Focus on the Shroud

The Founder of Sikhism (This article has been reproduced from the 1908 January issue of the Review of Religions. Wherever the writer used the word Muhammadan it has been altered to Muslim but not where it appears in quotes taken from the writings of non-Muslims — Editor.) Sikhism is the religion of about two million of the people of the Punj ab, and therefore on numerical grounds it does not occupy a place in the great religions of the world. But the political importance of the Sikh community, combined with various other reasons, entitles it to a certain degree of prominence. Sikhism (from the Punjabi Sikh — a disciple) was founded by Nanak generally known as Bawa Nanak who was born in a village near Lahore in the year 1469 of the Christian era. Though the later history of Sikhism shows it to be a political movement opposed to the Muslim rulers of the country and this attitude of the later Sikh Gurus was the cause of Sikhism being ultimately regarded as an offshoot of Hinduism, yet so close was the relation of the founder of Sikhism to Islam that even the most superficial inquirers into the reality of this creed have been led to conclude that it was meant as a sort of a compromise between Hinduism and Islam. This view of the nature of Sikhism has been taken an exception to by Dr. Trumpp, the able translator of the sacred Sikh scriptures, known as the Adi-Granth. But the mistaken views of this learned writer are based on the wrong supposition that the mystic principles of Sufism or Tasawwufaxe derived from Hindu sources, it being a fact that Nanak had the closest relations with the Muslim Sufis of the tune. The word Sufi is undoubtedly of an Arabic origin and Sufism existed in Islam long before the Muslims settled in India, Ah, the fourth caliph of Islam, being generally admitted by the Sufis to be the founder of their system. Dr. Trumpp’s views on this point must therefore be rejected at the very commencement of an enquiry into the religion of the founder of Sikhism, his deep knowledge of the Sikh scriptures notwithstanding. For a detailed refutation of his views, I would refer the reader to the article on Sikhism in Hugh’s Dictionary of Islam whose learned author has, after a study of the various manuscripts in the original language, found such a deep connection existing between Islam and true Sikhism that he has considered it necessary to discuss the latter cult in a Dictionary of Islam. Mr. Frederic Pincott, the author of the article alluded to above, comes to the conclusion that “a careful investigation of early Sikh traditions points 0 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS strongly to the conclusion that the religion of Nanak was really intended as a compromise between Hinduism and Muhammadanism, if it may not even be spoken of as the religion of a Muhammadan sect.” But a deeper reflection combined with certain other facts to which Mr. Pincott evidently had not access, places it beyond all doubt that it is truer to speak of the religion of the founder of Sikhism as the Islam of the Sufis than as a compromise between Hinduism and Islam. Early traditions of Nanak are preserved in the Sdkhis or traditional stories, while his sayings have been collected in the Granth, and it is chiefly from these two sources that information as to the religion of Nanak is sought. But the evidence from both these sources is not so trustworthy as to be accepted without limitation. The Granth did not come into existence in the form of a written collection until after the Sikh community had assumed the attitude of a political movement directed against the authority of the Muslim monarchs and gradually drifted into the old Hinduism which the Founder himself had renounced. Mr. Pincott says: “Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru, was an active and ambitious man. He laid aside the dress of afaqir which had been worn by all his predecessors and converted the voluntary offerings of his disciples into a tax. This raised him to some importance, and enabled him to take men into his pay, a proceeding which conferred additional dignity upon him, and, at the same time, intensified the jealousy of his Muhammadan neighbours. As an additional means of uniting his community into one compact body, he collected the words of Nanak, and those of other saintly personages into a book, which he called Granth, i.e., the book, and strictly enjoined his followers to accept no speech as authoritative which was not contained in the book.” The circumstances under which the Granth was collected clearly show that the object of Guru Arjan was to separate Sikhism from Islam. At any rate, a split having already been caused, the collector must have taken the greatest