n this article, we will look at an incident from Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life, as revealed in Sikha Di Bhagat Maala (Granth written by Shaheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji, delving into the stories of devout Gursikhs from the time of Guru Sahib Ji).
Meeting the Qazi
One day, Daulat Khan, the mayor of Sultanpur Lodhi (the town in which Guru Nanak Dev Ji was residing at that time), called upon Guru Sahib Ji. Alongside Daulat Khan, the local Qazi (Muslim priest) was also present for the meeting. As it was time for Namaz (Muslim prayer), both Daulat Khan and the Qazi started their prayers. While they were praying, Guru Sahib Ji began to laugh.
Astonished, the Qazi exclaimed, “Do you see this, Daulat Khan? This Kafir is laughing at our Namaz!”
Daulat Khan, understanding Guru Sahib Ji’s mysterious ways, asked with reverence, “Baba Ji, why are you laughing at our Namaz?”
Guru Sahib Ji answered, "During the performance of Wudu (cleansing ritual done before beginning the Namaaz), your minds were focused on performing the Namaz. Thus, Khuda (God) was pleased with you. However, when you started reading the Namaz, Khuda did not accept your Namaz.”
Guru Sahib Ji looked at the Qazi and said, “You are an Imam (one who leads Muslim worshippers in prayer). In your house, there is a horse that has given birth. Nearby, there is a well. Your focus was on ensuring that the foal doesn't fall into the well and die. If the mind of the Imam is not focused, how will the minds of the other worshippers stay concentrated on the prayer? How will God accept the prayer?”
The two stood in amazement of the fact that Guru Sahib Ji had read the Qazi’s mind in an instant.
Daulat Khan said, “O Qazi, Guru Nanak is no ordinary person. He is a Wali (saint) who has taken birth in this world. It will be beneficial for us if we serve him.”
The Qazi, annoyed about his honour being shattered, said, “If he truly is a Wali, he should become a Muslim.”
Clearing the Qazi's Doubt
One day, Guru Sahib Ji went to the Veyi River to bathe. For eight days, Guru Sahib Ji remained in deep meditation within the river, not emerging during this entire span. The news reached Daulat Khan, who dispatched men with nets into the river to search for Guru Sahib Ji. However, they failed to find any trace.
On the 8th day, Guru Sahib Ji emerged from the river. Subsequently, Daulat Khan, accompanied by the Qazi, visited Guru Sahib. The Qazi remarked, “He must be a Fakir (Muslim holy man) wielding magical powers. He seems to possess black magic. Your perception of this individual is not correct, Daulat Khan!”
The Qazi then inquired of Guru Sahib Ji, “Are you a Muslim or a Hindu?”
Guru Sahib Ji replied with these words from Guru Granth Sahib Ji on Ang 301:
ਮਾਰੂ ਮਹਲਾ ੧ ॥
Maaroo, First Mehl:
ਕੋਈ ਆਖੈ ਭੂਤਨਾ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ ॥ ਕੋਈ ਆਖੈ ਆਦਮੀ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਵੇਚਾਰਾ ॥੧॥
ਭਇਆ ਦਿਵਾਨਾ ਸਾਹ ਕਾ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬਉਰਾਨਾ ॥ ਹਉ ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
The next part is the explanation of this verse.
Identifying your True Self
Guru Sahib Ji explained, “This body comprises the five primary elements of nature: air, water, fire, earth, and space. Some term it a ghost, others a demon, and some a human. Yet, when the saints imparted this insight to me, I grasped that I merely observe this body. My true self is distinct from it.”
When we inherit this body from our parents' union, we become attached to it, causing us to forget our authentic essence - the Atma (Soul), inseparable from Parmatma (the Supreme Soul). Embracing and following the Guru's teachings, we realise the unity of the soul and the supreme soul.
Oneness with Vaheguru
Guru Sahib Ji further explained that much like waves and the ocean, the space within a pot and the overarching sky, and just as gold ornaments and gold are indistinguishable, our soul (Aatma) is a part of Vaheguru (Parmaatma). Once one acquires this wisdom from their Guru, they see no other than Vaheguru. Guru Sahib Ji said, "It is this body, this identity, that aligns with being Hindu or Muslim. However, I am not this identity; I am solely an observer, detached from this physical identity."
This is beautifully described in the following Gurbani lines by Bhagat Ravidas Ji:
ਜਬ ਹਮ ਹੋਤੇ ਤਬ ਤੂ ਨਾਹੀ ਅਬ ਤੂਹੀ ਮੈ ਨਾਹੀ ॥
ਅਨਲ ਅਗਮ ਜੈਸੇ ਲਹਰਿ ਮਇ ਓਦਧਿ ਜਲ ਕੇਵਲ ਜਲ ਮਾਂਹੀ ॥੧॥