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Guru Nanak Goes to Middle-East

For over fifteen years Guru Nanak, had traveled East, North, and South. Even though he wished to meet and reinspire human beings living in the remotest corner of the world, the thoughts that were uppermost in his mind were to plan, to consolidate his mission, and to centralize it. He was not leading a bizarre life of a wandering prophet. His travels were not self-imposed exiles from home and family. In his soul was burning restlessly the supreme Light in full effulgence of the perfect knowledge of God. He approached the darkest corners of ignorance and moral disorder to save a dying civilization by giving it new life and new thoughts. While the pundits and mullas roared like the sea, their lives were shallow and stagnant like the rotting marshes. He showed them the path to reality through poetry and music. Wherever he saw greed and evil, cruelty and crime, woe and misery, caused by the rich he stood there like a rock, and his sword of justice and truth fell heavily on the proud and the vain, the selfish and the cruel. Every blow from his flaming words was a blow of death to the old order and proclaimed rebirth of a new one. Wherever there was slavery, he gave a thundering call for freedom. Wherever there was idolatry, superstition, and ignorance, he went there as the torch bearer of eternal Light and living God, Who spoke to every man in his heart.

On the Banks of Ravi

On the way back from Sumer mountain and Shiwalik hills, Guru Nanak stopped on the banks of river Ravi about 21 miles from Batala. The first to see him was a peasant woman. She was carrying some milk home. Being desperately poor she required every drop of milk for her home. But she was so impressed by the saintly looks of Baba Nanak and his companions, that she offered the milk to them. “Take it home young maid, your children will need it,” said Nanak. This extremely poor woman had a very rich heart. She said, “I have no child, Babaji. Please accept this milk. I will bring more if you need. You seem to have been praying and meditating for long. I will feel greatly blessed by giving this humble offering.”1 “I accept the milk, blessed maid, and may God give you many sons and abundant of milk. May you be as rich as your noble heart and soul are;” said Nanak. She went home and told how exalted she felt after meeting a great saint named Nanak. The name was known to all. Everyone had heard of Guru Nanak of Talwandi who had travelled to distant lands and had been acclaimed as an avatara by the Hindus and as an apostle by the Muslims. People flocked to have a glimpse of him and to seek his blessings. The next day Doda, husband of the peasant woman, also came. Guru Nanak asked him to be truthful and ever remember God. If he remained true to his conscience, and if he always avoided committing evil and indulging in falsehood God would bless him.2

The zamindar of this region, a Hindu Chowdhary named Karodi Mai, was seriously upset about the importance the people gave to Guru Nanak. To his utter chagrin this strange man, Nanak, had not even come to make a courtesy call on him. He had camped in his land. He was holding congregation without his permission in his land. The crowds were swelling from hundreds to thousands, and people were even offering him money in abundance. He was distributing food and clothes among his labourers and spoiling them. Was he a magician, a mad man, or a saint as the people called him. Whatever he was he was no greater than him and he would show him who he was. “I will go and have him arrested for trespassing and occupying my land. I will make him fall on his knees before me,” said he to himself.

When he proceeded towards Guru Nanak with some of his attendants he met an accident. He had to come home. The next day he again proceeded on horseback. He had not gone far when he fell from his horse and suffered serious injuries. His hardened conscience cracked. He had a feeling that some power beyond his control has given kick to his pride. If he tries again he may suffer still more. Someone advised him to approach Nanak with humility. Apostles of God are great in Spirit, and even the vanity and power of kings fade into nothingness before their power of Wisdom and inner power. Karodi Mai went on foot and with tears in his eyes fell at the feet of the Guru saying, “Master, have pity on me. Forgive my transgressions. Take all my riches. Take all my lands. They have made my soul sick and hardened my heart. Pity me, take them all and make me a sane and whole man. Dispel the pall of ignorance that has crushed my soul. Give me the peace of your wisdom and bless me that I may get rid of my greed and arrogance.”3

Karodi Mai became one of the most devoted disciples of Guru Nanak. On his insistence Guru Nanak laid foundation of a new city which he named Kartarpur: the abode  of the Creator, and the creator of Sikhism made it the seat of his apostalic mission. Duni Chand of Lahore and other eminent disciples helped to build this city. While Kartarpur was under construction Guru Nanak planned his missionary journey to the Middle East.

On the way to Mecca

From Kartarpur Guru Nanak went to Sultanpur to meet his sister Nanaki. From there he came back to Talwandi. Rai Bular was delighted to see him, but he was pained to know that Guru Nanak had decided to shift the whole family to Kartarpur soon. “My son,” said Kalu, “in your songs you always talk of inner treasures, and the precious jewels within us. You talk of the wealth that lasts beyond death. Why have you kept us deprived of that wealth? I am your father, and there is your mother. We gave everything we had to you. You have shared your spiritual wealth with everyone, my son, but we who are old and not far from the grave are still living as paupers.” “All that I have, father, is the gift of the Divine Father and it is yours as much as it is mine,” said Nanak. He imparted spiritual instruction to his father and mother.

Guru Nanak left for Mecca along with Mardana. He could not take any Hindu companion, because many Sufi saints had warned him that even his going to Mecca was frought with dangers. The orthodox Muslims of Mecca might not tolerate him. The very sight of non-Muslims in the precincts of Mecca was likely to cause trouble. Sometime after Guru Nanak left for Mecca, Kalu’s family and Mardana’s family shifted to Kartarpur. On the day they left Talwandi, Rai Bular met Kalu and said “Now that you are also leaving Talwandi my sorrow is great. When you were here I had some opportunities to meet Nanak, and now I do not know whether he will be able to come here at all.”4 “Nanak has always loved you, Rai ji, more than anyone else. You recognised his greatness when my eyes were clouded with ignorance. He has always been much more your son than mine. He will always come to you when you remember him,” replied Kalu.

Every year many Indian Muslims went to Mecca on the Hajj pilgrimage, and the shortest route was by a ship which sailed from Porbandar or Dwarka. A very important historical document, Makke-di-Gosht5 (Guru Nanak’s Dialogues at Mecca and Medina) clearly states: Baba (Nanak) te Mardana, nagar Dwarka te hoe kar pascam disci ko gavan kita.6 It is during this itinerary to Dwarka that Guru Nanak stopped at a number of places in Gujarat and established his Sangats in these of places. Guru Nanak’s historical shrines can still be found in Anjar, Kutch, Junagadh, Jain centres of Mt. Abu and Palitana and at Ramda twelve miles away from Dwarka. To the Yogis, Jains and Brahmins of Mt. Abu shrines he delivered the following lesson of purity:

O Nanak, ablution will not purify thee,

Yogis, should clean their mouth with divine wisdom A Brahmin with contentment and peace.

A householder with piety and charity,

The rulers with Justice and mercy.

Water will not clean your heart, It might only slake your thirst.

(Guru Nanak Sarang: p-1240)

On Girnar Mt. he met the Siddhas engaged in the loveless game of Hatha Toga. This hill was associated with the story of lovers, Sorath and Bija, who died for each other’s love. Here Guru Nanak spoke of the love of God:

He who has not known Love,

Nor the beautitude of the Beloved,

Is like a guest visiting empty house.

He departs disappointed as he come.