precaution to exclude all sayings from the collection which clearly favoured Islam. And as all sayings which he did not admit into the collection were to be treated as inauthoritative, it was natural that they should have soon been forgotten. It must, moreover, be remembered that the words of Nanak were transmitted orally for nearly three-quarters of a century, and, therefore, with the change of the Sikh attitude towards Islam, imperceptible change must have been brought about in the words of Nanak, and as the long course of oral transmission cannot be expected to have preserved the sayings in their pristine purity, the changes from time to time must have been in accordance with the growing tendency of Sikhism. As regards the Sdkhis, they contain such a profusion of curious traditions that information derived from this source also must be taken with reserve, as historical accuracy does not seem to have been aimed at in them, but being an earlier record they have no doubt a greater claim upon our attention, and with proper sifting many useful facts can be drawn from them. THE FOUNDER OF SIKHISM 9 Notwithstanding the circumstances attending the collection of the Granth as pointed out above, there are clear traces in that book which show Nanak’s renunciation of Hinduism and his acceptance of the faith of Islam. At the time of Nanak, the great distinction between Islam and Hinduism was that the former taught the Unity of God while the latter represented idol-worship. Now the one thing on which stress is laid in the sayings of Nanak is the Unity of God. The mere fact that Nanak used sometimes the word Paramesur or Hari and sometimes the word Khuda or Allah as the name of the Divine Being does not show that his conception of God was a compromise between the Hindu and Muslim conceptions. According to the Hindu conception of the Divine Being, soul and matter are not a creation of God, but are co-eternal with Him, while Nanak taught that the soul of man was “a ray of light from the light Divine,” and that He was the Creator of the universe, and his whole teaching in relation to God is nothing more than a reproduciton of the utterances of the Muslim Sufis as Mr.. Pincott has shown at length. In accordance, too, with the teachings of Islam, Nanak denies the incarnation of the Divine Being, as he says: “He does not die nor perish, He neither comes nor goes.” Another important point to be borne in mind is that in the whole of the Granth, Nanak nowhere deprecates the Holy Quran while he speaks of the Vedas as mere stories which do not possess the vital power to bring life to their votaries. None has more keenly felt this attack on the Vedas than Swarni Day a Nand, the founder of the Arya Samaj, who is exasperated to unrestrainable rage at Nanak’s description of the Vedas and speaks of him in opprobrious terms. In the Satayarth Prakash, he thus speaks of Nanak: “He (Nanak) wanted to show that he had some pretensions to the knowledge of Sanskrit. But how could one know Sanskrit without learning it. It is possible that he might have passed for a Sanskrit scholar before those ignorant villagers who had never heard a man speaking Sanskrit. He could never have done it unless he was anxious for gaining public applause, fame and glory. He must have sought after fame or he would have preached in the language he knew and told the people that he had not read Sanskrit. Since he was a little vain, he must have even resorted to some sort of imposture to gain reputation and acquire fame. Hence it is that in his book called Grantha, the Vedas have been praised as well as censured, because had he not done so, some one might have asked him the meaning of a Vedic Mantra, and as he would not have been able to explain it, he would have been lowered in the estimation of the people. Anticipating this difficulty he, from the first, denounced the Veadas here and there, but occasionally also spoke well of the Vedas, because had he not done so, the people would have called him a Ndstika, i.e., an atheist or a reviler of the Vedas,'” (English translation of Satyarth Prakash, page 506). Some of these remarks are, no doubt, uncalled for but a strong adherent of the Vedas like Swami Daya Nand could not pass over a denunciation of the Vedas without taking to task the person who had done it. An example of the rej ection of the Vedas by Nanak is the following verse of the Granth which has 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS been quoted in the Satyarth Prakash also: “Even Brahma who read the Vedas died, for all the four Vedas are mere stories. The Vedas can never know the greatness of a Sddhu (i.e., one who knows God).” As regards the Holy Quran, the attitude of Nanak towards this book was