One day while Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji were holding a congregation one of the Sikhs asked “What type of incarnation was the first Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and were they independent and complete?”
According to Hindu belief there are many types of incarnations but for God there are six. These are the following; –
– Ansa Avtar
– Avesha Avtar
– Nit Avtar
– Namitak Avtar
– Pooran Avtar
– Pooran Tam Avtar
To this question Guru Gobind Singh Ji answered the following; –
1) Ansa Avtar is an incarnation of the Lord in the form of a righteous king who rules the people of his kingdom in accordance to the will of God. The people of the kingdom revere their ruler as God
2) Avesha Avtar is an incarnation or a divine form of God, which appears in order to please its devotee such as that of a statue drinking milk from Bhagat Namdev Ji. It is also the form of Parasram who was born without divine powers but acquired them later on in his life through devotion to God.
3) Nit Avtar is the form of God as a saint on earth. These are Sants, Mahapurkh, Brahmgiani, etc.
4) Namitak Avtar is the form of God that was assumed by Narsingh and Bawan. Narsingh came to the earth in order to protect his devotee Prahlad while Bawan came in order to deceive King Bali. After both had done their respected tasks they went back to heaven and never actually took birth on the earth.
5) Pooran Avtar is the incarnation that has 16 divine attributes and characteristics. Only Krishna has been born of this form.
6) Pooran Tam Avtar is regarded as that of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji as they came to the earth with the same powers as they had in heaven as the supreme Lord. They also came into the world already with knowledge and did not need to find any teachers, as they were already the one true master.
* According to Bhindra Samparda of Damdami Taksal the six avtars differ. They are written and explained below. These are the following; –
– Ansa Avtar
– Avesha Avtar
– Kalaa Avtar
– Nit Avtar
– Namit Avtar
– Pooran Avtar
To this question Guru Gobind Singh Ji answered the following; –
1) Ansa Avtar is an incarnation of the Lord in the form of a righteous king who rules the people of his kingdom in accordance to the will of God. They treat all of the people of their kingdom as if they were their own children and care for them as a father would do for his offspring. An example of this type of incarnation is that of King Manu or King Prithu.
2) Avesha Avtar is an incarnation or a divine form of God. This is a form of God, which is initially born or created without any powers however through the love devotion and meditation of the Lords name that individual gains powers. An example of this incarnation is one of Vishnu’s incarnation by the name Parasram. When he was initially born he had no powers but through the worship of God he gained spiritual powers.
3) Kalaa Avtar is an incarnation in which for the sake of the world or for a certain need have some types of powers. Such as Vishnu’s first two Avtars of Mach and Kach. In the form of Mach Avtar, which was an incarnation in the form of a fish, he had two powers in order to destroy the demon known and Sankhasar and save the Vedas from the depth of the sea. In the form of the Kach Avtar , which was the incarnation in the form of a tortoise, he had two powers out of the sixteen so that he could balance the Sumer Mountain on his back so that the ocean could be churned. These incarnations are distinct to the rest of the people of the world and are known as Kalaa Avtars.
4) Nit Avtar is the form of God as a saint on earth. These are Sants, Mahapurkh, Brahmgiani, etc. They come to the earth in order to spread the conventional rules, traditions and practices of the meditation of God to the people
5) Namit Avtar is an incarnation, which comes to the earth in order to complete a certain task, and following this disappears. An example of this is when the devotee of God by the name of Prahlad was in danger Vishnu assumed the form of Narsingh and came to protect him. Vishnu also assume the form of Bavan Avtar in order to trick King Bali into giving the control of the Heavens and Earth back to the demi gods. Following both of the incarnations completing their specific tasks they disappeared.
6) Pooran Avtar is the incarnation of Sri Krishna and Sri Ram Chandar out of the 24 incarnations of Vishnu. Sri Ram Chandar had 14 of the 16 powers while Sri Krishna possessed all 16 powers.
The sixteen powers or qualities possessed by the incarnations are the following;
Knowledge, Attention, Virtuous Acts, Persistence, Moderation, Faith, Charity, Skill, Meditation, Loving Acts, Control over Passion, Spiritualism, Mercy, Solemn Promise, Intelligence and a Clear Mind.
