n this article, we will discuss Saakhi # 4 of the Sikhaa Di Bhagat Maala - Sikher (Seeker) series. 

The Story of Bhai Mardana Ji

ਭਲਾ ਰਬਾਬ ਵਜਾਇੰਦਾ ਮਜਲਸ ਮਰਦਾਨਾ ਮੀਰਾਸੀ ॥

Mardana, from the Mirasi clan, a good player of Rabab in assemblies, was a disciple of Guru Nanak.

One serene day in Raey Boey Di Talwandi, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, a mesmerising melody filled the air. A gifted Mirasi (musician) played the Rabab, singing in Raag (classical music structure), captivating Guru Nanak Dev Ji's attention. 

Guru Sahib Ji asked the musician, "What is your name?" He humbly replied, "Guru Ji, people call me Dana Mirasi." Guru Sahib Ji said, “You play the Rabab very well, and you are well-versed in classical music. If you become my companion (Sangat) and add the words of God into your musical compositions, then I can give you liberation in this world and the next.”

The Dilemma of Bhai Mardana Ji

Bhai Mardana Ji shared with Guru Ji that music was not just his passion but also the means to sustain his family. Singing to the wealthy provided the income necessary for his wife and children to survive. He diligently performed Nawaz (Muslim prayers) five times a day and observed Roza (fast) for a month each year. He worried that by joining Guru Sahib Ji, he would have to leave his professional and religious duties, jeopardising his faith and family's well-being.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Answer

Upon hearing this, Guru Sahib Ji said to Bhai Mardana Ji, “Who sustains the whole world? You, or God? The one who sustains the world will also sustain your family.” Then Guru Sahib Ji asked Bhai Mardana Ji two questions.

  1. What is the meaning of Nawaz and Roza?
  2. How often do Nawaz and Roza come in a day, at which times, and for how long? 

Bhai Mardana Ji replied, “I do not know the meaning of Nawaz and Roza. But I know that a Nawaz is done five times a day. Roza comes every year, and is kept for a month.”

Guru Nanak Dev Ji said, “All right, so if Nawaz comes five times a day and Roza comes once a year, where do they go for the rest of the days?”

Bhai Mardana Ji guessed, “Well, they stay in the house of Khuda (God)!”

Guru Nanak Dev Ji asked, “Where is the house of God?”

Confused, Bhai Mardana Ji replied, “I do not know, I have not seen it.”

Guru Sahib Ji unfolded the secret to Bhai Mardana Ji. They said, “The house of God is in the hearts of the Saints, and Saints reside in the heart of God. They remember God in every moment, not just five times a day. They do Nawaz with every breath. The saints are satisfied with whatever they receive from God and in this way, they keep Roza every single day of the year. Those who do Sangat (congregation) of the Saints also receive this contentment.”

Maha Parloh (End of the World)

Bhai Mardana Ji asked Guru Sahib Ji about what happens during the end of the world. Guru Nanak Dev Ji explained, “The moment when Maha Parloh (end of the world) comes, every being from the cemetery will be called and questioned on what they did with the human life that was given to them. 

This question will be asked: “How have you utilised this human birth, the 24000 breaths given to you per day, and all the gifts and offerings given to you by God? Did you remember God and share your blessings with the poor and needy?”

Did you Fulfil your Purpose?

Guru Nanak Dev Ji said to Bhai Mardana Ji, “Daana Ji, When these questions are imposed on you, you won't be able to look into the eyes of God, you will have fear. You will look on your right-hand side where you will see Prophets, Peers, Saints, and other great souls. You will plead to them to save you. The Prophets will reply, “When you were given a  life on this Earth, we reminded you to remember God and serve the poor, but you only thought for yourself and your family. Now why don’t you call them to help you?”

Guru Sahib Ji continued, “You will look to your left and see your whole family standing there. They can’t help you because they are helpless as well. This way, you will lose from both sides. And then, in a vulnerable state, you will pray to God, asking for forgiveness and support.”

The Final Words

Guru Nanak Dev Ji then told Bhai Mardana Ji, “If you become my companion and sing the words of God with your music, then I can guarantee you protection and support not only in this world but in the next world as well.”

Three key teachings were given:

  1. Never cut your hair
  2. Wake up at Amritvela (early hours before dawn) and remember God
  3. Serve anyone who comes to your doorstep

Guru Ji said, “From now on, your name is Mardana (the one who never dies). Sing the praises of God, and not of any mortal. I will take care of your family as well.”

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. 

- End of Sakhi 4, Bhai Mardana Ji, Sikh of Guru Nanak Dev Ji-

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