram. 

145. Kahn Singh, Mahan Kosh, p. 675. 

146. The Vilayatmli and the Bala Janamsakhis make no mention of the Guru reaching there on 

the Vaisakhi day; there is also no mention of the Haridwar sakhi. Only Miharban and 
the Mani Singh versions refer to his visit which seems to be correct. 


(towards the east) but Guru Nanak began throwing water westwards. At 
this, people were astonished and some created a furore. Someone said 
that he might be a Muslim. During the course of these proceedings, someone 
suggested that he be asked as to why he offered water westwards. 
Therefore, some persons went upto him and asked: “O devotee of God! 
why do you offer water westwards ?” In reply the Guru put them a question: 
“Why do you throw water towards the Sun?” The pilgrims told him that 
they offered water to their forefathers. The Guru asked them as to where 
their forefathers lived. They told him that they were in the other world, 
about 490 million kos farther away. The Guru wanted to know if the water 
reached them to which they replied in the affirmative. The Guru now told 
them that he had lands near Lahore and he was sending water thereto. 
They all laughed saying that Lahore was too far off for the water to reach 
there. How can this water reach the lands near Lahore? The Guru replied 
that it will reach there in the same way as their water reached their 
forefathers. 147 The Guru sojourned at Haridwar for some time and then 
went ahead. 


The Imperial Gazetteer of India records that the passage for pilgrims to 
religious shrines in the Kumaon hills passed through Haridwar. 148 The 
details of this passage have been provided in Charles A. Cherring’s ivestern 
Tibet and the British Borderland. Mr. Cherring had been Deputy Commissioner 
of Almora district for several years. He records: “Hindu pilgrims usually 
travelled from the east along Tanakpur (modern Nainital, Uttaranchal) 
near the Nepal border and river Sharda which is also called black (Kala) 
river crossed Jepu pass to reach Mansarovar and circumambulating the 
Kailash mountain reached Haridwar. Those who started from Haridwar in 
summer they reached Jepu Lekh pass after visiting Badri Nath and Kedar 
Nath.” 149 

147. In the Miharbanjanamakhi, this dialogue has been given in this very manner. In Bhai 

Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi the tefernece is to give water to the garden near Lahore. The 
central point in both the sakhis remains the same. 

148. Inrperial Gazetteer of India, Oxford, 1908, Vol. 13. p. 51. 

149. Charles A. Cherring. Western Tibet and the British Borderland, London, 1906, pp. 49-51. 


This was a shorter route to reach the Terai region from Haridwar 
without having to go to Mansarovar and Kailash. Guru Nanak took this 
route to reach Gorakhmatta. 

From Haridwar, Guru Nanak went on to Kankhal. That was perhaps 
why Guru Amar Das also stayed at Kankhal. From Kankhal, a hilly pathway 
led to Kot Duar. The Guru went to Kot Duar from Kankhal. There is an 
old gurdwara at Kot Duar in commemoration of the Guru’s visit: it is named 
Gurdwara Charanpadaka. 150 According to a local tradition, Guru Nan;tk 
had sanctified this place with his visit. From Kot Duar, a direct hilly pathway 
leads to Srinagar (Pauri). The town of Srinagar was the capital of Garhwal 
state. Here also existed an old shrine, Gurdwara Charanpadaka, in memory 
of the Guru’s visit. The building of this shrine was found intact even after 
the floods of A.D. 1803, 151 because it is found mentioned in Tara Singh 
Narotarn’s Gur Tirath Sangrah. From Srinagar, the Guru went over to 
Badrinath and Kedarnath. 152 From Kedarnath, the Guru took the route 
that now leads to Joshi Math and passing through Antdhura reached near 
Lepulekh. Beyond Srinagar no gurdwara or shrine built in the memory of 
Guru Nanak’s visit is traceable. 

Towards the south of the present day Almora district, the Nainital 
district touches the western boundary of Nepal. Along the Nepal border 
on the Indian side flowed the Kali river. It is also called the Sharda river. 
From Lepulekh, a passage leads to Almora alongside this river. 153 On the 
southern flank of Lepulekh on a hilly pathway there was a town now 
known as Haldwani Mani. 154 Thirty-three miles (53 kms.) towards east 
from Haldwani; passing through Dutga Pipal, 155 one can reach a place in 
the forest sacred to th & yogis. Guru 

150. Tara Singh Narotam, Gur Tirath Sangrah, 1844, p. 35. 

151. Walter Hamilton, East India Gazetteer, Vol. II, 1828, p. 519. 

152. Gur Tirath Sangrah, See Gurdwara Srinagar, No. 19. 

153. Almora is an ancient town. It finds mention even in the SikandP/tran just as the names 

of Kailash, Mansarovar, etc. occur in other Puranas. See Almora District Gazetteer, p. 

154. Haldwani is 88 miles (about 141 kms.) from Almora by motorable road. If one walks by 

hilly pathways, the distance comes down to 41 miles (64 kms.). 

155. Durga Pipal is on the roadside leading to the jungle from Haldwani: this road is motorable. 

Durga Pipal is 25 miles (30 kms.) «/fHaldwani and beyond that one has to travetse 
8 miles (13 kms.) on foot on the hilly pathways. Sri Gum Singh Sabha of Haldwani 
makes arrangements every year on the Vaisakhi day to take the devotees to this place. 
There are many lions and tigers in this forest. Therefore, it is impossible for devotees 
to visit this place in ones and twos. 


Nanak reached this forest coming thr.ough the hilly pathway from 
Almora. The site where the Guru sat is not more than 25-30 miles (about 
48 kms) towards east from Almora. It is now called Ritha Sahib. 

In the beginning of the 16th century, this entire region was replete 
with hermitages of yogis. There were several schools 156 which followed the 
yoga sastra of Patanjali. In the beginning of the 16th centUry, the yogis were 
predominant in the Punjab and northern India. 15 ' All of them were disciples 
of Gorakh Nath. 158 They lived in hermitages erected around Almora. They 
were further sub-divided into twelve traditions and th e yogis of different 
traditions had separate habitations. 159 

It is related that Mardana felt very hungry as Guru Nanak approached 
this place of th e.yogis. He asked Mardana to go to the place of yogis and ask 
for something to eat, but th zyogis refused. The Guru asked Mardana to eat 
the fruit of the tree under which they were sitting. Mardana climbed up 
the tree. It was a soap-berry tree and it bore soap-nuts, but the fruit was 
sweet rather than being bitter as was its nature. The devotees of Guru 
Nanak call this tree Ritha Sahib (ritha — soap-berry; sahib — an honorific 
epithet). The fruit 

156. The word yogi is rightly used for those who adhere to the philosophy of Patanjali. See 

H.H. Wilson, Religious Sects of the Hindus, 1958, p. 116. 

157. Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Nath Sampradai, Varanasi, 1966, p. 10. According to the 1891 

census, the number of yogis who were disciples of Gorakh Nath was 28,816. 

158. Gorakhnath is believed to have lived in the 10th century. After Shankaracharya, he has 

been the most famous Hindu religious personality. According to Briggs, he might 
have lived in north-west India, especially the districts of Peshawar and Jehlum because 
two of their ancient sites, Gorakh Hatri and Gorakh Tilla, are found thete. This has 
also been said in Abul Fazal’s Akhamama. See Nath Sampradai, p. 106 and Religious Sects 
of Hindus, p. 119, op. cit. 

159. The Gorakh Panthis are sub-divided into the following rwelve btanches: Satyanathi, 

Dharamnath; Ram Panth, Nateshwari, Kanhar, Kapilani, Bairag, Mannathi, Ai Panth, 
Pagan Panth, Ganganathi. See Nath Sampradai, p. 12, op. cit. 

According to a ttadition, Siva (Adinath) had two disciples-Matsyendta Nath and 
Jalandhar Nath. The disciples of the former were thejogis who pierced their ears and 
wore rings whereas those of the latter kepr their ears intact. Both of them had a fight. 
Jalandharnath was defeated and the others won. The famous city Jalandhar of Punjab 
also seems to have been named after Jalandharnath. See Jalandhar District Gazetteer. 
TAmost famous disciple ofMatsyendranath has been Gorakhnath. In the beginning 
of the 16th century, these Gorakh Panthis enjoyed great influence in Punjab and the 
Terai region of Almota district. 


of the tree has since been sweet as always. Devotees take the fruit as an 
offering to far off places. The custodian Mahant of the yogi hermitage 
looks after this tree. It is said that an improvised canopy has also been 
built above it. 

Setting out from here. Guru Nanak reached a place near the Deuha 
rivulet, which now bears the name Nanakmatta. During those days, it was 
known as Gorakhmatta or Sidh Matta. 160 Travelling through hilly pathways, 
this place is about thirty miles (48 kms.) from Ritha Sahib. But if one 
travels via Haldwani, the distance comes to about 70 miles (96 kmS.). 161 
Coming to Gorakhmatta, the Guru sat beneath a peeful tree. 162 The original 
natives of this region, who are called Dharus, call this place Panja Sahib. 
They have the faith that every leaf of this tree bears the imprint of the 
Guru’s hand (panja). On the Diwali day, a huge fair is held there. These 
people throng to this place in thousands. The echoes of “Victory be to 
Panja Sahib” resound in the region. 163 Strange are the ways of God: this 
peepul tree is also not like any other ordinary peepul tree. Each leaf of it is 
rich green, softer than the leaves of ordinary peepul trees and has more 
than one imprints on each one of them. About twenty yards off the peepal 
tree in the Nanakmatta Gurdwara there is another peepal tree within the 
precincts of the shrine. This tree is quite ordinary and has nothing in 
common with the sanctified tree. Guru Hargobind sent Bhai Almast to 
this place who worked enthusiastically 

160. The Vilayatvali and the Balajanao/sakhi gives it the name Nanakmatta. BhaiMani Singh’s 

Janamsakhi names it Gorakhmatta. The Miharban version does not mention this place. 
Bawa Sarup Das Bhalla names it Sidh Mata. He states: 

“In the state of Kumaon was a place called Sikh Mata; 

Sidhaswonld gather here where came the Ocean of Compassion.” 

161. Haldwani is 42 miles (67 kms.) from Ritha Sahib. There is railway line from Haldwani up 

to Kicchho and from there Nanakmatta is about 25 miles (40 kms.). One can also 
board a train (meter-gauge) from Pilibhit and get down at Khatima railway station. 
From Khatima, Nanakmatta is only ten miles (16 kms.) towards west. 

162. The Vilayatvalijanamsakhi records that the Guru came and sat beneath a bunyan tree. The 

Miharban version gives no such detail. The Janamsakhis of Bhai Bala and Bhai Mani 
Singh say that he sat beneath a peepul tree. This seems correct because that peepul tree 
has survived till date. 

163. Wajab-ul-AniParganaNanakmatta. TehsilKilpuri, DistrictNainital, (106-07), records inits 

fourth chapter that ‘at the time of collecting revenue, one rupee will be collected from 
each payee for the Mahant of the Panja Sahib.” The author got a copy of Wajab-ul-Ar\ 
through the courtesy of Giani Harcharan Singh, Manager, Gurdwara Nanakmatta. 


to discover this place. 164 The yogis felt jealous of him and they burnt this 
peepal tree. Then on the invitation of Almast, Guru Hargobind arrived at 
Nanakmatta. He poured into the roots of the tree a bowlfull water mixed 
with saffron. 165 Soon the tree sproute into green leaves and since then its 
branches have a reddish tinge. 

Sitting beneath this tree, Guru Nanak asked Mardana to make a 
bonfire. Mardana first collected some wood and then went to th & yogis to 
get some fire from them. Yhejogis refused to lend him any fire. Mardana 
somehow succeeded in getting fire and he lit the bonfire. There was a 
strong wind and heavy rain that night. The tradition has it that all the 
bonfires of the yogis got extinguished, except that of Guru Nanak which 
remained lit throughout. 166 

Getting up in the morning. Guru Nanak felt the need of water. He 
sent Mardana to fetch some water. Th ejogis refused to oblige. The Guru 
asked Mardana to go northwards. Mardana went 2-3 furlongs and found a 
rivulet there, and brought water from there. This rivulet is known as Phauri 
Ganga 167 to commemorate Guru Nanak’s visit to the place. This rivulet 
has since got merged in the Diuha dam. As a result of the pressure mounted 
by the local Sikhs, the Uttar Pradesh (now Uttaranchal) Government 
improvised some springs of Phauri Ganga into a well and connected the 
well with the dam. Stairs go down into the well from both sides so that the 
devotees can get down into the well and take the sacred water 
(charanamrit). 168 The pool formed at the dam has been named 

164. Sujan Rai Bhandari’s Khulas-tut-Twarikh, which is a contemporary work of Emperor 

Aurangzeb, records; “Nanakmatta is a place where disciples and devotees of Nanak 
gather in large numbers to pay obeisance and offerings.” 

165. Itihasak Gurdivara Sri Nanakmatta, published by Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, 

Nanakmatta, District Nainital, p. 12. 

166. On the eve of Diwali each year the original natives of the Terai region, called Dharus, 

come from far and near to get some ashes of this bonfire. They offer here as much 
money as a new-born babe can hold in hand, and take the ashes to their homes. The 
management of the Gurdwara places here the ash from the langar and wrap the ash in 
small quantiry in a paper with Satinam (True is His Name) printed on it. On the Diwali 
of 1967, a total of Rs.5000/- were offered here. In the offerings made are sometimes 
found gold, silver, and many other precious things. 

167. As per a local tradition and belief, Guru Nanak made this rivulet flow down from the 

mountains by giving phauri to Mardana. That is why it is named Phauri Ganga. In the 
Terai region, Phauri Ganga is an eternal gift given by Guru Nanak. 

168. This well was built in A.D. 1962. 


Nanak Sagar. 169 The outlet from where the water is let out is two miles (3 
kms.) from Gurdwara Nanakmatta. 

When th eyogis realized that their non-cooperation with Guru Nanak 
has failed either to harass or harm him, they felt impressed by the personality 
of Guru Nanak. They came to the Guru in a group and asked him as to 
who was his Guru and from whom had he received initiation? Perhaps the 
siddhas might also have posed similar questions to him. Therefore, Guru 
Nanak uttered the following hymn in reply to them: 

Which is the scale, which the weight-measures? 

What gold-testet may I call in to test Thee? 

Which the Master from whom instruction 1 may receive; 

Whom to approach to evaluate Thee? 

My previous Beloved, unknowable by me is Thy extent. 

On water and land art Thou pervasive, 

In all creation immanent. (I Pause) 

In scales of the mind, with weights of consciousness, 

By devotion to Thee the gold-tester: 

Weighing in my self the Lord- 
Thus my mind may I restrain. 

Himself the pointing needle, Himself measure and scales, 

Himself the weighman, 

Himself viewer and evaluator, 

Himself the good-dealer. 

With mind, blind, low-born, alienated, fluctuating each moment 
-Abides Nanak : 

How may this thoughtless one enlightenment attain ? 170 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 731 

169. On the huge door of the control room of the dam is written “Nanak Sagar” and below 

it in the corridor is written the following statement in English and Hindi. The English 
version is as follows “Dam on the river Deoha is 12 miles (19 Ians.) long and has cost 
of Rs.1.80 crores. It has been named after His Holiness Gum Nanak who worshipped 
for some time in this area. The water from this Sagar is to feed a netWork of canals in 
Rohilkhand Division which was hitherto fed by Sarda canal. Through Sarda Deoha 
feeder Duni pick-up weir is situated at a distance of 16 miles (26 kms.) from here 
down stream this reservoir on the river Deoha is picked up at Duni weir. The water in 
the Sarda canal thus saved by construction of this reservoir is now being utilized in 
extending irrigation in the central and eastern districts of U.R Annual Irrigation 
proposed: 96750 acres: date of start: April 1956, date of completion: June 1962.” 

170. The Vilayatvali and the Bala janamsakhis record that the Guru uttered this hymn. Both the 

versions make almost similar statements. This seems correct. Bhai Mani Singh’s 
]anamsakhi records that the Guru uttered here the hymn which is. 


Th e yogis were not satisfied with this hymn of the Guru because their 
experience didn’t go beyond outward appearance. Therefore, they 
impressed upon the Guru to become yogt like them and live a life as they 
do. In response the Guru uttered the following hymn: 

Yoga lies not in the patched quilt, nor in carrying a staff; 

Yoga lies not either in rubbing ashes over the limbs. 

Yoga lies not in earnings, nor in close-cropping the head, 

Nor in blowing the horn. 

To abide undefiled amid Maya-defilement 
Is the true way to attain success in Yoga-praxis. 

Yoga by mere chatter is not practised. 

To regard all alike with undifferentiating sight 
Entides one a true Yogi to be called. (I Pause) 

Yoga lies not in frequenting wild places, tombs and cremation 

Nor in absorption in Samadhi. 

Yoga lies not in wandering over lands and regions, Nor in bathing 
at holy spots. 

To abide undefiled amid Maya-defilement 
Is the true way to attain success in Yoga-praxis. 

By contact with the holy Preceptor is shattered doubt 
And the wandering mind restrained. 

Then oozes the amrita-spring, absorption with poise attained. 

And in one’s own self is attained enlightenment. 

To abide undefiled amid Maya-defilement 
Is the true way to attain success in Yoga-praxis. 

Saith Nanak: To die while living - practise such Yoga. 

As resounds the horn without blowing, 

Is attained the srate of fearlessness. 

To abide undefiled amid Maya-defilement 
Is the true way to attain success in Yoga-praxis. 171 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 731 

In this hymn the Guru has expressed his own views while using the 
terminology of the yogis. At this the yogis understood the Guru’s greatness 
and they bowed before him. The Guru stayed here for some time and then 
went on to Tanda. 

.... now included in Guru Granth on p. 876 under Ramkali measure. This text also refers to 
several miracles which are not found in either the Vilayatvaliot the Bala Janamsakhis. 
The description given by Mani Singh belongs to a much later period. Therefore, we 
have agreed to the details given in the Bala and VilayatvaliJanamsakhis 
171. Both the Vtlayatvafi and the Bala janamsakhis agree that the Guru uttered this hymn. 



Leaving Nanakmatta the Gum travelled about sixty miles (ninety-six 
kms.) towards South and reached Tanda. This town was situated on the 
road connecting Muradabad and Nainital. 172 Most of the inhabitants of 
this town belonged to Banjara community as they still do. According to the 
Imperial Gazetteer, in the beginning; this town might have been a halting 
place for these traders. That is perhaps why the town came to be known as 
Tanda of the Banjaras. The natives of this town traded in rice which they 
brought down from Terai region to the plains for sale. They used to keep 
several horses and mares. They would load the grain on these animals. 1 3 
This town is situated in the present day district of Rampur and is about 
eight miles (13 kms.) from the district headquarters. It is about twelve 
miles (19 kms.) towards north of Muradabad. 

Guru Nanak approached Tanda and sat down outside the town. They 
say that a son was born that day in a Banjara family and there were festivities 
going on. Other natives of the village had come to that house to offer 
their felicitations. As Mardana saw these people thus enjoying, the old 
habit of felicitating with a view to seeking reward raised itself in Mardana’s 
mind. He sought the Guru’s permission and reached that house. In the 
crowd no one cared for Mardana’s presence and he came back 
disappointed. 174 The Guru advised him to cultivate contentment and 

As fate would have it, the boy whose birth was being celebrated with 
such enthusiasm and joy died the very next day. Now the joy and 
celebrations disappeared and sorrow and grief overtook the family. All 
those who came out of this house came out weeping and crying. Guru 
Nanak was highly moved by this event. He uttered the following hymn: 

In the first quarter of night, my Merchant-Friend, by Divine will into 
the womb wast thou cast; 

Suspended by the head, didst thou undergo penance therein- 

172. Imperial Ga^etterof India, 1908, p. 221. 

173. Ibid. 

174. This episode is not mentioned in the Miharban, Bala nnAMani Singh Janamsakhis. However, 

Guru Nanak’s coming to this place from Nanakmatta was natural from the geographical 
point of view because it was the only route to go farther. The utterance of the hymn 
as addressed to the Banjaras also confirms this. 


Supplicating the Master for release: 

Suspended downward didst thou supplicate and absorb thy thought 
in the Master. 

Carnest thou in shame into the world; unclad shalt thou return. 

Man gets what is recorded by God’s pen on his forehead. 

Saith Nanak: In the first quarter in the womb was man cast. 

In the second quarter of night, Merchant-Friend, hast thou put 
God out of mind. 

By diverse hands wast thou fondled with love as Krishna in the home 
of Yashodha : 

Bj diverse hands fondled, thou bubble of breath, thy mother showered 
love on thee. 

Think, think thou involved in forgetfulness, nothing shall last with 

He who created thee. Him hast thou forgorren—contemplate Him 
with thy mind! 

Saith Nanak : In the second quarter hast thou put God our of mind! 

In the third quarter of night, Merchant-Friend. 

Is their heart .fixed on wealth and desire for pleasures of youth. 

Thou thinkest not on the Name Divine, liberatOr from bondage, 

Forgetful of God, thou creature! in Maya’s maze baffled. 

Lured by wealth and drunk in desire, hast thou cast away thy life. 

Thy merchandise has not been Righteousness; nor hast thou made 
good deeds thy friends. 

Saith Nanak: In the third quarter is man absorbed in wealth and 

In the fourth quarter of night, the Reaper comes to the field. 

Led by Yama, Merchant-Friend, none thy destination knows. 

In the grip of Yam a none would know thy destination or God’s will. 
Victims of illusion would cry round the bier - in a moment wouldst 
thou a stranger to them become. 

Thy attainment would be as they desire in life. 

Saith Nanak: Listen thou Man! in the fourth quarter the Reaper 
comes to reap the field. -Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 15-16 

In the first watch of night, O’ my merchant friend! by Lord’s order, 
thou was cast into the womb. With body reversed thou performed penance 
within and prayed to thy master. Upside down thou said prayers unto the 
Lord with fixed attention and affection. Thou came against manner (naked) 
in the darkage (world) and again shall depart naked. Such cargo shall be 
thy mortal, as God’s pen has recorded on his brow. Says Nanak, in the first 
watch, soul descends into the womb by Lord’s will. In the second watch 
of the night, O’ merchant friend! man forgets Lord’s meditation. From 


hand to hand it is dandled about like Krishna in the house of Yashodha, 
O’ merchant friend! In arms then mortal is tossed about and the mother 
says, “this is my son.” O’ my thoughtless and stupid soul? Think of God. 
At the last moment nothing shall be thine. Thou knowest not Him, who 
created the creation. Now gather thou wisdom within thy heart. 


Setting out from Tanda, Guru Nanak travelled South-East. Those 
days there was a dense forest in the region where we now find Rampur, 
Pilibhit and Bareilly districts. Habitation was rather sparce. 175 In these 
forests and the adjoining hilly areas, the Rajput chiefs had waged war against 
the Delhi kings for several centuries. 176 The Delhi kings cleared these forests 
to make way for the movement of the army. 17. The contemporary Sultan 
of Delhi, Sikandar Lodhi liked the hills of Piliphit and he frequented this 
area for his hunting expeditions. 178 From Tanda, Guru Nanak moved to 
Gala, an ancient town of district Kheri. This town is situated 22 miles (35 
kms.) north-west of Lakhimpur which was once the major centre of 
pilgrimage in this region. There were temples of Shiva here. It is estimated 
that in olden times it was on the bank of the Ganges river. 179 However, 
during the days of Guru Nanak, Sarda river flowed a little distance away 
from the town. In the Kheri district this river was given the name of Chauka, 
and from a little distance off Gola 

175. Rampur, Moradabad and Bareilly were not populated during Guru Nanak’s rimes. In 

those days the capital of the region was Sambal, now a tehsil town in Moradabad 
district and 23 miles (40 kms.) south-west of Moradabad. 

176. According to Moradabad District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1711, pp.143-4 7, this region of 

Avadh was then called Kathir. The Hindu chiefs of these places hid themselves in 
forests and hills as the Muslim armies approached. Therefore, the Muslim invaders 
who established themselves in Delhi launched expeditions towards this side in the 
13th, 14th and 15th centuries. 

177. Gyas-ud-Din was the first king to construct roads in this area. See Moradabad District 

Gazetteer, p. 143. 

\78.Ibid. p. 146. 

179. Gola is a very ancient town. Earlier it was a town sacred to the Buddhists. The lingam in 
the Mahadeva temple is related to the Ramayana story. It is said that the Muslim kings 
made endeavours to uproot this lingam, but failed. See Kheri District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 
1905, pp. 184-86. 


transportation by boats started in this river. 180 Leaving Gola town, the Guru 
reached the river bank and took a boat. This Chauka river merges into the 
Ghagra near the Brahma straits. The Ghagra river 181 was g a special means 182 
of travel for those desirous of visiting 

Ayodhya. Therefore the Guru travelled by boat and landed at 
Ayodhya 183 : he was accompanied by Mardana. The site where Guru Nanak 
sat on reaching Ayodhya is now marked by an old gurdivara. 184 Ayodhya 
was an important centre of Hindu pilgrimage. It is said to be the birth 
place of legendary Lord Rama. The Samadhi of Dashratha is also situated 
in this town. The well known Chinese travellers Hieun Tsang had also 
visited this town. 

Holy men from different religious traditions came here to Guru Nanak 
and put him many questions. They asked that many give huge alms on the 
occasion of j yajna, many perform austere meditation, many go naked, many 
hang themselves upside down, many perform worship and rituals, many 
undergo physical penances and thus kill themselves. The question was put 
to the Guru, “Will they or will they not get liberated ?” Listening to them, 
the Guru kept quiet for a while and then recited the following hymn 185 : 

180. The river Chauka or Sarda has several names. The Kali and Saraj rivulets fall in it. It comes 

down from hills near Nanakmatta and then flows south-east in betWeen Pilibhit and 
Nepal under the name of Sarda. Near Motighat in Pilibhit district, the Sarda river 
merges with Ghagra, thus giving it the name Chauka. 

181. The river Chauka changes its course quite often. For the past few centuries it has tended 

more towards the east. See Kheri District Gazetteer, p. 61. Thus, this river might have 
flowed closer to Gola during Guru Nanak’s days. The famous ferry of Chauka river 
these days is Maroch from where transportation by boats begins and which is aboUt 
20 miles (32 kms.) north-west of Gola. The Kheri District Gazetteer (p. 6) states that 
generally the large boats plied in the river up to the Manocha. 

182. “In olden times the Ghagra river was the major means of transportation of the district. 

Even these days there is a lot of transportation. Most of the travellers from Ayodhya 
take this mode of travel. See Fai^abad District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1905, p.3. 

183. Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi records that Guru Nanak along with Mardana went to the 

river which implies that they might have travelled to Ayodhya by boat. Besides, 
travelling to Ayodhya from Nanakmatta also seems geographically correct. This is 
what the Mani Singh text says. However, Miharban Janamsakhi records that the Guru 
came to Ayodhya from the South which does not seem correct. The Vilayatvali and 
the Bala Janamsakhis make no mention of the Guru’s visit to Ayodhya.. 

184. See Kahn Singh, Mahan Kosh p.59 

185. Miharban Janamsakhi records this episode and confirms recitation of this hymn.Bhai 

Mani Singh’s version says that Guru Nanak told them that Lord Rama .... 


Man may perform sacrifices, make fire-offerings, dispense charides, 
perform austerities and offer worship, 

And on his body inflict torture of penance - 

Still without devotion to the Name Divine liberation he would not attain; 

The God-directed liberation from devotion to the holy Name obtain. 
Without devotion to the Name Divine is birth in the world gone 

Such consume poison, poisonous their utterance: 

Without devotion to the Name, without gain they die, and after death 
in transmigration wander (I-Pause) 

One may study scriptures, expound grammar, and thrice daily 
perform worship - 

Man! without devotion to the Master’s Word comes not liberation; 

Without devotion to the Name Divine man Maya-entangled, dies. 

Many may carry a staff Yogi-like, a begging-bowl; 

Grow the tuft, wear the sacred thread and dhoti; visit bathing-spots 

and wander excessively inpilgrimage- 

Without devotion to the Name comes not peace: 

One contemplating the Name Divine alone finds liberation. 

Let one wear matted hair on the head, smear the body with ashes, 

Discard vesture and go about naked: 

Without devotion to the Name Divine comes not liberation. 

Those bound by their deeds, such guises assume. 

All creatures on water and land in all places, by Thee are cherished. 

By the Master’s grace save Thy servant; 

Whereby Nanak freely of the Divine elixir has quaffed. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1128 

The Gum halted at Ayodhya for some time and then continued his 


From Ayodhya Guru Nanak boarded a boat in the Ghagra riverl86 
and reached what is now known as Tanda (Faizabad district). During those 
days the place was not populated. Although the town Tanda took its present 
shape in the beginning of the 18th century, in the 

. had taken the entire town along, then where has this town sprung from? Perhaps, he 

had kept the verse “R am Kathajugjug atal.... from the Dasani Granth in mind. The 
Vilayatvali and the Bala versions do not mention this episode. 

186. Ghagra river was the main mode of ttansport to and from Ayodhya. See Faizabad 
District Gazetteer, 1905, p. 3. 


days of Guru Nanak the place was a famous ferry. The banjaras or the 
wandering tradesmen would stay here during their journey to and fro. 187 
From here Guru Nanak walked on foot twelve miles (19 kms.) towards 
the west and reached the Singholi region. 188 Towards the west of this area 
two streams-Marha and Saboi merge together, and thereafter it gets the 
name Tanas in which the boat plied upto Jalalpur throughout the year. 
The place in Singholi region where Akbarpur (Faizabad district) was 
founded during the reign of Emperor Akbar was a ferry of Tanas river. 
People would board boats from here for going towards Azamgarh. Guru 
Nanak also took a boat from here for Nizamabad (District Azamgarh). A 
gurdwara stands on the site on the bank of the Tanas since long past 
commemotating the memory of Guru Nanak’s visit to the place. 

On the bank of the Tanas, Nizamabad 189 has been a centre of Sikhism. 
A furlong off the river inside the township is said to be the site where 
Guru Nanak then halted. Agurdwara has been constructed on this site. 190 It 
is said that Baba Prem Das Udasi discovered this site and several 
generations of the Bhallas (descendants of Guru Amar 

187. The Faizabad District Gazetteer, p. 279, records that wherever rowns with the name of 

Tanda were established they were all halting places of Banjaras earlier. There are among 
Guru Nanak’s compositions several hymns addressed to people of this community. 
See Guru GranthSahib, VanjKaro Vanjareo Vakharleho sambhal.. p.22. 

188. During the reign of Emperor Akbar, Singholi Tapa came to be called Akbarpur, and has 

been known as such since then. 

189. Nizam-ud-Din was a military general with the king ofjaunpur. He conquered this 

town before the times of Guru Nanak. See jaunpur District Gazetteer, 1908, pp. 163-64. 

190. There were three gurdwarashete-G\st(hm.Ti Barhi Sangat, Gurdwara Chhoti Sangat and 

Akal Bunga. The last-named has since fallen down. Gurdwara Chhoti Sangat is on 
the bank of the Tanas, bur Guru Granth Sahib was not installed there when the author 
visited the place in 1967-68. Only fire-woods, etc. were stored there. Opposite the 
gurdwara on the other side of the river are seen samadhis of Baba Sadhu Singh and his 
cook Baba Gharib Singh. Baba Sumer Singh of Parna was also born in this village. In 
the other gurdwara; inside the town are preserved several old manuscripts. Bawa Sarup 
Das Bhalla’s Mahima Prakash was one among them when the author went there. 
There are manuscripts of old recensions of the Guru Granth Sahib, as well as of 
gutkas. All the Sikhs in the town are Kayasth by caste. Since the town is situated five 
miles (8 kms.) off the newly constructed road (a kutcha road leads thereto from Rani 
Ki Sarai), no Punjabi Sikh has settled there. The land attached to the gurdwara has been 
forefeited under the Land Act and its building has since come down. 


Das) have lived here thereafter. 191 No tradition of Guru Nanak linked 
with this town has survived. All the Sikhs of the place are unanimous that 
Guru Nanak had visited this place. Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, in his Cur 
Tirath Sangrah, accepts that Guru Nanak visited this place. Nizamabad 
falls on the way from Ayodhya to Prayag. 

Prayag where the three rivers meet together is about ninety miles 
(144 kms) from Nizamabad (now District Azamgarh). Guru Nanak left 
Nizamabad for Prayag (now Allahabad). He passed through what is now 
Phulpur tehsil and halted at Jhusi town which is on the left side of the 
confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna. Old Jhusi was a van ancient 
town and high-rising sand dunes are still found there. This place is linked 
with Pratisthan or Kosi mentioned in the Puranas. A well from the times 
of Samundra Gupt still survives in the village. The Ain-i-Akban mentions 
this place as Hadiabad.192 This place is situated on the north of Ganges 
opposite the sangatn (confluence) just as Prayag is on the south. The Yamuna 
river also flows down from the south to merge with the Ganges. Emperor 
Akbar had got a fort erected in-between both the rivers. While coming 
from Nizamabad, Guru Nanak halted at Jhusi away from the crowds of 
Prayag town. 191 

191. It seems that fitsl of all Bawa Samp Das Bhalla. the author of the Mahima Vrakash and 
a descendaof of Guru Amar Das, came here. His genealogy is said to be as under: 

Baba Sarup Singh 


Kirpa Dayal Singh 
Sadhu Singh 

I- 1 -1 

Sumer Singh Sant Singh 


Basant Singh 
Jawahar Singh 


Dalip Singh Pritam Singh 

(d. 1909) (d. 1920) 

None of them or their descendants is now alive. 

192. Allahabad District Gazetteer. Allahabad. 1911. pp. 245-46. 

193. Bhai Mani Singh’s janamsakhi records that when Guru Nanak went to the place where the 

Ganga and the Jamuna meet, he stayed on the bank of the Yamuna ... 


During the times of Gum Nanak, the Ganga flowed just past Jhusi. 
According to Mahant Baba Pancha Nand 194 of the Udasi centre, a raised 
platform existed at the site sanctified by Guru Nanak which has since 
been washed away by the river. This platform is said to have been between 
the present Udasi monastery (Kot Daya Ram) and the high-rising buildings 
of the Nirmalas. 195 

The pilgrims used to come over to Jhusi after bathing at the triveni. 
One day the Guru sat absorbed in his thoughts on the bank of the Ganges. 
Many pilgrims felt impressed by the glow on his forehead and sat near 
him. When the Guru looked at them, they asked the Guru for spiritual 
guidance. They explained that they performed worship, but that was of no 
avail and that they failed to achieve the celestial bliss. The Guru told 
them that vices like kam (lust), krodh (wrath), lobh (greed), moh (attachment), 
and ahankar (egoity) did not let them enjoy this bliss. 196 The Guru recited 
the following hymn: 

Greed is a cur. falsehood a scavenger; deceitful earning, eating of 


Slander of others is as stuffing the mouth with filth; 

Wrath an unclean fire. 

Craving for earthly tastes, self-praise- 

. which is not correct. Guru Nanak halted at Jhusi and this averment is correct because of 

the following reasons: 

a) Coming from Nizamabad, Jhusi comes ahead of Prayag. 

b) From Jhusi an old road led to Benaras which was got repaired by Sher Shah Suri. It was 

also for its safety that Emperor Akbar got the Prayag fort built. 

c) The Miharbanjanamsakhi records: “Gum Nanak appeared where the Ganga. the Jamuna 

and the Saraswati merge together.” This place is just opposite the town of Jhusi. 

d) According to a local tradition, Gum Nanak stayed at Jhusi. 

194. Baba Pancha Nand is said to have been a disciple, fourteenth in succession, of Bhagat 

Bhagwan who was a known Sikh of Guru Har Rai. Their succession order runs thus: 
Baba Bhagat Bhagwan. Baba Bankam Das. Baba Tula Ram. Baba Lai Man, Baba Sarup 
Das, Baba Lahori Das, Baba Ram Dayal. Baba Udami Ram, Baba Bhagat Ram. Baba 
Sur Das. Baba Bala Nand, Baba Maya Ram. Baba Daya Ram. Baba Puna Nand, Baba 
Pancha Nand. 

195. Statement made by Baba Pancha Nand. Kot Daya Ram. Jhusi. to the author during his 

visit there in 1967-68. 

196. This episode is based on a narrative given in the Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi. The Vilayati'ali 

and the Rala versions make no refernece of Guru Nanak having visited Prayag. But 
the circumstantial evidence weighs heavily in favour of the visit. 


Such, Lord-Creator, are my actions. 

Friend! utter only what may bring you honour. 

Such alone are noble as at God’s Portal are so designated. 

Those with foul deeds shall wail. (Pause I) 

Man is engrossed in the taste of gold, silver, woman, fragrant 

Horses, soft beds, mansions, sweet-tasting meals, flesh food: 

With all these tastes engrossing the body, how may the Name find a lodging 

Such utterance alone is approved as brings honour at God’s Court. 

Listen my thoughtless, ignorant self ! utterance of ill-tasting words 
brings ruin. 

Nothing beyond this may be said: Those pleasing God alone are 

Such alone have wisdom, honour and true wealth, 

As in heart have Him lodged. 

Beyond expression is their praise: none else of praise is worthy. 

Saith Nanak: Those deprived of God’s grace 

Are enamoured neither of charity nor devotion to the Name. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 15 

The pilgrims felt deeply influenced by the hymn. 197 

Again on another day Gum Nanak sat wrapped in thoughts. Some 
pilgrims came to him and respectfully asked him that people suffer 
numerous kinds of tortures physically. They meditate standing in the water 
torture the body putting chain around their necks visit pilgrim centres and 
go about naked, but neither ego is eradicated nor other evils afflicting the 
body are got rid of The Guru advised them that the evils of mind could be 
eradicated by making the mind the dwelling-place of Divine Name. Then 
he recited the following hymn: Slok 1st Guru. 

Spiritual perfection comes neither from self-torture nor from 
indulging in pleasure, 

Or wandering in water like creatures of water. 

Spiritual perfection comes neither from close-cropping the hair, 

Nor from learning or wandering from land to land. 

Nor does spiritual perfection lie in worshipping trees, plants and 

Nor in lacerating oneself and bearing torments; 

Neither in keeping elephants on chains nor in owning herds of grazing 
cows lies spiritual perfection. 

Perfection is granted by Him in whose power it lies; 

197. This hymn is found in Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi. 


On whosoever this He confers, to him He grants union. 

Saith Nanak : Exaltation to him comes, in whose self is remembrance 
of the holy Word 

Saith the Lord: All vessels are mine; in all I lie; 

Those from Me alienated, who may show them the way? 

Those whom 1 show the way, who has power to lead them astray? 

Those sent astray from Primal Time, who may show them the way ? 198 
-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 952 

All the pilgrims bowed to the Gum after listening to the hymn and 
comprehending the essence of it from the last verse. The Guru stayed 
here for some time and then proceeded eastwards. 


There was a kutcha road leading from old Jhusi parallel to the Ganges 
towards north on the other side of the river. 199 It has not been possible to 
ascertain how and when this road was laid. However, it is certain that this 
road existed before the arrival of the Muslims. 200 Guru Nanak went 89 
miles (142 kms.) south-east on this road and reached Benaras. 201 

The site where Guru Nanak halted at Benaras is one mile off the 
Benaras railway station. It is called the Guru-ka- Bagh. The area is known 
as Kamachchha. According to a local tradition, Ganga Ram, a Brahmin, 
was the first to call on the Guru. He was much impressed by the Guru and 
became his disciple. 202 

One day Guru Nanak sat on the bank of the Ganges. There he saw 
many Pandits absorbed in reading boob. Several disciples also 

198. This episode and hymn is mentioned only in the Miharban text. It is not found in any 

other Janamsakhi. That such a religious discourse took place in Prayag is a distinct 

199. Allahabad District Gautteer, Allahabad, 1911, p. 74. 

200. benaras District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1909, p. 71. 

201. Guru Nanak’s visit to Benaras is found recorded in the Vilayatvali, theMiharban and the 

Marti Singh versions of the Janamsakhis. It does not find mention in the Bala text. 
However the fact of Guru Nanak having visited Benaras is correct. 

202. According to Sri GnrPratap Suraj Granth (in the context of Guru Arjan), Hari Lai and 

Hari Krishan of Kashi came to see the Gum and stayed for some time. It is also said 
that the Guru uttered slokas of Sanskrit for them. Bhai Kahn Singh, in his Mahan 
Kosh, says that they preached Sikh tenets in and around Kashi. According to a local 
tradition, they were grandsons of Ganga Ram who had called on Gum Nanak at 
Benaras first of all and become his disciple. 


sat by them taking lessons. Many more were meditating. Some others sat 
there with their faces and bodies besmeared with ashes from the cremation 
ground. On seeing Guru Nanak there, some people came to him and asked 
him what was he doing there? All were absorbed either in worship or 
studying or teaching. In reply to the question put to him, Guru Nanak 
recited the following hymn: 

1 fall not into doubt of duality; other than the Lord worship not, 

Resorting not to tombs and cremation yards. 

Absorbed in desire 1 go not to alien abodes - 
My desire by the Name fulfilled. 

The master in my own self a sight of the Divine Abode has 

In poise brother! is my mind absorbed. 

All-knowing, all-seeing art Thou- 

Beings receive the understanding by Thee granted. 

The mind dyed in dispassion an anchorite has turned; 

By the holy Word, mother mine! is my mind penetrated. 

Within me is the irrefrangible light of the holy Word- 
To the holy Lord is my devotion attached. (Pause) 

Innumerable anchorites claim the world to renounce— 

The true anchorite is on that to the Master is pleasing. 

In this heart hearing the Word, in fear of God absorbed, 

The Lord’s tasks he perfoms; contemplating solely the Lord, his mind 

Whose restlessness he controls; 

Intoxicated with poise, ver in joy in God dyed, 

Praise of the holy Eterna he chants. - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 635 

The listeners were much im essed and they bowed at Guru Nanak’s 
feet. 203 Benaras has been known as centre of religious scholarship where 
discourses and dialogues were common. When Guru Nanak arrived there, 
a Brahmin named Chatar Das 204 lived there. One day he came to the Guru, 
sat by him and said: “O devotee! You wear not saligram. Neither you have 
rosary of osmium sanctum (tulsi) nor have you pUt the frontal mark of 
sandal. What kind of devotee art thou?” In reply Guru Nanak uttered the 
following hymn: 

203. This episode is recorded only in rhe Miharban Janamakhi. However the kind of religious 

formalism this tradition seeks to describe has ever prevailed in Benaras. Therefore, the 
episode seems to have taken place at Benaras. 

204. This name is mentioned in VilayatvaliJanamsakhi. 


Brahmin! the saligram stone do you worship as Lord 
And wearing rosary of myrobalan beads as good actions: 

Equip thou ship of repetition of the Name Divine, 

And pray to the gracious Lord for grace. 

Why water alakaline soil, and waste your life? 

This mud-wall shall crumble-why apply mortar to it ? (I - Pause) 

Make your serving hands the Persian wheel, its string and pots 
To that yoke bullocks of your mind. 

Irrigate am rita-field; fill the patches then shall you be owned by the 
Divine Gardener. 

Make lust and wrath you spades-with these dig the earth. 

As you thus dig, shall joy come to you-noway are accumulated 
actions effaced. 

Lord! Shouldst Thou show grace, heron into a swan turns. 

Nanak, servant of Thy servants humbly supplicates: Gracious Lord! 
show grace. 205 -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1171 

After listening the Guru, Chatar Das paid his obeisance. 206 

One day as the Guru sat there, some peopte asked him what spiritual 
gain the people of Benaras will achieve since the town has been a major 
centre for the study of Hindu scriptures, its inhabitants study the scriptures 
and acquire knowledge. How much spiritual upliftment will they get? Guru 
Nanak responded by uttering the following hymn: 

Man may read cartloads of books: of books packs he may study; Boatfuls 
of books, books filling cellars he may read; 

All the years of life, months to study of books he may devote; His whole 
life with each breath he may study- 
Despite all this, saith Nanak, with God only one deed, contemplation 
of the Name, shall be approved. 

All the rest is effort wasted in egoism. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 468 

The listeners got their doubts resolved and bowed before the 
Guru. 207 

205. This episode is based on the Vi/ajatvaliJanamsakhi. It finds mention in no other text. 

But it remains relevant as much srress was laid on ourward religious observances in 
the times of Nanak and this is what the above hymn conveys. 

206. The Vilayatvalijanamsakhit&cot&s that Gum Nanak recited “Onkar” (in Ramkali Dakhani) 

to Chatar Das, but this is not confirmed by any other source. Sarup Das Bhalta, 
Mahima Prakash, says that Guru Nanak recited this hymn at Ankleshwar on the bank 
of Narbada. But this is not corroborated by any other source. 

207. This episode is found in the Miharban Janamsakhi, and both at these salokas are said to 

have been uttered at Benaras. The religious people of Benaras still take... pride in their 
knowledge of Vedas and Shastras. Guru Nanak condemns the ego that slips in as one 
acquires the knowledge of the Vedas. The last verses condemn rituals which can be 
seen in abundance in Benaras even today. 


The orthodox among the Hindus of the 16th century had invented 
one or the other ritual for each religious observance. They called it marjada. 
In matters of cooking and eating rituals that laid stress on purity and 
untouchability came to be strictly observed. The rituals connected with 
purity laid stress on bathing, keeping away from sutak (where a child is 
born recently), etc. A Brahmin of Benaras one day requested Guru Nanak 
to have meals with him at his place. He made Guru Nanak sit by him and 
cooked meals for him with extra care to maintain purity. He offered this 
food to the Guru. However, the Guru said that food was not pure because 
he did not keep the feeling of purity in mind while preparing food. When 
the Brahmin asked the Guru what he meant by purity, he uttered the 
following hymn: 

As occur the woman’s periods again and again, making her unclean, 

So in the mouth of the liar abides falsehood 
That brings him ignominy ever. 

Call not pure such as wash their bodies clean. 

Saith Nanak : Those alone are pure in whose mind is lodged the Lord. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 472 
The Guru saw that the Brahmin has made the hearth by digging the 
earth. The firewood was washed before use. The Guru said: 

Should sutak im urity be believed in, then know, 

Such impurity occurs everywhere. 

Inside cowdung and wood are found worms. 

No single grain of cereals is without life in it. 

The first of living things is water, whereby is each object sustained. 

How may sutak impurity be believed when even in the kitchen it is 

Saith Nanak: The sutak impurity goes not thus 

-Enlightenment alone washes it off. - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 473 

Listening this, the Brahmin paid obeisance go Guru Nanak. 208 One 
day as the Guru sat in Benaras, some Brahmins questioned 

208. According to Miharban’s Janamsakhi, this episode took place at Benaras. The idea of 
maintaining so-called purity and keeping away from sutak was most prevelant where 
Brahminism was at its peak. Benaras was certainly a major centre of Brahminism 
where a discourse on Sutak could be held. 


him that the Vedas lay stress on knowledge whereas he laid emphasis 
on deeds. They wanted to know the difference between the two. In response 
Guru Nanak uttered the following hymns: 

Declare the Scriptures: Good and evil are seeds of heaven and hell. 

Whatever the self sows that sprouts, and that it consumes. 

Enlightenment the Scriptures laud as supreme; 

By it is attained the holy Name. 

By sowing truth; truth grows, and the self at the Divine Portal finds 

a place. 

Scriptures are the merchants, enlightenment their capital- 

This by grace is attained. 

Saith Nanak : Without such capital none with profit has departed. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1243 

The Brahmins understood that deeds were in fact necessary to acquire 
knowledge. So they bowed before the Guru. 2 " 9 

Guru Nanak halted in Benaras for a few days and then proceeded 

Raja Hari Nath 

From Benaras there are two routes that lead to Hajipur (Patna). One 
of them was a kutcha passage that went parallel to the Ganges. Another 
led to Patna via Gaya, the road that led to Patna via Sasaram and Gaya 
was later on named Sher Shah Suri Road because Emperor Sher Shah Suri 
also got constructed inns along side this road. Walking down this route, 
there lies an ancient town Chandrauli, 29 miles off (46.40 kms.) Benaras. 210 
Within a radius of five miles (8 kms.) of this town there are several 
habitations well as ancient ruins. It seems Hari Nath was a chief of one of 
these places where Guru Nanak went there. 211 

209. As per Miharban’s Janamsakhi, this event took place at Benaras. Discussion on karma and 

gian had been going on even before Guru Nanak. Benaras was an important centre of 
religious education. Therefore such a discussion could be possible when Gum Nanak 
visited the place. Gum Nanak calls karma and gian complementary to each other. 

