There is a story (sakhi) circulating out there about Guru Arjan Dev Ji (5th Sikh Guru) going to meet Sri Chand (Guru Nanak’s eldest son) because apparently Guru Arjan while composing Sukhmani bani could not continue pass the 16th Salok. This ailment is known as Writer’s block.
According to an online resource, Writer’s block is a phenomenon experienced by writers that is best described as an overwhelming feeling of being stuck in the writing process without the ability to move forward and write anything new.
The sakhi goes like this.
At that time, Baba Budha Ji, Bhai Gurdas Ji and a few members of the sangat (congregation) got a bit worried and approached Guru Arjan asking him what would happen if he could not complete the entire Sukhmani? It is said, Guru Arjan kept silent with no possible solution at hand.
The composer of this story went on saying say that the sangat suggested Guru Arjan to somehow find a solution and apparently one of the suggestions they brought up was for Guru Arjan to go meet Sri Chand to gain blessings and a possible cure so he could continue writing Sukhmani and completing it.
Of course, if you asked my personal opinion about this or how far this is true, my straight forward answer would be, “no way!” But with my opinion I intend to back it up some proof and a logical explanation.
16th Salok and The Lie
Take a good look at this drawing of Sri Chand. This is not a real photo but an artist impression.
There are similar drawings of his which can be found on the Internet suggesting more or less this is now Sri Chand appeared to be.
Now, tell me what do you see from the drawing? Do you find any similarities of Sri Chand and Guru Nanak?
ALL GURU’s PHOTOS ARE SIMPLY ARTIST IMPRESSIONS AND ARE NOT OF THE GURUs REAL PHOTOS ANYWAY.
Apparently the story-teller who cooked up this story said that Sri Chand told Guru Arjan that if he wanted to solve his Writer’s block that all the Guru had to do was to use a Salok from Jup bani and the Guru will regain his ability to continue composing Sukhmani.
But the Salok in Sukhmani reads as: Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai Bhe Sach, Nanak Hosee Bhe Sach, whereas the Salok from Jup bani reads as: Aad Sach Jugaad Sach Hai Bhi Sach Nanak Hosee Bhi Sach.
What’s the difference? Here’s the salok from Sukhmani.
ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥
ਹੈ ਭਿ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭਿ ਸਚੁ ॥੧॥
The difference is, the salok in Sukhmani in the word ਭਿ, has a sound of ‘aey’ and the salok in Jup bani has a sound of ‘ee’. You’ll notice that these two parts are the only difference between the saloks in Jup bani and Sukhmani.
What is the purpose or reason for Sri Chand to have told this to Guru Arjan? There is no explanation given anywhere.
FACT: Guru Arjan has composed the most number of shabads contained within Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). For a prolific writer, composer and poet as was Guru Arjan, do you think the Guru would have had a Writer’s block suddenly while composing Sukhmani?
Dr Karminder Singh Dhillon, who’s done quite a bit of research on this topic also seems to disagree that Guru Arjan could have had an anxiety and Writer’s block. Here’s what he said in his recent article in Sikh Bulletin.
This tale is an insult to Baba Budha Ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji. It is an insult for both (and all of us Sikhs) to accept that our Guru suffered anxiety and needed a cure. The irony of it is glaring. On the one hand you have someone who was a voracious writer. And on the other, someone who has not composed a single verse. Yet the former is shown seeking a cure from the latter in this sakhi. – Dr Karminder S Dhillon
So assuming we Sikhs accept this sakhi as true, are we then prepared to accept the following?
- The 16th Salok in Sukhmani rightfully belongs to Sri Chand?
- Are we prepared to accept that Guru Arjan Dev Ji could not have proceeded to complete Sukhmani bani if it wasn’t for the blessings of Sri Chand?
- Was Sri Chand considered all more powerful than Guru Arjan and that he cured Guru Arjan of Writer’s block?
What Kind of Person Was Sri Chand?
