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Meeting between Guru Nanak and Chaitanya

From Bengal Guru Nanak followed the same highway to Puri by which the Hindu pilgrims went to this ancient holy place during the rathayntra (chariot festival) held on the second lunar day of the bright fortnight in Ashad (June-July) every year. Crossing the Ganges at Pabna, and stopping at Murshadabad, Brahampur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, and coming down the Hooghly river, most probably by boat, Guru Nanak reached Calcutta.1 Calcutta in the first and second decade of the sixteenth century consisted of three villages: Chuttanee, Kalikata, and Gobindpur, Hooghly was known by the same name.2 No foreigner had till then set foot on this marshy river bed, and in the history of Bengal the area is mentioned as the least populated, infested with disease, and a God-forsaken region.

The Hooghly river on which the village stood was subject to periodic changes of course. The actual sea coast was a dreary, inhospitable tract of mud and sand, and the area immediately behind it being cut up by numerous waterways, facilitated the operation of brigands and dacoits, and had been largely depopulated by frequent incursions of pirates from neighboring provinces of Arakan.”3 When the officers of the East India Company tried to establish the first factory here a century and half later in 1670, they complained, “our ships do generally ride in a hard and dangerous roadstead, and many of our oarsmen come to sickness and death by their constant labour or rowing far in such a rough sea.”4

Guru Nanak camped here in the second decade of the sixteenth century, when Calcutta was an unknown dark and dingy village. He was the first to divine the future geographical and historical importance of this little known village, Calcutta, locate in the river-side of the swamp. Here, at the place now called Badl Sangat, Guru Nanak sowed the seed of Sikh faith which flowered into flourishing missionary centre. A manjl of the Sikh congregation was established here, under some Bengali disciple whose name has not been preserved in history. The historic shrine exists to this day as Badi Sangat Gurdwara. This sangat (shrine) established by Guru Nanak, was reorganised by Almast, a disciple of Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), who placed it under the supervision of Dacca missionary, Bhai Natha, and then went to Puri.5 Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru, founded another Sangat in Calcutta called Choti Sangat, in Tullapati, later known as Cotton Street, in the same year in which East India Company established its first factory here. A Kshatriya Raja, or perhaps a zamindar of the Behai caste is said to have accepted Sikhism during this visit of the Guru.6

From Calcutta Guru Nanak went to Burdwan, where the ruling family became initiated disciple of the Guru. Later they came to be known as the Khalsa disciples of the Guru, which indicates that some ruler visited Anandpur during the life-time of Guru Gobind Singh and became baptised Khalsa according to the New Dispensation of the tenth Guru. Or it may be that the rulers of Burdwan actively associated themselves with the Khalsa of Takhat

Patna as did the rulers of Assam. Guru Nanak’s historical shrine is near the railway station.7

At Cuttack

From Burdwan Guru Nanak moved on to Mednipur, where there is still to be found a shrine known as Guru Nanak’s home. Guru Nanak is said to have spent some days here.8 Moving on to Jaleswar, Rupsa, Balasore he reached Cuttack. The ruler of this place was a Shaiva worshipper of Bhairavi, the terrible consort of Shiva, and a disciple of the Shaiva priest of the Shakti cult named Chetan Bharati. On seeing that the ruler had become a devotee of Guru Nanak, he invoked goddess Bhairavi to rain havoc on Guru Nanak, an intruder into his spiritual jurisdiction. The satanic powers he invoked did not respond to his prayers mantras. His jealousy changed to fury, and fury into fiery vengeance. After hours of spells and incantations, both he and his terrible goddess felt helpless before the calm and undisturbed and even unconcerned attitude of Guru Nanak. The melodious songs of Guru Nanak, calmed his rage, and the haughty worshipper of the terrible aspect of Shakti felt humbled, shaken up and profoundly influenced by the moral purity and spiritual exaltation of the illuminating songs of the Guru. Chetan Bharati took a sapling, symbolic of the powers of Nature and Shakti, as an offering to the Guru. The powers of Shakti thus submitted to the spiritual powers of divine Wisdom, the Word of God. Guru Nanak used a small offshoot as a toothbrush and planted the sapling which grew into a large tree. This tree planted by the Guru still exists, so does the historic shrine. Uptil recently a descendant of the missionary appointed by Gum Nanak looked after the historic shrine which has now been taken up and rebuilt by a local committee.9