(Guru Nanak, Suhi p 790)

Girnar was also visited by the Vaishnava saint Ramananda, whose footprints are preserved here. At Anjar he stayed with a man named Raghu Bhat who changed his residence to Guru Nanak’s dharmasala. At Dwarka many pious Hindus were carrying stone images of their deity around their necks. About such pilgrims who wandered from place to place, paying homage to idols of various deities he said:

He worships stones,

And goes on pilgrimage,

In sorrow he wanders,

In forests and wilderness.

With a mind impure,

How can he attain purity.

He who realizes truth,

Attains honour and glory.

(Guru Nanak: Dhanasari p 696)

He asked them to look within for the true image of the One God, and not let their mind wander in useless and lifeless beliefs and abstract symbology. As soon as Guru Nanak left India for Mecca he changed his dress to that of a Muslim divine going on Hajj. He wore blue robes, carried as a (staff), a prayer carpet, and his own Book of Prayers (Kittab)7. Mardana also wore the same dress. With his profound knowledge of Islamic thoughts and traditions, he looked like a very impressive a Muwahid or Sufi dervish.

From the shores of India Guru Nanak went by ship along with other Muslim pilgrims to the port of Jedda in Red sea. From here Mecca was not far off. The injunction of the Koran is: “Perform the pilgrimage (Hey) and the visit (Umrah) to Mecca for God. And if you are prevented, send such gifts as can be easy for you to obtain, and shave not your heads until the gifts have reached their destination.” During the actual pilgrimage “one must not shave or anoint his head, remove his nails or kill any living being. He must not even stretch his body lest he may kill a vermin. He must take the vow to abstain from worldly affairs and continuously call on God.”

In a Mosque in Mecca City

Mecca in the Middle Ages
There is a narrow tract of land about 875 miles long on the eastern coast of the Red sea, with the tropic of cancer passing through its centre. It is called Hijaz (barrier). The Serat mountain runs parallel to the Red sea. Between the volcanic peaks of Serat there are depressions, and in one such basin stands the Ka’ba. For Adam this stone was a symbol of his own soul. Abraham, the prophet of the Jews laid the foundation of Mecca. For him, the Ka’ba was a symbol of One God. The first building made by Abraham was irregular in shape and without a roof. The building actually appeared cubic in shape and was therefore called Ka’ba, the Cube. God said to Abraham: “Associate naught with Me and purify My House for those who make circuits, and stand and bow and prostrate themselves.”8

The House of Abraham’s One God then became the house of many gods of pagan Arab tribes. The Jews tried to protect the sanctity of the place but failed to do so. The holy shrine of Mecca looked like a modern Hindu temple. Pagan polytheism and idolatry overpowered monotheism and the Book of Wisdom.

Centuries later the cause of One God and crusade against polytheism and idolatry was again taken up by a great and inspired prophet of the Almighty, Muhammed, the Trustworthy. His life was quite a contrast to that of the rich tribal leaders. “His clothing,” says a contemporary, “consisted of two pieces of cloth about four ells long, one of which was draped round him, while the other, called a rida was thrown across his shoulder like a toga. With the Light of God visibly shining in his heart, he fought for his revealed faith in One God relentlessly.”

“As his people were poor he lived like the poorest and the lowly. The smallest luxury seemed to him a theft from the fragile ones. He had no house of his own, but lived in turn in the modest huts that belonged to his wives. He did not even permit himself the expense of an oil lamp. “If we had oil, we ate it,” said the outspoken Aishah. He had no bed; he slept upon the mantle, which was folded twice and laid on the earthen floor. A scrupulously clean person he washed and mended his own garments and sandals. The touch of silk seemed to him a brand of fire, burning the self- indulgent wearer while others went in rags. He would starve for days at a time so that the mendicants who surrounded him might have enough to eat. He would tie a stone on his stomach to allay the pangs of hunger as poor Arabs so often did. “The Apostle left this world.,” said one of his companions, “without once eating adequately. He fought the battles of reconsecration of Mecca with the only weapon of God’s assurance and grace, and he fought the inner battle of his life with humility and poverty.”

Outside the precincts of Ka’ba, and its outer walls there was a mosque where the pilgrims from India rested when they came for the Hajj pilgrimage. The keeper of this mosque was an Indian whose name has come down in Sikh records as Mulla Jiwan.9 It was his duty to keep the mosque clean, look after the pilgrims, and to wake them up in the morning for prayers. Some prominent Sufis and divines from India had also come there but on the day of arrival no one considered Guru Nanak and his companion in any way different from other pilgrims. The names of other Sufis from India as given in some records are Pir Bahauddin, of Multan, Pir Jalal-ud-din of Uch and Gauns Kutab Din.10

All the Indian pilgrims went to sleep in this mosque soon after the evening prayers. In the dark hours of dawn Jiwan got up and lighted his lamp. As he passed through the corridor his eyes fell on a pilgrim who was sleeping with his feet towards the Ka’ba. How dares this man sleep with his feet towards the Ka’ba? If he does not know the etiquette he must be a kafir (heretic) and not a pious Muslim. If he knows it and is doing it consciously or unconsciously, he is worst. It was Guru Nanak, sleeping with his feet unconsciously turned towards the Ka’ba.11

Like a ferocious tiger Jiwan rushed towards Nanak and gave him one kick. His shouts and curses woke up everyone. The frightened Mardana sat up terribly confused. “You kafir” said Jiwan “how dare you sleep with your feet towards the Ka’ba.” Having kicked Nanak, he caught hold of him and dragging him from his feet, turned them in another direction. To his and everyone’s amazement, Ka’ba, the House of God turned in that direction. “My friend,” said Nanak, “Muhammed the Apostle has said: “Unto Allah belong the East and West, and whichsoever direction you turn there is Allah’s countenance.” (Koran 2 : 115). In every direction is the House of God. Turn my feet in the direction it is not.”12 Jiwan thought that his eyes were deceived by an apparition. He turned the feet of the Master all round. He saw the Ka’ba, the House of God in all directions.13

Inscription Plate I
Awestruck, by this subjective experience of an objective reality, terribly shaken by this muajza (miracle of God) to exalt a divine Apostle, Jiwan and the Hajj is who were awake by now, fell at the Master’s feet and sought his forgiveness for treating him so recklessly.14 Guru Nanak got up and without uttering a word performed ablution and then burst into a thanksgiving song, to the Lord who had by the saving of a miracle protected him from physical harm. The Qazis, the Hajjis, and the Mullas grouped around him and started questioning him.

Guru Nanak is said to have described this experience at Mecca to his admirers in Baghdad, which was allegedly later recorded and inscribed by some Muslim disciples of the Guru. The following is the statement attributed to Guru Nanak, the last words of which appear to have been added by the Muslim scribe who recorded it:

“When I was in the revered Mecca with my feet towards the sacred Harem, a servant of the shrine suddenly rushed out and irritatingly said, ‘O Fakir, withdraw your feet from the direction of the holy Haram and sit properly.' I asked him composedly, why should he speak so harshly and I withdraw my feet, and suddenly thereafter the door of the Haram began to turn in the direction in which my feet were moving. The servant apologised when he saw this extraordinary happening and the Light dawned on him. He kissed my hand and apologised for his harsh language. All this happened was due to God's grace and prophet's blessing, on whom be God's mercy." (Plate I)

This appears to be the version believed by all Muslims who had met and revered Nanak even after his death. The last words, ‘prophet’s blessings on whom be God’s mercy’ are typically of some Muslim devotee and have been written in the manner Muslim divines and medieval Muslim scholars generally wrote. Whenever they mentioned the name of the prophet, they added to it such words “on whom be God’s blessings.” Guru Nanak has never mentioned any prophet or avatar in his writings, genuine or apocryphal, in this way. He accepted Mohammed as a great apostle of God worthy of the same reverence as other great messengers of God, but he did not accept him as his prophet.

