Another Guru Nanak story

Another story of Guru Nanak, presented in its barest form, as found in a dry analytical study of the janamsakhis:

“Sharing Food with Others”

“…Nearby Trivandrum and on its north-west were situated two small towns by the names of Palam and Kottayam. [note 317] Guru Nanak came and halted here. There was also an old monastery of the yogis here. During the course of his discourse with the yogis, Guru Nanak explained the principle of sharing with others, especially the needy, whatever you have. The yogis gave him a sesame seed and asked if he could share it with others. The Guru took the seed, put it in a small earthen trough and pounded it. Then it was distributed among all [those] present. The place is now called Tilganji Sahib. Here also stands a gurdwara wherein Udasi mendicants used to live up to the 1960s….

Note 317: “…Dr. Ganda Singh has visited this gurdwara, and he has told the author that Palam and Kottayam are two small towns in the north-west of Trivandrum and that there is a gurdwara between these towns. That is why this place is called Palam-Kottayam.”

Janamsakhi Tradition: An Analytical Study, by Kirpal Singh, ed. Prithipal Singh Kapur (Amritsar: Singh Brothers, 2004), p. 143. ISBN 81-7205-311-8

The point of the story, of course, is that the yogis were trying to confound Nanak; they tried to show that sometimes it is impossible to share, for example when you have only one sesame seed. Harish Dhillon tells the story somewhat differently. Dhillon refers to siddhas not yogis; the siddhas are “arrogant”; Maranda grinds the seed up and dissolves it in water, giving everyone present a sip of water to drink. The First Sikh Spiritual Master: Timeless Wisdom from the Life and Teachings of Guru Nanak,, Harish Dhillon (Mumbai: Indus Source Books, 2005; Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2006), pp. 93-94.

1 thought on “Another Guru Nanak story

  1. Paul Swendson

    Great story. The problem with great spiritual lessons is that it is often difficult figuring out how to apply them. Everyone, obviously, has the capacity to share. In a world where the needs are so great, however, how far can you take sharing? It’s like certain sayings ascribed to Jesus in the “Sermon on the Mount.” They sound great, but does anyone actually try to do these things?

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