The Arati at Puri

Pratap Rudra Deva (1504-1532 A.D.), a learned man deeply versed in Hindu scriptures was the monarch of Orissa at this period. His reign was disturbed by theological discussions as to the merits of Buddhistic and Brahminical religions. Stories are told how sometime one, and sometime the other of these religions obtained supremacy over the mind of the prince, and how the followers of each were persecuted by turns. Later he came directly under the influence of Sri Chaitanya, who first reached Puri in 1510 and finally settled there in 1512.10

Sultan Hussain Shah of Bengal (1493-1519 A.D.) sent a large army in 1509 under Ismail Ghazi who it is said advanced as far as the town of Puri. The priests of Jagannath fled away with images into the Chilka lake while the Muslims desecrated the temple precincts.11 In 1512 Krishna Deva Raya, the ruler of Vijayanagar occupied all the territory south of Godavari. Although Partap Rudra Deva’s reign was marked by political decline, it was a period of great intellectual awakening. There was a galaxy of scholars who brought great intellectual and moral revival during their time. Prominent scholars who were living in Orissa at this period were: Virasinha, the Buddhist scholar; Lolla Laksmidhara, the famous commentator of Sundarya Laharl, Kavindama, the author of Bhakti Vaibhava; Rai Ramananda, the dramatist, and Pundit Godavara Misra, composer of Toga Chintamani.12

From Cuttack Guru Nanak went to Jagannath Puri, when the annual Ratha Tatra (chariot festival) was drawing near. The Hindu shrine of Jagannatha, that is Krishna, has a peculiar origin. “Krishna was killed by a hunter, and his body was left to rot under a tree, but some pious persons found the bones and placed them in a box. A devout king named Indra-dyumna was directed by Vishnu to form an image of Jagannatha, and to place the bones of Krishna inside it. Vishwakarma, the architect to gods, undertook to make the image, on condition of being left quite undisturbed till the work was complete. After fifteen days the king was impatient and went to Vishwakarma, who was angry, and left off work before he had made either hands or feet, so that the image had only stumps. Indra-dyumna prayed to Brahma, who promised to make the image famous, and he did it by giving to it eyes and a soul, and by acting as High-priest of construction.”13

“The great festival of the second lunar day of the bright fortnight Ashada (June-July) is the ratha yatra (chariot festival), when the car journey of Jagannatha with Brahma, Subhadra and Balarama is celebrated with great eclact. A hundred thousand or more pilgrims flock to the small town of Puri. Three cars, constructed anew every year and draped with cloth, blue, red and white on Jagannatha,Subhadra, Balarama, respectively, and adorned with floral wreaths, flags and festoons, are dragged over the broad path with thick ropes by pilgrims of both sexes and of all stations in life, with the Raja of Puri, sweeping the road before the car. The return journey takes place amidst like splendour eight days later.”14

For Guru Nanak it was an opportunity to meet and address over a hundred thousand pilgrims and to encounter saints and sannysins, devotees and divines of various Hindu, Buddhist schools of thought. In these large festival gatherings he first attracted the attention of the priests and pundits by doing something harmless but unconventional. Armed with the authority of tradition and rites, the inflamed priests generally pounced upon him with all the fanatic wrath at their command. Clenching their fists, and threatening with religious fury, they would come like hailstorm, bringing with them confused and bewildred crowds. The electrifying boldness, the terrible magnetism, the amazing spirituality and wisdom of Guru Nanak brought these stormy attacks to a halt, the moment the assaulters got the first answer of the Guru, embalmed in sweetness and light, to their first angry question. After these storms subsided came Guru Nanak’s fearless, knife-edged attack on hypocrisy, false beliefs, idolatry, exploitation, ignorance, immorality, dirty practices in the name of religion or some imaginary gods and goddesses. His clarity of perception was not confined to condemnation alone, but with a sincere constructive purpose, motivated by his prophetic passion and faith in ultimate perfection, he offered new ideas and a new philosophy of life for curing the gaping wounds in the ailing body of Indian society. His sermons were neither crusades nor spiritless preachments, but he conveyed to the listeners, in the soft phraseology of the psalms, a clear, complete original and realistic way of life, and a consummate philosophy transcending narrow dialectic. He explained all reality in terms of life, and interpreted all life in terms of ultimate reality. His ideological encounter led to heated discussion, in which he was calm, services, realistic and every word he spoke was illuminating and convincing. After heat came the rains. The impassioned discussion ended with a melodious song, put in words of lyrical beauty and magnificent simplicity.