210. Chandrauli is the main town of Benaras tehsil. In the 12th century, a Raghubansi Rajput 

by the name of Kanwardev came over from Ayodhya to settle down here. Dhlman 
Dev in the 15th Centuty was from his ninth generation. The descendants of 
Kanwardev and Dhiman Dev ruled over this region for several centuries. See Benaras 
District Gazetteer, Allahabad. 1909, pp. 343-44. 

211. MarbansJanamsakhi records on p.150 (App. 105): “Then Guru Nanak set. 


Setting out from Benaras and on his way to Gaya, Guru Nanak halted 
near Chandrauli. He took up his residence outside the town. The Guru 
remained absorbed in himself and did not talk to anybody. He remained 
silent for some time and this had a salutary effect on the people. The news 
spread throughout the town that a faqir had come who neither spoke nor 
made any gestures. The very sight of his handsome and impressive face 
was blissful. Listening this, the Chief of the town, Hari Nath, came to 
have a glimpse of the Guru. He came and sat beside the Guru. At this 
time, the Guru recited the following hymn: 

Each moment is the self in agony of burning involved- 
In agony burning, and fallen into evils, mined. 

One that of the holy Word is forgetful, 

Like a leper wails. 

Much talking is just babbling: 

The Lord without our utterance knows all. (I Pause) 

Contemplate dim who granted to us eye and nose, 

And gave the tongue with skill of utterance; 

He that even in fire of the womb protected our self; 

By whose command the wind conveys sound. 

All attachment, worldly love and pleasure 
Brings on blots of black ignominy. 

Man departs with face, soiled with blackness of sin, 

And at the portal finds no place of rest. 

By grace is attained blessing of utterance of Thy name. 

By attachment to this alone comes liberation-no other shelter is 

One that is sinking, by the Name is succoured. 

Saith Nanak: The holy Eternal universal bounty dispenses. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 662 
This hymn acted as a balm on the aching psyche of Hari Nath. It 
seemed to him as if the Guru had spelt out the condition of his 

. out slowly from Benatas and making brief halts reached the town of Hari Nath. He 

stayed in this eastern town.” Chandrauli is eastwards of Benaras and beside Chandrauli 
there is another village called Harinathpura which, it is said, was founded by Raja Hari 
Nath. During Guru Nanak’s times, Chandrauli was the only major Rajput 
concentration in the Benaras region and, according to the Benaras District Gazetteer, 
descendants of Dhiman ruled there. Hari Nath seems to have been one of them. 

A geographical study of the area reveals that Chandrauli is situated on the Benaras- 
Gaya road. The Guru might have met the chief of this place on his way from Benaras 
to Gaya. 


(Hari Nath’s) mind when he said: “My soul bums over and over again “ As 
for the question of love, attachment and enjoyment, it seemed to him as 
if God Himself took the form of this faqir to eradicate his suffering. So he 
fell at the Guru’s feet and prayed that the Guru make him his disciple and 
let him be Inis companion. He even promised to renounce the throne. The 
Guru advised him that there was yoga even in reigning. He further told him 
to serve the people and remember the Name Divine. Thus giving Hari 
Nath the message of nam (Divine Name), dan (charity) andgharibi (humility). 
Thereafter, Guru Nanak resumed his journey. 212 


Guru Nanak reached Gaya after passing through Chandrauli and 
Sasaram. It was a Hindu pilgrim centre situated on the bank of the Phalgu. 213 

It was strongly believed during those days that Gaya was a devil 
(shaitan) who took to hard meditation. Vishnu was pleased at this and told 
him to ask for a boon. The devil sought the boon that whosoever saw him 
might get free from the pangs of hell. Lord Vishnu said whosoever sees 
my feet will get liberated.’ The Vishnu Pad is a huge temple where pilgrims 
from all over India come to pay obeisance. Another belief that was current 
was that if one performed here the last rites of his ancestors who were 
already dead they would also get liberated. Therefore, many Hindus visited 
Gaya to perform last rites of their ancestors to seek liberation for them. 214 

212. The story of Raja Hari Nath is found only in the MiharbantexX. No other tradition makes 

a mention of it. This is in accordance with the life and mission of Guru Nanak which 
exhorts man to live a life of detachment in this material world. 

213. Gaya was earlier of one of the pilgrim centres of Buddhists. According to the Gaya 

District Gazetteer, two special Hindu rituals-worship of Vishnu’s feet and of peepal 
tree—seem to have evolved from Buddhism. Worship of feet is a special Buddhist 
ritual: the feet are taken as the feet of Lord Buddha himself Cunningham says that 
after the downfall of Buddhism. The Hindus convened the idea of Buddha’s feet to 
that of Vishnu’s feet. Similarly, the pilgrims circumambulate the peepal tree to offer 
food to their dead ancestors. This peepal tree had religious significance for Buddhists. 
Heun Tsang also makes a mention of this fact. In the same way, with the passage of 
time the peepal tree also acquired a place of importance in the Hindu religious rituals. 
See Gaya District Gazetteer, pp. 69-70. 

214. A Sixteenth Century Chauhan feudal lord of Patna commissioned a Brahmin to write an 

account of the condition of Hindus in Gaya. See Gaya District Gazetteer, pp. 69-70. 


performing these rites, they make round balls of rice and lighted lamps. 
They believed that by their doing so, their ancestors could get salvation. 

As Guru Nanak sat on the bank of the Phalgu river absorbed in his 
thoughts, the pandas came to him and advised him to get the last rituals 
performed for his own and his ancestors’ liberation.215 The Guru replied 
that he had lit a lamp for himself and his ancestors. He had performed 
such a ritual that the darkness of ignorance would wane. Heaven and hell 
are phenomenon of ignorance. Those who have lit the lamp of knowledge 
ofOivine Name they stood liberated. The Guru uttered the following hymn 
for the pandas : 

The Sole Name Divine is my lamp; therein is poured oil of suffering; 

As by the light of realisation is this oil burnt, 

Lifted is encounter with yama. 

Let not the world ridicule this as idle boast: 

Lakhs of maunds of firewood by one particle of fire are burnt. 

(Pause I) 

Devo’o to the holy Name Divine is my ritual sweets and feasting. 

And ffering to God: 

In is life and the hereafter, now and in future, 

This alone is my prop. 

Your laudation to me is holy Ganga and Benaras 
Therein my divine self takes dips: 

True bathing in engaging in devotion day and night lies. 

Some are the offerings to the gods; others to departed ancestors. 

These the Brahmins mould and consume. 

Saith Nanak : The offering of Divine grace inexhaustible remains.216 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 358 
The Brahmins felt impressed on listening to these words and bowed 
before the Guru. There is a gurdwara in Gaya to commemorate the Guru’s 
visit to that place. It is situated by the side of Vishnu Pad temple. Baba 
Ram Das Udasi is the Mahant who manages the. gurdwara which is known 

215. The Brahmins prepared round balls of rice and flour to use them for Pind-Patal ritual and 

they got money in return for performing the rituals. Therefore, they advised every 
visiror to get these rituals performed. To light a lamp is also a ritUal that was considered 
necessary prior to one’s death. The person about to die was made to lie, on ground 
and a lamp was lit near him. This was called ‘lighting the lamp.’ Many people themselves 
got this ritual performed by visiting Gaya. 

216. This episode is not recorded in Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi. In the above hymn of Guru 

Nanak we find details of rituals performed for the dead at Gaya. This in itself is an 
evidence of the Guru’s visit to Gaya. 


as Gurdwara Deo Ghat. The building of the shrine was got constructed 
by Almast during the pontificate of Guru Hargobind. The stamp ofBhai 
Almast is still preserved there. 217 

Hajipur (Patna) 

A kacha road from Gaya led to the place which has since come to be 
known as Patna Sahib. 218 Those days debris of the old city of 

217. The stamp of Baba Almast that lies here has the following words inscribed on it: “Sri 

Wondrous Lord Creator-Lord, Nanak-Almast, Reign and throne of the True Guru, 
Nanak.” This Almast was the same person who served in the.gurdwara at Nanakmatta. 
It was also at his request that Guru Hargobind had gone there. A hukamnama of 
Guru Tegh Bahadur is also preserved in this gurdwara. Of course, this gurdwara is a 
modest structure. The samadhis of the following Udasi saints are located within its 
precincts: Baba Bishan Das, Baba Prabhu Das, Baba Basant Das and Baba Sobha Das. 
The last-named saint died around A.D. 1898. Baba Ram Das, a disciple of Baba 
Sobha Das, was the Mahant of this gurdwara in 1965-66. 

218. During the time of Guru Nanak, Parna had not yet been inhabited. According to the 

Tarikh-i-Daudi, the modern city of Parna was founded by Sher Shah Suri in 1541 (See 
Patna District Gazetteer). That is why the Vilayatvali and the Bala Janamsakhis make no 
mention ofParna. Only Mani Singh’s version mentions Patna. However, by the 18th 
Century, Parna had become a famous ciry. In the Miharban version, it is called Hajipur- 
Parna which seems correct. Gurdwara Gai Ghat at Parna commemorates the Guru’s 
visit there. It is just possible that the Guru might have crossed the river from this ghat 
to reach Hajipur. The area of Gai Ghat was earlier known as Sundar Ban. During the 
reign of Aurangzeb, it was renamed Azimabad and the Sundar Ban area came to be 
called Guizar Bagh. These days the Gai Ghat area is known as Guizar Bagh. 

The Janamsakhis of Bhai Bala and Bhai Mani Singh say that a jeweller by the name of 
Salis Rai met Guru Nanak at Bishambarpura. Some opine that Bishambarpura which 
is now a small colony in the ciryof Parna might have been a village those days and Salis 
Rai might be a resident of that village. However, this does not seem correct for the 
following reasons: 

a) Mr. Buchanan made a survey of the city of Parna in 1811 and every small street and 

colony is mentioned in his survey. It contains references to the sites sanctified by 
Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh. It contains more than a hundred 
names of streets and colonies of Patna, there is mention of Bishambarpura. 

b) Even if we accepr the existence of a small village Bishambarpura in place of Pama, it is 

not possible that a jeweller should be residing in a small village. Traders of Jewelery 
are usually to be found in cities. 

c) Reference to Hajipur in the Miharban Janamsakhi seems correct. During the time of 

Guru Nanak, Hajipur was a huge city. According to Mu^affarpur District Gazetteer 
(1944, p. 74), there was a separate colony of jewellers which was named Jawahartola. 
Patna became prosperous during the times of Sher Shah Suri and Akbar, and just like 
in Hajipur, a colony of jewellers came up there also. 


Pacliputra were extant. Passing through these debris and crossing the 
Ganga, Guru Nanak reached Hajipur which was a famous city those days. 219 
Hajipur is situated on the northern bank of the Ganges and opposite the 
city of Patna where the Gandak river merges with the Ganges. After crossing 
the Ganges, the Guru sat on the site where now stands the Nanak Shahi 
Gurdwara. This place is in the Ram Chaura Mohalla in Harihar colony. 220 

When Guru Nanak reached Hajipur, his companion Mardana was 
very hungry. The Guru sent him to the Jawahartola so that he got something 
to eat from the houses of the rich people living in that colony. 221 One of 
the jewellers gave him three paise. Mardana felt rather disappointed. He 
went to the next house where lived the jeweller named Salis Rai. He was a 
noble soul and his accountant, Adarka by name, as also a God-fearing 
person. As Mardana reached Salis Rai’s house, he was having his meals. 222 
The accountant, Adarka, came out and took Mardana to his master. Salis 
Rai saw that Mardana was quite hungry. So he fed him to his full and then 
gave him some money for his onward journey. Mardana accepted the money 
and returned to Guru Nanak in a happy frame of mind. The Guru asked 
him, for what purpose he had brought the money and wanted him to return 
the same. Mardana came back to Salis Rai and returned the money. 

Salis Rai was highly impressed by this gesture. He took his accountant 
along and came to have a glimpse of the Guru. He also brought along 
some food which he presented to the Guru and said that earlier he 
considered Mardana a jewel with you but after meeting you I see jewels all 
around you. The Guru replied that those who 

219. The town of Hajipur (a tehsil headquarter) is in Muzaffarpur district, and is an important 

town on the other side of the Ganga from Patna. It was founded by Haji Ilyas 
(Shamas-ud-Din Ilyas) berween 1345-1388. It also remained the capital of Bihar for 
quite some time. See Mn^affarpur District Gazetteer. 

220. As per the statement made by Sant Kartar Singh of Patna. Sant Kartar Singh got a lot of 

kar seva done at the Harimandar Sahib at Patna. He also got the kar seva done at the 
Gurdwara Hart Sahib, Sultanpur (District Kapurthala). He was very well familiar with 
Patna and its surroundings. 

221. The Rala Janamsakhi also gives the name Jawahartola which seems correct. 

222. The episode of Salis Rai is found mentioned in the janamsakhi versions of Bhal Bala and 

Bhai Mani Singh. The I / ilayatvali and the Miharban versions do not mention it. The 
R ala and the Miharban texts say that Guru Nanak gave to Maradna. the jewel of Name 
and not that of stone or something. Both the Rala and the Man% Singh versions 
narrate the episode as stated above. 


have Divine Name in their eyes see nothing else. There are both gurmukhs 
(Guru-oriented persons) and manmukhs (self oriented) in the world. 
Similarly, there is lotus as well as the frog in the water. Both of them 
perform different sorts of functions. Then the Guru uttered the following 

Inside the pure water of the pool abide both lotus and algae. 

The lotus abiding in company of algae and the water, 

Yet by their pollution is untouched. 

Frog! never shalt thou acquire illumination. 

Eating of these weeds, though in pure water abiding, 

Thou yet knowest not of amrita. (I Pause) 

The frog in water ever abides, not so the humming-bee 
Yet from a height the fragrance of the lotus it smells. 

Lotus buds too from far, by sensing the moon, bow to it. 

Thou frog! clever with thy place in water listen: 

In milk lie a?nrita, sweetness of sugar and honey: 

Thy nature thou dost not discard, like the flea, 

That is in love with blood, discarding milk. 

With the wise live the ignorant, who to Vedas and Shastras, listen, 
without avail: 

Thus thy character thou givest not up, as cur’s tail that is not 

Those that are hypocrites, to the Name are not attached; 

Others at the Divine feet bow. 

Saith Nanak: Each receives what is primarily recorded: 

With the tongue the holy Name you utter. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 990 
Salis Rai felt peace in his mind on listening to the hymn. He paid 
obeisance to the Gum and prayed that his offering be accepted. The Guru 
refused to accept money, but did accept the food. Salis Rai again prayed 
that he be assigned any service. The Guru advised him that it is not 
necessary that the virtue of Name is achieved only after acquiring some 
status. Therefore, one must not be proud of one’s higher social status. The 
Guru also told him that his subordinate Adarka was on way to realizing 
Name and that he (although a subordinate in social life) was spiritually 
higher than him. Therefore, he deserved to be held in respect. 

There was an old temple dedicated to Gajgrah near Hajipur. A fair, 
called the Sonpur fair, was held there on the full-moon night of the month 
of Karfik each year. Many pilgrims came on that day. Even otherwise the 
devotees of Vishnu kept pouring in throughout the year. One day a devotee 


of Vishnu came to Guru Nanak and put him a question: “Mind seeks 
material wealth; material wealth cannot be attained without ego; and ego 
takes one away from God. How can one realize God?” In response, the 
Guru recited the following hymn: 

With the body destroyed, whose is hoarded wealth? 

How without the Master’s guidance may the Name Divine be 

The wealth of the Name is our companion, friend, 

That from the Master, day and night engaged in holy God- 

absorption, comes. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 416 

This provided that yaisfnavite the required solace .and he fell at the 
Guru’s feet. The Guru spent some time at Hajipur and then proceeded 


Guru Nanak left Hajipur (Patna) and set out on his way parallel to 
the Ganges. Passing through the cities of Monghyr and Bhagalpur, he 
reached Kant Nagar, a town in the Katyar tehsil of present day Poornia 
district. This town was situated on the bank of the Ganges and near the 
famous city, Kargola. Here stands an old gurdwara in the memory of Guru 
Nanak’s visit. According to a local tradition, the Guru had stayed here.223 

From Kant Nagar, the Guru went farther eastwards. There the Ganges 
takes a turn towards south. Here the river Mahananda coming from the 
north merges with the Ganges. In this region, the Ganges is known by the 
name of Kalindri. 12A There was a town called Malda on the site where the 
Kalindri and the Mahananda meet. This town was a huge halting point for 
the boats which sailed on these two rivers. 225 Guru Nanak took off at this 
point. It is said that a 

223. Shri Raghubans Prasad Singh, the owner of the Kursela Estate in Poornia district, writes 

vide his letter No.D.O.2/68, dated 7th February 1968: “In the poornia district. Guru 
Nanak took up dwelling on the bank of the Ganges in village Kant Nagar which falls 
in Barai Police Station. There is agurdwara raised in his memory.” 

In this letter he also makes mention of several other gnrdwaras. 

Kargola was an important ford of the Ganges since olden times. Gum Nanaks halt 
in this village seems correct. 

224. The Encyclopaedia Britannica. see Malda. 

225. The Imperial Gazetteer. Oxford University Press. 1908. Vol. 17. p. 83. 


money-lender by the name of Ram Dev met Gum Nanak here. He was 
much impressed by Guru Nanak. The Guru stayed here for some time. 226 
Then he set out further towards south-east. Now he took the route alongside 
the Ganges towards the south: It was later on turned into a pucca road by 
Sher Shah Suri. This route passed through Maksudabad (Murshadabad) 
and then took a turn eastwards and reached Sonar village. 22 ' This village is 
15 miles (21 kms.) towards north of Dhaka (now Bangladesh). Guru Nanak 
did not go to Sonar’ village and instead turned towards south to reach 
Dhaka. Here was an ancient pilgrim centre, the temple of Dhakeswari 
goddess. It is after the name of this goddess that the town of Dhaka was 
named. During those days Dhaka was famous only for the temple of 
goddess Dhakeswari. It became the capital town of the region in 1608. 228 
Dhaka was situated on the bank of the Bohi Ganga which was then an 
important tributary of the Padma river 229 

Guru Nanak halted on the northern side of Dhaka at a site which is 
these days called the Rear Bazar. There lived the potters, as they do even 
these days. The tradition of Guru Nanak’s visit to this place still survives 
among these people. A well of Guru Nanak’s days is still extant. 2 ’" It is 
said that the Guru dug up the earth here with his wooden staff to make 
this well. Before the partition of India in 1947, a fair used to be held here 
every year in the month of Chet. 231 

From Dhaka Guru Nanak set out for Kamrup. Those days the most 
frequented route of travel from Dhaka to Kamrup was the Brahamputra 
river. The present day districts of Goalpara, Kamrup-Rangpur and Cooch- 
Bihar constituted Kamrup. Guru Nanak boarded a boat in the Brahamputra 
and reached Dhubri which is these days an important town of the Goalpara 
district. Guru Tegh Bahadur later on got a raised platform in the memory 
of Guru Nanak. by bringing in earth from Rangamati. 232 The Goalpara 

226. Giani Gian Singh, Tivarikh Guru Kha/sa. 4th ed., p. 175. 

227. Sita Ram Kohli and Hari Ram Gupta, Historical Atlas of India, Allahabad, 1954, p. 17. 

228. Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. 16, p. 116. 

229. Ibid. 

230. Dhaka District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1912, p. 70. 

231. G.B. Singh, Sikh Relics in Eastern Bengal, Vol. 1,1967, p. 75. 

232. Teja Singh and Ganda Singh, A Short Histoty of the Sikhs, (Orient Longman), p. 55. 


records that the Muslim soldiers helped, on the asking of Guru Tegh 
Bahadur, by bringing in earth in their shields. 233 From Dhubri Guru Nanak 
went on to Gauwhati by boat In the Brahamputra. The town was then 
named Prayag Jyotispur. 

In the beginning of the 16th century, the people of Kamrup were 
very proficient in tantra. They were worshippers of Shakti. Although the 
Muslims had once demolished the temple of Kamakhya goddess, but the 
people s belief could not be shattered. Mostly the people of Kochi tribe 
inhabited the Kamrup region. They worshipped goddess Kamakhya and 
offered human sacrifice to the goddess. 234 Guru Nanak stayed outside a 
town in Kamrup. The Guru’s companion, Mardana, felt rather hungry at 
the time. The Guru allowed him to go into the town and have something 
to eat. When Mardana went and stood outside the door of a house, the 
womenfolk inside invited him in. With the help of their tantric power, 
they took away Mardana’s power to think and speak. They almost turned 
him into a ram who simply followed them. 235 

The Guru waited for Mardana for some time but thereafter he himself 
went inside the town in search of him. Those women tried to do with 
Guru Nanak what they had earlier done with Mardana. However, all their 
magical power proved futile in face of the Guru’s spiritual strength. They 
all bowed before the Guru. Then the Guru brought Mardana back to his 
senses and asked him to play rebeck. The Guru recited the following hymn: 

The woman of merit with her Lord has enjoyed bliss; 

Why musr one without merit in jealousy wail ? 

Should she acquire merit, the Lord shall favour her too. 

The Lord is so delightfully playful-why must the woman seek 

pleasure with others? (I Pause) 

233. The Goalpara District Gazetteer, Calcutta. 1905. p. 59. According to Giani Gian 

Singh, Ratan Rai, the son of a local king, once visited Guru Gobind Singh in his court 
at Anandpur Sahib. His father. Raja Ram, had become a Sikh of Guru Tegh Bahadur. 

234. The Kamrup District Gavytteer, Calcuua, 1905, p. 91. See also “Saktism in Assam” in the 

Engclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, New York, Vol. II, 19.1958, p. 134 

235. The VilajatvaliJanamsakhi gives the name of the local Empress as Nurshah. However, 

this name is not confirmed by any other janamsakhi source. The Miharban mss of the 
Bala Janamsakhi does not mention the name of Nurshah The. Miharban and the Mani 
Singh versions also do not give this name. Both the Vilajatvali and the Bala texts make 
mentton of Mardana being made a ram by some local women which appears to be 
correct. According to Vilayatvali Janamsakhi, these hymns were recited in Kamrup 
and this is confirmed by the contents of these hymns. 


Make good deeds the magical rites, the heart the thread; 

The bead to string it with money is not purchased: 

To the heart should it be sewn. 

As is the path indicated, I traverse it not, yet claim to have arrived at 

the destination. 

Woman! to thy Lord art thou not communicative- 
How in His home mayst live? 

Saith Nanak: None other than the sole Lord is there. 

Shouldst thou with the Lord maintain love, to thee shall He grant 
bliss. - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 557 

Then an idea occurred to these women that this man of God might 
wish to listen to some song. They thought that they might still be able to 
put him in their trap with the help of their songs and dance. So they tried 
to please and charm the Guru with their songs and dance but to no avail. 
The Guru recited the following hymn: 

In the realm of mind are playing cymbals and bells of stray thinking. 
A drum is constantly playing-such is the world. 

The restless mind like Narad is enacting a dance- 
This is the influence of Kali-Yuga. 

Where in this age may those with continence and virtue rest their 

World that art gone blind! realize the Lord. (Pause I) 

In this age disciples from their mentors receive sustenance- 
Living with them for attraction of food. 

Tittle it avails if one thus for a hundred years lives with him and feeds. 
Whoever realizes the Lord, is truly approved. 

In this age none at sight of suffering takes pity. 

No one from receiving graft restrains himself 
Rulers administer justice as is their palm greased. 

None by invoking the Name of God is persuaded. 

Saith Nanak! Men are human in shape and name- 
Their doings dog-like: at the door waiting to carry out commands. 
He who by the Master’s grace knows himself to be a passing lodger in 
this world. 

Alone may get honour at the Divine Portal. - Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 349-50 
When even the song and the dance failed to have any effect on the 
Guru, they came with a lot of material things which they offered to him. 
However, Guru Nanak remained absorbed in his own thoughts. When 
they had exhausted all their tricks and energy and failed, they finally fell 
on the Guru’s feet. The Guru advised 


them to remember the Name Divine. He stayed there for some time and 
then proceeded ahead. 

‘Live and Prosper-Get Uprooted and Disperse’ 

In the sixteenth century the boundary of the Kamrup went only up 
to the Kama river, and the area of Assam began with the present day 
district of Darang. 236 That is perhaps why in the ]anamsakhis the Kamrup 
and the Assam (Assa country) 23 have been mentioned as two different 
regions. In Kamrup, the Kochi kings reigned whereas Assam was with the 
Ahom kings. It was after the name of the ruling tribe (Ahom) that the 
region also came to be known as Ahom, Asham, or Assam. The Ahoms 
worshipped Sakti. They were rather orthodox and tolerated no new 
ideology. This region gave birth to a holy man called Sankradeva (1449- 
1569) who preached Vaishnavism, but the Sakts paid no heed to himj The 
king of the day, Raja Swarg Narain (1497-1593) who was earlier named 
Chuhumung decreed his exile. 238 

Guru Nanak left Kamrup nd travelled eastwards along the 
Brahamputra river. He stayed at several places on the way. Guru Nanak 
on his way entered a tow where the inhabitants began to laugh at and 
taunt him and did not let him stay there. The Guru left the place saying 
‘May this town ourish.’ 

Travelling further the Guru sojourned in a village. Here the 
inhabitants served the Guru and Mardana very well. The Guru left this 
place saying ‘May this village disperse’. When Mardana heard these words, 
he asked the Guru why he had said so: those who did not let us stay put 
were blessed to flourish and those who served us so well have been cursed 
to get uprooted and disperse. The Guru 

236. According to Alexander Cunningham, modern Assam was called Kamrup in olden 

times. Heun Tsang has recorded this region as Kamrup. In the medieval times, the 
Ahom tribes which were a branch of the Shan tribes conquered the eastern region of 
Kamrup. The Ain-i-Akbari also refers to Kamrup and Assam as two different regions. 
During the times of Guru Nanak, they were two distinct regions. The Kochi kings 
ruled in Kamrup and the Ahom kings held Assam. 

237. Assam has been mentioned as Asa country in this episode and this is confirmed by a 

reference to Raja Samandr who was a king of Assam. When Ahoms entered Assam, 
they had twelve chiefs who called themselves twelve bhoid and claimed to be progeny 
of Raja Samandr. See Encyclopaedia of Religion and ethics. New York, Vol. II, p. 135. 

238. Ibid., p. 134. 


told Mardana when the good people will go to other places, people at large 
will become good in their company. On the other hand, if wicked people 
of a town go to other places, they will spread vice among those who come 
in their contact. On listening this, Mardana bowed before the Guru. 

Deliverance of Demons 

Guru Nanak travelled eastwards on the bank of the Brahmputra river 
and reached Golaghat town. This town is situated on the eastern bank of 
the Dhanasri river and falls in the district of Sibsagar, in the extreme east 
of present day Assam State. The valley of river that passes by Golaghat is 
called Dhanasri valley 239 because this was the plain region along the 
Dhanasri river. This river originates from the Naga mountain and separates 
Sibsagar district from Nowgong district and thereafter flows towards north¬ 
west to finally merge into the Brahmputra. On the north of the Dhanasri 
valley were wide plains surrounded by Naga and Mukir mountains. The 
Naga people reside here. They sacrificed humans and were cannibals. 240 

When Guru Nanak and Mardana reached the Dhanasri valley, they 
were captured by the Nagas. They found the Guru and Mardana performing 
kirtan, fully transcended from worldly cares. When they attempted to kill 
them, they were charmed by the divine glow and spiritual strength of the 
Guru. 241 They realized that they were not 

239. The VilayarialiJanamsakhi calls it ‘Dhanasri desos country.’ 

240. The words of the Vilayati'aliJanamsakhi “where the demons ate humans in the Dhanasri 

country, Guru Nanak reached there” suggest that the reference is to the Dhanasri 
region and the Naga people. The Imperial Gas(nieer records about the Nagas as follows: 

“The custom which has attracted most attention and which differentiates Nagas 
from other Tibet Burmah tribes such as Bodas, Mukris and Daflas and such Himalayan 
people, is their craving for human heads. Any head was valued, whether of man, 
woman or child and victims were usually murdered not in fight but by treachery.” 
(Imperial Gautteer of India, Vol.XVUI.p. 287) 

241. The Vilayatvali ]anamsakhi narrates that the Nagas got hold of both Guru Nanak 

and.Mardana. Then being impressed by the Guru, they freed them both. The Tala 
version says that Bala was captured by the demon and began to fry him in an oil 
cauldron but the oil went cold. Thereafter is given Guru Arjan’s hymn which refers to 
“cooling of the hot cauldron.” The Tala text also names the demon as Kauda, but 
this is not given in any other Janamsakhi. The Mani Singh version says that the demon 
came to the Guru, listened to the kirtan and became his disciple. The Vilayatvali 
Janamsakhi seems closer to truth. It is identical with the Mani Singh version. 


ordinary mortals. They were highly impressed by the divine word and they 
freed them. The Guru returned after teaching them the Name Divine. 

Guru Nanak travelled via the Brahmputra to Gauwahati. From there 
a hilly route leads to Shillong. Guru Nanak set out on this route and passed 
through Jowai. Therefrom he took the Jainatipura hilly route on which 
only horses and human could walk and reached Sylhet. Jainatipura is 64 
miles (102 kms.) from modern Shillong via Jowai and Sylhet is 26 miles 
(40 kms.) away from Jainatipura. 242 There used to be an old gurdwara in 
Sylhet in the memory of Guru Nanak. Tara Singh Narotam has referred to 
it in his Guru Tirath Sangrah. Maybe, the gurdwara got destroyed in the 
earthquake of 1897 because it does not find mention in the books published 

Sylhet is on the south of the Brahmputra valley and falls in the valley 
of the Sutma or Bark rivers. That is why it was closer to East Bengal. In 
the beginning of the 16th century, the Muslims had established themselves 
here. Shah Jalal ad been a known faqir of this region. He passed away in 
1531. 243 This tomb and shrine have been the special memorials in Sylhet 
even today. Shah Jalal was a contemporary of Guru Nanak. It is just 
possible that Guru Nanak and Shah Jalal might have met her , 244 

There are several routes from Sy to the modern city of Calcutta. 245 
People in Sylhet region general! travelled by boat. 246 So Guru Nanak also 
sailed in a boat in the Surma river towards east 

242. Sylhet District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1965, p. 186. 243. Ibid., 1905, p. 81. 

244. The Vilayatvali janamsakhi mentions the Guru’s meeting and discourse with Farid. Its 

author says that “Shaikh Farid was the Pir of Patan. Shaikh Brahm occupied his seat.” 
See Sakhi “Dialolgue with Shaikh Brahm” which shows that the writer was not 
ignorant about the long past death of Baba Farid Ganj-i-Shakar. Then the Sakhi 
“Dialogue with Shaikh Farid in Asa Country” wherein dialogue is stated to have been 
held with Farid shows that this Shaikh Farid is some other Muslim holy man. It is 
just possible that he was a disciple of Shaikh Farid. Discourse with Shah Jalal in Sylhet 
seems quite possible and correct. Whether or not Shah Jalal was from the Chisti Sufi 
tradition like Farid can be said with more certainty only after we possess more 
information on Jalal. According to the Vilayatvali text, Shah Jalal appears to be a 
disciple of Baba Farid. 

245. The reference to Calcutta town comes in a poem written in 1495. See Imperial Gazetteer, 

Vol. IX, p. 2621. 

246. Sylhet District Gazetteer, p. 183. 


and passed by south-west Dhaka in the Bark river. It appears that at several 
places the Guru went by boat and at others he walked on foot. Ultimately 
he reached the road which passes by Calcutta and leads to Ganjam. Ganjam 
was a town in the south of Orrisa. Travelling farther on this road, he 
reached Cuttack, the principal town of Orissa. 

The most famous temple in Orissa was Jagannath Temple, Puri. 
Because of this the king of Orissa was also reverentially called Jagannath. 247 
When Guru Nanak arrived in Cuttack, Raja Prataprudradev was the king 
of Orissa. He had ascended the throne after the death of his father, Raja 
Parsotamdev, in 1497. 248 

Prataprudradev belonged to the Solar dynasty and was a Vaishnavite 
by faith. It was during his regime that Vaishnavism spread the most. 249 
Chaitanya (1485-1533) also visited this temple during his regime in 1510. 
His teachings also helped in the spread of Vaishnavism. When 
Prataprudradev learnt that a holy man from North India has arrived and 
that he is accompanied by a rebeck player who sings hymns, he rode his 
horse and set out to meet Guru Nanak. 250 The people who sat near the 
Guru made way for the King who sat close to the Guru, after sitting for a 
while, the King asked the Guru what this world was : he himself knew 
nothing about it. All the creatures herein are different from one another, 
some are holy whereas others are cheats. What image can we perceive of 
God from His creation? In reply the Guru recited the following hymn: 

In the lake of holy congregation grow unmatched lotuses, 

That are ever in bloom and full of fragrance. 

247. Similarly the king of Rameshwaram was called King Rameshwaram. SeeH R ameshwarm 

Temple Guide. Raja Udai Singh of Kaithal was respectfully referred to as Pehowa King 
or King Pehowa since Pehowa, the famous centre of Hindu pilgrimage fell within his 

248. Puri District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1908, p. 30. 

249. Ibid., p. 31. 

250. Although this episode appears only in the Miharban Janamsakhi, and I7 ilayatvaliBala and 

Mani Singh versions are silent on it, yet it is certain that all Janamsakhi texts agree on the 
Guru’s visit to Jagannath PurL The route to Puri was via Cuttack because the sea route 
was not safe as the boats got drowned because of storms. See Puri .District Gasptteer, 
1908, p. 102. So a meeting with the king of Cuttack on reachmg there is a possibility 
and seems to be correct. Bhai Vir Singh, in his Gum Nanak Chamatkar, records the 
dialogue related by the mahantoi the Cuttack gurmvara According to him also, Guru 
Nanak met the king of Cuttack. See Guru Nanak Chamatkar (7th edition), p. 305. 


In that Lake swans pick up orient pearls- 

Such swans are possessed of all faculties, being of the Divine Essence. 

All that is visible, takes birth and is shattered: 

These lotuses without the water of this lake grow not. (Pause I) 

Rare are such as have realization and learn the Divine mystery- 
The Vedas only discourse of maja of three branches. 

One that serves the holy Preceptor, the supreme state attains, 

And in awareness of the cosmic Note and Creative Essence is absorbed. 
Whoever to the liberated ones is attached, in love of God is dyed; 

Is ever in bloom, a king of kings. 

Whomsoever Thou in Thy grace dost save, 

Thought a sinking stone, is made to swim. 

Such a one in the three worlds beholds His Light, and in all three 
worlds realizes Him; 

His mind away from the world turned, in his self He attains Him. 

Those that day and night with concentration perform devotion, 

Nanak at their feet offers obeisance. - Guru Granth Sahib, p. 352 

When the king listened to this, he bowed before the Guru, paid his 
obeisance and departed. 231 There is an old gurdivara in Cuttack in memory 
of Guru Nanak. 252 

On the Way to Jagannath Puri 

There was an old route taken by passengers from Cuttack to Puri. 
This was also called the Jagannath Road Guru Nanak took this route to 
reach Puri. 

When the King of Orissa met the Guru at Cuttack, the news spread 
to Puri and other places also. There lived a pandit in Puri those days. He 
was an expert in Logic and was quite rich. He was a priest of many pilgrims 
who would put up with him. He was quite clever and he became known 
by the name of Kaliyug. 253 When he learnt that the King had respected the 
Guru, he came to the old road of Jagannath well equipped with his 
knowledge of Logic, Tantrism and wealth so as overpower the Guru. At 
first he tried to overawe the Guru. He took to several dreadful postures. 
Bhai Mardana was 

251. This narrative is based on rhe Miharban Janamsakhi. See MiharbanJanamsakhi,p.255. 

252. Guru Nanak Chamatkar, p. 305. 

253. The Vilayatvali]anamsakhi mentions the episode of Kaliyug. Both Giani Gian Singh and 

Bhai Vir Singh agree that there was a panda va Puri who met the Gum. Being clever and 
expert in polemic, he got the nick-name Kaliyug. 


terrified, but the Guru told him not to be afraid. When nothing worked, he 
came closer to the Guru and tried to entice the Guru with his wealth, to 
enchant him with offerings of pearls, mansions and maids. However, the 
Guru held his ground and asked Mardana to play rebeck. He recited the 
following hymn: 

Palaces with pearls erected, with gems embellished; 

With musk, saffron, agar and sandalwood-paste plastered, 

A sheer joy to the heart- 

Lest in these delights involved I forget Thee, 

Thy Name from the mind effaced. 

May I burn in flames, should I without the Lord live. 

My Preceptor have 1 consulted. No shelter without the Lord may be 
found. (Pause I) 

Were the ground with rubies studded, 

With a bedstead spread with gems inlaid; 

Couched in it a female of surpassing beauty, 

Her face with jewels decked, in dalliance engaged- 
Lest in these pleasures involved 1 forget Thee, 

Thy Name from my mind effaced. 

Were I to be a Siddha, master of accomplishment, calling forth miracles, 
At will oncealing and manifesting my form, centre of the world’s faith: 
Lest in these wonders engrossed I forget Thee, 

Thy Name from my mind effaced. 

Were I to be a monarch, gathering vast hordes, 

On a throne setting my foot, 

My writ running far and wide- 
Nanak! all is void. 

Lest dazzled bj such splendour 1 forget Thee. 

Thy Name from my mind effaced. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 14 
On hearing this, Kaliyug fell at the Guru’s feet. 254 Thus discoursing 
with Kaliyug, the Guru reached Jagannath Puri. 

Jagannath Puri 

Guru Nanak set out for Puri from Cuttack. There is a gurdmra erected 
in the Guru’s memory: it is called Baoli Sahib. 255 

254 This episode is found in the VilajatvaliJanamsakhi and not in any other version. As per 
the details given in the Vilayatvali text, the episode seems to have taken place on the 
way from Cuttack to Puri. 

255. Tara Singh Narotam, GurTirath Sangrah, 1884, pp. 9-24. 


About the Jagannath temple, the Western scholars hold that it was 
earlier a Buddhist shrine and that in medieval times it took the form of a 
Vishnu temple with the help of Ganga and Solar -dynasty kings of Orissa. 256 
At the time of Guru Nanak, it Was a famous temple of Vishnu. Pilgrims 
came from far and near to visit this shrine. Chaitanya (1485-1533), the 
famous saint of Bengal came to Puri when he was 25 and thereafter spent 
the major part of his life there. The sight of ocean and sky meeting together 
here; so impressed Chaitanya that once he jumped into the sea to meet 
God in a moment of ecstasy. He was taken out by a fisherman with the 
help of his net. 257 Some writers opine that Guru Nanak met Chaitanya at 
Puri and sang hymns in his company. 258 

The town of Puri with its sea waves, breeze blowing over the sea, 
moon and stars in the sky looked very enchanting to Guru Nanak. It 
appeared to him as though all the creation of Nature performed arti for 
the Lord. Once the Guru went to the Jagannath temple itself and witnessed 
the pandas performing arti there. While they all stood during the arti, Guru 
Nanak kept sitting. When the arti was over, the pandas asked him why did 
he not get up for the arti? The Guru replied that all the objects of Nature 
were consistently performing His arti and that was the real arti. The pandas 
asked him to recite for them the arti he spoke of Hearing this, the Guru 
recited the following hymn : 259 

Placed on the salver of heaven are the lamps sun and moon, 

With bright pearls of the constellations- 

256. Pun District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1908, pp. 87-95. 

257. Ibid., p. 95 

258. Ishwar Das, in his Chaitanya Bhagvat, writes that Chaitanya sang hymns along With 

Guru Nanak. In the 47 th Chapter of this book is mentioned that Chaitanya deputed 
one of his disciples, Udiata to attend on the Guru. See Tarlochan Singh in The Sikh 
Review, Calcutta, September 1963, pp. 29-31. 

The Puri District Gazetteer states that Chaitanya came to Puri in 1510 an, thereafter 
remained there. If the Guru visited Puri aftet 1510, then the Guru’s meeting with 
Chaitanya could be possible. However, the Janamsakhi tradition does not testify this. 

259. This episode is not found in the Vilayarvali and the Bala versions of Janamsakhi. The 

Miharban version mentions that this hymn was recited at Rameshwaram, while Mani 
Singh text says the hymn was recited at Jagannath Puri. The word like anahata sabda 
vajant used in the arti conform to the Oriya language. It shows that the hymn might 
have been recited at Jagannath Puri. 


Thy offering: 

Fragrant mountain breezes Thy incense, the wind Thy fan; 

The entire blossoming vegetation Thy flower-offerings. 

Wonderful is this arti, of the entire creation to Thee, Thou annuller 
of transmigration: 

The unstruck harmony 
Orchestrates Thy worship. (I Pause) 

Thousand Thy eyes. Thy shapes. 

Yet no eyes dost Thou wear or shape. 

Thousand Thy lotus feet; of thousand waves Thy wafted fragrance, 
Yet invisible, wonderfully captivating Thy essence. 

The light in all creation-Thou who are Light! 

Thy effulgence illuminating the visible universe! 

The Master’s Word alone makes manifest the light! 

Whatever action pleases Him, is the highest prayer! 

My heart yearns for touch of Thy lotus feet fragrant. 

In thirst ever unquenchable; 

Bestow on the Chatrik Nanak the water of Thy bounty : 

In Thy Name grant him abode! 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 663 

When the pandas heard this art, they were highly impressed. 

Another Visit by the King of Orissa 

The King of Orissa, Raja Prataprudradev, had called on Guru Nanak 
at Cuttack. However, when he learnt that the Guru had gone to Puri, he 
also went to Puri and had a glimpse of the Guru again there. The Guru 
recognized the king because they had met earlier at Cuttack. The Guru 
asked for his welfare. The king asked him as to how he had acquired the 
gift of Name that he possessed. In response the Guru uttered the following 
hymn : 260 

In contemplation of the Name immaculate, lie boons of Nine Treasures 
and Yogic accomplishments. 

As are suppressed evil propensities. 

In all creation is seen the Lord pervasive. 

260. This episode has been taken from the MiharbanJanamsakhi. See MiharbanJanamsakhi Gum 
Nanak, pp.200-02 (App. III). There the Icing’s name is written as Raja Bhatthari 
instead of Prataprudradev. Both recognizing each other is clearly Stated. Earlier Baba 
Nanak was in a crance, but as he saw Bharrhari, he came out of the trance. Thereafter 
the king asked this question. This episode is not found In any other Janamsakhi 
version, but it seems true in keeping with the situation. In. the history of Orissa, 


As is the self in purity enveloped, release from the Three Qualities 

Thus is the Master’s teaching to the self proved beneficent. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 220 
After listening to this hymn, the king bowed to him. The Guru 
stayed at Puri for some time and then left southwards via Cuttack. 

On the Bank of a Pond 

From Jagannath Puri, Guru Nanak and Mardana took a southwards 
turn. 261 They went from Puri to Cuttack and thence to Ganjam. There was 
an old road leading to Ganjam from the Bengal. 262 From Ganjam they 
travelled further sourhwards on the road to Kanchipuram or Kanjivaram 263 
and reached a place now called Guntur. It is a famous town of Andhra 
Pradesh and the principal town of a district by this name. This town is 60 
miles (96 kms.) West of Masulipatam and just six miles (9.6 kms.) east of 
the adjoining mountain. A gurdwara stands there in the memory of the 
Guru’s visit. This shrine was got built by Chandu La!, a minister in the 
state of Hyderabad in the first half of the 19th century. 264 He built shrines 
at five such places in the south which had been sanctified by the Guru’s 
visit. 265 Gantur was one of them. The priest has been an Udasi. 266 

The word Guntur is a derivation of the Telugu word gunta which 
means water-pond. 267 In the 16th century, Guntur was not so famous a 
town. Gantur became famous in the 18th century when 

261. In the Vilayatvali and the Balajanamsakhis, Guru Nanak’s first odfssey ends here, and 

from Puri Gum Nanak is said to have returned to Sultanpui\ However, the Miharban 
and the Mani Singh versions relate that the Gum went towards south after completing 
his sojourn in the east. This contention appears to be nearer tmth because if the Gum 
had to visit the South, the Guru’s return from Puri to Sultanpur and then undertaking 
another arduous journey seems improbable. The Miharban text clearly states that the 
Guru turned southwards from the east. 

262. The Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. IX, pp. 92-93. 

263. This was an old route leading to the South. 

264. Chandu Lai had been a minister in the Hyderabad state. He passed away in 1845. See 

Indian Express, Madurai edition, 23rd June 1968 which contains an essay titled “Once 
a Prosperous Sikh Colony.” 

265. A statement made by the Mahant, Gurdwara Nanak Udasi Math, Rameshwaram. 266. 


267. The Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 12, p. 389. 


the French came here and got impressed by the scenic beauty of the place. 268 
Guru Nanak also seems to have been much impressed by this beautiful 
place. He sojourned at this place for some time and recited a hymn, giving 
examples of a frog. 269 

After resting a while on the bank of this pond the Guru started his 
travel southwards. 

The Jain Ascetic at Kanchipuram 

Leaving Gantur and passing through the area around the modern city 
of Chennai, Guru Nanak travelled southwards and reached what is now 
known as Kanchipuram and what was called Kanchi or Kanchivaram by 
the British rulers. It is situated in the district of Changalpat, 45 miles (72 
kms.) south-west of Chennai. 

Kanchipuram is among the most famous ancient pilgrim centres of 
India. Hieun Tsang visited this place during the seventh century. He records 
that the population of Jainas here was equal to those of the Buddhists and 
Brahmins. 270 This city has been the capital of Pala and Chola kings. Emperor 
Krishna Deva, the most powerful king ofVijaynagar state, and a 
contemporary of Guru Nanak got two temples built here in 1502. 271 During 
Guru Nanak’s time also, temples consecrated to both Shiva and Vishnu 
existed here. Now there also stands a gurdivara in commemoration of Guru 
Nanak’s visit. 272 It was managed by AH/jw/z/Narinder Nath up to the 1960s. 

268. The Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 12, p. 389. 

269. The hymn given here is the one which is found in the episode of Salis Rai at Patna, 

related earlier. The Miharban Janamsakhi (p. 276) states that as “Guru Nanak reached 
this place in the south, he happened to see a river there. As he approached it, he found 
it to be a pond.” This episode is not found in any other version except the Miharban. 
The details given in this incident, the geographical location of the temple in Gunrur 
and a historical shrine there all indicate that this incident did take place. 

270. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. X, pp. 377-78. 

272. During the first half of the 19th century, Wazir Chandu Lai Bedi of Hyderabad traced 
out sites sacred to Guru Nanak’s visit and got gurdivaras erected on five such places. 
These were—Guntur, Kanchipuram, Trivanmalai, Srirangam and Rameshwaram. 
The gtirdivaras at Kanchipuram. Trivanmalai and Rameshwaram were managed by 
/VLAz«/Narinder Nath of Jalandhar during the 1960s. This information is based on 
the statement of Mahant Harcharan Singh of Rameshwaram gurdwara. 


One day Gum Nanak went to a village called Triparutikumram, two 
miles (3.2 kms.) south of Kanchipuram. Here was a Jaina temple of the 
times of Chola Kings. When the priest of the temple learnt that a saint 
from north India had arrived, he came out to receive him. Coming out, he 
asked: “You take any kind of fresh and old food and drink water without 
filtering and kill creatures ?” 273 The Guru remained silent for some time 
often listening this question, and then recited the following hymn: 

Some there are that their head-hair pluck, and drink foul water; 

Beg and eat others’ leavings. 

Their ordure they scatter, inhale its foul smell, 

And of water are scared. 

Their heads like sheep are plucked, 

With ashes their hands smeared. 

Their parents’ earnings they lay waste; 

Their families around them piteously wailing. 

After death neither flour-pies nor food-offerings on leaves to them are 

Neither eleventh-day obsequies nor lamp-lighting. 

At sixty-eight bathing-spots find they no prop; 

Brahmins their food-offerings accept not. 

Day and night with filth covered, their forehead without the paste- 

Ever sit they in a cluster like mourners, 

Attending not religious assemblies. 

To their waists are tied begging bowls, dangling tassels, 

In single file they march. 

They neither are Yogis nor jangams, 

Nor are they Mohammadans. 

Cursed of God, they wander about as lost- 
Corrupted the whole herd of them. 

God alone takes life, and grants it- 

Lapsed are such in giving charities and in holy bathing; 

In their plucked hair falls dust. 

Water that they abjure, is source of the fourteen jewels, 

Churned by the mudrachal mountain. 

