Stories about Guru Nanak

Stories about Guru Nanak

Akbar visits Guru Nanak

Akbar always used to appreciate the good qualities in everybody — artists, musicians, singers, architects, poets and so on. He especially used to admire and adore religious people. At one time, he decided to visit Guru Nanak. Nanak was praying and meditating with his disciples. Akbar was so moved by Nanak’s spirituality that he wanted to give Nanak something in return.
Akbar said to Nanak, “I am the Emperor. Please take something from me. I am ready to give you land or anything else that you wish.”
Nanak replied, “No, no, no, I cannot accept anything from you.”
Then Akbar went to Nanak’s wife and repeated his offer, but she also said the same as her husband.
Finally, Akbar went to Nanak’s daughter and said to her, “I am giving you a vast plot of land.” The Emperor was so adamant that she could not refuse his gift. So Akbar was successful in giving Nanak something indirectly through his daughter.

(Sri Chinmoy, The Moghul Emperors, Agni Press, 2001)

Guru Nanak

The founder of Sikhism, Nanak, was meditating one day at a beach with a group of disciples.
“What do you want?” Nanak asked. “Do you want me to show you another miracle? I have shown you so many miracles, but have any of them changed your life? No! Again, if you want one more miracle I can show you, but I tell you it will not change your nature. It will only increase your curiosity. But perhaps in this way you will be silenced. Go and taste the water of the sea.”
Some of the disciples hesitated, others went. The water was full of salt. Then Nanak asked them to drink the sea water again. This time, when the disciples drank, the water was as sweet as honey.
Nanak said, “I have pleased your curiosity, but I wanted something else from you: oneness with the Will of God.”

(Sri Chinmoy, India, my India. Mother India’s summit-prides, Agni Press, 1997)

Guru Nanak’s best disciple

The founder of Sikhism was Guru Nanak, a very great spiritual Master. Nanak accepted the world and became part and parcel of the world, but he was never bound by the world. He was in the world and for the world, but not of the world.
Guru Nanak had quite a few disciples. Some of them were obedient to him to some extent, while others were completely disobedient. Guru Nanak also had two sons and a daughter. The two sons were disobedient to the extreme. What a wonderful fate he had!
Guru Nanak had a vast plot of land where he performed the work of a farmer. One day he cut some grass and arranged it into four or five bundles. Since he was very advanced in years, he asked his sons to carry the bundles of grass to his house.
Both of his sons simply refused. They said, “No! We are your sons. It is beneath our dignity to do that kind of labour. We will not do it.” Guru Nanak then turned to one of his disciples and asked him to carry the bundles. This particular disciple had once upon a time been very, very rich. At one time, he had also been married with children. He had given up everything — his family and his material life — in order to practise the spiritual life.
This particular disciple was so happy that his Guru was asking him to carry the bundles of grass. Very cheerfully, he put them on his shoulders and began walking to his Guru’s house.
When Guru Nanak’s sons saw this, they said, “You came from a rich family. Why do you have to work like a coolie? It is beneath your dignity.”
The disciple replied, “No! If I want to please God, if I want to achieve something for God on earth, then obedience to my Guru must come first. At one time I had everything on the material plane, but I didn’t have my Guru’s blessings and love. That is what I need most. I don’t need anything else.”
He continued on his way, cheerfully carrying the bundles of grass to Guru Nanak’s house, and Guru Nanak was very, very pleased with him.
On another occasion, in the middle of the night, it started raining heavily. The village was struck by a very severe hurricane, and one of the walls of Guru Nanak’s house was completely blown away. That wall happened to be part of the room where Guru Nanak was staying. He had a few rooms in his house, but for some reason he wanted to stay in this particular room. So he immediately woke up his sons and asked them to come to his room and fix the wall.
They both said, “You are crazy to ask us to come at this hour! It is raining heavily and the storm is still raging. Besides, it is not our job to fix walls. We know nothing about it. Tomorrow morning, we shall ask the masons to come and do it.”
Guru Nanak thought of the disciple who had carried the bundles of grass. He sent for him and asked him to fix the wall. This disciple knew nothing about fixing walls because he had been wealthy for most of his life, but he said to himself, “My Guru has asked me to fix his wall. I have to do it!”
The poor fellow started fixing the wall. It took him some time, but finally it was done. When Guru Nanak inspected the wall, he said to the disciple, “It is not done to my satisfaction. Break it and try again!”
Without any hesitation, the disciple broke the wall and tried again. Meanwhile, Guru Nanak’s two sons were watching the scene. When the disciple had finished fixing the wall for the second time, Guru Nanak again found fault with it: “Here is a mistake; there is a mistake. I don’t like it at all. Break it and start again!”
So the disciple broke it and started again. Like this, three or four times the disciple built the wall, and each time his Guru said he was not satisfied.
Guru Nanak’s sons began to laugh at the disciple: “How many times are you going to do this? Our father is crazy for asking you to do this kind of thing, and you are crazy for listening to him. It is not your job. Tomorrow morning we will send for the masons and they will fix it to our father’s satisfaction. We are giving you sound advice.”
The disciple patiently answered them, “No matter how many times it takes, I will keep on trying to please my Master, my Guru.”
The disciple was prepared to build the wall again and again, but after he had completed the wall for the seventh time, his Master said, “Now I am satisfied. You have really pleased me with your obedience. You could have been annoyed at me. But no, you kept on sincerely trying to please me. You are truly my best disciple by virtue of your obedience.”


