Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Guru Nanak

Indian Religions Leader, Founder of Sikhism

"The hungry man is not in the proper frame of mind to pray. Let him first eat, and then pray."

"As the lotus lives in water detached, as the duck floats without drenching, so does one cross the ocean of life. If one’s mind is attuned to the word, one lives with detachment, enshrines the Lord in his mind, and sees the unperceivable and unfathomable."

"Make divine knowledge thy food, compassion thy store-keeper, and the voice which is in every heart the pipe to call to repast."

"The limit of the secret of [God’s] heart cannot be known."

"Regard all men as equal, since God’s light is contained in the heart of each."

"Religion consisteth not in mere works; he who looketh on all men as equal is religious."

"There is one God, eternal truth is his name, Creator of all things, and the all-pervading spirit. Fearless and without hatred, timeless and formless. Beyond birth and death, self-enlightened."

"The holy man is the true lover by whom the Truly Beloved is found. Man is then happy night and day, and naturally absorbed in God. The holy man may laugh; the holy man may weep. Whatever he does, is in God’s service."

"Through shallow intellect, the mind becomes shallow, and one eats the fly, along with the sweets."

"A boar makes the rite useless by inhaling the smell of the offerings, a cock by the air of his wings, a dog by throwing his eye on them , a low caste man by touching them."

"A blind man by his presence causes to the giver of the feast the loss of the reward for ninety guests , a one eyed man for sixty, one who suffers from white leprosy for a hundred, and one punished by a terrible disease for a thousand."

"A dress, a vehicle, ornaments, cooked food, water, and female, slaves, property destined for pious uses or sacrifices, and a pasture ground, they declare to be indivisible."

"A barren wife may be superseded in the eighth year, she whose children, all die in the tenth, she who bears only daughters in the eleventh, but she who is quarrelsome without delay."

"A guest who is sent by the setting sun in the evening, must not be driven away by a householder, whether he have come at supper time or at an inopportune moment, he must not stay in the house without entertainment."

"A householder must give, as much food as he is able, to spare to those who do not cook for themselves, and to all beings one must distribute ,food without detriment, to one?s own interest."

"A Giver as great as the Guru, as great as the Guru I cannot see any other."

"A just king shall not cause a thief to be put to death, unless taken with the stolen goods ,in his possession , him who ,is taken with the stolen goods and the implements, of burglary, he may, without hesitation, cause to be slain."

"A king is declared to be equal ,in wickedness to a butcher who keeps a hundred thousand slaughter houses, to accept presents from him is a terrible, crime ."

"A man who follows the conduct of the virtuous, has faith and is free from envy, lives a hundred years, though he be entirely destitute of auspicious marks."

"A man who crushes clods, tears off grass, or bites his nails, goes soon to perdition, likewise an informer and he who neglects ,the rules of purification."

"A king who thus duly fulfills his duties in accordance with justice, may seek to gain countries which he has not yet gained, and shall duly protect them when he has gained them."

"A man who, ever covetous, displays the flag of virtue, ,who is a hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, intent on doing injury, ,and a detractor ,from the merits of all men, one must know to be one who acts like a cat."

"A man who has business, abroad may depart after securing a maintenance for his wife, for a wife, even though virtuous, may be corrupted if she be distressed by want of subsistence"

"A shepherd, a keeper of buffaloes, the husband of a remarried woman, and a carrier of dead bodies, all these must be carefully avoided."

"A person in urgent necessity, an aged man, a pregnant woman, or a child, shall be reprimanded and clean the place, that is a settled rule."

"A paid servant of a village or of a king, man with deformed nails or black teeth, one who opposes his teacher, one who has forsaken the sacred fire, and a usurer."

"A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty four a girl eight years of age, if ,the performance of his duties would ,otherwise be impeded, ,he must marry sooner."

"A mother shall obtain the inheritance of a son, who dies without leaving issue, and, if the mother be dead, the paternal grandmother shall take the estate."

"A son ,legally begotten on such an appointed female shall inherit like a legitimate son of the body, for that seed and the produce belong, according to the law, to the owner of the soil."

"A son whom a damsel secretly bears in the house of her father, one shall name the son of an unmarried damsel and declare such offspring of an unmarried girl to belong to him who weds her afterwards ."

"A sick wife who is kind ,to her husband and virtuous in her conduct, may be superseded ,only with her own consent and must never be disgraced."

"A son is even as oneself, such a daughter is equal to a son, how can another heir take the estate, while such an appointed daughter who is even oneself, lives?"

"A virtuous king must not take for himself the property of a man guilty of mortal sin, but if he takes it out of greed, he is tainted by that guilt of the offender."

"A son, born after partition, shall alone take the property of his father, or if any of the other sons be reunited with the father he shall share with them."

"After all the debts and assets have been duly distributed according to the rule, any ,property be afterwards discovered, one must divide it equally."

"After he has performed the oblations in the fire, and the whole series of ceremonies in such a manner that they end in the south, let him sprinkle water with his right hand on the spot where the cakes are to be placed."

"A wife who, being superseded, in anger departs from her husband s house, must either be instantly confined or cast off in the presence of the family."

"After the death of the father and of the mother, the brothers, being assembled, may divide among themselves in equal shares the paternal and the maternal estate for, they have no power over it while the parents live."

"All brothers who habitually commit forbidden acts, are unworthy of ,a share of the property, and the eldest shall not make ,anything his separate property without giving ,an equivalent to his younger brothers."

"All calamities and vices, afterwards, when he has fully considered their relative importance, let him begin his operations."

"All creation is his (god) name; there is no place that is not his name."

"All the religious scholars and astrologers read and study, and argue and shout. Who are they trying to teach?"

"All the sons of twice born men, born of wives of the same caste, shall equally divide the estate, after the others have given to the eldest an additional share."

"All this he shall present to his guests being pure and attentive, successively invite them to partake of each dish proclaiming its qualities."

"All the Sikhs and servants partake of them, I am a sacrifice to the True Guru."

"All those also who in villages give food to thieves or grant them room for concealing their implements he shall cause to be put to death."

"All things ,have their nature determined by speech, speech is their root, and from speech they proceed, but he who is dishonest with respect to speech, is dishonest in everything."

"All virtues are Yours, O my Lord and Master, with what mouth should I praise You?"

"Alone let him constantly meditate in solitude on that which is salutary for his soul, for he who meditates in solitude attains supreme bliss."

"Among ,brothers equally skilled in their occupations, there is no additional share, ,consisting of the best animal among ten, some trifle only shall be given to the eldest as a token of respect."