273. This episode is found only in the Vilayatvalijanamsakhi. The priest of the Jaio.a temple 
is named Anubhavi, and it is said that he met Guru Nanak during h~s odyssey in the 
South. An old and famous Jaina temple existed nearby Kanchl, hence, the possibility 
of the genuineness of narrative relating to this episode. Kanchl was then situated on 
the old path from Trivanmalai to Rameshwaram. 


The sixty-eight bathing places that they shun, by the gods are 

Concourses there are held and divine discourses delivered; 

With limbs purified is recited nama ^ and puja; 

The wise ever purify themselves with bath. 

By bathing the limbs the living and the dead are rendered pure. Saith Nanak: 
These with hair dishevelled are Satan’s disciples; Nothing£ 00 ^ to them appeals. 
From raining clouds comes to creation joy, 

The life-giving process in water is implicit. 

From rain-clouds grows grain, sugarcane and cotton, 

That to the nakedness of all provides cover. 

From rain-clouds comes grass on which feed kine, 

Whose curd the women folk churn. 

With ghee from that obtained, are performed burnt offerings, ritual 
feasts and manifold worship, 

That all actions ennoble. 

The preceptor is like the ocean, 

Devotion is like the rivers; 

Bathing in these brings exaltation. 

Saith Nanak: Should these of plucked hair abjure bathing, 

On their head they merit throwing seven handfuls of dust. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 149-50 
Listening to the hymn, that Jain bowed to the Guru. 274 The Guru 
spent some time at Kanchi and then went further to South. 

The Entire World is Full of Pain 

Guru Nanak, accompanied by Mardana, continued to travel 
southwards from Kanchi and reached the town Trivanmalai. The town 
these days falls within the district of South Arcot. In the 16th century, it 
was situated on the highway leading to South. On its western side were 
pathways passing through mountains. 275 In modern times roads to all 
different directions take off from here. The word ‘trivanmalai’ means the 
sacred fire aflame on the mountain. 276 It is said that once Shiva’s consort 
Parvati put her hands on Shiva’s eyes, thus causing darkness in the entire 
world. At this, Shiva got 

274. This entire episode is based on the Sakhi of Anubhavi, a Jaina ascetic, as given in the 

Vilayatvalijanamsakhi. See Vilayatvalijanamsakhi, Sakhi No. 43 (App.43-44). 

275. Imperial Gazetteer, Madras Southern Districts, 1901, South Arcot, p. 30. 

276. In/perial Gazetteer, Vol. XXIII, p. 401. 


annoyed with Parvati and sent her down to the world. Trivanmalai was 
one of the places where she did penance. For some time, she meditated 
here. Then Shiva sprouted fire on the adjoining hill, thus indicating that 
her lapse had been condoned. Thus, the town that came into being on the 
foot of the hill on which fire had sprouted came to be known as 
Trivanmalai. 277 It is a very ancient town where there is a very beautiful 
Shiva temple of great antiquity. 

Guru Nanak stayed put in Trivanmalai for some time. Here stands a 
gurdwara in the memory of his visit. The gurdivara was managed by Mahant 
Narinder Nath until the 1960s. 278 

While putting up here, Guru Nanak thought that no god or goddess 
had been able to get free from the consequences of his or her karmas. 
Even Parvati had also to resort to penance. 279 It is only through the Name 
Divine that one could escape from the effect of karma. Here he recited 
the following hymn: 

Indra had to wail, as with thousand marks of infamy was he branded; 
Persuram wailed as powerless he returned home. 

Ajai had to wail as horse-dung he had to swallow that he gave in 

On such as these falls chastizement from the Divine Portal. Rama wailed 
when exiled, 

And thought of separation from Sita and Lakshman. 

Ten-headed Ravana wailed on losing Lanka- 
He who by beating a hand-drum eloped with Sita. 

Wailed the Pandavas who were turned into labourers- 
Those who in the Lord’s presence had passed their days. 

Janmeja wailed as he was gone astray; 

A single lapse turned him sinner. 

Shaikhs and other categories of the holy in Islam wail, 

Lest to them in the last hour should suffering befall. 

Kings wailed as they got their ears pierced, from door to door bagging. 
The covetous wail as wealth they hoard; 

Pandits wail whose learning has forsaken them; the young bride 
bemoans her Lord’s absence. 

Saith Nanak: The whole world in suffering is involved. 

277. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. XXIII, p. 401. 

278. This gurdwara is one of the five got built by Wazir Chandu Lai of Hyderabad.. 

279. The episode narrated here has been based on the narrative of Miharhan Janamsakhi 

(Sakhi:“Phe Guru in the Deccan dehura”, App. 112-37, pp.203-04). It is not found in 
any other janamsakhi. It is said herein that as the Guru stayed here, a brick of the 
temple one day hit him on the head. The Guru uttered this hymn at that time.” This 
is not confirmed by any other source. 


Such alone in the end triumph as to the holy Name are attached. 

No other ritual avails. -Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 953-54 

The Gum stayed here for some time and then travelled on to the 

Sri Lanka 

Guru Nanak and Mardana left Trivanmalai to travel further south 
and reached Trichnapalli. Just near by Trichnapalli was the most famous 
temple, called Sri Rangam; of the Tamil Alwar saints who were 
Vaishnavites. This temple is situated in between the rivers of Kaveri and 
Kolerun. In fact, the word sri rangam in Tamil language means the one 
sitUated between two rivers. It was the greatest temple of the Vaishnavites 
in the South and it was here that Ramanuja, the famous Vaishnavite saint 
and a leader of the Bhakti movement spent the last years of his life.280 
This temple has seven circumambulatory paths. It is said that Guru Nanak 
stayed in this temple for some time. Here was also a gttrdwara in 
commemoration of his visit, but it has with the passage of time fallen 
down. 281 

From Trichnapalli Guru Nanak took a boat via the Kaveri and reached 
Nagapatnam. This was an old port of India from where the people 
embarked on ships to reach Sri Lanka. Various evidences have been found 
that testify to the existence of transportation between southern India and 
the eastern side of Sri Lanka. 282 There was a very old Hindu temple in 
Trinkomli on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. This temple was pulled down 
by the Portugese in the 17th Century. 283 There was another port in the 
south ofTrinkomli known as Matiakalam or Madakulapa : its modern name 
is Batticola. This new name was given to it by the Dutch. 284 Madakulapa 
was a very old colony of the Tamils. It finds mention even in the Sakandh 

280. A Short Note on Sri Ranganatha Sivanri Temple, Sri Rangam, Madras State. 

281. It was also one of the gurdivaras got erected by Chandu Lai. 

282. A parr of the Rameshwatam Temple and a temple of Tanjore were built by Sri Lankan 

kings prior to Guru Nanak’s times. See A Guide to Sri Tama Natham Swanri Temple. 

283. Sir William Jones writes in the Ceylon Literary Register, 24th September 1886, p. 43 : 

“This island was peopled, time out of memory, by the Hindu race. The temple which 
stood at Trincomalee is not to be forgotten. It would have remained for the present 
day a venerable relic, had not the misguided religious zeal of the Portugese razed it to 
ground in 1622 to supply material to one of their fortifications. 

284. A M onograph on Batticola, Ch. I, Topography. 


Parana. The incident of Lanka-burning by Hanuman, as given in the 
Ramayana is also said to have taken place here. 285 

From Nagapatnam Guru Nanak reached Trinkomli and therefrom 
Matiakalam (Batticola). 286 The king of Batticola was a Saivite. 287 That is 
why the authors of various Janamsakhis have named him Raja Shiv Nabh. 288 
This means that he was a devotee of Shiva. His real name is not known. 
He had learnt praises of Guru Nanak because Bhai Mansukh of Lahore, 
who had met Guru Nanak at Sultanpur along with Bhagirath of Malsian, 
had gone there in connection with his business and during his conversation 289 
with the king had told him of Guru Nanak’s greatness. The king of 
Batticola had no doubt heard the name of Guru Nanak but he did not 
know him by face. So when he learnt that a saint from north India had 
come, he sent some charming maids to test him. They showed him many 
of their charms but could not entice the Guru who remained occupied in 
Inis own thoughts. 29 " 

Then the king himself came and asked for his introduction - whether 
a Yogi 291 or a Pandit ? The Guru recited the following hymn In response: 

285. A Monograph on batticola, Ch. Ancient History. 

286. The Haqiqat Rah Mnkam Raja Shiv Nabh /O gives Information about the route from 

Nagapamam to Sri Lanka which is cortect because this was most ftequented. Fot 
mote details, see the author’s reseatch paper “Guru Nanak’s Visit to Ceylon” in 
Proceedings of Punjab History Conferenc, Patiala, 1969. 

287. In the beginning of the 16th century, seven kings rul on the eastern coast of Sti Lanka. 

Names of these seven kings ate not known, but all seven of them were devotees of 
Shiva. They ruled over (T) Mulativ, (2) Tirankomli, (3) Batticola, (4) Kotiar, (5) Palgam, 
(6) Panam, and (7) Jala. 

288. The Vilayatvali, Bhai Bala and Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhis give, the name of Sri 

Lanka’s king as Shiv Nabh. 

289. The facts of Bhai Mansukh visiting Sri Lanka in connection with his business before 

Gum Nanak went there, and the fact of his singing praises of Guru Nanak before the 
king find mention in the Vilayati’ali and Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhis, and not in the 
Bala Janamsakhi. Bhai Mansukh’s visit to Sri Lanka and his introducing Guru Nanak 
seem to be correct. 

290. The Vilayatvali and the Mani Singh Janamsakhis refer to the despatch of some charming 

maids. The Mani Singh text gives a detailed account of it whereas the Bala text makes 
no mention of the king testing the Guru. However, putting one to such tests was a 
common practice those days. 

291. The Lankans were familiar with th eyogis. In the 14th century, Ibn Batuta says that he met 

yogis in Sri Lanka. 


The Yogi whose praxis in devotion to the immaculate Name lies. 

Not a grain of impurity takes. 

By his side is ever the Beloved Lord, 

His transmigration annulled. 

Lord! what is Thy Name like? How realized? 

Should Thou call me within the Mansion, would I enquire of Thee 
this inner secret (I-Pause) 

The true Brahmin is one whose holy bath is enlightenment of God. 

Whose worship by leaf-petals in singing Divine laudation lies. 

Sole is the Name, in the three worlds is pervasive One Sole Light. 

With the beam of my tongue, with scale of the heart 
The immeasurable name 1 weigh. 

One is the shop, one the Merchant supreme over all, 

The traders all of one kind. 

The holy Preceptor mystety of both ends has disclosed. 

This by such are realized as in the sole Lord are absorbed, 

And whose self free from doubt abides. 

Such lodging in mind the holy Word, banishing doubt, 

Ever day and night abide God’s servant. 

On top is the Tenth chamber, where abides the cherisher of the world. 
There lives the inaccessible Enlightener. 

By the Master’s teaching home and the World outside become alike - 
By this teaching is Nanak turned an anchorite. 292 

-Guru Grant.h Sahib, p. 992 

The King now realized that here was the same holy man 13hai Mansukh 
had referred to. The king bowed before him and took him to his palace. 
He kept the Guru with him for some time. Then the Guru took leave of 
him and went over to a place twelve miles south of Batticola. It was a 
beautiful and enchanting place. The Guru ~tayed here for a while. It seems 
the Guru initiated Changa Bhatra into Sikhism at this place. 293 The place 
where the Guru stayed is now a part of the town called Kurukalmandap. 
‘Kurukal’ is a Tamil word which literally means ‘the Guru’s town’. The 
people of this town told 

292. The VilayatvaH and the BalaJanamsakhi say that this hymn was recited in the presence of 
Shiv Nabh. Mani Singh text says that it was another hymn. Since the former are older 
than the latter, we have considered them as correct. The Vilayatvali Janamsakhi also 
refers to the recitation of Pran Sangali. Gum Arjan had sent, says Bhai Sanrokh Singh, 
Bhai Paira to Sri Lanka to bring the Pran Sangali, but after examining it, he did not 
include it into the scripture. This proves that Pran SangaliSdns not a composition of 
Guru Nanak. 

293 Although there are now no Bhatras in Sri Lanka, but GianI Gian Singh in his Twarikh 
Gum Khalsa says that Changa Bhatra became a disciple of Guru Nanak at this place. 


the author that a realized soul had come here from north India and 
that it was about four-and-a-half-hundred years ago. This town came up in 
memory of his visit. 294 Guru Nanak halted here for some time and then 
travelled ahead. 

Meeting the King of Sri Lanka 

Guru Nanak left Kurukalmandap for Katargama, the most famous 
pilgrim centre in Sri Lanka. This latter town is situated on the extreme 
south-east tip of Sri Lanka. Indian pilgrims had been visiting this place for 
centuries before Guru Nanak. From Batticola, the pilgrims went to 
Katargama, travelling on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The Guru reached 
that famous town travelling through towns of Kalamunai, Tiukoil, Patuvil 
and Panam. 295 This famous pilgrim centre is situated on the bank of the 
Manak Ganga river. Many traditions are associated with this place which 
are said to be five thousand years older than Christ. All these are related to 
Siva’s son, Subhramania who is also called Kandakumara or Katargama in 
Sinhalese. 296 According to Giani Gian Singh, Guru Nanak went farther 
from the temple of Katargama or Kartik Swami to a town called Badula. 29 
Thence he travelled to the hilly tract of Nura Ahilia, also called Sita 
Ahilia. 298 Passing through Sitavaka, he reached Koti state. At that time 
king Dharmaprakarmabahu, IX, ruled over Koti. 299 His regime spread from 
Kalaoia in the north up to Valalvi Ganga in the south. 300 The King was 
highly impressed by the Guru. 

The state of Koti was predominantly Buddhist by faith, 301 which is 
one of the atheistic religions. Guru Nanak not only belived in the existence 
of God but also felt that God was ever with him. So he preached theism 
which deeply impressed the King. In 

294. The author, with the help of the Archeology Department. Sri Lanka surveyed this entire 

region in September 1968. 

295. Rev. J. Canman, Hinduism in Ceylon. Colombo. 1957, p. 120. 

296. Paul Win. Yuitargama (Tr. Doris Barta Pralle), Colombo. 1966, p. 2. 

297. Giani Gian Singh. Tivarikh Guru Khalsa, Vol. I. 4th ed., p. 273. 

298. This region is also called Ashoka Ban. According to an old tradition, Emperor Ravana 

had kept Sita in captivity in this forest. 

299. The state of Koti derived its name from the capital, which is situated rowards south of 

Koti. Colombo. 

300. Hinduism in Ceylon, p. 41. 

301. Ibid. 


Buddhism, the Raja Sangha enjoyed the highest status and was held in 
esteem by the Buddhists. 302 When the Raja Sangha learnt that a saint from 
north India had arrived and he has made the king his disciple, he tried to 
create an opportunity to have dialogue with Guru Nanak. Since the Guru’s 
teaching was against casteism and idol-worship, the Brahmins here also 
sided with the Buddhists. They all began a discourse with the Guru in the 
presence of the king of Koti. 303 The Guru advised them that only the 
Name Divine can provide you peace. The Guru recited the following 
hymn 304 : 

The Era of Truth (Satyuga) utters only truth; 

Those who live on air alone waiver not; 

In the Treta Era, the devotees of God meditated hard; 

They observed meditation and penance and sat in trance, 

In the Dwapar Era, worship was of four kinds; 

And, in Kalijuga. kirtan and the Name Divine are fundamental; 

Then again followed Satyuga, Treta and Dwapar, and the four-fold 

Earlier these aeons were determined by these, but in Kalijuga only 
the Name is man’s support. 

(These verses are not included in the Guru Granth Sahib). 

Listening to these words, Dharmaprakarma Bahu and others were 
highly impressed. 305 After a brief halt at Koti, Guru Nanak travelled 

Mardana’s Hunger 

The Guru travelled northwards from Koti and reached Sitavaka which 
is nowadays called Avisvela. It is situated 33 miles (53 kms.) 

302. S.W Karunaratna, Gum Nanak and Ceylon. This paper is based on a stone-engraving 

(No.M.II\) preserved in the Museum at Anuradhpura. This paper was read at the 
international Seminar on 5th September, 1969 at Punjabi University, Patiala. For the 
text of the paper, see Harbans Singh, ed., Pmptctivts on Gum Nanak. 

303. Ibid. 

304. Giani Gian Singh, Twarikh Guru Khalsa, Vol. I, fourth edition, p. 277. 

305. This episode is based on a srone-engraving discovered by Dr. S. Parnavitana, a former 

Professor of Archaeology. Colombo, and Dr. S.W Karunaratna, Assistant Director 
of Archaeology, preserved in a Museum at Anuradhpura, under No. M.lll. It is 
based on some other engraving. This engraving is in Sanskrit. This belongs to the 
15th year of Dharmaprakarmabahu’s rule. According to Dr. Karunaratna King 
Dharmaprakarma Bahu IX sat on the throne in A.D. 1493. Herein Guru Nanak is 
mentioned as Nanakacharya. His religion was that of One, Timeless God which 
rejected casteism and idol-worship. 


north-east of present day city of Colombo. The Haqiqat Rah Mukam 
states that there used to be at Sitavaka 306 a congregation (Sang at) set up by 
Guru Nanak. The author has surveyed this entire region and has failed to 
find any Sikh or Sikh shrine here. 

The Guru travelled further north from Sitavaka and reached 
Anutadhpura. This latter town had been the capital of Sri Lanka since 
ancient times. 307 From Anaradhpura, Guru Nanak went further north and 
reached where now exists the port named Taliminar. Earlier there was a 
port, named Mainar, near Taliminar which was visited by lbn-Batuta. He 
had then met the Muslims residing there. 308 

The entire stretch from Anaradhpura to Mainar was dry. It had scanty 
rain and faced shortage of water. Consequently, the area was sparcely 
populated. Some villages existed on the sea shore and people there followed 
fishing as their main profession. Most of the population lived on the banks 
of ponds and lakes. In earlier times, people would collect water during the 
rains and used that water for their daily needs throughout the year. 309 
Therefore, habitations were found only on the banks of ponds. Rest of 
the region was covered with forest which was infested with tigers and 
jackals. 310 As the Guru was travelling towards Mainar from Anaradhpur, 
Mardana felt very thirsty. He told the Guru that he did not feel hungry but 
was rather thirsty. 311 At that time the Guru sat in the forest. The Guru saw 
that some jackals were also going towards a particular direction. The Guru 

306. In the Haqiqat Rah Mukam, Sitavaka is written as Satvahad Mayaduni, a king of this place 

had a son, named Raja Singha (1581-1590) who had subdued the entire island of Sri 

307. A Concise Histoiy of Ceylon, University of Ceylon, 1961 p.30 

308. Ibid., p. 256. 

309. S.F.D. Salva, A Regional Geography of Ceykm, p. 199. - 

310. Ibid., pp. 229-30 and 213. The author has also visited this area of Vavania. In this forest 

area, jackals and other wild animals can be seen quite often wandering on the roads 
even now. 

311. This episode has been taken from the Miharban text. See Miharban Janamsakhi Guru 

Nanak, pp. 206-208. This episode happens prior to the visit to Setbandh 
Rarneshwaram. There is a clear mention of the jackals leading Guru Nanak and 
Mardana to the water-pond. The sea shore is evident. Although Miharban’s version 
does not make a clear-cut statement about Guru Nanak’s visit to Sri Lanka, but there 
is a mention of a region beyond Rarneshwaram with black earth and an alien language 
which the Guru visited. An analysis of the conditions of Sri Lanka and this region of 
those days from the geographical stand point reveal that this incident might have 
taken place somewhere in a village in-between Anuradhpura and Menor. 


told Mardana that water might be available in the direction in which the 
jackals were going because they seemed to be going there to quench their 
thirst. Thus Guru Nanak and Mardana also followed these jackals. The 
jackals reached a pond. The Guru and Mardana also drank water there. 
Thereafter, Mardana asked the Guru that he felt hungry as well. The Guru 
entered the pond to bathe, but did not come out for quite some time. 
Mardana kept waiting and was rather perplexed. However, the Guru swam 
across to the other side of the pond and brought from the adjoining 
habitatio.n some food for Mardana. Mardana felt quite pleased on seeing 
the Guru as well as the food. Thus satiating Mardana’s hunger, the Guru 
resumed his journey. 

Setbandh Rameshwaram 

Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana left Mainar in Sri Lanka and boarding 
either a boat or a passenger ship reached Setbandh. It is now known as 
Dhanuskodi port. The place is 8-9 miles (13 kms.) away from 
Rameshwaram. It is said that Rama built a bridge there to invade Sri Lanka. 
Setbandh is also a pilgrim-centre. The Guru set out from here and reached 
Rameshwaram. Here stands a gurdwara, Nanak Udasi Math, in the memory 
of Guru Nanak’s visit. Earlier it was looked aftet by Mahant Narinder 
Nath, but the Sikhs of the South have since built a new building and 
taken over the management. A Sikh, Harcharan Singh by name, from 
Hoshiarpur used to be the only Sikh member of the local population. 

The temple of Rameshwaram is in the north-east of Palmban island. 
Its interior is made of black stone brought from Sri Lanka. 312 According to 
Fergusen, the Rameshwaram temple is a fine specimen of Dravidian art. 
In the pamphlet published by the temple, the building is said to be very 
old but the Imperial Gazetteer says that major portion of the temple was 
built in the 16th and the 17th centuries.’ 1 ' 1 Therefore at the time of Guru 
Nanak, it could not be such a huge building as it is now. It was quite a 
small shrine then. 

When Guru Nanak approached Rameshwaram, he held discourse 
with mmyyogis there who came from the Gorakhpanthi 

312. A GxAde to Ramnath Temple. 

313. Imperial Gazetteer, Madras, Southern Districts, 1906, p. 38. 


tradition. 114 When Guru Nanak went inside the temple, th c yogis asked him 
that he has been a worshipper of the Formless God: then why does he go 
to the temple? In response, the Guru uttered the following hymn: 

Maya that is duality, in the mind of world is lodged: 

The world by lust, wrath and pride is being ruined. 

Whom may 1 name second to the Supreme Being? 

None such is there. 

In all creation is pervasive that immaculate One. (Pause I) 

Foul thinking, duality-inspired, speaks of a reality other than God. 

Those following this, in transmigration caught, die and away from 
God abide. 

In the earth and sky see 1 not duality manifest: 

In all humanity is manifest the same Divine Light. 

As the refulgent lamps of sun and moon 1 view, 

In all is manifest the youthful Beloved Lord. 

The holy Preceptor, granting me enlightenment of the Sole Supreme 

In this grace my heart to Him attached. 

By guidance of the Master the Sole immaculate Being have I realized; 
Annulling Duality, by the holy Word have I envisioned Him. 

In all worlds is operative God’s sole Ordinance; 

From the One has arisen all creation. 

Two are the paths; of each know the Lord to be the same. 

By the Master’s teaching the Divine Ordinance realize. 

All diverse forms and colours by the mind alone are created. 

Saith Nanak : Laud thou the Sole Reality. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 223 

Sharing Food with Others 

Guru Nanak and Mardana left Rameshwaram and passing through 
the present day places Ramnandpuram and Trivan ai reached near 
Trivandrum. At that time the modern Trivan rum was known as Triu 
Ananthpuram, a little distance off the sea. The literal meaning of the 
word was the ‘holy town of Sri Ananta.’ There was an old temple in the 
town dedicated to Shri Anantha. 315 The word Triu 

314. Ibn Batuta had met the iogis in Jaffana (Sri Lanka). See Ibn BatUta, Travels in Asia and 

Africa, London, 1963, p. 255. Thus, the presence of yogis here is possible. The Bala 
Janamsakhi gives a detailed account of the discourse between Guru Nanak and the 
Gorakhpanthis. Although no other janamsakhi version tefers to Guru Nanak’s meeting 
with the yogis at Rameshwaram yet it seems correct. 

315. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. XXIV, p. 50. 


Ananthpuram gradually changed into Trivandrum 316 . Nearby Trivandrum 
and on its north-west were situated two small towns by the names of Pal 
am and Kottayam. 317 Guru Nanak came and halted here. There was also 
an old monastery of th e yogis here. During the course of his discourse with 
the yogis, Guru Nanak explained the principle of sharing with others, 
especially the needy whatever you have. The yogis gave him a sesame seed 
and asked if he could share it with others. The Guru took the seed, put it 
in a small earthern trough and pounded it. Then it was distributed among 
ail the present. The place is now called Tilganji Sahib. Here also stands a 
gurdwara wherein Udasi mendicants used to live up to the 1960s. 

Salvation of Kauda 

From Palam-Kottayam, the Guru travelled northwards and reached 
near the Annamalai hill in the south of the present Coimbatore district 
Tamil Nadu. These hills were part of the hills along the western Peninsula. 
These are called elephant hills also. On the slopes of these hills had been 
living tribal people called the Kadan. 318 At the time of Guru Nanak, they 
used to live in the caves of the hills and lived on the produce of the 
forests. Like other tribal people, they would annihilate anyone coming 
from outside. These Kadan tribal people are said to have been called 
Kauda. 319 

316. Now the old name has again been revived. (Ed.) 

317. Pandit Tara Singh Narotam refers to a place called Puliam Kota. Bhai Kahn Singh, while 

explaining in his Mahan Kosh the Tilganji, also refers to Paliport. However, instead of 
Paliport it is written as Palipuram. This latter town is in the district of Calicut which 
is north of Trivandrum. Paliport is a place nearby Trivandrum. In the Post and 
Telegraphs Directory, Palam, Kottayam and Paliport are referred to as small post 
offices just near Trivandrum, but these are stated to be three different places. Dr. 
Ganda Singh had visited this gurdwara, and he has told the author that Palam and 
Kottayam are tWo small towns in the north-west of Trivandrum and that there is a 
gurdwara betWeen these towns. That is why this place is called Palam- Kottayam. 

318. See Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. V, p. 233. Neel Kamh Shastri also writes about the Kadan 

people: “The occurrence of dwarfish wooly haired individuals with more or less 
round heads among the Kedars of Parambikulam and Puhaiyan of adjoining Annamali 
Hills in the extreme south of the Peninsula may be taken to attest the early nerite 
type.” See Neel Kanth Shastri, History of South India, 3rd edition, P.58. 

319. During Guru Nanak’s times, the cannibal tribes were found at three places. One, the 

Nagas who lived in the hills of modern Assam. Second, the Gonds who lived In the 
fotests and hills of Orissa. Three the Kadans who lived in the Nilgiri hills. The word 
‘Kauda ’ does not occur in the Vilayatvalijanamsakhi. Bhai Vir Singh, who edited this 
work, has put in this word in the chapter-heading. In rhe original text, the reference 
appears apparently towards the Nagas because the Nagas live near the Ohanasri valley. 
Some also call the Gonds of Orissa as Kauda. 


When the Guru approached the Annamalai hills, one Kadan320 got 
hold of Mardana and got ready to kill him. The Guru also reached there. 
As the Kadan saw Guru Nanak’s face resplendent with divinity, he felt 
stunned and bowed at the Guru’s feet. The Guru got Mardana released 
from him and took him along on his journey northwards. It is said that 
Kadan also became a Sikh of the Guru. 

Visiting Bidar 

Passing through the Nilgiri hills in the Malabar region, Guru Nanak 
reached the town of Bidar. The place where now stands the town of Bidar 
was once a dense Bamboo forest.321 The Kakatia king of Warangal got a 
temple, dedicated to Mahadeva (Shiva), erected here after clearing the 
place of bamboos. Around this temple was founded a town in the 13th 
Century.322 This town later on came to be called Bidar. 

Bidar had been the capital of the Bahmani dynasty. Although the 
Bahmani regime was on the decline by the time of Guru Nanak. Bidar and 
its surrounding areas were ruled over by Arnir Barid. His reign continued 
from 1492 to 1538. The tombs of Bahmani kings are on the western and 
north-eastern sides of Bidar. 

Guru Nanak reached the forest on the northern side of Bidar 323 

320. As we analyse the names occurring in the janamsakhi literature, we leam that many a time 

only caste-names are given. For example, it is said “Mardana went to the house of an 
Uppal Khatri.” Now Uppal Khatri refers to the caste-name and not the personal 
name. “A Dada Jat served the Guru.” Dada is also the name for a caste. Similarly, the 
word Kattda refers to Kadan tribe, and not to an individual name. 

Kauda as a demon has appeared in the Bala version only, and it comes after the story 
of Sangladip. 

321. Muhammad Abdul Jabbar Khan, Tat(kara-i-Salatin-i-Deccan, p. 499. Bamboo in Malyalam 

language is called bidar. (Bidar). 

322. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. VIII, pp. 169-70. 

323. Reference to Bidar occurs only in the Bala Janamsakhi. It is also said that Shah Sharaf of 

this place called on Gum Nanak. However, Shah Sarafis said to have met the Gum at 
Panipat. Sharaf-ul-din of Panipat. Bur this needs further investigation. Bu Ali 
Qalandar, lived prior to Guru Nanak. May be, Shah Shar of Bidar had met the Guru. 


In this region lived two Muslim holy men Jalal-ud-Din and Syad Yakub 
Ali. 324 When they learnt of the arrival of a faqir and his attendant, they 
came to meet the Guru. For some time, the Guru put on with these holy 
men and recited the following hymn 325 : 

Muslims of their Shariat code are enamoured, 

Which they study and contemplate. 

God’s true devotees however, are those who to have sight of Him, 

On themselves put restraints. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 465 

The tombs of both Jalal-ud-Din and Yakub Ali are extant even today. 
Nearby these tombs is a spring of sweet water which commemorates the 
Guru’s visit. Both the Sikhs and the Hindus call it Nanak Jhira, and the 
Muslims call it Chashma-i-Shahdad. The place was situated within the 
Hyderabad State. The Sikhs of the area have got its possession after long- 
drawn endeavours. 326 These days Bidar is the principal town of the district 
and falls within the state of Karnataka. 


Nanded a town situated about 117 miles (187 kms.) north of Bidar, 
had an old fort Nanagiri of the Kakatia kings. The name of the town 
seems to have been derived from the Nanagir of the fort. ’ 27 

On reaching Nanded, the Guru stayed about three miles (5 kms.) 
north-east of the town. At the place now stands Gurdwara 

324. Maulvi Sufi Ghulam Qasim, Ta^kara-i-BabaNanak (Urdu), Amritsar, 1922, pp. 50-57. 

See also Giani Gian Singh, Timrikh Guru Khalsa, Vol. 1,4th edition, p.257. 

325. Gian Singh, Twarikh Guru Khalsa, p. 257. 

326. When the Nizam of Hyderabad sent for Sikh forces from Maharaja Ranjit Singh, these 

Sikh soldiers tried to get the possession of the place, but could not succeed. They 
founded a new township called Sikh Pet about tWo miles off Bidar. The local people 
call it Chik Pet. In the 1943 records of the Hyderabad State copies of which are extant 
in the Gurdwara Nanak Jhira Sahib, the place is called a gurdwara. According to a 
decision of 20 November 1950 a copy of which is also preserved in gurdwara, the 
place was given to the Sikhs after having been taken from the Muslims. Sahib Singh, 
one of the PanjPiare: selected by Guru Gobind Singh, is believed to have been a native 

See Itihas GurdwaraNanak Jhira (pub: Gurdwara Nanak Jhira) Bidar, p. 10. 

327. Imperial Gazetteer of India, \ol. VIII, pp. 169-78. According to a local tradition, the name 

Nanded is derived from Nandigan. Even today the town celebrates a day in the year as 
the oxen’s day. A procession of the oxen is taken out. It was earlier called Nau Nandi 
Tek, and all around it were small helmets all of which now.... 


Mai Tikari. 328 Here lived a Muslim holy man, Faqir Sayyid Shah Husain 
Lakar. The Guru stayed with him for some time. The tomb of this Muslim 
faqir is on the back of the gurdwara. There are two tombs and on their 
head is a stone on which is engraved the date of the faqir’s death viz 1010 
H which is equal to 1601 A.D. It shows that he died at a very ripe old 

On the Bank of Narbada 

From Nanded, Guru Nanak travelled towards north-west and passing 
through Devgiri, a very famous town those days and now called Daultabad 
(in the district of Aurangabad), reached a town which is these days called 
Baroch situated on the bank of Narbada river where it merges with the 
Arabian Sea. In the 16th century, Baroch was an important port330 for 
trade with the western countries. Roads from ail directions lead to this 
place. At the time of Guru Nanak, the Rajput kings of Gujrat maintained 
close relations with the Hindu rajas of Devgiri. 331 Therefore, the means of 
transportation between Gujrat and Devgiri are quite common even today. 

Baroch is a very ancient town. The Greeks have written it as 
Barigaza. 332 According to the Matsaya Puran, it was here that Vaman had 
sought two and a half karam (about four square yards) land from King Bal. 
Guru Nanak occupied a place on the bank of Narbada which is now quite 
close to the Baroch railway station and which is called Nanakwari or Nanak- 
ivadi. When the Guru stayed here, a Sannyasin also came and sat near him. 

After a short while, she sought the Guru’s permission and asked 

... form part of Nanded. The place where now stands Gurdwara Sangat Sahib was earlier the 
village Sidh Nath Puri or Brahmpuri. Nearby it was Wazirabad. It was so named 
because it happened to be the jagiroi a wazir (minisrer). The mansion of this minister 
stood on the site where now stands Gurdwara Mai Tikari Sahib 
(Statement of Abdul Samad Khan Mamuldar, Takhat Sachkhand Sahib, Nanded). 

328. HayitriDidare (pub. Sant Baba Harnam Singh of Nanded), p. 270. 

329. Many Sikhs in Nanded declare this Muslim faqir a contemporary of Guru Hargobind 

which is incorrect because he died during the pontificate of Guru Arjan. This holy 
man being a contemporary of Gum Nanak seems more probable. Maybe, he was not 
very old at the time of Guru Nanak’s visit. 

330. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. IX, p. 20. 

331. Kishori Sharan Lai, Histoty of the Khiljis, Bombay, 1967, pp. 233-35. 

332. Alexandet Cunningham, Ancient Geography of India, p. 275. 


how can mind merge with God whilst being away from it. In reply, 
the Guru recited the following hymn; 333 

While the mind is not subdued, achievement of the objective comes 

The mind is in the power of minions of evil thinking and duality. 

As the Master’s teaching by the mind is absorbed, 

To the Crearor is it united. 

God, who is without attributes Himself ro man’s good qualities is 

This after banishing the ego is realized. (Pause I) 

The mind, misguided, in thoughts of evil is involved. 

The mind, deluded, with sin is burdened. 

With realization is the mind to the sole Supreme Being united. 

The mind deluded into Maya-abode enters; 

In lust involved, in poise is it not fixed. 

Man! on the Lord meditate; to your tongue impart taste of this. 

By excessive anxiety for elephants, steeds, gold, progeny and woman. 

Does man lose the bout. 

In this with false counters he is playing. 

In hoarding wealth comes evil-thinking, 

And pleasure and pain at our doorstep keep standing. 

By meditation on the Lord comes ro the heart spontaneous joy. 

Should He show grace, with the Precepror He grants union. 

With good qualities garnered, are evils in the holy Word consumed; 

And man by the Master’s guidance boon of the Name acquires. 

Without devotion to the name is one’s lodgement solely in suffering. 

The thoughtless egoist’s mind in Maya is fixed. 

By writ of primal Time comes realization by the Master’s guidance. 

The restless mind constantly runs about and from running ceases never. 

The holy and the pure to impurity of mind are averse. 

Saith Nanak : The God-directed ever the Divine laudation chant. 

-Guru Grant.h Sahib, p. 222 

After listening to the hymn, he paid obeisance to the Guru. The Guru 
stayed at Baroch for some days. Nanak-wadi is one of the memorials of 
Guru Nanak’s visit here. 334 In the 18th century when the British came to 
occupy the area, a Jagir of Rs.75/- per annum was given in the name of the 
gurdwara which still continues. The lease- 

333. Miharban Janamsakhi Sri Guru Nanak, p.291 (App. 128-29). 

334. Tara Singh Narotam, Gur Tirath Sangrah No. 30 


deed of the gurdivara is with a trustee.335 Narbada Das was a known 
mahant of this shrine. His tomb exists within the gurdivara limits. 

Gum Nanak put up here for some time and then moved ahead. 

Girnar Hills (Sorath Desh) 

During the times of Guru Nanak boats and ships started from Baroch 
towards all directions. Travelling by boat was quite common along the sea 
coast. 336 Guru Nanak boarded a boat from Baroch and reached Parbhas 
which was then a port 3 ’ 7 and is nearby the modern-day Vairaval. Near 
Parbhas ferry was the famous Somnath temple which was demolished by 
Mahmood in the beginning of the 12th century and Kumar Pala had got it 
reconstructed. 338 The Guru reached the Girnar hill, fifty miles (80 kens.) 
off the Somnath temple. This hill is 10 miles (16 kens.) away from 
Junagarh. 339 The earlier name for Junagarh was Soratha: Saurashtra is the 
other name of Soratha. Although during the British rule Rajkot and many 
other princely states formed part of the Saurashtra region yet only the 
Nawab of Junagarh was called Sorath Sarkar (His Highness of Sorath). 
Thus, the Junagarh region was the real Soratha country. 340 When Guru 
Nanak reached there, Muzaffar II (1511-26) ruled over the Soratha 
country. 341 On reaching there Guru Nanak told Mardana that it was the 
Sorath country and that it was here that the lovers named Soratha and Bija 
were born. The Soratha raga seems charming only if it leads to union with 
God. Then he asked Mardana to play Soratha raga on his rebeck and himself 
sang the following hymn 342 : 

335. Statement by trustee (of Gurdwara Nanak-Wadi) Shri Bachu Bhai Inamdar 
Advocate, Baroch (Gujrat). 

336. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. IX, p. 26. 

337. The Vairaval port is 300 year old. At the time of Guru Nanak, Parbhas ferry was the port 

which is 3 miles (5 kms.) of Vairaval. Nearby Somnath, Parbhas was the oldest town. 

338. Kishori Shatan Lai, History of the Khiljis, pp. 67-68. 

339. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. XII, p. 247. 

340. Sorath is a very old name. The famous Gteek writer Straibo (60 B.C.) has written it as 

Horat. Magusathnis states Somnath to be in Horat region. Similarly, ancient Jaina 
texts also call Saurashtra as Sorath. For details, See Shambu Prasad Har ptasad Desai, 
Saurashtrano Itihas (Gujrati), 2nd edition, 1969, pp. 3 and 4. The author is indebted to 
Desai for his help in rendeting this from Gujrati into English. 

341. Sri Shambu Prasad Har Prasad Desai, Saurashtrano Itihas. p. 551. 

342. The Miharban Janamsakhi says that this hymn was Uttered by Guru Nanak in the Soratha 

country. See janamsakhi Guru Nanak, pp. 356-57 (App. 136-37). 


Sorath ever shall have lovely aspect, should the holy Eternal in the 
singers’ mind be borne; 

Should the teeth with bitingfood immorally obtained be not soiled; 

And in the mind and on the tongue be borne name of the Eternal. 

In the hereafter and here 
Should she abide in fear of God, 

And by service of the holy Preceptor be freed of doubt. 

Should union with the Lord come about after discarding the worldly vesture, 
Even thus must she have joy with Him. 

Ever with the Name should she bedecked, 

With her mind totally free from impurity. 

Her tormenting male relations in pain have died- 
Why of the mother-in-law should she have fear? 

Saith Nanak: Should the woman of the Beloved be favoured, 

The jewel of good fortune on her forehead will she bear, 

And all existence to her bear the aspect of truth. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 642 
At the time of Gum Nanak, the Girnar343 hill near Junagarh was a 
famous centre of th ejogis of the Gorakh Nath sect. According to a tradition 
current among thcjogis, Dattatreya had been the preceptor of Machhandar 
Nath. He gave initiation to the latter and the latter in turn to Gorakh. The 
seat of Dattatreya was on one of the highest peaks of the Girnar 
mountain.344 This mountain has five peaks now named Amba Mata, 
Gorakh Nath, Ogad Sikhar, Guru Dattatreya and Kalika. There were some 
Jaina shrines also on way to these peaks. The existing temple of Amba 
Mata had in fact been a Jaina shrine.345 In the 12th century, the Chief of 
Gujrat had in A.D. 1113 spent the entire state exchequer on Girnar and on 
constructing the Jaina shrines.346 In the Skand Puran, the description of 
Girnar does not include any reference to the Gorakh Nath Peak. As per 
the Imperial Gazetteer, the Aghoris and other sadhus who ate human flesh 
used to live on the Kalika peak uptill recent times. They observed no 
sanctity in their dietary habits and they would even eat 

.Such a reference is not found in any of the other Janamsakhis. However, the tradition of 

Guru Nanak visiting the Soratha country still persists in Junagarh. 

343. The earlier name for Girnar was Ujjainata or Girwar. 

344. Saurashtrano Itihas, op. tit., p. 259. 

345. Statement of the author of the Saurashtrano Itihas. Accordmg to him, sometimes the 

priests of temples on the Girnar would even sell these temples or would discard the 
old place in favour of a new one where they would erect a new temple. 

346. Sri Shambu Prasad Har Prasad Desai: Saurashtrano Itihas, p. 259. 


the human flesh. 347 It seems that holy men of different traditions had been 
living on the Girnar since ancient times. These days three kunds of Girnar 
are famons-Gorakhmukhi Kund, Hanuman Dhara and Karmandal Kund. As 
their names suggest, the first two of these could be attributed to holy men 
of two different traditions. About the last named, two traditions are current 
among the people. One, there was shortage of water near the Dattatreya 
peak. Once some sadhus asked for water and a holy man threw at them his 
water-filled bowl (karmandal) and where this karmandal fell down that 
became the Karmandal Kund. Secondly, some hold the view that the shape 
of this Kund is like that of a karmandal and that is why it is called the 
Karmandal Kund. Whatever might be the reason, this Kund does not seem 
very old because there is no mention of this Kund in the Parbhas chapter 
of the Skand Puran although we find therein a detailed description of the 
Girnar hil ls. 348 

There is no old gurudwara in the memory of Guru Nanak extant in 
Junagarh. It is said that there used to be a Nanak Shahi Gurdwara in 
Junagarh where now stands the Durga Temple (Dharagarh Gate) behind 
the Garden of the Naths. Here used to live the saints of the Suthra Shahi 
order of Sikhism. 349 Now these Suthra Shahi saints have moved out after 
selling the place to a householder. After spending some time at the Girnar 
mountain, Guru Nanak travelled ahead northwards. 


From Girnar Hills in Junagarh Guru Nanak and Mardana first travelled 
northwards and then turned eastward and after passing through Ahmedabad 
they reached Ujjain. The traders visited Ahmedabad and Ujjain quite often 
on the coast of western sea. Both these towns were big centres of trade. 350 

347. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. XII, pp. 247-48. 

348. See the Skand Puran's Gujrati translation by Gorabai Ram Ji. This contains “Girnar 

Mahatam” (Importance of Girnar). 

349. A statement by Balak Das Udasi of Junagarh. 

350. Ahmedabad got this name not long ago. Its earlier name was Ashawal. It was a big centre 

of trade on the western coast. S ee. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. V, p. 102. Ujjain was also well 
connected with trade routes leading to all sides. See Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. XXIV, p. 


The earlier name for Ujjain was Avantipura. It was situated on the 
bank of Avanti river, now known as Sapra river. Avantipura was famous 
town of the Avanti country of olden times. Bikramajit, after whom is 
named the Indian calendar still in vogue in northern India was the king of 
Ujjain. His brother, Bharthari Hari, had renounced home to become an 
ascetic. Bharthari Hari’s cave in Ujjain is famous to date. The temple of 
Maha Kal here was considered the famous centre of pilgrimage for the 
Hindus. Slave King Iltutmash looted this town and temple in 1235 A.D. 
In the fifteenth century a wall was constructed around the city for its 
defence. It was around this time that Guru Nanak visited Ujjain. The wall 
was in existence then. The old city of Ujjain was built around the temple 
of Maha Kat. Now the old city as well as the wall exist no more, and the 
city has rehabilitated itself on a new site. 

At the time of Guru Nanak’s visit, the cave of Bharthari Hari was on 
the bank of the Sapra outside the town. The Muslims erected a mosque 
near the cave before which stood a tamarind tree. Guru Nanak went and 
sat near the tree. 351 Hindu pilgrims of all traditions came to pay obeisance 
at the cave of Barathari Hari. Near this place, resided a Bharthari rogi. 
When he saw Guru Nanak and Mardana performing Kirtan (singing hymns), 
he was highly impressed. He came to them and asked as to how many of 
the yogis coming over here would achieve salvation. In response to this 
question the Guru recited the following hymn 352 : 

One is pure only when acting by guidance of the true self; 

The uninitiated know not the true secret of liberation. 

That yogi alone the true praxis has contemplated, 

Who subduing the five sources of evil, in heart cherishes trurh. 

(Pause I) 

Such alone the reality of yoga-praxis realize, 

As have within them the Divine Essence. 

To a true yogi are heat of the sun and cool atmosphere of the moon 

and home and forest alike; 

Also to Him is action and devotion of the same order of performance. 

The sole Name of God is charity- 

Ever awake in enlightenment, meditation, yoga-praxis and truth. 

In fear of God absorbed, from the self he strays not; 

Who may evaluate him in his absorption? 

351. Mshsxb'injanamsakhi Guru Nanak, p. 300 (app. 129). 

352. Ibid. 


Whomsoever the Lord to Himself unites, and his illusion lifts, 

By grace of the Master the supreme state attains. 

The holy action of such a yogi in service of the Master, 

Contemplation of the Word and subduing egoism, lies. 

Saith Nanak: The essence of utterance of God’s Name, austerity, 
sacred recitation of scriptures 

In this lies, that in the Lord, transcending our knowing, has he faith. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 223 
Listening to this; many misgivings in the mind of Bharthari yogi got 
cleared. He discussed with Guru Nanak several other matters and thus 
got enlightened about the significance of Sabda (Name). One day Bharthari 
yogi was full of humility as he asked Guru Nanak : “You do not take the 
ordinary food. We live among the trees and the woods. What sort of food 
should be placed before you which might please yourself. You do not seek 
anything obtained by exercise of supernatural or magical powers. We are 
afraid that we have not been able to serve you well.” On hearing this the 
Guru recited the following hymn’ 53 : 

Forgiveness have I grasped; and taken vow of noble conduct and 

Thereby afflicts me no malady nor suffering from yama; 

Thus have we been liberated and merged into the Lord without form 
or feature. 

What has th eyogi to fear? 

In all that is without, including trees and plants, is He pervasive. 

(Pause I). 

They yogi, from fear emancipated, on the Lord without fear meditates; 
Awake ever, in truth is he absorbed. 

To my mind is such a yogi .pleasing. 

The snare of death in the flame of enlightenment he burns: 

Old age, the path of death and pride he annuls; 

Liberated himself, to his ancestors too he brings liberation. 

The true yogi is one who to the holy Preceptor is devoted; 

In fear of God immersed, fearless he becomes; 

As the Lord that he serves, he becomes. 

The Name is emancipator from fear, and bringer of the immaculate state. 
Of the helpless is it cherisher; to it may I be a sacrifice! 

By chanting Divine laudation is one not again into the birth mould cast. 

353. ^S\xdo&VL,]anamsakhi Guru Nanak, p. 300 (app. 129). 


Let the yoga-practitioner realize one Supreme Being within and without. 

By the Master’s teaching should he himself realize. 

By power of the holy Word shall he be marked with bliss at the Divine 

Whoever by the holy Word to the world dies, in the Divine Essence 

His transmigration annulled, his desire ended, 

By blessing of the Master’s .Word is illumined lotus of his heart. 
Whomsoever in the world we view, is by hope and despair filled: 

By lust and wrath moved, for poison of the world hungry and thirsty. 

Saith Nanak: Rare are such as truly the world have renounced. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 223-24 
On listening to this hymn, Bharthari bowed before the Gum. Then 
followed another spiritual discourse. Bharthari asked him what was his 
way of knowledge. Which bathing did he attach importance to? Whom 
did he remember? In reply, the Guru uttered the following hymn354: 

The seeker descending into the Pool difficult of access must take there holy 

Refraining from idle chatter, in Divine laudation must he engage; 

As water in the sky, in the cosmic silence should he be absorbed, 

And stirring the equable state, the supreme elixir should obtain. 

My heart! listen to this way of realization: 

The Lord, pervasive everywhere, all space has propped up. (I Pause) 

Death torments not one who observes discipline of truth: 

Such a one in the Master’s Word his wrath should consume. 