In order for us to have some clarity or certainty to be able to answer the above questions, we need to first understand what kind of person was Sri Chand and what role he played in the lives of Guru Nanak, Guru Angad and towards Sikhi, generally.
As you may be aware, Guru Nanak lived a life of a householder and throughout the Guru’s life, Guru Sahib did his best to educate and elevate everyone around him (including the members of his own family). Bur sadly, none of the Guru’s children turned out to follow Guru Nanak’s teachings.
During the later part of Guru Nanak’s life, Guru Sahib decided that he had to travel to meet and spread Sikhi. I believe it is during His long travels or voyages, being away from his house and from his children, that the Brahmin priests saw this as an opportunity to approach Sri Chand and brain-wash him in going against His father and jointly plotted to take over Guru Nanak’s ashram cum home in Kartarpur.
Guru Nanak was very compassionate as a father as well as a Guru. After Guru Nanak came back from his long travels to Kartarpur, He must have noticed a drastic change in Sri Chand’s demeanor. Guru Nanak must have advised Sri Chand to abort his plans of mischief, but Sri Chand being the stubborn child that he was, ignored Guru Nanak’s advice and pressed on with his devious plans.
Udasi – A Complete Opposite Way of Life
Sri Chand is the founder of the Udasi sect. He started an entirely different path, a completely opposite way of life from Sikhi. I literally mean ‘completely opposite’.
He poured ash on his body, wore a ‘janeu’, a loin cloth, held a huge ‘malla’ (roseary) in hand, did Yoga, lived a life of a ‘saniasi’ (celibate) etc. Nothing about Sri Chand’s way of life was similar to Guru Nanak’s.
It is known that Sri Chand became furious with Guru Nanak’s decision of making Bhai Lehna the 2nd Guru of the Sikhs. Sri Chand did not take this decision lightly. He could not accept why his father, Guru Nanak chose Bhai Lehna over him. Afterall, Bhai Lehna was just a disciple and not even related to Guru Nanak or to the Sodhi family in anyway.
Sri Chand became furious at his father for breaking tradition and custom. Back then, it was customary that the eldest son gets to take over and lead the family. Even Kings had their eldest son as heirs to the Kingdom’s throne but in the case of Guru Nanak, Sri Chand being the eldest son was not chosen.
As we are not in the position to question Guru Nanak as to why he chose Bhai Lehna to become Guru and not Sri Chand, we can take some solace of the truth as disclosed by Bhai Gurdas Ji in his Vaaran Pauri #38.
Bhai ji says…
Putri Kaul Na Palia, Man Khotey, Aaki Nsheyara
The sons did not obey the commands (of Guru Nanak) and they were egoistic, stubborn and had become blinded (by greed and power).
Because for the Guru, the continuation of the unique Sikh way of life and philosophy had to be continued and lead by someone who was a true disciple. It wasn’t about blood relations but rather who upheld the highest character and principles.
Bhai Lehna was one such disciple who had such high principles and character. Once again, Bhai Gurdas Ji describes in his Vaaran #7 what kind of person was Bhai Lehna.
7: Gur Angad Sputer
Shabdey Shabd Melayaa Gumukh Agar Gharaey Gehna |
Bhaey Bhagat Bhey Chalna Aap Ganaey Na Khalhal Kehna |
Deen Duni Di Sahibi Gurmukk Gos Nasini Behna |
Kaaran Karan Samrath Hai Hoey Achal Shal Andar Sehna |
Sat Santokh Daya Dharam Aarth Vichaar Sehej Ghar Gehna |
Kaam Karodh Virodh Shal Lobh Moh Ahankaar Tehna |
Put Sput Babaney Lehna ||7||
Guru Angad (the worthy son of Guru Nanak), attuned his mind towards the Shabad and chiseled his mind (according to the instructions by Guru Nanak). He discarded the ego within and with full love and devotion (towards Guru Nanak) listened to the instructions and teachings of the Guru and in this way saved himself. He mastered true spirituality and restrained himself from worldly temptations and vice. Despite the challenges, Guru Angad realised the truth and remained strong minded and unflinched. He adopted the principles of living a truthful life (Sat), brought contentment within, compassion which formed the basis of his Dharma (way of life). He attained spiritual wisdom and peace within. With a conscious effort (by listening to the teachings of Guru Nanak he discarded lust, anger and disparity even greed, attachment and ego. Bhai Lehna became Guru Angad the worthy son of Guru Nanak.
