Three Days in the River

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Each day before sunrise, Guru Nanak Dev Ji would go to the river to bathe in the cold water and sing God's praises. But one day, after bathing, he disappeared into the nearby forest and could not be found. His clothes were still lying next to the riverbank, but there was no sign of Guru ji. His friends walked up and down calling , "Nanak, Nanak," hoping against hope that they would find him. They grew afraid that he had drowned.

But Guru ji was far from the reach of any of them. He was in a divine trance in which he was sitting in God's own presence. God gave him a cup of nectar and said, "I am with you. I have made you happy and those who shall take thy name. Go and repeat My Name, and teach others to do the same. Remain uncontaminated by the world. Practice the repition of My name, charity, abdulations, worship and meditation. I have given you this cup of Nectar, a pledge of My regard." Guru ji was so filled with love for Waheguru that he sang the following verses to the accompaniment of the spontaneous music of heaven:


Sri Raag, Mahala 1
SGGS Page 15 Shabad 55 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen
"Were I to live for millions of years and drink the air for my nourishment;

Were I to dwell in a cave where I beheld, not sun or moon, and could not even dream of sleeping,

I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great shall I call Thy name?

O true Formless One, Thou art in Thine own place-

As I have often heard I tell my tale--If it please Thee, show Thy favour unto me.

Were I to be felled and cut in pieces, were I to be ground in a mill;

Were I to be burned in a fire, and blended with its ashes,

I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great shall I call Thy name?

Were I to become a bird and fly to a hundred heavens;

Were I to vanish from human gaze and neither eat nor drink,

I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great shall I call Thy name?

Nanak, had I hundreds of thousands of tons of paper and a desire to write on it all after the deepest research;

Were ink never to fail me, and could I move my pen like the wind,

I should still not be able to express Thy worth; how great shall I call Thy name?"


Hereupon a voice was heard, "O Nanak, you have seen My sovereignty." Then Nanak said, "O Sire, what is anything that mortal can say, and what can be said or heard after what I have seen? Even the lower animals sing Thy praises."

Upon this, the Guru uttered the preamble of the Japji, the Mool Mantar:

SGGS Page 1 Shabad 1 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen
"There is but one God whose name is True, the Creator,

devoid of fear and enmity, immortal, unborn, self-existent, great, and bountiful.

The True One was in the beginning; The True One was in the primal age.

The True One is, was, O Nanak, and the True One also shall be."


When Nanak had finished, a voice was heard again: "O Nanak, to him upon whom My look of kindness resteth, be thou merciful, as I too shall be merciful. My name is God, the primal Brahm, and thou art the divine Guru."


Guru Nanak then uttered the following hymn:

Sri Raag, Mahala 1, Ghar 4
SGGS Page 25 Shabad 84 Read text in English at the bottom of the screen
"Thou wise and omniscient, art an ocean;

how can I a fish obtain a knowledge of Thy limit?

Wherever I look, there art Thou; if I am separated from Thee, I shall burst.

I know neither Death the fisherman nor his net.

When I am in sorrow, then I remember Thee.

Thou art omnipresent though I thought Thee distant.

What I do is patent unto Thee;

Thou beholdest mine acts, yet I deny them.

I have not done Thy work or uttered Thy name;

Whatever Thou givest, that I eat.

There is no other gate than Thine; to whose gate shall I go?

Nanak maketh one supplication--

Soul and body are all in Thy power.

Thou art near, Thou art distant, and Thou art midway.

Thou seest and hearest; by Thy power didst Thou create the world.

Whatever order pleaseth Thee, saith Nanak, that is acceptable."


After three days, Guru Ji came out of the forest. The villagers gasped in disbelief. They had given up any hope of ever seeing him again, for they had thought that he had drowned in the river Bein.

It was the general belief at this time that Nanak was, possessed with an evil spirit, and a Mulla or Muhammadan priest was summoned to exorcise it. The Mulla began to write an amulet to hang round Nanak's neck. While the Mulla was writing Nanak uttered the following:


When the field is spoiled where is the harvest heap?

Cursed are the lives of those who write God's name and sell it.


The Mulla, paying no attention to Nanak's serious objurgation, continued the ceremony of exorcism and finally addressed the supposed evil spirit, "Who are you?" The following reply issued from Nanak's mouth:


Raag Maru, Mahala 1, p.991 SGGS Read at SikhiToTheMax

Some say poor Nanak is a sprite, some say that he is a demon,

Others again that he is a man.


Those who were present then concluded that Nanak was not possessed, but had become insane. On hearing this Nanak asked Mardana to play the rebeck and continued the stanza:


Simpleton Nanak hath become mad upon the Lord.

And knoweth none other than God.

When one is mad with the fear of God,

And recognizeth none other than the one God,

He is known as mad when he doeth this one thing--

When he obeyeth the Master's order--in what else is there wisdom?

When man loveth the Lord and deemeth himself worthless,

And the rest of the world good, he is called mad.


After this Guru Nanak donned a religious Costume. For a long time, he said nothing. Finally, when he did speak, he said, "There is no Hindu and no Musalman." From that day on, he spread the message to everyone that all are equal, and equally loved by God, no matter how they worship him. He also taught that the best way to show their love for God is by praising His Name.


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