always respectful and he enjoined the reciting of the Holy Quran and the saying of prayers in accordance with the Muslim faith. Consider the following verses of the Granth which are taken from Trumpp’s translation as given in Hugh’s Dictionary: “Then thou art a Mulla, then thou are a Qazi, if thou knowest the name of God(Khuda). “None, though he be very learned, will remain, he hurries onwards. “He is a Qazi by whom his own self is abandoned, and the One Name is made His support. “He is, and will be, He will not be destroyed, true is the Creator. “Five times he prays (Niwaj gujarhi), he reads the book of the Quran.” (Translation, page 37). In these verses the reading of the Quran, the saying of the five daily prayers, and entire submission of oneself to God which is the literal significance of Islam, are strictly enjoined as the true way to salvation. On another occasion •we have in the Granth: “Pirs, Prophets, Saliks, Sadiqs, Martyrs, Shaikhs, Mullas and Darvishes; blessings will come to those who constantly recite darud.” Dr. Trumpp wrongly translates darud as meaning “the salvation of God” and the passage becomes meaningless as it reads in his translation: “A great blessing has come upon them who continually recite his salvation” (translation, page 75.) Now reciting the salvation of God does not carry any significance. The true meaning of darud is “invoking the blessings of God upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad” as the Muslims are commanded to do in the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet. Hence the verse means that of all the righteous men “blessings will come to those who continually pray for the blessings of God upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad”; in other words Divine blessings cannot be granted to any person who is not a follower of the Holy Prophet of Islam. These are clear evidences of Nanak’s profession of Islam and his renunciation of Hinduism. The only thing that can be said against this is that if Nanak had renounced Hinduism and professed Islam, why did he sometimes praise the Vedas or express a belief in the doctrine of transmigration. As regards the first objection, even a Muslim does not outright condemn the Vedas, for he does not deny -that these books may have been revealed to Hindus through the prophets of God, and hence it is not inconsistent with the belief that he holds THE FOUNDER OF SIKHISM 11 that he may speak of the Vedas reverently and in fact every Muslim ought to do so. But when the Vedas are rejected by a Muslim, it is meant that they have been altered to such an extent that truth has almost been hidden under the mass of errors invented, and introduced into them7 by the later generations, and that hence they do not now possess the vitality to breathe spiritual lif e into a man. This is exactly what Nanak said and he does not go beyond this. As regards the doctrine of transmigration, even the sufis hold it in a certain sense. They do not believe, as the Hindus do, that the soul of man passes from one body to another in this world, but they hold that the souls of the evil doers acquire a resemblance with certain lower annuals, and therefore in a spiritual sense they speak of the soul of man passing into the form of an animal. Nanak may have meant nothing more than this, and his words may have been misinterpreted by his followers as they gradually departed from his true teachings, or such verses may have been altogether of a later growth. It is even possible that as the change of Nanak’s faith to Islam was gradual, he being originally a Hindu, ideas which do not quite tally with the teachings of Islam may have been expressed by him at an earlier period when he had not been yet wholly converted to Islam and these expressions may have been preserved by such of his disciples as came from among the Hindus and retained a Hindu bent of mind. We say this, because, besides what is contained in the Granth and the Sdkhis, there is clear and strong historical proof of the conversion of Nanak to Islam, but before referring to it we would say a few words about the testimony available from the Sakhis and other manuscripts dealt with in Mr. Pincott’s article on Sikhism. “The traditions of Nanak preserved in the Janam Sakhi” writes Mr. Pincott, “are full of evidences of his alliance with Muhammadanism.” Nanak was an employee in the service of Nawab Daulat Khan when he first felt a call to a religious duty. His interview with his master after the inspiration is thus described in the Janam Sdkhi. The Nawab sent for Nanak and the latter replied; ” ‘Hear, O Nawab, when I was thy servant, I came before thee; now I am not thy servant; now I am become the servant of Khuda (God)’. The Nawab said: ‘Sir, (if) you have become such, then come with me and say prayers (Niwaj or Namaz). It is Friday.’ Nanak said: ‘Go, Sir.’ The Nawab, with the Qazi and Nanak, and a great concourse of people went into the Jami Masjid and stood there. All the people who came into the Masjid began to say, ‘To-day Nanak has entered this sect!’ There was a commotion among the respectable Hindus in Sultanpur; and Jairam, being much grieved, returned home. Nanaki (Nanak’s sister) perceiving that her husband came home dejected, rose up and said, ‘Why it is that you are to-day so grieved?’ Jairam replied, ‘Listen, O servant of Paramesur (God), what has thy brother Nanak done! He has gone with the Nawab into the Jami’ Masjid to pray; and in the city, there is an outcry among the Hindus and Musalmans that Nanak has become a Turk (Muslim) to-day’ (India Office manuscript, No. 2885, fol. 39)” (Hugh’s Dictionary of Islam, page 586). 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS To this anecdote, Mr. Pincott adds the following significant note: “From the foregoing, it is perfectly clear that the immediate successors of Nanak believed that he went very close to Muhammadanism; and we can scarcely doubt the accuracy of their view of the matter, when we consider the almost comtemporaneous character of the record, from which extracts have been given, and the numerous confirmatory evidences contained in the religion itself. . . . It will, also, be noticed that Muhammadans are affected by the logic and piety of Nanak; and to them he shows himself so partial that he openly accompanies them to the mosque and thereby causes his Hindu neighbours and friends to believe that he is actually converted to the faith of Islam.” It should be borne in mind that the proof Nanak gave of his having become a servant of God was not by going to a Hindu temple, but by joining a Muslim public service in a mosque; and therefore even if he may not have become a thorough convert to Islam at this early stage, he had no respect for Hindu forms of worship. After this we find Nanak assuming the garb of Muslim faqirs (not of Hindu Sddhus) and seeking their company, living and conversing with them freely. We find him openly giving and receiving Muhammadan forms of salutation, and giving his assent to being called a Darwesh. Among the Muslim Sufis he seems to be quite at home, while the Hindus missed in him every mark of being a Hindu, as the anecdote of Nanak’s journey to Benares shows. After these events, Nanak remained for full twelve years in the company of Shaikh Farid, a famous Muslim saint, and at this time he seems to have been thoroughly converted to Islam, even if he had before this any predilection for Hinduism. I again take from Mr. Pincott’s article the story of his first interview with Shaikh Farid: “The most significant associate which Nanak found was undoubtedly Shaikh Farid. He was a famous Muhammadan Pir, and a strict Sufi who attracted much attention by his piety and formed a school of devotees of his own. Shaikh Farid must have gained considerable notoriety in his day, for his special disciples are still to be found in the Punjab, who go by the name of Shaikh Farid’s faqirs. This strict Muhammadan became the confidential friend and companion of Nanak; and if all other traditions had failed, this alone would have been enough to establish the eclectic character of early Sikhism. The first greeting of these famous men is significant enough. Shaikh Farid exclaimed, “Allah, Allah, O Darwesh’; to which Nanak replied, ‘Allah is the object of my efforts, OFarid! Come Shaikh Farid! Allah, Allah (only) is ever my object. The words in the original being Allah, Farid, Judhi; hamesa, du, Sekh Farid, Juhdi Allah Allah. (India Office MS., No. 1728, fol. 86.) The use of the Arabic term Juhd implies the energy of the purpose with which he sought for Allah; and the whole phrase is forcibly Muhammadan in tone.” THE FOUNDER OF SIKHISM 13 “An intimacy at once sprang up between these two remarkable men; and Shaikh Farid accompanied Nanak in all his wanderings for the next twelve years.” To stick to his theory that Nanak’s religion was an admixture of Hindu and Muslim ideas, Mr. Pincott regards Nanak’s intimacy with Shaikh Farid as not going beyond proving the “eclectic character” of early Sikhism, but the fact is that close friendship and constant company with a Muslim Pirfor twelve long years shows clearly that Nanak had been completely converted to Islam, for without an agreement of religious ideas such an intimacy which was based only on religious grounds could never have remained unbroken for such a long time. In fact, as I will show later on, there is actual historical proof that at this tune Nanak observed all the religious