Guru Nanak

  J.D. Cunningham was the younger brother of Alexander Cunningham, the author of celebrated book ‘Geography of Ancient India’ and was equally qualified oriental scholar. He was so impartial in treating truth and judicious in his writing that he incurred the wrath of his own countrymen, the British rulers of India, for chronicling the life and teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion. He paid the price for laying bare the truth of Guru Nanak and his preaching in his book ‘History of the Sikhs’. He was dismissed from the civil service under the British Indian government where he was serving despite his meritorious performance and died under scornful circumstances.

  He describes Guru Nanak’s birth and attending circumstances thus: “Nanak was born in the year 1469, in the neighborhood of Lahore. While he is said to have been born in Talwandi village on the Ravi river that was held by one Rai Bhua of the Bhatti tribe, one manuscript account states that, although his father was of Talwandi, Nanak himself was born Kanakatch, about fifteen miles southerly from Lahore, in the house of his mother’s parents.

  “His father, Kalu, was a Hindu of the Bedi subdivision of the warlike Kshattriyas. His father was a grain merchant and his sister was married to a corn factor, and Nanak himself was placed with his brother-in-law to learn, or to give aid, in carrying on the business. Nanak was of a pious disposition from his childhood.”

  Cunningham records some of the jewels of the immortal truth expressed by Guru Nanak thus: “Life is like the wheel circling on its pivot, 0 Nanak, of going and coming there is no end.” (Adi Granth, Asa.)”

  “Grace of God: How can Truth be told? How can falsehood be unraveled? 0 Nanak! By following the will of God, as by Him ordained. Adi Granth. Japji.”

  “The true Name is God; without fear, without enmity; the Being without death, the Giver of Salvation; the Guru and Grace. Remember the primal Truth; Truth which was before the world began, Truth which is, and Truth O Nanak! Which will remain.By reflection it cannot be understood, if times innumerable it be considered; by meditation it cannot be attained, how much so ever the attention is fixed;

  “A hundred wisdoms, even a hundred thousand, not one accompanies the dead;How can Truth be told? How can falsehood be unraveled? 0 Nanak! By following the will of God, as by Him ordained.(Adi Japji).

  “One Self-existent, Himself the Creater, 0 Nanak! One continueth, another never was and never will be.(Gauri Rag, Adi).

  “Numerous Muhammads have there been, and multitudes of Brahmas, Vishnus, and Shivas, Thousands of Pirs and Prophets, and tens of thousands of Saints and Holy men; But the Chief of Lords is the One, the True Name of God, 0 Nanak! Of God, His qualities, without end beyond reckoning, who can understand? (Ratan Mala).

  “To worship an image, to make pilgrimage to a shrine, to remain in a desert and yet to have the mind impure, is all in vain, and thus thou canst not be accepted. To be saved thou must worship Truth (God). (Adi, Shog).

  “To possess the power of a Siddhi (or changer of shapes), to be a Ridhi (or giver away of never-ending stores), And yet to be ignorant of God, I do not desire. All such things are vain.(Adi. Sri Rag).

  “0 Nanak! He, on whom God looks, finds the Lord. (Adi, Asa Rag).

  Householders and Hermits are equal, whoever calls on the name of the Lord. (Adi Asa Ragni).

  “An animal slain without cause cannot be proper food. 0 Nanak! From evil doth evil ever come. (Adi, Maj).

  “That Brahman is a Brahm, whose rules of action are devotion, prayer, and purity, whose principles of faith are humility, and contentment. Such a Brahman may break prescribed rules and yet find salvation. (Adi Bhog.)”

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