Friday, October 19, 2012

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Leh ,J & K,India

In the late 1970s, during the construction of the Leh-Nimu road, a large boulder was found in the middle of the road bed covered with Buddhists prayer flags by Lamas. The bulldozer driver tried to push and throw away the stone but it did not move and in the process the blades broke and the work stopped. The driver had a dream that night not to move the stone.

He narrated his dream to the army officer who did not give any importance to it. When all efforts to remove it failed it was decided to blow it apart with dynamite the next day. That night the army officer also had a dream not to remove the stone but he again disregarded it. The next day being Sunday he and the workers were visited, early in the morning, by several Lamas and Ladhakhis who came and told them a true story of Baba Nanak ji and the unyielding boulder.


On enquiring further he was told that this pathar they had been having so much trouble with was a "Wax Statue" (a mould with a negative impression) of their revered Lama Nanak and it contained the imprints of his shoulders, head and backside. He was told that during the period of 1515-18 when Guru Nanak was returning back to Punjab through Srinagar, after travelling to Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet, he rested at this place. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev ji reached Leh via Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Yarkhand. The place is revered by both the local lamas and Sikh sangat. Currently the Army is looking after the gurdwara.

As per a local legend, there lived a wicked demon who terrorised the people in the area where the gurdwara is situated. The people prayed to the Almighty for help. It is said that Guru Nanak heard their woes and came to their aid. He settled down on the bank of the river below the hill where the wicked demon lived. The Guru blessed the people with sermons and became popular in the area. The locals called him Nanak Lama. The demon got into a rage and decided to kill Guru Nanak Dev ji.

One morning when the Guru ji was sitting in meditation, the demon rolled down a large pathar (boulder) from the hilltop, with the intention of killing the Guru. The boulder came rolling down and when it touched the Guru's body, it softened like warm wax and came to a halt against Guru Nanak's back. The Guru ji kept on meditating unhurt and undisturbed. Thinking that the Guru ji had been killed, the demon came down and was taken a back to see the Guruji deep in meditation. In a fit of anger, he tried to push the boulder with his right foot, but as the pathar still had the softness of warm wax, his foot got embedded in it. Pulling his foot from the boulder the demon was dumfounded to see the impression his foot had just left in the stone.

On seeing this, the demon realised his own powerlessness as compared with the spiritual powers of the great Guru. He fell at the feet of Guru Nanak Dev ji and begged for forgiveness. Guru Sahib advised him to get rid of his wicked ways and asked him to lead a life of a noble person. This changed the life of the demon, who gave up evil deeds and started serving the people.


Guru Nanak Dev ji thereafter continued his holy journey towards Srinagar via Kargil. The pathar pushed down by the demon, with the imprint of the body of Guru Nanak Dev ji as the the footprint of the demon, is at present on display in Gurdwara Pathar Sahib. It is said that since the visit of Guru Sahib (in 1517) to 1965, the local lamas have held the pathar sacred and offered prayers to it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bhai Mardana...ਭਾਈ ਮਰਦਾਨਾ...भाई मरदाना ...

Bhai Mardana.... (1459–1534) was the first follower and longtime companion of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism. He was with Nanak in all of his journeys across India and Asia.

Mardana was a Muslim, born to a Mirasi couple, Badra and Lakkho, of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now Nankana Sahib of Pakistan.
The Mirasan were a caste of hereditary minstrels and genealogists. Bhai sahib was ten year older than Guru ji and was his childhood friend and companion.

It is said that Mardana first contacted Guru Nanak to seek help as many people in his family were dying at a young age. Guru Nanak gave him the assurance that henceforth people in his clan will not die early. It is said that the name Mardana came from this assurance- Mar- Da- Na meaning 'Does not die'

