Bhai Mardana

Bhai Mardana (6 February 1459 — 1534) was one of the first Sikhs and longtime companion of Guru Nanak Dev, foremost in the line of gurus noted in Sikhism. Bhai Mardana was the Muslim by-birth who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev on the journeys and became one of his foremost followers and disciples, and transformed to the newly set up religion. Bhai Mardana was born to a Mirasi Muslim family, a couple, Lakkho and Badra, of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now Sahib of Pakistan. He was the 7th born, all other kids had died at birth. He had pretty good knowledge of music and playing rabāb when Nanak sang Gurbani. Swami Haridas (faculty of Tansen) was the disciple of Bhai Mardana and grasped Classical Music from him.

It is said that Bhai Mardana foremost connected with Guru Nanak to seek coverage as numerous humans in his family were dying at the youngest age. Guru Nanak approached the family and saw that Mardana’s mom was crying as she felt her son would die. Mardana’s mom told Guru Ji that the reason she was crying was that all her kids were dying. Following this, Guru Mardana asked what her son’s name was, to which she said Marjana denoted He may possibly die. 

Both Bhai Mardana and Guru Nanak were brought up in a similar city. The Miharban Janam Sakhi said that Mardana was ten years elder to Guruji Nanak and was its companion since the childhood days. It further states that Mardana sang hymns written by Dhanna, Trilochan, Beni, kabir and Ravidas. As per to Prachin Panth Prakash, Ratan Singh Bhangu, Guru Nanak as a similar boy gave Mardana a string instrument improvised from reeds to playing on while he sang the hymns.

When Guru Nanak took charge of the storehouses and covering of Sultanpur Lodhi Nawab, he became significant for his liberality. Mardana, was by then married and had a daughter and two sons, Mardana went to meet up Guru Nanak as Guru Nanak’s father needed news of his son, Mardana never coming back from his trip and was with Nanak from then on. He used to play the Rabab (r-a-baab ) or rebeck as Guru Nanak speaking/singing his words about the Almighty.

When Guru Nanak plan to travel the globe to spread his message, he needed Mardana to accompany him, Mardana need to marry off his daughter before doing so, Bhai Baghirath a follower of Guru Nanak covered Mardana materially to sanction the daughter’s marriage and authorize Mardana to go along with Guru Nanak.

The chronicles of their travels utilize Mardana to show off worldly doubts and bring forth Guru Nanak Ji’s message, in many circumstances Mardana is portrayed as doubtful and needs clarifications in each situation. The Puratan Janam Sakhi told of all situations.

The Janamsakhis, which are necessary Nanak’s hagiographies, are replete with tales showing Mardana’s unquestioned devotion to the guru. They came from the similar city – now Nankana Sahib in Pakistan – and were companions since teenaged. When Nanak moved to Lodhi to work after his marriage, Mardana had followed him. He was with Nanak when he went on his foremost udasi, or journey, and when Nanak, after over two decades of traveling, returned to Punjab. In certain narratives of Nanak’s life, Mardana died on their return journey, while others suggest he settled with Nanak at Kartarpur, where he died.

It is one Janamsakhi story linked to Mardana that captures the essence of Nanak’s teachings. Mardana is once said to have asked Nanak about his religion so he can convert to it. Nanak responded that if one were a Muslim, he must strive to be a great Muslim; if he were a Hindu, he must become a great Hindu. That is how anyone can become Nanak’s Sikh, his disciple. So, in a manner, by remaining Muslim, Mardana became the foremost Sikh. Sikhism, of course, was still far from being the institutionalised culture. Nanak’s religion was as Mardana’s identity: a Muslim who was a Sikh.

Mystic Mantra: Mardana The first Sikh | Mystic Mantra ...


In the Granth Sahib there are 3 shlokas of the Guru, devoted to Mardana, against the usage of wine. The following, which might conveniently be given here, would suffice as a specimen:-

The barmaid is misery, man is the drinker, wine is lust.

The cup filled up with worldly love is wrath, and it is served by pride.

The company is covetous and false, and is ruined by excess drink.

Instead of such wine make good conducting thy yeast, truth thy molasses, Almighty name thy wine;

Mardana also keeps on writing poetry. One of his configurations had appeared in the Granth Sahib along with the two others of Nanak’s addressing to Bhai Mardana. As per the configuration Mardana was persuaded that the evil body might be made clean of sin in an awesome sangat.

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