The saints under this chapter are Parsvanatha, Buddha, Mahavir, Guru Nanak. I have covered Parsvanatha, Mahavir and Guru Nanak.
Parsva is regarded as an incarnation of Indra. He was the son of king Visvasena of Kashi, a descendant of the Ikshvaku family, and queen Bama Devi, daughter of King Mahipala. He was the twenty-third Tirthankara. He was born on the eleventh day of the dark fortnight in the month of Pousha in the year 872 B.C. Parsvanatha began to practice the twelve vows of a householder when he was only eight years old.
Prince Parsva was now sixteen years old. He was sitting on the throne. His father Visvasena said, “My son, in order to continue our celebrated royal dynasty, you must marry now. At the desire of Nabhi Raja, Rishabha had to marry”.
Parsvanatha was very much frightened when he heard the words of his father. He said, “My life-period will not be so extensive as that of Rishabha. I am to live only a few score years. I have already wasted sixteen years in boyish sports. I must enter the order in my thirtieth year. Should I then have a married life for so short a period in the hope of getting pleasures which are, after all, only imperfect, transient and illusory?’
Parsvanatha’s heart was filled with a spirit of renunciation. He reflected within himself: “For long years I enjoyed the status of Indra and yet the lust for pleasures did not decrease. Enjoyment of pleasures only increases the lust for pleasures, just as the addition of fuel only increases the virulence of fire. Pleasures at the time of enjoyment are pleasant, but their consequences are surely disastrous.
“The soul experiences from beginning less time the sufferings of birth, old age, etc., on account of its attachment to the objects of this world. To satisfy the cravings of his senses, man wanders in the realm of pain. So that he may have sensual gratification, he does not heed the moral injunctions and he commits the worst vices. He kills living animals to enjoy the pleasures of the senses. Lust is at the roof of theft, greed, adultery and all vices and crimes.
“As a consequence of sinful acts, the soul is forced to migrate from birth to birth in the kingdom of the lower animals etc., and to suffer the torments of hell. This lust for pleasures must be shunned ruthlessly. So long I have wasted my life. I am not going to spend any more time in the vain pursuit of pleasures. I shall be serious and practice right conduct.”
Prince Parsva had the twelve Anuprekshas or meditations. He resolved to abandon the world. He took leave of his parents and them left his house. He retired into the forest. He became absolutely naked. He turned towards the north and bowed to the great Emancipated Siddhas. He plucked five tufts of hair from his head and became a monk.
Parsva practised fasting. He observed with scrupulous care the twenty-eight primary and the ninety-four secondary rules of the order of monks. He was found lost in meditation. He attained the pure omniscience. He attained the final liberation in the Sammeda Hill, which is known today as the Parsvanatha Hill. Parsvanatha preached in Kashi, Kosi, Kosala, Panchala, Maharashtra, Magadha, Avanti, Malava, Anga and Vanga. Many joined the Jain faith. Parsvanatha spent seventy years in preaching.
Mahavira modified and enlarged what had already been taught by Parsvanatha. He did not preach anything that was absolutely new. Parsvanatha lived for one hundred years. He abandoned his home when he was thirty years old. He left home in 842 B.C. and attained Nirvana in 772 B.C. Glory to Parsvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankara!
In the sixth century before the Christian era, religion was forgotten in India. The lofty teachings of the Vedas were thrown into the background. There was much priest craft everywhere. The insincere priests traded on religion. They duped the people in a variety of ways and amassed wealth for themselves. They were quite irreligious. In the name of religion, people followed in the footsteps of the cruel priests and performed meaningless rituals. They killed innocent dumb animals and did various sacrifices. The country was in dire need of a reformer of Buddha’s type. At such a critical period, when there were cruelty, degeneration and unrighteousness everywhere, reformer Buddha was born to put down priest craft and animal sacrifices, to save the people and disseminate the message of equality, unity and cosmic love everywhere.
Buddha’s father was Suddhodana, king of the Sakhyas. Buddha’s mother was named Maya. Buddha was born in B.C. 560 and died at the age of eighty in B.C. 480. The place of his birth was a grove known as Lumbini, near the city of Kapilavastu, at the foot of Mount Palpa in the Himalayan ranges within Nepal. This small city Kapilavastu stood on the bank of the little river Rohini, some hundred miles northeast of the city of Varanasi. As the time drew night for Buddha to enter the world, the gods themselves prepared the way before him with celestial portents and signs. Flowers bloomed and gentle rains fell, although out of season; heavenly music was heard, delicious scents filled the air. The body of the child bore at birth the thirty-two auspicious marks (Mahavyanjana) that indicated his future greatness, besides secondary marks (Anuvyanjana) in large numbers.