Settled in the seat of illumination, should he enter the state of absorption. 
Thus, touching the Divine philosopher’s stone, the supreme state shall 
he attain. To obtain uti of self should he churn out truth; 

In the brimful pool of holy company, should he wash his mind free 
of impurity; 

Thus shall he become as that to which he is attached. 

To the Divine will should he be resigned. 

In the cooling snow of the Preceptor’s teaching should he assuage his 
passion’s fire; 

Service and absorption in God should his ashes be to smear his body; 

Be his earrings entering the house of poise, 

And of the immaculate Word should he blow the horn. 

354. Mihatban, Janawsakhi Guru Nanak. pp. 306-10. 


Illumination within shall his supreme elixir be; 

The Master’s teaching his bathing at holy spots; 

His temple, worship of the Lord abiding within the self, 

Who the light of the self to the Divine light unites. 

In joy in God drenched, his mind to sole love of the Lord attached; 

One of the elect, in the Divine monarch is he absorbed; 

In obedience to the Lord’s will all his doing- 
The Lord indescribable and inaccessible. 

The God-directed are like the lotus, that rising from the water, yet keeps 
from it far; 

In the water yet is its light pervasive. 

Whom shall 1 call near, whom ftom the Lord far ? 

Praise of the Repository of Merit 1 chant, who is ever present. 

Within and without is none other than the Lord: 

All happens as be His pleasure. 

Listen, Bharthari! Nanak states this after pondering: 

The Name immaculate is my sole support. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 411 

Listening to this, Bharthari again bowed. Guru Nanak put up with 
Bharthari for some time and then set out toward north. 


From Ujjain Guru Nanak and Mardana travelled through Chitaur and 
Ajmer to reach Mathura. Near Ajmer, there is an old gurdwara of Guru 
Nanak’on the bank of Pushkar lake. Mathura was an ancient town. The 
famous Greek writer Ptolemy has written it as Mathaura and Arian and 
Pliny call it Mithaura. At the time of Hieun Tsang’s visit it was a Buddhist 
pilgrim centre and he had seen here 2000 Buddhist bhikshus in twenty 
monasteries. 355 During the Muslim rule Mathura was a Vaishanav centre 
and the region on its west was known as Bnj land because here were 
situated the birth-place and many other places associated with the memory 
of Lord Krishna. Being close to Delhi, it used to bear the brunt of Muslim 
antipathy. Mahmood of Ghazni was the first to demolish temples of 
Mathura. Then Emperor Sikandar Lodhi (1488-1517) devastated several 
of the temples at Mathura. 356 

In Mathura, Guru Nanak put up in the temple of Keshav 

355. Inrperial Gautteer, Vol. XXII, p. 64. 

356 . Muttra District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1911, p. 190. 


Deva. 357 . This temple was situated in a small building. During the reign of 
Jahangir a big temple of Keshav Deva was erected. It was demolished in 
1669 under orders of Emperor Aurangezb. 358 when Nanak sat in the temple, 
many devotees came to him. During the course of their dialogue, the 
devotees asked him as to which service rendered by him has enabled him 
to identify with Almighty Lord. In reply the Guru recited this hymn : 

Seeking union by poise alone is truly approved - 

Such nevermore are subjected to death or transmigration. 

In the Lord is absorbed His servant; in the servant is the Lord Himself. 
Wherever 1 took, none other I behold. 

By the Master’s guidance are attained devotion and poise: 

Without the Master’s guidance is one subjected to death and 
transmigration. (I Pause) 

Adopt the preceptor who in the mind confirms truth; 

Inspires utterance of the unutterable and by the holy Word brings 
about union. 

No other pursuit engages God’s devotees: 

The holy Lord and Truth to such a one are dear. 

The mind in his body abides; in the mind abides the holy Eternal 
-To the Eternal united, in Him is he absorbed. 

The devotee at the Lord’s fee falls. 

With whom the Master, perfectly-endowed, finds union and to it leads 

Himself He grants the vision, Himself the Beholder. 

By hatha is the Lord not propitiated, nor by numerous sectarian garbs. 

The mind in devotion to the Lord is absorbed, 

Who fashioning vessels into them poured amrita. 

Those studying much stray and chastisement receive. 

Too much cleverness only brings on transmigration. 

The servant of God by the Master’s guidance in the Lord is absorbed; 
Contemplating the Name, consumes sustenance of His fear. 

Those worshipping stones and residing at bathing spots and in forests; 

Wandering, turning ay from the world- 

Still is their mind impure: how may it acquire purity? 

Whoever to Truth is united, alone obtains honour. 

Beloved Lord! in your grace to a Preceptor unite me, 

Who with noble conduct and contemplation should be endowed, 

Who since primal time should bear a mind poised and restful, 

357. Miharban, Janamshaki Guru Nanak, p.360 (App. 138-39) 

358. Muttra District Gazetteer, pp. 294-95. 

359. Miharban, Janamsakhi Guru Nanak, pp. 362-64 (App. 139). 


And in the twinkling of his lotus eye save millions. 

Lord! to whom shall we relate Thy laudation? 

No other than Thy self exists. 

Keep us obedient to Thy will as may please Thee. 

May Nanak in spontaneous poise chant Tbj praise. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 686 
While the Gum was in Mathura, some Vaishnavite natives of Mathura 
came to him. Mter a while they asked him: “What is your panth (religious 
path) ? What is your code of conduct? What are your teachings ?” Guru 
Nanak answered these questions by uttering the following hymn 360 : 

Of the Lord am I a handmaid. 

Feet of the Lord, life of the universe have 1 grasped, 

And my egoism have destroyed, ended. (I-Pause) 

The Supreme Lord, perfection incarnate, supreme effulgence, 

Beloved of my life; 

The Divine charmer, my heart has charmed- 
By contemplation of the holy Word realized. 

The low egoist, of understanding shallow and foul. 

Racked with agony is his mind and body. 

Mter entering into love for the Lord, full of delights. 

By contemplation the Lord, is my mind in poise. 

Since discarding egoism am I grown unattached, 

And pure realization in my self is absorbed. 

As the mind in faith for the immaculate, uncreated Lord is fixed, 

Restraints of convention have 1 discarded. 

Beloved, prop of life; in the past or future none is like you. 

The self female dyed in the Name Divine is of eternally blessed matrimony; 
Saith Nanak, the Lord is her spouse. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1197 
When these Vaishanavites listened to this hymn, they bowed before 
the Guru. He stayed for some more days inMathura and went further north. 


Travelling northwards from Mathura, Guru Nanak reached Delhi. 
He put up at an isolated place outside the town on the bank of river 
Yamuna. The place was called Majnu-ka-tilla . 361 Here used to dwell 

360. Mihaxbanfanawsakh/ GuruNanak, pp. 368-70 (App. 139). 

361. Kahn Singh, Gurshabd Ratnakar, 942, Patiala, 1974. 


a holy man named Majnu. He would ever meditate on God. This raised 
mound was then known by his name. 

When Guru Nanak was putting up in Delhi, the liberal and charitable 
temper of Sikandar Lodhi was the talk of the town. The Muslim faqirs and 
danveshes sang his praises. One day some faqirs asked the Guru that giving 
charity to the poor is considered noble in all religions, but if a king gives 
this charity, does he or does he not deserve liberation? Guru Nanak had 
seen the ruins of temples in Mathura demolished by Sikandar Lodi. So he 
replied: “Those who are blind of mind, are prejudiced and commit cruelties 
on populace: their charity is like putting up a bandh of mud before the 
sea/war. In explanation of his idea, the Guru sang the following hymn 362 : 

In performing thoughtless acts the mind grows blind; 

Blindness of mind makes blind the physical faculties. 

How may mud secure a bank when even stone embankments give way? 

As breaks the embankment, 

Neither boat nor raft avails in the immeasurable depth. 

Saith Nanak; Bereft of succour of the holy Name, 

Are numerous bands sunk. -Gum Granth Sahib, p. 1287 

Now the holy men realized that charity is fruitful only when 
complemented by good and noble conduct. They bowed before the Guru. 
Guru Nanak stayed there for some days and then left towards north-west. 


Panipat was situated in north-west of Delhi on a kacha road which 
was got laid by Sher Shah Suri after Guru Nanak’s time. Ever since the 
sixteenth century, the destiny of Delhi’s throne was decided by battles 
fought at Panipat on this road. Guru Nanak and Mardana reached Panipat 
from Delhi. Panipat is now a district headquarter of Haryana state. There 
had been a famous Muslim holy man in Panipat by the name of Bu Ali 
Qalandar Shaikh Sharaf-ud-din who was popularly known as Shah Sharaf. 
He passed away in A.D. 1325. 363 His tomb is still extant in Panipat. When 
Guru Nanak 

362. This episode is based on MiharbanJanamsakhi, p. 114 (App. 99). 

363. Maulana Syad Muhammad, Bagurgan-i-Panipat, Delhi, 1963, p. 135. 


reached the town, this tomb was a big centre of the Sufis. 364 At that time 
Shaikh Idul Kabir was the head of this spiritual seat who was known for 
his spiritual attainments. He breathed his last in A.D. 1540. He had several 
names. 365 Shaikh Tahir also appears to be one of his several names. 366 Tahir 
is an Arabic word which implies pious, holy. The Janamsakhi literature 
refers to him as Shaikh Tatihar. Guru Nanak and Mardana put up outside 
the town. One of the disciples of Shaikh Tahir came there to fetch water. 
On reaching there he saw that a holy man and a rebeck-player sat there 
and sang Divine hymns. The disciple was highly impressed by these hymns 
and told about this to his preceptor. He also felt anxious to know about 
the holy man who sang such soulful songs. Thus, both the preceptor and 
Inis disciple came to the Guru and sat before him. Mter some time they 
asked Guru Nanak as to how does a clear-hearted holy man look like and 
how does he behave? In reply, Guru Nanak is stated to have recited a 
verse to explain the real qualities of a holy man. This hymn is not found in 
Guru Grant.h Sahib. 367 


Guru Nanak and Mardana left Panipat and passing through Thanesar 
reached Takhtupura, which now falls under Nihal Singh Wala police station 
in Moga district. There stands a gurdwara in the memory of the Guru’s 
visit: it is believed to be a historical shrine. 368 From Takhtupu.ra, he crossed 
the Sudej and reached Sultanpur. 

On reaching Sultanpur, Guru Nanak met his sister, Nanaki. 369 
However, he was free from the bonds of attachment. A holy man 

364. Maulana Syad Muhammad, Ba^itrgan-i Panipat, Delhi, 1963, pp. 144-169. 

365. Ibid., p. 248. 

366. In the VilayatvaliJanamsakhi, he has been mentioned as Shaikh Tatihar, i.e. Shaikh Tahir. 

Tatihar has been another form of Tahar. 

367. This episode is based only on T / ilayatvaliJanamsakhi. See Sakhi No. 14. Miharban and the 

Mani Singh versions do not refer to it. Bala version pUts Guru Nanak’s dialogue 
(goshti) with Shah Sharaf and Wali Qandhari at Kabul. However, the tomb of Shah 
Sharafis in Panipat. Therefore this episode can be said to have taken place at Panipat. 

368. Ripudaman Vrakash, Part 1,1919, Gurdwara No. 38 and Nanaksar No.7. See also Sultanpur 

in Mahan Kosh. 

369. The Bala Janamsakhi refers to Guru Nanak meeting his sister at Sultanpur. This reference 

is not found in any other Janamsakhi. 


met the Guru at Sultanpur and asked: “You have realized God, but me fail 
to know anything of Him. How great He is and what He looks like?” In 
response to this question, the Guru uttered the following hymn 370 : 

Hard it is to discourse on God, hard listening to it; 

By words alone is He not realized. 

Some discourse of Him through words day and night, in various postures. 
Should He have form, world it be visible: 

Visible neither His form nor entity. 

All causes by the Creator are made- 

All creatUres good and bad by Him created. 

Saith Nanak: Hard it is to discourse of Him- 

By words not realized. -Guru Grarnh Sahib, p. 1239 

On hearing this sloka, the holy man paid obeisance and departed. 
The Guru spent some time at Sultanpur and then started for Talwandi. 

The Zamindats of Patti 

From Sultanpur Guru Nanak travelled further north-west and reached 
Patti, (now in Amritsar district). A little ahead of Sultanpur, he crossed 
the Beas from where Patti was ten miles (16 kms.) off north-west. Patti, 
or China Patti was an ancient town where Heun Tsang had stayed in the 
seventh century. However, in Guru Nanak’s time, it was a town believed 
to have been founded by Haibat Khan Sherwani who was a well-known 
courtier of Sikandar Lodhi. That is why the town was also called Patti 
Haibat Khan. 371 

When Guru Nanak passed by Patti, he saw some peasants ploughing 
the land. He stayed with them in the fields for some time. 

370. This episode is found on pp. 383-84 of the Miharban Janamsakhi. This text also refers to 

the Guru’s three meetings with Daulat Khan at Sultanpur. These episodes contain 
exposition of three hymns. However, no other Janamsakhi confirms the Guru’s meeting 
with Daulat Khan after his return ftom the travels. It is just possible that Daulat 
Khan might have shifted his residence to Lahore as Governor of Punjab while the 
Guru was away on his divine mission “to save the mankind” as Bhai Gurdas puts it. 

371. Alexander Cunningham, Ancient Geography of India, Varanasi, 1963, p. 171. Abul Fazal 

says that the town was founded by Jauhar who was a special officer of Humayun’s. It 
is possible that during Humayun’s regime, the town might have been a jagir of 
Jauhar who could have got wells dug there. 


The owner of the fields came to the Gum and started a dialogue with him. 
During the course of conversation, the Guru asked him what will be the 
fruit of farming he did and got done. The man in his egoity said that with 
this he would offer food to saints like the Guru, feed the family and carry 
on give and take with the relatives. Thus, farming is the principal source 
of our livelihood. The Guru listened to his answer attentively and then 
asked as to what he did 

for the salvation of soul. That is a different kind of farming which 
makes our soul flourish. The ^amindar and peasants then requested the 
Guru to tell them abour that farming also. The Guru uttered the following 
hymn 372 : 

Make thy body the soil; put therein the seed of good deeds; 

With the Name Divine irrigate it. 

Let thy mind be the cultivator, and raise crop of God’s devotion: 

Thus shalt thou obtain the state of nirvana. 

Thoughtless man! why take pride in worldly pelf? 

Father, progeny, wife, mother-none in the end shall succour thee. (Pause I) 
Uproot malignant weeds of evil inclinations and thoughts 
-Discarding these, the self-contemplate. 

As this cultivation with prayer, austerity and self-control thou shalt guard, 
The lotus shall bloom and therefrom ooze nectar. 

He that during the twenty-seven phases of the noon, 

Each day garners devotion; 

In the three period of life keeps death in mind; 

In the ten scriptures and eighteen Puranas seeks the Creator without 

Saith Nanak-thus by the sole Lord 

Shall he be taken across. -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 23 

The peasants bowed before the Guru and touched his feet. The Guru 
left Patti and travelled westwards. 


From Patti Guru Nanak travelled through the town of Khalra, 
Ghawindi and reached Talwandi. There are shrines erected in the memory 
of Guru Nanak’s visit in Khalra and Ghawindi. 373 

372. See MiharbanJanamsakhi, Part II, pp.182-83. 

373. See Tara Singh Narotam, Gur Tirath Sangrah, Gurdwara 43 and 44. 


Guru Nanak halted outside Talwandi as he returned there after 12- 
year-Iong travels aimed at preaching the Name Divine. 374 Mardana had all 
along remained with him. He had a great desire to meet his kin. So on 
reaching Talwandi he sought the Guru’s permission and went into the 
town to meet his kin. So on reaching Talwandi he sought the Gurus 
permission and went into the town to meet his kin. The news spread 
throughout the village that Mardana dim who used to roam with Nanak 
had come back home. Mardana first visited his house and then called on 
Guru Nanak’s mother. She asked him about her son’s whereabouts, but 
Mardana made no answer because the Guru had desired that he must not 
tell anybody about his arrival. ’ 75 As Mardana made haste to go back, she 
understood everything. She followed Mardana and reached where Guru 
Nanak sat. She had seen her son after twelve years, and her eyes overflowed 
with tears. The Guru got up and touched the feet of his mother. She said, 
“I am proud of thee, my son. I hail thy name. You showed me your face, 
and I am highly pleased.” 376 The Guru’s father also came over there. The 
parents greatly emphasized that he should visit home, but he did not agree. 
He spent some time nearby Talwandi and then, taking Mardana along, 
travelled on. 

Duni Chand 

Guru Nanak and Mardana reached Lahore from Talwandi and stayed 
outside the town near the New Badami Bagh. 377 At the time of Guru 
Nanak, there lived a Karori by the name of Duni Chand. In the Mughal 
regime a revenue officer who collected a crore of dam for the royal treasure 
was given the title of Karori 378 : the value of 

374. The Vijayatvalijanamsakhi refers to his return to Talwandi after 12 years. The Marti Singh 

version says that Guru asked his parents, “I have travelled in two directions, and two 
directions still remain to be covered.” The two directions covered are east and south. 
The Miharban text also combines the odyssey towards east and west as one. 

375. This incident has been related as such in the Vilayatvali and the Mani Singh Janamsakhis. 

The Bala and the Miharban versions do not refer to it. However, it seems quite natural 
for Mardana to visit his house on their return to Talwandi after the such a long 
journey in far off lands. 

376. This unique narration of mother’s affection for son is from the VilayatvaliJanamsakhi. 

377. Duni ChandNisfara, Khalsa Tract Society, Amritsar, November 1928. 

378. Moreland, Agrarian System of Moslem India, p. 1. 


a dam was quite less than a rupee. Duni Chand Karori was a revenue 
officer of the area adjoining Lahore. He was Khatri by caste and resided 
at Lahore in Chuhatta Ba^ar Jawahar Mai. It is said that Jawahar Mai was 
also one of his ancestors and the bazar was named after him. The bazar is 
known by this very name till today. There is also a gurdwara in the memory 
of Guru Nanak. 379 

In olden times the rich used to tie small pieces ofbeauriful cloth on 
the outer door of the house. One such piece indicated one Lakh. They say 
that seven such pieces were tied at the door of Duni Chand’s house which 
implied that Duni Chand possessed seven lakh. 380 He was very proud of 
his wealth. One day as he came to the town he happened to meet the 
Guru. The latter’s divine hymn attracted him. During the course of their 
conversation, the Guru smelt egocentricity in Duni Chand. The Guru asked 
him to take one needle from him which he might ask for in the life after 
death. He took the needle home and making it over to his wife told her 
everything that transpired between him and Guru Nanak. Duni Chand’s 
wife impressed upon him that nothing goes with man after his death. He 
came back to the Guru, gave back the needle and said that he would not 
be able to take it along after death. The Guru further asked him as to how 
he will take along all the wealth that he had been collecting. The Guru 
advised him: “Only Name, recitation, altruism and noble deeds go along 
after one’s death.” Duni Chand was impressed by the Guru’s teaching and 
fell at his feet. 

One day Duni Chand invited Guru Nanak to his house; it was the 
day of shradh of Duni Chand’s father. The Guru went there and advised 
him that one should serve his parents when they were alive. With his 
spiritual strength, he convinced Duni Chand that his father’s soul will 
remain hungry inspite of his feeding any number of Brahmins. 381 Duni 
Chand fell on the Guru’s feet and became his disciple. 382 

379. R ipudaman Prakash, Parr 1,1919, Gurdwara No. 20. 

380. This is based on GM/No.37 in the VilajatValiJanamsakhi. This incident is not found in 

any other version. Sarup Das Bhalla’s Mahima Prakash refers to Duni Chand as 
belonging to Sialkot.. 

381. The VilayatValiJaneonsakhi mentions a miracle wherein the Guru showed him his father 

in the form of a tiger and then fed him. This only implies that the Guru showed him 
that his father’s soul is hungry although he might perform any number of shradhs; 
this would in no way help his father. 

382. See VilayatvaliJanamsakhi, Sakhi No. 34. 



From Lahore Guru Nanak came to Vairowal, nowin Amritsar district. 
Crossing the Goindwal ford. Guru Nanak passed through the resent 
Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts. Travelling further north-west, he crossed 
the Sutlej and reached the Ropar hills and sat in a forest on the eastern 
bank of the river. This place was within the Kahlur hill state, now called 
Bilaspur. The capital of the Rajput king of Kahlur was the fort, Kot Kahlur, 
on the top of Nainadevi hills. This hill-top was quite close to the place 
where the Guru sat. This place is 14 miles (22.4 kms.) north of Ropar and 
six miles (9.6 kms.) south of present Anandpur Sahib. 

During the time of Guru Nanak a Muslim holy man, Faqir Buddhan 
Shah lived on this side of Sutlej. He had some goats. Attracted by the 
divine notes of the hymns of Guru Nanak he took the Guru to Inis hut. 
The Guru stayed with him for some time and Buddhan Shah served the 
Guru and Mardana with goat milk. 384 At the place then sanctified by Guru 
Nanak, Guru Hargobind later on founded the town of Kiratpur. 385 The 
place of Buddhan Shah is half a mile south of Kiratpur and quite close to 
the durbar of Baba Gurditta. Close by is the tomb of Buddhan Shah. The 
place where the Guru had dialogue with Buddhan Shah is commemorated 
by the Gurdwara Charan Kanwal. 

From Kiratpur Guru Nanak and Mardana travelled eastward and 
passing through Suket reached the place where now Mandi town stands. 
The word ‘Mandi’ literally stands for a place meant for trading. At the time 
of Guru Nanak, the paths coming from Leh, Yarkand, Kangra, ete 
converged here and traders from Hoshiarpur, Bilaspur and Suket came 
here for business. Being a trading centre, the town had come to be known 
as Mandi by the time of Guru Nanak, i.e. around A.D. 1510. About ten 
miles (16 kms.) west of Mandi is a kund (water reservoir) of Sikandar Dhar, 
known as Rivalsar. Guru Nanak and Mardana passed through Mandi and 

383. Hutchinson, Punjab Hill States, Vol. II, p. 494. 

384. Although this story does not find mention in any of the Janamsakhi versions but It 

represents a local tradition. 

385. According to a local tradition, Guru Nanak performed trtan here for thmeen days. That 

is why Guru Hargobind named the town Kiratanpur which later on got corrupted to 


Rivalsar and reached Jwalaji that is in the north-west of Mandi. 386 These 
days Jwalaji falls in the Gopipur tehsil of Kangra district. Jwalaji was 
situated on a route in the north of the Beas valley that lead to Kangra 
from the south. From Nadaun, Jwala Mukhi is a little distance away in the 
north. No idols are worshipped in the temple of Jwalaji. Here a flame 
comes out of the mountain-top which is worshipped. There are several 
mythic stories current about this flame. Maharaja Kharak Singh, the son 
of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, had donated silver doors to the temple. Guru 
Nanak and Mardana came to Jwalaji. They stayed here for a while and 
then travelled eastwards 

Baijnath (Kirgram) 

Guru Nanak and Mardana left Jwalaji and taking route via Nadaun 
reached Kangra. The Muslim historians call it Nagarkot 387 or Bhimkot. 
There is an ancient temple in this town. Many scholars hold that the place 
where Kangra is inhabited resembles a human ear. That is why it is called 
Kangra. 388 It is said that Maha Mai, the consort of Mahadeva, committed 
sati and her limbs fell down on different parts oflndia. The place where her 
head and ear fell is now commemorated by the temple of Kangra. Thus, 
this temple is considered very holy. There was a fort adjoining the temple 
which was conquered by Mahmood in 1009 and later by Feroz Tughlaq in 
1360. At the time of Guru Nanak, Ram Chand was the king of Kangra 
who ascended the throne in A.D. 1510.389 Guru Nanak visited the Kangra 
temple and therefrom went eastwards. 

On the east of Kangra, the land between Kangra and Baijnath is 
plain. Passing through Palampur, the Guru reached Baijnath which was 
then known as Kirgram. 

Kirgram (modern name: Baijnath) is an important town of Kangra 
district which is eleven miles (17 kms.) east of Palampur. There are two 
famous temples in Baijnath wherein are found written the geneaologies of 
the rulers of Kirgram.’ 90 In the 12th century the town of Kirgram and the 

386. Only Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi records Guru Nanak’s visit to Jwalaji. The Vilayatvali 

version contains the account of Guru’s visit to Kirgram, and Jwalaji falls on the way 
to Kirgram. Thus, Guru Nanak’s visit to Jwalaji seems certain. 

387. Albaruni records it as Nagar Kot. 

388. J Hutchinson, Punjab Hill States, Vol. I, pp. 107-8. 

389. Ibid., Vol. I,p. 137. 

390. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. VI, pp. 216-17. 


Kir race inhabiting there, were quite famous as it comes out clear from the 
brass plates (dated A.D. 1050) found in Chamba. 391 However, at the time 
of Guru Nanak, the Kir regime was on the decline and the king of Kirgram 
was considered subservient to the Kangra ruler because there is no separate 
reference to Kirgram Baijnath. Before the advent of British rule, the rulers 
of Kirgram were eligible to get married in the royal family of Kangra. As 
a consequence of the decline of the Kir regime, the fort there also fell 
down and the name of the town also changed after the name of a temple 
in the town. 392 

When Guru Nanak reached Kirgram, the king of the day, whose name 
is not traceable, is said to have invited the Guru to his house for meals. 393 
The Guru spent some time in Kirgram and then journeyed ahead. 

Mount Kailash (Sumer) 

Baijnath (Kirgam) is situated on the way that passes through Oalachi 
Pass and leads to the capital town of Kulu. 394 From here Guru Nanak and 
Mardana went ahead into the Lahaul and Spiti valley. Earlier this region 
was part of Ladakh, but in 1848 the English included it in the Kangra 
district. 395 Spiti is towards the north-east of Kulu and Lahaul is on the 
west of Spiti. One has to pass through Rohtang Pass if one wants to go to 
Lahaul from Kulu. However, if one wants to go to Spiti, one has to cross 
the Hamtu and Sigari rivers, that is on the eastern side of Rohtang. 396 Twenty- 
five miles east of Rohtang is the Hastu or Chandan Kala Pass. Passing 
through it Guru Nanak reached the Spiti region. There ‘is a village, Malana, 
near the 

391. J Hutchinson, Punjab Hill States, Vol. I, p. 106. 

392. Punjab Hill States, p. 125. 

393. In the VilayatvaliJanamsakhi, the fifth sakhi is that of Kirnagar which confirms that the 

Gum did visit the town Kirnagar or Kirgram. The author calls the town as that of 
ants (kin) and connects it with the Guru’s hymn. 

Baijnath is sitUated on the road that leads northwards from Palampur. Thus, from the 
geographical point of view also, the Guru’s visit to Kirgram Baijnath can be placed. 

394. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. XIV, p. 383. 

395. C.L.Datta, Faddakh and ~stern Himalayan Politics (Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis available at 

Panjab University Libraty). 

396. James Douie, Punjab, North Western Frontier and Kashmir, Cambridge, 1916, p. 236. 


Chandan Kala Pass. Here the Guru is remembered as Nanak Tapa. 
Although no episode relating to Guru Nanak’s stay here has come to notice 
yet the tradition of Guru Nanak having visited the place is still current. 397 

A part of Spiti or Piti touches Tibet and there are passes on this side 
through which trade with Tibet had been carried for the past several 
centuries. These passes are on the northern side of Sipki Pass and on the 
eastern side of Somrari lake. These were called Saprang or Prang Passes. 398 
It was through these Passes that Zorawar Singh had invaded Tibet in April 
1841. Guru Nanak and Mardana also took this route to Tibet and passing 
through places like Chomurti and Boling reached the Mansarovar and 
Kailash mountains. The Indian pilgrims had been circumambulating the 
Kailash since centuries. On this route, several groups of Sidhas met the 
Guru. Bhai Gurdas has made a reference to them. 

Then they climbed up the Sumer, 

Saw there a group of Sidhas. 

Sumer and Meru are two synonymous words just as Spiti and Piti and 
Saprang and Parang. In the Chinese texts Meru has variously been written 
as Singh Ling and the Puranas call it Maha Meru. 399 Charles A. Shiring who 
served as Deputy Commissioner of Almora for several years 400 and Swami 
Pranavananda who spent several years in Tibet and wrote a book, 
Explorations in Tibet* 01 have accepted the Meru mountain as the Kailash 
Mountain. Almost all western scholars agree to this view. Thus, Bhai 
Gurdas’s verse saying that Guru Nanak went to Sumer holds good 

The Sidhas who met Guru Nanak near the Kailash and Mansarovar 
put many questions to him. They asked as to how had they covered such 
a difficult hilly terrain. Guru Nanak replied that they put full faith in God 
and have been able to reach here. The Sidhas then asked how the people 
living in plains beyond the mountains did. The Guru replied that there 
prevails anarchy in India. The kings who should be protectors of the people 

397. Statement by Sardar Gurlal Singh, Gurmukh Niwas, Patiala-References to Chandan Kala 

Pass and Malan Village are based on this statement. 

398. J. Hutchinson, Punjab Hill States, Vol. II, Lahore, 1933, p. 488. 

399. S. Muzaffar Ali, Geography of the Puranas, New Delhi, 1966. 

400. W esternTibet andBritish Borderland, New Delhi, 1966. 

401. Explorations in Tibet, Calcutta. 1952, p. 3. 


had become oppressive. People are religious no doubt but the lack of 
divine knowledge had led to hypocrisy and prudery to dominate over the 
true spirit of religion. The rulers accept bribes and evil abounds all around. 
In reply to the questions of the Sidhas, he again said that the Sidhas had 
hid themselves in the mountains and there were not many who could guide 
the masses to the path of truth. 402 The Sidhas appreciated the brief and 
cryptic answers of the Guru. 

There are four Tibetan temples on the bank of Mansarovar in which 
the statue of Guru Nanak is also placed along with other idols. 403 This idol 
of Guru Nanak is also worshipped. 404 That is perhaps why the Tibetan 
scholar Tarunga Tulku has said that many Tibetans believe that Guru 
Nanak was the incarnation of Padamsambhava. 405 Padamsambhava had 
gone to Tibet from the Mandi (now in Himachal Pardesh) in the eighth 
century. He preached Buddhism in Tibet with great zeal and success. 

Ladakh and Kashmir: Dialogue with Brahm Das 

Guru Nanak travelled on the south-west of Mansarovar and Kailash 
mountains. The circumambulation of Kailash was 64 miles (102.4 kms) 
and that of Mansarovar 32 miles (51 kms). 406 Going from the eastern side 
of these mountains Guru Nanak turned north-west. Then he went to 
Gortok, earlier called Garu. Therefrom he passed by the Rutok and Pansog 
lakes and reached Ladakh following the present route through Chasul. 407 

402. Varan Bhai Gurdas, I: XXIX. In the Vilayatvali and the Miharban Janamsakhis, the Sidhas 

who had met Guru Nanak wete Gotakh Nath. Bharthari, Gopi Chand and Chatpat. 
They questioned the Guru on several religious and philosophical issues and the Guru 
answered them in detail. This dialogue between Gum Nanak and Sidhas is contained 
in Guru Nanak’s Sidha Gosti (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 938). 

403. Sewa Ram Singh, The Divine Master, p. 140. 

404. Tarunga Tulku, “Similarities Between Sikhism and Buddhism” in Indian Times, Delhi, 

6th March. 1976. 

405. PadmasambhavUrgianwas a resident of Swat valley in the north-west ofKashmir. He 

was an expert in Tantrik knowledge. In the second half of 8th century, he lived in the 
hill town of Mandi. From there he was invited by the King of Tibet so as to preach 
Buddhism. He played a special role in carrying Buddhism to Tibet. That is why 
Tibetan manuscripts in Mandi are called “jauhar”. See 2500 Years of Buddhism, 
Publications Division, New Delhi, pp.5-7. See also J. Hutchison, Punjab 
Dill States. Vol. II, Lahore, 1933, p. 373. 

406 Swami Pranavananda, Explorations in Tibet, p. 28. 

407. In all the janamsakhis, Guru Nanak’s visit to Kailash and Kashmir has been. 


From Chasul, Guru Nanak went to Upashi town and then to Karu 
which is 20 miles (32 kms) off Upashi. On the south-east of Karu are two 
villages, inhabitants of which worship only Guru Nanak. They worship 
no other god or goddess besides him.408 This shows that Guru Nanak did 
visit this place. However, no shrine could be traced. It is worth remembering 
that Ladakh was then a part of Tibet. It is just possible that most of the 
traditions of Guru Nanak’s visit to Tibet might have spread from the 
Ladakh region. Otherwise, Mansarovar, Kailash, Garu and such other 
regions were, as they are even today, part of Tibet. 

On the east of Karu town is the oldest habitation of Ladakh -Hamus. 
According to a tradition, a stone is said to exist there on which Guru 
Nanak sat and held the dialogue. Many in Hamus believe that the 
foundation of this habitation was laid by Guru Nanak.409 Hamus is 25 
miles (40 kms.) south of Leh, the capital town of Ladakh. 

Visiting Karu and Hamus in Leh region, Guru Nanak set out on the 
path that leads to Isakardu, parallel to the Indus river. Like Leh, Isakardu 
is also on the bank of river Indus. Eighteen miles (29 kms.) offLeh is 
Nimmi and 32 miles (51 kms.) offNimmi is Khalasi town.410 In between 
these two towns is a town called Basgo. There has been prevalent till 
today a tradition in Basgo that a monster got hold of the Guru, but when 
the latter pushed him back he struck against a rock. The sign visible on 
the rock even today is said to be of that monster.411 There was an old 
gurdivara in Isakardu commemorating the Guru’s visit there.412 This shrine 
was in good shape till 1947. These days the Isakardu region falls in the 
Pakistan- occupied territory. 

There was an ancient path that led from Isakardu to Kargil. Traversing 
on this path, Guru Nanak turned southwards and reached 

.... included in his travels in the north. In that situation, it seems correct that Guru Nanak 
went to Ladakh and Kashmir on his return journey from Kailash mountain. 

408. Statement by Col. J.S. Guleria, New Delhi. He had served for some time as the supply 

officer in the Ladakh region. At that time, he had made special efforts to find out the 
places which the Guru might have visited. We are grateful to him for the information 
given to us on Ladakh. 

409. Statement by Col .J.S. Guleria. 

410. Fredreck Drew, Jammu and Kashmir Territories, Route No. 22, pp. 538-39. 

411. Statement by Col. J.S. Guleria. 

412. Kahn Singh, GnrshabdKatnakar (Mahan Kosh), p. 943. 


included in Inis travels in the north. In that situation, it seems correct that 
Guru Nanak went to Ladakh and Kashmir on his return journey from 
Kailash mountain Kargil. A gurdwara and a temple exist there side by side: 
This gurdwar is said to be historical. Coming about 50 miles (80 kms.) 
south from Kargil 413 is Drass which is quite close to the Zojila Pass. 414 
Crossing Zojila, Guru Nanak passed through Baltal town and reached the 
famous centre of Hindu pilgrimage, Amar Nath. 

Amar Nath temp e is situate III a mountam cave were water peeps 
down all the time, but this water turns into ice lingam before falling down. 
Hindu pilgrims from far off places visit this place. From Amar Nath, the 
Guru travelled through Pahalgam and reached Matan, near Anant Nag. 
Matan was known for its ancient temple of Martand which was razed to 
the ground by the Muslims. A little away from the Martand temple are 
water springs. The Guru took his seat nearby them. During the time of 
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, six recensions of the Guru Granth Sahib used to be 
installed at the place where Guru Nanak is said to have rested. That 
dharamsala has since fallen down and Guru Granth Sahib is now installed in 
a newly-constructed room. 415 Matan and Martand are quite close to Anant 
Nag, also called Islamabad, which is a major city of Kashmir. At the time 
of Guru Nanak’s visit Matan was well-known as a centre of Hindu culture. 
Even these days the pandas of Matan maintain ancestral vahis (traditional 
record books) like their counterparts at Haridwar. These vahis contain 
genealogies of the pilgrims who visit the shrine. At the time of Guru 
Nanak’s visit, there lived one Brahm Das, a native of Bij Bihara. 416 He had 
gathered a good collection of books and was ever ready to have dialogue 
with any saint or faqir who visited the place. When he learnt that a faqir, 
accompanied by a Mirasi, had come, he came to have a dialogue with the 
Guru. No sooner did he reach the Guru’s place than he asked the Guru 
why he wore leather, how he lived, why did he not lead life in accordance 
with the code recommended by the Sastras. 417 The. Guru replied that 

413. Statement by Col. J.S. Guleria. 

414. The people of Tibet and Ladakh call this Pass Zojila, but others call it the Drass. 

However name Zojila is more popular. 

415. See the note (first note on Sakbi No. 49) of Bhai Vir Singh, editor of the Vilayatvali 


416. See footnote to Sakhi No. 49 by Bhai Vir Singh, Puratan Janamsakhi, Khalsa Tract Society, 

Amritsar. Bij Bihara was also a centre of Hindu pilgrimage which finds mention in 
the Ain-i-Akbari. The place was close to Matan. 

417 The episode relating to Brahm Das having dialogue with the Guru is in the Valayatvali 
Jnamsakhi. This finds mention in no other Janamsakhi text and it seems correct. 


there was no need to perform any ritual except to remember the Lord who 
has created this manifest world, made the sky, earth and the entire universe. 
He said: 

His self He created and Himself realized; 

Separating sky and earth, the canopy He spread. 

Unpropped by pillars He holds the sky, by His manifest Ordinance. 

Then created He sun and moon, whose light is pervasive; 

Then by a wondrous miracle made He night and day. 

Then were instituted holy bathing-spots, 

For ritual bath and discourses dhan/ta on sacred days. 

None Thy equal-what can one say in description of Thee? 

He on the throne eternal is seated- 

The rest all is evanescent. 418 -Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1279 

Brahm Das paid Inis obeisance. Mter a short stay at Matan the Guru 
resumed his journey. 

Panja Sahib 

From Matan, Guru Nanak went to Anant Nag and then to Srinagar, 
the latter is about 40 miles (64 kms.) south of Anant Nag. The town of 
Srinagar was founded by Emperor Ashoka. Shankaracharya temple is 
situated on a mountain top which overlooks the town of Sri nagar. During 
his stay here the Guru met th zyogis 419 and by holding discourses with them 
he removed many of their misgivings as he had earlier done in case of 
Brahm Das. However, there is no gurdhvara at the Shankracharya top. There 
is one centre (Deraj of the Udasis built in memory of Baba Sri Chand but 
there is no information about any historical shrine commemorating the 
Guru’s visit to Srinagar. 420 

From Srinagar Guru Nanak took the southward route which led to 
Baramula, earlier known as Vramula. Baramula is a town on the bank of 
Jehlum, about 35 miles (56 kms.) from Srinagar. Across the river, near 
Baramula, there is a shrine in the memory of Guru 

418. This is the first stanza of Malar ki Vat (M.l). The Vilayatvalijanamsakhittcot&s that the 

Guru composed all the twenty-seven stanzas of this var at Matan. 

419. Kahn Singh, Gurshabd Vatnakar (Mahan Kosh), p. 286. 

420. Bhai Kahn Singh says that th egnrdimra was got constructed by Maharaja Ranjlt Singh on 

Hari Parbat after ascertaining from the locals that the Guru had visited the place. 
Maybe, this is correct because the fort of Hari Parbat was got constructed by Emperor 


Nanak at Harmukh Ganga which is a testimony of the Guru’s visit to this 
region. 421 The Guru then travelled close to Kulahal via Uri.If one travels 
from Baramula on the route on the left o/’Jehlum one 

reaches Uri a town situated on the south-west about 30 miles (48 
kms.) away from Baramula. 422 

About 30 miles away from Kohala and about eight miles (13 kms.) 
east of the modern pucca road, is Kaliansar. There is a tradition that Guru 
Nanak visited this place. A gurdwara also existed there.423 Travelling west 
of Kohala, Guru Nanak reached the place presently known as Hasan Abdal 
(Panja Sahib). 

Hasan Abdal is 20 miles (32 kms.) east of Attock. According to 
Alexander Cunningham, there was earlier a Buddhist monastery here which 
the Chinese traveller Heun Tsang, called the pond of King Alapatra of 
Nagra. According to him, the ruins of Buddhist monasteries and stupas 
were found on the hills around here.424 A Gujjar by the name of Hasan 
had got an inn constructed there around which developed the town of 
that name. 425 According to a tradition, Guru Nanak met Hasan at this 
place. At that time Hasan was grazing his cattle. He felt that the Guru was 
a spiritually enlightened soul and offered him milk. Both Guru Nanak and 
Mardana drank the milk. 426 The tomb of Hasan is still extant on a nearby 
hill. 427 

On another hillock close by lived another Muslim holy man 

421. Kahn Singh, Gurshabd Ratnakar (Mahan Kosh), p. 286. 

422. Three routes are historically well known connecting West Punjab with Srinagar: 

(1) Srinagar, Baramula, Rajauri, Naushahra, Bhimbu, Gujrat or Wazirabad. During the 
times of Ranjit Singh and prior ro him, this route was famous. The Sikh army had 
taken this route to conquer Kashmir. (2) Jehlum, Qila Khamas, Pir SatWan, Chingas, 
Naushahra, Rajauri, Behramgalla, Srinagar. There is no shrine of Guru Nanak on 
both these routes. (3) The third route that we have narrated has several memorials of 
Guru Nanak. Therefore it can be safely surmised that the Guru took this route to 
return ro West Punjab. Moreover, this route was more frequented because both the 
other routes pass through Pir Panjal and as a result of snowfall both of them got 
closed during the winter whereas this route remained open throughout the year. 

423. Kahn Singh, op.cit. 

424. Attock District Gacgtteer, Lahore, 1932, p. 319. 

425. The Attock District Gazetteer, says that Abdal was the other name of Hasan, but the 

word ‘abdal’ literally means ‘the blessed one: Maybe, his inn got the name Hasan 

426. Bawa Sarup Das Bhalla, Mahima Parkash. 

427. Attock District Gazetteer, p. 319. 


named Wali Qandhari. 428 He belonged to the Rafi%i sect of Shia Muslim 
tradition. 429 When Guru Nanak met him, he did not show the usual 
courtesy. The Guru climbed down the hill and sat at the roof of the hill. 
First spring was up the hill later on came down. Wali Qandhari felt jealous 
and he pushed down a rock towards the Guru. As is apparent even today, 
there was no tree on this hill and the rolling stone reached the Guru who 
put his open hand on it to stop it from rolling on. The same stone bearing 
the imprint of the open hand has been preserved. 430 On 27th December 
1835, a German traveller went to Hasan Abdal and he saw this stone 
lying near the place where the Guru Granth Sahib was installed. 431 Guru 
Nanak spent some time at Hasan Abdal. When Mardana performed kirtan, 
the sound of the divine melody reached the ears of Wali Qandhari. He 
was deeply impressed and one day he came down the hill to have a dialogue 
with the Guru. He asked the Guru, “O holy man! What is thy name ?” 
The Guru replied, “Believer in God.” Thereafter dialogue on God ensued. 
The Guru told him that all quarrels between the Rafi^is and Sunnis are 
uncalled for. For the saints, all are God’s own. 432 Wali Qandhari bowed 
before the Guru. The Guru sojourned for a while and then went ahead. 

428. The Bala Janamsakhi records that Guru Nanak went to Qandhar co meet Wali Qandhari. 

This cannot be accepted as correct. Th&Attock District Gazetteer says that Wali Qandhari 
lived on a hillock at Hasan Abdal. The Sikh transition also accepts this. Therefore it 
can be safely accepted that the Guru met Wali Qandhari at this place. The German 
traveller. Hugel, contends that the person who met the Guru was a disciple of Wali 
Qandhari. The real name of Wali Qandhari could not be ascertained. 

429. A manuscript, dated A.D. 1658 of the Bala Janamsakhi makes a special note that Guru 

told Wali Qandhari that both the Rafi^is and the Sunnis are the creations of one God. 
It indicates that Wali Qandhari was a Raji^i. a branch of the Shia Muslims. Other Sufi 
saints who had met the Guru and who find a mention in the janamsakhi literature 
mostly belonged to the Sunni tradition. 

430. The current tradition regarding the Panja Sahib is not found in any janamsakhi, but this 

does not mean that the Guru did not pay a visit to this place. The popular sakhi got 
its present form in the time of Ranjit Singh when Gurdwara Panja Sahib came into 

431. Baron Charles Hugel. Travels in Kashmir and Punjab, London, 1845. pp.225-26. Hugel says 

that this water spring was earlier at the cop of the hill, but according to Alexander 
Cunningham, this spring and the lake have been in existence ever since the time of the 
Buddhists, but the spring was first on the top of hill and subsequently it came down 
the hill. 

432. The 1658 A.D. manuscript of the Bala janamsakhi records that the Guru taught this 

lesson to Wali Qandhari. Since the Guru’s teaching was above sectarian sentiments, 
giving lesson co Qandhari seems in order. However, the story of Wali Qandhari is 
found in no other Janamsakhi version except the Bala. 


Bal Nath 

Hasan Abdal was situated on the kutcha road which led from Lahore 
Peshawar and this road was strengthened later on by Sher Shah Suri. He 
also planted trees on both of its sides and got inns constructed. Guru 
Nanak left south-east of Hasan Abdal and reached Tilla Bal Gudain 433 
(nowjehlum district). The place finds mention in the Ain-i-Akbari wherein 
it is stated that there is a centre of Bal Nath, a yogi, in Sind Sagar Doaba, 
near Shamasabad which is called Tilla Bal Nath. Yogis from far and wide 
came to visit this place. 434 

Guru Nanak reached here and got lodged at a place which was a 
little distance away from Bal Nath’s centre. When Bal Nath learnt that a 
holy man sat not far from his place, he went to the Guru and brought him 
to Inis place. 435 He gave the Guru much respect. In an exclusive meeting, 
he asked Guru Nanak who was his spiritual preceptor and what was his 
path to salvation. The Guru, in reply, recited the following hymn: 

A boat laden with sins am 1-beware lest shaken by the wind it sinks. 

Lord attainment incarnate! to have sight of Thee 
Have we approached Thee- 
Inevitably to us grant exaltation. 

Master, saviour! save us. 

Grant us perfect devotion to the Eternal- 
To Thee am 1 a sacrifice. (I-Pause) 

True Siddhas, Yoga-practitioners, Yogis and itinerant mendicants are those 
That on the Sole conferrer of attainments have meditated. 

Those getting realization touch the Lord’s feet 
And attain union. 

Lord! I know not the way of repetition of texts, austerity, 
self-restraint or ritual- 
Thy Name solely I utter. 

Saith Nanak: As the Master, image of the Supreme Being was met. 

By the holy Word were all doubts set at rest. 

- Guru Gtanth Sahib, p. 878 

433. It is said that Tilla Bal Godain was so named because here a woman had, so as to test a jogi. 

weaved (godain) the hair, (bai) of a jogi. 

434. Sir Jadunath Sarkar (tr.) Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. II, Calcurta, 1949, p. 319. 

435. Mihaxban. Janamsakhi, Part II, p. 174. 


Bal Nath was highly influenced listening this hymn. He also said that 
Gum Nanak had realized God and that devotion (,bhakti) was the sole way 
to God-realization. 436 The Guru stayed with him for some time. The 
imprints of the Guru’s feet can be seen even today on the stone where he 
sat. There was also a small gurdivara in memory of the visit and before the 
Partition a sadhu used to look after the shrine. 437 

A little distance away from this Tilla has been the famous fort of 
Rohtas which is three miles (5 kms.) west of Din a Railway Station. It was 
got built by Sher Shah Suri after the time of Guru Nanak. After this fort 
the town is also named Rohtas. 438 Nearby this fort flows a fountain called 
Choha Baba Nanak. This is said to be a memorial of the time of Guru 
Nanak as, it is said, Guru Nanak brought it out by picking up a stone. 439 


From Tilla Bal Godain, Guru Nanak and Mardana travelled toward 
south-east on the route which was known as Shah Rah. On the way they 
crossed thejehlum and the Chenab rivers to reach Sialkot. Itwas an ancient 
town which was earlier named Sakla or Salkot. It had sometime in the past 
been the capital town of entire Punjab. 440 

Guru Nanak and Mardana stayed at a place outside the town under a 
her (berry) tree. On this site now stands a gurdivara to which the devotees 
thronged in large numbers before Partition. While the Guru himself halted 
here, he sent Mardana to the town to buy truth with one paisa and falsehood 
with another. Mardana visited all the shops but no one replied. There was 
a shopkeeper by the name of Mula. He took two pieces of paper and 
wrote on them: “death is truth (reality)” and “life is falsehood (transient)”. 
Mardana took both the pieces of paper to the Guru. Guru Nanak was 
highly impressed by this and called on Mula at his shop. He had a 
conversation with Mula and told him that he had realized the reality of 
life. Bhai Mula 

436. This sakhiis based on “Gosti Bal Nath Nal” in Miharhanjanamsakhi, Part II, p. 174. 

437. Kahn Singh, Gnrshahd Ratnakar (Mahan Kosh), p. 858, op.cit. 

438. Ganesh Das Vadehra, Char Bagh-i-Punjab, ed. Kirpal Singh, Amritsar, p. 163. 439. See 

entry on “Rohtas” in Kahn Singh, Alahan Kosh, p. 785. 