Guru Nanak camped about a hundred yards away from the temple of Jagannatha. He joined the congregation in the evening service, when the arati, worship of the god with lamps, in tune with temple bells and dance of the devotees was being performed. When everyone stood up for the (Arati before the idol Jagannatha, Guru Nanak kept sitting and murmuring something which no one could hear in the tinkling chime of the bells. The priests felt annoyed at the apparent discourtesy shown to the idol. As soon as the Aratl was over they came growling towards Nanak like a man-eater finding himself face to face with a daring hunter sitting in his own den. “Why did you not stand up when the arati (worship with lamps) was being performed before Jagannatha Lord of the universe? What kind of a holy man are you?” they asked with all the ferocity at their command.

“I too was performing the arati” said Guru Nanak, “before the Lord of the universe, my friend. The whole creation, the whole firmament joined me in my spiritual worship of the true Lord, only your mind and your hearts were turned against it. I worshipped the supreme Light, you worshipped the stone image. I worshipped the Spirit all-pervading, you worshipped the idol of your god. I sat in contemplation of the eternal Word (Logos), the sabad, while you were chanting the mantras without understanding them. My mind was fixed on the eternal presence of the Lord, while your mind lingered greedily on the offerings before the idol, which you hope to enjoy. My mind was enchanted by the Unstruck Music of the universe and the fragrance of His presence in Nature, when your mind was lost in the noise of the temple bells, and the rhythm of the dancers feigning ecstasy.” “And may we hear your Arati and see it performed before the Lord of the Universe”, said the Vaishnava priests. While Mardana played the rebeck, Guru Nanak sang his Arati, in the musical mode of Raga Dhanasarl.

In the salver of the firmament,

The sun and moon shine as lamps;

The stars are like pearls for offering;

The fragrance of sandal trees is incense,

The breeze blows as Thy royal fan;

The forest offers their flowers to Thee, O Eternal Light.

Thousands are Thine eyes,

And yet Thou hast no eyes,

Thousands are Thy forms,

And yet Thou hast no form,

Thousands are Thy feet,

And yet Thou hast not one foot;

Thousands are Thy noses,

And yet Thou hast no nose.

This wonderous play bewitches me.

In every heart is the same Light;

It is the Light of God,

Which illumines every soul,

And gives light and life to everyone.

Through the Guru's Word,

This Light is revealed within the soul.

What pleaseth the Lord,

Is the best Arati : worship with the lamp.

O Lord, my mind yearns for Thy lotus feet,

As the honey-bee for the nectar of the flowers.

Day and night, Lord, I am athirst for Thee,

Give to Nanak Thy water of mercy:

He is like the Sarang: the hawk-cuckoo;

That drinks only heavenly rain drops;

And let me repose in the light of Thy Name.

(Guru Nanak: Sohila-Arati)

Guru Nanak’s Aratl etherialised all thoughts, all feelings, all emotions into the very perfume of devotion. The song brought in a flash the exalted insight of the Guru into the very essence of the universe, and the Almighty Spirit behind it and within it. The hearers felt the Immanent and Transcendent spirit of the Eternal mingling into one visible Presence of His timeless Being and Becoming. Guru Nanak, the singer of the Aratl, appeared to worship God from the centre of the universe. Music and philosophy, poetry and mystic illumination blended together into a strangely beautiful revelation.