The scribe who has written this statement appears to be a pious Muslim who has recorded it in the typical Muslim style. There is no reason to doubt the rest of the statement recorded either from previous written record or from oral statement passed on by a contemporary. Just as Buddhists see Guru Nanak as an avatara of Buddha, the Hindus call him avatara of Janaka, these pious Muslims considered Nanak as an apostle of Islam. This only shows that Nanak was considered apostle of Truth by all higher religions. This inscription however brings out three important facts : (i) Guru Nanak not only visited Mecca and Baghdad but he was respected as an Apostle and Messenger of God even after he left, and the miracle that took place at Mecca was strongly believed. (2) The story that the Ka’aba turned in the direction his feet moved, symbolising that God is in all directions, as even the Koran states, was believed by the Muslims of Baghdad for nearly a century later. (3) The most important fact it brings out is that Guru Nanak did not claim it to be a his miracle but declared it to be a miracle of God, It was a miracle which enlightened the Muslims of that place of the all-pervading spirit of God, and saved Nanak from meeting the fate any other non- Muslim might have met there.

In the law of Islam (shariat) the first act among the rights of God is Irrian (Faith) and the Qazis and Imams of Mecca questioned him about his Iman.15 They saw Guru Nanak was carrying some Book of Wisdom of which they knew nothing, they asked “Open thy Book of Wisdom and tell us who are greater in matters of religion: Hindus or Muslims?” 16 “Listen Hajjis,” said Nanak, “Without virtuous living both are doomed. Hindus and Muslims who quarrel on the question of faith each thinking their God to be exclusively their own and superior to that of the other, lead a life of false faiths, which like fading colours have a deceptive brightness. To quarrel in the name of God and religion, to think Allah and Ram are different, to hate and condemn others through wilful misunderstanding is the path of Satan [rah-shaitani) and not the path of Truth.”17

“There is One God, and there is One Prophet,” said Qazi Rukn-ud-din. You do believe in One God but do you not believe in the One prophet (Rasul)? How can anyone be saved without the prophet?” Guru Nanak replied : “There is but One God and His Wisdom (kalam). In the creation of God there are many prophets. Your faith can save you only if your intentions are pure, and your heart is sincere.”18

The Qazis and Hajjis addressed Guru Nanak as “Nanak Hindvi or Nanak Hindki”19 If he was neither a Muslim nor a Hindu according to their notion of a Muslim and Hindu what was he? Why had he come to Mecca all the way?” With his characteristic humility he replied, “I have come all the way to meet noble divines of this holy city, and feel blessed.”20 Qazi Rukn-ud-din of Mecca then put a pertinent question: “Do you not think there is sufficient religious wisdom here in the holy place of Mecca? Do you not think Muhammed, our prophet, has said the last word about Allah? What have you to teach us?”21 “A prophet is one who brings a message of divine truth from God. Muhammed was a true prophet and he did bring the message of truth. Had you been practising the truth he preached, and lived the exalted life he lived, I would not have come. Because people even in this holy place have forgotten the true message of God, I have come to fulfil the Will of God, in the same way, prophet Muhammed came.”22 “What are the fundamental principles of divine Faith (Iman)?” asked Rukandin. “There are four fundamental principles of true faith in God”, said Guru Nanak:

  1. Reverence and association with divine sages (bazurg)
  2. Charity by paying tithe (zakat)
  3. To keep away from sins and evils,
  4. Remembrance of God23

The Qazi said, “We believe that a holy man should live in silence, perform penance, keep vigil all night, give charity, be regular in fasts. What is your opinion about our spiritual discipline?” Guru Nanak replied:

Live in silence for a thousand days,

Perform penance for a thousand days,

Give in charity a thousand bag fulls,

Keep vigil for a thousand nights

Fast for thousand days at a stretch,

If you cause injury to anyone

You will not be accepted in the court of God.24

And may we know said a Sufi saint, your opinion about the four paths : shariat, marfat, tariqat, and haqiqat (Law, Knowledge, Spiritual discipline, and Path of truth). Guru Nanak said “Just as people come from all directions for the pilgrimage to God, so the House of God, the ultimate Truth can be approached from many directions. The fundamental thing is that there should be sincerity of purpose, and consistent effort to reach the goal.”25

“Tell us Baba Nanak,” said Rukn-ud-din, “What are the characteristics of a divine Sage (bazurg) Guru Nanak replied:

A Sage (bazurg) is absolutely pure and free in his motives and intentions.

A Sage seeks the company of the holy and enlightened.

A Sage delights in the good qualities of others and tries to benefit from them.

A Sage contemplates God. This is his spiritual food.

A Sage covets not any woman except his legal wife. His relations with other women are governed by profound respect.

A Sage respects those who are intellectually and morally superior to him.

A Sage does not make a foolish display of his spiritual powers. He keeps them concealed and lives in utter humility.

A Sage keeps away from evil men.

(J.M.S. (MSS) f. 469)

Rukn-ud-din and other Sufi saints, Qazis, and Mullas were profoundly impressed. As the pilgrims were to soon move to Medina, they asked Guru Nanak to leave one of his personal possessions as a sacred relic in the city of Mecca. Guru Nanak gave them his wooden slippers.26 These wooden slippers were preserved as relics of Nanak Shah the apostle from India for a long time. They were still at Mecca during the life time of the fifth Guru Arjan, as Bhai Gurdas bears witness to its historicity. Who kept them and what happened to them is a fact shrouded in mystery.

From Mecca Guru Nanak went to Medina. There again there were long discussions with Guru Nanak with a number of pilgrims and divines. They are recorded in Makke di Gosht. Later interpolations by some Udasi copyists can easily be detected. These dialogues show two things. Firstly they reveal a very close affinity between monotheism and ethical and spiritual doctrines of Islam and Sikhism, a fact which has been clouded by the unhappy political relations between the Sikhs and Muslims of Punjab for some time past, and serious estrangement after partition of the country. Secondly they reveal Guru Nanak’s profound knowledge of the doctrines of Islam. He was able to establish that his religion was something quite distinct and different from the popular orthodox Hinduism. As it had a close affinity to Islam, they also felt he was reviving the original Spirit of Islam in his own way. These dialogues also show the immense spiritual powers he excercised over the people of that period.27

In the Arab world there are still some tribes, notably the Sabian tribes and Abid fakirs who acknowledge Guru Nanak to be their prophet. They keep hair and beard and observe a code of conduct which is close to that of Sikhism.28 If the divines of these tribes are contacted and their history investigated, a good deal of historical information can be acquired.

