At the age of seven, Guru Nanak was sent to school, which was run by teacher, Pandit Gopal Das, at his village. As usual the teacher started the lesson with an alphabet but the teacher was wonder-stuck when the Guru asked him to explain the meanings of the letters of the alphabet. However at the helplessness of his teacher, the Guru wrote the meanings of each and every letter of the alphabet. This was the first Divine Message delivered by Guru Nanak. This was an explanation of deeper truth about human beings and God and the way to realize God in terms of the alphabet. The teacher stood abashed before the Divine Master and bowed to him. He then took him back to his father and said, Mehtaji, your son is an Avtar (prophet) and has come to redeem the victims of Kalyug (the age of Falsehood). He is destined to be a world Teacher, there is nothing that I can teach him.
Many writers believe that Guru Nanak was first sent to different schools belonging to the Hindus and Muslims to learn about Vedas (Hindu Scriptures) and Quran (Muslim Scripture), and only after obtaining the knowledge from those scriptures, he started his religion. According to Malcolm, Guru Nanak is said to have learnt all earthly scenes from Khizr -the Prophet Elias. There is a reason to believe, writes Cunningham, that in his youth he made himself familiar with the popular creeds both of Mohammadans and the Hindus and that he gained a general knowledge of the Quran and Brahmanical Shastras.
It seems that all these scholars of history have not grasped the basic fundamental fact about the divinity of Guru Nanak. He was born with divine status, thus, his teachings were heavenly. These writers seem to be very much ignorant of the fact that Guru Nanak was an Embodiment of Divine Light. He was a celestial being and his divine attributes put him above mankind and its schools. Historians have failed to visualize the splendor in Guru's Jot. Heavenly Spirit does not learn from man-made institutions. He was a heavenly messenger and a born world teacher who taught the mankind the path of righteousness and truth. Guru Nanak's divinity is above all earthly institutions and their teachings. The Message that Guru Nanak gave to this world, came to him direct from God as he confirms himself:
O Lalo as comes the Divine Word from God to me So do I narrate it. (Tilang Mohalla 1, p-722)
I am saying what He commandeth me to say. (Wadhans Mohalla 1, p-566)
It is also mentioned in the Janamsakhi (biography) that many times Guru Nanak said to his companion Mardana, Mardana, play the rebec, the Divine Word is coming. This confirms the fact that education from the Hindu and Muslim religious institutions, had no bearing at all on the Divine Word that Guru Nanak received from God and delivered to this world. To say that Guru went to different institutions to learn, is violating the sanctity of Guruship.
CEREMONY OF SACRED THREAD
Guru Nanak was nine years old and according to the custom among the higher castes of Hindus, he was required to invest himself with the sacred thread called 'Janaeu'. Great preparations were made by his father for this ceremony. The family priest named Hardyal, started chanting Mantras (Hindu hymns) and was ready to put the thread around Guru's neck when he refused to wear it. The whole assembly was astonished. They tried to persuade him every way to wear the Janaeu but in vain. Then the Guru uttered the following Sabad:
Though men commit countless thefts, countless adulteries,
utter countless falsehoods and countless words of abuse;
Though they commit countless robberies and villainies night
and day against their fellow creatures;
Yet the cotton thread is spun, and the Brahman cometh to twist it.
For the ceremony they kill a goat and cook and eat it, and
everybody then saith 'Put on the Janaeu'.
When it becometh old, it is thrown away, and another is put on,
Nanak, the string breaketh not if it is strong. (Asa di Var, Mohalla 1, p-471)
The priest in utter despair asked, What kind of sacred thread O Nanak, would you wear? The Guru replied,
Out of the cotton of compassion
Spin the thread of contentment
Tie knots of continence,
Give it twist of truth.
That would make a Janaeu for the soul,
If thou have it, O Brahman, put it on me.
Such a thread once worn will never break
Nor get soiled, burnt or lost,
The man who weareth such a thread is blessed. (Asa di Var, Slok Mohalla 1, p-471)
COBRA SERVES THE DIVINE MASTER
As usually is the case in villages, the father sent his son to graze the buffaloes in the pastures. One day while the Guru was grazing the buffaloes, he fell asleep under a tree and the herd destroyed the crops in the neighboring fields. When the owner saw his crops damaged, he became furious and lodged a complaint with Rai Bular, an officer-in-charge of that area. Rai Bular sent for the son and his father to adjust the quarrel. The Guru told them that no damage was done to the crops; rather it was blessed by God. Rai Bular sent his messengers to inspect the fields. But to everybody's surprise the investigators could not find any damage in the fields rather the crops were doubly blossoming. The field where this miracle happened is now known as Kiara Sahib.
On another day the Guru was sent to graze the buffaloes in the pastures and he fell asleep under the shade of a tree. As the sun rose higher, the shadow moved away. A big cobra came out of its den and provided shadow with its hood over the face of the Divine Master. Rai Bular happened to pass by that side with his attendants. When he saw this strange scene, he was convinced that the boy was a man of God. Upon seeing the people, the cobra retreated to its den and Rai Bular touched Guru's feet in great reverence and thus became Guru's disciple.
GURU SITS IN SECLUSION
As he grew a little older, he avoided company and sought seclusion. For days he would sit silent in solitude and spent his time in meditation. Parents became anxious about his health and to them his unworldliness appeared insane. One day they sent for their physician Hari Das. The physician came and began to feel Guru's pulse. He withdrew his arm and asked, O physician, what art thou doing? The physician replied that he was diagnosing his disease. Upon this the Guru laughed and then uttered the following Sabad:
They have sent for the physician for me!
He taketh my hand and feeleth my pulse.
What can a pulse disclose?
The pain lies deep in the heart.
Physician, go back and heal thyself,
Diagnose thy own disease,
Then thou mayst diagnose the disease of others
And call thyself a physician. (Malar ki Var, Mohalla 1 p-1279)
Hari Das was familiar with such cases of deranged mind and thus asked, So you think that I am sick too and need a cure. The Guru replied, You suffer from the sickness of your soul. Egoism is the disease. It separates us from the source of life, God Himself. Hari Das asked if there was any remedy. The Guru replied,
When man shall possess the Name of the Bright One,
His body shall become like gold and his soul be made pure;
All his pain and disease shall be dispelled,
And he shall be saved, Nanak, by the true Name. (Malar Mohalla 1, p-1256)
After a good deal of discussion, Hari Das bowed before the Divine Master and told his parents to leave anxiety about their son as he was born 'A healer of the world's sickened souls.'