Guru Nanak And The Queen Of Black Magic At Kamrup
Guru Nanak traveled all over India to spread the word of God, and he walked everywhere on foot. After Gaya he passed through the area where modern city of Patna stands and reached Hajipur. Passing through Kantnagar he reached Malda. The town of Malda was situated at the confluence of rivers Ganges and Mahanadi. It is reported that a local merchant of Malda did a great service to the Guru for which he received Guru's blessings. The next stop was Dhubri in Assam. After Dhubri he proceeded along the Brahmputra river on to Kamrup, a place near the modern city of Gauhati. This whole route is marked by many old historical Gurdwaras bearing association with the Guru.
Nurshah, Woman Of Black Magic
The city of Kamrup was ruled by a woman of black magic. She had assumed the name of Nurshah, the name of one from whom she had learnt this art. She and her female companions practiced black magic and exorcised strange powers in that locality. She owned the whole country around and many a mystic, yogi etc. fell prey to her magical schemes.
When Guru Nanak reached the outskirts of the city he sat down under a tree and began meditating. Mardana went ahead into the city to find food and drink.
Mardana The Sheep
Mardana found the city well and started filling his water containers. While he was there, some girls saw him and were curious about him. They asked him who he was and where he came from. But when he answered they thought he sounded funny because he spoke a different language. One of them said, "He sounds like a sheep, he's bleating like a sheep!" They both laughed and the other said, "Let's turn him into one!" So she performed magic on the unsuspecting Mardana by putting a thread around his neck. He immediately got on all fours and started bleating, "Baaah, baah, baah." Other people who were watching started to laugh.
Guru Nanak sensed something was going on with Mardana and so he started walking towards the city. The magic girls saw them coming and decided to turn them in to animals too. One of them tried to cast a spell on Guru Nanak, she said, "Bark like a dog!" But it did nothing to Guru Ji. Instead, the spell was reversed and it was she who began barking like a dog. The other girl tried to defend her friend and raised her arm to cast a different spell, but her arm just froze in the air and she couldn't move it. The girls tried several other spells and whatever they tried to do was reversed back on them.
A woman who was watching became alarmed and ran to tell the Queen of Kamrup what was happening. The Queen was a powerful magician. She came to the city well to see for herself what was going on. She was surprised to see her sisters' magic had been totally blocked. She tried to do magic to help them and even her magic couldn't work! Nurshah saw the Guru coming and tried to captivate him with her charms but her art of magic failed. She found out that her spells were of no avail. On their fruitless efforts, the Guru uttered the following Shabad on Kuchaji or the woman of bad character:
"I am a worthless woman; in me are faults; how can I go to enjoy my spouse?
My spouse's wives are one better than the other; O my life, who careth for me?
My female friends who have enjoyed their Spouse are in the shade of the mango.
I do not possess their virtues; to whom can I attribute blame?
What attributes of Thine, O Lord, shall I blazon abroad?
What names of Thine shall I repeat?
I cannot even attain one of Thy many excellences: I am ever a sacrifice unto Thee.
Gold, silver, pearls, and rubies which gladden the heart-
These things the Bridegroom hath given me, and I have fixed my heart on them.
I had palaces of brick fashioned with marble.
In these luxuries I forgot the Bridegroom and sat not near God.
The Kulangs cry in the heavens, and the cranes have come to roost.
The woman goeth to her father-in-law's; how shall she show her face as she proceedeth?
As morning dawned she soundly slept, and forgot her journey.
She separated from Thee, O Spouse, and therefore stored up grief for herself.
In Thee, O Lord, are merits; in me all demerits: Nanak hath this one representation to make,
Every night is for the virtuous woman; may I though unchaste obtain a night also."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Raag Suhi Mohalla 1, Ang 762.
The Guru also uttered the following Shabad on this occasion:
"In words we are good, but in acts bad.
We are impure-minded and black-hearted, yet we wear the white robes of innocence.
We envy those who stand and serve at His gate.
They who love the Bridegroom and enjoy the pleasure of His embraces,
Are lowly even in their strength, and remain humble.
Nanak, our lives shall be profitable if we meet such women."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Raag Ki Var Mohalla 1, Ang 85.
Temptation Of Wealth
After the Guru uttered these Sabads, Nurshah thought that she would tempt him with wealth. Her attendants brought pearls, diamonds, gold, silver and laid down before him. She then prayed,"O great magician, accept me as thy disciple and teach me thy magic." The Guru rejected all the presents and uttered the following Shabad:
"O silly woman, why art thou proud?
Why enjoyest thou not the love of God in thine own home?
The Spouse is near; O foolish woman, why searchest thou abroad?
Put surma needles of God's fear into thine eyes, and wear the decoration of love.
Thou shalt be known as a devoted happy wife if thou love the Bridegroom.
What shall a silly woman do if she please not her Spouse?
However much she implore, she may not enter His chamber.
Without God's grace she obtaineth nothing, howsoever she may strive.
Intoxicated with avarice, covetousness, and pride, she is absorbed in mammon.
It is not by these means the Bridegroom is obtained; silly is the woman who thinketh so.
Go and ask the happy wives by what means they obtained their Spouse-
'Whatever He doeth accept as good; have done with cleverness and orders,
Apply thy mind to the worship of His feet by whose love what is most valued is obtained.
Do whatever the Bridegroom biddeth thee; give Him the body and soul; such perfumes apply.'
Thus speak the happy wives: 'O sister, by these means the Spouse is obtained.
Efface thyself, so shalt thou obtain the Bridegroom; what other art is there?'
Only that day is of account when the Bridegroom looketh with favor; the wife hath then obtained the wealth of the world.
So who pleaseth her Spouse is the happy wife; Nanak, she is the queen of them all.
She is saturated with pleasure, intoxicated with happiness, and day and night absorbed in His love.
She is beautiful and fair to view, accomplished, and it is she alone who is wise."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Tilang Mohalla 1, Ang 722.
Finally, Nurshah gave up and told Guru Nanak, "You are a great magician! Please free my sisters and teach me your magic!"
Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, ever loving and compassionate, freed the girls at once. He explained that actually they were just bound by the effects of their own magic. Guru Ji then said, "The real magic is meditation on God."
The Queen of Kamrup fell at the Guru's feet and asked him to stay so they could honorably serve him. He told them that he would stay and gave them some advice: "Listen, you have used your powers for mischief. You have not helped people. Stop tricking people and start saving them. God is inside us. Give that to people. Do your duties well. Show love to people. Meditate on God in your hearts and bring this cozy loving God to every house. This way you will be in bliss when you drop your bodies and go to the next realm. It will bring glory to your soul and light to the world." The Guru told them to repeat God's Name conscientiously, perform their domestic duties, renounce magic and thus they would secure salvation. It is said that they became Guru's followers. After a short stay he departed leaving behind the awakened souls,to carry on his Divine mission. From then on the women changed their ways and the city of Kamrup became a spiritual center of great compassion.
Source: Sikhnet, Sikhiwiki
Associated with Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji.
When their missile failed to harm the Guru, the magicians next flung a tree, which fell very close to the camp without causing injury.