440. Ganesh Das, CharBagh-i-Punjab, pp. 223-224. 


replied that he has not yet learnt, much of truth but he should be able to 
with his grace. He was so Impressed by the Gurus Ideas that he left his 
home and prepared to accompany the Guru. Guru Nanak lived in Sialkot 
for sometime and then travelled farther on. 441 

Mian Mittha 

Guru Nanak accompanied by Mardana and Bhai Mula (the latter had 
joined them from Sialkot) left Sialkot for Talwandi. Travelling south-east 
from Sialkot he reached the town now named Kotla Mian Mittha.442 Here 
lived a spiritually enlightened faqir by the name of Mian Mittha. Guru 
Nanak stayed outside the habitations of Kotla. When Mian Mittha learnt 
that a holy man has come to his village and that he is accompanied by a 
rebeck player, he met the Guru and had a dialogue with him. He said: 

The first name is of KJmda, then of the Prophet 

If Nanak recites Quran, he will be accepted in the Divine Court. 

Guru Nanak replied: 

First comes Khudas name, Prophets stand at His door. 

O Shaikh! cultivate nobility, only then will you earn acceptance. 443 
Mian Mittha said that just as a lamp cannot be lighten up without oil, 
without prophet salvation was not possible and union with God could not 
be realized. 

In reply Guru Nanak uttered the following hymn 444 : 

Let man live as by scriptures guided. 

Let the wick of fear of God in the self be put. 

Let this wick with realization of holy truth be lighted. 

Thus will this oil and lamp be lit. 

In its light will union with the Lord came about. 

441. This sakhi is found only in Bhai Mani Singh’s janamsakhi. However, the name of Bhai 

Mula occurs in one of the compositions of Guru Nanak. See Sakhi, “Bhai Mule da 
Dehant.” Bhai Mula was a resident of Sialkot. This fact is acknowledged by all the 

442. Bhai Kahn Singh calls Mian Mittha’s Korla as Mithan Kot which is incorrect. The 

Vilayatvalijanamsakhi s&sosds that Guru Nanak reached Mian Mittha’s Korla via Pasrur. 
Pasrur is a tehsil town of Sialkot district (Pakistan). 

443. This question and answer are found In Vilayatvalt janamsakht. See SakhfHo. 36. Although 

this episode is not mentioned in any other janamsakhi but the dialogue seems in order 
in the given context. 

444. The Guru has included both Mian Mittha’s question and answer thereto in this hymn. 

The first verse of the recited hymn is the question which we have omitted here. 


As the self with the holy Word is penetrated, 

By devotion to God comes joy. 

Know, the whole world is evanescent. 

By devotion in this world, 

Shall ye get a place at the Divine Portal. 

Then, say Nanak, in joy may you gambol. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 25 

Mian Mittha then asked as to which is that Quran the reading of 
which earns man acceptance, what is that austerity which helps union 
with God, what is that Ro%a and Natna ^ which help concentrate mind on 
God. Guru Nanak asked Mardana to play rebeck and recited the following 

Make the mosque of compassion, thy prayer-mat of sincerity; 

The Qoranic scripture of honest and legitimate earning. 

Be modesty thy circumcision, noble conduct thy Ramadan fast 

-Such a Mussalman shouldst thou be. 

By thy Kaaba thy good deeds, truth thy preceptor; 

Good actions thy Kalima and Namap. 

Make thy rosary of what pleases God: 

Thus, saith Nanak, will thy honour before God be vindicated. 445 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 141 

Mian Mittha was highly impressed at this and he bowed before the 
Guru. After spending some more time there; Guru Nanak left forTalwandi. 


Guru Nanak, Mardana and Bhai Mula left Koda Mian Mittha and 
reached Talwandi. They stayed outside the village. Mardana went into the 
village and met members of his family. Guru Nanak’s parents also learnt 
from Mardana about the arrival of their son. They went to him and brought 
him home. The entire family got together. Guru Nanak had entered his 
house after so many years. It was natural for members of the family to feel 
rejoiced. All of them desired that (Guru) Nanak had come back after long 
travels in far off lands 

445. The Vilayatvali Janamsakhi records here a hymn of Guru Arjan which is apparently 
incorrect. The above noted hymn seems correct in reply to Mian Mittha’s question. 
The questions are mentioned in the Janamsakhi. 


and therefore he should be served with dainty dishes. The mother was the 
happiest of all. She asked him to name any delicacy and she promised to 
prepare that for him. However, within the heart of Nanak was another 
desire which was more tasty and juicy than any other dish or desert. The 
Guru gave no answer, but when he was compelled, he uttered the following 
hymn : 

In contemplation of the Lord are comprehended sweedy tasting delicacies; 
In listening to the holy Word, the saline dishes. 

Uttering the holy Word is foods of sour and pungent taste; 

Sound of holy music condiments and spices. 

Devotion to the Lord is thirty-six viands- 
These by Divine grace are attained. 

Friend! to taste of other than these is to ruin bliss- 
Such gormandizing as produces torment to the body, 

And fills with foul thinking the mind. (Pause I) 

A consciousness dyed in God is your vermilion wear; 

In giving away charity lie shining white dresses. 

Snapping worldly attachment is wearing blue and black; 

Contemplation of Divine feet is your gown. 

Contentment your girdle; 

God’s Name is wealth and beauty. 

Friend! all other wear ruins bliss- 
The wear that to the limbs is torment, 

And with foul thinking fills the mind. (Pause I) 

To know Thy way is to be master of horses, saddle-cloths, golden tail- tips; 
Turning the mind towards Thy merits is our quiver, 
arrows, bow, spear and sword-strap; 

Our drums and lances, manifest honour by Thee conferred; 

Thy grace my high caste. 

Friend! all accoutrement and mounting other than these is to ruin bliss. 

Such mounting to the body brings torment, 

And with evil thinking fills the mind. (Pause I) 

Joy in holy Name is our house and home. 

Thy grace our family. 

To win Thy pleasure, which is beyond description, 

Is our mark of rank. 

Saith Nanak: He is the true king, needing not anyone’s counsel. 

446. This sakhi is based on what is recorded in Miharban’s Janamsakhi under section Gum Ji 
Tahvandi Vich. 


Friend! to seek ease other than this is ruining bliss. 

Such ease to the body brings torment, 

And with evil thinking fills the mind. (Pause I) 

-Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 16-17 
Gum Nanak stayed at Talwandi for some time. Mula went back to 
Sialkot from here and Guru Nanak and Mardana started for Sultanpur. 

Sultanpur and Meeting with Daulat Khan Lodhi 

Guru Nanak and Mardana left Talwandi and reached Sultanpur. Here 
they met Nanaki and other members of the family. By coincidence Daulat 
Khan Lodhi also happened to be in town those days. Sikandar Lodhi had 
appointed him as Subedar of Punjab. Therefore, he generally resided at 
Lahore but would come to his jagir at Sultanpur sometimes. When Guru 
Nanak went to Sultanpur, he happened to be there. When he learnt that 
his former keeper of stores, Nanak, had come, he called on him. He asked 
him about his well-being as well as of his present residence. In reply, the 
Guru recited the following hymn 447 : 

Thoughtless it is to settle down in this world As thought it were a lasting 
abode or home, 

With all the time our stay uncertain from impending departure. 

Our true abode is in the realm that is immutable, eternal. 

How can the world be reckoned a lasting abode? 

By truthful doing your journey’s provision gather; 

In devotion to the Name engage yourself (Pause I) 

The Yogi practising yogic postures, the Mullah adopting the pious stance; 

The Brahmins that scriptures expound; 

The Siddhas that in temples of deities are setded; 

Gods, Siddhas, the divine choristers, keepers of vows of silence, 

Muslim divines and leaders in tradition- 

All must depart far away; others too for departure are poised. 

Kings, lords, chiefs, nobles-all these have departed. 

In a short while shall come departure to all- 

Know, my self! thou too must leave. 

In holy texts is this truth expounded, which few realize. 

Thus submits Nanak: In water and on land is He pervasive. 

447. MSaarbanJanamsakhi Guru Nanak Dev, pp. 374-76. 


Allah is beyond our knowing, inaccessible, 

Almighty, Creator, gracious: 

The whole world is evanescent; 

The merciful God alone is immutable. 

God alone is immutable, who to no writ is subject. 

Heaven and earth one day must vanish- 

He alone is immutable. 

In the day moves the sun, at night the moon, 

And millions of stars that speed. 

Nanak : proclaim this truth: 

None is immutable but He alone ! 448 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 64 

When Guru Nanak explained that Allah (God) is indescribable, 
unfathomable, creator and compassionate whereas the entire creation is 
transient and the destination of all the creatures is the One God, Daulat 
Khan was deeply impressed. He bowed before the Guru. 

Guru Nanak stayed with Nanaki for some time. At this time Mardana 
requested him that he has already travelled a lot of places and that he 
should now visit Mecca as well. On Mardana’s request, the Guru made up 
his mind to pay a visit to Mecca also. So he set out towards Pakpatan. 

Shaikh Ibrahim 

Guru Nanak and Mardana left Sultanpur, crossed the Sutlej in a boat 
and reached Pakpatan. 449 Although Pakpatan is a little distance away from 
the river yet it was a famous ferry on the western bank of the Sutlej at the 
time of Guru Nanak. Several land routes converged here. This was the 
Guru’s second visit to the town. 450 As during his last visit even now Shaikh 

448. The internal evidence of the hymn suggests that it is an explanation of the word mukani 

and that the Guru might have recited it for the benefit of some Muslims because 
Muslim influence was dominanr. The use of words like “sultan ”, “umrao ”, “khan ”, etc. 
also proves that the Guru is conversing with a Muslim of high rank. The Miharban 
Janamsakhi records that the Guru recited this hymn to Daulat Khan Lodhi. There is 
much to show that the episode did occur and can be treated as a historical facr. 

449. The tradition of Guru Nanak sailing in a boat is current in Uch Shari/even today. There 

lies a small boat and it is said that Guru Nanak had boarded it. Statement by Sardar 
Balwanr Singh Kalra who had lived near Uch Sharif for several years. Therefore he also 
served as Presidenr of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Bangkok, during the 1960s. 

450. Bhai Mani Singh’s janamsakhi records that Guru Nanak visited Pakpatan twice which is 

borne out by a strong tradition. 


Ibrahim occupied the spiritual seat of Shaikh Farid. Shaikh Ibrahim was 
quite liberal and warm-hearted. He welcomed the Guru and lodged him in 
his Dargah. 

Guru Nanak would get up in the morning and perform kirtan. Mardana 
would play rebeck and the Guru would be lost in divine melody. In the 
16th century, the holy men used to express their feelings in verse. 451 The 
tradition was so strong that every such saint would either possess or 
remember by heart his own verses or famous verses of some other holy 
man. When Guru Nanak recited his own hymns, Shaikh Ibrahim also felt 
inspired to recite some verses. 452 One day having a discourse on God with 
Guru Nanak, Shaikh Ibrahim recited this couplet: 

Says Farid : 

Farid, tear thy clothes to strips; assume coarse woollen wear. 

Assume whatever wear will bring thee near the Beloved. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1383 

Guru Nanak replied: 

In the home is the wife pining for her Lord far away, 

Ever thinking on Him: 

Union with Him may soon come about, should her love be sincere. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 594 

Shaikh Ibrahim again said: 

Saith Farid : In youth this life-female loved not the Lord; 

Grown in years, she died. 

In the grave wails her soul, 

Lord! Thee I failed to meet. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1380 

451. The compositions of sevetal holy men who lived before Guru Nanak are also found 

included in the Guru Granth Sahib. 

452. Some scholars hold the view that the hymns included in Guru Granth Sahib in the name 

of Shaikh Farid ate that of Shaikh Ibrahim. But name given there is Shaikh Farid who 
could not be any other person than Shaikh Fatid Ganj-i-Shakar. Shaikh Ibrahim is 
said to have only handed over these compositions of Shaikh Farid to Guru Nanak 
who met him twice. Most of the Muslim writers are of the view that Shaikh Farid did 
not write in the loea! dialect. Some writers including Dr. K.A. Nizami of Aligarh 
Universiry. and author of Life and Limes of Shaikh Land with whom I discussed this 
matter exptessed the view that Shaikh Farid did write some couplets in Multani. The 
author of Akhbar-ulAkhiar is also of the view that Shaikh Farid wrote couplets in 
Multani. See. K.A. Nizami, Life and Times of Shaikh Farid-n-din and Wahid Ahmad 
Mahsud. Ha^ratBabaFarid-u-dinMahsua, Ganj-i-Shakar Karachi, 1965. 


To this Gum Nanak replied: 

The woman of bad ways, self-complacent; 

Of blackened, impure mind- 

Should she have merit, with her Lord would she have bliss: 

Not the foolish female, of bad qualities, saith Nanak. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1088 
Shaikh Ibrahim was deeply impressed and felt pleased on listening to 
the hymns of Guru Nanak. He asked the Guru that it needed a dagger to 
kill the mind. To this the Guru replied: 

With knife from truth made, 

The steel too of truth, 

Of indescribable workmanship; 

On the grindstone of the holy word sharpened, 

In the scabbard of good qualities sheathed- 
Should the sheikh with such knife be slaughtered, 

The blood of avarice oozes out. 

Such slaughtering is of the approved kind, to the Lord acceptable. 

Saith Nanak: Such a sacrifice, at the Divine Portal is by the Lord 
seen and approved. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 956 

The Shaikh felt very happy to listen to this and he handed over many 
couplets that lay with him. 453 The Guru spent some time here and composed 
some stanzas (Pauris) which later on served as the first nine stanzas (Pauris) 
of Asa di Vtlr as included in the Guru Granth Sahib. 454 

From Pakpatan, the Guru headed for Multan. 

Multan and Baha-ud-Din Makhdum 

Multan is one of the ancient towns of Punjab. According to a 
statement by Alexander Cunningham, Multan was the capital town of the 
Mali community during the time of Alexander the Great. Heun Tsang has 
also referred to Multan. At the time of Guru Nanak, Multan was the capital 

453. This entire episode is based on sakhiNo. 32 (Appendix 24-32) in the Vilayatvalijanamsakhi. 

This does not find mention in any other version. Bur it is widely believed by the Sikhs 
to be tme. 

454. The Vilayatvalijanamsakhi records that Guru Nanak composed the first nine stanzas 

(Pauris) of Asa divar&t Pakpatan. These nine stanzas (Panris) eulogize the Lord. The 
slokas proceeding them contain some views on Islam. For example, the slokas added 
to the sixth stanza (Pauris) talks about “the remains of a Muslim”, etc. This testifies 
the statements made in the Janamsakhi. 


of the surrounding territory. In the 18th century before the setting up of 
the Bahawalpur State, the area comprising of this state and the deserts of 
Bikaner were all under Multan. 455 It is also said that the famous Hamaksh- 
Prahlad story took place in this town. After the arrival of Muslims in India, 
Multan became an important centre of Islam. The tomb of Shamas Tabrez 
stands now towards the south of Multan. Sham as Tabrez, whose real name 
was Shamas-ud-Din came from the fertile Afghanistan region in 17th century 
to settle here. 456 Shaikh Baha-ud-Din Zakaria migrated to this place in the 
12th century. Pilgrims from far off places come to pay their obeisance at 
the tombs of these two holy men. Multan had become a centre of Muslim 
holy men because of the tombs of these faqirs. At the time of Guru Nanak, 
Muslim faqirs of different traditions lived in Multan. 

Shaikh Jalal Bukhari (d. A.D. 1291) who was the first of the Bukhari 
family to settle at Uch was well-known as a spiritually enlightened faqir. 
He was the disciple of Shaikh Baha-ud-din Zakaria Quraishi (d. A.D. 
1266).457 Baha-ud-Din Zakaria was a close friend of Baba Farid Ganj-i- 
Shakar (d. A.D. 1269).458 Thus, the descendants of Baha-ud-Din Zakaria 
in Multan, the spiritual descendants of Farid Shakarganj in Pakpatan and 
the family of Jalal Bukhari in Dch used to meet one another and were on 
very good terms. These three families have produced several Muslim 

The monastery of Shaikh Farid in Pakpatan, and those of Syad Jalal 
Bukhari and his grandson Makhdum-i-Jahania in Uch and of Shaikh Baha- 
ud-Din Zakaria in Multan were considered holy places by the local Muslims. 
All these three places were owned and looked after by three different 
persons. Generally, the person appointed was from amongst the family of 
the founder. He was called makhdum and all those who attended on him 
were called khadams (servants). There were always three different 
Makhdums of these three branches. At the time of Guru Nanak, the seat 
of Baha-ud-din Zakaria was occupied by one Baha-ud-din from amongst 
his family. 459 Shaikh Baha-ud-Din Makhdum was the grandson of Shaikh 

455. Ancient Geography of India, Varanasi, 1963, p. 185. 

456. Multan District Gaiytteer, Lahore, 1923-24, p. 238. 

457. Thomas William Beel, Oriental Biographical Dictionary, Calcutta, 1881, p. 130. 

458. Sir Jadunath Sarkar (tr.) Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. Ill, p. 40. 

459. Lepel Griffin, Chief and Families of Note, Vol. II, Lahore, p. 375. 


Yusaf According to Ain-i-Akbari, Shaikh Yusaf of this Quraishi family of 
Multan ruled Multan for seventeen years. He died in the early years of the 
reign of Bahlol Lodhi. 460 Shaikh Baha-ud-din Makhdum was a contemporary 
of Guru Nanak and most of the J anamsakhi literature refers to him as 
Makhdum Bahavdi. 461 

When Guru Nanak reached the tomb of Baha-ud-din Zakaria, the 
then present Makhdum, Shaikh Baha-ud-din, was about to say his nama.%. 
He sent a message through his attendants that he was going to say nama ^ 
and that Guru Nanak should wait for him a little and must not go without 
meeting him. When the khadam came near the Guru, he assured him that 
he (Guru) would go back only after seeing him (the Makhdum). The khadam 
felt pleased on hearing this and said that he had known what was in their 
mind. After some time, the Makhdum came after saying his prayers. Guru 
Nanak stood up to receive him. They shook hands and settled down. The 
Makhdum first enquired his welfare. Guru Nanak replied that he was fine 
after meeting the godly people. Makhdum told him that he knew that he 
(the Guru) saw both the Muslims and the Hindus with one eye. However, 
he wanted to 1-mow if God is within both of them. The Guru replied that 
God resides at all places and in all beings. Residing within all of us. He 
enjoys the joy of world and bears both pain and pleasure. The Guru also 
recited the following hymn : 462 

Himself the voluptuary, Himself essence of the pleasure and of 
pleasure the enjoyer. 

Himself the female begowned, Himself the Husband in couch taking delight. 
The Lord, in dye of delight soaked, is pervasive completely in the universe. 
Himself the fisherman, the fish, water and net; 

Himself the net, the bead and the bait. 

460. Lepel Griffin, Chiefs and Families of Note, Vol. II, Lahore, p. 375. 

461. The Vilayati’alijanamsakhi mentions him as Makhdum Bahavadi. It also calls him the 

grandson ofPvc Bahavadi. However, he was the fifth descendant afShaikh Baha-ud- 
Oin Zakaria. 

462. This is based on a sakhi in the Miharban Janamsakhi. See Miharban, Janamsakhi Gum 

Nanak Dev, pp. 438 and 442. In the Vilayatvali Janamsakhi, the sakhi No. 45 makes a 
mention ofMakhdum Bahavadi which confirms that Baha-ud-din Makhdum was 
quite close to Guru Nanak. However, this latter sakhi is different from the one in 
Miharban’s text and is about the matters relating to spiritual realm. Both the sakhis 
testifY to the close relationship that Baha-ud-din enjoyed with the Guru. 


Dear sister of my soul! the Beloved is voluptuary of many delights. 

The happily-wedded ones have perpetual delight with Him. 

See how unlucky 1 am. 

Thus prays Nanak : Thou art the Lake, the swan, 

The Lotus and buds; night-buds; 

The loveliness view and have delight. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 23 

On listening to this, Baha-ud-din bowed before the Gum. After 
spending some time in Multan, Guru Nanak and Mardana left for Uch. 46} 
Uch is a very ancient town. According to Alexander Cunningham, 
Alexander the Great had founded a habitation on the place where now 
stands Uch. 464 During the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, Muslim rule was 
established here. Prior to this, it was named Diogarh. 465 It was considered 
an important centre of Islam. The famous Sufi faqir, Jalal-ud-din Bukhari 
came and settled here in the 13th century. His name added a lot to the 
grandeur of Uch. Even Ain-i-Akbari calls it the principal town of Suba-i- 
Multan. 466 At the time of Guru Nanak, descendants of Jalal-ud-din Bukhari 
lived here. Jalal-ud-din Makhdum, son oijalal-ud-din Bukhari’s elder son 
Syad Muhammad was a spiritually enlightened faqir. He passed away in 
A.D. 1383. 467 Those days generally the eldest son became Makhdum, but 
after the death of Makhdum-i-jahania, his younger brother occupied the 
seat. The Makhdum at the time of Guru Nanak was one of his descendants 
and his name was Shaikh Haji Abdul Sahib Bukhari. Details about him are 
available, in Ain-i-Akbari. He died in A.D. 1525-26. 468 

Guru Nanak put up with the Makhdum when he visited Uch. The 
Makhdum was making preparations for Haj. After some time Baha-ud-din 
Makhdum of Multan also arrived in Uch. All of them set out for Haj. The 
Guru also accompanied them for Haj after spending some days in Uch. 

463. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 24, p. 82. 

464 . Makhdum-i-JahaniaJahan Gashat, Karachi, 1963,pp. 73-75. 

465. Ibid 

466. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 24, p. 82. 

467. Col. Jerret and Sirjadunath Sarkar (til), Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. Ill, Calcutta, 1948, p. 417. 

468. The tradition of Guru Nanak visiting Uch is current there even today. Five things related 

to him are srill preserved in the treasury of Uch Sharif These are: (i) wooden sandals, 
(ii) Bairagan, (iii) bangles made of stone, (iv) mace of stone, and (v) wooden boat. 
Statement by Sardar Balwant Singh Kalra who had lived in Uch for several years. 



Guru Nanak, Mardana, the Makhdum of Uch and the Makhdum of 
Muhan boarded a boat from Uch. The boat, crossing via Panjnad, took 
these holy men to Sakkhar through the Indus river. 469 Those days the Hajis 
of Multan region went to Mecca via Sakkhar and Shikarpur or through 
Bolan Pass in Baluchistan. 470 Makhdum Baha-ud-din and Makhdum Abdul 
Wahab wanted to get down at Sakkhar and go to Mecca via Shikarpur. 
They also wanted to go along with their disciples who were travelling in 
separate boats. Thus, both the Makhdums got off the boat here and went 
to Shikarpur. 

Guru Nanak took another boat in the Indus river and travelling 
through what is called Kori river in the history of Kutch, and Lakhpat 
river in the Imperial Gazetteer, he reached the present city of Lakhpat Nagar 471 
(District Bhuj). In olden days, the Lakhpat and Kutch region formed part 
of Sindh. At the time of Hieun Tsang’s visit to India, Kutch was a state of 
Sindh. 472 In ancient times, the river Indus and its subsidiary streams fell 
into the sea after passing through Kutch. The symptoms of these can be 
seen even now. 473 The Arab writers record that in the 7th century two 
streams, Mehran and Hakara, originated from the eastern bank of the river 
Indus and passing through the region of Rann fell into the sea. Up to the 
10th century, Lakhpat was a prosperous region. Thereafter its water-level 
began to decline and by the 18th century, it turned into barren land. 474 The 
earthquake of 1819 completely destroyed and buried it under earth along 
with another town Sindhri, a port town, the earth here pushed itself down 
by 12-15 feet. The saltish water spread in 2000 square miles (3200 kms.) 

469. According to a popular tradition connected with the boat lying in Uch, the Makhdums of 

Uch, as well as of Multan, Guru Nanak and a carefree person (he could be Mardana) 
boarded one boat to reach Panjnad. Guru Nanak and Mardana had to go to Mecca 
and the other two also wanted to go for Hap. Travel through boats in Indus river had 
been in vogue for quite some time. See Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 13, pp. 126-27. 

470. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 12, pp. 276-77. Shikarpur is a tehsil town in Sakkhar district 

(Sindh). Prior to the habitation at Quetta, the route to Qandhar through Bolan 4 Pass 
was via Shikarpur. 

471. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. II, p. 84-85. 

472. Alexander Cunningham, Ancient Geography of India, p. 210. 

473. Ibid., p. 212. 

474. Ram Singh Kangi Rathor, Kutchno SanskritDaisan (Gujrati), Ahmedabad, 1958, pp. 244- 

45. See also Kutch Gazetteer, Chapter on description. 


from Sindhri. Simultaneously on an area of 600 square miles earth puffed 
up in small portions of 18'-50' X 10'-15'. Thus this quake for ever ruined 
Lakhpat which was earlier quite fertile for paddy, now turned into a barren 



At the time of Guru Nanak, Lakhpat was called Basta Bandar. It 
earned revenue worth one lakh kori (six koris were roughly equivalent to 
one rupee). Since all transportation was by boats, the village came to be 
called Lakhpat. 476 There stands a huge gurdimra at Lakhpat in the memory 
of Guru Nanak. Th e granthi of the gurdimra told the author that there was 
earlier a small building in place of the present one. A manuscript in the 
gurdwara says that th c gurdwara was built in the beginning of the 19 th century 
and the land of Kuriani village was attached, as jagir, to it. 477 Kuriani is a 
town about 10-12 miles (19.01 kms) off Lakhpat. There is a very old 
sarovaror pond in Kuriani which is called Nanaksar. There was earlier an 
old gurdwara in Kuriani in the memory of Guru Nanak. It has since been 
replaced by a new one. 478 

Asa Purani Devi, also called Kali Mata, has been worshipped in the 
Lakhpat region for the past many centuries. An old temple dedicated to 
her is situated forty miles (54 kms) east of Lakhpat. These days it is on a 
pucca road that connects Bhuj and Lakhpat via Nakhtarana. There is a 
tradition in Lakhpat that goddess Asa, Purani came to Lakhpat to meet 
Guru Nanak and she requested that the entire world accepts your spiritual 
suzerainty but let this region Kutch be spared for me. This tradition shows 
that the Guru did not go into the interior of the region. 479 

Guru Nanak left Lakhpat and travelling through Kuriani and 
Kotesvara reached the old temple of Naraina Swami that is situated on 

475. The author is grateful to Mr. D.K. Vaidya, the Curator of the Museum at Bhuj for 

rendering into English the relevant portions from the Kntchno Sanskrit Daisan. 

476. Statement by Samji Mauji Bhatia, Sarpanch of Lakhpat village. 

477. The manuscript lying in the gurdwara is in Gujrati and its English translation is as 

follows: “Rao Sri Raedhanji, Rao Sri Golji Samvat 1863, Har Sudi 2. Wednesday. 
Maharaj Rao Sri Raedhanji declared that the Court bestows one village Kuriani for use 
by the religious place of Udasi Brahm Chetan son and disciple of Brahm Suchet of 
Lakhpat village. The portion of the State on the production, revenue, etc. are hereby 
given to this shrine so that Lakhpat and Kuraini remain cordially inclined and the holy 
men are duly served.” 

478. Statement by Mul Das, who served as zgranthi in the gurdwara at Lakhpat during the 


479. Ibid. 


the sea shore. From here he boarded a boat and reached the port on of 

The port of Sonmiani was locally called Miani. It is situated 50 miles 
(80 kms.) west of present Karachi town and. was a famous art in 
Baluchistan. Before the founding of Karachi, most of the trade in Central 
Asia was carried on from this port via Kalat. 480 It was a natural port, situated 
in the sea in a semi-circle of 28 miles (40.8 kms) and with a width of four 
miles (6.4 kms). Guru Nanak took a boat from Naraina sarovar and reached 

Hinglaj is very far off from Miani. So the Guru reached Hinglaj. An 
old temple, on the bank of Huglaj river and in the hills of Hinglaj, was 
then the principal shrine there. The Muslims called it the shrine of goddess 
Nani and the Hindus called it of Kali Mata Parbati. 481 

This temple was in a high valley, of semi-circle in size. One could 
reach the temple by climbing up the stairs. Guru Nanak visited this temple. 
To the east of this temple and a little farther off there is a gurdwara in 
memory of Guru Nanak. 482 Here some sadhus met the Guru. They saw 
him attired like a Haji and were astonished at this. Nobody could make 
out whether he was an ascetic or a Bairagi, Vaishnava or Udasi, Hindu or 
Muslim, Khatri or Brahmin, Vaishya or Sudra. Some of them came to the 
Guru and asked: “O Beloved of God! What is your dress and what do you 
eat? Also please let us know about yourself so that we can make out as to 
what should be your diet and could serve you appropriately.” In reply to it, 
the Guru uttered the following hymn 483 : 

Those adopting the fast of truth, holy pilgrimage, of content and 
bath of illumination and meditation; 

Making compassion their deity, forgiveness their rosary, 

Are pre-eminent among men. 

To make union with the lord the dhoti; absorption in God the ritually 
pure kitchen, 

480. Imperial Gazetteer, Provincial Series, Baluchistan, Calcutta, 1908, p. 193. 

481. Ibid., pp. 192-93. 

482. See the drawing in A.w. Huggs, The Country of Balochistan. 

483. This is based on the sakhi tided, “Guru Ji Hinglaj Vich” in Miharban’s Janamsakhi, pp. 

461-62. Although this episode is found in no other Janamsakhi version yet it seems 
correct since it happened at a place which is on the Guru’s way to Mecca. Bhal Gurdas 
has also said that the Guru first went to Mecca and then to Baghdad. Thus, the 
Guru’s journey by sea seems probable and correct. Lakhpat, sarovar tit Narain Swami 
and Hinglaj fall on this route. 


Love the food consumed- 

Saith Nanak : Rare are such as thus are blessed. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1245 
When the sadhus listened to these words of the Guru, they fell at his 


Mecca and Medina 

Leaving the temple at Hinglaj, Guru Nanak and Mardana reached 
the port of Son Miani. They took the sea route and reached the port of 
Kalhatt, which was very famous those days and which was on the other 
end of the Persian gulf. Travelling through Kalhatt 484 (which was near 
Mascut) came to Aden and thence to the port of Al-Asivatt which was 
very famous among the Hajis and which was twelve miles (19 kms.) south 
of the present port of Jeddah. 485 From this port, they advanced to reach 
Mecca. 486 

Mecca was a very important centre of trade even before it became a 
holy place for the Muslims. The famous Greek writer Ptolemy calls the 
town Makoraba. Originally, Mecca came into being around the Zam^am 
well. Sura 106 of the Quran calls it “the eternal establishment for the 
carvans both in summer and winter.” 487 

Guru Nanak stayed in Mecca for some time. In the meanwhile, 

484. Bhai Gurdas holds that Guru Nanak first visited Mecca and thereafter went to Baghdad. 

The Ba/a and the Siam Singh Janamsakhis also support the view that Guru Nanak first 
visited Mecca and then Medina. There are only two routes from India to go to Mecca- 
one: sea-route and the other land route. In the over-land travel one reached after 
passing through Baghdad, and Medina. Since all Janamsakhi versions agree that the 
Guru first visited Mecca and since Bhai Gurdas also supports this view, it can be 
surmised that the Gum took the sea-route. 

485. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, both the Muscat and Jeddah ports had not 

come into existence by the beginning of 16th century. Kalhatt and Al-Aswad were the 
popular ports then. 

486. These days only the Muslims can go to Mecca to pay obeisance at the Ka’aba. Non-Muslims 

are not allowed. In the 16th century, this discrimination was not strictly implemented. 
Since holy men do not generally disclose their faith to others, even non-Muslims also 
visited Mecca among the Hajis. The Dabistan says that Eknath also visited Mecca. 
Guru Nanak had also put on the attire of a Haji as Bhai Gurdas has said: 

“The Baba then went to Mecca, donning blue robes. 

He held staff in his hand, a book under his armpit, held a metal pot and a 
artress.” (Bhai Gurdas Var 1, Vauri 32) 

487. Encyclopaedia of Islam. London, Vol. 43. p. 437. 


Makhdum Baha-ud-din of Multan and Makhdum Abdul Wahab who had 
got separated from Guru Nanak at Shikarpur also arrived. They were quite 
surprised to find the Guru arriving before them. 488 

During his stay at Mecca, one day Guru Nanak slept with his feet 
towards the holy Km’ aba. When other Hajis got up in the morning, they 
found that the Guru’s feet were towards Ka’aba. One Haji, named Jiwan, 
among them went to the Guru and shook his feet saying that he had his 
feet towards the abode of God. The Guru answered him that he might 
shift his feet in the direction in which God did not reside. This implied 
that according to Islamic faith, God is Rabul-almin. He is all-pervasive. 
When he pulled the Guru’s feet to the other side, he perceived the Ka’aba 
building changing direction accordingly. 489 

Many Hajis got together there. They developed some apprehension 
and asked the Guru, “O holy man! Whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim.” 
The Guru uttered the following hymn 490 : 

Lord! Thy fear is my hemp-drug, my mind the leather pouch. 

Mad in this intoxication, an anchorite am 1 become. 

With my bowl for Thy sight 1 beg, that I hunger for. 

This ever at Thy door I beg. 

For Thy sight I yearn; 

At Thy door a beggar-pray dole out this charity to me. 

Saffron, flowers, musk and gold by all persons of all castes may be offered. 
The merit of sandalwood and God’s devotees is, 

To all they impart fragrance. 

488. All the Janamsakhi relate that the Makhdums were surprised to find him reaching Mecca 

before themselves and thus giving an impression of some miraculous feat. As already 
stated, Makhdums went to Mecca by land-route whereas Gum Nanak took the sea- 
route. So it was natural that the Gum arrived in Mecca before the Makhdums because 
land-route takes more time as compared to the sea-route. 

489. The tradition of Ka ’aba changing direction or place has come from Islamic texts. Farid- 

u-din Atar (1119-1230), Ta^kara-i-Aulia (Ch. IX) says about Prophet Rabia: 

“When she went to the Haj second time, she saw that the respected Ka'aba was 
coming to welcome her.” It goes on to record: “Hazrat Ibrahim went to holy Mecca 
reached Mecca in fourteen years, but he saw no Ka 'aba there a voice came saying that it 
has gone to receive an old weak holy lady.” Tasjzara-i-Aulia 4 (Urdu), Ghulam Hussain 
and Sons, Lahore, pp. 63-64. 

490. The Utterance of this hymn by Guru Nanak had nothing unusual about it because the 

Hajis who put these questions to him were especially those who had gone from India 
and they could comprehend Sadh Bhakha. The Vilayati’alijanamsakhi records that the 
Guru uttered this hymn in Mecca in response to the questions of Hajis there. 


None considers ghee and silk polluted: 

Such is God’s devotee, whatever his caste. 

These in devotion to Thy Name bow. 

Nanak at the door of such begs aims. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 721 
When the Hajis did not get a clear answer as to whether Guru Nanak 
was a Hindu or a Muslim, they again questioned him saying that he should 
reveal the book he used to carry under his arm. They wanted to know 
whether it was the Quran or some other text. They also desired to know 
whether Hindus or Muslims were good. In response, the Guru saki that 
both Hindus and Muslims would suffer without the noble deeds such as 
righteousness, truth, etc. The Guru implied that those who do good are 
good people. 491 Listening to this, the Hajis remained silent. 492 

Guru Nanak and Mardana remained in Mecca for some time. 
Thereafter the Guru travelled northwords and reached Medina. It is said 
that Guru left behind his wooden sandals in Mecca and the Makhdum of 
Uch took these sandals. These wooden sandals have been preserved as a 
relic in the shrine of Uch Sharif 

The real name of Medina is Al-Medina which means a city. The name 
Medina occurs in th e Quran and its name prior to Prophet Muhammad was 
Yasrab. Mecca was a religious place before Muhammad and has been so 
after him. However, Medina became a religious place only after the death 
of Muhammad because it was here that Muhammad breathed his last and 
his tomb also exists there. 493 

When Guru Nanak reached Medina, 494 he sat outside the town. He 

491. Bhai Gurdas versified this dialogue as under: The Qazis and Medians go together and 

ask about righteousness. God has enacred a huge drama and none can comprehend 
it. They wanted the Guru to open his book and tell whether Hindu or Muslim is 
great. Baba told the Hajis- Both of them will weep without good deeds. (Var 
1 Pauri'i'h ) 

492. After that it is said that a dialogue took place with Pir Rukan-ud-din and Pir Patlia. Bhai 

Vir Singh calls the latter Pir Patnia. That implies he could be Shaikh Ibrahim of 
Pakpatan with whom the Guru had a dialogue at Pakpatan, but this remains 
unconfirmed. However,the fact that the Makhdum of Multan and Makhdum of Uch 
went to Mecca at the time of Gum Nanak is confirmed. The point whether Shaikh 
Ibrahim also went to Mecca at that time cannot be ascertained. Similarly, no information 
is forthcoming in respect of Rukan-ud-din. 

493. See “Medina” in Enyclopaedia Britannica. 

494. The Vilayati>ali and the Miharban texts make no mention of Medina, but refer only to the 

Guru’s visit to Mecca. Bhai Gurdas says that he went to Medina. The. 


asked Mardana ro go and pay obeisance to the tomb of Muhammad. 
Mardana came back after paying his respect there and then he rook the 
Guru also along with him. The Guru also visited Muhammad’s tomb. 495 
Returning from there, he stayed in Medina for some time more. Thereafter 
he set out on his onward journey. 


There are two known routes from Medina to Baghdad. One is generally 
taken by the traders and the other by the Hajis. The route commonly taken 
by the caravans was on the northern side of Medina and passed through 
Damascus, the capital of Egypt, a town 820 miles (1312 kms) away from 
Medina. 496 Then it turned eastwards and reached Baghdad. But Hajis 
generally did not take this route because it was rather long. There was 
another shorter route connecting Medina and Baghdad. This route passed 
through Faiz and reached Baghdad direct. This desert-bound route was 
got prepared especially for the Hajis by Begum Zubaida, wife of Caliph 
Harun Rashid. Arrangements for water were also made at some places on 
this route. 497 Faiz was 235 miles (376 kms) off Medina and was the capital 
of Najad. There was only one very narrow path to reach Baghdad from 
here which is referred to as “a difficult path” by Ibn Batuta. 498 Batuta had 
travelled to Baghdad on this route in A.D. 1326. This route was open in 
the 16th century. Guru Nanak and Mardana also reached Baghdad through 
this route. 499 This route is open even today. 500 

. Bala and the Mani Singh versions also record the Guru’s visit to Medina. Medina falls 

on the way between Mecca and Baghdad. In fact, the direct route to Baghdad starts 
from Medina only. Therefore it can be surmised that the Guru did visit Medina. 

495. These details are available in the Balajanamsakhi. Bhai Gurdas has just mentioned 
the name of Medina. 

496. “Medina” in EncyclopaeidBritannica. 

497. Percy Sykes, A History of Explorations, New York, 1961, p. 86. 

498. Ibn Batuta, Travels in Asia and Aft’ica, London, 1963, p. 80. 

499. The Miharban Janamsakhi records: “Then passing through Kabul, Peshawar and the 

entire west. Guru Nanak arrived at Gorakh Hatri and Saidpur Saloi.” In the janamsakhi 
of Bhai Mani Singh, Gum Nanak is said ro have reached Baghdad via Siam and Rum. 
At the latter place yuru Nanak is said to have met Emperor Karun. It was here that the 
Guru composed his “Nasihatnama”. However, this work does not seem to be the 
Guru’s composition and is not included in the Guru Granth Sahib. There is no memorial 
of the Guru’s visit anywhere in Jordon and Syria. Thus the idea of the Guru’s travel 
on a longer route is untenable when there was a shorter route available. 

500. “Baghdad” in Encyclopaedia Britannica 


According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Baghdad is an Iranian name 
which literally means “a gift given by God.” Baghdad is an ancient town. 
For the last 3000 years, the city has been at this very place and has been 
known by this very name. Before the discovery of sea-route, Baghdad like 
Mecca was a centre for the caravans coming from the east as well as the 
west. The 9th century was the golden period in the history of Baghdad. At 
that time Caliph AI Mamum, a successor of Caliph Harun Rashid, 
contributed a lot towards its prosperity. At that time, it was considered 
the greatest centre of Islam in the west. Its decline started in the 13th 
century. Halaku Khan destroyed the city in A.D. 1258. In the 16th century 
it came under the suzerainty of the Turks. 501 

At the time of Guru Nanak, Baghdad was under the Iranians. In 
1507-08 Safvi Shah Ismail over ran it and he ruled over it until 1524. 502 
Safvi Shah belonged to the Shia sect. He visited many mosques belonging 
to the Shias and at the same time felled down several mosques of the 
Sunnis and got their imams executed. 503 It was a period of great religious 
crisis in the history of Baghdad. 

The city of Baghdad was situated on the bank of the river Euphrates. 
In olden times it was on the western bank but it got ruined and the new 
city came up on the eastern bank. 504 When Guru Nanak visited the city its 
habitation was on the eastern bank of river. 

Guru Nanak and Mardana approached Baghdad and found a place 
outside the city at a place behind the present railway station for their stay. 
The place is now a graveyard. 505 The railway station is on the western bank 
of the river and is connected with the city by a bridge. Guru Nanak got up 
early in the morning as was his wont, and he and Mardana started singing 
hymns (kirtan). He recited the following stanza 506 : 

501. “Baghdad” in Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

502. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. II, p. 568. 

503. Stephens and Hemis, Iran, London, 1958, p. 69. 

504. Encyclopaed Britannica. 

505. Then Baba [Nanak] went to Baghdad, and made lodgings outside [the city]. One was the 

Baba, the image of God, and other Mardana, the rebeck-player. (Bhai Gurdas baran, I: 

506. As Guru Nanak had attracted the attention of the people at Haridwar by offering water 

towards west and at Mecca by sleeping with his feet towards the Ka’aba, here in 
Baghdad he also attracted the people’s attention by this method. 


Of the neither worlds and heavens has He created millions. 507 
Men have given up the attempt in despair. 

The Vedas too declare unanimously their helplessness. 

Muslim scriptures declare the number of species eighteen thousand. 

Vain is such count.. Nothing is real but the One Essence. 

His Infiniry no one may measure or state- 
Men’s lives are swallowed up in the effort; 

Saith Nanak: Know that He is supreme, all-knowing. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 5 

Some people listened to this melody and there was a sort of tumult 
in the city because singing was a taboo in Islamic religious code. 

The mausoleum of Shah Mohi-ud-din Abdul Qadir Gilani (1077- 
1108), the founder of the Qadiri sect among the Sufis, was a famous place 
in Baghdad. This mausoleum was got built by his son who also became his 
spiritual successor. There was a seven-cornered mosque inside it. 508 These 
days the shrine is not in good shape but during the time of Guru Nanak it 
was a famous place. 

According to Brown, several baptismal rites were performed at the 
time of one’s initiation into the Qadiri Sufi sect. They remembered God 
by seven names, reciting them in a prescribed order. As per the other ritual, 
the new entrant into the sect would erect thumbs of both of his hands and 
give his right hand in the right hand of his spiritual mentor. 509 That is why 
such a mentor among the Qadiris is called “Pir Dastgir” which means the 
pir or spiritual mentor who holds the hand. At the time of Guru Nanak 
also, the person who occupied this spiritual seat in the mausoleum of 
Shah Mohi-ud-Din Abdul Qadir Gilani was called Pir Dastgir. 

When the issue of Guru Nanak’s melody became talk of the town, 
some people went to Pir Dastgir. At that time the son of the Pir Dastgir 
also stood nearby. So the Pir, his son and these people carne out of the 
town to see this strange faqir. 51 " When Guru Nanak and Mardana saw the 
crowd surging towards them, they stopped the kirtan and became cautious. 

507. Millions of skies and millions of regions below 

[He] showed them all in the twinkling of an eye. (Bhai Gnrdas, Varan, 1: 36) 

508. Emyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. I, pp.10-12; also Dara Shukoh, Safinatul Aulia, 

Karachi, p. 84. 

509. A.H. Rose, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-East Frontier, Vol. 

I,pp. 538-39. 

510. Bhai Gurdas has also recorded the meeting of Pir Dastgir with Gum Nanak. 


As they reached near, Pir Dastgir instantly asked Guru Nanak who he was 
and to which tradition of Islam he belonged. The Guru replied that he 
was God’s man and. belonged to none of the Islamic traditions. The Pir 
said in that case he was an infidel and they would kill him by stoning. 511 
On hearing this the Guru gave a loud call of Sati Kartar [Lord-Creator is 
True]. 512 This astonished the Pir Dastgir and other people. They thought 
this faqir who sang melodies might be crazy. Pir again asked him why he 
sang melody when singing was taboo for Muslims. The Guru replied that 
singing eulogies of God was the food for soul. The prophet has banned 
the singing of songs which cause evil passions. Someone then asked that 
he just now sang that there were millions of skies and regions below earth 
which was blasphemy since Islam believes in seven skies and seven regions 
below earth. Guru Nanak told them that God’s creation is immense and 
limitless. It cannot be fathomed. Innumerable are the visible and invisible 
things created by Him. Listening to this, the Pir and his son were highly 
pleased. They had a dialogue with the Guru and went back. Similarly, 
other people also returned to their homes. 

Guru Nanak and Mardana spent some time in Baghdad. Guru Nanak 
had discourses with Pir Dastgir and other holy men. At that time Faqir 
Bahlol listened to the Guru’s discourse very attentively and became a 
disciple of the Guru. This fact has come to light from an epigraph 
discovered by Ananda Acharya. He has referred to it in his book Snow 
Birds. This epigraph was found outside of the city of Baghdad. 51 ’ The 
words inscribed on it were as under: 

Here Guru Nanak had a dialogue with Faqir Bahlol. Even after sixty years 
(sixty winters) of Guru Nanak leaving Iran, Bahlol’s soul remained stuck to 

511. These details are on the basis of a Sakhi in the Bhai Maui Singh Janamsakhi. 

512. Bhai Gurdas says: 

Gave the call after saying the nama% the entire world was benumbed. 

Te city was deserted, 

Pir was astonished to see this. 

He saw attentively- 

a faqir, greatly God-absorbed, was he. 

513. This information is given on the basis of Bhai Mani Singh’s Janamsakhi. Bhai Gurdas 

records this episode as under: 

Pir argues and tells: this Faqir is great. 

Here in Baghdad he has shown a great miracle. 

He gave knowledge of unlimited skies and unlimited regions. 


the words of the Guru as a bee remains glued to the flower on which is 
reflected the light of dawn. 514 

This epigraph in Arabic shows that Guru Nanak’s follower Faqir 
Bahlol continued following the Guru’s tenets for sixty years in Baghdad. It 
is not exactly known as to who this Faqir Bahlol was. 515 

In the west of Baghdad where Guru Nanak had put up, a raised 
platform and a tomb are found in a room. It is said that this is the tomb of 
Bahlol and the platform is the place where Guru Nanak used to sit. The 
platform is three feet wide and four feet long. Its height is between 2-3 
feet. In 1918, the attendant who lived in this shrine was named Syad Yusaf. 
There is a courtyard in front of the room and plants of pomegranate are 
grown therein. There is a boundary wall around the courtyard and there is 
one gate to enter in. On the platform, we come accross a writing in Arabic, 
a free English rendering of which is given below: 

Look ! the great God fulfilled the wish. A new building got erected for Baba 
Nanak. In the construction of this, seven godly people contributed. The 
date comes to 927 Hijri. The fortunate disciple started new supply of water 
from the earth. 

