What Does Guru Nanak Say About the Moon?


Tonight there is a Super Blue Blood Moon! As millions of people will be looking at the sky, here’s a short video by Sukhdeep Singh talking not just about the beauty of the moon tonight, but also about the beauty of its creator.

What does Guru Nanak Dev Ji say:

Sakhi of Guru Nanak mentions that after Golaghat Nagar and Dhanasri valley where cannibals inhabited in large numbers, the Guru went back to Gauhati. From there he proceeded to Shillong and to Silhet where an old Gurdwara stands in his memory. He then went to Dacca and on the way he passed through Calcutta and Cuttack and finally reached Puri.

The temple of Jagan Nath, the Lord of the East, was one of the four most revered temples of the hindus – the other three being located around India. It is said that Jagan Nath’s idol was sculptured by the architect of the gods and it was installed at the temple by Lord Brahma himself. It was the anniversary of installation of the idol when Guru Nanak reached the temple. The Guru visited the temple not to adore their Lord but to teach the people that the worship of God was superior to the worship of the deity.

It was the evening time and the priests brought a salver full of many lighted lamps, flowers, incense and pearls and then all stood to offer the salver to their enshrined idol-god. The ceremony was called ‘Arti’, a song of dedication. The high priest invited the Guru to join in the god’s worship. The Guru did not join their service which enraged the priests.

On being asked the reason the Guru explained that a wonderful serenade was being sung by nature before the invisible altar of God. The sun and the moon were the lamps, placed in the salver of the firmament and the fragrance wafted from the Malayan mountains was serving as incense. The Guru, therefore, instead of accepting the invitation of the high-priest to adore the idol, said and uttered the following Sikh shabad of Aarti (not to be confused with hindu aarti):

“The sun and moon, O Lord, are thy lamps; the firmament
Thy salver; the orbs of the stars, the pearls enchased in it.
The perfume of the sandalis Thine incense; the wind is
Thy fan; all the forests are Thy flowers, O Lord of light.
What worship is this, O Thou Destroyer of birth?
Unbeaten strains of ecstasy are the trumpets of Thy worship.
Thou hast a thousand eyes and yet not one eye; Thou hast a thousand forms and yet not one form;
Thou hast a thousand pure feet and yet not one foot;
Thou hast a thousand organs of smell and yet not one organ-
I am fascinated by this play of Thine.
The Light which is in everything is Thine, O Lord of Light.
From its brilliancy everything is brilliant;
By the Guru’s teaching the light becometh manifest.
What pleaseth Thee is the real Arti.
O God, my mind is fascinated with Thy lotus feet as the
bumble‑bee with the flower: night and day I thirst for them.
Give the water of Thy grace to the sarang Nanak, so that he may dwell in Thy name.
(Dhanasri Mohalla 1, Arti, Ang 663)

According to the Puratan Janamsakhi, Guru Nanak ended his first Udasi with the visit to Puri and returned to Punjab. After some time he took his second Udasi to cover the south. If the Guru had returned from Puri, he must have visited some important places on his way back, but there is no mention of it in the Janamsakhi.

However, the Meharban version of the Janamsakhi treats the eastern and the southern journeys as a single Udasi. Others argue that the geographical location of Puri is as such that a visitor planning to visit south India, would not return to Punjab and then start for the southern journey. Many writers therefore, believe that the Guru continued his southward journey from Puri.

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