From woman, man is born;
Within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married.
Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come.
When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound.
So why call her bad? From her, kings are born.
From a woman, a woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all – Shri Guru Granth Sahib.
I was on Wikipedia a few days back, and was reading about Guru Nanak. Leaning about Mystics has been one of the things that I have loved ever since I started to learn about mysticism. I just recently started to learn about Guru Nanak and his life. Reading about him has given me a certain insight into women which I would like to share with you today.
Leaving the worldly life in search of God:
It has been a very common practice among sannyasis, seekers of truth, or disciples like they call it in the west to leave the worldly life in order to seek God. Buddha had left his wife and child in search of Nirvana. We have all heard about Buddha’s inspiring life story and his search for enlightenment. I’ve always felt that there was something about Buddha’s life that was a little off.
The fact that Buddha left his wife is a very sad thing that any man could do. Buddha leaving his wife in search of enlightenment makes it seem as though the woman is an obstacle for a man seeking enlightenment.
Of course, Buddha did not have any intention of proving his wife’s inferiority. He probably had his own reasons for leaving his family. Perhaps, that was the right thing for him to do. The problem is when every monk started to follow the same lifestyle of renunciation that Buddha did.
Guru Nanak – The Madman:
Over thousands of years, Guru Nanak has been one of the most unique mystics as far as breaking old traditions are concerned. When Guru Nanak became a teenager, his father decided to teach his son business. Guru Nanak’s father was a business minded person. He wanted Guru Nanak to have the same skills as he had in dealing with clients.
One day, he decided to give his son some money to purchase merchandise. This merchandise was to be sold to clients in another part of the town for a higher price. In this way, a profit can be earned.
Guru Nanak listened carefully to his father and started off his journey to purchase the merchandise. He was accompanied by a friend named Bhai Mardana. On his way, a few miles away from where they began their journey, Guru Nanak noticed a small village where there were sick and hungry people. He looked at them and felt that this would be a great opportunity to create a profitable transaction.
He thought to himself, what better transaction than to feed someone in need. Moreover, the contentment that would come as a result of being able to help someone cannot be compared to anything. To Guru Nanak, this seemed like the most profitable transaction.
This is how the mind of a mystic is. At the time, Guru Nanak wasn’t enlightened, but he had the highest quality of a mystic in him. A mystic has this unique quality of madness inside him.
The Disappointed Father:
Of course, when Nanak’s father discovered what had happened, he was pretty disappointed. He felt that he had to somehow divert his son’s mind so that he could earn a livelihood in the future. Earning a livelihood is thought to be more important than living a happy life. This is how the mind of an ordinary human being functions. This is the basic difference which separates a mystic from an ordinary individual.
A mystic always thinks in terms of gaining something in life which death cannot take away, whereas, an ordinary person wastes his life by collecting stones. We can label these stones with beautiful words such as money, fame, gold, diamonds, beauty, fashion and so on, but ultimately all of these things in life for which we strive so hard do not prove to be more than just stones.
This does not mean that you should give up material pleasures altogether; it just means that you shouldn’t place ultimate value on them. Ultimate value should only be placed on things which are eternal, infinite and indestructible.
Get the Boy Married:
You must be wondering whether I’ve forgotten the topic of today’s article altogether, but stay right there, I am almost coming to it.
The reason I spoke about Guru Nanak’s teenage life is to just give you a little background.
Getting back to the point, Guru Nanak’s father was very disappointed. He felt that he had to do something just so that he could get his son involved in the worldly life. What better way to do that than to get him married he thought.
Guru Nanak’s father was skeptical whether his son would say yes to marriage. His father he knew that his son was a crazy man, whose only love was God, but Guru Nanak shocked his father when he said that he was willing to get married.
In the past, it has never happened that a person seeking enlightenment has not left his family. It was almost a rule that a person should give up everything including women so that he could find God.
