CHATUR DĀS, PAṆḌIT, a learned Brāhmaṇ of Vārāṇasī, who engaged Gurū Nānak in a discourse during his visit to the city. He was intrigued by the Gurū's apparel which was neither of a householder nor of a hermit. As relates the Purātan Janam Sākhī, he questioned him, "What faith do you profess? You carry no sāligrām, the devotee's stone, nor do you wear the necklace of tulsī. You carry no rosary, nor have you the mark of powdered chandan-wood on your forehead. What devotion have you attached yourself to?" Gurū Nānak in reply sang a hymn to the accompaniment of Mardānā's rabāb or rebeck :

        Let God's Name be the sāligrām thou adorest,

        Let good deeds be the basil-wreath 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 Dās said to Gurū Nānak, "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. . . " Gurū Nānak 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 Purātan Janam Sākhī, Gurū Nānak here uttered all the fifty-four stanzas of his composition, Oaṅkār, in Rāmkalī Dakkhaṇī measure, which is preserved in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. In this long poem, he enunciated the nature of the True One and of His creation. A new understanding dawned upon Paṇḍit Chatur Dās. He fell at the Gurū's feet and became a disciple. A Sikh saṅgat or group of followers attached to the message of the Gurū grew up around him.


  1. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37
  2. Vīr Siṅgh, Bhāī, ed. , Purātan Janam Sākhī. Amritsar, 1971
  3. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā. Patiala, 1970
  4. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909

Gurnek Siṅgh