ceremonies of Islam and all the religious practices observed by the Sufis generally. Even the Janam Sakhi shows clearly that after this Nanak was looked upon as a true Muslim, and his very touch was looked upon as defiling the Hindu and his sacred places. The following anecdote with the comment upon it is taken from the same writer whom I have already quoted: “As soon as Nanak and his friend Shaikh Farid began to travel in company, it is related that they reached a place called Bisiar, where the people applied cow-dung to every spot on which they had stood, as soon as they departed. (I.O. MS. No. 1728, fol. 94.) The obvious meaning of this is, that orthodox Hindus considered every spot polluted which Nanak and his companion had visited. This could never have been related of Nanak, had he remained a Hindu by religion.” There is also a tradition in the Janam Sdkhi that Nanak had performed a pilgrimage to Mecca, but European critics generally consider it to be a fabrication, though Mr. Pincott adds that “the mere intervention of the tale is enough to prove that those who most intimately knew Nanak considered his relationship to Muhammadanism sufficiently close to warrant the belief in such a pilgrimage.” But as we have stated above, the condition of Sikhism had so changed after the death of its founder that any invention in favour of Islam was not possible though many such details might have been suppressed. It was not impossible that a man who passed twelve years of his life in the company of a Muslim and who was travelling from place to place for the greater part of his life should perform a pilgrimage to the sacred Muslim temple at Mecca. “In the course of his teaching in Mecca,” we are told, “Nanak is made to say: ‘Though men, they are like women, who do not obey the Sunnat and Divine commandment nor the order of the book (i.e., Quran).’ (I.O. MS. No. 1728, fol. 212). He also admitted the intercession of Muhammad, denounced the drinking of Bhang, wine, etc., acknowledged the existence of hell, the punishment of the wicked, and the resurrection of mankind; in fact, the words here ascribed to Nanak contain a full confession of Islam.” 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS The full text of this teaching as given in the Janam Sakhi of B ab a Nanak is as follows: “His worship (the prophet) has said in his decision and the book. “Dogs that watch well at night time are better than non-praying men. “The wretches who do not wake and remain asleep after the call (to prayer.) “Who do not obey Sunnat and Divine commandment nor the order of the book: “They are burnt in hell, like roasted meat on a spit. “Great misery befall them, who are drinking Bhang and wine. “Who walk according to the advice of their lust, they will suffer great pain: “At the day of resurrection there will be a clamour of noise. “At that day mountains will fly about as when cotton is corded, O Kazi, none other will sit (there), God Himself will stand. “According to justice all will be decided, the tablet is handed over at the gate. “Just inquiries are made there; by whom sins were committed, “They are bound thrown into hell, with a layer (of earth) on their neck and with a black face. “The doers of good works will be unconcerned at that day. “Those will be rescued, O Nanak, whose shelter his worship (the Prophet) is.” It is absolutely unreasonable to think that the story of the pilgrimage to Mecca is a fabrication for the simple reason that it shows a full confession of Islam on the part of Nanak, for Nanak’s own conduct leaves no doubt that he was a thorough convert to Islam, as the events already narrated have shown, and even the Granth contains exhortations for the saying of five daily prayers and the constant reading of the Holy Quran as we have already shown in a quotation. But in addition to these facts on which light has already been cast, though the right conclusions may not have been drawn therefrom, we would here refer to two important testimonies showing that Nanak was thoroughly converted to Islam. The first of these is the discovery of the Chola (cloak) of Nanak. It may not be logically correct to style the disclosure of the important facts relating to Nanak’s Chola as the discovery of the Chola itself, yet so great is the misconception that exists about its true nature even in the minds of those who are fully aware of its origin, and so immensely important and so utterly THE FOUNDER OF SIKHISM 15 subversive of long cherished theories are the facts now disclosed that there is hardly any exaggeration in terming the disclosure as an actual discovery of the Chola. The Chola reverently called the Chola Sahib by the Sikhs is kept at Dera Nanak in the Punjab in a sacred building