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True Prayer:
Living Sikhi, Lesson Sixteen






Lesson Objectives:

1   To try to understand why Guru Nanak said he would do something, yet he appeared not to do it.

2   To understand what a big risk Guru Nanak  took when he didn't pray with the Qazi and the Nawab.

3   To practice the Gurus' teaching on true prayer.


Teachers, ask the students to say the Sikh greeting with you; then fold hands and do simran with the students.

Ask the students to volunteer to say the first pauri of Japji Sahib in Punjabi. (If some students are not ready, give them one more week to memorize it.)

Read pages 47-50.

Why do you think that Guru Nanak said he would join the Qazi and Nawab (who were Muslims) and pray with them? (Pause for answers) Right! He knew that God is One and that all true prayers are pleasing to God, no matter where we are or in what language we speak.

Guru Nanak could have first joined in the prayer and then afterwards told the Qazi and the Nawab that they were not really praying. But why didn't he do that? Why did Guru Nanak not recite the prayers out loud even though he said he would? Well, let's think about it.

Remember Guru Nanak's first words when he returned with his mission? What were they? (Pause for answers.) Right! "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim!" Almost everyone in Punjab in those days was either a Hindu or a Muslim. Remember how confused and maybe angry the Qazi and the Nawab were when they heard that. What did the Nawab and the Qazi think then? (Pause.) Right! They may have thought Nanak had lost his mind. They may also have thought he was saying that no one was a good Hindu or a good Muslim.

Can you imagine making the ruler of the land angry and appear to be insulting the religious leaders, not once, but twice? Can you imagine what the Qazi and the Nawab felt when Guru Nanak did not join them in prayer as the Guru said he would? They must have been hurt, confused and maybe, even angry. Why did Guru Nanak do such a thing? Why did he take such a big risk?

Right! Guru Nanak had just returned from the formless world, Sach Khand. He did not want these men to be angry, nor insulted. No, he wanted to introduce these good men to the highest realm. In this realm there is only One God. He wanted to help these good men to smash the barriers that kept them from becoming closer to God.

Guru Nanak knew that good people pray. These were good people. They had the habit of praying. But true prayer is more than just a habit - saying words or kneeling or bowing. Guru Nanak wanted to really confuse them first, to shock them so that he could get their full attention. It is a teaching technique that spiritual masters use to break through people's habitual way of thinking and feeling. Guru Nanak is a great teacher.

The Qazi and the Nawab were the first students of Guru Nanak. He knew they had a habit of prayer, but were not really praying. True prayer has great value. When we pray with our whole heart and mind, loving God, we tune into God who is in our hearts. We are transformed; we change for the better! This does not happen when we are thinking about our worries or fears, when our mind and heart is wandering around. When we truly pray, we leave that world behind. We concentrate on God's love and kindness.  

Do you think that the Nawab and the Qazi learned the lessons that Guru Nanak taught them? Why? Why not? (Pause for answers.) How do you think they proved it? (Pause for discussion.)

If you were Guru Nanak first student, how would you have reacted if he could read your mind? (Pause for answers.)


Homework: When you wake in the morning keep your mind and heart fixed on God's love for you as you recite the Mool Mantar and the first pauri of Japji Sahib. Work on your flashcards from the previous lesson.

Shabad: Sa rasna dhan dhan hai

Alternate Shabad: Lakh Khushiaan Patshaa-i-aan


July 30, 2010



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Living Sikhi, Lesson Sixteen"

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