On the birth of the child, Siddhartha, the astrologers predicted to its father Suddhodana: “The child, on attaining manhood, would become either a universal monarch (Chakravarti) or abandoning house and home, would assume the robe of a monk and become a Buddha, a perfectly enlightened soul, for the salvation of mankind”. Then the king said: “What shall my son see to make him retire from the world?” The astrologers replied: “Four signs”. “What four?” asked the king “A decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man and a monk-these four will make the prince retire from the world” replied the astrologers.
Gautama left his home forever, wealth, dominion, power, father, wife and the only child. He shaved his head and put on yellow robes. He marched towards Rajgriha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha. There were many caves in the neighboring hills. Many hermits lived in those caves. Siddhartha took Alamo Kalamo, a hermit, as his first teacher. He was not satisfied with his instructions. He left him and sought the help of another recluse named Uddako Ramputto for spiritual instructions. At last he determined to undertake Yogic practices he retired into the forest of Uruvila, the modern Buddha Gaya. He practiced severe Tapas and Pranayama for six years. He was determined to attain the supreme peace by practicing self-mortification. He abstained almost entirely from taking food. He did not find much progress by adopting this method. He was reduced to a skeleton. He became exceedingly weak.
Buddha gave out the experiences of his Samadhi: “I thus behold my mind released from the defilement of earthly existence, released from the defilement of sensual pleasures, released from the defilement of heresy, released from the defilement of ignorance”.
In the emancipated state arose the knowledge: “I am emancipated, rebirth is extinct, the religious walk is accomplished, what had to be done is done, and there is no need for the present existence.
“I have overcome all foes; I am all-wise; I am free from stains in every way; I have left everything and have obtained emancipation by the destruction of desire. Myself having gained knowledge, whom should I call my Master? I have no teacher; no one is equal to me. I am the holy one in this world; I am the highest teacher. I alone am the absolute omniscient one (Sambuddho). I have gained coolness by the extinction of all passion and have obtained Nirvana. To found the kingdom of the law (Dharmo) I go to the city of Varanasi. I will beat the drum of immortality in the darkness of this world”.
Lord Buddha then walked on to Varanasi He entered the deer-park’ one evening. He gave his discourses there and preached his doctrine. He preached to all without exception, men and women, the high and the low, the ignorant and the learned-all alike. All his first disciples were laymen and two of the very first were women. The first convert was a rich young man named Yasa. The next were Yasa’s father mother and wife. Those were his lay disciples.
Buddha argued and debated with his old disciples who had deserted him when he was in the Uruvila forest. He brought them round by his powerful arguments and persuasive powers. Kondanno, an aged hermit, was converted first. The others also soon accepted the doctrine of Lord Buddha. Buddha made sixty disciples and sent them in different directions to preach his doctrine.
Buddha told his disciples not to enquire into origin of the world, into the existence and nature of God. He said to them that such investigations were practically useless and likely to distract their minds.
Every Buddhist monk takes a vow, when he puts on the yellow robe, to abstain from killing any living being. Therefore, a stay in one place during the rainy season becomes necessary. Even now the Paramahamsa Sannyasins of Sankara’s order stays in one place for four months without killing countless small insects, which come into existence during this period.
Lord Buddha preached: “We will have to find out the cause of sorrow and the way to escape from it. The desire for sensual enjoyment and clinging to earthly life is the cause of sorrow. If we can eradicate desire, all sorrows and pains will come to an end. We will enjoy Nirvana or eternal peace Those who follow the Noble Eightfold Path strictly, viz., right opinion, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right employment, right exertion, right thought and right self-concentration will be free from pain and sorrow. This indeed, O mendicants, is that middle course which the Tathagata has thoroughly comprehended, which produce insight, which produces knowledge, which leads to calmness or serenity, to supernatural knowledge, to perfect Buddhahood, to Nirvana.
“This again, indeed, O mendicants are the noble truth of suffering. Birth is painful, old age is painful, sickness is painful, death is painful, association with unloved objects is painful, separation from loved objects is painful, the desire which one does not obtain, this is too painful-in short, the five elements of attachment to existence are painful. The five elements of attachment to earthly existence are form, sensation, perception, components and consciousness.
