BRAHM DĀS, PAṆḌIT, described in the Purātan Janam Sākhī as a learned man of Kashmīr, is said to have been a resident of Bīj Bihāṛā, near Maṭan. Once Gurū Nānak journeying through the valley halted close to where he lived. As Brahm Dās, proud of his learning, heard of the arrival of a faqīr, holy man, he came in his accustomed manner with his packs of Pūraṇas and other old texts amounting to "two camel-loads" and with a stone idol suspended from his neck. No sooner had he uttered his greeting than he began questioning the Gurū on how he clad himself, what ritual he observed and what food he ate. The Gurū uttered this śabda :

        There is but one highway and there is but one entrance ;

        The Gurū is the ladder to reach one's native home ;

        Handsome is the Lord and in His Name lies all comfort.

        He created Himself and Himself He recognizeth.

        He created the sky and the earth,

        By making one the canopy for the other.

        Thus was His Word made manifest.

        He created the sun and the moon,

        And gave them His own light.

        He made night and day;

        Marvellous is His creation.

        His are the pilgrimages, His the holy converse,

        And His the festive ablutions.

        How can I describe Thee, O Lord,

        There is nothing to equal Thee.

        Thou occupiest Thy eternal throne;

        The rest but come and go.

                                                     (G. G, 1279)


        Brahm Dās whose forte was disputation felt disarmed by the Gurū's words and manner. He asked him humbly this time how the Lord existed before creation. Another holy hymn burst forth from the Gurū's lips :

        Through aeons past reckoning,

        Utter darkness hung upon misty void.

        There were then no earths, nor firmaments;

        Pervasive infinitely was the Lord's Will alone;

        There was neither night nor day, neither sun nor moon;

        He alone was there

        Poised in perfect concentration.

        There was neither birth nor speech, neither air nor water;

        There was neither creation nor destruction, neither coming nor going;

        There were neither the seven seas nor rivers overflowing with water.

        There were not the higher, middle or neither regions, nor the hell or heaven, nor death the destroyer,

        There was neither paradise nor purgatory, neither birth nor death;

        There was then no Brahmā, Viṣṇu, or Śiva ;

        There was neither male nor female, neither caste nor reincarnation, neither pain nor pleasure.


        There were neither Mullās, nor Qāzīs neither sūfīs nor their disciples, nor the hajj pilgrims,

        There were no mighty sovereigns, nor subjects for them to rule, no world of ego, no masters or slaves.


        There were no Vedas, nor the books of the Semitics,

        There were no Smṛtis and no Śastras, and no reading of the scriptures by morning or evening.

        The Unspeakable One was Himself the speaker, the Unknowable One had alone the knowledge of Himself.


        When it pleased Him, He created the world;

        Without support He Sustained the stars :

        He created Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheś :

        He extended the love of māyā,

        Communicating the enlightening Word to the chosen few.


        "Then", says the Purātan Janam Sākhī, "Brahm Dās fell down at the Gurū's feet. He flung away the stone image from his neck and became a disciple.


  1. Vīr Siṅgh, Bhāī, ed. , Purātan Janam Sākhī Srī Gurū Nānak Dev Jī. Amritsar, 1971
  2. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37
  3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909

Gurnek Siṅgh