This melodious song of Nature, dancing in the presence of the Eternal revealed to the listeners the objective testimony and the subjective interpretation of the One Universal Being working in Nature. Everyone who heard this song could feel and visualise that ‘the heavens ceaselessly declare and disclose the glory of God and each day speaks to the following day, and each starry night makes Him known’. Whilst the heavenly bodies are themselves silent and inarticulate, their writing is blazoned everywhere.

The lyrical fragrance and the meditative mood of the poem inspired the listeners with the presence of God, seen and unseen, conscious and unconscious which no idol could symbolise or visualise. The metaphysical reality stood over against physical reality revealing the implicit through unrecognised vision of God. Guru Nanak proclaimed through this song that not man made idols, but the living sun and moon, the stars and firmament, the wind made fragrant with sandalwood, and colourful flowers are visible revelations of the splendour, the wonder and the beauty of God. In this outburst of the incomprehensible grandeur, of the Light and celestial Music of the spheres, Guru Nanak stood like an Alpine peak in the spiritual landscape of humanity. Every object of nature and every meaning in creation was for him an act of worship of God.

In this Arati Guru Nanak revealed the creative and transfiguring power of God, who transcends what seems to us to be His laws and who has definite relation with His creatures and works in the depth of their being. He is self-revealed through the white radiance of Nature, as well as in the soul of Man as divine Light and Music. Raja Krishan Lai, the Local Chief, and Panda Kaliyuga the priest of the temple fell at the feet of the Guru.

Panda Kaliyuga

The temple priest, Kaliyuga, was strongly influenced by the magnetic personality, and dynamic views of Guru Nanak. As High-priest of the historic temple, he got the major share of the offerings and was very rich. He had in his coffers of gold, precious stones and untold wealth. He offered everything to Guru Nanak and requested the Master to stay permanently at Puri. Above all he offered to build a palatial mansion to house his living god, the prophet from Punjab, and assured him that the shrine would surpass all temples of Puri in splendour and beauty. All his resources and his disciples would be at his service.

‘‘Listen Kaliyuga,” said Guru Nanak, “what you are offering me has not given you peace or joy. How can it be of any use to me? God has given me an inexhaustible wealth, the treasury of His lofty wisdom. His Word shines in my heart like the splenderous dawn, whose blazing fire has burnt all desires for material comforts.

If palaces made of pearls,

Are studded with gems and rubies,

If the walls and floors are plastered With sandal, musk and agar,

May I on seeing all these,

Never forget Thee, O Beloved And remember not Thy Name.

When I cease to think of Thee, O Beloved,

May my whole being be burnt to ashes.

(Guru Nanak, Sri Raga p. 14)

Guru Nanak’s song awakened strange thoughts and feelings in the mind of Panda Kaliyuga.16 He felt for the first time in his life the difference between men living by the fountain of life, and men whose mind is crushed under the weight of material wealth. The magnificence of the jeweled diadems of the high-priest of one of the richest temples in India did not attract Guru Nanak for they had no fragrance in their charmed luster, and there was nothing of Him in them. Not in external treasures of the material world, but in the heart of God will man find that iridescent luster, the absolute rapture of which makes him immortal in flesh. Panda Kaliyuga begged the Guru to bless him with inner treasure and to guide him to spend his wealth in the proper manner. Guru Nanak established a Sangat of his own, and Panda Kaliyug was given charge of it. There was no arrangement for good drinking water. Guru Nanak had a well dug, and it is said that for many centuries this has been the only well at Puri yielding pure and sweet water.17 Panda Kaliyuga did not have any child. By the blessing of Guru Nanak a son was born and his descendant Panda Bhagvan Das Kaliyug met the eminent historian Gyan Singh in 1870 A.D. who stayed with him for about three months.18

Guru Nanak Stays With Sri Chaitanya

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the eminent Vaishnava Saint of Bengal was at this time staying at Puri.19 Some of his eminent disciples Rup and Sanatan20, Jagai and Madhai were also with him and they had come to Puri for the Ratha-yatra (Chariot Festival) and to pay homage to their guru. On hearing that a prophet from the Punjab, who believed in the worship of God through Nam-Samkirtan, and had cast a great spell on all by his scholarship and spirituality, he met the Guru and invited him to his humble ashrama. Shri Chaitanya not only reverently entertained the Guru, but asked his disciple Udyata to look after the personal comforts of Guru Nanak.

