Panja Sahib

Panja SahibThe photo is by Shafqat Mirza kindly donated by him to CC-BY license on my request, and digitally enhanced by me.
Panja Sahib

It is my wish to be able to one day visit the Panja Sahib – the Gurdwara in Pakistan where Guru Nanak, in 1521 AD taught Wali Kandhari a lesson. This is what they say happened: Guru Nanak reached Hassan Abdal (a place in Pakistan) and the number of his followers soon exceeded that of Wali Kandhari – who had been living as a ‘saint’ in the area for some time. So, he stopped the flow of water to the people of the village. Guru Nanak sent his disciple Mardana to him to request him to let the water flow. However, Wali Kandhari mocked them, and did not relent.

So Guru Nanak, lifted a stone, and from below a spring of water appeared. Angered on seeing this Wali Kandhari dislodged a big stone from the top of the hill intending to hurt Guru Nanak and his followers. However, Guru Nanak lifted his hand and this stopped the stone where it was. This hand is imprinted in the stone.

Click here to read a more detailed account of this.

There is another historic event that happened at this same place more recently, when a British Government train was passing through Hassan Abdal and having Sikh protestors being taken to the jail. Sikh people at the Gurdwara wanted to feed the protestors, but the British Government (coming to know about this) decided not to stop the train at the station. Read about that, and the courageous Sikhs here.

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Inheritance

People talk about heritage and inheritance. There are two values that I have inherited from my maternal Grandfather. Today I am going to talk about one of these two values. The other is more personal, I may talk about it some other time.

A Gurdwara, meaning “the doorway to the Guru”, is the Sikh place of worship and is referred to as a “Sikh temple”. My Grandfather would get off his bicycle whenever he reached a Gurdwara and walked the part of the road in front of the Gurdwara. Reaching the other side he would hop on to the bike once again and ride away. “Why do you do this?”, I would ask. His reply would be “Its a way to respect the Guru”.

A small thing, we may feel. However, doing it patiently every single time, especially if the Gurdwara is close to your home and you have to pass it 2-3 times a day, both while coming and going – its tedious to say the least.

Gurdwara
Gurdwara

Today I have a car but each time I pass by a Gurdwara, I think of this. Will I be able to pass on the legacy to my kids? When I am traveling by the Metro, and I pay homage when I pass by a Gurdwara, people around me (from different religions) copy me. I hope they don’t just forget it – they take it with them. My cab driver started doing it after seeing me. To me it means a lot.

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