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Guru Nanak's Education

Deeply impressed by the profound and convincing thoughts of Guru Nanak, Gopal met Mehta Kalu and advised him to send his son to a learned scholar who could teach him Sanskrit and hindu scriptures.

There was in Talwandi, Pandit Brij Nath, a brilliant Sanskrit scholar, famed not only for wisdom and scholarship, but also for his spirituality and insight. Mehta Kalu placed Guru Nanak under his tutorship, so that he might become a great scholar of Sanskrit and adept in vedic studies. While Guru Nanak studied Sanskrit, he continued to compose poems giving his critical reflections on everything that tickled his sensitive imagination.

Guru Nanak's deep philosophic mood, his penetrating vision, tried again and again to give life and meaning to everything that seemed lifeless to others. The pen, the ink, the paper, the art of writing, the purpose of writing, were for the young poet-prophet, the ethical instruments of existential spiritual life.

Once he wrote:

Burn emotional attachment and grind it into ink

Having studied some Sanskrit, one day Guru Nanak naively asked his teacher, why he had taken the name Brij Nath for himself. The teacher and the student began to argue about the etymological and theological meaning of the word. For young Guru Nanak, every word was a message of God to man, and an instrument of man's worship of God. The lessons which his learned teacher gave him from various Sanskrit texts became the subject of discussions between the teacher and the student.

Guru Nanak accepted One God but not gods and goddesses. He accepted man as brother of man, but rejected the differences of castes and creeds reflected by Sanskrit scriptures. He mixed freely with the hindu saints and muslim dervishes and brought more knowledge of his experiences with many of them, than the narrow text of scriptural readings, which the Sanskrit teacher could teach. After two years, Pandit Brij Nath informed Mehta Kalu that Guru Nanak had nothing more to learn from him.

Guru Nanak was an embodiment of spiritual wisdom, and everyday his classmates squatted around him and listened to his melodious songs, his strange stories, and sermons. There was nothing that he could add to his knowledge of Sanskrit which he had acquired within two years. Young Guru Nanak was anxious to know things which Brij Nath could not teach. His questions were baffling and his comments on traditional hindu thoughts extremely disturbing.

Learning Persian And Arabic

Guru Nanak was now over nine years old. Rai Bular, who loved him tenderly, advised Mehta Kalu to make arrangement's for teaching Persian and Arabic to Guru Nanak, so that he could become his Kardar (administrator), when Mehta Kalu wished to retire. Guru Nanak, with his unusual talents, could also take up a higher post under the provincial governor. Persian being the court language, and Arabic being the language of Islamic scriptures, their study was important for the children of Kshatriya families.

Mehta Kalu requested Mulla Qutab-ud-din to teach Persian and Arabic to Guru Nanak. It was on a Wednesday, Guru Nanak started studying Persian. He applied his mind to it seriously, and surprised his teacher by his quick grasp over all the aspects of these languages, and by his prodigious memory. Within two years he acquired sufficient proficiency in Persian and Arabic languages to enable him to read and study their literature.

Guru Nanak's free use of Koranic terminology, to express some of his theological views in his later writings, shows that it is during this early period he studied the Koran and other available Islamic scriptures. Even while studying under the muslim teacher, Guru Nanak was generally busy in stimulating religious discussions. He continued to write poems in Punjabi but now he also wrote verses in Persian. The poetic fervour and profundity delighted his teacher.

Having studied what Mulla Qutab-ud-din had to teach, Guru Nanak ended his education by learning all that the teachers of Talwandi could teach him.

Source: searchsikhism.com

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