The first historical record that has given convincing proof of this meeting between Guru Nanak and Sri Chaitanya is the Manuscript copy of Ishvar Das’ “Chaitanya Bhagvat” the two volumes of which are now preserved in the Prachi Samiti (Oriental Society) Cuttack. This rare historical record says :

Srinivasa je bisambhar, kirtani madhya bihr,

Nanak, Sarang, eh doi,

Rup y Sanatan, do bhai,

Jagai, Madhai, ekt r, kirtan kar anti enritya.

Sri Chaitanya the divine Lord, joined in kirtan {congregational singing) with Nanak, who was accompanied by his disciple Sarang. With them were Rup and Sanatan, the two brothers, and Jagai and Madhai. They all performed kirtan and divine dance. (Chaitanya Bhagvat: adhyaya 61)

Nagar Purshotam Das,

Jangli, yjsfandni, ta pas,

Nanak saheti gehan,

Gopal guru sang tem sahgat mat Balram, bihar nilgiri dham.

In the congregational singing led by Sri Chaitanya, and Guru Nanak, Nagar Purshotam was also there. Two disciples, Jangli and Nandni also joined them. With them was also Gopal Guru for whom Guru Nanak developed deep personal affection. With them was also Nityananda Prabhu, considered to be avatara of Bahama. They all performed kirtan at Jagannathpuri. (Chaitanya Bhag vata : adhyaya 64)

In Chapter 47 the author relates how Shri Chaitanya instructed his disciple Udyata to act as personal attendant of Guru Nanak, which shows the tenderness, personal affection which the great Vaishnava saint showed for the Guru. Taking the dates of Guru Nanak’s movements and tallying them with the corresponding dates of Sri Chaitanyas life, the most probable year of meeting was 1512 A.D. or there about. The exact date can be found if the year of Rup Sanatan’s visit to Puri is found. These disciples visited Puri to meet their Master only on the ratha-yatra festival. Two historical facts emerge from these records. The most important disciple of Guru Nanak mentioned by the author of Chaitanya Bhagvat, is Sarang. He is mentioned because he was most probably a Bengali or a devotee from Puri, who continued to be the torch bearer of Guru Nanak. He is not mentioned in the Janam Sakhis. The Janam Sakhis show a great deal of ignorance about Guru Nanak’s travels in this area and not only are the accounts based on hearsay but some shrewd interpolator of the later period, changed the name of Kaliyug, the High priest to Kaliyug, the Devil who haunted Christ and the Mara who tried to overpower Buddha. The same legend of Mara (devil) trying to mislead the Guru is imported from Buddhist legends and introduced verbatim into all Janam Sakhis. These people who corrupted the Janam. Sakhis to build Guru Nanak’s personality in the image of their inventive fancy failed to see that of all the periods of Guru Nanak’s life, and of all the places this was the most inappropriate where such a legend could be introduced. Most of the prophets had 'such experiences of temptations hounding them before they received the call and before they experienced illumination. Had such a legend been introduced, when at Sultanpur, Guru Nanak was undergoing an inner revolution and was about to take surprising decisions of leaving his home and family to carry the torch of Divine Light all over the world, there was some reason to accept such a story symbolic of the inner struggle. But when he had travelled over the whole of Northern India and established his Sangats (missionary centres) in every major city from Delhi to Dacca, in the North and from Dhubri to Puri in Eastern India, the chances of Kaliyuga (devil) coming to tempt him were remote. This Kaliyuga was the Panda or the priest of the temple.

The impact of Guru Nanak’s meeting with Sri Chaitanya appears to have been deep and profound, and its memories lingered for over hundred years in the minds of Vaishnava scholars. Ram-Narayan Misra a contemporary of Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, wrote a Bengali commentary on Dasam Sikandha. (Guru Gobind Singh’s Krishna Charitra is based on Dasam Sikandha). In his invocation to his Bengali Commentary, Ram-Narayan Misra pays homage to Guru Nanak as follows:

bahde Sri Nanak Gurun

satra bodha, Guru gurun.

