Sikh Gurus > Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Jodha was a disciple of the Guru who lived in a small town, Khadur, about 50 miles away from Kartarpur. Bhai Lehna was a son of a rich trader and was also living in Khadur. Bhai Lehna was a devotee of Durga- a Hindu goddess of energy, and he used to go every year to the temple of Durga in the Kangra Hills.

One morning, when Bhai Jodha was reciting Japji, Bhai Lehna heard him and was touched at heart by the ecstasy of Divine Word. He asked Jodha whose composition it was. Bhai Jodha explained in detail about his Guru and so Bhai Lehna was inspired to see the Guru.

On the annual occasion while his fellow devotees went on to the temple of Durga, Bhai Lehna stopped on his way to see Guru Nanak. On seeing the Guru, he was completely overtaken by love and compassion of truth. When Bhai Lehna told his name, the Guru said,"Thou Lehna is here, where else can it be found?" In Punjabi language Lehna means to pay dues or to receive. The Guru meant,"What thou desirest to receive- salvation, is here, and nowhere else." After receiving some religious instructions from the Guru, he began to repeat God's Name.

It is said that Bhai Lehna in a vision saw a female in red dress serving the Guru's house. Lehna asked who she was. She replied that she was Durga (goddess), and that she came once a week to do the service for the Guru. On this Bhai Lehna became convinced of the Divine Glory of Guru Nanak.

As the time went on, Bhai Lehna became more and more immersed in meditation and so became more and more close and obedient devotee of the Guru.
As the time of Guru's departure (from the world) was drawing near, it was becoming clear to Mataji (Guru's wife) that there would be succession to Guruship. As is the custom in the world, she always thought that her sons should be the heir of their father's property, the Guruship. One day she said,"My Lord, keep my sons in mind." This meant that the Guruship should be passed on to one of her sons. The Guru said,"Bring your sons." Both the sons were brought before the Guru. He then threw a bowl in a tank of muddy water, and asked his eldest son, Sri Chand, to go and recover the bowl from the tank. Sri Chand replied,"Why did you throw the bowl, if it had to be brought back?" So he refused to do the job. In the same way the younger son declined to act. Then the Guru turned to Bhai Lehna and said,"Lehnaji, go and bring the bowl." Bhai Lehna said,"Sat bachan (Yes Sir)." Bhai Lehna went and recovered the bowl without caring for his clothes getting soiled with mud.

One day the Guru asked Bhai Lehna to go home and settle his affairs. After some time when he returned from his home and arrived at the Guru's house, he was told that the Guru was in his fields and would be home by evening. Bhai Lehna went straight to the fields to see the Guru. The Guru had three bundles of grass for his cows and buffaloes and wanted to take them home. As the grass was wet and full of mud, his Sikhs shied away from the task. He then asked his sons to carry the bundles and they too evaded the duty. Bhai Lehna who had just arrived, made his obeisance and said,"Sir, give me this job." Bhai Lehna took all three bundles and walked in the company of the Guru to his house. When they arrived home, the Guru's wife complained,"It is not proper to impose such a menial labor on a guest, his clothes from head to foot are fouled with mud which has been dripping from the grass." The Guru replied,"This is not mud; it is the saffron of God's court, which marketh the elect." On looking again the Guru's wife observed that Bhai Lehna's clothes had really changed to saffron. The three bundles are considered by the S ikhs to symbolize spiritual affairs, temporal affairs, and the Guruship.

The Guru now began a systematic trial of the devotion of his Sikhs. One winter night, as heavy rain was falling, a part of the wall of Guru's house fell. The Guru desired that the wall must be repaired immediately. His sons refused to do the job right away saying it was cold and also mid-night but they would send for some masons in the morning who would do the job. The Guru stated that there was no need for masons as Guru's work should be done by his Sikhs. Bhai Lehna stood up and started to repair the wall. When he had finished the work somewhat, the Guru said,"That wall is crooked, pull it down and build it again." Bhai Lehna did it so but the Guru again professed not to be satisfied. Lehna again obeyed the Master's orders; but the Master again was not pleased. Upon this the Guru's sons told Lehna that he was a fool to obey unreasonable orders. Bhai Lehna humbly replied that a servant should make his hands useful by doing his Master's work. After that the Guru and his disciple grew close to each other and thus more pleased with each other. The Guru's sons grew jealous of the devoted disciple. They took no pains to conceal their dislike of him.

One day a Jogi came and congratulated the Guru on the large number of converts he had made. The Guru replied that he had only a few real Sikhs, as the Jogi would himself witness. The Guru and the Jogi started towards the forest to try the Sikhs who accompanied them. As the party proceeded they found the road covered with copper coins. Some Sikhs grabbed them and departed. A little further on, silver coins were found. Several Sikhs took them and returned home. As the party went ahead, they saw gold coins. Many of the remaining Sikhs took the gold coins and left the party. Only the Jogi, two Sikhs, the Guru and Bhai Lehna now remained.