Guru Nanak in Baghdad

Guru Nanak's Shrine in Baghdad
From Medina, an old highway goes straight to Baghdad. This lovely city, situated on the banks of Tigris was summer retreat of Kings during Persian monarchy. Yakut says it was, “the capital of Islam, the eye of Iraq, the seat of empire, the centre of beauty culture, and arts.” The city was circular in shape, surrounded by a strong wall and a deep moat, pierced by four gates with massive iron doors. Each gate was surmounted by a gilt copula, and was of sufficient height to allow the passage of a horseman holding aloft his lance. Inside, and at some distance from the centre of the city, came the inner walls, within which arose majestically the imperial palace with its golden gates. Not far from the residence of the Caliph and with the enclosure, stood the Cathedral Mosque, and the mansions of the princes and nobles.”29 In this city of marble palaces there were many colleges and Sufi khanqas, and the most important among them was the college of Qadiriya School. The founder of this school was Abdul Qadir of Gilan in North Iran. At the age of 18 Abdul Qadir studied at Baghdad and was principal of a Hambelite school of law. By his spiritual influence and liberal outlook he converted many Jews and Christians to Islam. He was greatly respected for his piety, toleration, learning and powers of speech. He died in 1166 A.D. at the age of 91. One of his sajjada nashin had established a college of this most important liberal order of the Sufis and like the founder was also addressed as Dastgir Pir.

When Guru Nanak reached Baghdad along with Mardana and some other Sufi companions he camped on the outskirts of the city. Early in the morning, when the whole city was asleep, and the time of call for prayers was drawing near, Guru Nanak climbed a minaret and gave a shrill and sensational call. It was recited in the same way as the Muslims give their call in the quiet hours of dawn. The throbbing and melodious voice of Nanak woke up everybody. It was a human voice but never had they heard such a thrilling and stunningly enchanting voice. It was the call, yet the meaning was not clear to them. Even though they did not catch the words, the call had a magnetic and gripping effect on all who heard it. Bhai Mani Singh’s Janam Sakhi records the call as follows:

gur bar akaI, sat siri akal, cit caran nam,

ghar ghar prarnam, prabhu kirpal, jo sarba jiwal.

Lo, the Eternal is Enlightener Great,

Lo, the Eternal is Truth Ultimate,

Remember His Marne in every heart, to Him in every home,

Compassionate is the Lord.

Giver of sustenance to all.

(J.M. S. (MSS) f. 479)

The whole firmament was filled with throbbing strains of some celestial music. The Dastglr Pir, the sajjada nishin of Abdul Qadir of Gilan, the Qazis, the Mullas, and Sufis woke up and felt drawn towards the divine Man who had given such a call. The call was repeated again and again. People, says the Janam Sakhi, stood like statues, dumb in enchantment as if they silently wanted to hear it again and again.30 When the call ended every religious divine of Baghdad went in search of this strange person. Was he a human being or an angel? When the Qadriya Saint saw him, he asked: “Who is this strange God-intoxicated fakir and from where has he come? What apostolic grace is there around his face glowing with mystic intoxication?31 “He is Nanak the dervish from India,” said a companion who had followed him from Mecca. “He recognises but one God and says all apostles are created in His image and in every heart shines the Light of God equally. He says God is in every place and in every direction.”32 Another Sufi saint who was profoundly attracted was Pir Bahlol Dana. While others asked Nanak one theological question after another, he remained silent, and listened to every word of the Master. Every word Guru Nanak said went down to the depths of his soul and there he wanted to preserve it and contemplate on its mystery and wisdom.

Guru Nanak sang a song. In that song he sang the glory of God and His creation in which there were many universes and in each universe there were countless planets with human creation and super civilizations like ours on them. These ideas became the subject of discussion with Dastigir Pir of Baghdad. Said the Dastgir Pir'. “The Quranic belief of a Muslim is in seven firmament and fourteen regions but you say that there are countless regions and earths and many have intelligent beings as our earth has; can you prove it?”33

To everyone’s surprise Guru Nanak agreed to do so not only theoretically but practically by showing a super-civilization on another planet to his young and pure minded son. It is recorded that not only did Guru Nanak show the pir’s son, one planet with advanced super-civilizations on it, but brought some concrete material evidence of the highly civilized human beings on the other planet so that this daring experimental revelation could not be dis-missed as magic or hallucination of the young boy.34 The first hand experiences of this young lad were able to convince everyone about the existence of super-civilizations on other planets, though not on the moon. The sun and moon according to Guru Nanak serve a specific purpose of the civilizations on this earth.35 Their purpose is to regulate day and night and all that is associated with it. They are two lamps of the earth. Guru Nanak’s theory of super-civilizations which can be heavily documented from the writings of the Gurus and Sikh apostles, can be summed up as follows: “The universe or what the scientists call galaxy, is not the only universe in space. There is a universe beyond universe and in each universe or galaxy there are innumerable planets or earths like ours and of these earths some have living beings. Earth has its own sun and moon and they serve as the lamps of the earth, (cand suraj doe dive). The civilization of each inhabited earth is evolving very much on the same pattern as ours. Some civilizations are very advanced while others are behind us. Some are far behind us. A very important common factor between these space super-civilizations and our own civilization is that the moral, political and spiritual evolution of the living beings of these civilizations is progressing through a succession of prophets, saviours, boddhisatvas, avataras, thinkers and sages. The moral and spiritual life of all the living beings on all the earths in the universes is similar. The prophets, the sages and men of genius have not only the task of redeeming this earth but also many other earths. This was the theory proved by Guru Nanak sometimes in 1517 A.D. or there about. It is for science to search the truth. Man may sometime land on some super-civilization in the next three or four decades. It is also possible that some people from other planets may land on our good earth, and prove that it is neither so good nor so civilized as we think.

Mian Mir, a devoted friend of Guru Arjan was born and brought up at Baghdad among these Qadiriya saints, and it is quite possible that as Guru Nanak’s son lived up to the time of Mian Mir, the Dastgir Pirs’ son might have been living up to the time of Mian Mir and gave him firsthand account of Guru Nanak’s spiritual influence. I believe that even before coming to India Mian Mir had been strongly influenced by Guru Nanak’s faith and beliefs. That accounts for the deep reverence in which he held Guru Arjan and his son, and also for the decision of Guru Arjan to ask, Mian Mir to lay the foundation of the Golden Temple at Amritsar. This actually accounts for the close relations and the profound friendship between Mian Mir and Guru Arjan and Guru Hargobind.

There was a stone not far away from the Tigris, on which Guru Nanak sat every day and delivered his inspiring sermons. Every day, the Dastgir Pir, and Bahlol Dana, another Sufi saint, sat near the Master, imbibed every word of his wisdom. There were illuminating discussions, inspiring songs, and mystic communion between the Master and his admirers. When Guru Nanak came away Pir Bahlol Dana never forgot that vision and mystic illumination and he sat there in front of the stone with a few personal relics that the Guru had left, for sixty long summers and winters. When he died he asked to be buried near the place sanctified by the holy feet of his Master, Baba Nanak. On the stone his disciples engraved the story. There were two inscriptions one outside the shrine and one on the stone. The one on the stone is still there and the other has faded away or gone with the demolition of the wall. The present inscription is in Arabic and Turki. Its free translation is:

“Behold, a wish has been fulfilled by Holy and High Providence. That the building of Baba Nanak has been newly built with the help of seven aulat [great walis). That the happy murid of God [Baba Nanak) has started a fountain of grace issuing new water in the land” 917 Hijri (Plate II).