There are another sixteen powers or qualities possessed by the incarnations which are written about. These are the following; –
Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Sky, Vital Air for Breathing, Organs, Name of God, Actions, Faith, Place in Society, Devotion, Incantation, Desire, Semen and Physique
After explaining this the congregation asked, “Are Guru Nanak Dev Ji the same as the Pooran Avtar or do they not possess all of the qualities?”
Guru Gobind Singh Ji replied, “Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not lack any of the qualities. They however were greater for five reasons.”
Guru Gobind Singh Ji went on to explain the five qualities.
1) Shakti – This means powers.
Sri Ram Chandar showed his powers to his mother Kashuliya. When his mother went to pray to the goddess at that point Sri Ram Chandar replaced the image of the goddess with himself to show her his powers.
Sri Krishna also showed his powers to his mother Devki. He pretended to eat some dirt so when she forced him to open his mouth and see what he had eaten he showed that he had the whole of creation in his mouth. She saw the complete universe. During the Mahabharat war Sri Krishna showed his disciple Arjan a divine form of himself called the Vairat Saroop (explained further on).
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji were born in the village of Talwandi and at that moment they showed their mother Mata Tripta Ji and aunt their miracle. At the ambrosial hour all of the demi gods came to worship Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. They sat Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji on a throne and started to worship them and bow to them. They rubbed sandalwood into the skin of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and placed a garland of flowers around their neck. They then made a supplication to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and said, “O protector of the meek and true king. You are the transcendent formless being. You have taken this form and come to the world in order to save the world and all of humanity. You are also the protector of all of the demi gods.”
In this way the demi gods were making supplications to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. At that point Mata Tripta awoke and wondered who was around her son and revering him? At that point all of the demi gods disappeared. She saw that her son had marks of saffron and sandalwood all over him and on his forehead and the smell of the sandalwood was overwhelming. At that point Mata Tripta Ji gained full faith that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was indeed the incarnation of the divine Lord. But at that moment in order to conceal the powers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji he covered his mothers mind in the veil of illusion, which is called Maya. Just as a child cries in order to get milk that is what Guru Nanak Dev Ji did, by doing so Mata Tripta Ji forgot what had just occurred and became attached to her child. For this reason they are no less then Sri Ram Chandar and Sri Krishna in the amount of power they possess.
They are greater however due to other miracles. Whilst being asleep a cobra provided Guru Nanak Dev Ji with shade. Another occasion the shade of a tree covered them with shade even though the shade was in a different direction to all the others. They replenished a field with its entire crop when cows had eaten all of the harvest. In Medina the grave of the Islamic prophet paid their salutations to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. In Mecca the Kabba turned in the direction that Guru Nanak Dev Ji faced their feet. It is still in the direction that Guru Nanak Dev Ji had their feet pointing. Guru Nanak Dev Ji made the soap nuts on a tree they were sitting under taste sweet and are still to this day and can be eaten. Guru Nanak Dev Ji took all of the powers away from the Sidhs and then later returned them. Guru Nanak Dev Ji imprinted their palm print in a rock that was being hurled at them. Guru Nanak Dev Ji parted rivers and mountains in order to gain access to the other side when travelling. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was able to walk on water as if it was land. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was able to show a person thousands of heavens and underworlds in a second. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was able to make a boiling cauldron turn cold in a second. These are but a few examples of how great Guru Nanak Dev Ji were and how their powers were superior.
The other incarnations used their powers to increase their popularity and greatness. Guru Nanak Dev Ji used their powers in order to make other people learn the correct path and believe in one God. They did not do it in order to make them more popular.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji showed their powers in order to save others and to destroy their ego. In order to destroy Vali Kandhari’s ego they took his water from him. They prevented Gorakh Nath from having the strength to pick up a piece of wheat to destroy their ego.
For these reasons Guru Nanak Dev Ji have an endless amount of powers. They have no powers less then any other incarnations but have more and are greater. They are the holders of great power.
Sri Krishna was the possessor of 16 powers but Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had an infinite number of powers and was the incarnation of the divine Lord.
2) Viaktee – This is the name for the form of a being.
The form of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is greater then that of all of the other incarnations. Throughout the whole life of Sri Ram Chandar’s life and Sri Krishna’s life they never grew any facial hair. During the youthful years of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life when they had no facial hair we can say that there form was equal to the other incarnations. Then a beautiful beard grew on the form of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji so that other saints would recognise them and their form became greater.
