CHATUR DAS, PANDIT, a learned Brahman of Varanasi. who engaged Guru Nanak in a discourse during his visit to the city. He was intrigued by the Guru`s apparel which was neither of a householder nor of a hermit. As relates the Puratan Janam Sakhi, he questioned him, “What faith do you profess? You carry no saligram, the devotee`s stone, nor do you wear the necklace of tuJsf. You carry no rosary, nor have you the mark of powdered chandan wood on your forehead.

What devotion have you attached yourself to?” Guru Nanak in reply sang a hymn to the accompaniment of Mardana`s rabab or rebeck: Let God`s Name be the saligram thou adorest, Let good deeds be the basilwreath round thy neck ; Make a raft of God`s Name and seek His grace. Why waste thy time watering barren land, Or plastering walls built on sand ? Let good deeds be the string of vessels To draw water from the well, And yoke thy mind to the wheel. Distil the nectar and irrigate with it the land, Then alone wilt thou be owned by the Gardener … Still proud of his learning, Chatur Das said to Guru Nanak, “I admit your devotion to God, but now that you have come to this city, stay awhile and take something of its merit.

Here we teach all the fourteen sciences …” Guru Nanak said that for him only one word was of real account, adding that he reckoned him alone truly learned who engaged himself in the service of others. According to Puratan Janam Sakhi, Guru Nanak here uttered all the fifty-four stanzas of his composition, Oarikar, in Ramkali Dakkhani measure, which is preserved in the Guru Granth Sahib. In this long poem, he enunciated the nature of the True One and of His creation. A new understanding dawned upon Pandit Chatur Das. He fell at the Guru`s feet and became a disciple. A Sikh sangat or group of followers attached to the message of the Guru grew up around him.

References :

1. Santokh Singh, Bhai, 5ri Gur Pratap Sura; Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37
2. Vir Singh, Bhai, ed., Puratan Janam Sakhi. Amritsar, 1971
3. Gian Singh, Giani, Twankh Guru Khalsa. Patiala, 1970
4. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909