Obedience is of paramount importance. In the beginning, we call it obedience. But when our inner being comes to the fore, when our mind, vital and entire physical consciousness are awakened to the Light — at that time we see that obedience is nothing other than our complete oneness with our own highest Self. Our lower self is ignorant; it knows only disobedience and revolt. But once our lower self is awakened to the Light, then there is no longer any question of higher or lower. At that time, there is only oneness. The unillumined self becomes one with the illumined Self and is no longer unillumined.
It is like the mind and the feet. Let us say the mind represents our higher part and the feet represent our lower part. When our mind asks our feet to help us walk and the feet obey the mind, at that time there is no separation between the two. We do not see our mind as higher than our feet. We see both of them as integral parts of our body, and we see both of them playing their respective roles in making it possible for us to walk.
Unfortunately, when people hear the word “obedience”, immediately they revolt. When your Master asks you to do something, he is only bringing you messages from your own soul. If those who call themselves my disciples can have obedience to their own souls, then all their problems and all my problems will be solved.

(Sri Chinmoy, Obedience: heart-fragrance, Agni Press, 1994)

Can you tell me where there is no God?

Nanak was the founder of Sikhism. He was an excellent, excellent Guru. When he was young, Nanak paid very little attention to sports. Unlike most of his friends, he didn’t care for games at all. Nanak always used to think of God and meditate on God. He only wanted to mix with spiritual people. In school he didn’t do well because he was all the time in his own world.
Since he was not doing well, his father, who was a businessman, said, “The best thing is for him to go into business.” So he opened up a shop for his son.
O God! Nanak was unlike other businessmen. He used to give away money to spiritual people, to saddhus. The father saw that he would soon go bankrupt if he kept his son in the shop. The father said, “In some way this boy has to become worldly-minded. If he remains all the time in the spiritual world, then he will be totally lost and our family will be disgraced.” So he asked his son to get married, even though he was quite young. Nanak obeyed.
But again it was the same story. Nanak was praying and meditating all the time. Whenever he got the opportunity, he used to go to see religious people, spiritual mendicants. His wife used to cry and cry for her husband. But what could she do? He was a hopeless case. Finally one day, without any rhyme or reason, the wife died. Nanak was quite happy. He said, “Now I can become a mendicant and go wherever I want to.” So he became a mendicant and went to many places to pray and meditate. He used to go to Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and Christian churches alike. He used to go wherever he could find a place to meditate.
One day Nanak decided to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, which is the most holy place for Muslims. During his journey he happened to lie down for a while with his feet facing a mosque. A priest saw this and said to Nanak, “Look at your audacity! You are lying here with your feet pointing directly at the mosque. What are you doing?”
Nanak said, “Forgive me, I am very tired; I am simply exhausted. Please do me a favour. Will you kindly lift up my feet and point them in a direction where there is no God?”
The priest got the point. He said, “You have taught me that God is everywhere. I have been telling people that Allah is everywhere and in everything, and that the whole world is His creation. But today you have shown me that no matter which direction we face, God is there. So you have taught me a most significant lesson.”