Guru Nanak and Mardana were both born and raised in the same village. The Miharban Janam Sakhi describes the latter, who was ten years senior in age, as the Guru's companion since his childhood days and as one who sang to him songs from Kabir, Trilochan, Ravidas, Dhanna and Bern. According to Ratan Singh Bhangu, Prachin Panth Prakash, Guru Nanak as a small boy gave Mardana a string instrument improvised from reeds to play on while he sang the hymns.
As Guru Nanak was employed to take charge of the granaries and stores of the Nawab of Sultanpur Lodhi, the stories of his generosity and hospitality spread far and wide. Mardana, already a married man and father of two sons and a daughter, wanted to visit Sultanpur and seek his bounty. Meanwhile, he was charged by Guru Nanak's father Mehta Kalu, to go to Sultanpur and bring news of the welfare of his son. Mardanawent to Sultanpur, never to part company with Guru Nanak again. His occupation was playing the rabab or rebeck as Guru Nanak recited God's glory.
When Guru Nanak prepared to go forth into the world to preach his message, he invited Mardana to accompany him. Mardana hesitated, for he did not wish to leave his family until his daughter had been married off and for this he did not have sufficient means. One of Guru Nanak's disciples, Bhai Bhagirath, bought the needed provisions and Mardana was able to give away his daughter in marriage. He was then ready to accompanyGuru Nanak on his travels.
To relieve the rigour of the journeys, the biographers have described several humorous situations relating to Mardana's touchy behaviour links with desire for food. It is said that he displayed panicky behaviour when prospects of getting the next meal seemed less than certain. He was not easily convinced when Guru Nanak told him to be patient and have trust in something turning up, and wished always to have a reserve of food ready beforehand so that there was certainty that he would not have to endure hunger. The prospect of being without rations created a major problem for Bhai Mardana - hunger-phobia! As the Puratan Janam Sakhi narrates, Guru Nanak and Mardana had not traveled very far from Sultanpur when the latter complained that he felt hungry and needed something to eat immediately.
The Guru pointed to the village they had passed and said that, if he went there, he would be well entertained by Khatris of the Uppal caste who lived in that village. Mardana turned his footsteps in that direction and, arriving in the village, he found everyone more than hospitable. He was fed sumptuously and given ample alms. As he saw him return loaded with a bundle, Guru Nanak, as says the Janam Sakhi, rolled on the ground laughing. Mardana realized the oddity of what he had done and did not know how to get rid of what he had collected. He threw the bundle away when the Guru pointed out to him that those articles would be more of a burden to him.
The Janam Sakhi also contain many anecdotes picturing Mardana in despair out of agonizing hunger or petrifying fear and Guru Nanak or Nature coming to succour him somewhat miraculously. Once the two were passing through a remote wilderness when suddenly a violent storm overtook them. So severe was the tempest that the trees of the jungle began to fly about. Mardana, trembling with fear, thus spoke to the Guru, "True sovereign, thou hast brought me to my death in this forest. I shall not here get a shroud nor a grave." The Guru asked him to remain calm, but Mardana moaned, "I have not faced a calamity like this in my life. What is going to befall my poor soul today?" Then Fire broke out. Smoke was all over and the blaze on all four sides. Mardana covered up his face and laid himself down on the ground saying, "Farewell, life." Then came water. Thick clouds gathered and poured water in torrents. "Raise thy head, Mardana," spoke the Guru, "and take thy rebeck." Mardana tuned the strings and Guru Nanak sang: "If the fear of God is in the heart, all other fear is dispelled..."
According to Puratan Janam Sakhi, Mardana and the Master were taken prisoner by the Mughals at Saidpur. The Guru was given a load to carry on his head and Mardana to lead a horse holding its rein. Mir Khan, the Mughal commander, saw that the Guru's bundle was floating a cubit above his head and Mardana's horse was following him without the reins. He reported the miracle to Sultan Babar, who remarked, "Had there been such faqirs here, the town should not have been struck." Mir Khan asked him to see for himself.
There is some dispute amoung the historian about the place where Bhai ji died but it is believed that in 1534 fell ill and died in Baghdad on the return journey (udasis) from the east. With a heavy heart Guru ji performed the obsequies of Mardana with his own hands. A humble monument was erected in memory of Mardana.
Within an enclosure on a wall an inscription in mixed Turkish and Arabic marks the site. Mardana was called Murad by the residents of Baghdad and being older than Nanak by ten years was considered Guru. Consequently the inscription which was put up after Guru Nanak's departure said:
"Guru Murad died. Baba Nanak faqir helped in constructing this building, which is an act of grace from a virtuous follower, 927 A.H." Mardana appears to have died in December 1534 A.D. at the age of 75. The monument lies near a graveyard, 2.5 kilometres away from the railway station.
Upon the Guru's return to Punjab, Guru ji informed and consoled Mardana's son Shahzada, and other members of his family and asked them not to weep for Bhai ji as he had returned to his heavenly home.

Mata Kaulan Ji..

