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By Jasbir Singh Mann, Harbans Singh Saron(editors)

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Similarly, the anti-asceticism and the householder’s life of Guru Nanak looked so odd to the Naths that they questioned his very claim to be following the religious path. But, the Guru’s reply to them is very revealing of his new thesis because he asserted that it is the Naths who did not know even the elementaries of the spiritual path. What we wish to emphasize is that it is not just incidental, but it is the very logic of Guru Nanak’s system that involved on the one hand the rejection of monasticism, asceticism, celibacy and Ahimsa and on the other hand led to the creation of an organized and disciplined society that accepted total social responsibility.

He laid the foundations of a society that was to be trained and motivated to react against injustice. Wherever he went, he organized local societies with faith in his system. He chose and appointed a successor to carry on the mission he had started. His was not a religion where the object was just personal salvation as an end in itself, or the salvation of a few. His was not a Math or Khankah for a few seeking only spiritual attainments. Guru Nanak taught, as was exemplified by his own life, that the spiritual man has a social mission as well.

H. McLeod, while evaluating the originality of the religious thesis of Guru Nanak, writes that it is misleading to suggest that he originated a school of thought or a set of teachings. 13 As against it Dr. 14 These contrasted assessments might be explained by the fact that whereas McLeod has for many years been a part of a local Christian missionary organization in the Punjab, for Muhammad Iqbal, Guru Nanak is the only man of God in India, who like Prophet Muhammad combined the spiritual life and the empirical life of man and started a religion of the ‘deed’, proclaiming and preaching the Oneness of God and the brotherhood of man.

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