Guru Nanak and Moola

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Guru Nanak and Moola

On the way to Sialkot, which is near Pashawar, Guru Nanak rested outside the town under a wild caper tree, which stands there still. "Why do you prefer the wilderness to the comforts of town?" Mardana asked.

"There is no comfort in a place where there is no truth," replied the Guru. "The air of the town is filled with falseness. No one can safely breathe it."

"Master, I am hungry," said Mardana, "and unlike you, I can't live on just the air."

"Go into town," said the Guru, "and ask at every shop; 'My master would like a half-anna of truth, and a half-anna of falsehood.' He who answers will feed you."

Mardana, much amused, went into town and stopped at each shop. Some thought his was insane, others made fun of him. However, at certain shop, Moola, the owner, replied, "Tell your master that life is false, and death is true."

After he fed Mardana, he asked to be taken to the man who asked for such things. Moola, when he saw the Guru, humbly bowed before him and asked, "Show me the true way?"

"Seek it and you shall find it," said the Guru. "It is found by searching and lost by talking."

Moola was much impressed by Guru Nanak and followed him for many days, even to Kabul, until the Guru told him to go back to his home and family.

"I want to be a renuciant," said Moola. "I want to give up the world and be a holy man."

"It is not by shirking our duty that we become saints," said the Guru, "but by how we handle our responsibilities in our daily lives."

"Then why is it that people leave their homes in search of God?" he asked.

"There are those who actually seek the truth and there or those who only seek to escape their responsibilities," said the Guru, "but the way I have come to show, is to live in service to God in the daily world, keeping His name on our lips and in our minds. Renunciation of outer things does not make for inner righteousness. Words are meaningless until translated into action."

Guru Nanak then repeated to him the Jap Ji, and Moola returned home to live the life of a householder.

Guru Nanak and Mardana had an occasion later to visit Sialkot and the Guru wished to see his student. Mardana went looking for Moola, but his wife, fearing that her husband would wish to leave again, convinced Moola that he could die in the wilderness if he went. And so he hid himself away until Mardana left.

When told, the Guru said, "This is the man who said that life is false and death is real, but now he seems to hold to falseness. So be it. But who can escape death? It comes to all no matter where they live.

It is said that Moola was subsequently bitten by a snake and died.


  • Singh, Gopal. Guru Nanak. National Book Trust, New Delhi, India, 1969.

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