The date of this inscription is 927 Hijri which seems to be correct. It 
comes equivalent to A.D. 1520. Al Sabia or Sabian or Subi people lived in 
Iraq uptill the sixties of the 20th century. They called themselves followers 
of Guru Nanak. 316 They were natives of Iraq. They lived in the South 
Iraq. They maintained unshorn hair and beard. They wore Guru Nanak’s 
portrait around their neck. They were mostly goldsmiths by profession. 
They did not consider themselves Muslims nor did other people in Iraq 
consider or call them as such. 517 

514. Ananda Achatya, Snow Birds, p. 182. 

515. Sewa Ram Singh writes that Faqir Bahlol was the spiritual successor of Bahlol Dana, and 

the latter had been a famous Faqir of Baghdad. Sewa Ram Singh, Divine Master, 
Lahore, 1930, p. 156. 

516. Diwan Badri Nath, Iraq: The Tand and the People, p. 61. 

517. The Cultural Attache of Iraq in their Embassy in New Delhi told the author that the Al 

Sabia people are not Muslims. Even people of Iraq do not consider them Muslims. 
According to him, they maintain hair and beard. They consider water as pious. 

Dr. Ganda Singh, who remained in Iraq for several years, says that these people 
consider themselves as followers of Guru Nanak. See “Arab ate Iran wich Guru 
Dharamvalambi, Subi te Abad” in Akalite Pardesi, 25th November 1931. 


Guru Nanak spent some time in Baghdad and thereafter travelled 
farther eastwards. 


The route from Baghdad to Tabrez was commonly traversed. 
Travelling on this route, Ibn Batuta had taken ten days to cover the distance 
between Baghdad and Tabrez.518 Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana also 
reached Tabrez which was an ancient town of Iran. As a result of earth¬ 
quakes it got destroyed several times but Was rehabilitated each time. At 
the time of Ibn Batuta’s visit, it was the capital town of Mangols. At the 
time of Guru Nanak, it was the capital of Shah Ismail. 319 

From Tabrez this route passes through Tehran and leads to 
Mashhad. 520 The earlier name of Mashhad was Tus. Both Firdausi and Al- 
Gazali were born in this city. Guru Nanak also reached Mashhad from 
Tabrez. This city was a great centre of the Shia Muslims. Mashhad literally 
means the place for martyrdom. Caliph Harun Rashid had suddenly passed 
away there in A.D. 809. His son came to pay his respects at his tomb in 
A.D. 819. His son-in-law, 

Al-Raza, also accompanied him. Al-Raza took some grapes and 
breathed his last there. The tombs of both are side by side and Shias from 
far off places come here to pay obeisance. 521 

Guru Nanak and Mardana settled outside the city and did not go to 
the shrine of the martyrs as did all the Hajis. This made the city-dwellers 
anxious to know to which tradition this faqir belonged. They came together 
to the Guru and asked him if he had faith in Allah (God), Prophet 
Muhammad and Hazrat Ali. Guru Nanak replied that Hazrat Muhammad 
was a prophet whose job was to convey the message. He came with a 
message from God. What is more important is the message he brought and 
it became all the more important to follow that message. That message 
exhorted man to worship God. This is the will of God. I also follow this. 
The people who had come to meet the Guru failed to understand him. 

518. Travels of Ibn Batnta. London, 1963, p. 101. 

519. “Tabrez” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1966. Begum Zubaida, wife of Caliph Harun Rashid 

rehabilitated it in A.D. 791 after an earth-quake destroyed it. 

520. Sita Ram Kohli and Hari Ram Gupta, Historical Atlas of India, p. 15. 

521. “Mushhad” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1966. 


They asked him to go to Pir Abdul Rahman, their spiritual mentor. 522 Pir 
Abdul Rahman was a native of Gurdez and had gone on a pilgrimage to 
Mashhad. 523 So Guru Nanak, Mardana and those people went to the Pir 
who told the Guru that all the people here are Shias and that they had faith 
in Hazrat Ali. He wanted to know whether he was a Shia or Sunni. Guru 
Nanak replied that the Divine Light shines in all. All the prophets are 
equal to him. He further told that the same Divine Light pervaded in them 
and in the entire universe. However, we fail to perceive it because of the 
predominance of evil and passion. If one eradicates one’s ego, it can 
become visible. 524 

Abdul Rahman and natives of Mashhad were deeply impressed by 
the Guru’s words. The Guru spent some time in this town and then resumed 
his journey. 


Guru Nanak and Mardana set out from Mashhad on the old route in 
North Iran and reached Balkh, a town in the northern part of Afghanistan. 
These days Balkh falls in the northern state of Mazar-i-Sharif in 
Afghanistan. It has since been named Wazirabad. It was situated on a 
bank of the Balkh river which flows down north and falls into the Amu 
river 50 miles (80 kms.) down stream from this place. The town perished 
several time as a result of political ups and downs, but each time it was 
resurrected soon thereafter. It had got rehabilitated prior to the times of 
Guru Nanak, in the beginning of the 15th century. 525 Guru Nanak and 
Mardana passed through Balkh and reached Kabul. 326 

522. This episode is recorded in the Bhai Mani Singh janamsakhi, but is not found in any other 

janamsakhi text. It seems correct because Mashhad is situated on the old route from 
Baghdad to Kabul. 

523. If we carefully analyse the Marti Singh text, we find indications that Pir Abdul Rahman 

was a native of Gurdez. 

524. Mani Singh janamsakhi, Bombay edition, pp. 183-86. 

525. EngclopaediaBritannica, 1966. 

526. It is on the route connecting Baghdad and Kabul. Mani Singh janamsakhi records Guru’s 

visit to Qandhar and from Qandhar he is said to have gone to Kabul. It is not correct. 
According to the Attock District Gazetteer, Wali Qandhari lived in Hasan Abdal and 
the Guru had met him at Hasan Abdal. The Bala text also refers to the Guru’s 
encounter with Wali Qandhari in Qandhar which is not correct. From the geographical 
viewpoint, the Guru’s travel via the northern route from Baghdad to Kabul seems to 
be correct. 


Kabul is today the capital of Mghanistan. It acquired the status of a 
capital town for the first time during the regime of Babur when he 
conquered it in A.D. 1504. At the time of Guru Nanak several routes led 
to Kabul. In the north, a route existed from Balkh, in the south from 
Qandhar and in the east from Bannu and Peshawar. 527 

Guru Nanak put up outside the city of Kabul towards Sultanpur 
side. Here some holy men met him and held a discourse with him. They 
warned him that this was a land of the Muslims and he being a Hindu 
must be cautious. 528 The Guru replied that the same Divine Light pervades 
all. God has created all beings in the same mould. However, some of 
them wear janeu while some others got themselves circumscribed. 529 Those 
holy men were deeply impressed by the Guru’s words. The Guru spent 
some time in Kabul and journeyed ahead. 

There was an old gurdwara in memory of Guru Nanak’s visit to Kabul. 
However, when new construction started in Kabul, the gurdwara building 
happened to obstruct a road. The Mghan government demolishhed this 
shrine. This gurdwara was in the Pan Chowk Jubba in Kabul. 530 

Peshawar (Gorakh Hatri) 

Peshawar was 181 miles (289.6 kms.) from Kabul via Khaibar Pass. 531 
At the time of Guru Nanak this route was rather difficult. According to 
Ain-i-Akbari, this route was opened during the regime of Emperor Akbar 

527. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

528. The episode of the Guru’s visit to Kabul is from Mani Singh Janamsakhi. Although it 

does not appear in any other Janamsakhivc rsion, but Kabul fell on the Guru’s route 
while returning from Baghdad. There is every possibility of the Guru’s halt there. 

529. Mani Singh Janamsakhi, Bombay edition, p. 210. 

530. Ganda Singh, Itihasak Pa/re 1952, Amritsar, p. 48. 

531. S.S.JeeretandJaduNathSarkar (re.), Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. II, Calcuna, 1949, p. 406. Statement 

by Sardar Kharak Singh, Kuldip Niwas, near Government College of Physical 
Education, Patiala. This gentleman had lived in the Parachinar area for quite some 
time. Sardar Bahadur Kamail Singh, Chairman, Railway Board, cold me that as he 
went to this side for survey so as to lay railway tracks, he saw several gurdwaras in this 
region which were in memory of Guru Nanak. The Bala Janamsakhi says that Bhai 
Mardana passed away in the Kuram valley and Guru Nanak took his son, Shahzada, 
there. According to a local tradition, the place was Shahkot. A shrine stands there in 
the memory of Guru Nanak and Mardana. 


and that the Emperor also made it somewhat easier. That is when Babur 
conquered Kabul In A.D. 1504 and made it his capital. He invaded India 
not through Khalbar Pass but through Kuram Pass. He first attacked Kuhar. 
At the time of Guru Nanak, the route through Kuram Pass was commonly 
used for journey from Kabul to Peshawar. Guru Nanak also took this 
route. It is for that reason that we find gurchvaras in the memory of the 
Guru on the banks of the Parachinar and the Kuram rivers. These gurchvaras 
were in place till 1947. Travelling from Afghanistan, there was a gurdwara 
in Pewarh town just near inside the Pakistan boundary. This shrine was 
also built in commemoration of the Guru’s visit. Travelling down from 
Parachinar, there was another Sikh shrine in Alaulana village, 2 or 3 miles 
(about 5 kms.) away from Parachinar. The tradition of the Guru having 
stayed in the village was current among the Aluslim population there. 

At the time of Guru Nanak, Peshawar was called Parashawar. Babur 
in his Tn^k-i-Babari also calls the town by the same name. Heun Tsang 
writes it Pulusahpulu. 532 The town took its modern name, Peshawar, during 
the time of Akbar. Writing about Peshawar, Abul Fazl says: “Here is a 
shrine which is called Goraktari (Gorakh Hatri). Especially the jogis visit 
here.” According to Erskine, a huge inn was built in Peshawar at the site 
of Gorakh Hatri. 533 According to Sir Alexander Cunningham, Gorakh Hatri 
was an important Buddhist centre. There was also a peepal tree, about 100 
feet high. The Buddhists considered this tree holy as they believed that 
Gautma Buddha had sat under this tree. This tree was there till the time 
of Babur as he went to see it in 1505 A.D. and he makes a reference of it 
in his Tnpk-i-Babari. !M 

At the time of Guru Nanak it was a centre of the jogis, especially the 
Gorakhpanthi jogis who resided there as is evident from its nomenclature. 
When Guru Nanak and Alardana reached this place of the jogisj 35 bhandara 
(community food) was being served. After the food was taken by all, the 

532. Ancient Geography of India, Varanasi, 1963, p. 66. 

533. Ibid., p. 68. 534. Ibid., p. 67. 

535. Vilajatvali. Miharban and Mani Singh Janamsakhis, all record Guru Nanak’s visit to 
Gorakh Hatri, but the Bala Janamsakhi makes no mention to it. However, me tradition 
of Guru’s visit to this place is nearer truth because it was a famous center of yogiys on 
the way from Afghanistan. 


jogis asked Guru Nanak whether he was a householder or an ascetic. The 
Guru replied that he was a householder. One of the jogis said that as a man 
given to intoxication cannot concentrate on God, a householder cannot 
get enlightenment because he is ever engrossed in familial affairs. In reply 
to it, the Guru said that one cannot become jogi by merely getting the ears 
pierced through and wearing ear-rings. 536 The inculcation of the following 
virtues is a must to become jogi : 

In thy heart wear thy ear rings; make the body thy patched quilt: 

Yogi! bring under control thy five disciples, making thy mind thy staff. 

Thus shalt thou attain true yoga-praxis. 

The diet of herbs and roots, make faith in the one Supreme Being 
without a second. (Pause I) 

As by ritual shaving by the Ganga is the Master adopted, 

We have made the Master our Ganga. 

The Lord, saviour of the three worlds. 

Thou in thy blindness never hast contemplated. 

By hypocritical talk to attract people, is not doubt eliminated. 

Should thy mind in the sole feet of the Lord be fixed, 

Why in greed and avarice dost thou rush along? 

My self! in Uttering the immaculate Lord’s Name engage thyself. 

Yogj! what good uttering all this falsehood? (Pause I) 

This body is demented, the self immature- 
Thus is life in possessiveness passed. 

Nanak thus supplicates: 

When after death the bare flesh burns, nothing is left but regrets. 

-Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 155-56 

During his stay at Gorakh Hatri the Guru was one day asked by the 
jogis if he gave importance to the outward symbols. They also wanted to 
know what kind of jogi one ought to be since he did not accept the occult 
powers. In reply the Guru uttered the following hymn: 

Absorption in the word and the Master’s teaching is my horn; 

The world listens to it as it makes sound. 

My begging-bowl and pouch is to beg charity of the Name. 

Friend! know, Lord of the universe is ever awake. 

The true Lord of earth is He who the earth sustains; 

In an instant creation He raises. (I Pause) 

536. This dialogue is based on the narrative as found in the Miharban Janamsakhi. 


Life-breath by water and air is bound; 

Sun and moon are made the great lamps. 

To die and to live has He given the earth to man- 
All these boons has man forgotten. 

Siddhas, Yoga-practitioners, Yogis, wandering mendicants and 
Muhammadan Pirs- 

As 1 meet any such, God’s laudation I utter: 

Thus shall my mind serve Him. 

Paper and salt in company with ghee remain untouched by water; 

So does the lorus. 

Saith Nanak, servant of God: Thus do God’s devotees also mingle 
with mankind- 

What harm can Yarna do to them? 

-Guru Granth Sahib, p. 877 
Listening to this, the jogis bowed to the Gum. The place where the 
Gum sat was marked by a small gurdivara which was in existence till 1947. 
The Guru stayed at this place for some time and then set out for onward 

Devastation of Saidpur by Babur 

From Gorakh Hatri Guru Nanak travelled via Hasan Abdal and Tilla 
Bal Gudain to reach Saidpur. 537 Tu^k-i-Babari makes a mention of Saidpur 
Saloi. At the time of Sher Shah Suri, the town was named Shergarh. 
Thereafter at the time of Akbar in A.D. 1582, Muhammad Amin Karori 
gave the town his own name and it came to be called Eminabad. 538 A 
disciple of Guru Nanak, Bhai Lalo, lived in Saidpur Saloi. When the Guru 
reached Bhai Lalo’s place, he saw that the town he had earlier put up in 
had been devastated. Houses had been felled down and there were ruins 
all around. Bhai Lalo who lived on the outskirts of the town told him that 
the devastation occurred when the Mughals invaded it. The people put up 
resistance but it was futile. Those who resisted were killed. The Mughals 
devastated the town and made women and children captives. 539 Bhai Lalo 

537. The Miharban Janamsakhi records that Guru Nanak arrived in Saidpur from Kabul, 

Peshawar and Gorakh Hath. 

538. Ganesh Das Vadehra, Char-Bagh-i-Punjab, (Ed. Kirpal Singh), Amritsar, 1965, p. 43. 

539. The account of devastation of Saidpur is recorded in Tugk-i-Babari as under: The residents 

of Sialkot surrendered and saved themselves. The residents of Saidpur resisted. They 
were killed and their women and children were taken as captives. Their houses and 
other property were looted. Lucas King, Memoirs of Zahir-ud-din Babar. Vol. II, p. 145. 


also told the Guru how the Hindu, Muslim women and children prayed in 
the hour of crisis. The Mughal soldiers paid no heed and captured them. 
Guru Nanak listened to this all with rapt attention. He had returned from 
Mashhad 540 (a city in Khurasan) and Kabul which was Babur’s capital town. 
He had already heard of Babur’s invasion on India. After listening to the 
plight of Saidpur from Bhai Lalo, the Guru told him that Mir Zahir-ud- 
Din Babur had conquered some areas of Khusaran. 541 and made Kabul his 
capital. 542 Now he has been making repeated attempts to conquer India. 
He has been responsible for the devastation and ruin of Saidpur. Then 
the Guru uttered the following hymn: 

Lord! Thy fear is my hemp-drug, my mind the leather pouch. 

Mad in this intoxication, an anchorite have I become. 

With my bowl for Thy sight 1 beg, that I hunger for. 

This ever at Thy door I beg. 

For Thy sight I yearn; 

At Thy door a beggar-pray dole out this charity to me. (I Pause) 

Saffron, flowers, musk and gold by all persons of all castes may be offered. 
The merit of sandalwood and God’s devotees is, 

To all they impart fragrance. 

None considers ghee and silk polluted: 

Such is God’s devotee, whatever his caste. 

These in devotion to Thy Name bow. 

Nanak at the door of such begs alms. 543 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 722 

540. The word “Mir” has been used by Guru Nanak for Babur. Among the Mghans, the king 

is addressed as Mit. 

541. According to the Engclopaedia Britannica, the literal meaning of the word “Khutasan” is 

“the land of the rising sun.” Khurasan of olden times began with Khiwa (Russia) in 
the north, extended upto the deserts of Iran and Sistan in the south, with India in 
the east and the deserts of Guz and Gutgan in the west. These days this area is 
divided between three countries, i.e. Russia, Mghanistan and Iran. The present day 
Khurasan is an Iranian state in the north-east of that country. 

Mashhad is its capital. Khurasan of Guru Nanak’s times included many parts of 
Mghanistan although the western parts were ruled over by Iranians. 

542. Before Guru Nanak’s visit to Kabul, Babur had conquered it in A.D. 1504 and made the 

town his capital. 

543. The Vilayatvali, Miharban and Marti Singh Janamsakhis record that this hymn addressed to 

Bhai Lalo was composed at Saidpur. It is included in Guru Granth Sahib under Asa 
measure and it has two pans. The first part is addressed to Lalo and the second points 
towards the discomfiture of the Mughals and the rise of another hero (Mard Ka 
Chela). This shows that the Guru composed this. 


Guru Nanak saw decline of the Pathans in the devastation of Saidpur. 
It seemed as if all grace and grandeur of the Pathan regime had ended. At 
this time the Guru uttered the following hymn: 

Where are gone those gambols, stables and steeds? 

Where the drums and flutes? 

Where are those swordsmen on chariots; 

Where those warriors in red gowns? 

Where are those beauties beholding in hand-mirrors their elegant faces? 

All nowhere visible. 

Thine is this world; Thou its Master: 

In an hour dost Thou make and unmake, 

And wealth among people’s rivals dost distribute. (I Pause) 

Where are gone those houses, portals, domed halls, mansions; 

Where those elegant residences? 

Where the couch of luxury and the beauty whose sight drove away sleep? 
Where the betel-purveyors, the chambermaids? 

All vanished as shadows. 

For wealth are vast multitudes dishonoured; 

Many for this are strayed; 

This without evil-doing comes not, in death it accompanies not man. 
Those that the Creator casts off from Himself, 

Their goodness He first snatches. 544 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 418 

Guru Nanak put up with Bhai Lalo for some time and then left for 

.hymn during the last years of his life when Humayun was receiving a bash from Sher 

Shah. Here we have given only the first parr which the Guru composed at Saidpur. 

544. All the Janamsakhi texts state that this hymn was composed by the Guru after the Guru 
had known for certain about the atrocities at Saidpur which is correct. In Gum Granth 
Sahib, this hymn is under Asa measure and it has seven stanzas. The first three stanzas 
that we have quoted here relate to the situation at Saidpur. The next stanzas mention 
of a heavy battle fought between Mughals and Pathans. This relates to the battle of 
Panipat fought in 1526 which shows that the Gum composed these lines after the 
battle of A.D. 1526. Therefore these two hymns given in the episode (Sakhi) referred 
to above seem to have been given their final shape by the Guru at Kartarpur. 


Analytical Study of the 
Jan am sakhi Tradition - II 

Founding of Kartarpur 1 

Guru Nanak and Mardana set out from Saidpur and arrived at 
Talwandi. They stayed there for some time. Bhai Mardana took time to 
meet his family. The parents of Guru Nanak had by now grown quite old. 
Therefore, the Guru wished to spend some time with them and other 
members of the family just like any other householder. However, on a 
second thought, he took Mardana along and set out from Talwandi. They 
travelled north-west and reached Lahore. From there they went farther 
north-east along the Ravi for about 50 miles (80 kms.) from Lahore and 
set up a camp there. 

Guru Nanak liked this beautiful spot on the bank of river Ravi very 
much. He started living there. In a nearby village lived a Jat of Doad sub¬ 
caste. He and his wife came to the Guru daily to offer him milk. It is said 
that with Guru’s blessing Doad’s family flourished and became prosperous. 2 
It was some time after the Guru settled here, the villagers in the surrounding 
areas got to know that a holy man, beloved of God who sang divine hymns 
had established himself there. People from far and near started coming to 
him. Once a few mendicants came to see him. At that time Mardana was 
performing kirtan : 

“O Nanak! falsehood is shattered 

Only the truth comes out good finally.” 

1. The Vilayatvalijammsakhi says that Kartarpur was founded after the first ndasi of 12 years 

whereas Marti Singh version says it was after the south-eastern udasi. The Miharban text 
says it was after the journey to Mecca and Madina. Founding Kanarpur after all the 
long udasis seems to be correct because the founding of a village always entails some 
problems which the Guru could overcome only by remaining present there. 

2. As per the BalaJanamsakhi, his wife served milk to the Guru. 


The verse stirred the inner feelings of the mendicants who be an to 
sing the same verse by playing with pieces of reed. Wherever they went, 
they sang this verse. Thus, the popularity and greatness of Guru Nanak 
spread all around. 1 

When a rich man (Karoria) of this region learnt that a holy man had 
settled in his ilaqa and that his popularity was increasing each day, he felt 
jealous. He thought of ousting such a holy man from Inis territory. When 
he started for the Guru’s camp with this intention, his horse would not 
move. 3 4 The ‘expedition’ had to be postponed. Next time, when the horse 
was readied with saddle, but at that very moment some foreign particle 
fell into the eye of the rich man (Karoria). He had to get off his horse. By 
now he was blinded by his ego. His companions advised him that he had 
failed in his mission twice. The faqir might be some beloved of God, and 
it would not be proper to harrass him. At first he did not listen all this, but 
after some time he comprehended it. He gave up all ill- will towards the 
Guru. One day an idea struck him that he should go and see this faqir who 
is so popular among the masses. Therefore he went to the Guru and felt 
elated to see him. 5 

There was one Duni Chand another rich man (Karoria) of Lahore 
whom the Guru had saved with his teaching. When he learnt that the 
Guru had settled about 50 miles (80 kms.) north-east of Lahore, he came 
to see the Guru and arranged to get a house constructed for the Guru as 
well as an inn for the visitors. 6 Thus was founded a new village which 
Guru Nanak named Kartarpur. 

Ajitta Randhawa 

The adjoining villages inhabited by people of the same sub-caste are 
known as tapa. 7 Number of village in a tapa is not limited. This number 

3. The Vilayatiwli and Miharban versions record the fact of these mendicants singing this verse 

going from village to village—a fact corroborated by all near contemporary Sources. 

4. As per Miharban Janamsakhi, this Karoria was also the chief of the region. 

5. This sakhi of the Karori is found in the Vilayatvali and Miharban Janamsakhis and 

Circumstantially seems correct. Anybody who wanted to found a new habitation 
would face such problems those days. 

6. Duni Chand Karori lived at Lahore and he had received blessings of the Guru. See Duni 

ChandNistara, Khalsa Tract Society, Amritsar, and Bhai Kahn Singh, Mahan Kosh, p. 
643 (Patiala, 1924) 

7. According to Shabad-Kosh, Vol. Ill (Bhasha Vibhag, Patiala, p. 165), the word *" 


varies as per the population of that tribe/caste. Kartarpur, the new town 
founded by Guru Nanak was surrounded by a tapa of Randhawas. Opposite 
Kartarpur on the eastern bank of the Ravi was a village named Pakkhoke. 
Bhai Mula Chona, patwari, of this village was the father-in-law of Guru 
Nanak. In this very village lived Ajitta Randhawa, son of one Hitta 
Randhawa. 8 When he learnt that the Guru had settled in Kartarpur, he 
went to the Guru, sought spiritual light from him and became his disciple. 9 

Teaching Two Muslims 

If one crossed the Ravi from Kartarpur and travelled on the road 
leading to Batala, one comes across a village Jorian or Jourian on the north 
of this road. 10 A Pathan named Ubare Khan lived in this village. He was a 
friend of Shaikh Malo, Muslim scholar who had earlier been to Kartarpur 
to meet the Guru and had felt quite satisfied after having a discourse with 
him on godly matters. He told Ubare Khan about the Guru and Ubare 
Khan also went to Kartarpur to see the Guru. Ubare Khan met the Guru 
and asked him whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim. In reply the Guru 
told him that only God is eternal; neither Hindus nor Muslims are so. 
Therefore, they should focus their mind on God. The question of being a 
Hindu or a Muslim was irrelevant. Ubare Khan was pleased with this answer. 
He fell at the Guru’s feet and sought his blessing. The Guru said ‘God will 
bless him.’ Thereafter Ubare Khan sought leave from the Guru. There was 
another peasant in this village Jorian. His name was Abdul Rehman. He 
felt bad when he learnt that Ubare Khan had begun admiring the Guru. 11 

"*■ tapa means area or region or pargana. However, the affinity of its inhabitants who usually 
belong to the same tribe/caste is its special feature. 

8. Even today Dera Baba Nanak has villages of Randhawas around it. 

9. As per Bala and Mani Singh Janamsakhis, Ajitta Randhawa was a resident of 


10. There is in the Sikh History Research Department of the Khalsa College at Amritsa: 
a small manuscript (S.H.R. 1445). This mss. titled “Sakhi Ajitta Randhawa, 
contains details of the dialogue. This sakhi is found in the Bala and Mani Singh 
Janamsakhis only. It is not included in the Vilayatvali and the Miharban versions. 

However, it seems correct keeping in view the surroundings. 

11. Jorian Chhotian is a small village still in existence nearby Dera Baba Nanak. It seems that 

the copyists of Bala Janamsakhi erroneously spelt it as Jaurian, and the scnbes after 
them popularized this name. 


One day Abdul Rehman also met the Guru and asked him what his 
religion was whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim. The Guru replied that 
the Name Divine was his religion. At this Abdul Rehman further said that 
the beloved of God had no religion. The Guru again replied that the beloved 
of God love God. They do not get involved in the controversies of religion 
and Hindu and Muslim scriptures. The entire creation of God is essentially 
the same. Both the rich and the poor, the good and the bad all are His 
creation. The same Divine Light is resplendent in all. We fail to see this 
Light because of our egoity. Hearing this, Abdul Rehman fell at the Guru’s 
feet . 12 

Bhai Lehna 

Before Guru Gobind Singh had fought at what is now known as 
Muktsar, this entire region was sparcely habited. There were villages at 
quite some distance from one another. About 7 or 8 miles (13 kms.) north¬ 
east of present town of Muktsar, there was a village, named Matte-di- 
Sarai. There lived in this small village a Khatri by the name of Bhai Pheru. 
13 The family ran a small shop in the village and they were known for their 
honesty and nobility. Bhai Pheru’s wife was Ramo. In 1504, a son was 
born to them who was named Lehna, Lehna grew up to be a man of 
religious disposition. 

Babur first invaded India in 1504. His second invasion took place in 
1519 and the third in 1520. These invasions revived the memories of 
Taimur’s invasion and the holocaust that followed, in the minds of the 
Punjab is. What happened with the people of Saidpur in 1520 became 
known to all. Matte-di-Sarai was situated on the route that connected 
Lahore with Delhi via Ferozepur and Bathinda. Once the Mughals and the 
Balochis looted this village. 14 


Consequently the villagers began to desert the place. 15 Bhai Pheru 
also took his family along and shifted to Hari-Ka-Pattan, a little distance 
away from the road but his business did not succeed there. So he crossed 
the Satluj and the Beas and settled down at Khadur in the modern Amritsar 

Lehna was married to Khivi. Her parents were also die natives of 
Matte-di-Sarai. They had three children, one daughter (Bibi Amro) and 
two sons (Dasu and Datu). When Guru Nanak founded Kartarpur, Bhai 
Lehna lived in Khadur. 

Lehna was a man of religious disposition. He used to go for pilgrimage 
to Jawalaji every year. 16 The temple of Jawalaji is a volcanic historical 
shrine in Kangra district. People came from far off places for worship in 
this temple. Being quite near to Punjab, the people of Punjab plains had 
special reverence and attraction for this place. There were several routes 
leading to Jawalaji. One route passed through the Kahlur State and Mandi 
town before reaching Jawalaji. Guru Nanak had taken this route when he 
went there (for details, see Visit to Jawalji). From Khadur, the route to 
Jawalaji passed through Pathankot. During the Mughal rule, whenever the 
Mughal army had go to hill states with a view to realize tributes from the 
hill chiefs it travelled via Paithan (modern-day Pathankot) and Dhameri 
(modern Nurpur) before reaching Kangra. 1 ' The route connecting Khadur 
and Pathankot passed through Kartarpur, the newly founded town which 
Guru Nanak had made his abode. 

Once Bhai Lehna, along with a group of pilgrims of Inis region, was 
passing through Kartarpur. He had once heard a Sikh reciting Guru Nanak’s 
hymns in his village. He had ever since nurtured a desire to meet Guru 
Nanak. Bhai Lehna persuaded his fellow pilgrims to halt there for some 
time to see this holy man (Guru’s Nanak) also. 18 It should be clear that by 

15. M.A. Macaullife. Tht Sikh Religion. Vol. II. p. 1. 

16. The entire village of Matte-di-Sarai got deserted. Thereafter a Nanga (nude) sadlm 

rehabilitated it. That is why the village is now called Nangt di Sarai or Sard Naga. 

17. The Vilayatvali and Bala Janamsakhis record only his visit to the bhaimn (shrine) of the 

goddess, but the Mani Singh Janamsakhi and Sarup Das Bhalla’s Mahlma Prakash 
specially state his visit to Jawalaji, and it also seems correct. 

18. J. Hutchinson. History of the Punjab Hill States. Vol. I. pp. 140 and 143. 


this time Nanak’s fame had spread far and wide. Lehna met the Guru. He 
felt as if all his dubiety were gone and that the goddess he worshipped 
remained in the service of the Guru there. 19 When Lehna went to see off 
his companions, they told him that they had agreed to undertake the 
pilgrimage because of him and that it did not behove him to leave them 
on the way. Lehna replied with humility that the purpose with which he 
used to go to the shrine of the goddess had been realized. You may go for 
pilgrimage. May God fulfil your aim as well. All the pilgrims were astonished 
and they went ahead leaving Lehna behind. 2 " 

These pilgrims from Khadur went to Jawalaji, but as they returned 
they again visited Kartarpur. They persuaded Lehna to accompany them 
home. He replied that he would thereafter live at Kartarpur. 21 You may 
inform my family. The pilgrims went back to tell his family that Lehna had 
chosen to live at Kartarpur and become a devotee of Guru Nanak. 

Lehna engaged himself, with full devotion, to the service of the Guru 
and service in the langar. 22 


Once Guru Nanak set out from Kartarpur and sat at a place now 
outside the present Kathu Nangal village. This village is 12 miles (19 kms.) 
to the north of present city of Amritsar. This was a village inhabited by 
the Randhawa Jats. Outside the village a child was grazing the cattle. He 
came to the place where sat the Guru. The child met the Guru with due 
respect and began to talk to him. 23 

Guru Nanak asked him that he was in an age-group when children 
just played and enjoyed, but he talked like a mature man. In reply, the 
child told that one day his mother asked him to light fire, “he saw that the 
smaller woods caught fire sooner and the larger ones later. At this, I thought 

19. The Vilayatvali janamsakhi records that a Sikh of Khadur recited hymns. Lehna became 

keen to see Guru Nanak because of him. All the Janamsakhi versions say that Lehna 
met the Guru as he was passing by Kartarpur. 

20. VilayatvaliJanamsakhi records that Lehna saw the goddess serving the Guru. See Sakhi No. 

53 (App. 54). 

21 .MiharbanJanamsakhi. Vol. II, p. 67. App. 164-65. 

22. The Miharban janamsakhi (Vol. II. p. 67.-App. 164) records that the pilgrims insisted a lot 

that Lehna should go back home along with them. But he did not agree. Mani Singh 
janamsakhi also records that he did not return to Khadur and remained at Kartarpur. 

23. Vilayati'alijanamsakhi. sakhi No. 53 (App. 53-54). 


that I could leave this world even in childhood. Since then, I started looking 
for the holy people and serve them.” The Guru was highly pleased at this 
and asked the boy his name. He replied that his name was Bura. Hearing 
this. Guru remarked that he was mature and full of wisdom. Therefore, 
his name should be Buddha. 24 

As this child grew up, he became a Sikh and is known as Baba Buddha 
in Sikh tradition. He continued to serve the Gurus till the sixth Guru, 
Hargobind. He was appointed by Guru Arjan the first granthi of 
Harimandar. He died in AD. 1631. 25 

The Guru stayed for some time in the village of this child and 
thereafter returned to Kartarpur. 

Achal Vatala 

While staying at Kartarpur, Guru Nanak decided to visit Achal Vatala 
at the time of Shivaratri fair. He took Bhai Lehna 26 along. Achal is an 
ancient shrine. It is said that Shivas son, Kaftika, had put up there after 
circumambulating the earth. An ancient temple and a tank (Sarovar) 
dedicated to the memory of Shiva exist here. The village also came to be 
known after the name of the shrine, Achal. Being within the vicinity of an 

24. Bala Janamsakhi records that the child fetched the bowl full of ghee from his home and gave 

it to the Guru which does not seem correct. 

A.H. Rose, (Glossary of the Castes and Tribes of the Punjab andNorth-Western Frontier, 
Vol. Ill) p. 320, records this episode differently under the details of Randhawa 
sub-caste. It says: 

“The VilayatvaliJanamsakhi, sakhiNo.39, app.38, records this episode as follows: A 
child of seven years would come to listen to the kirtan daily in the congregation of 
Guru Nanak. He would silently listen to the hymns and quietly go out. One day the 
Guru asked that as this child goes out today, he may be detained. At that time the 
Guru held the above discourse with him.” 

According to local tradition, when the Guru passed by Kathu Nangal, a village of 
the Randhawas. this conversation took place. According to Bhai Kahn Singh. Baba 
Buddha was born at Kathu Nangal, district Amrirsar. This village is situated on the 
Amrirsar and Batala road. 

25. According to a local tradition, the Guru called Bura by the name of Buddha and 

thereafter this new name became popular. 

The Bala Janamsakhi records that Guru Nanak showered many blessings on Baba 

26. The Vilayatmli Janamsakhi says that the Guru arrived at Achal from Sumer Mount, but 

according to Bhai Gurdas he came from Kartarpur. The Miharban and the Mam Singh 
versions also say that the Gum came to Achal from Kartarpur which seems to be correct. 


important town, Batala, about four miles (6 kms.) towards south it came 
to be called Achal Vatala. There were several idols around the pool and 
according to a tradition, they were destroyed during the reign of Emperor 
Aurangzeb. These days there is a temple in the midst of the shrine on 
which we can see an epigraph of 1911 Bikrami AD. 1854, wherein it is 
stated that this temple was got constructed by Ram Dial Bhandari in AD. 
1854. On the circumambulatory wall of the Shiva temple is a painting of 
Guru Nanak, with siddhas sitting reverentially around him. 2 ' This shows 
that at the time of building of the temple even the saints respectfully 
referred to the Guru’s visit to Achal. On the bank of the pool at a little 
raised mound is a gurdwara and, according to a local tradition, Guru Nanak 
sat at that very site on his arrival. There is a berry (her) tree inside the 
gurdwara complex which is said to date to Guru Nanak’s time. There is a 
baoli adjoining the gurdwara which has these days been converted into a 
well. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had donated land for the langar of th c gurdwara 
and had also contributed towards the construction of the shrine. 28 

The fair in Achal Vatala was held annually on the Shivaratri day 
(February-March). Guru Nanak visited the place on the eve of one such 
fair. He sat on a mound on the bank of the pool. Many singers flocked to 
this place, on the eve of the fair and sang verses of bhaktas; used to attend 
Hindu religious fairs. They would sing such devotional verses and please 
the audience who would, in return, give them dams (one rupee had forty 
dams) in reward. Such singers were called the Bhagatie . 29 When these Bhagaties 
learnt of the Guru’s arrival, they also went to him. They knew well that 

27. It appears that the Guru took Lehna along to different places so as to familiarize him with 

different traditions. MiharbanJanamsakhi makes a clear mention of Lehna accompanying 
the Guru to Achal Vatala. In Marti Singh text also the sakhi of the Guru going to 
Achal comes after his meeting with Lehna. Lehna’s accompanying the Guru to Achal 
Vatala can be accepted logically. 

28. Bhai Vir Singh, Sidh Gosti Satik. Vol. I, Amritsar. Tract No. 1364-593, August 1969, pp. 


Mahataja Ranjit Singh donated 150 ghumaons ofland for the langar and an annual 
Jagiroi Rs.50/- for the shrine. See Kahn Singh. Mahan Kosh, p. 33. 

29. These days this fair takes place on 9 and 10 sudioi Kartik. When did the Shivaratri fait stop 

and when it began to be held on 9 and 10 sudioi Karrik is not known. According to 
Bhai Vir Singh. Emperor Akbar had also gone to Achal Vatala on the Shivaratri fair 
which shows that till the time of Akbar the fair used to be held on Shivaratri day. 


Guru Nanak was mighty pleased with kirtan (singing of hymns) since 
everybody knew that kirtan was performed twice at Kartarpur. So these 
Bhagaties came to the Guru and sang hymns. People also came and sat 
around the Guru to listen to these devotional songs. The jogis who resided 
in the Shiva’s shrine felt highly jealous that all the people had flocked to 
this newly-arrived sadhn and that the site of the fair looked 

deserted. The Bhagaties performed the kirtan and whatever offerings 
were given to them they put in a bowl. With a view to harassing them, the 
siddhas hid this bowl. When the Bhagaties did not find their bowl, they got 
nervous. They stopped singing verses and the people scattered. Guru Nanak 
told the Bhagaties ab.out the place where the siddhas had hidden that bowl. 
They went there and brought back that bowl. At this; the jogis felt annoyed. 
They asked Guru Nanak to engage in a religious dialogue with them. 30 

The jogis who lived at Achal Vatala were Gorakhpanthis because in 
the 16th century disciples of only Gorakh Nath were to be found in northern 
India, 31 Among the Gorakhpanthis, their basic virtue was to have turned 
away from the household life. So the first point which the jogis raised with 
Guru Nanak was their complaint against his being a householder. From 
amongst them Bhangar Nath asked the Guru why he had become a 
h.ouseholder leaving aside the robes of an udasi (renunciant). It was, as he 
said, like putting tart in the milk which turns the entire milk into curd. 
Since the religion of Guru Nanak was to be essentially the religion of 
householders, in reply the Guru said if mind and intellect are not pious, 
the Name-milk gets saured. Thus, one shauld keep a check an his senses 
even while living as a haus eh. older. He tald the jogis that they lived an the 
charity given by householders. 32 

Then the siddhas asked: ‘the lady churns the milk so as to get butter 
out of it but mere churning fails to make butter as a result of which ghee 
is not made.’ They wanted to know if the fault lay with the lady, the pitcher 
in which milk was churned or in the ghee itself In this symbolic question, 
the lady stands for the spiritual mentar, the pitcher is the disciple, the milk 
is knawledge and the ghee; union with the Lord. When one fails to attain 

30. Mani Singh Janam Singh calls them Rasdharies. The Miharban version refers to them as 

singers of padas or verses. But Bhai Gurdas menrions them as Bhagaties. 

31. Varan Bhai Gurdas, I, 39. 

32. H, H. Wilson, Religious Sects of the Hindus, Calcutta, 1958, pp. 115 and 119. 


anything even after performing rituals, who is to be blamed? Guru Nanak 
and Lehna listened to all this with rapt attention. Lehna who always listened 
to the utterances and hymns of Guru Nanak with complete concentration, 
recited the following hymn of Guru Nanak 33 : 

Tinned copper so bright and lustrous, 

When rubbed, appears a surface inky black. 

Its impurity by washing shall not go, despite washing a hundred times. 
Those ate true friends who are one’s companions of the way; 

And when their reckoning is called for, instantly render it. (I Pause) 
Chambers, domes and bowers, painted all over, 

When crumbled are little good , found deserted within. 

Storks white-robed that at holy spots abide, 

Gripping creatures swallow them-such immaculate cannot be called. 

Like the cotton-wool tree is my body, that deludes parrots. 

Useless its fruit- 
Such are my qualities. 

I the blind man, carrying a heavy load, a long mountain-path have to traverse. 
Nothing with my eyes can 1 behold- 
How may 1 ascend this path to cross? 

What good other devotion, merits and clever devices? 

Saith Nanak: Contemplate thou the Name, whereby from 
bonds mayst thou be freed. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 729 

The essence .of this hymn was that the body-pitcher can remain worth 
use only if the Guru helps and only then the appropriate fruit is achieved. 

On listening to this, the jogis started performing miracles. They also 
wanted the Guru to perform one. The Guru replied that he had no miracle 
other than the Divine Name. The siddhas did not believe this. They again 
demanded that he had shown miracles to the world and everybody accepted 
this fact. They wanted him to tell them the secret of his greatness. The 
Guru again told them that ‘he had no miracle except the Name of True 
Lord.’ 34 He reiterated the principles as stated in Inis Sidha Gosti so as to 
make his motive clear. The Guru seems to have given final shape to the 
Sidha Gosti on his return to Kartarpur from Achal Vatala. The Sidha Gosti 
is the composition which Contains answers to questions put by the siddhas. 35 

33. Varan Bhai Gurdas, 1,40. 

34. MiharbanJanamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 70-71 (App. 166-67). 

35. Varan Bhai Gurdas, 1,42. 


When the jogis of Achal Vatala heard the discourse of the Guru, they 
felt peace of mind and they bowed before the Guru and exclaimed ‘O 
Nanak great is thy spiritual attainment.’ 36 Guru Nanak spent some time at 
Achal Vatala and then set out on further journey. 

Kiri Mghana {Pathana} 

Setting out from the fair of Achal Vatala, Guru Nanak and Lehna 
passed through Batala and went towards the Beas river. They reached the 
village Kiri Mghana, also called Kiri Pathana, near present town of Sri 
Hargobindpur. The town of Sri Hargobindpur was later on founded by 
Guru Arjan. These days the population of Kid Mghana is a little over 
1,000. It falls under Sri Hargobindpur police station. Here some Pathans 
became disciples of the Guru and would sing the Guru’s hymn to the 
accompaniment of music. ,7 Here the Guru uttered the following hymn: 

Brother! He who created beings, cherishes them too : 

What more on this can we say? 

He who this field has sown, Himself knows and does what is best. 

Recite tale of the Divine Beloved, whereby may come everlasting joy. 


Thefemale that with the Spouse had not bliss, into regrets must fall; 

36. Bhai Gurdas states in his narration of Achal Vatala that “Baba held dialogue with the 

siddhas which provided peace to the latter.» However the name of jogis of Achal Vatala 
which Bhai Gurdas has mentioned such as Bhangar Nath, are not found in Sidha 
Gosti. Therein are given other names such as Gopi Chand, et. al. Vilayati'alijanamsakhi 
mentions that dialogue with the siddhas took place at the Sumer mountain. The 
special narration given by Bhai Gurdas of the dialogue with the siddhas makes it clear 
that the tenets mentioned in the Sidha Gosh might have been reiterated at Achal Vatala 
also. However, the internal evidence in the Sidha Gosh suggests that this dialogue did 
not take place at any specific place. It contains a critique of the siddhas rituals and 

Varan Bhai Gurdas, 1,44. 

The siddhas uttered good words: 

Great thou art O Nanak and great is thy spiritual achievement. 

37. Directory of Villages, Gurdaspur district; Director Land Record, Punjab, Chandigarh, 1958, 

p. 26. Its exact total population is mentioned as 1135. 

Vilayatvalijanamsakhi mentions the Guru’s visit to Kiri Pathana (see sakhi No. 34, 
App. 32). No other Janamsakhi version mentions this visit. But Kiri Afghana not 
being far off from Achal Vatala and a reference to some Pathans becoming disciples 
of the Guru in the Vilayatvalijanamsakhi make this episode an important probability. 


As life’s night passes, must she rub her hands in sorrow, 

And pluck at her hair. 

No time for regrets shall be when this game of chess shall be up : 

Joy with the Beloved shall Thereafter be when rhe turn to enter human incarnation. 
Will again come. 

Such of the happily-wedded wives possess the Spouse 
As to me are superior. 

Such good qualities as theirs do 1 not possess - 
On whom to lay the blame ? 

Of such of the sister-friends as with the Lord have bliss, 

Shall I enquire; 

Their feet shall I touch, supplicate them, 

And thus find the way. 

Saith Nanak : The female that realizes the Ordinance 
Applies the sandalwood paste of His fear, 

And uses magic spells of good qualities, 

The Beloved my attain. 

One that from the core of heart to the Lord is united. 

United may truly be called. 

By such desiring and mere chatter comes not union. 

By metal to metal is joined, love to love inclines. 

By realization through the Master’s grace is attained apprehension of the Lord. 
With a betel-orchard at home, to the ass is of litde value. 

One delighting in fragrance alone appreciates flowers. 

Saith Nanak: Whoever quaffs amrita. 

Self-absorbed are his doubts; 

Spontaneously in enlightenment merged, 

The state of immortality he attains. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 725 
After a short stay at Kiri Mghana the Guru resumed Inis journey further. 


Guru Nanak and Lehna left Kiri Pathana to travel further southwards. 
Passing through Khadur and crossing the Beas river, they reached 
Sultanpur. After meeting Nanaki at Sultanpur, they reached Matte-di-Sarai. 
This village these days bears the name Sarai Naga. It was here that Lehna 
was born. There is a gurdwara in the village erected in the memory of Guru 
Nanak’s visit. 38 According to a local tradition, the Guru had been to this 

38. The Vilayatvalijanamsakhi says that Guru went to Vairowal from Sultanpur. 


place. They left the village to reach Sirsa, an ancient town which was 
earlier known as Sarsauti. It is said that King Saras had built a fort there 
and founded the village. According to Wasaf, it was an important town of 
northern India in the 14th century. Taimur had conquered it and later on, 
after Guru Nanak, it had also been the capital of Rai Kalyan Singh. 39 
Passing through Sirsa, the Guru reached the Rajputana region. 

During the times of Guru Nanak and even in the preceding period 
Ajmer was most important among the Rajput states. According to Ain-i- 
Akbari, Rajputana included states of Ajmer, Jodhpur, Sarohi, Hadoit or 
Nagore, Bikaner and Marwar. 40 Marwar was the main centre of the Rathore 
Rajputs. In the 15th Century, the sixth son of Raijodha, the king of Marwar, 
who was named Bika (1439-1504), conquered the territory now called 
Bikaner with the help of his uncle (younger brother of his father) and then 
in 1485 got a fort erected there and founded a village where now flourishes 
the town of Bikaner. 41 When Guru Nanak came to this region Bikaner was 
not a big town. On his way from Sirsa towards Bikaner Guru Nanak reached 
a town where X/aishnavites lived in good numbers. They asked the Guru 
that there are several ways of serving God and what kind of service or 
endeavour can help man achieve! communion with God. In reply, the Guru 
told them that one must consider oneself a servant of God if one wanted 
to realize Him. We can reach Him only if we learn to live as per His 
dictates. He recited the following hymn 42 : 

Beautiful is the Lord; beautiful the Master’s Word. 

By great good fortune is the holy Preceptor met, 

From whom is obtained the state of liberation. 

Your slave of slaves am I, your servant: 

As you keep me, I abide-your Name ever on my tongue. (I Pause) 

Great is my thirst for your sight-your will to my mind is sweet. 

All exaltation in the Lord’s hand lies: by His will alone comes exaltation. 

Know not the holy Creator to be far-within the self He abides. 

39. Kahn Singh, Mahan Kosh, 944. 

40. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. 23, pp. 45-46. 

41. Jerrer and Sarkar, tr .,Ain-i-Akbari, pp. 273-77. 

42. Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. IV, p. 202. 


Wherever 1 look, is He pervasive-how may His greatness be realized? 

Himself He creates and takes away life: 

In His glance of grace lies exaltation. 

By beholding Him with eye of faith is His greatness realized. 

In life is achieved gain, should one the Master’s teaching follow: 

By good fortune pre-recorded is the holy Preceptor attained. 

The egoist ever suffers loss, in transmigration whirling. 

How may the egoist purblind, devoid of contemplating Him, 

Gain sight of Him? 

Such alone should be reckoned truly born, as to the holy Eternal are devoted. 

Such by contact with the Master turn philosopher’s stone 

-Their light with Divine Light merged. 

