Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Guru Nanak, Part 2

BY: SUN STAFF - 7.3 2019

Nityananda Prabhu and Nanak Dev

A serial presentation on Guru Nanak's role in the Bhakti Movement, and his Caitanya-lila pastimes.

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is known to have traveled extensively throughout India, and one of his most famous trips took him to Jagannatha Puri. He went there with two of his disciples, Bala and Manda. Bala was a Hindu while Manda was Muslim. The three stayed in Puri Dham for some days.

One of the pastimes said to have taken place at Puri occurred when one of Nanak's disciples dug a hole in the sea beach in search of potable water for the use of their Guru. Sweet water is said to have sprung forth, therefore the place was considered holy and it was subsequently converted into a well. A Gurudwara called Bauli Saheb was eventually built nearby in memory of Guru Nanak. Today it is a pilgrimage site for Sikhs, who visit Baulimath to hear from the Guru Grantha Sahib (sastra) installed there.

There is another well known story about Guru Nanak's time in Puri Dhama -- this one involving Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. As Guru Nanak was entering the temple of Lord Jagannath, he met Sri Chaitanya, who was just then leaving the temple. Both offered pranams to one other. But Guru Nanak then turned and started to leave the temple, instead of proceeding inside. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired why he was not going inside to have darshan, and Nanak replied, "I have already seen the Lord".

According to Dr. Durgadas Basu, a National Research Professor and Padma bhushan, Guru Nanak was given mantra diksa by none other than Prabhu Nityananda. This is said to have taken place while Nityananda was traveling through Bangladesh (Bengal). Guru Nanak's status as a mantra shishya of Nityananda is recorded in his autobiography.

In the final chapter of the Guru Grantha Sahib, while elaborating the greatness and glory of the holy 'Naam', we read:

"Swasi grasi harinam samali
Simar bus vishwambhar ak"

"In order to attain salvation, one must chant the holy name of Ram, Hari or Vishwambhar."

Asked about Sikh-dharma, Srila Prabhupada answered:

"Guru Nanak, he chanted the name, holy name of Rama, the holy name of Krsna, Govinda. So if we follow Guru Nanak, we are fortunate. Anyone who presents a science of God, it doesn't matter whether he is this man or that man; he is our guru." 
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 03-02-75, Atlanta)

The basic tenets of Nanak's Sikh religion reflect the time and place circumstances of its development. Essentially, the Sikhs believe that there is only one God, who is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. They say God cannot take human form. The goal of human life is to break the cycle of birth and death and merge with God. This can be accomplished by following the teachings of the Guru, meditation on the Holy Name and performance of acts of service and charity. The five cardinal vices are; kam (lust), krodh (anger), lobh (greed), moh (worldly attachment) and ahankar (pride).

Narm marg emphasizes daily devotion to the remembrance of God. However, Sikhs reject rituals, which includes fasting, vegetarianism, pilgrimage and yoga, as idol worship. Family life (grasth) is encouraged, and celibacy or renunciation is not. The Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib is the perpetual Guru, and there is no place in Sikhism for a living Guru today.

In his lecture on Bhagavad-gita (Montreal June 13, 1968), Srila Prabhupada stated:

"Similarly, in the temple of Guru-dvaras, Sikhs... (break) ...like the Hindus. And they also offer flower, fruits, and sweetmeat, but they read their Granthasahib. As we are reading Bhagavad-gita they read Granthasahib enunciated by Guru Nanak. So this temple worship or accepting some authority, either you accept Krsna or you accept Lord Jesus Christ or Jehovah or Lord Buddha or Guru Nanak, that is a different, I mean to say, kinds of faith, but this acceptance of authority is there in everywhere. Now who is the highest authority, that we have to see by understanding Vedic literature, by our arguments, by our sense, by our understanding. But this acceptance of authority is there."