A

Poetic Appreciation of

Guru Nanak

By Jaswinder Singh Chadha

Mool Mantar

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Life Sketch of Guru Nanak

Early life

A new moral force
was needed on earth
it came to Punjab
in Guru Nanak's birth

In Talwandi Punjab
Guru Nanak was born
the mists lifted off
the light turned on

the Pundit attending
hailed it a divine birth
and the newly arrived
His envoy on earth

a beloved brother,
a much loved son
Nanak was a favourite
special to everyone

Nanak went to school
when he was seven
where he often mused
on God and Heaven

while still at school
he wrote an acrostic
it was a lovely hymn,
every bit fantastic

A Pundit taught Nanak
Devnagri and Sanskrit
and from a Mullah, he
learnt the Persian script

Nanak didn't agree
for a Janaeu to be worn
and he won't worship
any Gods of stone

with his dad's advice
and money for trade
he went to the market
as his father bade

seeing some sadhus
resting under a tree
Nanak was excited
he fed the lot for free

Nanak's sacha sauda
or this true bargain
annoyed his dad
and caused him pain

once on a summer day
Nanak rested under a tree
tired, he fell asleep
the cattle grazed nearby

as Nanak slept, a cobra
raised itself and stood
and like an umbrella
shaded him with its hood

The youth

Nanak calmed down
and peace descended
the change came to him
as the teens ascended

his parents were worried
on his quiet demeanour
they sought advice
to help him recover

tasks were suggested
to help him to settle
like ploughing the fields
or tending the cattle

but then again his cattle
will stray as it grazed
neighbours were upset
complaints were raised

the complaints lodged
with chief of the village
had to be dropped
they found no damage

Guru Nanak was married
at the age of eighteen
he settled for a while
within the domestic scene

his elder son, Siri Chand
was born nine years later
the next one, Laxmi Chand
two years thereafter

in Nanki's town Sultanpur
Nanak accepted a job
he ran a store of flour
in Modikhana of Nawab

Nanak will often get lost
chanting God's name
and flour flowed freely
to the folks who came

news of this generosity
reached Nawab's ear
but there was no shortage
and accounts were clear

after four and half years
Nanak called it a day
he abandoned the job
in a mysterious way

he plunged in the river
and couldn't be found
everyone was worried
but he wasn't around

three days on, when
Nanak did reappear
Nanak radiated a glow
and had an aura austere

in a world of his own
and seeped in His lore
he was much different
than he was before

he was indifferent
to worldly possessions
and shunned all company
friends and relations

evil spirits possess him
people began to say
Nanak was amused
described in this way

Nanak will respond,
" I am mad, I agree
but am mad for Him
the God Almighty

the Qaazi didn't like
Nanak's repeated stance
there are no Hindus
there is no mussalmaan

the Qaazi and Nawab
took Nanak for Namaz
but Nanak stood quiet
without untoward cause

the two were annoyed
at Nanak's behaviour
why he ignored Namaz
the reason wasn't clear

but Nanak explained
the Qaazi was being silly
his mind was elsewhere
in the birth of a filly

and as for dear Nawab
wasn't his mind rather full
bargaining for the horses
in the Bazaars of Kabul

His mission

as the time passed
Nanak itched for a start
he had a message
he needed to impart

for twenty-four years
he travelled the world
always on the move
spreading His word

always besides him
as he travelled around
was a disciple Mardana
he provided musical sound

a very spescial rebeck
for Nanak's mission
was given by Nanki
a sister's contribution

Nanak visited places
for years on end
travelling within India
and countries beyond

he taught against rituals
both straight and bent
that mislead the folks
exploited the innocent

folks were lost in these
in the name of God
Nanak gave them hope
and refreshing thought

he had a charisma
and radiated divine glow
Nanak was honoured
wherever he will go

in his visit to Hardwar
Nanak taught the flock
by flinging Ganga jal
towards his native crop

the crowds understood
it was a wasted gesture
flinging Ganga waters
for the dead ancestors

he met characters
who needed reformation
he led them to the path
of the true redemption

he reformed Sajjan Thug
a confidence trickster
who tricked the guests
with designs sinister

he met cannibal Kauda
who thrived on human flesh
Kauda repented to Nanak
and started his life afresh

Bhai Lalo

Bhai Lalo was a carpenter
from a lower caste
Nanak shared his food
and stayed as his guest

his mixing with Bhai Lalo
led to a confrontation
for Nanak had declined
Malik Bhago's invitation

Nanak called the two
and squeezed their bread
milk dripped out of Lalo's
Malik's one yielded blood

Nanak established Manjis
the seats of Sikh thought
centres of learning
for teacher and the taught

first Manji was established
by the Guru at Eminabad
Lalo was made incharge
despite his lower caste

Babar

when Saidapur fell
to Babar the invader
the Guru and Mardana
ended up as prisoners

Mardana led a horse
and Nanak carried a bale
they kept singing hymns
marching to the jail

here they saw women
both haggard and old
who struggled at the mills
toiled as they were told

Babar came to Nanak
and made his peace
the loot was restored
the prisoners released

Community Centre

after years of travel
Nanak settled down
he had founded this place
the Kartarpur town

people from all castes
formed a community
working and praying
in unity and harmony

it was a beginning
of a people in the making
Sikhism was in the offing
its culture was shaping

Successor

Nanak the visionary
chose from his Sangat
a guide, a future Guru
named him Guru Angad

The end

at the age of seventy
Guru Nanak passed away
with his successor there
Sikhism was here to stay

Hindus loved the Guru
as did Mussalman
when he passed away
a dispute began

one wanted him buried
the other cremated
Nanak had left a solution
the matter wasn't debated

flowers from the two
should besides me lay
he takes my body, whose
flowers are fresh next day

floral wreaths were laid
with the body of the sear
on lifting the covers
only flowers were there

-London, 1992.


Mool Mantar,

The Basic Concept

(Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Page1)

translation by J.S.Chadha


There is one, only one

with true identity

who does it all

He has no fear

no enmity

an eternal entity

is free from rebirths

a self existent luminary

attainable through

the grace of the Guru

muse on Him

He was true in ages past

He is currently true

Nanak, He shall be true

in future ages too


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