Introduction to the short stories

The short stories are a collection of stories taken from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Maalaa, which have been translated into simple English. The purpose of translating these stories is to provide understanding and the significance of these stories when reciting Gurbaani.

The Sikh Gurus and other Bhagats within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji have made references to the various saints and disciples who existed at the time of the Hindu deities. By no means are these stories a form of praise or worship of the Hindu deities, but they are used as a reference to purely develop the meaning of Gurbaani.

The stories taken from Hindu mythology provide examples from the lives of the disciples and saints as parallels to understand the power and greatness of the One Lord, the righteous practise of faith and Dharma and how one is emancipated from sin and misfortune through meditating upon the Primal Lord.

~ Harjinder Singh Khalsa


The Story of Ganika

Ganika (16K)Ganika lived in a Bazaar and led a life as a prostitute. She led a very sinful life; her beauty and youthfulness attracted a lot of male attention, who were from all kinds of backgrounds and statuses. Ganika led this lifestyle for many years and failed to realise what she was doing was degrading, harmful and sinful.

One night, on a very thunderous and rainy night, a sadhu came by. With him, he had a parrot. On seeing the very poor weather and worried that his parrot may die from the cold, the sadhu took the parrot out of his cage and wrapped him in his shawl. This parrot meant a lot to the sadhu, as the parrot caused him to remember the Lord and it chanted the Lord's Name, Ram, Ram.

The sadhu went on walking through the dark cold night. He found that the streets were empty; people had closed and bolted their doors. He came to Ganika's house and saw a diva burning in the night. He saw that her door was open and he entered chanting the Lord's name. Ganika saw the sadhu and was pleased to see him. She thought he was a customer, who made the effort to come in this terrible weather.

"Come. I have been waiting for you." Ganika said to the sadhu.

The sadhu was alarmed and said, "O my daughter, it is raining really terribly outside. I have lost my cage and I want to save my parrot."

On hearing the sadhu call her 'daughter', Ganika felt extremely embarrassed. Her sinful mind became uncomfortable.

Ganika: "Do you want to spend a night with me?"

Sadhu: "Yes! We would like to stay with you. Every soul belongs to the Lord and this body is a house for the soul. O my dear daughter may the Lord bring you peace and happiness and to bless you for your kindness. You must be someone, who remembers the Lord's name."

The sadhu continued talking to Ganika. His mind was pure and free of attachment. Ganika, whose original name was 'Chandarmani' became even more uncomfortable and very frightened. She spoke, "Are you a sadhu?"

"Yes, I am a sadhu! My Lord made me a sadhu and caused me to meditate upon His name and serve Him day and night."

Ganika remained surprised, as she never met such a person, especially at a time when she would be seducing another man for his money.

Ganika: "Okay, so you are a disciple of the Lord then. Come and take off your wet clothes and put on some dry ones."

The sadhu removed his clothes and clothed himself with dry ones. Ganika made a fire and dried the parrot. On feeling the warmth, the parrot became to chant the Lord's name. The parrot said to the sadhu, "Maharaj! Will you bring some food?" "Yes, dear daughter, I am hungry and so is my parrot. Whatever the Lord has writ in our destiny that is what we shall receive."

Ganika said to the sadhu, "Whatever I have got, please accept it. But I must tell you, my name is Ganika and I am a prostitute. I have been a prostitute for twelve years within this house. I have simply satisfied men's sexual desires. I am a sinner! Within this house is sinful food."

Ganika began to sob. This was the first time in twelve years that Ganika cried and felt the way she did in the presence of the sadhu.

The sadhu saw that Ganika had some self-realisation of what she was doing was wrong. Now was the time for him to provide her with some advice. He said, "Your food is acceptable. Within this world, worldly attachment is a strong element, which prevents one to remember the Lord. Instead, one is deceived and falls into the trap of lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego. The real aim of this life is shunned aside. This is the game of this world, some are winners and some are losers."

"What you speak is the truth," Ganika spoke at once, "Men have put me on the wrong path. I am a sinner! But I have realised this through meeting with you when you called me your daughter. Whenever a young man came to my house or even an older man, not once did they call me their sister or daughter. I do not even know who my mother or father is. I have lived my life as a prostitute just to make myself feel wanted by somebody, for someone to love me and hold me and make me feel that I mean something to them. It is raining now and it has been so for two days. No-one has come and if they do, it will be for one reason only."

Ganika continued to cry and repent. The sadhu felt touched and held Ganika. He explained, "This whole world is full of people who use another for their own purposes. Look at me. My parrot and I needed shelter. For this reason we came to you. There are two types of purposes. One is for worldly attachment and the second is for the Lord. If the purpose of your life is to meet the Lord, then meet with saintly people and remain in their congregation. They will cause you to chant the Lord's name, practice dharma and righteousness…look, my dear daughter, if you were to marry someone, you would serve that person. You would satisfy his wishes, you would have children. With your husband and children, you could all be praying together. Everyone would call you a goddess. The purpose of this life is recognised through one's karma, not the beauty of their body. Whatever has happened, has happened, think about the future and what you are going to do to make that change."

Ganika felt content and fed the sadhu and the parrot. The sadhu stayed with Ganika and she remained in his presence chanting the Lord's name. The following day, the rain stopped. As the sadhu was about to leave, Ganika stopped him, "O Maharaj, please have mercy upon me and leave your parrot with me. I will listen to the parrot chant the Lord's name and I will too chant and meditate upon the Lord's name."