In the treta age when Sri Ram Chandar went to marry Sita they left Ayodhiya to go to Janakpur in order to meet her. All of the of the royal maidens were enchanted by the beauty of Sri Ram Chandar. Due to this Sri Ram Chandar told them that he would satisfy their needs in the Dwaper age.
In the Dwaper age the royal maidens assumed the form of the Gopis and Sri Krishna tended to their physical and sexual needs.
Due to the forms of both Sri Ram Chandar and Sri Krishna they caused lust with the opposite sex and could not eradicate this cardinal sin.
When Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji went to the area of Sangla Deep, which is now referred to as Sri Lanka all of the beautiful women tried to enchant Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji through the power of the word of God destroyed the lust that was in the heart of the beautiful women. By singing the gospel of the Lord and saying the name of God they were able to bring peace to the hearts of the beautiful women. They no longer lusted and by seeing the Guru they were forever in bliss and were at peace.
Due to being able to dispel the lust in others the form of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was greater then that of the other incarnations.
3) Pragya – This is the name of a person’s knowledge of God and the name of God.
Sri Ram Chandar made Rishi Vashisht their spiritual master. They spent 68 days with them in which they learned the Vashisht Puran in order to gain the divine knowledge of God. He then spent 8 days with Rishi Vishwamitar who he adopted as his master in martial arts from who they learned the knowledge of weapons.
Sri Krishna made Rishi Darbasha their spiritual master. They spent 8 days with then in which they learned the scriptures in order to gain the divine knowledge of God. He then spent 64 days with Rishi Sandeepan who he adopted as his master in martial arts from who they learned the knowledge of weapons.
The father of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Baba Kaliyan Chand (Kalu Ji) took their son to the teacher Gopal Pandhay in order to study. They went on the first day in accordance to what his parents wanted and learned the alphabet. The second day they went they just remained silent. Even when Gopal Pandhay told him to read Guru Nanak Dev Ji ignored him. Gopal Pandhay then asked, “All of the other children are reading and learning. Why are you not doing the same?” Guru Nanak Dev Ji said, “All these things that you are teaching can be erased. One should learn those things that stay with an individual.” The teacher thought to himself and said to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, “I am unable to teach this to you, I only know how to teach mathematics and basic language. With your grace please tell us of this knowledge you want to be taught.”
Guru Nanak Dev Ji in answer to this sang the word of God. After hearing this divine hymn Gopal Pandhay was reassured about what Guru Ji wanted to hear and it was about the divine Lord. By giving this short discourse Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji exalted and delighted Gopal Pandhay.
On the third day when Baba Kaliyan Chand came to the school with Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, they asked Gopal Pandhay to teach their son.
Gopal Pandhay said, “ Your son is the creator of all of the knowledge. Do not worry about him learning. They are not here to learn but will teach others instead.”
Due to this Baba Kaliyan Chand took Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Mulla Noor Deen in order to learn Farsi. Again on their first day Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji said a hymn, which was a divine message from God.
By doing this Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji taught the people they were supposed to learn from rather then gaining knowledge from their teachings. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji gave the Mulla divine knowledge and exalted them.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji never made any person their spiritual master. Rather the people they were sent to learn from became their disciples and accepted Guru Nanak Dev Ji as their spiritual master.
The other incarnations for a small number of days adopted spiritual masters in order to gain knowledge. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was unique in the way that they already had divine knowledge and never needed to learn from another.
Unlike the other incarnations Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji never had to learn the knowledge of weapons. They used the word of God as a metaphysical weapon to destroy the vices of other people. Due to the greater knowledge of the word of God and using it as a weapon Guru Nanak Dev Ji were greater then any other incarnation. Many philosophers and Sikh writers do suggest that they did have complete knowledge of weapons but never used them. They passed this knowledge onto one of their devotees by the name of Baba Buddha Ji to teach the Sikhs when they needed it. Baba Buddha Ji were later the teacher of marital arts to the sixth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Hargobind Ji.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not have less intelligence then that of the other incarnations but more. The intelligence that they possessed was infinite and greater then all others. No other incarnation even came close to the intelligence and knowledge possessed by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
4) Kartab – This is one’s show of skill.