Guru Nanak’s Uniqueness:
This is exactly where Guru Nanak proved to be a unique mystic when compared to others. You need to understand Guru Nanak’s entire standpoint of life. Guru Nanak had a childlike mind. A child does not see any difference between anything in the world unless we teach him to label things. A child sees everything in life as one.
Guru Nanak was a child. He didn’t see any difference between the worldly life and God. As a matter of fact, to him, God and man were one.
How can a woman be separate from God? Guru Nanak decided to marry because something about his wife reminded him about God. Every human being has God residing within. Only a man with a clear vision can see it.
To see God in the trees, birds, animals, flowers, and sunshine is very easy because we cannot communicate with them. Moreover, all of these things occurring in nature do not retaliate. An animal is mostly kind to a human being, a flower goes on giving you its fragrance whether you’re a good or a bad person. The sun shines on you irrespective of whether you are a saint or a sinner. Therefore, it is easy to see God in these things.
With human beings, it is difficult to see God because there seems to be a lot of ugly things which are part of an individual.
An Unbiased Vision:
Therefore, you need to develop an unbiased vision of a mystic in order to see the beauty in human beings, especially a woman. Man and woman are in a constant conflict deep within and for a man to see a woman as a friend is very difficult because society has always portrayed a woman to be lower than man.
A woman was considered to be an obstacle on the path of enlightenment. Therefore for thousands of years, men have been running away from women.
Guru Nanak was one of those few men who had come to change this entire perception that man had about women.
Guru Nanak – A Lion amongst Sheep:
Nanak was a man of an entirely different caliber. I mentioned before that Guru Nanak had childlike qualities. That was just half the story, the other half is that he had the courage of a lion too.
To have the innocence of a child and the courage of a lion existing together is one of the most unique and rare qualities that a human being can imbibe within himself.
It is really hard to find a balance between the two, but Guru Nanak had certainly found that balance.
He had the guts to prove the age old tradition wrong which indirectly emphasized that you need to stay away from a woman in order to achieve enlightenment.
Guru Nanak after Marriage:
After marriage as well, his father felt that Guru Nanak would change, but he remained exactly the same. In fact, as years went by, Guru Nanak became more and more spiritual while he was simultaneously living with his wife.
Guru Nanak had two children as well out of which his son became enlightened. Guru Nanak’s son grew up to be a disciple of Guru Nanak – this is something very rare. Very rarely, it happens that a son becomes a disciple of his father, but Guru Nanak was a unique man. The fact that his son could become enlightened proves the depth and the purity of his love for his wife.
Throughout his life, his wife kept supporting him so that he could achieve his spiritual endeavours.
Behind every Successful Man, there is a Woman
In my view, this story of Guru Nanak and his wife is not just a love story, but it is a clear proof that if a man’s love for his woman is deep and profound, so much so that he can see the divine in her, then instead of being an obstacle, the woman can become a ladder for a man to achieve his highest potential.
People always say, “Behind every successful man, there is a woman”. I’ve always wondered what this meant. We often think of this “success” to be material success as far as the world is concerned, but Guru Nanak’s life gives us a totally different view of the type of success a man can achieve with the love of a woman.
To me, guru Nanak’s enlightenment, and the enlightenment of his son are not the only events that make Guru Nanak unique, what sets him apart is the fact that what most people try to prove verbally, Guru Nanak managed to prove practically.
This may make Guru Nanak seem like a revolutionary, but he wasn’t. A revolutionary is a person who tries to force people into adapting to his way of life. Guru Nanak had no such intention of changing people’s views on women. He just did what felt natural to him.
It is easy to say nice things about a woman and make her feel empowered, but words are all futile. In the future, we would require men to prove by their lives that women are indeed a gift from God.
The same applies in the case of men. Whatever is true for a woman is true for a man as well. Both man and woman can help each other attain the highest peaks that are possible to achieve in life. For this to happen, people need to focus more on loving men and women as opposed to just beautiful words of encouragement that mean nothing.
I would like to hear your views and opinions on this subject. Do share them below in the comments.