Rukn-ud-din was so impressed by Baba Nanak’s learning, moral and spiritual greatness that he is said to have accompanied Guru Nanak to India and gone back just before or after the death of the Guru. At Baghdad he continued writing about Guru Nanak and preaching his intensely human ideals of peace and unity. Fragments of his writings have come down to us as follows:

“He who has effaced himself has found everlasting life. Whoever practices piety in this world, in the next life he shall find peace in both eyes. When a man dedicates his acts to God, God takes him among His chosen slaves. He received as God's gift, felicity, intellect, treasure of love and grace, knowledge and honour in both the worlds. (Plate IV) All religions should be studied to discriminate good from evil. Tour round the world should be undertaken in the spirit of a faqir or a poor man, He [Nanak) spent most of his life in Hindustan.” (Plate V)

After summing up Guru Nanak’s views, Rukn-ud-din pays the following glowing tribute to Nanak’s learning, scholarship, fearlessness and character.

“Nanak Faqir attained proficiency in all knowledge and especially in the literature of Islam, and the commentary on Koran, the religious beliefs and Arabic and Persian literatures, and was thoroughly advanced in them. He fought to finish oppression which was prevailing in the world. He was the standard-bearer of Truth and eradicator of the false. He would get the poor his rights and smash the vanity of the proud. He was the best specimen of piety and of a traveler.” (Plate VI) His morality was like a pure soul containing chosen and transparent gems, and his soul was so transparent as if it was unconcerned, having no connection whatever with the insipid and tasteless things of the world.  The Baba's charming and animate talk still rings into my ears. He would cure the sick, and serve the fakir and the learned. (Plate VII) “He used to compose poems in Arabic and liked men of letters and poets. His thoughts provided basis to every literature and every poet, the glory of which is reflected in his poems. The rhyme itself was attracted towards his thoughts as if they were a magnet." (Plate VIII)

It appears Rukn-ud-din wrote a fairly detailed account of Guru Nanak’s itinerary and these are fragments from it. Up to the second decade of this century there was in the Baghdad shrine of Guru Nanak a book in Arabic containing some information about Baba Nanak, but it has disappeared. A search in the libraries of the Middle East and the records of the khanqas is bound to yield some research material. No one has ever tried.

It appears Guru Nanak expressed a great love for the beauty and grandeur of Baghdad, and the love between him and the sufi saints like Bahlol Dana and the Dastgir Pir, sajjadanashin of Abdul Qadir Gilani, was so deep and profound that whatever expression Guru Nanak gave to it took the form of apocryphal literature. The gist and the spirit of what Guru Nanak might have said is certainly there, but it is difficult to accept the suggestion given by these that our inner voice dictated Nanak to go all the way to Baghdad and meet Bahlol Dana, or that Nanak accepted Mohammed as his prophet, or that he paid homage to the tomb of any saint. Guru Nanak’s views are well known from his own writings to be against such worship of avatars, prophets and tombs. It is however but natural that some centuries later Muslim scribes should believe Nanak to be an orthodox Muslim Sufi just as the Buddhists in Tibet believe him to be avatara of Buddha and Hindus either believe him to be avatara of Janaka or to denigrate him, assert that he was the disciple of Kabir. Yet the following inscriptions convey the poetic fervor of Guru Nanak, his love for the beauty of Baghdad, and his personal affection for Sufis who became his most devoted friends; On Baghdad his views are expressed through the following poem:

“O Baghdad, the land of Islam,

Why have you been taken away from me

As you were like mirror to me,

When I think of Bahlol,

My eyes get wet and my heart beats rapidly

I wish I had met you in India

Sight can never he compared to blindness

I reject all tradition and hearsay,

Hearing can never compensate for vision.” (Plate IX)

The following three inscriptions are attributed to Nanak. No one who has read even hundred poems of Guru Nanak can ever accept them to be wholly his. They have been given too much of an orthodox Islamic colouring and there is an implied suggestion that he hated the Hindus and wanted to keep away from them. This is certainly not true. For the purpose of further investigation we are giving these apocryphal statements below:

“In all countries I am greeted as a faqir. I have travelled to far off lands. I came to Baghdad, the holy city, to see Bahlol Dana who has been told by a voice from the Unseen that Nanak Faqir who has great affection for you is coming to you in the hope of seeking forgiveness (from God)” (Plate X) The goodness of the people blossoms in travel who under take it for God Himself, like a rose flower which cannot be plucked. The misguided of India call me to themselves. Thanks to Almighty, the Master of Heavens that I am a man of faith. The Creator has enabled Nanak to stay away from the hordes of Satan and he cleansed our hearts. They equate Satan to God; but our Creator is pure and no one is like Him.” (Plate XI) “The above verses were composed when I came to the mausoleum of Bahlol Dana ‘Abbasi’ and stayed at ‘Abhasiya Takiyah in Mullah Sihayat-ul-Khizran' on my way back from Mecca on 17th Rab-ul-Awwal, 917 Hijri. I stayed up to the month on Rajab and then in the company of my dear friend Rukn-ud-din I started towards Hindustan.’ (Plate XII)

The date given in these inscriptions if accepted upsets all our dates. Even the pattern of Udasis will change, if this date is really correct. I have given all these records for further investigation. They do not leave any doubt that our Janam Sakhis are quite correct in stating that Guru Nanak visited Mecca, and the miracles mentioned were believed to have taken place even by the people of Baghdad, and that he met Rukn-ud-din a well-known saint who came to India along with Baba Nanak and then went back. During the time of Guru Arjan, when Mian Mir came to India, some direct descendants of Pir Bahlol Dana came to India to meet Guru Nanak’s successor, Guru Arjan. They did not go back. They stayed at Sialkot where there descendants are still living. It is quite possible that they came along with Mian Mir.

In Turkey, Cairo, and Istanbol

Bhai Gurdas indicates in his Vars that after his visit to Baghdad in the Middle East, there was no place of importance which Guru Nanak did not visit. There are some indications that he visited Cairo where, during the war the Sikh soldiers were shown a place on the outskirts of the town where there was a stone memorial.37 Guru Nanak might have visited Jerusalem. No direct evidence is available at present. But in Jerusalem there lives a tribe which still deems Nanak Shah as their Apostle. The name Nanak Shah is even inscribed by them on some of their costly utensils and possessions.

In Turkey, Egypt or at Istanbol he is said to have met the Emperor of Rum. The Emperor of Rum at this time was Salim (1511-1520 A.D.). The Janam Sakhis call him a tyrant and compare him to Korah, the greedy tyrant of Koran (son of Musa’s uncle: Sura 28-76-82). “Salim was a controversial figure. He was stern, inflexible, and ferocious. He massacred 40,000 heretics in his land. Vazirs and generals lost their heads at seemingly the slightest failure. A standard curse came to be: “May you become Salim’s vazir.” His tastes were simple; he read widely, slept little and was uninterested in harem. “Salim’s rule brought Ottoman Empire and the life of its people to the pinnacle of power and lustre.”38

After meeting Guru Nanak, this Korah of Rum, who could be either Salim I or one of his governors, was a changed man. He gave up cruelty and lust for wealth.

On his return journey Guru Nanak might have visited many Jewish, Christian and Muslim seminaries in Russian, Mongol and Chinese territory. It is the local history of these seminaries which can throw some light on these facts. Some of these famous seminaries were on the route traversed by Guru Nanak. It is unbelievable that Guru Nanak avoided encounter with them when he went to places like Mecca, Madina and Baghdad where there was every risk of being killed as heretic.