Salutation to Guru Nanak, who is the Enlightened and learned in all Scriptures, and is the Guru of all gurus. His disciples, are known as Sikhs of the great Guru. [Bhavabhavika (Invocation)]

Ram Narayana Misra gives us the belief still current amongst the scholars and seekers of truth a century and half later, that Guru Nanak was a great scholar, enlightened in all scriptures, and was accepted as the Guru of the gurus. Many teachers of various schools who acted as gurus of their sects accepted him as their Guru. Vaishnavas, Shaivas, Sufis and Yogis who had large following of their own accepted him as their Divine Master.

Guru Nanak perhaps looked at Puri differently than the common devotees of the day, or of even of the present days. This was the place, where, “in the uncertain dawn of Indian tradition, the highly spiritual doctrines of Buddha obtained shelter and the Golden Tooth of the Founder remained for centuries at Puri, then the Jerusalem of the Buddhists, as it has been for centuries of the Hindus.”21 Vaishnava influence began to overpower Buddhism with the influence of such great Vaishnavites as Ramanujan. The Ratha-yatra (Chariot Festival) also owes its origin to Buddhism. The Chinese traveller Fa Hien gives a wonderful account of the yearly procession which also took place in June-July, when the Golden Tooth of the Buddha was carried from its regular chapel to a shrine some way off and of its return after its stay there.”22 This was in the fifth century A.D. The account applies so exactly to the Chariot Festival of the present day, that one of the most accurate of the Indian observers pronounces the latter to be ‘merely a copy’.23 Buddhism was replaced by Vaishnavism, although the struggle in the scholastic field was still intense when Guru Nanak visited the place, and the Chariot Festival of the Golden Tooth was replaced by the Chariot Festival of Jagannatha.

To this place came later Ramanuja, Ramananda, Kabir and many more reformers. Among the disciples of Sri Chaitanya who became deeply attached to Guru Nanak was Gopal Guru, a well-known figure in Vaishnava history, who because of his piety and greatness as a Saint was deemed an avatara of Balama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna. Contemporary account about this great Saint, or some work by him may throw greater light on the impact of Guru Nanak’s visit to Puri. The shrine where Guru Nanak established his centre is still preserved by the Udasi descendants of the missionaries, along with the Holy Book they have placed the idols of Sri Chand (Guru Nanak’s son) and some Udasi Saints, to satisfy the image worship instinct of the Hindu pilgrims.24

