Guru Nanak’s Childhood Meditations

Actors: Nanak, his mother, his father Mehta Kalu, Rai Bullar, Hardyal pandit, relatives, cows, farmer, Hindu and Muslim ascetics

Props: strings for sacred thread, “trees”

Places: Home, temple for thread ceremony, forest, grazing fields

Narrator: When Nanak, who later became the first Guru of Sikhs, was a boy, his parents arranged a sacred thread (janeu) ceremony for him. It was to be a great occasion, for as the boy of a Brahmin family, he was to be initiated into all the sacred rituals. They invited all their relatives and special friends for the ceremony and a big feast, including Rai Bullar, the Muslim chief of their village.

Their family pandit, Hardyal, began doing all the customary rituals and preparing the sacred thread. But then when it came time for him and Nanak’s father to place the sacred thread over Nanak’s shoulder, the boy refused.

Nanak: I don’t want it.

Relatives: This is a great privilege for you. Please wear it.

Pandit: This will tie you to God.

Nanak (looking far away) : I only want a thread made of mercy, contentment, chastity, and truth.

Oh pandit, if you have such a thread, do give it to me.

It will not wear out, or get dirty, or be burned, or get lost.

Nanak says, those who wear such a thread are blessed.

Rai Bullar: This is a great revelation. Your son is very wise!

Mehta Kahlu: No, he has shamed us. I am so upset.

Narrator: As Nanak grew up, he spent more and more of his time with Hindu sadhus and Muslim dervishes in the forest. He was very happy meditating with them. But his father Mehta Kahlu did not like this.

Nanak meditating in the forest

Nanak meditating in the forest

Father (Mehta Kahlu): If you like to be in the forest so much, you can take our buffalos out to the fields for grazing.

Nanak: Yes, father, I would like to do that.

Narrator: So every morning Nanak took the buffalos out to graze in the fields and every evening he brought them back home. They soon became so tame that he didn’t have to do anything. He sat under the trees and sang spiritual songs as they grazed.

Then one day an angry farmer came and complained to Rai Bullar.

Farmer: That Mehta Kahlu’s buffalos have eaten all my crops while his lazy son who is supposed to be looking after them is sleeping under a tree.

Rai Bullar: I don’t believe it.

Narrator: So Rai Bullar, who had great regard for Nanak, went out to the field himself. There he found Nanak under a tree, deep in meditation. But the crop that had supposedly been entirely eaten was perfect. It appeared as though nothing at all had happened.

Farmer: I can’t believe my eyes. The whole field was eaten by those animals, but now it’s as it was before.

Rai Bullar: Do you see Nanak’s aura? He is no ordinary boy. He is very blessed.