MALŪK DĀS was a long-lived Vaiṣṇava saint who spanned the reigns of the Mughal emperors from Akbar to Auraṅgzīb. He was widely venerated and counted among his admirers and followers, Muslims as well as Hindus. He lived at Kaṛā, on the right bank of the River Gaṅgā, in Allāhābād district of Uttar Pradesh. Gurū Tegh Bahādur met him in 1666 while travelling to the eastern districts. Malūk Dās had heard about Gurū Nānak and the spiritual line issuing from him. He was now surprised to see his ninth successor in princely attire and accompanied by armed disciples who hunted animals. But his doubts disappeared when Gurū Tegh Bahādur explained to him that holiness of the heart had no essential connection with vegetarianism, nor was the pursuit of arms a hindrance to spiritual uplift. Malūk Dās was convinced. He said to himself, "Though the Gurū is clad as a prince, his mind is fixed in divine knowledge. He is the ocean of qualities. How can an ignorant one like me praise him? Sinner am I from birth. His sanctity I did not comprehend." Saying these words he fell at the Gurū's feet and served him with humility.
A Sikh saṅgat was established at Kaṛā. A gurdwārā was also built but no traces of it are left now. The samādh of Malūk Dās still exists and is visited by Hindu and Muslim devotees.
Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)