“This again, indeed, O mendicants, is the truth of the cause of suffering. It is that thirst which leads to renewed existence, connected with joy and passion, finding joy here and three, namely, thirst for sensual pleasure, and the instinctive thirst for existence. This again, indeed, O mendicants, is the noble truth cessation of suffering which is the cessation and total absence of desire for that very thirst its abandonment, surrender, release from it and non-attachment to it. This again, indeed, O mendicants, is the noble truth of the course which leads to the cessation of suffering. This is verily the Noble Eightfold Path, viz., right opinion, etc.”
Mahavira was born in 599 B.C. He lived for 72 years. He abandoned home in 569 B.C. He attained omniscience in 557 B.C. and entered into Nirvana in 527 B.C. He was the last Tirthankara.
Mahavira lived a life of absolute truthfulness, a life of perfect honesty and a life of absolute chastity. He lived without possessing any property at all. Mahavira was born of Sidhatha, Raja of Kundalpura, and Queen Trisala, who was known by the name Priya Karni. ‘Maha’ means great and ‘Vira’ means a hero. ‘Tirtha’ literally means a ford, a means of crossing over. Metaphorically, it denotes a spiritual guide or philosophy, which enables one to cross over the ocean of recurring births in this world. ‘Kara’ means one who makes. The whole word Tirthankara means a Jain holy teacher.
Mahavira is not the founder of Jainism. He revised the Jain doctrines. He was more a reformer than the founder of the faith. In Jain metaphysics, “Time” is divided into cycles. It is claimed that in each half-cycle, twenty-four Tirthankaras, at long intervals, preach anew the doctrines. Mahavira was the twenty-fourth, and like the others, is claimed to have been omniscient. Mahavira was also known by the names Vardhamana (i.e., ever advancing) and Sanmati. At the age of eight he observed the twelve vows of Ahimsa, etc. He was obedient to his parents and served them with great faith and devotion. He was an able statesman. He did not marry.
Mahavira was immersed in Self-contemplation. He knew that the pleasures of this world were transitory and that they strengthened the fetters of Karma. He knew that renunciation would lead to the attainment of eternal bliss. People were quite astonished at the virtuous nature of Mahavira at such a tender age. He was very much interested in meditation. He cultivated the arts of music and literature. Thirty years of Prince Vardhamana’s life passed off in this way.
Vardhamana saw, through his clairvoyant vision, that he had been passing through innumerable births. He thought, “How many births have gone by fruitlessly! I clearly see that the Soul is essentially separate from the Karma matter. (Similar to what the Geeta says). I have still wasted away thirty years of my life. I have not practiced any penance. I have not renounced the world in order to attain pure Knowledge. The infatuation which is at the roof of all evils is not yet destroyed”.
Prince Vardhamana became extremely penitent. He resolved to give up everything worldly. He gave up attachment to his parents, friends and relatives. He thought over the twelve Anuprekshas or matters of deep thinking according to the Jain scriptures:
1. All worldly things are temporary.
2. The Soul alone is the sole resort.
3. This world is beginning less and crooked.
4. There is nothing to help the Soul, but the Soul itself.
5. Body, mind, etc., are essentially separate from the Soul.
6. The Soul is essentially pure and the body, etc., are essentially impure.
7. The Soul’s bondage is due to the inflow of Karma in it.
8. Every being ought to stop this inflow.
9. Emancipation is attained when Karma is absolutely got rid of.
10. The emancipated Souls remain at the foremost top of the filled spaces.
11. In this world, to have the birth of a human being and to meditate on the nature of the Soul are the greatest blessings.
12. To have the three jewels as described by the Omniscient is the only morality.
Mahavira thought over these twelve things and decided finally that he must abandon home.
Mahavira’s mother said, “My beloved son, you will not be able to bear the severity of the austerities. Thereis time yet for it. You must help your father in governing the kingdom. You can become a monk after some years”.
Mahavira said, “Adorable mother! All the objects of the world are evanescent like water bubbles. Where can one get happiness in this world, which is the abode of disease, sorrow, pain and death? I must leave this world”.
Mahavira distributed all his wealth to the poor with his own hands. He went to the forest. He took off even the piece of cloth, which he was wearing and became absolutely nude. He turned to the north and said, “Salutation to the Siddhas!” He rooted out with his own hands five tufts of hair from his head and became a monk.
