Pandit Brahm Das

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Pandit Brahm DAs, described in the Puratan Janam Sakhi as a learned man of Kashmir, is said to have been a resident of Bij Bihara, near Matan. Once Guru Nanak journeying through the valley halted close to where he lived. As Brahm Das, proud of his learning, heard of the arrival ofafagfr, holy man, he came in his accustomed manner with his packs ofPuranas and other old texts amounting to "two camelloads" and with a stoneidol suspended from his neck. No sooner had he uttered his greeting than he began questioning the Guru on how he clad himself, what ritual he observed and what food he ate. The Guru uttered this sabda: There is but one highway and there is but one entrance ; The Guru is the ladder to reach one's native home ; Handsome is the Lord and in His Name lies all comfort. He created Himself and Himself He recognizeth. He created the sky and the earth, By making one the canopy for the other. Thus was His Word made manifest. He created the sun and the moon, And gave them His own light. He made night and day; Marvellous is His creation. His are the pilgrimages, His the holy converse, And his the festive ablutions. How can I describe Thee, 0 Lord, There is nothing to equal Thee. Thou occupiest Thy eternal throne; The rest but come and go. (GG, 1279) Brahm Das whose forte was disputation felt disarmed by the Guru's words and manner. He asked him humbly this time how the Lord existed before creation. Another holy hymn burst forth from the Guru's lips: Through aeons past reckoning, Utter darkness hung upon misty void. There were then no earths, nor firmaments; Pervasive infinitely was the Lord's Will alone; There was neither night nor day, neither sun nor moon; He alone was there Poised in perfect concentration. There was neither birth nor speech, neither air nor water ; There was neither creation nor destruction, neither coming nor going; There were neither the seven seas nor rivers overflowing with water. There were not the higher, middle or neither regions, nor the hell or heaven, nor death the destroyer, There was neither paradise nor purgatory, neither birth nor death; There was then no Brahma, Visnu, or Siva ; There was neither male nor female, neither caste nor reincarnation, neither pain nor pleasure.

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There were neither Mullas, nor Qazis neither sufis nor their disciples, nor the hay pilgrims, There were no mighty sovereigns, nor subjects for them to rule, no world of ego, no masters or slaves. There were no Vedas, nor the books of the Semites, There were no Smrtis and no Sastras, and no reading of the scriptures by morning or evening. The Unspeakable One was Himself the speaker, the Unknowable One had alone the knowledge of Himself. When it pleased Him, He created the world; Without support He Sustained the stars: He created Brahma, Visnu snd Mahes: He extended the love of maya, Communicating the enlightening Word to the chosen few. "Then", says the PuratanJanam Sakhi, "Brahm Das fell down at the Guru's feet. He flung away the stoneimage from his neck and became a disciple.


1. Vir Singh, Bhai, ed., PuratanJanam Sakhi Sri Guru Nanak DevJi. Amritsar, 1971

2. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sn Gur Pratap Sura; Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37

3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909