NOTE: Guru Angad was not born as a son to Guru Nanak, but he displayed such devotion and love for Guru Nanak’s teachings and obeyed every instruction that the Guru treated him as if he was a real son.
Sri Chand Was Brain Washed
(I’m smiling) Some say he lost the Guruship because he was brain-washed by the Brahmin priests. To me, if one is able to be brain-washed in the first place, already says a lot about their state of mind, character and personality.
Truth be told, Bhai Lehna won the heart of Guru Nanak and passed the many tests that was laid before him. There was true love of a student and a teacher. Bhai Lehna ji obeyed EVERY instruction of Guru Nanak, never once doubting or questioning the Guru.
The point here is, Sri Chand was never a student of Guru Nanak. He was never interested. If he were, he may have stood a chance, MAYBE! Sri Chand and the other siblings decided to not follow Guru Nanak’s teachings. Sri Chand did everything opposite.
In the final days and months of Guru Nanak’s life, Sri Chand become hostile and wanted to forcibly take whatever he could from Guru Nanak (Kartarpur ashram, the land around it and money as case in point). He even lied to unaware Sikhs who came in doves to meet Guru Nanak and Guru Angad in Kartarpur. He told everyone that he was the rightful Guru of the Sikhs and not Guru Angad.
Setting Up Of 2nd Sikh Center in Khadoor
I always wondered, why did Guru Nanak not continue to make Kartarpur as the main Sikh Center and why did he ask Guru Angad to go to Khadoor.
Guru Nanak had no choice but to stay back in Kartarpur and direct the Sikh crowd to Khadoor, where Bhai Lehna had now become Guru Angad. Guru Nanak asked Bhai Lehna to leave Kartarpur and establish another Sikh center in Khadoor in order to further spread Sikhi without any interruption from Sri Chand or the Brahmin priests.
In 1521, Guru Nanak returned to Kartarpur from his final voyage. For the next 18years Guru Nanak lived in Kartarpur working in the fields and attending to Kirtan and Katha sessions in the ashram. Towards the last few years of Guru Nanak’s worldly life there, Sri Chand and the Brahmin priests caused much disturbances for Guru Nanak. Sri Chand wanted to somehow get the Guruship for himself.
Finally, when he saw that Guru Nanak was steadfast with His decision and even stayed back in Kartarpur to divert the crowd to Khadoor, Sri Chand made plans to forcibly take over the ashram and later on converted it to become the center of Udasi sect.
Those last years of Guru Nanak’s life must have been really trying times for the Guru and His family, I’d say.
The circulation of fake sakhis are deliberate attempts by anti-Sikh forces to disrupt the spread of Guru Nanak’s unique Sikhi. So much so, they would do anything and stoop that low to create fake stories about our Guru perhaps in the hopes that Sikhs would one day begin accepting Sri Chand and forget that he was disowned by Guru Nanak.
Fortunately, we have Bhai Gurdas and his Vaaran to fall back upon. We now know (for a fact) who was Sri Chand, and why he was disowned. We now know why Bhai Lehna became Guru Angad.
I’m confident, Guru Arjan never had Writer’s block and neither did Guru Ji go and meet Sri Chand for a cure or for anything for that matter.
It’s all a lie, a fabrication of truth by anti Sikh forces (namely the Udasis and Nirmalas) who felt threatened that their devotees were now becoming closer to Guru Nanak and were beginning to accept Guru Nanak’s teachings. So, they devised a mischievous plan, created fake sakhis (stories) and proclaimed that Sri Chand was a good son and was not disowned by Guru Nanak.
We now know the truth!