GURU ANGAD 1504-1552

Guru Nanak's reforms had done the work of renaissance. He broke the first sod, and cleared the ground for the building of the national character. An ideal had been laid before the people. That they might firmly grasp it, and not fall into easy-going latitude in Aryanism, it was necessary that they should constantly looking up to and be loyal to it. This was made secure in the time of the succeeding four Gurus. Guru Angad committed to writing the compositions of Guru Nanak in special alphabet perfected by him. The third, fourth and fifth Gurus established places where they were to be sung day or night. Guru Arjun went further. He collected the saying of all his predecessors and, adding to them his own as well as those of other Hindu and Mohammedan saints compile a volume for the permanent guidance of the Sikhs. He also gave distinction and peculiarity to the Sikh movement by declaring that, with all the sympathy and brotherhood that the Sikhs were to maintain with others, they were in no way to confuse their ideals with other ideals established around them.

But we are anticipating matters, let us see what was the contribution of Guru Angad to the formation of Sikh character. In his life and in the lives of his disciples, nothing strikes us so forcibly as their obedience to the cause of Guru Nanak. Let us take a few examples.

When Bhai Lehna came the second time to see his newly found Guru, he founded him working in the fields. Guru Nanak had prepared three bundles of grass for his cattle, and was waiting for somebody to come and help him to carry them home. He asked his sons, but they refused, saying, "Here is a labor coming; ask him." Bhai Lehna, who had just come up, made his bow and said, "Make me your 'laborer', and let me do this work. "And he began to lift all the three bundles at once. The guru smiled and said; "Aye, you will shoulder at once. The Guru smiled and said; "Aye, you will shoulder the whole burden!" Bhai Lena carried the grass to the house of Guru Nanak, but on the way his fine new clothes got soiled with the mud dripping from the grass. The Guru's wife, seeing this, was very much grieved and complained to her husband about his apparent want of consideration for his Sikhs. "Is it proper", she said, "that a guest should be made to do such a mental work? Look at his clothes, -- all soiled with mud!" The Guru replied, "It is not mud, but saffron, marking him out as God's own elect. God found him alone fit to carry the burden."

Once, Guru Nanak put on terrible looks, and dressed in ragged cloths and with a knife in hand, he ran towards the forest. All the Sikhs left him excepting Bhai Lehna and three others; and the latter too, were terrified when the Guru Threatened them with looks and gestures and began to throw stones at them. But Bhai Lehna stood firm. They came to a cremation ground, "where they found a dead body lying un-burnt. The Guru said, "let whoever wishes to go with me eat of this." The Sikhs were horrifies at the proposal, but Bhai Lehna, who knew no hesitation when the Guru commanded, fell to at once and found that it was nothing but a sweet pudding.

In the words of a contemporary bared, Bhai Lehna obeyed the orders of his Guru, whether necessary or unnecessary, whether it was to wash his clothes at the dead of night or to jump into a dirty pool to take out the Guru's cup.

It was for his unshrinking, patient obedience that Bhai Lehna became Guru Angad, and it was due their refusal to under do this discipline that Guru Nanak rejected his own sons. It was when Lehna was tested and purified that Guru Nanak consecrated him. (Ramkali ki Var)

After the test was over, Guru Nanak embraced his disciple and called his Angad, the flesh of his flesh and the bone of his bone. He led Angad to his own seat and placing five pice as an offering before him, fell at his feet and hailed him as his successor. He asked his followers to do the same. Guru Angad, on his accession, began to impart the sake discipline of obedience to his followers.

Mana was a Sikh who had a wrong notion of service, would wag his head in pious ecstasy when the guru sang, and looked an image of humility and devotion when setting in the congregation; but he would be exert himself to do anything practical. When asked to serve in the common kitchen, he would say, "Am I servant of everybody? I will do anything the Guru desires, but I am not going to oblige anybody else." The Guru wanted to show to him that a man of his nature could not be obedient even to his Guru. Once finding him offering himself for service, the Guru said, "All right, go to the nearest forest, gather some wood, and burn yourself" He went, but he could not sacrifice himself and was involved in further trouble.

Similarly, Satta and Balwand, the musicians who used to sing daily before the assembly of Sikhs, were taught obedience, when they become proud and struck work.

These lessons of obedience were quite necessary for the Sikhs at the start; for, they alone know how best to command, who have known how best to obey.

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