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witnessed the irresistible tendency of an Asiatic mind to fiction, and the produce of its ductile fancy, will giant me an indulgent scope, and will, I trust, believe, that though the body of the history be not complete, such parts only will be noticed, as are either founded on received tradition, or on those legends which have the least exceptionable claims to credit.
Under shelter of this preliminary, I will proceed to inform you that Nanock *, the founder of the Sicque nation, was born in the year of the Christian sera 1469, during the reign of Sultan Beloul f, at the village of Tul
lisually recorded by their own scribes; and we know that a large portion of the annals of India was manufactured under Imperial inspection. It is, therefore, scarcely within the verge of probability, that a writer, attracted by so powerful an influence, would have dared to have thrown the piercing light of history on the reigning monarch, or even to have examined with freedom the actions of his ancestors, who have, for more than two hundred years, maintained an unbroken succession of the empire of Hindostan. Oriental speech, pregnant with figure, and capable of expressing the wildest . flights of fancy, disdains the limits of history. It is better fitted to modulate poetic strains, and describe the wide region of romance^ where it can roam without restraint, and happily without the power of committing extensive injuries.
* lie was of the Cliiitcnj or second ca->t of Hindoos, and, according to a secret belief of the Sicques, a species of secondary incarnation of the Supreme Deity.
f A Patau King of Delhi, who reigned previous to Baber's oonqusst of Hindostan.
wundy*, about sixty miles to the westward of Lahore. Nanock appears to have possessed qualities happily adapted to effect the institution of a new system of religion. He was inflexibly just; he enjoyed from nature a comrnanding elocution, and was endowed with a calm passive fortitude, which successfully supported him through the'long course of a dangerous occupation. The tenets of Nanock forbid the worship of images, and ordain that the places of public prayer shall be of plain construction, and devoid of every exhibition of figure. A book, intitled the Grunth,' which contains the civil and religious institutes of Nanock, is the only typical object which the Sicques have admitted into their places of worship. Instead of the intermediation of subordinate deities, they are directed to address their prayer to one God, who, without the aid of any delegate, is to be considered the unassociated Ruler of the universe f.
* This village is now known by the name of Rhaypour. Th« terms given by the Sicques t« their places of worship, are Sunghut, Durmsallalt, and Dairah, words signifying, in the Hinduee, an assembly of the people, a charitable or pious foundation, and a house. This last appellation seems to be applied in an eminent sense, as u the house." The Sicques, in commemoration of the place of Nanock's birth, have erected an edifice at Tulwuudy, where a grand festival is annually celebrated.
t When it is noticed that the worship of the Hindoos is loaded with a mass of puerile ceremony, and oftentimes conducted with a Though many essential differences exist between the religious code of the Hindoos and that of the Sicques, a large space of their ground-work exhibits strong features of similarity. The article indeed of the admission of proselytes amongst the Sicques, has caused an essential deviation from the Hindoo system, and apparently levelled those barriers which were constructed by Brimha, for the arrangement of the different ranks and professions of his people. Yet this indiscriminate admission, by the qualifications which have been adopted, do not widely infringe on the customs and prejudices of those Hindoos who have embraced the faith of the Sicques. They still preserve the distinctions which originally marked their sects, and perform many of the ancient ceremonies of their nation. They form matrimonial connections only in their own tribes, and adhere implicitly to the rules prescribed by the Hindoo law, in the choice and preparation of their food. The only aliment used in common, by the Sicques at this day,
ridiculous grimace, it will not seem surprising that a creed, founded on principles calculated to promote the establishment of a simple uniform religion, and promulgated by a man of distinguished tribe and exemplary manners, should draw to it proselytes even in the bigoted regions of India.
is the pursaud *, or sacred bread, from the participation of which no tribe or class of their people is excluded.
Few events of historical importance are related of Nanock, the founder of this sect; who possessing neither territory nor wealth, nor aided by the force of arms, preached his doctrine in peace, and manifested, in the countries which he visited, an unaffected simplicity of manners. He journeyed through most of the kingdoms in India, from whence, according to the tradition of the Sicques, he went into Persia and Arabia. In his travels, which with short intervals continued for the space of fifteen years, he was attended by a Mahometan musician, named Murdana, who became his convert, and ever remained faithfully attached to his person. It is said that in one of the expeditions of Baberf into India, Nanock having been apprehended by some of the soldiers, was brought before that prince, who, informed of the sanctity of his character, treated him with respect and indulgence. As no records of the
* The pursaud is said to be a composition of flour, butter, and certain spices; this bread, after being consecrated by the Bramins, is also used by some sects of Hindoos in the ceremony of administering an oath, particularly in that quarter of the Orissa province, contiguous to the temple of Juggud Nautt.
t Baber defeated the Patan King of Hindostan, in A. D. 1520.
Moghul Empire bear a testimony of the existence of this sect during the period in which Nanock lived, it cannot be supposed that his converts were numerous or powerful. Nanock, according to the Sicque records, died in the month of August, A. D. 1539, aged seventy years, at Dayrah, a village on the banks of the Rawee, about forty miles to the northward of Lahore, where a vast concourse of people annually assemble, to perform certain ceremonies in commemoration of the day of his decease. Nanock, though he had two sons, devolved the charge of the mission to his favourite disciple Anghut”, a Hindoo of the Chittery tribe, to whom he also entrusted the publicationt of the laws and precepts of his doctrine. Anghut, who seems to have passed his time in retirement, died about the year 1542, at the town of Khadour #, the place of his nativity. He was succeeded by Ammerdass, a native of the Lahore district, who propagated the new doctrine
* Nanock changed the original name of his successor, which was Lina.
t The religious and historical writings of the Sicques, are written in a character called the Gooroo Mhookee, or the language of the Gooroos, or priests. This letter, which is said to have been invented by Nanock, differs from the various characters in use among the Hindoos.
# A village in the Punjab, about forty miles to the eastward of Lahore.