The Qazi had a beautiful daughter, Kaulan who was a disciple of Mian Mir. From her childhood she had occupied her mind praising God's Name and remembering Him in the company of the saints.
Through the holy company of Mian Mir, she had heard praises of Satguru Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji Maharaj and she praised Satguru Ji in the midst of her own family.

This incensed her father very much who addressed her, "O Infidel, you praise an infidel (Guru) and obey not the law of Mohammad, according to which it is forbidden, under penalty of death, to praise an infidel."

Kaulan replied, "Father dear, the law of Mohammad does not apply to holy men. Saints are God's servants."

On hearing this from her daughter, the Qazi burnt with bigotry and indignation. After consulting his brother Qazis, he issued an order for the execution of his daughter, Kaulan for her sin of transgressing the Mohammad law.

Kaulan's mother informed her daughter and Mian Mir about the order of the Qazi. Mian Mir recommended to Kaulan, "There appears no means of saving you here. It is better if you go to Amritsar and seek protection of Satguru Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji Maharaj, the king of kings and the saint of saints. None else but he can save your life." Kaulan heeded Mian Mir's advice and went to Amritsar.

Kaulan began her life at Amritsar under the protection of Satguru Ji. She was given a separate building to reside. Kaulan found consolation in repeating following Shabad:
This Shabad is by Guru Raam Daas Ji in Raag Kaydaaraa on Ang 1118 of Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj:
ਕੇਦਾਰਾ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ਘਰੁ ੧
ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਨ ਕਹੁ ਰੇ ॥
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਧੋਇ ਧੋਇ ਪੂਜਹੁ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਮੇਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਲਹੁ ਰੇ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਬਿਖੈ ਰਸ ਇਨ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਤੇ ਤੂ ਰਹੁ ਰੇ ॥
ਮਿਲਿ ਸਤਸੰਗਤਿ ਕੀਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਸਟਿ ਸਾਧੂ ਸਿਉ ਗੋਸਟਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਰਸਾਇਣੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਰਸਾਇਣੁ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਰਾਮ ਰਮਹੁ ਰੇ ॥੧॥
ਅੰਤਰ ਕਾ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ਜੋਰੁ ਤੂ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਨਤਾ ਇਹੁ ਦੂਰਿ ਕਰਹੁ ਆਪਨ ਗਹੁ ਰੇ ॥
ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਉ ਹਰਿ ਦਇਆਲ ਹੋਹੁ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਸੰਤਨ ਕੀ ਧੂਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਹਰੇ ॥੨॥੧॥੨॥
kaedhaaraa mehalaa 4 ghar 1
ik oa(n)kaar sathigur prasaadh ||
maerae man har har gun kahu rae ||
sathiguroo kae charan dhhoe dhhoe poojahu ein bidhh maeraa har prabh lahu rae || rehaao ||
kaam krodhh lobh mohu abhimaan bikhai ras ein sa(n)gath thae thoo rahu rae ||
mil sathasa(n)gath keejai har gosatt saadhhoo sio gosatt har praem rasaaein raam naam rasaaein har raam naam raam ramahu rae ||1||
a(n)thar kaa abhimaan jor thoo kishh kishh kishh jaanathaa eihu dhoor karahu aapan gahu rae ||
jan naanak ko har dhaeiaal hohu suaamee har sa(n)than kee dhhoor kar harae ||2||1||2||

Kaydaaraa, Fourth Mehl, First House:
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
O my mind, chant the Glorious Praises of the Lord, Har, Har.
Wash the Feet of the True Guru, and worship them. In this way, you shall find my Lord God. ||Pause||
Sexual desire, anger, greed, attachment, egotism and corrupt pleasures - stay away from these.
Join the Sat Sangat, the True Congregation, and speak with the Holy People about the Lord. The Love of the Lord is the healing remedy; the Name of the Lord is the healing remedy. Chant the Name of the Lord, Raam, Raam. ||1||
So you think that the egotistical pride in power which you harbor deep within is everything. Let it go, and restrain your self-conceit.
Please be kind to servant Nanak, O Lord, my Lord and Master; please make him the dust of the Feet of the Saints. ||2||1||2||

Quite a bit of time passed in this manner until one day she took all her jewels and placed them before the king of kings, Satguru Ji, Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji Maharaj and said, "O friend of the poor, please apply the price of these jewels to some religious object by which my name may be remembered in the world for sometime."
Satguru Ji got a tank excavated in her name with that money in 1621. The tank is still famous as Kaulsar in the city of Amritsar.