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Chapter Twelve:
Guru Nanak and Miracles

Guru Nanak according to the Supreme Bahá’í body, the Universal House of Justice, was endowed with a "saintly character"1 and "was inspired to reconcile the religions of Hinduism and Islam, the followers of which religions had been in violent conflict."2 The Bahá’ís thus view Guru Nanak as a ‘saint of the highest order’.3 A saint in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is "one who leads a life of purity, one who has freed himself from all human weaknesses and imperfections."4 He continues, "Saints are men who have freed themselves from the world of matter and who have overcome sin. They live in the world but are not of it, their thoughts being continually in the world of the spirit. Their lives are spent in holiness, and their deeds show forth love, justice and godliness. They are illumined from on high; they are as bright and shining lamps in the dark places of the earth. These are the saints of God."5

Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Gurus raised a voice against miracle making in the name of religion. Ironically historians have spiced their lives with various miracles for the consumption of the lay man. They might have done so partly because of their love and devotion for these saintly figures and partly because they wanted to impress the masses about the divinity of the mission of their masters.

Guru Nanak attached no value to the trickeries or incantations, charms and mantras. He deprecates going to graves and crematoria, wandering in doubt from place to place, living in woods, visiting many places of pilgrimages, donning many garbs or living without clothes, torturing the body, walking barefoot, putting ashes on the head, living in the wilderness wearing rosaries, reading scriptures to argue or to show off, etc.

The Guru gave the verdict, "The supra-physical powers are quite irrelevant for a man of God."6 He completely disagreed with the yogis’ measurement of spirituality with miracles. For him, the spiritual power was the true index of one’s greatness and this should come through the love of the Lord. The seeker’s attention should never be diverted from his real objectivethe union of the soul with the Universal Soul or attaining nearness to God.

Talking of the pundits, priests or so called godmen, he says, "He (pundit) has in his home (the images) of Narayan with all his courtiers. He worships it and keeps it washed. He offers saffron sandal and flowers to it and falls at its feet again and again to propitiate it. But he begs his food and raiment from men. The blind man is being punished for his blind deeds. The idol neither gives food to the hungry nor can protect them from death. The blind crowd is engaged in a blind contention."7

Idol worshippers are completely mistaken and have taken the wrong path. Nanak says of them, "They worship stones, which neither see nor speak. They are ignorantand are in total darkness. The stone itself sinks, how can it take one across."8

A change of heart is very important. If inner transformation has not occurred, indulging in any outward means of purification will not help. "False inside with a show of piety outwards are hypocrites in this world. They may bathe at sixty eight places of pilgrimage, their dirt will not be removed."9 "Nanak impurity will not be removed this-wise, true knowledge will wash it away."10

Guru Nanak taught not to engage in useless rituals. According to him, pure are those, "…in whose hearts God is enshrined."11 For him, "Thy (God’s) praise is my Ganges and Banaras, in which my soul bathes."12

Guru Gobind Singh, in Akal Ustat, speaks similarly and gracefully thus: "The evil propensities cannot be dispelled through the power of tantras, mantras or magic. It can be dispelled by possessing the Lord alone."13

Guru Amar Dass has declared, "To hanker after occult powers or worldly treasures, is a false attachment, it shuts out the love of the name, a symbol of the love of God."14

Truly indeed one who loves spirituality loses any taste for supra-physical powers.



1. Universal House of Justice. Letter dated 27 October, 1985 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of India.

2. ibid.

3. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India. Letter dated 7 July 1986 to the State Bahá’í Council of Punjab.

4. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 60.

5. ibid., pp. 60-61.

6. Narain Singh, Guru Nanak Dev’s View of Life, Amplified, Published by Bhagat Puran Singh, All India Pingalwara Society, Amritsar. p. 386. Guru Nanak, Japuji. ["ridhi sidhi awra sadu"].

7. Bhai Jodh Singh, Gospel of Guru Nanak (In His Own Words), Languages Department, Punjab, 1988, p. 151. [Var Sarang S.1.P.9]

8. ibid., p. 150. [Var Bihagra S.2.P.20]

9. ibid., p. 153. [Var Asa S.1.P.19].

10. ibid. [Var Asa S.2.P.20].

11. ibid., p. 152. [Var Asa S.1.2.P.17].

12. ibid. [Asa 4.2.32].

13. Narain Singh, Guru Nanak Dev’s View of Life, Amplified, p. 592-3. Guru Gobind Singh, Akal Ustat. ["na jantr mai na tantra mai na mritu basi awai"].

14. ibid., p. 594. Guru Amar Das. ["ridhi sidhi sabhu mohu hai namu na vaseh mani aai"].

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