IBRAHIM, SHAIKH (Shaikh Farid of the Janam Sakhi), twelfth in succession from the famous Sufi saint, Shaikh Farid udDin GanjiShakar (1173-1266), held the seat of the earlier Shaikh at Pakpattan in the present Sahiwal (former Montgomery) district of Pakistan when Guru Nanak (1469-1539) was travelling in these parts. Shaikh Ibrahim, like his illustrious predecessor, lived a pious and austere life and was on this account known among his followers and admirers as Farid II. Guru Nanak, accompanied at the rebeck by Bhai Mardana, was singing God`s praises in the forest on the outskirts of Pakpattan, when Kamal, a follower of Shaikh Ibrahim, collecting firewood for the khdnaqdh kitchen, came where sat Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana.
He was enthralled by the ^erses Guru Nanak was reciting: Thou art the tablet, thou the pen, Thou too art the writing thereon. Worship the One Lord, 0 Nanak, For there is none other besides Him. Kamal, says Purdtan Janam Sdkhi, reported to Shaikh Ibrahim, “I have met a man of God, Reverend Pir! His name is Nanak and accompanied by a rebeck player he sings of the One Lord.” And he repeated the lines he had heard and remembered. Shaikh Ibrahim himself went out to meet Guru Nanak.
According to the Janam Sdkhi, the two held a long discourse in a mixture of poetic metaphor and philosophy. On seeing Guru Nanak, in the ordinary attire of a householder. Shaikh Ibrahim remarked: Covet either the world, or covet Allah, the Creator. Set not thy feet on two boats, Lest thou drownest all thy goods.The Guru answered: Set thy feet on both boats, in both ships, thy goods.
A boat will sink, a boat will go across, For those who deal in true, everlasting goods, There is no ocean, no boats, no drowning, no loss. He told the Shaikh that to gain the Divine one need not disown the world. In discovering harmony between the two lay the way to attainment. The body would perish, but the other boat, the soul, could be saved by living in the world in the spirit of a true seeker. Guru Nanak then repeated the advice which would have sounded familiar to the ears of the Sufi saint: “Know thy True Friend. He is in thy own heart. The Beloved is not far from thee.”
1. Vir Singh, Bhai, ed., Purdtan Jnnam Sdkhi. Amritsar, 1982
2. Kohli, Sui indar Singh, ed., Janam Sdkhi Bhai Bald. Chandigarh, 1975