Walking with Nanak – By Haroon Khalid (Book Review)
I finished reading Walking with Nanak yesterday night. It’s a very beautiful read. The author Haroon Khalid had been fascinated with Nanak since childhood. He wanted to search and know more about his life. He travels across Pakistan wherever Nanak went.
Following his footsteps (as the name says walking with Nanak) Nanak was born in present-day Pakistan. He left his family to find his own truth. He traveled for 24 years on foot all parts of India – east, west, north, and south, with his friend Mardana. Learning more about Hindus and Muslim’s and finding a middle path. And thereby sets the foundation for a new religion. There are 2 stories running parallelly – one Haroon and his friend’s journey visiting places Nanak visited in present-day Pakistan and other of the history of Sikh Gurus in brief. There are references to various gurudwaras in Pakistan connected to Guru Nanak.
In particular, I enjoyed reading about Nanak’s personal life. He was born in a simple Hindu family, educated by Muslim and he founded a new religion called Sikhism. When he left his family to travel and seek his own truth, he had to deal with all the family issues that once could think of. Unhappy father and mother, wife and kids he was leaving hoping he would change his mind. His father remained unhappy with him whole life as instead of focusing on career, he spent time with yogis and spiritual matters.
After nearly 3 decades of traveling when he returns home, he sees lots of complaints and questions in his wife’s eyes. He never spent time with his kids and hence kids are more friendly with their mother. He struggles to be a part now. Though on surface everything is perfect. His wife would cook food, serve him take care of him but there is still an invisible wall. His kids and talking to their mother but when father comes in, they suddenly stop.
His elder son got more inclined towards ascetics and younger son towards business. He was more worried for his elder son because he himself has been preaching since years that don’t be an ascetic believing in superstitions but find your own truth. He also went thru a phase thinking what will society think that this man who is preaching the whole world, can’t teach the same to his own sons. He is a saint god who is worshipped my Sikhs and non-Sikhs also.
This reminded me of a small paragraph I wrote in my book – Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth – A New Scripture for Men and Women:
There are as many combinations possible as there are families in this world. In a nutshell, every human being is a part of this generation’s dysfunction unless one generation chooses to identify and break through it. It is simply inescapable. And it is reflected in all our relationships, be it with the same gender or opposite. If anyone says he or she has not picked from their parents, they are lying to themselves. One may also decide to be extremely opposite of what their parents were. That is also picked-up by many.
Family dysfunction is passed down from generation to generation like a fire in the woods, taking down everything in its path until one generation has the courage to turn and face the flames. That person brings peace to their ancestors and spares the children that follow. He had the privilege of moving beyond his parents’ limiting beliefs. Beliefs that are formed in response to an injury are always limiting and hinder us from getting what we really want in life. How contradictory and confusing humans’ minds are! One day, we live to make memories and another day, we erase memories to live.
Not just Guru Nanak but even our mythological characters like Kartikeya (son of Shiva), Shani Dev (son of Lord Surya – the Sun God), etc. Even if we take a biblical character like Lucifer a fallen angel condemned to hell by his father (The God).
Nobody is immune to family dysfunction
Overall, Walking with Nanak is a very beautiful book to read.