I, however, doubt that Guru Nanak went so far as Nanking; nor is Nanking named after Nanak, as some would have us believe it on the basis of spurious evidence. The word Nanking simply means “Southern kingdom” The city was originally known as Kin-ling; under the Han dynasty (206 B. C.-25 A.D.) its name was converted to Tan Yang; by the Tang emperors (A.D. 618-907) it was styled Kiang Nan and Sheng Chow; by the first sovereign of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644) it was named Nanking which simply means” Southern Capital”. It was the seat of Imperial court only during the reigns of the first emperors of the Ming dynasty. The resemblance between words Nanking and Nanak is only incidental. If Sikhism has gone to China it went through the Tibetan devotees of the Guru from Tibet or from some seminaries in Mongol and Russian territories in Tashkent area which Guru Nanak might have visited during his Middle East itinerary. He came back to India by land route through Afghanistan and stopped on the way Ghazni, Kandahar, Kabul and Peshawar.

According to Sant Ram Udasi who visited the Middle East in the first decade of this century there were mosques and shrines in the following regions At Medina there is Guru Nanak’s mosque about three miles from Mohammed’s roza. A road goes to it directly from Bibi Fatima’s gate. (2) There is a memorial stone at Isphahan, Samarkand, Bakun, Suleman. In the last named place there is spring named after Nanak. There are also Guru Nanak’s shrines and memorial stones at Nimagan, Bukhara, at a place come miles away from Tashkent also there is Nanak’s mosque. There are of course the Guru’s shrine at Kabul, Hazra, Jalalabad. Arjun Muni has recorded some details in his book Gurdwara Darpan from pages 42-74. A historical survey should be conducted along with probe into local revenue records, to trace their identity in history.

In Afghanistan, Guru Nanak made Mardana his principal spokesman. He was given authority to give spiritual instructions and people showed him the same respect they gave to Guru Nanak. At a place called Kuram he was greatly honoured and people were so impressed by the music of Mardana that they wanted him to stay there. Guru Nanak established a manji in the name of Mardana and later sent his son Shahzada as the first missionary to Afghanistan. Mardana is said to have passed away here.

At Kandhar Guru Nanak met Yar Ali a great Sufi. He asked the sufi’s of his Khanqah to understand death. Know death and you know life. “Stay here Master” so that we may be blessed by the dust of your holy feet.” Nanak said, “The Word of the divine Teacher is the real dust of the holiest of the holy. Entertain it in your heart and you will be blessed by God. During this itinerary a Shia Sufi asked the difference between Muhammed and Ali. According to a Janam Sakhi Guru Nanak said, “In Wisdom and Enlightenment Muhammed was great; in wielding the sword Ali was great. Both were perfect souls. The Light of God was shining in full illumination in both.”39 At Peshwar he met a Yogi who gave up Hatha Toga after receiving spiritual instructions from Guru Nanak. He begged the Guru to stay with him till all his sins were washed away. Guru Nanak said, “My real Self, and my real Personality is the Word Eternal. In it is my life and spirit. Imbibe the Word, string it to your mind and your sins will be washed away.”40

It is also said that Pir Jallaludin of Uch met Guru Nanak at Kandhar on his way back to the Punjab. He asked Guru Nanak to visit his shrine at Uch. Guru Nanak promised and visited Uch during the last Punjab tour. He might possibly have visited Uch on his way back from Mecca also. Guru Nanak reached Kartarpur where the city had been built and people flocked from all directions to Guru Nanak reached Kartarpur where the city had been built and people flocked from all directions to meet the Master. Bibi Nanaki and her husband came to Kartarpur and were delighted to hear that Guru Nanak would not go to any distant lands now. He had decided to confine his activities to Punjab only.

Mardana in Eternal Rest

Shortly after Guru Nanak’s arrival Mardana sat on the bank of Ravi close to his Master whom he had never left and sang a song on his rebeck. It was the most touching song. It was the swan song of Mardana “My Baba,” said Mardana, “my journey’s end has come. You know it and so has by your graces the call come to me. You have always given what I never deserved. You have always given me the best of your love. I was a beggar in the streets, an outcaste from society. You have made princes bow to me. You have made saints beg me for spiritual instructions. You have loved me more than a mother could love her child, more than God could love his prophet. You are my religion, my faith, my wealth and all. What more I need. Give me your last blessings Master and forget not your foolish old Mardana.”

“You have always been with me, dear Mardana. I shall always be with you in death and beyond death. Just as Music is inseparable from the musical instrument, so are you inseparable from me. Tell me shall I build a cenotaph on your grave; shall I build a samadhi of the kind not built for the greatest Yogi; shall I give you a funeral a royal Brahmin deserves? How would you like the last rites to take place?”41 “Babaji,” said the contented and enlightened Mardana, “after breaking the prison of the soul and giving me the freedom of eternity, why should you imprison my poor body in a cage of brick and mortar. Cremate me with your own hands, so that I may have the honour that My Beloved Master was the first to set fire to my soul and the last to set fire to my body.” Mardana recited the Japji and breathed his last in the arms of his Master with the name of Nanak and God on his lips.42 His son Shahzada took his place as his rebeck player and was later installed as a missionary at Kurum.

Notes and References

  1. In and  J.B. this incident occurs  after Guru Nanak returns from Sumer. It appears that he made up his mind to build the city of Kartarpur before he went to Mecca, and when he came back, his disciples had already established the city where he was to lay the Foundation of the Central Sikh Church.
  2. This whole story is given almost in identical wording in J.M.S., J.B., and P.J., all versions of each Janam Sakhi.
  3. This story is also given in all the Janam Sakhis in almost the same manner. The wording of P.J. is exactly that of J.Mb, from which it is clear that the author of P.J. has used Meharban’s Janam Sakhi.

A Karori or a kar or bandi was an official in the Mugal Revenue department: It is also a popular name “In that area there was an official working as a karor-bandi Hearing of the reputation of Nanak, he got angry and said that a strange fakir had come there and disturbed Hinduism and Islam, and that he should be ousted from that place. With this plan in his mind, he stared on horseback. As ill luck would have it, his horse got restless on the way. He fell down and was wounded. People started saying that he fell as a miracle of Baba Nanak. People talked of his as a perfect saying that no one could talk ill of him. The next day he again decided to execute he previous night’s decision. By divine decree the incident of the previous day was repeated. He fell frightened and on the advice of the people, he walking on foot, presented himself to the Baba and expressed great regards and humility. Nanak accepted his regrets. He made a request that if the Baba agreed, a village might be set up in his name. Nanak consented and a village named Kartarpur (abode of the Creator) was founded and a dharmsala was built for the he Baba’s residence. (Mufti Ali-ud-din: Ibratnama f. 95)

There was in that area an imperial karori. When he heard of Babaji’s popularity he declared: “Nanak is misguiding everyone. I will not allow him to camp here. He mounted his horse and set out to where Babaji was camping. On the way his horse fell. The karori was unseated and the horse died. Next day he again set out with the same haughtiness. He was wmiten blind on the way. The people then explained to him that the Baba was mahapurkh (exalted sage). He should approach with humility. The karori went to Baba Nanak and fell at his feet and was forgiven. The korori offered land which the Baba at first refused, but when pressed upon Nanak accepted with pleasure an offering of one hundred bighas of land. A dharmsala was cultivated there and cultivation begun. (Mehma Prakash: f 206)