In the age of Treta the life of Sri Ram Chandar lasted for 10,000 years. During that time the only time they showed their skill when they were exiled for 14 years. During that time Ravan kidnapped the wife of Sri Ram Chandar. Due to this Ram and Ravan waged war against each other. Ram killed the demon Ravan and freed his wife Sita and the other demi gods that had been captured. After killing Ravan, Ram appointed Bhabhikhan as the new ruler of Sri Lanka. After the 14 years of exile he went back to rule the kingdom of Ayodhiya. Whilst he was ruling he made a promise that no child should die before their mother and father. After making this promise a son of a Brahman who lived in Ayodhiya died. The Brahman came to Sri Ram Chandar and accused him of being a liar. He stated that Sri Ram Chandar had no power as the promise that he made failed. He said if he did have the power then he should make his son come back to life.
Sri Ram Chandar asked the Brahman why this child had died. He was told it was due to a person of a low caste had started to meditate in the jungle, he stated this was the only reason why the child had died.
At that time a male of the low caste by the name of Sanboock was hung upside down in a well meditating on the Lord. Sri Ram Chandar went to that location and beheaded Sanboock and brought the son of the Brahman back to life. This account is written about in both the Balmik Ramayan and the Sri Dasam Granth.
By accident Sri Ram Chandar fought against his sons Love and Kush. His sons injured or killed his entire army including Sri Ram Chandar. Only due to the goodness of Sita he was brought back to life. Still Sri Ram Chandar passed the reign of the kingdom over to his two sons. This was due to his attachment with his family.
Sri Krishna after killing Kans he placed his maternal grandfather named Ugarsain on the throne to rule the kingdom. This showed his attachment to his family.
However Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji for the first 28 years stayed in the city of Sultanpur and worked in the granary. After doing this they went into the Beas River and went to heaven there. Here they adopted God as their only spiritual master. They were given the root incantation here and following which saved all of humanity with the knowledge of the Lord. They travelled far and wide doing this. They did not speak of any other demi god or prophet other then God.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not show any attachment to their sons but showed may feats of skill. Instead of installing one of their sons in their position they appointed one of their disciples.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji met many evil kings such as Devloot, Lajvarad and Babur. Rather then killing them they gave them knowledge in order to make them understand the message of God and to help humanity. The demon Kauda, the thieves Bhumai and Sajjan were made to repent what they were doing and became saints. They made all the evil people good with the teachings they imparted. They saw no difference between social class, gender, age, etc and imparted the same message to all the people of the world.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in order to avoid many troubles showed much skill.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not show any less skill then any other incarnation. They actually showed greater skill then all others.
5) Aayoo – these are acts performed for others good.
Sri Ram Chandar lived for 10,000 years. Due to listening to the Brahmans they killed a person of a low caste. They also handed the reign of the land to his two sons.
Sri Krishna lived for 1,000 years. He believed Jadva to be an egotistical person due to this he got Rishi Darbasha to curse him so that he would die.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a king and a saint at the same time. In order to bring any other being back to life they never killed another. By bringing that person back to life they would give them the name of God so that they could save and bring back to life many other people.
This is the same with the 3rd, 5th, 9th and 10th Sikh Guru’s. The third Guru, Sri Guru Amar Das Ji whilst the spiritual master of the Sikhs for 22 years no one died in the village of Gobindwal. No matter if old or young no one died during the 22 years that Sri Guru Amar Das Ji was in the city of Gobindwal. No one was ill as well. This showed that the Guru’s of the Sikhs were greater then that of the incarnations.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived for 70 years and during that time travelled more then Sri Ram Chandar and Sri Krishna did. Sri Ram Chandar and Sri Krishna never travelled further then Indian and Sri Lanka. Guru Nanak Dev Ji went to Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Tibet, Sikam, Burma, Africa, Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Russia. They travelled to these countries and more all by foot. In the ballads written by Bhai Gurdas Ji it states the Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji actually travelled the whole world and met all the people of all nations. Guru Nanak Dev Ji saved that many souls that they cannot all be accounted for.
In such a small life Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji helped an infinite number of people. They got the root incantation from heaven and spread it through the seven lands of India and all of the continents throughout the world. They taught all the people to meditate on the name of the one true Lord. They started the faith of Sikhism. They created the true congregation. They made other people meditate on the Lord.
As of all of the good things that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji did during such a short span of life none of the other incarnation did.