Mahavira practised rigorous austerities. He fasted for many days. He meditated on the pure nature of the Soul.
Mahavira was tested by the celestials. A group of handsome women surrounded him. But Mahavira remained unmoved and unperturbed. He attained omniscience. He preached his message of peace for thirty years after the attainment of omniscience. He wandered in Magadha, Mithila, etc Many kings became his disciples.
Whenever there is a big catastrophe in the land, whenever there is decline of righteousness, whenever there are oppression and chaos in the land, whenever the faith of the people in God wanes, great men or saints appear, from time to time, to enrich sacred literature, to protect Dharma, to destroy unrighteousness and reawaken the love of God in the minds of the people. India was in a bad plight. Babar invaded India. His armies assaulted and sacked several cities. The ascetic captives were forced to do rigorous work. There was wholesale massacre everywhere. The kings were bloodthirsty, cruel and tyrannical. There was no real religion. There was religious persecution. The real spirit of religion was crushed by ritualism. The hearts of the people were filled with falsehood, cunningness, selfishness and greed. At such a time Guru Nanak came to the world with a message of peace, unity, love and devotion to God. He came at a time when there was fight between the Hindus and the Mohammedans when real religion was replaced by mere rituals and forms He came to preach the gospel of peace, brotherhood or the unity of humanity, love and sacrifice.
Nanak, the Khatri mystic and poet and founder of the Sikh religion, was born in 1469 A.D. in the village of Talwandi on the Ravi, in the Lahore district of Punjab. On one side of the house in which Guru Nanak was born, there stands now the famous shrine called ‘Nankana Sahib’. Nanak has been called the ‘Prophet of the Punjab and Sind’. Nanak’s father was Mehta Kalu Chand, known popularly as Kalu. He was the accountant of the village. He was an agriculturist also. Nanak’s mother was Tripta. Even in his childhood, Nanak had a mystic disposition and he used to talk about God with Sadhus. He had a contemplative mind and a pious nature. He began to spend his time in meditation and spiritual practices. He was, by habit, reserved in nature. He would eat but little.
Today the English media and large sections of Sikhs believe that Sikhism is a different religion. This is what Sardar Khushwant Singh had to say in the Outlook “The roots of Sikhism lie deep in the Bhakti form of Hinduism and Vedanta. While the Adi-Granth is essentially a distillation of Vedanta in Punjabi, the last Dasam – tenth is a compilation of tales of the valor of Hindu goddesses. Out of the 15,028 names of Gods that appear in the Adi Granth, Hari occurs over 8,000 times, Ram 2,5333 times followed by Prabhu, Gopal, Govind and other Hindu names for the divine. The popular Sikh coinage Wah Guru appears only 16 times”.
Guru Nanak’s Wanderings
Nanak lived in this world for a period of seventy years. He wandered from place to place. He went to Sayyidpur in the district of Gujranwala. He then proceeded to Kurukshetra, Hardwar, Brindavan, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur, Ayodhya, Prayag, Patna, Rajgir, Gaya and Puri. He traveled throughout India. He made four extensive tours. He went to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mecca and Medina also. He traveled to Bengal, the Deccan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Arabia, Baghdad, Kabul, Kandahar and Siam. He held controversies with Pundits and Mohammedan priests. He debated with the Pandas of Gaya, Hardwar and other places of pilgrimage. He dispelled the clouds of ignorance and doubts of many people. He enjoined on all people to live righteously and with brotherly love and hospitality. He preached and taught: “Do Nama Smarana. Love God. Be devoted to one God. Serve your fellow beings. God is all-in-all. Pray. Praise Him always. Attain the bliss of union with Him”. Nanak succeeded remarkably in changing the minds of men and winning their love and confidence and in directing them along the path of righteousness and devotion.
Guru Nanak proceeded to Multan. He halted by the side of a river. Multan was a place filled with Fakirs always. Prahlad was born at Multan. Shams Tabriez and Mansoor also lived there. The Pirs came to know that Guru Nanak had come to Multan. They sent him milk in a cup, filled to the very brim. Nanak put inside the cup some Batashas – small hollow lumps of sugar-and a flower above them and returned milk. Mardana told his master that a thing like milk should not be returned and should be drunk by him. Guru Nanak replied, “Look here, Mardana. You are a simpleton.