The sadhu agreed and left the parrot with Ganika. He also told her that people will gossip about them both, but she should not take it to heart and should see it as people washing her sins away for her. Ganika remained in full contemplation upon the Lord's name. Ganika would chant, 'Bol Ganga Rama Ram, Ram' and the parrot would mimic what she would say.

ਸੂਆ ਪੜਾਵਤ ਗਨਿਕਾ ਤਰੀ ॥
'Teaching a parrot to chant the Lord's name, Ganika, the prostitute was saved.'
(Bhagat Naamdev Ji; GGSJ: Ang 874)

On seeing Ganika meditating, the Lord became merciful. The Lord decided he would test Ganika's faith and he came down in the form of a snake. The snake went inside the cage and bit the parrot. Ganika awoke and called the parrot 'Bol Ganga Rama Ram, Ram', but there was no response. She went to the cage and shook the parrot but she saw that the parrot had died from a snake bite. At that point, Ganika also died chanting the Lord's name.

ਜਿਹ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਗਨਕਾ ਸੀ ਉਧਰੀ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਜਸੁ ਉਰ ਧਾਰੋ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
'Meditating upon the Lord, Ganika the prostitute was saved; enshrine His praises within your heart'.
(Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji; GGSJ: Ang 632)

On leaving this world, conch shells were blown, bells rung aloud, drum sounds were echoed and flowers were showered upon Ganika as she entered the heavens.

Below is the story of Ganika as written by Bhai Gurdas Ji. Vaar 10, Pauri 21:

ਗਨਿਕਾ ਪਾਪਣਿ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਪਾਪਾਂ ਦਾ ਗਲਿ ਹਾਰੁ ਪਰੋਤਾ।
Gankaa was a sinful prostitute who wore the necklace of misdeeds around her neck.

ਮਹਾਂ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਆਚਾਣਚਕ ਗਨਿਕਾ ਵਾੜੇ ਆਇ ਖਲੋਤਾ।
Once a great man was passing by who halted in her courtyard.

ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੇਖਿ ਦਇਆਲ ਹੋਇ ਹਥਹੁੰ ਉਸ ਨੋ ਦਿਤੋਨੁ ਤੋਤਾ।
Seeing her bad plight he became compassionate and offered her a special parrot.

ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਪਦੇਸੁ ਕਰਿ ਖੇਲਿ ਗਇਆ ਦੇ ਵਣਜੁ ਸਓਤਾ।
He told her to teach the parrot to repeat the name of Ram. Having made her understand this
fruitful trade he then went away.

ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਸੁ ਤੋਤਿਅਹੁਂ ਨਿਤ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਏ ਕਰੈ ਅਸੋਤਾ।
Each and every day, with full concentration, she would teach the parrot to say Ram.

ਪਤਿਤ ਉਧਾਰਣੁ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਪਾਪ ਕਲੇਵਰੁ ਧੋਤਾ।
The name of Lord is the liberator of the fallen ones. It washed away her evil wisdom and deeds.

ਅੰਤਕਾਲੁ ਜਮ ਜਾਲੁ ਤੋੜਿ ਨਰਕੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਨ ਖਾਧੁਸੁ ਗੋਤਾ।
At the time of death, it cut away the noose of Yama - the messenger of death
she did not have to drown in the ocean of hell.

ਗਈ ਬੈਕੁੰਠਿ ਬਿਬਾਣਿ ਚੜ੍ਹਿ ਨਾਉ ਨਰਾਇਣੁ ਛੋਤਿ ਅਛੋਤਾ।
Due to the elixir of name (of the Lord) she became totally devoid of sins and was lifted to the heavens.

ਥਾਉ ਨਿਥਾਵੇ ਮਾਣੁ ਮਣੋਤਾ ॥੨੧॥
The name (of the Lord) is the last refuge of the shelter-less ones.


Authors who mention Ganika in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, Ang 830, Ang 1008
Bhagat Naam Dev Ji, Ang 874
Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Ang 1192
Bhatt Nal, Ang 1400


Related Articles:

Part I: Raja Ambrik

Part II: Bhagat Angra ji and Bhagat Bidar

Part III: Sri Dhru Bhagat & Sri Prahladh Bhagat ji

Part IV: The Story of Ajaamal

Part V: The Story of Bhagat Sudama

Part VI: The story of Gotam Muni & Ahalia

Part VII: The Story of Raja Janak

Part VIII: The Story of Raja Bali

Part IX: The Story of Ajraja-Akrur

Part X:The Story of Bhisham Pitaama 

Part XI: The Story of Chandar Hans

Part XII: The stories of Durbaasha Rishi and Gajinder (the Elephant)

Part XIII:The Stories of Kubija Maalan and Oudhar

Part XIV:The Story of Sarvan Bhagat

Part XV: The Story of Rishi Balmeek 

Part XVI: The Stories of Sankaadik and Rukmaangudh

Part XVII: The Story of Sukdev Muni

Part XVIII: Madhusudan Demon Destroyer

Part XIX: Mother Daraupti

Part XX: The Story of Ganika

Part XXI: Sulhi & Sulbi Khan's Evil Conspiracy

Part XXII: The Story Raja Hari Chand

Part XXIII: The Story of Kaesee Dainth

Part XXIV: The Story of Raagmaala

Harjinder Singh Khalsa

Harjinder Singh Khalsa

I have translated the stories from the Aadh Guru Granth Bhagat Maala into English & have worked on a number of other articles exploring Gurbaani, Sikh history and the Sikh Gurus. My mission is to spread and share the Divine Universal message contained within Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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