n this article, we will discuss the story of when Bhai Mardana Ji met Guru Nanak Dev Ji for the first time.
Upon listening to the beautiful classical music from Bhai Mardana Ji’s Rabab, Guru Sahib Ji invited him to join the path of singing God’s praises and serving the needy. On their very first interaction in Rai Bhoe Di Talwandi (birthplace of Guru Sahib Ji), Bhai Mardana Ji asked Guru Nanak Dev Ji about the true meaning of Namaaz (the Muslim prayer which is to be done 5 times a day).
At this time, Guru Sahib Ji recited this Shabad in Guru Granth Sahib Ji on Ang 141 in Raag Majh.
ਮ꞉ ੧ ॥
ਪੰਜਿ ਨਿਵਾਜਾ ਵਖਤ ਪੰਜਿ ਪੰਜਾ ਪੰਜੇ ਨਾਉ ॥
The names of the five prayers are as such:
- Fajr (prayer at dawn)
- Zuhr (prayer at midday)
- Asr (prayer in the afternoon)
- Maghrib (prayer at sunset)
- Isha (prayer at night)
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਸਚੁ ਹਲਾਲ ਦੁਇ ਤੀਜਾ ਖੈਰ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥
ਚਉਥੀ ਨੀਅਤਿ ਰਾਸਿ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਜਵੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਨਾਇ ॥
ਕਰਣੀ ਕਲਮਾ ਆਖਿ ਕੈ ਤਾ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਣੁ ਸਦਾਇ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਜੇਤੇ ਕੂੜਿਆਰ ਕੂੜੈ ਕੂੜੀ ਪਾਇ ॥੩॥
Guru Nanak Dev Ji explained to Bhai Mardana Ji, “The first Namaaz is that you must speak the truth. In the second Namaaz, you must earn an honest and righteous living. Use the knife of the Guru’s words to cut (get rid of) your mind's selfishness (drawing a parallel to the Muslim practice of Halaal).”
Guru Ji continued, “As for the third Namaaz, think well of others and share your gifts with the poor and needy. Fourth, have clean and pure intentions towards everyone and contemplate how to build complete faith in God. Fifth, use the breaths given to you to remember God and to serve the Saints of God. This is the Kalma (Muslim prayer) that you must read. If you do so, you will never go to hell.”
In this way, Guru Sahib Ji explained to Bhai Mardana Ji that remembering God is not restricted to particular times of the day. Rather, it is something that you bring into your every breath and action. This remembrance transforms your existence as you start living from a place of contentment, with a desire to use your gifts and talents to serve the creator’s creation. Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not only teach us how to be good Sikhs, but also encouraged people of other faiths to practise their own faith with a pure intent.
Bhai Mardana Ji spent his whole life with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He lived according to the command of Guru Sahib Ji and towards the end, found true liberation.