Notes and References

  1. Guruji Sehar Agartala Lakhipur Chandpur, me thehar thehar logan nu sumat la darya Padma nu langhke iehar Faridpur Kasabpur Barvast Damdam adkik, caubis par- ganya da sail kar Bengal des nu jande hoe Hooghly darya utar Burdwan Hatura, Sairampur hunde Morganj di dhadi vie aneka santan bhagtan'nu darsan de Alwara nadi par ho Baleswara vie ja thetre. (T.G.K. p. 87)
  2. Breasted: Calcutta Past and Present p 2.
  3. “Job Charnock Chief of the English Factory at Patna was the first Englishman to establish himself in Chuttunattee netr about this period”. (R. Pearson: Eastern Interlude p 7)
  4. Ibid p. 7.
  5. Almast was born to Brahmin couple of Srinagar, Kashmir in 1553 A.D. His father Bhai Hari Datta and mother Prabha were devoted disciples of Sri Chand, elder son of Guru Nanak. Almast became one of the four leading Udasi missionaries who after the death of Sri Chand worked under the Pontific and spiritual guidance of Guru Hargobind.
  6. This place Calcuta was then known as Kalighat. It was a small village under a Kashatriya Raja of Behai clan. He entertained the Guru for nearly two months and offered him many gift. (T.G.K. p 217)
  7. Guru Nanak’s shrine is a furlong from the Burdwan Railway station, see Gurtirath Sangreh by Gyan Singh
  8. Ibid
  9. G.N.C. Vol: p 304
  10. Pratap Rudra Deva (1504-1534) reigned 28 years. He was a learned man deeply versed in Shastras. His reign was disturbed by theological discussions as to the merits of th Buddhistic and Brahmanical religions. At first he became a strong supporter of the Buddhist but the Rani helped the Brahmins to reveal miraculously what was in a jar, while the Buddhist monks could not. Under such organised propaganda he became so bitter towards the Buddhists that he expelled them out of Orissa and burnt all their books except two pothis called Amar sinha and Bir Sinha. When he died in 1534 he left 32 sons. His Minister Gobind Bidyadhar murdered all the 32 sons within five years and occupied the throne. (A History of Orissa, Ed: N.K. Sahu Vol I p201, Vol II, p24-7B)
  11. J.A.S.B. Vol LXIX, 1900, p. 186; see also Madalpanji Ed. by Prachi Samiti p 53.
  12. A History of Orissa Vol II Ed by N.K. Sahu p 386
  13. John Dawson: Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion p 129
  14. The Cultural Heritage of India ed Haridas Bhattacharya Vol IV, p 483
  15. (i) J.M.S. (All versions) say that Guru Nanak asked Mardana to stay outside and he went into the temple alone: Mardane nu bahar bait hue kar Baba ji Jagannath ke duare par jae baithe.” This was quite obvious, as they would not have permitted the low caste Muslim bard Mardana inside the temple. Then the Janam Sakhi says that while the "Arati was being performed Guru Nanak sat wrapt in Samadhi.: Puttde Jagannath ki Urti lage karne, ate Baba SamUdh lae ke baitjh rahe.” A very interesting feature of this Janam Sakhi are the interpretations of this Arati. One is as it appears in the translation, and the other is esoteric interpretations which says: “Supreme Consciousness is the firmament the body is the salver, the eyes are the sun and moon, the teeth are the ear the vital breath is scented air, and the fragrance that emanates from His contemplations are the flowers and the Unstruck Music which one hears in the Turiya state is the Music and the Light of God which is seen within is the Light of Truth.” This is the Arati of Self. The other interpretation gives the Arati of Nature. The second interpretation is ingenious but not accepted by theologians. (J.M.S. (MSS) f 262)

(ii) Janam Sakhi Meharban in his zeal to be different from Bala’s Janam Sakhi introduces the story of Bharatari Hari Yogi which in other Janam Sakhis is correctly given in the Shaiva centres of South India. While making this dangerous alteration Meharban perhaps did not know that Puri was a Vaishnava religious centre and the presence of Yogis of the Shaiva cult here was unimaginable and highly importable.

(iii)  Kavi Santokh Singh, Gyani Gyan Singh, Bhai Vir Singh give more or less the version of Bhai Mani Singh. Puratan Janam Sakhi does not mention it. It has missed nearly half the Sakhis of other Janam Sakhis.

