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True Status of Guru Nanak

KAPUR SINGH

ANY nice things are being said about therefore, a mistake to call him a prominent
M Guru Nanal<, that he was a saint, that figure of the medieval Bhakti Movement.
he was a prominent figure in the Bhakti
Movem~nt of medieval India and that he He was not a "reformer", because, a re-
was a reformer. former is one who says that the original and
real doctrines of a creed have become corrupted
He might have been all these but he was through ignorance and he, therefore, wants to
something such as never had happened in bring back the original purity to these doctrines
India before in her long and glorious history. and practices associated with them. Guru Nanak
He was not merely a saint, because a saint refers to no such doctrines or practices, which,
is one who accepts as valid and binding an in their original form were already there but
already existing creed or dogma and then which had been corrupted through a passage
fashions his life according to it in such a way of time and which he now wanted to restore
that people recognize in him a true representa- to their original purity. It is, therefore, Wrong
tive of that creed or dogma. Guru NaDal< to call him a reformer and to compare him,
owed no allegiance to existing creed or dogma as some do, with his contemporary in Europe,
and he has specifically said so. He was not a Martin Luther.
link in the chain of the medieval Bhakti
Movement because this Bhaktf Movement is Guru NaDal< was not an avliir in the accepted
based on two or three fundamental propositions Hindu sense and nor was he a Rishi, who
Which Guru Nanal< did not accept. There are sees in mystic vision certain eternal truths and
three elements in this medieval Bhakti Move- then mechanically transmits them to mankind.
ment: (1) That Vishnu, the Sustainer and the He was not even a Prophet in the sense in
Lord of the Universe is the only true God to which the term is understood in Semitic reli-
whom worship is due. (2) That God Vishnu, gions. A Prophet is a mortal human whom
out of compassion for the mankind takes God choose as his vehicle for communicating
periodical births in human or sub-human with the mortals.
forms, which are called avtiirs. (3) That the
only way in which a man can achieve freedom In a sense, Guru NaDal< was all these but
from birth and death is by Worshipping one he was primarily and essentially, the "Guru".
of these incarnations with single minded The "Guru" is that attribute and power of
devotion, i.e. Bhakti. God through which he dispels darkness of
human mind and illumines it to see the reality
Guru Nanak did not accept any of these when the veil is lifted from its face.
propositions of the Bhakti cult, though he
did emphasize that the way to the nearness In the Bhagvadgita, the term "Guru" is
of God was sincere devotion to Him. It is, . described as follows ;
THE SIKH REVIEW 93

"Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, guru brahmii guru vish1;lugurUdeva maheshwara


and Guru is also Maheshwar. guru siikshiit parbrahma tadvai guruvai namah

The Guru is beyond this triad of the primary Now, that we are celebrating tbe quin-
gods and he is one with the one .and only one centenary of Guru Nanal<, let us try to under-
God. To such a Guru, submission of mankind stand his true status so that we may be able to
is due." appreciate his message truly.