specially built for the sacred relic left by the founder of Sikhism. It is a long cloak with short sleeves and is made of brown cotton cloth. It is stated in the Sakhi of the Chola that upon Nanak’s death, the sacred Chola passed to his first successor, Angrad, who wore it about his head at the time of his being ordained a Guru and kept it with him throughout his life with great honour and respect. The ceremony of seeking a blessing from the Chola by wearing it about the head at the tune of being ordained a Guru was duly gone through by every succeeding Guru until the time of the fifth Guru Arjan Das. Not only did they wear it on their heads at the tune of succession, but also sought blessing from it on all important occasions. Now in the days of Arjan Das a tank (pond) was being dug at Arnritsar and many zealous Sikhs were engaged in the task. One of them named Tota Ram worked so hard and with such zeal that being extremely pleased with him, Arjan Das expressed his readiness to grant him anything that he asked. Upon this Tota Ram begged of him the Sukhi Dan, i.e.., the gift which should give him eternal happiness, or the thing by which he should be guided in his religion. Arjan Das knew at once that he was asking for the Chola, for in the Chola only was the guidance to the true religion, and said: “Thou hast asked of me my whole property.” He then made over the Chola to TotaRam. After some time it fell into the hands of Kabil Mai, a descendant of Nanak, and since then it has remained in the hands of his descendants at Dera Nanak in the Gurdaspur district. The origin of the Chola is thus described by a tradition related in the Sakhi of Bhai Bala, more commonly known as Angad’s Sakhi, Angad being the first Guru whom Nanak himself had nominated to succeed him: “Mardana humbly asked the Guru (i.e., Nanak) as to Arabia. The Guru replied that he would take Mardana to that country if he liked. Again the Guru said: Mardana, how dost thou like the ideas of going to Arabia?’ He replied, ‘Just as it please you.’ Then Nanak set off from that place and they both reached Arabia. The king of this country was known as Lajward. The people were in an evil plight on account of his cruelty and oppression. He used to murder every one who went to his country from India. In this adversity they humbly prayed to God and their prayer was accepted on account of their humility. A voice then came to Nanak from heaven, saying, ‘Nanak, I am well pleased with thee and grant thee a dress.’ Nanak, said, ‘As it please thee, O Lord, for thou art one and without any partner or rival.’ Then Nanak prostrated himself and thanked God. A cloak (Chola) was then granted him and upon it were written the words of nature in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Hindi and 16 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Sanskrit. Having donned the Chola, the Guru seated himself outside the gate of the city. After seven days there was -a general talk among the people that there;was a darwesh, wearing a cloak on which were written the thirty sections of the Divine Quran. The news was at last brought to the king that outside the city there sat a darwesh wearing a cloak on which were written the thirty sections of the Quran. Upon hearing this the king sent his vizier to get the cloak from the darwesh. The vizier accordingly went to Nanak and told him that he should make over the cloak to him as the king wanted it, and that he should be punished in case of disobedience. Nanak told him to take off the cloak if it was in his power. The people then ran to him but they could not take off the cloak as it was a gift of God and had been woven by the hands of nature.” The tradition then goes on to relate that the king tried all the means in his power to get the cloak from the darwesh but that he was unsuccessful. We have here of course fact and fiction mixed together, or at any rate facts greatly exaggerated to make them look supernatural. But the fact, no doubt, remains and is strongly corroborated by other historical testimony that a Chola was worn by Nanak. It is not necessary for us to discuss how he got it. The mere fact that the tradition relates the Chola as having come down from heaven and the words written upon it as having been written by the hand of God does not throw any discredit upon its truthfulness. The words written upon the Chola may have been revealed to Nanak by God and in that case they would be spoken of as having come down from heaven or as having been written by the hand of God. Such metaphors are common in spiritual language, and that which is revealed by God is spoken of as the work of God. So far as to the history of the Chola as given in the sacred books of the Sikhs. Tradition