The Beginning of Guru Nanak’s Spiritual Mission


The Janamsakhis narrate that one morning, Guru Nanak went to bathe in the neighboring river called Baeen. While bathing he disappeared in water and remained as such for three days.6  During that period he had a vision of God’s presence where he was entrusted by the Almighty with the task of preaching the Divine Name (NAM) to the world. The Almighty gave him a goblet brimming with nectar of ‘NAM’ which Master Nanak drank and then Almighty commanded:



“Thou art welcome, O Nanak, that hath absorbed thyself in Nam. Do go hence and do the work for which thou wast born. People of Kalyug have adopted horrible practices and are extremely degraded in mind. They worship a variety of gods, have forsaken the Name and are immersed in sin. Go thou, spread Love and Devotion to the Name, and lighten the burden of the earth. Go thou, and glorify the name of God and destroy hypocrisy.” The Guru then sang the following Shabad:


         “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 favor unto me.

         Were I to be felled and cut in pieces, were I to be grounded

         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? (Sri Rag Mohalla 1, p-14)

Then a voice was heard, “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 (Mei aad Parmeshar aur tu Gur Parmeshar).

This has been the revelation of the Puratan Janamsakhi. The Guru himself confirms that the Almighty asked him to go to the world and sing His praises. The Guru says that after he had done his duty in this world, the Almighty called him again:


         “Me, a minstrel out of work, God applieth to His work;

         Thus spake the Almighty unto me

         Night and day, go and sing My praises.

         The Almighty again did summon this minstrel to His most

         Exalted Court.

         On me He bestowed the robe of Honor of His praise and prayer,

         On me He bestowed the goblet brimming with Nectar of                     

         His Holy Name,

         Those who at the bidding of the Guru Feast and take

         their fill of the Lord’s Holiness attain Peace and Joy.

         Thy minstrel spreadeth Thy Glory by singing Thy Word;

         Nanak, he who uttereth true praises obtaineth the Perfect

         One.” (Majh di Var-pauri 27, p-150)

It is said that after three days when he reappeared, some people saw hallow around his head. Some people say that Guru Nanak’s Guruship started with his reappearance from the water. It should be pointed here in this respect that there are Three Entities in Sikhism — God, Guru, and Gurbani (Divine Word). According to Sikhism there is One but One God; He sends His emissary called Guru, who is embodiment of Divine Light. God then delivers His message (Gurbani) through His emissary, the Guru. Without the Guru, there can be no Gurbani. Guru is a channel through whom Gurbani is delivered. ////////

— Sikh Religion, Published by the Sikh Missionary Center, Phoenix, AZ http://www.sikhmissionary.net/ENGLISHBOOK/GURUNANAKDEV.htm

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