Bhai Mardana

A rare Tanjore style painting from the late 19th century depicting the ten Sikh Gurus with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana

Bhai Mardana Ji (Punjabi: ਭਾਈ ਮਰਦਾਨਾ) (1459–1534) was the first Sikh[1][2] and longtime companion of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, first in the line of gurus noted in Sikhism. Bhai Mardana, a Muslim, accompanied Guru Nanak Dev Ji on his journeys across Punjab. Bhai Mardana was born to a Muslim[3] family, a Mirasi couple, Badra and Lakkho, of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now Nankana Sahib of Pakistan. He had very good knowledge of music and played rābab when Guru Nanak sung Gurbani.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Bhai MardanaEdit

It is said that Bhai Mardana first contacted Guru Nanak to seek help as many people in his family were dying at a young age. Guru Nanak approached the family and had seen that Mardana's mother was crying because she felt her son will die. Mardana's mother told Guru Ji that the reason she was crying is because all her children were dying. Following this, Guru ji asked what her son's name was, to which she responded "MarJana" meaning "He will die". Guru Nanak kindly asked the mother if she is willing to give him her son so that she will not have to bear the burden of her child's death. The mother accepted this and gave her son to Guru Nanak Dev Ji to take care of.[4] As a result of this, Guru Nanak Ji gave Mardana the assurance that henceforth people in his clan will not die early. It is said that Mar- Da- Na means 'Does not die'.

Guru Nanak and Mardana were brought up in the same village. The Miharban Janam Sakhi says that Mardana was ten years elder to Guru Nanak and was his companion since his childhood days. It further states that Mardana sang hymns written by Kabir, Trilochan, Ravidas, Dhanna and Beni. According to Ratan Singh Bhangu, Prachin Panth Prakash, Guru Nanak as a small boy gave Mardana a string instrument improvised from reeds to play on while he sang the hymns.

When Guru Nanak took charge of the granaries and stores of the Nawab of Sultanpur Lodhi, he became known for his generosity. Mardana, was by then married and had two sons and a daughter, Mardana went to meet Guru Nanak as Guru Nanak's father wanted news of his son, Mardana never went back from his trip and was with Guru Nanak from then on. He used to play the Rabab (r-aa-bab ) or rebeck as Guru Nanak spoke/sang his words about God.

When Guru Nanak planned to travel the world to spread his message, he wanted Mardana to accompany him, Mardana wanted to marry off his daughter before doing so, Bhai Baghirath a disciple of Guru Nanak helped Mardana materially to enable the daughter's marriage and allow Mardana to accompany Guru Nanak.

The chronicles of their travels use Mardana to show worldly doubts and bring forth Guru Nanak Ji's message, in many situations Mardana is portrayed as doubtful and wanting clarifications in every situation. The Puratan Janam Sakhi tells of these situations.

In 1534, Mardana fell ill at Baghdad, where Nanak buried him near today's Baghdad Railway Station. A plaque at the grave states that he was buried by Baba Nanak Ji.


Mardana also wrote poetry. One of his compositions appears in the Guru Granth Sahib in Bihagadre ki Var[5] along with two others of Guru Nanak's addressed to Mardana. As per the composition Mardana is convinced that an evil body may be cleansed of sin in sangat (SGGS, 553).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sikh Personalities - Bhai Mardana ji". Archived from the original on 2008-05-24. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  2. ^ "Early Gursikhs: Bhai Mardana ji - Gateway to Sikhism". Archived from the original on 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  3. ^ "Pak delegation arrives to celebrate Bhai Mardana's 550 bith anniv - News -". Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  4. ^ Rebabi Mardana
  5. ^ Shalok, Mardaanaa

External linksEdit