(Sri Chinmoy, Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 10, Agni Press, 1982)

Oneness with the Will of God

The founder of Sikhism, Nanak, was meditating one day with a group of disciples near a Hindu temple. When Nanak wanted to enter the temple along with his disciples, the guards would not allow him; they mistook him for a Muslim. He had a long beard, long hair and a long moustache, and his whole face seemed to be a Muslim face. His disciples told the attendants that he was not a Muslim but the great Master, Guru Nanak. But the guards were so ignorant that they had never heard of him and they refused to allow him to enter.
The disciples were very sad and mad, but they were helpless. They were afraid that if they did anything, the police would come and arrest them. So they left the temple and went to a nearby beach. Evening had set in, and Nanak asked them to meditate with him. They all meditated for some time, but the meditation was not deep, for they were still harbouring anger and humiliation. Nanak felt very sad. It was not because he had been prevented from entering into the temple, for he knew that ignorant people will always do that kind of thing. No, he was sad because he had become one with the sadness of his disciples. He said to them, “Look at the sky. See how beautiful and vast it is. Look at the moon, look at the stars. How beautiful they are! Let us be inwardly and outwardly as vast and beautiful as the sky, the moon and the stars.” On other days the disciples would have all cheerfully become one with their Master, but on this day they were still mad, and they were not showing any kind of cheerfulness.
Nanak said, “In this world there will always be people who will insult us, but we should be above their insults. The attendants were not nice to us, but I tell you that the god of that temple is pleased with us. He will do something for us.”
To their wide surprise, while Nanak was talking two large dishes full of fruits and Indian sweets appeared before them. They could not account for this, but Nanak said, “It was the presiding deity of that temple who brought this food. I saw him with my inner vision, but you did not see him.”
But the disciples were not satisfied. They said, “No, it cannot be.” They thought that one of the disciples had gone out and brought these things for them.
“Is this the kind of faith you have in me?” Nanak asked. On other days the disciples would have believed their Master. But today they were doubtful, because they felt that their Master should have shown his spiritual and occult power and entered into the temple. But Nanak did not do anything when the guards insulted him.
“What do you want?” Nanak asked. “Do you want me to show you another miracle? I have shown you so many miracles, but have any of them changed your life? No! Again, if you want one more miracle I can show you, but I tell you it will not change your nature. It will only increase your curiosity. But perhaps in this way you will be silenced. Go and taste the water of the sea.”
Some of the disciples hesitated, others went. The water was full of salt. Nanak asked those who had drunk the water to come and sit before him, and those who hadn’t drunk to sit elsewhere. Then he asked those near him to drink the sea water again. This time, when the disciples drank, the water was as sweet as honey.
“Really you have performed a miracle!” they cried. “Just two minutes ago it was all salty. We were about to vomit. But now it is all honey, so sweet.”
So the people who drank were satisfied with this miracle, and both they and those who, out of fear, didn’t drink the water, remained silent.
Nanak said, “I have pleased your curiosity, but I wanted something else from you: compassion-forgiveness, forgiveness-compassion and, the most important thing of all, oneness with the Will of God.”

