MĪAṄ MIṬṬHĀ, a Muslim holyman living in a village which came to be called Koṭlā Mīāṅ Miṭṭhā in the present Siālkoṭ districṭ of Pakistan Punjab, met Gurū Nānak as the latter was passing through his village. The two held a discourse. According to Purātan Janam Sākhī, Mīāṅ Miṭṭhā observed that only two names are supreme and venerable, the first that of God and the second that of the Prophet, to which Gurū Nānak replied, "The first name is that of God, so many prophets are at His Gate." To Miṭṭhā's two further questions, "How can a lamp burn without oil? (meaning thereby how light of God is possible without the intermediary Prophet)" and "How shall man obtain a seat in God's court?" Gurū Nānak replied by singing a hymn in Sirī measure to the accompaniment of Mardānā's rebeck. It said :

        Act according to holy books,

        Put the wick of God's fear into thy body ;

        Ignite it with true understanding;

        Thus shall thy lamp burn without oil.

        Make such a light and you shall find the Lord.


        The next two stanzas answered Mīāṅ Miṭṭhā's second question :

        When the body is attuned to God's Word

        And service is performed,

        Happiness is ensured;

        (Otherwise) the world merely comes and goes.

        While in the world, perform sevā (service),

        Thus will you find a seat in God's court.



    Vīr Siṅgh, Bhāī, ed., Purātan Janam Sākhī. Amritsar, 1971

Major Gurmukh Siṅgh (Retd.)