described the words written upon it as being words of five different languages, but what these words actually were was known to none. On account of the high repute and sanctity of the Chola among the Sikhs, the practice had become common from the very earliest times of offering to it coverings to protect it from wear and tear. These offerings were made even by Rajas and great Raises who worshipped it and sought blessings from it. Some of the most famous men among the Sikhs are said to have offered these coverings. As the coverings increased, the Chola itself became a thing quite unseen. The practice, therefore, became common very early of showing only a very small part of the sleeve of the Chola to the worshippers, the rest remaining hidden. The letters over this part became quite obscure on account of being constantly handled and rubbed. Within recent times no one could see the real Chola, the credulous and mostly ignorant worshippers remaining satisfied with a corner. The words written upon the Chola which tradition describes as having been written by the hand of God remained a mystery until very recent times, it being generally supposed that verses from the sacred scriptures of all regions THE FOUNDER OF SIKHISM 17 were written upon it. On the 30th September 1895, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the Promised Messiah) with some of his companions undertook a journey to Dera Nanak to see the Chola and discover, if possible, the actual words written upon it. The journey ended in a remarkable success. By special arrangements made with the guardians of the Chola, about three hundred coverings, mostly of fine cloth or silk, were taken off, and the words which had not been seen for more than three hundred years were thus revealed. All the coverings were removed one by one and it took the guardians more than an hour to unveil the hidden words of the Chola. As the last covering was taken off, a startling disclosure was made. There was not a single verse of the Vedas or any other religious book upon it except the Holy Quran, nor was there any Writing upon it in any language except Arabic. From top to bottom the verses of the Holy Quran, especially those refuting the false doctrines of other faiths with regard to Divine Unity and attributes, were written upon it. The part revealed first of all contained the well-known verse with which the Holy Quran itself and every one of its chapters begins, “In the name of God, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate.” Then followed the reputed formula of the Muslim, “Nothing deserves to be worshipped besides God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’ When this revelation was made, the guardians shrank a little from further disclosure but they were prevailed upon by various inducements. Verse after verse of the Holy Quran was then revealed. I quote here two or three examples. “Verily the true religion with God is the faith of Islam.” “Say, God is One. Everything owes its existence to God, but God owes His existence to none. Neither does He beget, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.” “Verily those who enter into thy bai’at, O Prophet, enter into the bai’at of God.” Besides these there were the well-known verse known as the Ayat ul Kursi, the Chapter entitled the Help, the chapter entitled the Fatiha, the names of the Divine Being mentioned in the Holy Quran, and several other verses of the Quran, in all of which importance is attached to adherence to the principles of Islam. Is it only a chance with no purpose beneath it that the Chola of Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, has verses of the Holy Quran written upon it? The whole history of the Chola belies such a supposition. Nanak wore the Chola that no one might be deceived as to the religion he professed. The evidence of the Unity of God and of the Divine mission of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) was not only uttered by his lips, but was expressed on his very clothes. How could he be best known as a Muslim except by wearing a cloak which could not be worn by any but the truest Muslim? Wherever he passed he was a easily known to all as a Muslim, and perhaps this was the reason that when he set his foot on Hindu ground, the place was at once purified with cow-dung; urine and dung of cows being the things which are superstitiously believed by the Hindus to purify, and are even 18 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS administered to human beings when they are deemed to have done an unholy deed. The asserted origin of the Chola also corroborates the conclusion that Nanak wore it as an apparent sign of his being a Muslim. Being a Hindu by birth, he could not for a