Those engaged in the task set in the primal hour abide 
day and night immaculate, 

By the Name filled with content, saith Nanak, 

To the Lord’s feet are such devoted. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 421 

These people then fell at the Gum’s feet and paid him their obeisance. 
Thereafter the Guru advanced towards Bikaner. He came accross another 
habitation of the Vaishnavites where they asked him: “where does God 
reside and how can He be realized ?” In reply, the Guru recited the following 
hymn 43 : 

Behold thou the Lord immutable in all creation; 

In attachment to worldly wealth lies much suffering, 

Laden with saline earth; hast thou to cross the ocean- 

This way shalt thou not get much profit. 

Sloka (Guru Nanak Dev) 

Capital of the holy Name is wealth inexhaustible, limitless. 

Saith Nanak: Holy is such capital; 

Blessed the traders therein and blessed the commerce. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1090 

Listening to this hymn, these Vaishnavites bowed to the Guru. 
Another group of Vaishnavite sadhus met him and asked: “Man is born into 
this world, spends some time herein and dies thereafter. What efforts should 
be make to realize God so that his life’s mission is successful?” In reply, 
the Guru told them that it is by remembering Divine Name that one could 
realize God. Only some rare persons comprehend the Name, but who 

43 .MiharbanJanamsakhi, pp.345-49, App.J.S.P. 134-35. 


does, is freed from all sorrow and suffering and gets united with God. The 
Guru recited the following hymn to make his viewpoint clear. 44 

Awkward is turned man’s gait in old age; feet and hands unsteady, 

Withered the skin and body. 

Eyes clouded, ears deafened-yet egoist man to the Name has not turned. 
Blind man! what have you achieved after coming into the world? 

God not borne in heart, nor the Master served: 

You depart after losing even jour capital. (T-Pause) 

The tongue in joy in God not immersed; ever unpleasing words uttering. 
Those involved in calumniating the holy turn beasts, 

Never becoming noble. 

Rare are those tasting amrita delight; such to the holy Preceptor by 
the iLord are united. 

As long as is significance of the holy Word not realized, 

Shall Death’s torment continue. 

Those that no other door than God’s know of, attached to God’s sale 
Portal, are pure. 

By the Master’s grace such the supreme state attain: 

Thus states Nanak after deliberation. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1126 

After listening to this hymn, these sadhus bowed before the Guru. 


Guru Nanak set out from Bikaner and reached Dch, then in the 
Bahawalpur State (now in Pakistan). Shaikh Haji Abdulla of this place 
had met the Guru at Mecca 45 and he had passed away in 1526-27. 46 Passing 
through Uch, Guru Nanak arrived at Multan. 

When the Guru reached Multan, the holy men of the town offered 
him a bowl of milk filled to the brim. 47 It meant that there were already 

44. Miharban and Bhai Mani Singh traditions have not mentioned Guru’s visit to Bikaner, 

Vilayatvali and Bhai Bala mention it. 

45. See sakhi “Visit to Mecca”. 

46. Jerret and Sarkar, tr. Ain-i-Akbari, p. 417. 

47. Bhai Gurdas mentions this dialogue as under: 

Baba Nanak set out from the fair (of Achal Vatala) and started for Multan. The pirs 
of Multan met him with a bowl filled with milk. 

The Baba took out a jasmine petal from his bag and placed it on the milk. (It floated 
over the milk without spilling it) As does the Ganga with the sea. 

(Varl, Pa/iriAA) 


enough holy men in the town and there was no space for any new one. The 
Guru took out a jasmine petal and placed it on the milk which implied 
that whatever the number of holy men in the town, the Guru will mix 
with them as does the river in the sea. 48 On reaching Multan, the Guru 
went to the shrine of Baha-ud-din-Zakaria. At that time one of the 
descendants of Baha-ud-din, Makhdum Baha-ud-din was the custodian 
of this shrine. 49 He welcomed the Guru. After some time he asked the 
Guru: “You do not seem to have acquired a spiritual preceptor for divine 
worship and that you still seem to be wandering.” In reply, the Guru told 
him that the real issue was not to settle down at one place or keep on 
wandering. The issue at stake was how to remove the ills and realize God. 
The Guru recited the following hymn to make his points clear to the 
Makhdum 50 : 

A. female with divided heart I come and go, and befriend many. 

Such a woman no true shelter finds: 

How may one separated from her Lord find solace? 

My heart to my beloved Spouse is devoted. 

For a moment’s glance of grace by Thee would I sacrifice myself 
cut to bits. (I-Pause) 

Of ruined matrimony in the parents’ home lying, 

How to the Husband’s home may I go? 

My neck by grip of demerits clenched, 

In separation from the Beloved 1 pine away. 

Should I in the parents’ home keep the beloved spouse in mind, 

In the in-laws’ home would 1 find lodgement. 

In joy sleeps the woman of happy matrimony, 

Finding her Lord repository of merits. 

Despite quilt and mattress of silk, and fine dresses worn over limbs, 

The woman of cursed matrimony cast off by the Spouse, 

Her night in suffering passes. 

48. The episode of sending a milk-filled bowl is popular with other famous holy men also. 

Maybe, such an incident was repeated several times. According to the Encyclepaedia of 
Religion and Ethics, when Shah Mohi-ud-Din Abdul Qadir Gilani, the founder of the 
Qadiri tradition of Sufis, went to Baghdad, the holy men of Baghdad sent a milk-filled 
bowl to him. Gilani put a rose flower on the milk. The Multan District Gazetteer (p. 288) 
mentions that when Shamas Tabrez came to Multan, the holy men of Multan had sent 
a milk-filled bowl to him also and that he put a flower-petal on the milk. 

49. See sakhi “Visit to Mecca”. 

50. See Miharban ]anamsakhi, pp.334-37 (App. J.S.P. 143-44). Though this episode is not 

mentioned in any other Janamsakhisrexsion yet the dialogue with Malthdum Baha-ud- 
din is well placed. 


However many the delights that I taste, however, numerous the garb I wear- 
Without love of the spouse is youth gone waste, 

And ever the cast-off female pines. 

The holy Eternal’s call by the Master’s teaching hear. 

Holy is the assembly of the Holy Lord, 

And by His glance of grace is induced devotion. 

The enlightened have applied collyrium of truth, 

And with that the Beholder of all behold. 

By the Master’s guidance is acquired enlightenment and knowledge, 

As egoism cast off. 

Such females please Thee as Thy merits share- 
Else many are like me. 

Saith Nanak: Those that in holy Truth are absorbed. 

Never from their Lord are sequestered. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 1014-15 
Makhdum Baha-ud-din was highly impressed by this hymn. He asked 
the Guru that he (the Guru) had given him a glimpse of God. In reply the 
Guru told him that he had the spiritual training and attainments of Baha- 
ud-din Zakaria as his heritage and that he himself was also a spiritually 
enlightened faqir. Baha-ud-din again said that he (the Guru) was a greater 
Pz'rwho had given him a glimpse of God.51 Thereafter Guru Nanak started 
on his return journey to Kartarpur. 

Prior to 1947, the place where Guru Nanak sat was preserved in the 
house of the pirs although it was maintained and looked after by Muslims. 52 

Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani 

Leaving Multan Guru Nanak travelled via Dipalpur (now in Sahiwal 
district of Pakistani Punjab) and reached Shergarh. There lived in Shergarh 
a spiritually enlightened saint by the name of Daud Kirmani (d. 1574). 53 
This faqir was a disciple of Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani of Lahore. 54 When 
the Guru met this faqir, the latter eulogized his mentor a lot during his 

51. MiharbanJanamsakhi. p. 438. 

52. Kahn Singh. Mahan Kosh, p. 741. 

53. Ahijazul Haq Kadusi, Tatfeara-i-Snfia-i-Ptmjab, Karachi, 1962, p. 273. The shrine of Daud 

Kirmani is still extant in Shergarh and many pilgrims visit it. 

54. The Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. II, p. 182, mentions that ‘the Guru held dialogue with 

Mian Daud, the Pir of Shergarh. 


conversation with the Guru. 55 The Guru resolved that very moment to 
meet Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani. 

Guru Nanak set our from Shergarh and passing through Chuhnian 36 , 
Kanganpur 57 and Kasur 38 reached Lahore. Here Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani 
lived on the bank of Ravi river where he had set-up an establishment. 
Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani’s father, Syad Jamal-ud-din, had migrated from 
Baghdad to settle in Lahore. He was a householder and had three sons- 
Syad Haji, Sultan Akbar and Gyas-ud-din. He passed away in 942 Hijri/ 
A.D. 1535-36. 59 

Guru Nanak met Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani on the river bank. They 
sat down together to have a discourse. Guru Nanak said that this world is 
full of suffering. Abdul Qadir Gilani said that pleasure is in realizing the 
truth and achieving union with God. Guru Nanak knew this well and 
hearing this made him emotionally charged. His eyes brimmed with tears 
and he said that only God is true. Everything else is transcient. Real pleasure 
could be achieved only after realizing God. Guru Nanak recited the 
following hymn 60 for Qadir Gilani’s benefit: 

The Bestower has given to mankind the intoxicant mouthful of falsehood; 

Intoxicated with it, death it forgets and in evanescent pleasures indulges. 

55. Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. I, p. 511 (App. 155) mentions the Guru’s visit to Shergarh. 

Daud Kirmani was a contemporary of Guru Nanak and he lived at Shergarh. The 
reference to Daud Kirmani in the Miharban text is found in Vol. I, p. 182 (App. 178). 

56. Both Chuhnian and Kasur are in Lahore district (Pakistan). The real name of the village 

Chuhni is Chuhni Pir Kama/ di. Pir Kamal was an enlightened faqir. A blind woman 
used to serve him. This village was founded in 1536-37 after her name. See Mufti 
Ghulam Sarvar, Tarikh-iMakh^an-i-Punjab, p. 233. At the time of Guru Nanak the 
village did not exist. 

57. Kanganpur is an ancient town which got devastated and rehabilitated many a time. It is 12 

miles (19 kms.) away from Chuhnian in Lahore district. It was founded in the 7th 
century and named after Queen Kangan. During the Pathan regime, a fort was built 
here and the village was rehabilitated. See Tarikh-iMakh^an-i-Punjab, p. 235. 

58. Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. I, p. 511, mentions that Guru Nanak went to Kasur from 


59. Ahijaz-ul-Kadusi, Ta^kara-i-Sufia-i-Punjab, p. 359. 

60. This episode is based on the sakhi tided “Gosht with Pir Abdul Gilani” in the 

Miharbanjanamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 179-182 (App. l.S.P. 177-78). This episode is not 
found in any other Janamsakhi. 


With truth have been endowed the sober ones that they may stay 
at the Court Divine. 

Nanak! attach thy self to the truth of the holy Lord, 

In devotion to whom lies joy and at the Court Divine Mayst thou 
attain honour. (Pause I) 

Truth is the wine without molasses, distilled of the holy name. 

May I be a sacrifice to all that hear and expound truth. 

True inebriation comes when at the Divine Mansion one finds a place. 
With water of goodness and the Name, 

And fragrance of charity wafted over the self, 

Is one’s countenance illumined- 

More than a million blessings is this sole blessing. 

Carry your sorrows to Him alone, who joy can confer. 

Why cast Him out of mind who is Lord of self and life? 

Without devotion to Him all wear and all consuming of food is impurity. 
All else is false; what pleases Thee is alone approved. 

On hearing this; Syad Abdul Qadir Gilani felt highly pleased and said 
that a discourse on the Divine is always satisfying. Guru Nanak spent 
some time with him and then returned to Kartarpur. 



Light Merges with the Divine Light 

Compiling the Japu 

At Kartarpur, the Sikhs would get up early in the morning and recited 
the hymns recommended by Guru Nanak. In the evening were recited the 
Sodaru and the Rahims} No particular composition was specified to be 
recited in the morning. Guru Nanak thought that there should be one 
specific bani for morning recitation as well. 2 Keeping this in mind, one 
day he asked Lehna to prepare a composition for recitation in the morning 
by culling hymns from his works. Such a composition should be complete 
in itself The Guru gave all his works to Lehna and desired that out of 
these stanzas eulogizing God be set apart. ’ Guru Nanak put the following 
at the head of this compilation: 

In primal Time, in all Time was the creator; 

Nothing is real but the Eternal 

Nothing shall last but the Eternal. O’ Nanak. 4 

Lehna began selecting the stanzas.5 He used to recite these stanzas 
to Guru Nanak every morning. Guru Nanak would look very carefully at 
the selection made by Lehna. Thus, one morning Lehna recited thirty- 
eight stanzas from the corpus of Guru Nanak’s entire works. The Guru 
accepted the selection made by Lehna. When the latter recited these 

1. Bhai Gurdas, Vt^ran, I. 38 (So Dam and Ani are recited in the evening, and japu in the 

morning). Both So Dam and Arti had been composed before the founding of 
Kanarpur. The japu and other longer compositions of Guru Nanak were composed 
at Karrarpur. 

2. Miharhanjanamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 248-50. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Ibid, p. 125. The exegesis of the last stanzas of the japu made here reveals that the last eleven 

stanzas given now in the Jap/iwete composed by Guru Nanak along side Sidba Goshti. 


stanzas. Gum Nanak would listen to them while bathing. He would also 
say that eulogies of God are to be sung only after bathing in the morning. 

Then Bhai Lehna began arranging these stanzas. He would recite these 
stanzas to Guru Nanak for getting approval of the order of arrangement. 
Thus came into being the present form of the Jap//. 6 

Guru Nanak was highly pleased at this composition of the Japu. He 
said that the Japu is meant to be recited at an ambrosial hour in the morning 
and that every Sikh must read it after taking his bath. That is why Bhai 
Gurdas has said: 

Recited the japu, early in the morning 7 

Death of Bhai Mula 

When Guru Nanak visited Sialkot for the first time, Bhai Mula had 
met him with great respect. He had also travelled with Guru Nanak for 
some time. 8 One day Guru Nanak desired to see Bhai Mula. He took 
Lehna along and went to Sialkot. On reaching the door-step of his house, 
they asked about Mula. 

Mula’s wife saw Guru Nanak coming thither from a distance. She 
knew well that earlier her husband had left home along with this mendicant 
and had returned home after quite some time. Apprehending that he might 
not again go along with this faqir, she concealed Mula within the house. 
She came out and told the Guru that Mula was not at home. Guru Nanak 
looked askance at her and said, “is Mula really not at home ?” She said, 
“no”. The Guru left the house. 9 After Guru Nanak’s departure, Mula came 
out and asked if the Guru had gone. His wife replied in affirmative. Mula 
felt saddened at this and fell down. People gathered around but as they 
touched his body, he lay dead. 10 

6. This episode is based on Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 248-50. Although these details 

are not available in any other janamsakhi but it is evident that Lehna (later Guru 
Angad) gave this shape to the Japu because at the end of 38 stanzas is appended a 
Shloka written by Guru Angad himself (earlier Lehna). 

7. Bhai Gurdas, varan, I, 38. 

8. See Visit to Sialkot. 

9. This episode is based on Miharbanjanamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 163-4. This story is not found in 

any other Janamsakhi. 

10. Bhai Kahn Singh says that a snake bit Mula in the room where he had hidden himself 

because of which he died. Miharban Janamsakhi records that Mula felt aggrieved 


Seeing this tragedy, many people of the town ran after Guru Nanak. 
They thought that Mula’s death was caused by his not meeting the Guru. 
When people told everything to the Guru, he came back, condoled his 
death and uttered the following hymn : u 

With worshippers of mammon is friendship hollow- 
False, false its foundation. 

Thou Mula, invisibly death comes, 

Not knowing where. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1412 
Guru Nanak spent some time at Sialkot and then returned to 

Meeting an Old Friend from Sultanpur 

When Guru Nanak worked in the stores of Nawab Daulat Khan 
Lodhi at Sultanpur a Khatri of Sultanpur who was also an employee of 
Dault Khan became his friend. He was well read and was a Vaishnavite by 
faith. The Guru gave up that job and donning the robes of a mendicant 
travelled far and wide. However, the Guru’s friend continued to work 
with the Nawab. 12 Daulat Khan Lodhi did not want that the Mughals should 
occupy Punjab. So when Babur went back after conquering Punjab in 1524, 
Daulat Khan Lodhi came out of the hills and hounded the Mughal forces 
out of Punjab. The forces of Ibrahim Lodhi were also repulsed when they 
advanced towards Punjab. However, in 1525 when Babur again invaded 
India, Daulat Khan suffered defeat. As he was made a prisoner and brought 
to Sultanpur, he breathed his last. 11 This happened in the beginning of 
1526. After the death of Daulat Khan, his employees dispersed to different 
places. When the Guru’s friend learnt that the Guru had settled at 
Kartarpur, he came there to see him. On reaching Kartarpur, he listened 
many anecdotes about the Guru and was highly pleased to meet the Guru. 
The Guru was also happy to receive him. The memories of the days spent 
in Sultanpur were refreshed. The old friends sat together and talked for 
some time. 

"® at Guru Nanak’s rerum, fell down and died. Miharban version seems correct as Mula 
had earlier written on a paper “Death is truth and Life falsehood” and had remained 
in the Guru’s company. His regret at the return of the Guru was natural. 

11. Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 164-165. 

12. Ibid., pp. 235-237 

13. Lucas King, Memoirs of Zahir-ud-Din Mohammad Babur, Vol. II, p. 172. 


One day the friend asked when a trader sets out of his home and 
returns, after a profitable deed, he tells his friends as to how and wherefrom 
he bought his wares and how he earned the profit. You have earned such 
fame. How did you do that? At this, the Guru laughed and uttered the 
following hymn : 14 

On whomsoever the immortal Name by the holy Preceptor is conferred. 
Is rendered holy. 

One in heart bearing the holy Name, no scattering of the mind’s faculties 


Day and night with the Beloved Lord is his association. 

Lord! under Thy shelter keep me ever: 

By the Master’s grace have 1 obtained Divine joy, 

Blessing of the Name and the Nine Treasures. (Pause I) 

Whoever devotion to the holy name has made his ritual performance. 

To such am 1 ever a sacrifice. 

Those dyed in the Divine Lord find acceptance. 

In their company is obtained the supreme treasure. 

Blessed is the woman who has the Lord for Spouse, 

And who by contemplation of the Word in the Lord’s love is dyed. 

Such a one liberated herself, liberates too her associates and family- 
ln service to the holy Preceptor the Divine Essence ever contemplating. 

The holy name is our caste-pride and honour; 

Holy devotion our ritual acts and discipline. 

Saith Nanak: One effacing duality and with the GW uniting, 

Is liberated, none barring his way. 

— Guru Granth Sahib, p. 353 

Listening this hymn, the friend bowed before the Guru. Thereafter, 
he stayed for a few days at Kartarpur and then returned to his home. 

Lehna’s Service 

The Guru made vast tract of land cultiviable around Kartarpur. The 
Sikhs who came to the Guru would go to the fields and worked there 
along with him. They sowed the crops and hoed the fields. Thus the crop 
the Guru harvested helped in maintaining the langar for the mornings and 
evenings. During a season, there was no yield. Consequently parched gram 

14. This is based on Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 235-37. 


began to be served in the langar. These days whosoever Sikh came to the 
Guru, he would hand over to him a shovel or hoe and advise him to work 
in the fields. Thus the faith and commitment of the followers were put to 

Sikhs from far and wide flocked to Kartarpur, and usually stayed 
there for a few days. But when the Guru started sending all his Sikhs to 
the fields, many of them would return soon. Lehna remained with the 
Guru throughout this period. He would work in the fields and also served 
the visiting Sikhs. The Guru had asked Lehna several times that he should 
go back home, but Lehna did not waiver in his resolve to serve the Guru 
and remained steadfast in his devotion to the Guru. This left a deep impress 
on the Guru. In the series of tests that Lehna had to pass through, this 
was his first test. 

Death of a Friend of the Guru 

While the Guru lived at Kartarpur, one of his old friends came to see 
him. He was pleased to see the Guru. The Guru gave him much respect 
and kept him as his guest for 4-5 days. This friend of the Guru was highly 
impressed by the way of life followed at Kartarpur. The Guru would get 
up early in the morning, the congregation met and recitation of the Divine 
Name went on. Any Sikh who came to see the Guru would say ‘Kartar 
Kartar” (Creator-Lord Creator -Lord) instead of bowing at his feet. In 
response the Guru uttered “Sati Kartar” (True is the Creator-Lord). 
Similarly, when two Sikhs met each other, one would say ‘Kartar Kartar” 
while the other responded by saying “Sati Kartar”. 

The Guru’s friend went back home after spending five days at 
Kartarpur. So he sent for all his children and began to share with them his 
experiences at Kartarpur. While doing so, he breathed his last. His sons 
came to Kartarpur to convey this sad news to the Guru. The Guru uttered 
the following hymn (Sloka) to provide solace to the grieved souls: 15 

Nanak, the heap of dust has fallen; wall of dust that it was. 

Within it was settled thief of the foul mind; 

Its life was all falsehood. 

- Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1245 

The Guru taught that this body is a lump of earth. If the breath 

15. Miharban Janamsakhi. Vol. II (Pothi Chaturbhuj), pp. 564-65. 


comes, it functions, otherwise it is dead. Listening to the Gum’s words, 
they felt solace and went back. 16 

Pontificate for Lehna 

Lehna greatly impressed Guru Nanak after his arrival at Kartarpur. 
The Guru also kept Lehna with him for many years. People belonging to 
several traditions came to the Guru at Kartarpur. 17 The Guru’s daily 
interaction with them touched his inner feelings. Lehna would listen to 
the Guru’s utterances. When Lehna compiled the Jap// on a directive from 
Guru Nanak, 18 it was not only a test of his understanding of the Sikh 
doctrine but also the test of Inis faith and commitment. 

It was winter. One day it rained heavily to the accompaniment of 
strong winds. Guru Nanak went to the Ravi for his morning bath. Lehna 
was also with him. As the Guru entered the Ravi, he remained in meditation 
for some time and came out of the river some-what late. Lehna remained 
standing on the bank. The rain and cold winds made him ill with cold. He 
could bear the cold no longer and fell unconscious on the river bank. As 
the Guru came out of the river, he was surprised to see Lehna lying 
unconscious. Somehow, he made Lehna stand up, and took him home. He 
was wrapped in warm clothes. After some time Lehna regained 
consciousness. The Guru felt pleased with Lehna’s dedication. 19 

While living at Kartarpur, one day Bhai Lehna came to Khadur to 
meet his family, but returned to Kartarpur soon. On his arrival, he learnt 
that the Guru was away to the fields working there. Bhai Lehna went to 
the fields. On reaching there, he saw the Guru tying a bundle of fodder 

16. Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. II (Pothi Chatnrbhuj), pp. 564-65. 

17. Miharban Janamsakhi, Vol. II, pp. 144-45, says: “To Baba Nanak came the enlightened 

ones, ascetics, who are indifferent towards the worldly affairs or who had renounced 
the world and kept shaven heads, the Yaishnavites, celibates, jogis, Digambar Jains, 
sannajasis, tapasvis, those who lived on milk alone, are given to meditation, rebeck- 
players, siddhas, sadhus, faqirs, the great god-men, atilia,gaus,ulema, the ones given to 
polemics, pirs. prophets, Hindus, Muslims, householders, princes, peasants, hath 
jogis. Khatris, Brahmins, Vaishyas and Shudras, the virtuous poets, singers, etc. etc. 

18. See episode on ‘Compiling the Japn', p. 223. 

19. This episode is based on the Miharban version, Vol. II, pp. 144-45. It is not found in any 

of the other Janamsakhis. But all accounts agree that Lehna was put to svere tests 
before being named as successor by Guru Nanak. 


that was extremely wet and muddy. Bhai Lehna went ahead and bowed at 
the Guru’s feet. He took hold of the bundle and putting it on his own 
head came home. When the Guru’s consort, Mata Sulakhani saw Lehna 
carrying a bundle of fodder on his head, she realized that the clothes of 
Lehna had got soiled with the muddy water coming down from that big 
bale. She told the Guru that this gentleman came to see you and you have 
made him carry the burden of fodder. Now see how the new clothes of 
Lehna have got soiled. The Guru smiled and remarked that was not mud 
but saffron.” 20 

Guru Nanak seems to have put his sons also to test while living at 
Kartarpur, but they failed to come up to his expectations 21 whereas Lehna 
emerged as pure gold from each test. 

One day Guru Nanak set out from his home. The Guru was in an 
irritant mood. He asked the Sikhs to leave him alone. Many of the Sikhs 
went back as per his command. Walking ahead, the Guru reached a forest. 
There, he again exhorted his few followers to go back. All the Sikhs 
following the Guru except Lehna returned morose. Thereafter, the Guru 
saw a dead body lying in the forest. He ordered Lehna to eat it. Lehna as 
always, got ready to obey the Guru’s command. He simply asked the Guru 
from which side he should begin; head or toe. 22 As Lehna went towards 
the feet of the corpse, the Guru himself lay between the two. 23 Lehnas 
test was complete. The Guru said to him, “You are a part and limb of my 
body. From now onwards you shall be addressed as Angad.” Both of them 
returned to Kartarpur. 

The Guru had a premonition that his end was not far. So he gathered 
together all members of his family and the Sangat of Kartarpur. In the 
presence of them all, he put five paise before Angad and bowed before 
him. At the same time, he handed over the collections of his hymns (Bam) 

20. This episode is found mentioned in Vilayatwali, Bala and Mani Singh versions of Janamsakhis. 

SeeApp. 54,327,3851.S.P. 

21. Although Vilayatwali and Miharban texts make no mention of it, but the Var by Satta and 

Balwand as included in the Guru Granth Sahib, makes allusions to it, e.g. “The Sons 

did not keep promise.” This shows that the Guru might have tested his sons also. 

We find several instances of Guru’s sons not giving full attention to Guru’s wishes in 

Bala and Mani Singh Janamsakhis as well. See the Mani Singh Janamsakhi, p. 580, App. 

398-9 I.S.P. and the Bala Janamsakhi, p. 265, App. 327,1.S.P. 

22. This information is recorded in Vilayatwali, Bala and Mani Singh Janamsakhis. 

23. VilayatwaliJanamsakhi records that as Lehna lifted the sheet of cloth, he saw Guru Nanak 

himself lying beneath it. 


to him. 24 Angad was quite humble. He stood with folded hands. Now the 
Guru asked him, “O man! now realize your true self and ask for something.” 
Guru Angad replied, “A good rapport with congregation, those who have 
broken away should come back.” Guru Nanak replied, “I forgive all because 
of you.” On listening these words. Guru Angad fell at the feet of Guru 

Light Merges with the Divine Light 

Guru Nanak lived his worldly life for more than seventy years.25 He 
passed away on Assn Sudi lO, Samvat 1596, i.e. 23rd Assn Sa?nvat 1596 or 
22rd September 1539.26 The Guru’s family including his wife and two 
sons, Sri Chand and Lakhami Das, were then present at Kartarpur. The 
right to perform the last rites conventionally lies with one’s family. So any 
quarrel as recorded in some ]ana?nsakhis; between the Hindus and the 
Muslims, on this count does not seem likely. 27 

24. Vilayatwali janamsakhi (Sakhi No. 57) says: “The pothi containing all the hymns that the 

Guru had composed, was given to Guru Angad.” This is also confirmed by the 
hymns in the Guru Granth Sahib. The hymns of Guru Angad are similar to those of 
Guru Nanak at several places, e.g., the couplet and the stanza (No.22) in Asa di Var. 
The couplet is by Guru Angad whereas the following stanza is by Guru Nanak: 
Couplet by Guru Angad : 

If the servant serves the Master, but retains 
His pride... (it is all useless) 

Stanza by Guru Nanak: 

If the servant serves the Master and 

Acts on the will of his Master... (he gains everything). 

All these details are taken from Vilayatwali Janamsakhi. Although these details do not tally 
with any other janamsakhi version, but they carry the flavour of live facts. 

The fact regarding the Guru placing five paise and coconut before Bhai Lehna and then 
bowing before him is mentioned in Mani Singh janamsakhi as well. 

25. According to Bhai Karam Singh, his age was 70 years, 5 months and 3 days. See Karam 

Singh, GurpurabNimay, p. 57. 

26. Both Vilayati'ali and Mani Singh janamsakhis give this date. The Story of the Guru’s 

passing away is not included in Miharban and Bala janamsakhis (mss. A.D. 1658) texts. 

27. It is said that a quarrel arose between the Hindus and the Muslims as the Guru passed 

away. The Hindus said that the Guru’s body be cremated whereas the Muslims said 
that it be buried. The reference to This quarrel is fonnd in Vilayatwali *" 


It is said that a samadhi was built at the place where the Guru’s body 
was cremated. The same was washed away by the waters of the Ravi. 
Likewise, the town founded by Guru Nanak was also washed away by the 
Ravi. 28 At the place of that town now stands only the Kartarpur Gurdwara. 
This Sikh shrine was saved by the Maharaja of Patiala and other Sikhs in 
1870 by erecting a bandh . 29 

Dharam Chand grandson of Guru Nanak and son of Baba Lakhami 
Das, took some ashes from the site of the samadhi and got a new shrine 
Dehura Baba Nanak, constructed on the eastern bank of river Ravi where 
the river water did not cause erosion. Around this place came into being a 
town which came to be called Dera Baba Nanak. During Maharaja Ranjit 
Singh’s reign, the descendants of Guru Nanak resided there. Maharaja 
Ranjit Singh donated enough land to the gurdwara. (Darbar Sahib) which 
still stands in its name. 30 

and Marti Singh Janamsakhis, and not in the Miharban and Bala versions. The earliesr 
reference to this quarrel is found in the Vilayatimli Janamsakhi which was written 
during the time of Gum Hargobind. It was also during this time that the Dabistan-i- 
Magahib was written. In the Dabistan-i-Magahib, we find a mention of a similar quarrel 
among the Hindus and Muslims after the death of Kabir. See David Shea and 
Anthony Troyer, Dabistan, School of Manners, Paris, 1843, Vol. II, p. 191. 

28. The Ravi has been changing its course for several centuries. Sujan Rai, Khulasat-ut- Taivarikh, 

says that Batala town was also washed away by the river. The residents raised a new 
township at another place and called it Varala or Batala which, in Punjabi, means ‘to 
change.’ However, this happened much before Guru Nanak. In. A.D. 1397, the Ravi 
flowed in the south east of Multan and 28 miles (45 kms.) away from Mulran town 
towards the south where the Beas merged with the Ravi. This was the position until 
the 18th Century when both the Ravi and the Beas changed their courses again. 
According to Muhammad Latif, in A.D. 1661 the Mughal government of Emperor 
Aurangzeb erected a huge bandh to save the city of Lahore from the Ravi. The ruins of 
this bandh can still be seen towards the north of Lahore. 

29. Muhammad Latif, History of the Punjab, New Delhi, 1964, p. 8. 

30. Bhai Kahn Singh, Mahan Kush, p. 486. 




Glossary of Historical Names in the 

Asa Des 

Daud Kirmani 

Gorakh Hatri 
Karun Des 

Kauda Rakash 


Makhdum Bahavadi 

Mallu Khan and 
Ubare Khan 



Shaikh Brahm 

Pakpatan (now in Pakistan 

Assam: Ancestor of Ahoms ‘Samunder’ has 
been misread’ by Dr. MacLeod as Sham 


Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. 

A famous faquir of Shergarh who met Guru 
Nanak. He died in 1574 A.D. 

Modern Sahiwal town in Pakistan. 
Peshawar (in NWFP in Pakistan). 
Kamrup-it was an independent kingdom 
separate from Assam in 16th century. 

A member of Kedam tribe - a cannible 
tribe-that lived in the Nilgiri Hills. 

Baijnath (Himachal Pradesh). 

Baha-u-din, a descendant of Baha-u-din 
Zakaria of Multan. He met Guru Nanak at 

Both lived in Jeorhian, Tehsil Batala, 
District, Gurdaspur-both came to see the 

A raja of Orissa who met Guru Nanak. 
Allahabad in U.P 

Shaikh Ibrahim, Farid Sani who met Guru 
Nanak at Pakpatan. 


Shaikh Tatihar/Shaikh Tahir 

Also known as Shaikh ldul Kabir. He Was 

successor of Shaikh Sharaf-ud-din of 

Sumer Parbat 

Kailash mountain in the Himalaya. 

Syedpur or Saidpur 

Modern Eminabad District Gujranwala 

Syed Abdul 

He lived in Lahore on the bank of river 


Qadir Gilani 

Talwandi Rai Bhoe 

He met Guru Nanak and died in 1535-36. 

Now Nankana Sahib, District Shaikhupura 

Thanasari Des 

Thanasari valley in Assam. There is a 
Thanasari river also. 


Makhdumpur District Multan (Pakistan). 




Regional Records 

‘An Inscription (No. S.lll) Preserved in Anuradhapur’ Ceylon. 

A Concise History of Ceylon, Colombo University, Colombo. 

A Monograph on Batticola, Ceylon Archives, Colombo. 

Badrinath, Dewan, Iraq, The Hand and the People, Afro Asian Publication. 
Cartman, Rev. J., Hinduism in Ceylon, Colombo. 

Ceylon Titerary Register, Ceylon Archives. 

Cherring, Charles A., Western Tibet and British Border-land, London, 1906. 

Datta, C.L. (Dr.), Tadakh and Western Himalayan Politics, Panjab University, Chandigarh 

Desai, Shambu Nath Har Prasad, Saurastra Itihas (Gujarati). 

Drew, Frederick, Jammu and Kashmir Territories. 

Huggs, A.W, The Country of Baluchistan. 

Hutchinson, J., Punjab Hill States, 2 Vols., Lahore, 1933. 

Karnararna, S.W, Guru Nanak and Ceylon: Perspectives on Guru Nanak, Punjabi 
University, Patiala. 

Rathor, Ram Singh Kangri, Kuchno Daison (Gujarati), Ahmedabad, 1958. 

Regional Geography of Ceylon, S.F.D. Salva, Colombo. 

Sikand Puran, Gujarati Translation by Gorabhai Ramji. 

Percysykes, A History of Txploration (Iran), New York, 1961. 

Pranavananda, Swami, Txploration in Tibet, Calcutta University, Calcutta, 1950. 
Warz, Paul, Katargama (Tr. Dorn Barta Pralle). 

Government Publications 

Almora District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1905. 

Arora, F.C., Commerce by River in Punjab, Punjab Government, Lahore, 1930. 
Attock District Gazetteer, Lahore. 

Benaras District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1909. 

Dacca District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1912. 

Directory of Village Gurdaspur District, Director Land Records Punjab Govt., 
Chandigarh, 1958. 

East India Gazetteer, Vol. II, by Walter Hamilton, Calcutta. 

Fai^abad District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1905. 

Fai^abad District Gazetteer, Allahabd, 1905. 

Gaya District Gazetteer, 1906. 


Golpara District Gazetteer, Calcurta, 1905. 

Gujranwala District Gazetteer, 1935. 

Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol. 13, Oxford, 1908. 

Imperial Gacystteer of India, Vol. XVIII, IX. 

Imperial Gazetteer, Madras, Southern District, 1906. 

Imperial Gazetteer, Provincial Series, Baluchistan Calcutta, 1908. 

Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. IX, XII, V, 11, XXIV. 
faunpur District Gazetteer, 1908. 

Jullundur District Gazetteer. 

Kamrup District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1905. 

KJjeri District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1905. 

Kutch Gazetteer. 

Montgomery District Gazetteer, Lahore, 1933. 

Moradabad District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1911. 

Multan District Gazetteer, Allahabad, 1911. 

Multan District Gazetteer, Lahore, 1923-24. 

Muzaffarpur District Gazetteer. 

Patna District, Gazetteer. 

Puri District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1908. 

Sylhet District Gazetteer, Calcutta, 1905. 

Books in English 

A Guide to Sri Ramanatha Swami Temple. 

A Short Note on Shri Kanganatha Swami Temple, Sri Ranga Madras State. 

Batuta, Ibn, Travels in Asia and Africa, London, 1963. 

Beede, Thomas William, Oriental Biographical Dictionary, Ludhiana, 1972. 
Carpenter, Humpherry, Jesus, Oxford University Press, 1980. 

Collinwood, R.G, The Idea of History, Oxford, 1951. 

Cunningham, Alexander, Ancient Geography of India, Varanasi, 1963. 
Superintendent, Report of the Tour in Punjab 1878-89, Government Printing Press, 
Calcutta, 1882. 

Doue, James, Punjab North Western Frontier and Kashmir, Cambridge. 

Dwivedi, Hazari Prasad, Nath Sampradai, Varanasi, 1966. 

Ganda Singh (ed.), Sources on the Fife andTeachings of Guru Nanak, Punjabi University, 
Patiala, 1969. 

Grewal, J .S., Contesting Interpretations of the Sikh Tradition, Manohar publishers an 
Distriburors, 1998. 

—, Guru Nanak in History, Panjab University, Chandigarh. 

—, Guru Nanak in western Scholarship, HAS, Shimla, 1992. 

Griffin, Lepel, Chief and Families of Note, Vol. II, Lahore, 1940. 

Guru Nanak’s Visit to Ceylon” in Proceedings of Punjab History Conference, 
Patiala, 1969. 

Harbans Singh, Guru Nanak and Origins of the Sikh Faith, Asia Pubhsishing House, 
Bombay, 1969. 

Hugel, Baron Charles, Travels in Kashmir and Punjab, London, 1845. 


Indian Express, Madurai Edition, 23rdjune, Essay entitled “Once A Prosperous 
Sikh Colony”, 1968. 

Kattar Singh, Gum Nanak Dev Efe and Teachings, Book Shop, Ludhiana, 1969. 
Khazan Singh, History and Philosophy of the Sikh Religion, Lahore, 1969. 

Ivhushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 1981. 
Kirpal Singh, Perspectives on Sikh Gurus, Delhi, 2000. 

Kishori Sharan Lai, History of the Khiljis, Bombay, 1967, 

Kohli, Sita Ram and Gupta, Hari Ram, Historical Atlas of India. 

Lyall, Alfred, Asiatic Researches, Vol. VI, Social Religious and Social, London, 1907. 
Ufe and Critical Study of Hives of Saints, See Random House Webster’s College 
Dictionary, 1977. 

Ufe and Times of Sheikh Farid-u-Din Wahid Ahmed Masud, Hayrat Baba Farid-u-din 
Mohsud, Ganj-i-Shakar, Karachi, 1967. 

Macauliffe, M.A., The Sikh Religion, Vol. 6, Delhi. McLeod, WH. (ed.), The B40 
Janamsakhi, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1980. 

—, Exploring Sikhism, O. 4, Oxford University Press, 2000. 

—, Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion, Oxford University Press, 1968. 

—, Early Sikh Tradition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980. 

Moreland, W.H Agrarian System of Moslem India, Allahabad, 1929. 

Muzaffar Ali, Geography of the Puranas, Delhi. 

Oberoi, Harjot, The Construction of Religious Boundaries, Oxford University Press, 

Pillay, Kannu, Indian Ephemeries, 8 Vols., Delhi, 1982. 

Rameshwaram Temple Guide. 

Rose, A.H., A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier, 
3 Vols., Reprint, Patiala, 1971. 

SafinatulAuliya, Karachi. 

Sewa Ram Singh (ed. Prithipal Singh Kapur), The Divine Master, ABS Publications, 
Jalandhar, 1988. 

Shastri, Neel Kanth, History of South India, 3rd ed. 

Stephens and Hemis, Iran, London, 1958. 

The Sikh Review, Calcutta, September, 1963. 

Toynbee, Arnold J .,An Historian’s Approach to Religion, London. 

Trump, Ernest, The Adi Granth, Reprint, New Delhi, 1970. 

Tulku, Tarunga, “Similarities betWeen Sikhism and Budhism”, Indian Times, Delhi. 
Wilson, H.H., Religious Sects of Hindus, Calcutta. 1958. 

2500 Years of Budhism, Publications Division, New Delhi. 

Persian and Urdu Sources 

Akbar Namah, Nawal Kishore Press, Vol. Ill, Lucknow. 

Dabistan-i-Mayahib, Nawal Kishore Press, Kanpur, English translation by David 
Shea and Anthony, Dabistan School of Manners, Paris, 1843 A.D. 

Dara Shikoh, SafmatulAuliya, Karachi. 


Ganesh Dass, Char-Bag-i-Punjab, edited by Dr. Kirpal Singh, Amritsar, 1965. 

Haq, Ahjazul, Ta^kara-i-Sufi-i-Punjab, Ivadusi Salman Academy, Karachi, 1962. 
Makhdum-i-Jahania Jahan Gasat, Karachi, 1963. 

Mufrah-ul-Hatfiqat, Urdu Translation of Kashaful-Mujub, Lahore, 1945. Muhammad, 
Maulana Syad, Ba^urgan-i-Panipat, Delhi, 1963. 

Qasim, Maulvi Sufi Ghulam, Ta^kara-i-Baba Nanak (Utdu), Amritsar, 1922. 
Sarkar, Jadu Nath, Ain-iAkbari, Vol. II, Calcutta, 1949. 

Sarvar, Mufti Ghulam, Tarik-iMakh^an-i-Punfab, Lahore. 

“Sikhism and Sikh from Mobid,” Dabistan-i-Ma^ahib, J.S. Grewal and Irfan Habib 
(ed.) Sikh History from Persian Sources, New Delhi, 2001. 

Tarikh-i-Parishta, translated by J. Briggs, Rise of Mohammedan Power in India. Tarikh- 
i-Shahi, Ahmad Yadgar Asiatic Society, Calcutta, 1939. 

Ta^kara-i-Auliya, Urdu translation by Hakim Mohammad and Abdul Rashid, 

Tufk-i-Babri, translated by Lucas King in two vols. with tide Memoirs of Zahiruddin 
Mohammad Babar. Umdat-ul-Twarikh, Vol. Ill, translated by V.S. Suri, Delhi, 1961. 
WajbulArj Gurdwara Nanak Matta, Nanak Matta District, Nainital, Unranchal. 

Punjabi Manuscripts 

Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, Ms Piare Lai, Delhi. It is the oldest manuscript of Bhai Bala’s 
Janamsakhi available so far. It is dated 1658 A.D. Its photocopy is available in the 
Punjab Historical Studies Library, Punjabi University, Patiala. 

Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, Mss No. 420, Punjab Language Depn. Library, Patiala. 
GoshtAJita Randhawa, Sikh History Research Deptt., Khalsa College, Amritsar. 
Patta of Rand grant dated Asarh Shudi 2, 1893 Bk (18 th June 1886) in Gujarati to 
Gutdwara Nanak Wadi Broach, Gujatat. 

Punjabi Publications 

Bhai Bala Janamsakhi, dated 1658 A.D. in Janamsakhi Parampara, Appendix, Punjabi 
University, Patiala. 

Bhai Gurdas, Bhasha Vibhag, Patiala. 

Bhai Mani Singh Janamsakhi, Bombay, 1892 A.D. 

History of Nanakmatta, Gurdwata Parbandhak Comminee. 

Janamsakhi Miharban, two vols., edited by Kirpal Singh, Amritsar, 1962. 
Janamsakhi Prampra, Kirpal Singh, Punjabi University, Patiala, 1969. 

Karm Singh, Gurpurb Nirnay, Patiala, 1952. 

—, Katak Ke Vasakh, Amritsar, 1928. 

Masand Mai Das urf Sunder Singh, Guru Hindal Parkash, Amnrsar, 1949. 

Prem Sumarg, Jalandhar, 1965. 

Shabdarath Sri Guru Granth Sahib, 4 Vols., Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak 
Committee, Amritsar. 

Vilayatwali Janamsakhi or Puratan Janamsakhi, edited by Bhai Vir Singh, Amritsar 


Statements of Knowledgeable Persons 

A Statement by Balak Das Udasi of Junagarh. 

Dr. Ganda Singh, Lower Mall, Patiala. 

S. Karnail Singh, Chairman, Railway Board, New Delhi. 

Statement by Balwant Singh Kalra who had lived in Uch for some years now 
setded in Bangkok (Thailand). 

Statement by Mul Das, who served as a Granthi in Gurdwara at Lakhpat during 
1960s (District Bhuj). 

Statement by S. Kharak Singh, Kuldip Niwas near Government College of Physical 
Education, Patiala (Punjab). 

Statement by Sukhlal Singh, Gurmukh Niwas Patiala (Punjab). 

Statement of Sh. Bachu Bhai Inamdar Advocate, Bacoch, a Trustee of Grudwara 
Nanakwadi, Gujarat. 

Statement of Shambu Prasad Hari Prasad Desai, the Author of the Saurashtra 

Statement of Sri Raghunath Prasad Singh owner of Kursela Estate, District Purnea 

Statment by Sarnji Mauji Bhatia, Sarpanch of Lakhpat Village (Bhuj). 

Reference Books 

Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia, 1997. 

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2001. 

Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. 43, London. 

Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Edited by James Hastings, 1971, Edinburgh, 
New York. 

Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, 4 Vols., Punjabi University, Patiala. 





Abdul Jabbar Khan, Muhammad 144 fn 
Abdul Rahman, Pir 197,197 fn 
Abdul Rashid 27 fn 
Abdul Rehman 206, 207 
Abdul Samad Khan 146 fn 
Abdul Wahab, Makhdum 189 
Abdullah 27 

Abu-ul-Hasan Hajwari 27 
Abul Fazal 28, 52. 93 fn , 159 fn 
Achal Vatala 34,37,210,211,211 fn 212, 

213,214,214 fn , 218 fn 
Adarka 116,117 

Mghanistan 48,52.197,198.199,199 fn , 

202 fn 

Ahijaz-ul-Kadusi 221 fn 
Ahjaz-ul-Haq 36 fn 
Ahmad Yadgar 54, 65 fn , 67 fn 
Ahmed. Shaikh 84 ln 

Ahmedabad (previous name Ashawal) 150, 
150 fn , 185 fc 
Ajai 134 
Ajmer 154,216 

Ajodhan (See also Pakpatan) 83 
Akbar 28,39,49. 52,103,103 fn , 104, 

105 fn . 115 fn 170 fn , 199,201,211 fn , 221 
Akbarpur (also called Singholi Tapa) 103, 
103 fn 

AI Mamum. Caliph 192 
AI-Aswad 188 fn 
AI-Gazali 196 
AI-Raza 196 
Alapatra, King 171 
Albaruni 164 fn 
Alexander the Great 181,184 
Allah Ditta 73 

Allahabad (previous name Prayag) 19. 

100 fn , 101 fn , 104 fn , 107 & , lll fn , 119 fn , 

154 fn 

Almast. Baba/Bhai 94, 95.115,115 fn 

Almota 92, 92 fn , 93,166 

Amar Das, Guru 9,14 fn , 32, 54, 87 fc , 89. 

90 f ”, 92.103,104 fn 

Ambala 86 

Amin Beg 79 fc 

Amin Karori, Muhammad 201 
Amin Khan. Mohd. 39, 49 
Amritsar 11,12,14 fn , 17 fc , 28 fn , 32. 35 fn 

37 £n, 41 fe 48; 55; ygfc 145 fn_ 159) 

161 fn , 163,169 fn , 174 fn , 198 fn , 201 fe 
205 fn 206 fn , 208,209,210 fn , 21 l fn 
Amro, Bibi 208 
Ananda Acharya 194.195 fn 
Anandpur Sahib 120 fn , 163 
Ananr Nag 169,170 
Ananra 142 
Ananrhpuram 143 
Ananrkapur 36 

Anuradhpura 16,139 fn , 140 fc . 140 

Andhta Pradesh 130 

Angad, Guru 20, 28,29, 34, 37, 39, 40, 

41,42,43,44.224 fn , 229,230.230 fn , 

Ankleshwar 109 fn 

Anrdhura 92 

Arjan Dev. Guru 8, 9,28,29, 33, 35, 56 fn 
107 fn , 123 fn 137 fn , 146 fn , 176 fn , 210. 214 
Arnold 83 fn 

Ashawal (earlier name of Ahmedabad) 

150 fn 

Ashoka, Emperor 170 

Assam 39,49,122.122 fn , 123.143 fn 

Ata Ulah, Shaikh 84 fn 

Atar, Farid-u-din 189 fn 

Atchison, Charles 37 

Atma Ram, Baba 90 fn 

Attock 171 

Autangabad 146 


Aurangzeb 75 fn , 95 fn , 115 fn , 155, 211 
Avadh (this region was earlier called 
Kathir) 100 & 

Avamipura (earlier name of Ujjain) 151 

Avisvela (see also Sitavaka) 139 

Ayodhya 51,100,101,101 fn , 102 fn . 111 fc , 


Azamgarh 103 

Azimabad 115 fn 

Babur, Mir Zahir-ud-Din 20,39,48, 67 fc , 
79 fn , 198,199,201,202,202 fc , 207, 


Badri Nath 51, 91, 92 
Badri Nath, Diwan 195 fn 
Badula 138 

Baghdad 10,16,20,26,34,47,50,52, 

187 fn , 188 fn , 191,191 & , 192,192 fn , 

193,194,195,196,197 fn , 198 fn . 