(Sri Chinmoy, Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 1, Agni Press, 1979)

The son of the Guru is to be worshipped like the Guru

Nanak’s successor was a very good spiritual Master, although he was not as great as Nanak. The successor of this Master was also very good. They were all good Masters.
Nanak’s successor had two sons. They thought that when their father left the body, one of them would become the new Master. But the father knew well that neither of his sons was spiritual, so he did not appoint either of them to be his representative. Before he died, he appointed one of his disciples to become the Guru in his physical absence. This made the two sons very angry with their father as well as with his successor. They became very jealous of the new Master, and always they used to speak ill of him. In every way they tried to hurt him.
This new Master was compassion incarnate. He used to say that the Guru’s sons have to be worshipped like the Guru himself, because the Indian system is like that. It is said that the son of the Guru is to be revered exactly like the father. But it has happened that the father has been a God-realised soul and the son nothing but a donkey.
One day this particular spiritual Master was giving a wonderful discourse. Many disciples were around him, listening with rapt attention.
Then the Master and the disciples meditated for some time with utmost sincerity. O God! All of a sudden the younger son of the previous Master came right up to the new Master and started beating him mercilessly. Finally he kicked the Master off his throne.
The disciples were shocked and horrified and ran up to save their Master. They wanted to kill the son of the previous Master then and there. But this Master said, “If you are my true disciples, then you must not touch him. I won’t allow you even to touch him, let alone strike him!” So they all had to prove that they were their Master’s loyal disciples.
The Master then said, “He is my Master’s son. Therefore, I have to treat him as my own son. This is our tradition. God will take care of him, so I am asking you not to take revenge. If somebody does something wrong to me, I will remain silent. Let him do it a second time and a third time, and I will still remain silent. But if the culprit does something wrong, something really undivine more than three times, then God will have special Concern for the victim. If the victim is repeatedly harassed or mistreated, then God Himself will take care of the aggressor. In some way God will punish him.
“I assure you, I have forgiven this fellow. He is my Master’s son. But if he goes on doing this kind of thing a few times more, then God Himself will punish him. As a matter of fact, he has done many undivine things. This is not the first incident. Soon he will start reaping the fruits of his misconduct. He will be severely punished in the very near future.” The Master’s prophecy proved to be true. This rogue did something very undivine to somebody else and that person punished the culprit so mercilessly that he was bedridden for months. Even then the spiritual Master said, “I feel really sorry for him. Although God Himself has punished him and he deserved this punishment, I feel sorry that my Master’s son had to be punished so badly.”
Look at the faith and love this Master had for his own Master! The previous Master’s son was undivine, to say the least, but he was always ready to forgive him, just because he was his own Master’s son.

(Sri Chinmoy, Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 10, Agni Press, 1982)

Cremation or burial?

Usually one spiritual Master is not liked by the disciples of other Masters — especially by those following different paths or religions. But both Muslims and Hindus liked Nanak very much, although he was a Sikh and had his own path. Everybody used to speak very highly of him. As a matter of fact, he had many disciples and admirers who were Hindus, Muslims and followers of other religions as well.
When Guru Nanak died, there was a terrible controversy between his Hindu and Muslim disciples. The Hindus said he had to be cremated and the Muslims said that he had to be buried. What could be done? The two parties were about to fight for the dead body.
In accordance with Indian tradition the dead body had been covered with a piece of cloth. All of a sudden, someone removed the cloth and everyone was amazed to see that the dead body had completely disappeared! In its place were hundreds of beautiful, fragrant flowers. So the Hindus and the Muslims each took half of the flowers.
Believe it or not, this is absolutely a true story. Real spiritual Masters can perform this kind of miracle. This story tells us that after the soul has left, you can discard the body in any manner you want. If you belong to the Hindu religion, then you will follow the Hindu system of cremation. If you belong to the Muslim religion, then you will follow the Muslim system of burial. But if you go beyond all religions, then you can do whatever you want to. When their life’s journey is about to come to a close, some spiritual Masters just run into a river or an ocean, never to be found. Some leave the body through their sahasrara or crown chakra. Some set fire to themselves, while others use their spiritual power to invoke burning flames from above, and when the flames descend they are totally burnt. So this is a most significant story.

(Sri Chinmoy, Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 10, Agni Press, 1982)



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We are all leaves, flowers
And fruits
On the different religion-branches
Of the birthless and deathless

(Sri Chinmoy)

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