moment wear the Chola unless he had renounced the faith condemned by the words of the Chola. The Chola, in fact, affords the only uninterrupted, and, therefore, the only sure testimony of Nanak’s religious principles. It is a thing which Nanak’s own hands prepared and it did not, like the Granth, come into existence a century after the founder. In short, there are strong and valid arguments showing that the Chola which is now kept at Dera Nanak is the very chola which Nanak wore as a sign of Islam. Firstly, it is mentioned in the Sakhi of Angad, Nanak’s first successor, and the sakhi is one of the earliest writings of the Sikh religion. Secondly, there is a book in the hands of the descendants of Kabli Mai, the present guardians of the Chola, known as the Chola sakhi, and in it, it is clearly stated that the Chola was the gift of God to Nakan, and that his successors all sought blessings from it and honoured it. This is a clear proof that the Chola has ever been regarded as the spiritual gift of Nanak to his successors and as a source of blessings. Thirdly, the Chola has been honoured and respected and even worshipped by the followers of Nanak continually during the four hundred years which have elapsed since it came into existence. Annual fairs and gatherings have also been always held in connection with it, and the coverings that have been offered from time to time by Rajas and Raises are a standing testimony to the honour in which the Chola has always been held by people of all classes among the followers of Nanak. This evidence shows clearly that Nanak did not hang between ‘Hinduism and Islam, but that he was a Muslim in the true sense of the word. The other testimony of Nanak’s complete adherence to Islam is his chilla. Chilla is a religious practice resorted to by Muslim Sufis, and the religious exercises which must be performed in the course of the chilla are strictly Muslim, as they include saying of prayers and fasting and other devotions. Sirsa is a small town in the Punjab some distance from Panipat, but it is famous for having once been the seat of reputed Muslim saints oipirs. Here the famous Dargah (mausoleum) of Abdul Shakur Salmi, a well-known saint, and in the three sides of the yard of this mausoleum, situated near to each other, are five closets, known as the chillas of the five saints who performed their chillas in these places. These five chillas are respectively the chilla of Shaikh Bahawal Haq, the chilla of Shaikh Farid, the chilla of Bawa Nanak, the chilla of Lai Shahbaz and the chilla of Syed Jalal. The reader would at once see that Shaikh Farid whose chilla is met with here along with the chilla of Nanak was the trusted companion and intimate friend of Nanak, in whose company Nanak passed twelve years of his life. The discovery of the chilla of Nanak shows clearly and conclusively like the discovery of his chola, that Nanak was a thorough Muslim who passed his tune in the company of Muslim THE FOUNDER OF SIKHISM 19 saints andpirs and went through all the religious ceremonies and devotional exercises which were practised by those Muhammadan saints. In the chola and the chilla of Nanak we have, therefore, clear evidence which places the fact of his complete conversion to Islam beyond the shadow of a doubt, and, therefore, even the theory that Nanak’s religion was a compromise between Hinduism and Islam must be given up. How such a great departure has been made by his followers from his true principles requires a separate treatment and the subject has to a certain extent been ably discussed in Hugh’s Dictionary of Islam, but we would add, before bringing this article to a close, that very few Muslims would have sought to go to Nanak as there was an abundance of other and more well-known Muslim saints at the time, and the cult of Nanak thus gradually came to be monopolized by converts from Hinduism who by and by reverted back to their old faith, the process being facilitated by the open conflict between the Sikh Gurus and Muhammadan monarchs which arose from political causes and ended in the religious separation of the Sikhs. Sayings of Muhammad (Peace be on him) The Lord doth not regard a prayer in which the heart doth not accompany the body. The love of the world is the root of all evils. All actions are judged by the motives prompting them. Do not speak ill of the dead. The most excellent Jihad Striving in the way of God) is that for the conquest of self. Kill not your hearts with excess of eating and drinking. Strive always to excel in virtue and truth. All God’s creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved God who trieth to do most good to God’s creatures. Be persistent in good actions. Humility and courtesy are acts of piety.