219 fn , 221 
Baha-ud-din 184 

Baha-ud-din Makhdum, Shaikh 182,183 
Baha-ud-Din Zakaria, Shaikh 182,183 fn , 

Bahawalpur 182,218 

Bahlol Dana 195 fn 

Bahlol, Faqir 194,195,195 fn 

Baijnath (Kirgram/Kimagar) 38,49,164, 

164,165 fn 

Bal, King 146 

Bal Nath 173 

Bala, Bhai 10,14,15,29,39,40,41,42, 

43,45,46, 55 fn , 87 fn , 94 fn , 115 fn , 116 fn 

Bala Nand, Baba 105 fn 

Bala 61 fc , 63 fn , 71 fn 

Balak Das, Baba 90 fn 

Balkh (See also Wazirabad) 197,198 

Baltal 169 

Baluchistan 185,187 
Balwand 29, 34,229 fn 
Banda Bahadur 22 
Bangkok 179 fn 
Bankam Das, Baba 105 fn 
Bannu 52,198 

Baramula (earlier known as Vramula) 170, 
171,171 fn 
Bareilly 100,100 f ” 

Band, Amir 144 

Barigaza (see also Baroch) 146 

Baroch (see also Barigaza) 50, 51, 52,146, 

147,148,148 fn 

Basant Das, Baba 115 fc 

Basant Singh 104 fn 

Basarke 32 

Basgo 168 

Batala 34,37,51,62,62 fc , 206,211,214, 

231 fn 

Bathinda 207 

Batticola (see also Matiakalam, 

Madakulapa) 136 fn , 137,138 
Bay of Bengal 52 

Bedi, Chandu Lai, Wazir 49,130,130 fn , 
131 fn , I 34 fn 135 fn 
Bedi, Sukhbasi Rai 61 
Beel, Thomas William 182 fn 
Behramgalla 171 fn 

Benaras 9,19, 82 fc , 105 fn 107 & , 107 fc , 

108 fn , 109,109 fn , 110,110 fn , 111, 

111 fn , 112,112 fn 114 
Bengal 128,130 
Beni 64 
Bhagalpur 118 

Bhagat Bhagwan, Baba 90, 90 fn , 105 fn 
Bhagat Ram, Baba 90 fc , 105 fn 
Bhagat Singh, Bhai 46 
Bhagirath 69, 69 fn , 71, 71 fn , 72,136 
Bhalla, Bawa Sarup Das 55 fn , 58 fn , 61 fn , 

71 fn , 94 fn , 109 fn , 162 fn , 103 fc , 171 fn , 208 fn 

Bhandari, Ram Dial 211 

Bhandari, Sujan Rai 95 fn 

Bhangar Nath 28,212,214 fn 

Bhangu, Ratan Singh 78 fn 

Bhani, Bibi 32 

Bharoana 79 

Bharthari, Raja 36,129 fn , 151,152,153, 
167 fn 

Bhatia, Samji Mauji 186 fn 
Bhimbu 171 fn 

Bhimkot (see also Nagar Kot) 164 
Bhuj 185,186,186 fn 
Bidar (Karnataka) 52,144,144 fn , 145 
145 fn 

Bidhi Chand 14 fn , 41, 44 
Bidur 31 
Bihar 48,116 fn 


Bij Bihara 169,169 fn 
Bija 148 

Bik a ner 182,215,216,217,218, 218 fc 

Bikramajit 151 

Bilaspur 163 

Bir Nath 83 

Bishambarpura 115 fn 

Bishan Das, Baba 44,115 fn 

Bodhan 76 fn 

Bolan Pass 185,185 fn 

Boling 166 

Bombay 34 fn , 146 fn , 197 fn , 198 fn 
Brahm Chetan, Udasi 186 fn 
Brahm Das 167,169,169 fn , 170 
Brahm Hasmukh Das, Baba 90 fn 
Brahm, Shaikh 124 fn 
Brahm Suchet 186 fn 
Brahmpuri 146 fn 
Briggs 93 fn 

Brij Nath, Pandit 57 fn , 59 fn 
Britain 18 
Brown 193 

Bu Ali Qalandar (also known as Shaikh 
Sharaf-ul-din and Shah Sharaf) 144 ta , 

Buchanan 115 fn 
Buddha, Baba 9, 33, 210, 210 fn 
Buddha, Lord 113 fn 
Buddhan Shah, Faqir 163 
Budh Gaya 9 

Bukhari, Haji Abdul Sahib Shaikh 184 
Bukhari, Jalal-ud-din 184 
Bura-Budha 209,210,210 fn 

Caesar 7 

Calcutta 37, 65 fn , 67 fc , 76 fn , 86 fn , 119 fn , 
124,124 fn , 125,125 fn , 128 fn , 173 fn , 

182 fn , 184 fn , 187 fn , 212 fn 
Calicut 143 fn 
Cartman, Rev. J. 138 fn 
Ceylon 10,11 
Chahlanvala 55 fn 
Chaitanya 125,128,128 fn 
Chamba 165 
Chandan Kala 165,166 
Chandigarh 22 fn , 54 fn , 214 fn 
Chando Rani 45, 68, 73, 73 

Chandrauli 111, 111 fn , 112,112 fc , 113 
Changa Bhatra 137,137 fn 
Charpar 167 fn 
Chasul 168 

Charar Das 108,109,109 fn 
Chennai 131 

Cherring, Charles A. 91, 91 fn 
Chhotian, Jorian 206 fn 
Chingas 171 fn 
Chitaur 154 
Chomurri 166 
Chuharkana 63 
Chuhnian 221, 221 fn 
Coimbarore 143 
Colebrook, Henry Thomas 37 
Collingwood, R.G. 7. 8 
Colombo 11,138 fn , 139 fn , 140 
Cooch-Bihar 119 

Cunningham, Alexander, Sir 65 fc , 84 ln , 

86 fn , 113 fn , 122 fn , 146 & , 159 fn , 171, 

172 fn , 181,184,185 fn , 199 

Cuttack 125,126,127,127 fn 

Dalip Singh 104 fn 

Damascus 191 

Dara Shukoh 75 fn , 193 fn 

Darang 122 

Das, Baba 90 fn 

Dashratha 101 

Dastgir, Pir 193 fn 

Dasu 208 

Data Ganj Baksh 27 
Datar Chand 32 
Datta, C.L. 165 fn 
Dattatreya 149,150 
Datu 208 

Daud Kirmani 220, 220 fn , 221 fn 
Daulat Khan 66, 66 & , 67, 69. 70, 70 fc , 

71 fn , 73,74,75,76,77,78,78 fn , 

159 fn , 179 

Daultabad (see also Devgiri) 146 

Daya Ram, Baba 105 fn 

Delhi 41,49 fn , 81 fn , 86,100,100 fn , 154, 

156,157,157 fn , 158 fn , 207 

Dera Baba Nanak 49,206 fn , 231 

Dera Ghazi Khan 83 

Dera Ismail Khan 83, 84 

Desai, Shambu Prasad Har Prasad 148 fn , 

149 fn 


Devgiti (now Daultabad) 146 

Dhaka (now Bangladesh) 51,119,125 

Dhameri (modem Nurpur) 208 

Dhanna 64 fn 

Dhanuskodi 141 

Dharam Chand 231 

Dharam Singh 46 

Dharm Singh, Dr. 12 

Dharmaprakarma Bahu IX 59,138,139. 

139 fn 

Dhiman Dev 111 fn , 112 fn 

Dhoma 30, 31 

Dhru 42 

Dhruva 30 

Dhubri 52,119,120 

Dina 174 

Dinanath, Pt. 42 

Diogarh (previous name of Uch) 184 
Dipalpur 220 
Douie, James 165 & 

Drass 169,169 fn 
Drew, Fredreck 168 111 
Duni Chand 161,162 fn 205, 205 fn 
Durga Pipal 92, 92 fn 
Dwivedi, Hazari Prasad 93 fn 

Egypt 191 

Eminabad (Sayyadpur. Saidpur) 49, 54 f ” 
79, 79 fn 80 fn 201 
England 37 
Erskine 199 

Faiz 191 

Farid, Ganj-i-Shakar, Shaikh/Baba 81, 

81 fn , 83 fn , 84, 84 fn , 85, 85 fn , 124 fn , 

180,180 fn , 182 
Farid-ud-Din Attar 27 
Fergusen 141 
Feroz Tughiaq 164 
Ferozepur 207,207 fn 
Firdausi 196 
G.B. Singh 119 fn 

Ganda Singh, Dr. 16 fc , 119 fn 143 fc , 195 fc , 

198 & 

Ganga Ram 107,107 fn 
Ganjam 125,130 
Garhwal 92 

Gam 168 
Gaul 7, 8 

Gamma Buddha 199 

Gauwahati (reea/foPrayagJyotispur) 52, 


Gaya 111, 112,113,113 fn ,114 fn , 115 
Gharib Singh, Baba 103 fc 
Ghawindi 160 
Ghazni 83,154,160 
Ghoi Jat 42 

Ghulam Hussain 189 fn 
Ghulam Qasim, Sufi 145 
Ghummi (previous name Mara Sulakhani) 
61,61 fn 

Gian Singh, Giani 119 fn , 120 {n 126 fn , 

137 fn , 138,138 fn , 145 fn 
Gilani, Syad Abdul Qadir 49,193,219 fe , 
Goalpara 119 

Gobind Singh, Guru 41, 42, 45,115 & , 

120 fn ,145 fn , 207 

Goindwal 28, 32, 33,163 

Gala 100,100 fn , 101,101 fn 

Golaghar 123 

Gopi Chand 167 fn , 214 fn 

Gopipur 164 

Gorabai Ram Ji 150 fn 

Gorakh Dass 41 

Gorakh Harri 93 fn 191 fn , 200,201,201 fn 
Gorakh Til la 93 fn 
Gorakhmatta 92, 94, 94 fn 
GorakhNarh 36,51,93,93 fn , 137 fn , 149, 


Gortok (earlier called Garu) 167 
Grewal, J.S. 14 fn , 17 fn , 18,19, 21 fn , 22, 

22 fn , 23,23 fn 

Griffin, Lepell82 fn ,18 fn 

Gujrar 146,171 fn 

Gujranwala 18, 37, 79 fn 

Gulab Singh, Munshi (Rai Sahib) 44 

GuleriaJ.S, COl. 168 fn , 169 fn 

Gunrur (Andhra Pradesh) 50, 130, 131 fn 

Gupta, Hari Ram 119 fe , 196 fn 

Gurdas, Bhai 9,10,15,16, 28, 32, 33, 

34,35,38,40,45,52,69 fn ,71 fn ,74 fn , 78 fn , 80 fn , 

159 fn , 166, 187 fn , 188 fn , 190 fn , 191 fn , 193 fc , 

194 fn , 212 fn , 214 fn , 218 fn , 223 fn 224 fc 


Gurdaspur 38, 214 fn 
Gurdez 197 fn 
Gurditta, Baba 163 
Gurgan 202 fn 
Gurlal Singh, Sardar 166 fn 
Gurmukh Singh, Bhai (Prof.) 37 
Gursagar Singh 12 
Guz 202 fn 

Gyas-ud-din I00 fn , 221 
Habib, Irfan 21 fn 
Hadiabad 104 
Hadoir 216 
Haftzabad 37 
Haibat Khan 159 
Haibat Khan, Patti 159 
Haji Abdulla, Shaikh 218 
Haji Ilyas (Shamas-ud-Din Ilyas) 116 th 
Hajipur (Parna)48,111,115, II 5 fn 116, 
116 fn , 117,118 
Hakim Mohammad 27 fn 
Halaku Khan 192 
Haldwani 92, 92 fn ’, 94, 94 fn 
Hamilton, Walter 92 fn 
Hamus 168 
Hansi 86 
Hanuman 136 

Har Rai, Guru 41,42, 90,105 fn 
Harbans Singh, Giani/Professor 16 fn , 18, 
18 fc , 94 fn , 139 fn , 141 
Harcharan Singh, Maham 131 fn , 
Hargobind, Guru 29, 31, 32, 33, 40,49, 
86,94,95,115,115 fn , 146 fn , 163, 
163 fn ,210,231 fn 
Hari Krishan 107 fn 
Hah Lai 107 fn 

HariNath 111, 112,112 fn , 113, 114 {a 
Hari-Ka-Parran 208 

Haridwar 9,19, 51, 54, 87 fn , 89, 90, 90 fn , 
91,92,169,192 fn 
Harmukh Ganga 171 
Harnam Singh, Baba, (Sam) 146 fn 
Harrapa 83 

Harun Rashid, Caliph 52,191, In, 196, 
196 fn 

Haryana 86 
Hasan 171 

Hasan Abdal (Panja Sahib) 171,171 fc , 

172,172 fn , 173,197 & , 201 
Hasranapur 81 fn 
Hasm 165 
Hazrar Ali 196,197 
Hemis 192 fn 
Himachal Pardesh 167 
Hindal, Baba 10, 14 {n , 41, 42,43. 44 
Hinglaj 185,187,187 fn , 188 
Horar 148 ln 
Hoshiarpur 141,163 
Hugel Baron Charles 172 fn 
Humayun 79 fn , 159, 203 fc 
Humpherry Carpenter 15 fn 
HurchinsonJ. 163 ln , 164 fn , 165 fn , 166 fn , 
167 fn , 2013 fn 

Hyderabad 49,130,130 fn , 131 fn , 134 fc , 


Ibn Batura 83,136 fn , 140,142 fn 191, 
Ibrahim 27 

Ibrahim Farid Sard, Shaikh 84 fn 
Ibrahim, Hazrar 48 tn , 189 fn 
Ibrahim, Shaikh 27, 84, 84 f ”, 85. 85 fn , 

179,180 fn , 180,181,190 fn 
Idul Kabir, Shaikh 158 
Ilturmash, King 151 
Inamdar, Bachu Bhai 148 tn 
India 9,10,19,20, 27,48, 51, 52, 93, 

93 fc , 135,138,139,151,182,199, 
Indra 31,134 
Iran 194,196,202 fn 
Iraq 51.195,1950. 

Isakardu 168 
Islamabad 169 
Ismail, Safvi Shah 192 
Ismail, Shah 196 

Jaffana (Sri Lanka) 142 fn 
Jagadhari 89 

Jagannarh Puri 9,19,35,125 f ”, 126,127, 
128 fn , 130 

Jai Prakash, Baba 90 fn 
Jai Ram, Bhai 36, 65. 65 fn , 66, 66 fc , 70, 
Jainaripura 124 


Jalaf 136 fn 

Jalal Bukhari, Shaikh 182 
Jalal Shah 124 fn 
Jalal-ud-Din 145 
Jalalpur 103 

Jalandhar 14 fn , 65,131 fn , 163 
Jalandhar Narh 93 fn 
Jamal-ud-din, Syad 221 
Jamdagani 30 
‘Janak, Raja 30,31 
Jandiala Guru 14 ln , 44 
Janmeja 134 
Jauhar 159 fn 
Jaunpur 48, 10 fn 
JawaharMal 162 
Jawahar Singh 104 fn 
Jawaharrola 115 fn , 116,116 fn 
Jawalaji 208,208 fn ,209 
Jeddah 188,188 fn 
Jeewani, Bibi 33 
Jehlum 93 fn , 171 fn , 173 
Jepu Lekh 91 

Jerret, S,S, Col. 184 fn , 198 fn , 216 fc , 
218 fn 

Jesus, Propher 27 
Jhusi 104,105,105 fn , 107 
Jind 49 
Jiwan 189 
Jodha, Rai 216 
Jodhpur 216 
Jogi Das, Baba 90 fn 
Toginder Kaur 12 
John 15 

Jones, William, Sir 135 fn 
Jordon 191 fc 
Jorian 206 
Joshi Math 92 
Jowai 124 

Junagarh (see also Soratpa) 148,149, 

149 fn , 150,150 fn 

Jwalaji 47,163,164,164 fn 

Kabir 64, 64 fn , 231 fn 

Kabul 52, 78 fn , 158 fn , 191 fn , 197,197 fn , 

198,198 fn , 199,201 fn 202,202 fn 

Kadusi, Ahijazul Hag 220 fn 

Kahlur 163,208 

Kahn Singh, Bhai 3 fn , 46, 79 fn , 86 fn , 90 !a 

101 fn , 107 ln , 143 ln , 156 fn , 168 fn , 170 fn 

171 fn ,174 fn ’ 175 fn , 205 fn , 207 fn , 210 fn 

21 l fn ,216 fn ,220 fn , 224 fn ,231 fn 

Kailash 92,92 fn , 166,167,167 fn , 168 

168 fn Kaithal 49,86,125 fn 

Kal 31 

Kala 30, 31 

Kalamunai 138 

Kalaoia 138 

Kalat 187 

Kalhatt 188,188 fn 

Kali Mata Parbati 187 

Kaliansar 171 

Kalidas 90 ln 

Kalra, Balwant Singh, Sardar 179 fn , 184 ln 
Kalu 59 fn , 61 fn , 62 & , 64 fn 
Kaluji 58 fn 

Kalyan Singh, Rai 216 
Kamachchha 107 

Kamal Shaikh/Pir 84 fn , 85, 85 fn , 221 fn 
Kamal, Shaikh 84 

Kamrup 51, 52,118,119,120,120 fn 
122,122 fn 
Kanchi 132 fc . 133 

Kanchipuram srKanjivaram (Tamil Nadu) 
50,52, 130,131,131 fn , 132 
Kandahar 78 fn 

Kandakumara (see also Katargama) 138 

Kangan, Queen 221 fn 

Kanganpur 221,221 fn 

Kangra 38,163,164,208 

Kankhal 90 fn , 92 

Kanpur 78 fn 

Kant 8 

Kant Nagar 118,118 fn 

Kanwardev 111 th 

Kapila 30 

Kapur, Piara Lai 41 

Kapur, Prithipal Singh 14 fn , 22 fn , 24 

Kapur, Prithipal Singh, professor 11,12, 

Kapurrhala 73,79. 

Kara (modern Haryana) 49, 86 
Karachi (Pakistan) 11, 36 fn , 180 fn , 184 ln , 

187,193 fn , 220 fn , 

Karam Singh 14,14 fc , 21,22, 39,41. 41 


Karam Singh, Bhai 230 fn 

Kargil 168 

Kargola 118,118 fn 

Karnail Singh, Sardar Bahadur 198 fn 

Karnataka 145 

Karori, Duni Chand 162 

Karrar Singh, Sant 116 fn 

Karrar Singh 15 fc 

Karrarpur 20,28, 34,37,42,44, 53, 86 fc 

203 fn , 204,204 fn , 205,206,208,209, 
209 fn , 210,210 fn , 212,213,220,222, 
223,223 fn , 225,226,227,228,229, 
Kattik Swami 138 
Karu 168 

Karun, Emperor 191 fn 
Karunararna, S.W: (Dr.) 139 fn 
Kashi 26,107 fn 

Kashmir 19, 167, 167fo, 168f.., 169 Kasur 
221,221 f.. 

Katargama (see also Kandakumara) 138 

Kathir (present Avadh region) 100 fn 

Kathu Nangal 209,210 fn 

Karyar 118 

Kauda 123 fn , 143 

Kedar Nath 51, 91, 92 

Keshav Deva 154,155 

Khadoor Khehras 40 

Khadur 208,209,209 fn , 215,228 

KhaibarPass 198,199 

Khalasi 168 

Khalra 160 

Kharak Singh, Maharaja 164 
Kharak Singh, Sardar 198 fn 
Khatima 94 fn 

Khazan Singh 15,15 fn , 21 fe , 22 

Kheri 100 


Khiwa (Russia) 202 fe 
Khurasan 48,202,202 fn 
Khushwant Singh 16 fn 
Kicchho 94 tn 
Kiratanpur 163 fn 
Kiratpur 163,163 fn 

Kirgram (also called Kirnagar, Baijnath) 

164,164 fn , 165 fn 

Kirh Nagar (Kirhgram was the ancieter name 
of Baijnarh) 38 

Kiri Mghana 38,214,214 fn , 215 

Kiri Parhana 214,214 fn 

Kirnagar (see also Kirgram, Baijnarh) 49, 

165 fn 

Kirpa Dayal Singh 104 fn 

Kirpal Singh, Dr. 12,17,18,23,24, 38 fn 

61 fn , 87 fc , 174 fn 

Kohala 171 

Kohar 52 

Kohli, Sira Ram 86 fn , 119 fn , 196 fn 
KorDuar51, 92 
Koti 50,138,138 fn , 139 
Kotiar 136 fc 

Korla Mian Mitha (District Sialkot, 

Pakistan) 38,175,175f”, 176,176 fn 

Kottayam 143,143 fn 

Krishna 99,100 

Krishna Deva 131 

Kuhar 199 

Kulahal 171 

Kulu 165 

Kumaon 91, 94 fn 

Kumar Pala 148 

Kuram Pass 199 

Kuriani 186,186 fn 

Kurukalmandap 50,137,138 

Kurukshetra 9,26,49, 54, 54 fn , 86, 86 fn 

87,87 fn , 89,90 

Kutch 185,186 

Ladakh 50,165,167,168,168 fn , 169 fn 
Ladwa 89 
Lahaul 165 

Lahore 15 fn , 27 fn , 37,41,44, 53, 55, 55 fn , 
69 fn , 71, 72 fn , 79 fn , 80 fn , 81, 81 fn , 84 fn , 

91,91 & , 136,161,162,163,165 fn , 167 fn , 178, 
182 fn , 183 fn 189 fn , 195 fn , 204, 205,205 fn , 
207,220,221,221 fn , 231 & 

Lahori Das, Baba 105 fn 

Lakhami Das, Baba 68 fn , 75, 230, 231 

Lakhimpur 100 

Lakhmi Chand 44, 68 

Lakhpat 186,186m 

Lakhpat Nagar 185 

Lakshman 134 


Lai Man, Baba 105 fn 

Lalo, Bhai 39,45,48,79,80,81,201. 

202,202 fn 203 

Latif, Muhammad 231 fn 

Leh 163,168 

Lehna, Bhai (later Gum Angad) 20, 34, 37, 
40. 44, 207, 208, 209 fn . 211 fn , 213, 214. 215. 
223, 224, 224 fn , 227. 228, 228 fn , 229, 229 fc , 
230 fn 

Lepulekh 92 

Lodhi. Bahlol Khan 65, 78 fn , 183 

Lodhi, Daulat Khan 20, 53, 65, 65 fn , 67 & , 


Lodhi, Ibrahim 54, 67, 67 fn 

Lodhi, Sikandar 53, 67, 67 fn , 75 fn , 100, 


London 22,40 fn , 91 fn ,172 fn ,188 fn ,191 fn , 192 fn , 
196 fn 

Lord Krishna 154 
Lucas, King 67 fn , 201 fn , 225 fn 
Lucknow 28 fn , 76 fn 
Ludhiana 14 fn , 15 fn 18, 24 
Lyall, Alfred 25,25 fn ,26 fn 
Macaulay 8 

Macauliffe, M.A. 14, 14 fn , 15 fn ,38, 208 fn 

MachhandarNath 149 

Madakulapa (modern Batticoloa) 10 

Madina 26,46,204 fn 

Madras 135 fn , 141 fn 

Madurai 130 fn 

MahaMai 164 

Mahadeva (Shiva) 31,144,164 

Mahita Kalu 55, 55 fn , 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 

65,66,70,71 f " 

Mahmood Ghazanavi 65, 83,148,154, 

Mahmood, Shaikh-Farid-ud-Din 84 ln 
Mahsud, Wahid Ahmad 180 fn 
Mai Das, Masand 41 fn 
Mainar 140,141 
Majnu 157 

Makhdum Bahavadi (see also Makhdum 
Baha-ud-din) 39,183 

Makhdoompur (district Multan) 81 
Makhdum Baha-ud-din (see also Makhdum 
Bahavadi) 49,181,183 fn , 185,189,219,219 fn , 

Makhdum, Jalal-ud-din 184 

Makhdum-i-Jahania 182 

Makhdumpur 54 ln 

Makoraba (tee Mecca) 188 

Maksudabad (Murshadabad) 119 

Malana 165 

Maida 118,118 fn 

Malerkorla 78 fn 

Malik Bhago 45, 80 

Malo, Shaikh 206 

Malsihan 69, 69 fn , 71 fn , 136 

Mandi 163,164,167,167 fn , 208 

Mangani Ram, Baba 90 fn 

Mani Singh,Bhai 33, 34, 34 ln , 35,45,46, 

47, 55 fc , 56 fc , 57 fc , 59 fn , 60 fn , 61 fn , 

64 fn 71 fe ?4 fn ; 75 fe j gl fc g 4 & g7 fc 
9 Qfn, 91 f^ 94 fn ; 97 & JQ1& 104 f ”, 

105 fn , 106 fn , 114 fn , 115 fe , 116 fn , 
164 fn , 175 fn , 179 fn , 194 fc , 199 fn 
Manmohan Singh 31 

Mansarovar 91, 92, 92 fn , 166, 167, 168 
Mansukh, Bhai 69 fn , 71 fn , 72, 72 fn , 136,136 & , 

Mardana. Bhai 40,42,45,46,47,63,63 fn , 64, 
64 fn ,70, 71, 72, 78, 79, 81, 81 fn , 82, 84, 85, 
85 fn , 93,95,95 fn ,98,101,101 fc , 116,116,120, 
120fo, 122, 123fo, 126, 127,130, 133, 135, 
139, 140, 140fo, 141, 142, 144, 148, 
150,151,154,157,158,161, 161fo, 163, 164, 
165, 171,174,175, 176, 178,180,184,185, 
ISS 61 ,188,190,191,192 fn , 193,194,196,197, 
198 fn , 199,204 

Mashhad 48, 196, 197. 197 fn , 202, 202 fn 
Masulipatam 130 
Matan 169,169 fn , 170 
Mathaura 154 

Marhura 36, 75 fn , 86 fn , 154,156,157 
Mariakalam or Madakulapa (irs modern 
name is Batticola) 50,135,136 
Matsyendra Nath 94 fn 
Matte-di-Sarai (also known as Sarai Naga) 
207,208,208 fn , 215 
Maulana (village) 199 
Maulo 90 

Maya Ram, Baba 105 fn 


Mayaduni. King 50,140 in 
Mayapur 90 

McLeod, WH 10,13 fn , 16 fn , 17 & , 18,19, 

19 fn , 20,20 fn . 22,23 

Mecca (previously known as Makoraba) 10, 
16,19,26.46,52,179,185.185 fn 187 fn , 188, 
188 fn , 189 fn , 190,190 fn , 191 fn , 192,192 fn ,204 fn , 

Medina (also known as Yasrab) 16, 52, 

188,188 fn 191,191 fn 
Menage, WL.16 fn , 20 
Mian Oaud 36,49 

Miharban 9,11,16,17,28 fn , 35, 36, 37, 

37 fc , 38 fn 44,48, 55 fn , 56 fn 58 fn , 59 fn , 61 fn , 62 fn 
64 fn , 65 fc , 70 fc , 71 & , 72 fn 74 fn , 75 fn , 86 fn , 90 fn 
lll fe , 140 f ”, 147 fn 151 fn , 152 fn 153 fn , 155 fc , 
156 fn , 173 fc , 178 fn , 183 fn 199 fn 
Mithaura 154 
Moga 158 

Mohammad, Shaikh 84 fn 
Monghyr 118 

Montgomery (modern Sahiwal) 84 fn 
Moola 61, 62 
Moradabad 100 & 

Moreland 67 fn 76 fc , 161 fn 
Moti Ram, Baba 90 fn 
Motighat 101 fn 

Muhammad, Prophet 76, 85,190,191,196 
Muhammad, Syad 184 
Muktsar 207 
MulOas 186 & 

Mula, Bhai 174,175,175 fn , 176,178, 

224,224 fn 225 fn 

Mula Chona, Bhai 73, 75, 75 fn , 206 
Mulativ 136 fn 

Multan 26,34,39,81,83,84 fn ,181,182, 

183,184,185’n, 189,190’n, 218,218 fn , 219 fn , 
220,231 fc 
Muradabad 98 
Muscat 188,188 fn 
Muzaffar Ali, S. 166 fn 
Muzaffarpur 116 fn 
Nabha 49 
Nadaun 164 

Nagapatnam 10,135,136,136 fc 

Nagarkor (see also Bhim Kot) 75 fc , 164 



Nainital (Uttaranchal) 32, 91, 92,95 fn , 98 
Najad 191 
Nakhtarana 186 
Namdev 64 fn 

NanakDev, Guru/Baba 7, 8,10,11,13, 

13 fc , 14,15,16,16 fc , 17,18,19,20, 
44,45,46,47,48,48 fc , 49,50,51, 
52,53,54,54 fn , 55,55 fn , 56,56 fn , 57, 
58, 58 fn , 59, 59 fn ; 60, 60 fn , 61, 61 fn , 
62, 63, 63 fn , 64, 64 fn , 65, 66, 66 fn , 
67, 67 fn , 68, 68 fn , 69, 69 fn , 70, 70 fc , 
71, 71 fn , 72, 72 fn , 73, 73 fc , 74, 74 fn , 
75, 75 fn , 76, 76 fn , 77, 77 & , 78, 78 fn , 
79, 80, 80 fn , 81, 81 fn , 82, 82 fn , 83, 
84,84 fn , 85,85 fn , 86,86 fn , 87,88,89, 
90, 90 fn , 91,92,93,94,95,95 fn , 96, 
96 fn , 97,98,98 f ”, 99,100,100 fn , 101, 
101 fn , 103,103 fn , 104,104 fn , 105, 
105 fn , 106,107,108,109,109 fn , 110, 
110 fn , 111, lll fn , 112,113,113 fn , 
114,114 fn , 115 fn , 116,116 fn , 117, 
118,118 fa , 119,120,121,122,122 fn , 
123, 124 b , 124,125,125 fn , 126,127, 
128,128 fc , 129,130,130 fn , 131,132 fn , 
132,132 fc , 133,134,135,135 fn , 136, 
136 fn , 137 fn , 138,139,139 fn , 140, 
140 fn , 141,142,142 fn , 143,143 fn , 
144,144 fn , 146,146 fn , 147,148,148 fn , 
156,157,158,158 fn , 159,160,161, 
162,163,163 fn , 164,164 fn , 165,166, 
167,167 fn , 168,168 fn , 169,170,171, 
171 fn , 172,172 fn , 173,174,175, 
175 fn , 176,177,178,179,179 fn , 180, 
180 fn , 181,181 fn , 182,183,184, 
184 fn , 185,185 fn , 186,187,188, 
188 fn , 189,189 fn , 190,190 fn , 191 fn , 
192,192 fn , 193,193 fc , 194,195, 
195 fn , 196,197,198,198 fn , 199, 
199 fn , 200,201,201 fn , 202,202 fn , 
203,204,205,206,208,209,209 fn , 
210,210 fn , 211,212,213,214,215, 


216,217,218,220,221,221 fn , 222, 
223,223 fn , 224,225,225 fn , 228, 
228 fn , 229,229 fn , 230,230 fn , 231, 
23 l f ” 

Nanakjhira 145,145 fn 
Nanakmatta (Gorakhmata) 11,19, 32, 

32 fn , 38,50,51,81 fn , 91,94,94 fn , 95, 
95 fn , 98, 98 fn , 101 fn 

Nanaki, Bibi 36,44,65 fn , 66, 66 fn , 68,68 fn , 73, 
73 fc , 74,75 fn 77,79, 79 fn , 158,178, 

Nanaksar 158 fc , 186 

Nanded (Maharashtra) 52,145,145 fn , 

146,146 fn 

Nange di Sara! (also known as Matte-di- 
Sarai) 208 & 

Nani (Goddess) 187 

Nankana Sahib 32,49, 55, 57 fn , 63 & , 79 fn 

Nanu Mai 87, 89 

Narain Das, Baba 90 fn 

Narain Swami 187 fn 

Naraina 187 

Narang, Kirpal Singh 12,23 
Narbada Das 148 

Narinder Nath, Mahanr 131 fn , 134, 141 

Narotam, Tara Singh, Pandit 49, 92, 92 fn , 

104,124,127 fn , 147 fn , 143 fn , 160 fn 

Nath, Bal 174 

Naushahra 171 fn 

Neel Kanth, Shastri 143 & 

Nepal 91, 92,101 fn 

New Delhi 14 fn , 16 fc , 17 fn , 21 fn , 166 fn , 

168 fn , 195 fn , 231 fn 
New York 122 fn ,19T n 
Nihal Singh Wala 158 
Nimmi 168 
Niranjania, Hindal 14 
Nizam-ud-Din 103 
-Nizamabad 48, 51,103,104,105 fn 
Nizami, K.A., Dr. 180 fn 
Nowgong 123 

Nura Ahilia (see also Sita Ahilia) 138 
Nurshah 120 fn 

Oberoi, Harjot Singh 19, 20,20 fn , 21 fn 
Orissa 125,126,128,129,144 fn 
Padamsambhava 50,167,167 fn 
Pahalgam 169 

Paira Mokha (Bhai) 39,42 
Pakhoke Randhawe (in modern day 
Gurdaspur disrricr) 61, 61 fc , 62 
Pakhoke 75,206,206 fn 
Pakistan 20,79,80.168.175 fc , 199,218. 
221 fn 

Pakparan (see also Ajodhan) 47, 54 fn . 81. 

83,84 fn , 85 fn . 86,179.179 fn 181 
181 fn , 182,190 fn 

Pala 131 
Palam 143 
Palamkora 50 
Palampur 164,165 fn 
Palgam 13 fn 

Paliporr (Palipuram) 143 fn 
Palmban 141 
Panam 136,138 

Pancha Nand. Mahanr (Baba) 105. 105 fn 
Panipar 81 fn . 86,144 fn , 157.158,158 fn , 

203 fn 

Panja Sahib 32, 94, 94 fn , 170, 171, 172 fn 

Panjnad 185,185 fn 

Parachinar 52 

Parambikulam 143 fn 

Parbhas 148,148 ln 

Parnavirana S., Dr. 139 fn 

Parshuram 30 

Parsoramdev, Raja 125 

Parvari 133.134 

Paryag 49 

Pashaura Singh 19,20 
Pasmr 175 fn 
Paranvala 87 & 

Parhankor 208 

Pariala 11,12,13 fn , 33 fn . 35 fn . 41,44. 49. 

61 fn , 87 fn , 136 fn , 139 fn , 166 fn , 198 fn . 205 fn , 231 
Parlia/Parnia. Pir 190 f ” 

Parlipurra 116 

Parna 48, 87 fn . 103 fn , 113 fc . 115.115 fn , 

116 fn , 131 fc 
Patti 159,160 
Paruvil 138 
Pehowa 49, 86,125 fn 
Peninsula 143 fn , 144 
Persuram 134 

Peshawar (also called Parashawar) 39,49, 

52, 80 fn , 93 fn , 173,191 fn , 198,199,201 fn 


Pewarh 199 
Pheru, Bhai 207,208 
Phiranda, Bhai 78, 79, 79 fn 
Piara Lai 207 fn 
Pilibhir 94 fn , 1 00,101 tn 
Pillay, Kannu 38 
Pipli 89 

Pir Dastgir 193,194 

Pir Kama! 83 

PirPanjal 171 fn 

Pir Satwan 171 fn 

Prabhu Das, Baba 115 tn 

Prahlad 28, 30, 31 

Pranavananda, Swami 166,167 fn 

Prataprudradev, Raja 125,129 

Prayag (now Allahabad) 9,49,103,104, 

105 fn , 107 th 

Prayag Jyotispur (previous name of 

Gauwahati) 120 

Prehlad Bhagar 42 

Prem Das Udasi, Baba 103 

Priram Singh 104 fn 

Prithi Chand 35 

Ptolemy 188 

Puhaiyan 143 tn 

Puliam Kota 143 fn 

Pulusahpulu (Peshawar’s name according 

to HeunTsang) 199 

Puna Nand, Baba 105 fn 

Punjab 13,27,30,35,37,47,51,53,54 

55,55 th , 57 th , 65 fn , 67,67 th , 87 & , 89, 
93,93 fn , 177,178,181,208,225 
Puran Das, Baba 90 fn 
Purewal, Pal Singh 54 tn 
Puri 52 fn , 125,126 fn , 127 & , 128,128 fn , 

129,130 th 
Poornia 118,118 fn 
Qandhar 172 fn , 185 fn , 

Qila Khamas 171 fn 
Quetta 185 

Qutab-ud-Din 58 fn 197 th , 198 
Rabaya 27 

Rabia, Prophet 189 fn 
Raghubans Prasad Singh 118 tn 
RaiBhoe 57, 57 & 

Rai Bular 57, 57 fn , 60, 60 fn , 65 

Rai, Salis 116,117 
Raja Ram 120 fn 
Rajauri 171 fn 
Rajkor 148 
Ram Chand 164 

Ram Das, Guru/Baba 14 fn , 29, 33, 35, 54, 
87 th , 89, 90,115 fn 
Ram Das Udasi, Baba 114 
Ram Dayal, Baba 105 fn 
Ram Dev 119 
Ram Sharan, Baba 90 fn 
Rama 134 

Rama, Lord 101,101 fn 
Ramanuja 135 

Rameshwaram 19, 50,125 fn , 130 fn , 128 fn , 
13 th . 132 fn , 140 fn , 141 fn , 142,142 fn 
Rameshwaram, King 125*” 
Ramnandpuram 142 
Ramo 207 

Rampur 98,100,100 fn 

Randhawa, Ajirra 205,206,206 f ”, 207 

Randhawa, Him 206 

Randhawa, Jim 33 

Randhir Singh, Bhai 78 fn 

Rangamari 119 

Rangpur 119 

Rani Ki Sarai 103 th 

Ranjir Singh, Maharaja 32,49, 80 fn , 87, 

145 fn , 164,169,170 fn 172 fn , 211,211 fn , 231 


Rao Sri Golji 186 th 

Rao Sri Raedhanji 186 fn 

Rarhor, Ram Singh Kangi 185 th 

Rattan Rai 120 fn 

Ravana 134,138 th 

Ravidas 64, 64 th 

Ren, Sane 63 

Rirha Sahib 94, 94 tn 

Rivalsar 163,164 

Rohilkhand 96 tn 

Rohrang 165 

Rohras 174 

Rome 7, 8 

Ropar 163 

Rori Sahib 49 

Rose, A.H. 193 tn , 210 tn 

Rudarpur 38 


Rukan-ud-din, Pir 190 fn 

Rukn-ud-Din 46 

Rum 191 fn 

Russia 202 fn 

S.P. Singh, Dr. 12 

Sabar, Jasbir Singh 48 fn 

Sabukrdin 83 

Saccha Sauda 63,63 fn 

Saddha Mangala Karuna Ratna 16 fe 

Sadhu Singh, Baba 103 fn 

Sadhu Singh 104 ln 

Sahib Singh 145 fn 

Sahiwal 220 

Saidpur 1 

Saidpur Saloi (Sayyadpurl 
Eminabad) 48, 79 fn , 191 fn 201 fn 201 fn , 

202 fn , 203, 203 fn , 204,207 
Sajjan 81, 81 fn . 82, 82 fn , 83 fn 
Sakkhar 185,185 fn 
Sakla or Salkot (see Sialkot) 174 
Salis Rai 115 fn , 116 fn , 131 fn 
Salva, S.F.D. 140 fn 
Samandar, Raja 39,122 fn 
Sambal 100 fn 
Sandhu, Bala 40,42 
Sangat Singh 161 fn 
Sangha, Raja 139 
Sankradeva 122 
Sant Ram. Swami (Udasi) 90 fn 
Sant Singh 104 fn 

Santokh Singh, Bhai 43, 71 fn , 811", 137 fn 
SaraiNaga (see Matte-di-Sarai) 215 
Saras, King 216 

Sarkarjadunath, Sir 173 fc , 182 fn , 184 fn , 

198 fn 216 fn ,218 fn 


Sarup Das, Baba 105 fn 

Samp Singh, Baba 104 fn 

Sarvar, Mufti Ghulam 75 fn , 78 fn , 221 fn 

Sasaram 111 

Satghara 84 fn 

Satta 29,34,229 fn 

Saurashtra 148,148 fn 

Sayyadpur (Saidpur, Saidpur Saloi, 
Eminabad) 39. 48. 79. 791", 80, 80 fn 81, 84 fn 
Sewa Das, Bhai 38 

Sewa Ram Singh 14,14 fn , 17,22,167 fn 

195 f ” 

Shah Husain Lakar, Sayyid 146 
ShahJahan 81 
Shahjalal 124 

Shah Sharaf (also known as Bu Ali 
Qalandar and Shaikh Sharaf-ul-Din) 

144 fn , 157,158 fn 
Shahadra 79 fn 
Shahkot 198 fn 
Shahzada 82 fn , 198 fn 
Shaikh Braham 84 
Shama, Pandit 75 th 

Shamas Tabrez (Shamas-ud-Din) 182 

Shamasabad 173 

Shankaracharya 9 3 fn , 170 

Sharaf-ul-din (see also Shah Sharaf) 144 tn 

Sharan Lai, Kishori 146 fn , 148 ln 

Shea, David 231 fn 

Sher Shah 203 fn 

Shergarh 36, 37,48, 79 fn , 201,220,220 fn , 

221,221 fn 

Sherwani, Shaikh Badr-ud-Din 23 fn 
Shikarpur 185,185 fn , 189 
Shillong 124 
Shimla 14 fn 

Shiring, Charles A. 166 
ShivNabh 48 fn , 136,136 fn , 137 fn 
Shiva 90,100,131,133,134,210 
Shorkot 83 84 

Sialkot (also known as Sakla, Salkot) 174, 
175,175 fn , 201 fn , 224,225 
Siam 191 fn 
Sibsagar 123 

Sidh Matta (Nanakmatta Gorakhmatta) 94 

Sidh Nath Puri 146 fn 

Sikandar Dhar 163 

Sind Sagar Doaba 173 

Sindh 185 fn 

Sindhri 185 

Singha, Raja 140 fn 

Singholi Tapa (also called Akbarpur) 103 fn 
Sipki Pass 166 
Sirsa 49,86 

Sirsa (an ancient town which was earlier 
known as Sarsauti) 216 
Sistan 202 fn 
Sita 134,138 fn 

Sita Ahilia (see also Nura Ahilia) 138 


Sitavaka (see also Avisvela) 50,138,139, 

140,140 fn 
Siva (Adinath) 93 fn 
Sobha Das, Baba 115 fn 
Sohan Singh 22 fn 

Sonmiani (locally called Miani) 187 
Soratha (Jw«/.wjunagarh) 148,149 fn 
Soratha (a lover) 148 fn 
Spiti 165,166 

Sri Chand 44, 68, 68 fn , 69 fn , 75,170,230 

Sri Hargobindpur 38,214 

Sri Lanka 16,23. 50, 51,134,135,136 fn 

137 fn , 138,138 fn , 140,140 fn , 141 

Sri Rangam- Trichunapalli (Tamil Nadu) 50 

Srinagar 32,51, 92,170,171 fn 

Srirangam 131 fn 

Stephens 192 fn 

Straibo 148 fn 

Subhramania 138 

Sujan Rai 231 fn 

Sukhbasi Rai 55 fn 

Sulakl)ani 61 fn , 68, 72 & 73, 75,229 

Sultan Khan 65 

Sultanpur 20, 36, 39, 42, 51, 53, 54, 54 fc , 

65,66,67 fa , 68 fn , 69,69 fn , 70,71,71 fe , 72,72 fn , 
73, 74, 75, 75 fn , 79, 84 fe , 87 fn , 116 fn , 130 fc , 
136,158,158 fn , 159,159 fn , 178,179,198,215. 
215 fn , 225 

Sultanpur Lodhi 32 

Sumer Singh, Baba 103 fn 

104 fn Sunder Singh 41 fn 

Sur Das, Baba 105 fn 

Suri, Sher Shah 79 fn , 105 fn , 111, 115 fn , 


Suri, Sohan La! 49, 80 fn 

Suri. V.S. 49 fn 

Swami Kannupillay 54 in 

SwargNarain, Raja 122 

Syad Haji 221 

Syad Muhammad, Maulana 157 fn . 158 fn 
Sykes, Percy 191 
Sylhet 124,124 fc 
Syria 191 fn 

Tabrez 196 fn 
Tabrez. Shamas 219 fn 

Tahir, Shaikh 158,158 fn 
Taimur 83,207,216 
Takhrupura 158 
Talib, G.S. 11 
Taliminar 140 

Talwandi43,44,45,47, 51, 57 fn , 60, 61A 
63,64 fn , 65 fn 66,68,68 fn , 70,70 fn , 71 fn , 72,78, 
79, 79 fn , 81, 84 fn , 160, 161, 161 fc , 175, 176, 

Talwandi Rai Bhoe 42,49, 55, 55 fn , 61 

Tamasvan 65 

Tamil Nadu 143 

Tanda 97,98,100,102 

Tanjore 135 fo 

Tarlochan Singh 128 fn 

Tarar Khan 65 fn , 67 

Tatihar, Shaikh 158,158 fc 

Tada (village; District Gujranwala now in 

Pakistan) 79 fn 

Tegh Bahadur, Guru 115 fn , 119,120,120 fn 

Tehran 196 

Teja Singh 119 fn 

Terai 50, 92, 93 fn , 95 fn 

Thanesar 86,158 

Tibet 50,166,167,168,169 fn 

Tihri Garhwal 51 

Tilganji 143 fn 

TillaBal Godainl73,201 

TillaBal Nath 173 

Tirankomli 136 fn 

Tiruvananrpuram (previous name of 
Trivandrum) 50 
Tiukoil 138 

Toynbee, Arnold 26 fn , 83 fn 
Trichnapalli 52,135 
Trilochan 64,64 f ” 

Trinamallai (Tamil Nadu) 50 
Trinkomli 135,136 
Triparutikumram 132 
Tripro 55 fc 
Tripta 55 fn , 68 

Trivandrum (previous name Triu 
Ananrhpuram/Trivananrpuram) 142, 

143,144 fn 

Trivanmalai 52,131 fn , 133,134,135,142 

Troyer, Anthony 231 {a 

Trump, Ernest 10,14,14 fn , 17,17 fn , 37, 40 fn 


Tsang, Heun 65 fc , 86, 90, 
Tula Ram, Baba 105 fn 
Tulamba 81 & , 82 fn , 83, 84 fn 
Tulku, Tarunga 167,167 & 


113 fn , 122 fn , 

Ubare Khan 206 

Uch Sharif (Bahawalpur, Pakistan) 51, 
84 fn , 184,184 fn 185,185 fc , 190, 

190 fn , 218 

Udai Singh, Rajal Bhai 49, 86,125 fn 
Udami Ram, Baba 105 fn 
Udasi, Balak Das 150 fn 
Udhav 31 
Udiara 128 fn 

Ujjain (see also Avantipura) 10,19, 36, 

150,150 fc , 151,154 

Upashi 168 

Uri 171 

Uttaranchal 38 

Vadehra, Ganesh Das 174,201 fn 

Vaidya, OX 186 fn 

Vairaval 148,148 fn 

Vairowal 163,215 fn 

Valalvi Ganga 138 

Vaman 146 

Varanasi 93 fn ,182 fn ,199 fn 

Vavania 140fn 
Vijaynagar 131 

Vir Singh, Bhai 37,41, 841n, 125fn, 126fn, 

144 fn , 169 fn , 190 fn , 211 fn 

Vishnu 90,113,113 fc , 117,128,131 

Wahab, Abdul 185 

Wali Qandhari 158 fn , 172,172 fn , 173 fn , 

197 fn 

Warangal 144 
Wasaf 216 

Wazirabad (see also Balkh) 146 ln , 171 fn , 


Wilson, H.H. 93 fn , 212 fn 
Wirz, Paul 138 fn 

Yakub, Syad Ali 145 
Yarkand 163 
Yashodha 99,100 
Yasrab (see Medina) 190 
Yusaf, Shaikh 182,183 
Yusaf, Syad 195 

Zakaria, Baha-ud-Din 39,183 

ZojilaPass 169 

Zojila 169 fn 

Zorawar Singh 166 

Zubaida, Begum 52,191,196 fn