  1. Kalu da turna sun ke Rai Bular Kalu de ghar aya, ar akhya ke je tusin ethe baithe se tafi sanu udik si so Guru Nanak da darsan hosi te tusin kirpa karke ethe hi raho (J.M.S. (LI) p. 394)

According to Mehma Prakash Kalu died before Nanak shifted to Kartarpur “Baba ji lived in Kartarpur for some time and then summoned his mother from Talwandi. Baba Kalu had by then also passed away” (Mehma Prakash ibid)

  1. Makke di Gosht : This is a very important document, which was originally in Persian. It had faithfully recorded some of the dialogues of Guru Nanak in the Middle East. According to Gyani Gyan Singh it was first recorded in Persian by Sayyad Muhammed Gauns, a Sufi who met Guru Nank in Mecca and was an eye witness. Bhai Bhana an Arora Sikh translated into Punjabi and Thakari. Then Bhai Dayal a Masand prepared a copy in Punjabi. Gyani Gyan Singh saw one of the earliest versions with one Bawa Shyam Prakash of Hazara. In that book it was mentioned that immediately after Guru Nanak’s visit to this area Baba Nanak’s shrines resembling mosques in architectural shape were built and the local rulers supported free kitchen in them. There were such shrines in Jedda., Mecca, Medina, Baghdad and one or two more places. Attempts should be made to search the earliest manuscript. Bhai Mani Singh refers to Makke di Gosht in his Janam Sakhi.

In the early two decades of this century Sant Atma Ram of Budali travelled in Middle East and Russia and spotted out many shrines of Guru Nanak commemorating his visit. They are recorded verbatim in “Gurudwara Darpan” by Arjan Muni, published at Lahore in 1923. Attempt should be made to retrace these lost shrines. In the Muslim area Guru Nanak’s shrines are known as Guru Nanak’s mosque, just as in Hindu areas they are either known as Sangats or dharamsalas.

In Tibet and Ceylon or Buddhist areas they are known as Gomphas.

  1. tan Bava ate Mardana nagar Daurka te hoe kar pscam disa ko gavan klta. (Makke-di-Gosht f 2)

“From Dwarka he returned to where hehad left Mardana and then taking Mardana he travelled to Mecca where he stayed for some time.” (Mehma Prakash f 201)

A very interesting point in this historical statement is that Guru Nanak did not take his Muslim disciple Mardana to the orthodox Hindu temple of Dwarka, where he would not have been admitted. In the same way he did not take Bala or any other disciple, Hindu by birth, to Mecca and Medina.

  1. Baba phir Maklce gya nil bastar dhare banvari asa hath kitab kach kuja bang musala dhari (Bhai Gurdas Var 1: 32)

hajjian da bana nila bana pehrya, gal vie tasbi pehrl, bagal vie Kitab rakhl, hath vikhe asa lia, sir pur musalia dharya hajji darves rup dhar kar Makke ki hajj ko hazar bae. (Makke dl Gosht f 2)

It is clear that when Guru Nanak went to Mecca he put on the dress of Indian sufis or of muwahid. Whether Guru Nanak visited Hindu places of pilgrimage or Muslim and Buddhist, he gained access to them by putting on their holy garb so that he may not be dismissed as a lay devotee, but as soon as he had gained access, he found some or the other dramatic means to loudly declare the uniqueness of his personality, and philosophy.

  1. I am indebted for the information on Mecca and Medina to the excellent book on “Mecca and Medina by Miss Ernel Esin. Instead of giving lengthy quotations I have given summing ups. It is a remarkable study of the Holy place.
  2. Makke ki ik masit vie jae baitha (Makke di gosht f2)

Guru Nanak rested in a mosque of Mecca, baitha jae masit vie jithe hajjl haj guzari

He went and asked in a mosque where the haj came for hajj pilgrimage. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1:23)

Sant Ram of Budail, visited Mecca and Medina and other places in Middle East and his statement has been recorded by Arjun Muni in his book Gurdwara Darpan. On page 42, he says Mecca is forty kos from Jedda. About one and half miles towards the East of Ka’aba on the road to Amra there is a mosque of Baba Nanak Wali Hind Pir, close to Baba Farid’s mosque Here in the mosque was held the first discussion with Ruku-ud-din. This is a fact which some historian should check up. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1, 32)

  1. The names of these pirs from India are given by Makke di Gosht and T.G.K. Qazi Ruknul-Din was the Imam of Mecca.
  2. (a) Jan Baba suta rfxt nil val mehrabe paeii pasari. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1: 32)

ik din guzran klti, rat ko ose masit vie jae pae, pai makke ke mehrab val kltyan te sir purab val (Makke di Gosht f. 2)

It must be borne in mind that Guru Nanak did it unconsciously. In India this ettiquette is observed only within the precincts of a holy place and not outside it.

  1. Jiwan marl lat di kehda suta kurfar kufari, latan val khudne de kionkar paya hoe bajagri tango pakad ghasitya phirya makka kala dikharl (Bhai Gurdas: Var 1:32)
  2. jan pehar dedh ik rat rahl tan Mullan Jiwan maslt ka jhadu karan aya; tan diva bal kar hajjyand huron laga dekhan; jan dekhe tan ki dekhe; hor sabh apo apne mukaml pae han, kal jo navan Hajji darves aya hai so betrah kible roe latan karke suta paya hai, tan Mulla Jiwan man vie gu£a khados. tan Mulla Jiwan gusa khae kar Babe de magar vie lat dl marios: akhyos are Bande khudae de tun kaun hain: Hindu hain ke Musalman, jo tun khudie de ghar val pair kar suta hain. (Makke di gosht f 2)

tan Jiwan jhadukash aya ar Babe nu lat marios are kehios he kafir tun makke di jarrat nu aya hain ate ka’be dl car divarl khudae da ghar hai so tun is taraf mehrab de val kadam kion kite han tante tainu ajab bajageri hovai gl. an Jiwan jhadukash ne Babe nu tangon ghadlsya, par jidhar Babe de pair javan odhar Makke de mehrab jave. (J.M.S. (LI) 409)

  1. hoe hairan karen juhari (Bhai Gurdas, Var 1:32)

Tan Jiwan ate hor Hajji jo masit vie ahe so sabhe hairan ho gae eh aulya allah da hai, eh is zamane da kol wali paida hoya hai. (Makke di Gosht f 3)

  1. puchan gal iman di, kaz! mulla ikathe hoe vadda sang vartaya lakh na sakai kudrat kol (Bhai Gurdas Var 1:33)

tab Baba uth khada hoya; uju karke kibal hoe kar khadoe kar sabad rag alapya. (Makke di Ghost f 3)

  1. puchan khol kitab nu, vada Hindu ke musalmanoi (Bhai Gurdas Var 1 : 32)

tudh eh bid! kudrat dikhai hai jo makke da mehrab tere pairan nal phirda aya hai, so tun kitab khol ke asan nu das ji Babe adam de putar Hinduan Muslamana vicon Hindu vada hai ke Musalman (J.M.S. (LI) 412)

  1. Baba akhe hajjian subh amlan bajhofi doven roi, Hindu Musalman doe dargeh andar lain na dhoi; kaca rang kusambh ka pan! dhotai thir na rahoi karan bakhili ap vie ram rahim kathae khaloe. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1: 32)
  2. unan kiha faldr tun rasul nu manda hain ke nahl, tan Babe kiha ke akal purkh de daure kal rasul avatar han (J.M.S. (LI) 238)

They asked O Saint, do you have faith in the prophet Mohammed or not. Baba Nanak said at the door of God there are innumerable prophets. I believe in God and not in any prophet.