  1. Gyani Gyani Singh was the first to unearth the fact that Kaliyuga was the name of the Panda, the High Priest of Jagannath and it was not the devil who tempted Guru Nanak. In 1870 A.D. Gyani Gyan Sngh stayed at Jagannath Puri and met the descendent of Panda Kaliyug, named Bhagvan Das Kaliyug. The mischievous anti-Sikh falsifiers of Janam Sakhis have taken out this historical Skahi and replaced it with the Buddha legend of Mara. This has been introduced into all the Janam Sakhis.
  2. Guruji ne apne ase nal jo hath vie rakhde se, mithe jai da casmd kadha ditd. (T.G.K. p 90)
  3. es supde nu sun ke sabh log Babe de sevak ban gae ; Babe ji ne Pande Kaliyug nu akhya: tain sanu manya hai, tainu sari Punjab te mere Sikh manan ge, usde aulad nahi si, Babe akhya aulad hove gi par eko hi rahe ga Pande Kalyug ne othe Babe de some te ik bauli, ik Dharpmsafa banaditi ....hun othe Panda Bhagwan Das Kaliyug hai. (T.K.G. p 91)
  4. Sri Chaitanya was born in 1485 A.D. at Navadwip in the Nadia district of Bengal. Navadwip has been a famous centre for Sanskrit tols (Sanskrit Schools of Grammar, Logic and Hindu Shastras). Even Sikh scholars and theologian like Pundit Tara Singh Nirotam were educated here. Sri Chaitanya became famous as an erudite scholar, logician and learned exponent of Hindu metaphysics, but when he was initiated into Krishna Bhakti by a monk of the order of Madhavacharya he abolished his Sanskrit tol and abandoned himself to extremely emotional Bhakti. He devoted some years to going to various places of pilgrimage and then spent the last 18-20 years at Puri Giving the characteristics of a true Vaishnava, Sri Chaitanya writes:” He is compassionate, spiteless, essentially true, saintly, innocent charitable gently pure, humble, a universal benefactr, tranquil, solely dependent on Krishna, free from desire, quiet, equable victor of six passions, self-controlled, honouring other's, yet not proud himself, grave, tender, friendly, learned skilful and silent. Sri Chaitanya was all this and more. (See “Krishna Das’ “Life of Chaitanya’ Translated 'by Jadunath Sarkar; and Vaishnavite Reformers of India by T. Rajagopalachariar)
  5. Rup and Sanatan were two brothers who met Sri Chaitanya at Benaras and became his disciples. They were descendants of a Karanata prince who had settled in Bengal. They served a Muslim Governer in Bengal, where they began to be treated as oucasts for mixing with the Muslim rulers. They settled at Benaras and later at Vrindavan and they became the greatest exponents of Chaitanya’s philosophy. Rupa Goswami wrote two works Bhaktirasa- mirita-sindhu and Ujjvalanilamani. Sanatana wrote annotation of Dasman Skandha of the Bhagvata. Jagai and Madhai were two notorious characters, who first behaved as enemies of Sri Chaitanya but were overpowered by his saintliness and spirituality.
  6. Datha Vasina, Ed by B.C. Law; Indian Antiquary 1926 May pp 94-98.
  7. Vide James Legge: Fa Hien, pp 18-19.
  8. James Fergusson: History of Architecture ii, 590
  9. This hitherto unknown historical fact of the meeting of Guru Nanak and Sri Chaitanya was first unearthed by the author of this book in 1963 and briefly published in Sikh Review, and reported by all leading English Dailies of the country’

It is to be regretted that Dr. Ganda Singh has plagiarized the whole of this research material and used in his article published in the Punjab Past and Present Vol III, Part 1 & II (P. 334 - 339). Although he asked me for a copy of my research-paper published in Sikh Review in 1963 and thanked me for it, he has bodily lifted the material out of my paper without acknowledging it. He does not quote a single line from the author’s mentioned in the impressive bibliography. To be slightly different from my findings he has made the following untenable changes in historical facts:

1.    Basing his information on Khan Singh’s ‘Mahan Kosh a dictionary, he says Guru Nanak was there from April 1509, March 1510. Dr. Ganda Singh goes still further and makes Guru Nanak wait at Puri till Sri Chaitanya comes and meets him in June - July 1510. Guru Nanak obviously acts as host to Sri Chaitanya. Ishwardaschaintanya Bhagvat makes it quite clear in Chapter 47, that Sri Chaitanya was already there and the Vaishnava saint entertained Guru Nanak as his guest. He makes it also clear in Chapter 47 that Sri Chaitanya appointed his disciple Udyata as the personal attendant of Guru Nanak.

2.    Secondly, Dr. Ganda Singh suggests that Sri Chaitanya arrived in Puri early in 1510 A.D. along with his disciples Rup and Sanatan. No biographer of Sri Chaitanya says that Rup and Sanatan had met Sri Chaitanya before the saint came to Puri in 1510 for the first time. Actually they met him after 1910 when the saint went on a pilgrimage to Benaras and Vrindaban from Puri after 1510 A.D. The presence of Rup and Sanatan when Guru Nanak and Sri Chaitanya met clearly indicates that the meeting took place sometime after March 1512 A.D.

Thus, both the ingenious alterations of facts by Dr. Ganda Singh in my findings are untenable and historically incorrect.