The examples show that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not lack any Shakti, Viaktee, Pragya, Kartab and Aayoo considering they had a shorter life then any of the other incarnations. If they are an incarnation they cannot be seen as any less of an incarnation then a Pooran Avtar. If they are a Pooran Avtar they are not like Vishnu’s incarnations of Sri Ram Chandar or Sri Krishna. Sri Ram Chandar possessed 14 divine qualities while Sri Krishna possessed 16 divine qualities. However in the age of Kaljug having 16 divine qualities was not sufficient. For this reason Guru Nanak Dev Ji possessed an infinite number of divine qualities. This made Guru Nanak Dev Ji greater then the two greatest incarnations of Vishnu. Guru Nanak Dev Ji were themselves God incarnated on the earth and not a demi god.
The congregation heard this and asked Guru Gobind Singh Ji, “We believe that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji are a divine incarnation and a complete one. But tell us what authenticity you have to say that they are complete?”
Guru Gobind Singh Ji said, “There are three types of authenticity that I can give you. They are the Vedic authenticity, Lokik authenticity and Svai authenticity.”
Guru Gobind Singh Ji went on to explain all three.
1) Vedic authenticity. This is where the proof of the incarnation is written about in the scriptures.
Examples of this are written about in the Gopal Tapnee Upanishad, Surtee Parmaan & the Bhagvat Da Parmaan.
Another example to show that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji are commonly regarded as God is written about in the Bhavishat Puran. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s arrival on earth was predicted by Rishi Ved Vyas who wrote in the Bhavishat Puran 12 saloks in the 24th Adhayi (stanza). In this text it is written that in the Dark Age Guru Nanak Dev Ji will be the saviour of the world. These can be found from salok 33 to 44.
2) Lokik authenticity. This is where people from the period of time of the Guru’s wrote their own facts about the messengers of God.
An example of this is the writings of Bhai Gurdas Ji who state that Guru Nanak Dev Ji are themselves God incarnate. They state this in // 1 stanza 23, // 28 stanza 1 and // 38 stanza 20.
The bhatts (bards) also wrote in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji also state that Guru Nanak Dev Ji were God themselves incarnate.
Without Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji along with their other forms as Guru’s including with Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, there would never have been another incarnation or prophet who was equal to God. In the Bihangam Marg book and the Janam Sakhi it states that when Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji were in heaven God said to them, “Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji I am the transcendent God and you are the non transcendent God. Between us and yourself there is no difference.”
This story again shows that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the complete incarnation of God and no other.
3) Svai authenticity. This is the authenticity written by the following Gurus after Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Examples of this are in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji where the other Guru’s have stated Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji are God.
The three authenticities show that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji were in fact God and not an incarnation of any demi god. They were a complete incarnation.
Sri Ram Chandar were an incarnation of power and the ideal way of life. They were an incarnation attributed to truth.
Sri Krishna were an incarnation where they were attributed to passion and royalty. They played the role of the king and were filled with passion. Sri Krishna married 16,108 Gopis.
Parasram was an incarnation where they were attributed to the darkness and evil. This is due to him destroying the social class of the Kashatris 21 times during his life.
All three of these are incarnations of the demi god Vishnu and possessed all the three main virtues.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji possessed all of the virtues but were the form of God.
In the first age the incarnations came to look after all of humanity and creation. They destroyed their enemies. In the Bhagvat Gita and the Sri Dasam Granth it is written that at the end of the Dark Age the incarnation of Kalki will appear to destroy the wicked people. When the time is right that incarnation will appear. However Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the 6th and 10th form in order to protect righteousness they had to destroy an endless number of wicked people. Due to their deeds you can still see Hindus in India today, as without the Sikh Guru’s no Hindus would have survived. There is no doubt to the incarnation of the Sikh Gurus. The amount of teachings that the Gurus gave about religion and faith was far more then any other persons have done. No matter how many knowledgeable people there are, devotees of the lord and teachers they will never be equal to the Lord himself.
Many knowledgeable people have come to the world and shared their knowledge but have only done so with a certain social group. The message that was also given is only suitable for that group. The message of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is for all of mankind. Those people who doubt the divine incarnation of God shall be destroyed.
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji were the incarnation of God. They were the spiritual master of the world. From the beginning they were the true spiritual master.
-translation by Kamalpreet Singh Pardesi from Sant Gurbachan Singh ji Bhindrenvale’s Japji Sahib teeka