The Pirs have played a small trick. They have not sent this milk for my use. There is deep philosophy at the back of it. There is profound significance. The meaning is that Multan is already full of Pirs and Fakirs, just like the cup that is filled with milk to the very brim, and that there is no room for another religious teacher. I have also paid them in the same coin. My answer is that I will mix with them like the Batashah and would predominate over them like the flower placed in the cup of milk”. The Pirs and the Fakirs then came to see Guru Nanak. Nanak sang a song. The proud and arrogant Pirs came to their senses now. They became very humble. They said to Guru Nanak: “Pardon us, O revered Guru! We were surely self-conceited. Kindly give us spiritual instructions and bless us”. Guru Nanak blessed them and gave them instructions.
There is a remarkable incident in connection with Nanak’s visit to Mecca. At Mecca, Nanak was found sleeping with his feet towards the Kaaba, before which the Mohammedans prostrated themselves when performing their prayer. Kazi Rukan-ud-din, who observed this, angrily remarked: “Infidel! How dare you dishonor God’s place by turning your feet towards Him?” He also kicked Nanak. Nanak silently replied, “I am tired. Turn my feet in any direction where the place of God is not”. Kazi Rukan-ud-din took hold of Nanak’s feet angrily and moved them towards the opposite direction. The mosque also began to move. The Kazi was struck with wonder. He then recognised the glory of Guru Nanak. (seems a bit far-fetched though but see the truth behind the thoughts).
Guru Nanak visited Hassan Abdul in the Attock district in the North Western Frontier in 1520 A.D. He sat under a Peepul tree at the foot of a hillock. On top of the hill, there lived a Mohammedan saint named Vali Quandhari. There was then a spring of water on top of the hill. Mardana used to get water from the spring. Guru Nanak became very popular in a short time. The Mohammedan saint became jealous. He forbade Mardana from taking water out of the spring. Mardana informed Guru Nanak of the conduct of the Mohammedan saint. Guru Nanak said to Mardana, “O Mardana! Do not be afraid. God will send water down to us soon”. The spring that was on the top of the hill dried up immediately. There arose a spring at the foot of the hill where Guru Nanak halted. The saint was very much enraged. He hurled a big rock from the top of the hill down to the spot where Nanak was sitting. Guru Nanak stopped the rock by his open hand. The impression of his hand on the rock exists even now. Then the saint came to the Guru, prostrated at his feet and asked for pardon. Guru Nanak smiled and pardoned the arrogant saint. There now stands a beautiful shrine by the side of the spring which is called “Punja Sahib”.
Teaching of Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak felt that it would be improper to postpone Nama Smarana or remembering the Name of the Lord, even by a single breath, because no one could tell whether the breath that had gone in would come out or not. Nanak says, “We are men of one breath. I know not a longer time-limit”. Guru Nanak calls him alone a true saint who remembers the Name of the Lord with every incoming and outgoing breath. The ideal is practical and within the reach of every man. He tells the people not to lose any time but to begin at once. He also says that there are no barriers of race, class, caste, creed or color, which check the progress of any in reaching the goal. He realized the great truth of the brotherhood of religions. He preached the universal brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God to all people.
Guru Nanak was a reformer. He attacked the corruptions in society. He strongly protested against formalism and ritualism. He carried the message of peace and of love for everybody. He was very liberal in his views. He did not observe the rules of caste. He tried his level best to remove the superstitions of the people. He preached purity, justice, goodness and the love of God. He endeavored to remove the moral putrefaction that was prevalent amongst the people and to infuse real spirit in the worship of God and true faith in religion and God. He introduced the singing of God’s praise along with music, as a means of linking the soul of man with God. Wherever he moved, he took Mardana with him to play on the rebeck while he sang. He said, “Serve God. Serve humanity. Only service to humanity shall secure for us a place in heaven”. Guru Nanak had great reverence for women. He allowed them to join all religious gatherings and conferences and to sing the praises of God. He gave them their full share in religious functions.
Guru Nanak clearly says: “The road to the abode of God is long and arduous. There are no short cuts for rich people. Everyone must undergo the same discipline. Everyone must purify his mind through service of humanity and Nama Smarana. Everyone must live according to the will of the Lord without grumbling or murmuring. How to find Him? There is one way. Make His will your own. Be in true with the Infinite. There is no other way”. The first stage in making the divine will one’s own is attained through prayer for divine grace or favour-Ardas for Guru Prasad. Guru Nanak attaches very great importance to prayer. He says that nothing can be achieved by man without divine favor. He says: “Approach God with perfect humility. Throw yourself on His mercy. Give up pride, show and egoism. Beg for his kindness and favor. Do not think of your own merits, abilities, faculties and capacities. Be prepared to die in the pursuit of His love and union with Him. Love God as a woman loves her husband. Make absolute unreserved self-surrender. You can get divine favor and love”.