'kalma ik khudae hai, kudrat kai rasul Ruknal niat ras kar dargeh paveh Kabul (Makke di gosht f 12)

God is only one and only kalma, and in His creation there are innumerable prophets. O Ruku-ud-din, if your mind is pure you will be honoured in God’s presence (and not by mere faith in any prophet)

  1. Makke-di-Gosht f 24
  2. asi tuhade didar nu itni duron cal ke ae han. ibid
  3. 'paigambar usnu kehande han jo paigam lyavan vala hove ar tuhada jo rasul hai so khudae da suneha lyaya hai tante je bandgt karoge tan bahist nu jau ge.

age rasul bhi tuhade manavan vaste aya si ate hun vl mai khudaeta hukam manavan vaste aya hai, tusan jo khudae nu bhulaya hai so tuhade te sada updes hai. (J.M.S. (LI) 283)

  1. age paigambar tuhada rah dasan vaste aya si, hun tusin paigambar de rah to phir gae ho tan mai hun aya han (J.M.S. (MSS)f 411)
  2. puchan gal iman di kazi mulla ikathe hoi (Bhai Gurdas Var 1:32)

hajjian puchia iman dian kitnian sartan han, tan Baba bolia iman dian car sartan han: aval bazurgan di subat, doem mai di zakat, soem gunahan thi pak, caharam Khudae di yad (J.M.S. (LI) p. 411)

  1. Babe akhya ke hazaran din rozian vie baith tap karliai, hazar ganj dan kariai, hazar reti jagran kariai, hazar din roze rakhiai, par je kise da dil nu ranjhania tan kabul nahi painda. (ibid)
  2. haji puchya: sariat, tariqat, marfat haqikat car rah musal

mani de han so tusin kaho ke eh kion kar malum ho van tan Baba bolya jaise Makke di ziarat caron tarfan te hajji anvde han, itiven intha sabhna rahafi da iko hai jo sabh rah ka’be vie a pahuncode han. (ibid 416)

  1. dhari nisani kauns di Makke ander puj karai, jithe jae jagat vie Babe bajh na khali jai. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1: 34)

asin jande san sada akhri paigambar hoya hai ar is upar hor kol nahi hona, par tun sabhna de sir khatam ho aya hain, tante tu kai apni nisani rakh, tan Babe akhya sadi kahdavan jo hain so rakho (J.M.S. (LI) p. 416)

  1. If a search is made it should not be difficult to get an old Persian copy of Makke-di-Gosht or the first Punjabi translation of the same. Unfortunately this and a number of other manuscripts relating to Guru Nanak have never been studied. They have never even been adequately referred in. historical biographies of Guru Nanak. Some of our present day Sikh writers and historians have the tendency to reject what they cannot understand.
  2. I am indebted to the eminent historian Dr. Ganda Singh for this information. He had told me verbally some years ago, but recently he kindly sent the information in writing.
  3. Syed Amer Ali: A Short History of the Saracens p 444
  4. Baba gya Baghdad nu bahar jae kla asthana ik Baba akal rup duja rabia Mardana, diti bang namaz kar sun saman hoa jahana, sun mun nagri bhai dekh pir bhaya hairana. (Bhai Gurdas, Viar 1:35)

jan eh gabad musalmana de kan paya tan sabhe murcha gae ate tasivlran di nyai tur tur dekhan. (J.M.S. (LI) p. 427)

  1. vekhe dhyan lagae kar ik fakir vada mastana. puchia phirke dastgir kaun fakir kiska gharana. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1:35)
  2. J.M.S. (L) 432
  3. puche pir takrar kar eh fakir vada atai, ethe vie Baehdad de vadi karamat dikhlai patalan akas lakh odak bhali khabar sunai pher duraen dastgir asin bhi vekhan jo tnn pai (ibid Var 1:36)
  4. nal lita beta pir da akhin mit gaya havai, lakh akas patal lakh lakh akh phurk vie sabh dikhlai, bhar kackaul prasad da dhuroii patalon lai kadahi zahar kala na chape chapai. (Bhai Gurdas Var 1: 36)
  5. See authors’ article: “Findings of Russian Scientists and Guru Nanak on Super Civilizations in Space: Sikh Review, August 1965
  6. korla murad aildi hazrat rabi majid Baba Nanak fakir auli a naki amarat jadid yadilar imdad aidub kildi ki tarikhena, yapdi nvab ajrayar abi murid said. 927 hiri The date is most probably 927 when Guru Nanak in 1517 was about 51. It is about this time Guru Nanak was here.

Swami Anandacharya in his book, Snow Birds has written an inspired poem on this memorial stone. The inscription which be read appears to be different one.

Upon this slab of granite didst thou sit, discoursing of fraternal love and holy light, O Guru Nanak, Prince among India’s holy sons.

What song from the source of the seven Waters thou didst sing to charm the soul of Iran.

What peace from Himalays’ lovely caves and forests thou didst carry to the vine groves and rose gardens of Baghdad ?

What light from Badrinath’s snowy peak thou didst bear to illumine the heart of Bahlol, they saintly Persian disciple?

Eight fortnights Bahlol hearkened to thy words, on Life, and the Path and Spring Eternal while the moon waxed and waned in the pomegranate grove beside the grassy desert of the dead.

And after thou has left him to return to thy beloved Bharat’s land, the fakir, it is said would speak to none nor listen to the voice of man or angel;

His fame spread far and wide and the Shah came to pay him homage but the holy man would take no earthly treasures nor hear the praise of kings and courtiers.

Thus lived he lonely, devoted, thoughtful, for sixty winters sitting before the stone whereon thy sacred feet had rested.

And ere he left this House of Ignorance he wrote these words on the stone: Here Spake Guru Nanak to Farkir Bahlol, and for these sixty winters since the Guru left, Iran, the soul of Bahlol has rested on the Masters Word like a bee poised on a dawnlit honey rose.

  1. Captain Bhag Singh Managing Editor of Sikh Review was told about the existence of this monument when he was at Cairo during World War II. Unfortunately he could not go and see it.
  2. Sydney Nettleton Fisher: The Middle East : A History, p 206 39. J.M.S. (LI) 281.
  3. (i) Babe kahya, juan mardl karke, ar sastran karke Ali vadhik hoya, ilam karke Muhammed vadhik hoya. par samajh karke dono iko jehe san. (ibid    284)

           (ii) For Sikh shrines is Afghanistan see Dr. Ganda Singhs Afghanistan vich ik mahina

  1. tusin ethe raho; asade khote karam sabh mit javan ge, bacan hoya mera sargin rup deh hai, nirgun rup gabad hai £abad da abhyas karo tan sabh khote karam mit javan ge (ibid p. 279)
  2. tainu moyan asikehda dag deiai,jehda kahaesoi devan ge. je kahea tan madi bana deiai; Mardane akhya: sarlr di madi vicon kadh ke hun pathran dl madi vie kion paonde ho. (ibid 570)
  3. It appears that Shahzada was sent as missionary to Kuram where he built a memorial to his father and Baba Nanak, but Mardana died at Kartarpur.