On proceeding further they found a funeral pyre and four lighted lamps near the corpse. A sheet was covering the corpse which was emitting a foul smell. The Guru asked,"Is there any one who will eat this corpse?" The Sikhs recoiled at the frightening proposal, but Bhai Lehna remained firm in his faith in the Guru. Bhai Lehna with clasped hands asked the Guru,"Where should I begin to eat, the head or the feet of the corpse?" The Guru told him to begin at the waist. When Bhai Lehna lifted the sheet from the corpse, lo! Wonder of wonders, a dish of Parshad (sacred food) appeared instead of the corpse. Bhai Lehna offered the Parshad first to the Guru and said that he would partake of his leavings. The Guru stated,"Thou hast obtained my secret. Thou art in mine image. I shall give you the real spell which is the essence of religion. By this spell you shall have happiness here in this world and in the next hereafter." The following is the spell meant by the Guru, the preamble of Japji:

There is but One God
Eternal Truth,
Almighty Creator,
Unfearful, Without Hate and Enmity,
Immortal Entity,
Unborn, Self-Existent,
By His Grace, shalt thou worship
The One Who was True before the creation,
The One Who was True in the beginning of the creation,
The One Who is True now, and O Nanak,
The One Who shall be True for ever.

Upon this the Jogi said,"O Nanak, he shall be the Guru, who is produced from thy 'ang', body." The Guru embraced Lehna and promised that he would be his successor.

The moral as the Guru enunciated here is that a Sikh must make a total unconditional surrender before the Guru. He must have total obedience for the Guru's order, then and only then the Sikh reaches his goal i.e becomes one with Him. The Guru's sons questioned him at every step, while Bhai Lehna submitted willfully without uttering even one word. The result being that Bhai Lehna was blessed with Guruship and became the embodiment of Divine Light. According to Guru's mandate and code of conduct, a Sikh must lead spiritual and moral life while conducting every day's business to earn Guru's blessing. The Guru's mandate is clear:

"Hukam maniai howai parvan ta khasmai ka maihal paisi."
(Asa di Var- pauri 15, p-471)

The Guru, knowing that his time to depart was approaching, had to appoint his successor. His sons had not obeyed him and so they did not prove themselves to be worthy of Guruship.

On September 2, 1539 (2 Asu, 1596 Asu vadi 5) Guru Nanak placed five Paise (Indian currency) before Bhai Lehna and bowed to him in token of his succession to the Guruship. He placed the umbrella of Spiritual Sovereignty over Bhai Lehna's head. Thus, he created another Nanak and called him GURU ANGAD DEV.

" Jot uha jugat sai seih kaya feir paltiai."
(Ramkali ki Var- Rai Balwand, p-966)

When Guruship was passed on to Guru Angad, people realized that Guru Nanak was soon to depart bodily from the world (As a Divine Light and Spirit, the Guru is always present). The Sikhs, the Hindus and the Muslims came from all over to have holy glimpse of Guru Nanak.

After the proclamation of Guru Angad, the sons asked their father, what provision he had made for them. Guru Nanak replied,"O my sons, God is the Cherisher of His creatures; you shall obtain food and clothing in abundance, and if you repeat God's name you shall be saved at last."

Guru's Muslim devotees wanted to bury him after his death. His Hindu followers desired to cremate his body. When the Guru was asked for his decision, he replied,"Let the Hindus place flowers on my right and the Muslims on my left. Those whose flowers are found fresh in the morning, may have the disposal rights of my body."

The Guru drew a sheet over him. When the sheet was removed next morning, body was not found underneath, but the flowers on both sides were afresh. The light blended with Light and the spirit went back and merged with the Master Spirit. It confirms that the Guru was not a body but it was the Divine Light.

The Hindus and the Muslims removed their respective flowers and cut the sheet into two. The former cremated the sheet and the latter buried it. It happened at Kartarpur on September 22, 1539 (23rd day of Asu, Vadi 10, Sambat 1596). He was about seventy and a half years of age.

The Sikhs built a Gurdwara and the Muslims a tomb in his honor on the bank of river Ravi. Both had since been washed away by the river, perhaps by a superact, so as to avoid idolatrous worship of the Guru's last resting place.

Rituals and superstitions earned the sanctions of old times. Religion had degenerated into ceremonial acts only. The life and teachings of Guru Nanak offer consistent evidence of fruitlessness of rituals. He exposed their hollowness and exhorted human beings to rise above such customs. Guru Nanak's religion excluded all senseless dogmas and meaningless rituals. With no sword or stick armed with Divine Word, he preached that only Impersonal Absolute is to be worshiped. Any religion which does not guard its values indicates a lower level of development and is deemed to disappear in the long run.