The beautiful composition of mystic poems uttered by Nanak is contained in ‘Japji’. It is sung by every Sikh at daybreak. The ‘Sohila’. Contains the evening prayers. In ‘Japji’. Guru Nanak has given a vivid and concise description of the stages through which man must pass in order to each the final resting place or abode of eternal bliss. There are live stages or Khandas. The first is called Dharm Khand or “The Realm of Duty”. Everyone must do this duty properly. Everyone must tread the path of righteousness. Everyone will be judged according to his actions.
The next stage is Gyan Khand or “The Realm of knowledge” where the spirit of divine knowledge reigns. The aspirant does his duty with intense faith and sincerity. He has the knowledge now, that only by doing his duty in a perfect manner, he can reach the abode of bliss or the goal of life.
The third stage is Sharam Khand. This is “The Realm of Ecstasy”. There is the spiritual rapture here. There is beauty. The Dharma has become a part of one’s own nature. It has become an ingrained habit. It is no more a mere matter of duty or knowledge.
The fourth stage is Karam Khand or ‘The Realm of Power”. The God of power rules over this realm. The aspirant acquires power. He becomes a mighty hero. He becomes invincible. The fear of death vanishes.
The fifth or the final stage is Sach Khand or “The Realm of Truth”. The formless One reigns here. Here the aspirants becomes one with God. He has attained Godhead. He has transmuted himself into Divinity. He has attained the goal of his life. He has found out his permanent resting place. Now ends the arduous journey of the soul.
Guru Nanak again and again insists thus: “Realise your unity with all. Love God. Love God in man. Sing the love of God. Repeat God’s Name Sing His glory. Love God as the lotus loves water, as the bird Chatak loves rain, as the wife loves her husband. Make divine love thy pen and thy heart the writer. If you repeat the Name, you live; if you forget it, you die. Open your heart to Him. Enter into communion with Him. Sink into arms and feel the divine embrace”.
Nanak has given a beautiful summary of his teachings in one of his hymns as follows: -
Love the saints of every faith:
Put away thy pride.
Remember the essence of religion
Is meekness and sympathy,
Not fine clothes,
Not the Yogi’s garb and ashes,
Not the blowing of the horns,
Not the shaven head,
Not long prayers,
Not recitations and torturing,
Not the ascetic way,
But a life of goodness and purity,
Amid the world’s temptations.
“Vahe Guru” is the Guru Mantra for the followers of Guru Nanak. The other important Mantra for repetition is: “Ek Omkar Satnam Karta Purkh Nirbhav Nirvair, Akalmurat Ajuni Savai Bhang Gur Parsad-God is but one, His Name is true, He is the Creator, He pervades the whole universe, He is without fear, He is without enmity, He is immortal, He is birth less, He is self-born and self-existent, He is the remover of the darkness (of ignorance) and He is merciful”. The Lord is eternal. He has no beginning and no end.
The Granth Sahib
Guru Nanak invented the Gurumukhi characters by simplifying the Sanskrit characters. The holy Granth of the Sikhs is in Gurumukhi. It is worshipped by the Sikhs and the Sindhis. Every Gurudwara has a Granth Sahib. The holy Granth, popularly known as Adi Granth, contains the hymns of the first five Gurus. They were all collected, arranged and formed into one volume called Guru Granth Sahib by the fifth Guru. It contains a few selections from the hymns of Kabir and other contemporary Vaishnavite saints. Later on, the hymns of the ninth Guru were incorporated in the Holy Granth by the tenth Guru. The compositions of Guru Nanak are very extensive.
The Granth Sahib begins with the following: “There is but one God whose name is true-the Creator”. It contains a code of high morals. Purity of life, obedience to Guru, mercy, charity, temperance, justice, straightforwardness, truthfulness, sacrifice, service, love and abstinence from animal food are among the virtues on which great emphasis is laid; While lust, anger, pride, hatred, egoism, greed, selfishness, cruelty, back-biting and falsehood are vehemently condemned.