The Sikh Religion/Volume 6/Trilochan

2587994The Sikh Religion — Trilochan1909Max Arthur Macauliffe


Trilochan, a name which literally means three-eyed, that is, seer of the present, past, and future, was a celebrated saint of the Vaisya caste. His birth is said to have taken place in the year A. D. 1267 .[1] He either lived at or visited Pandharpur in the Sholapur district of the Bombay Presidency, and was a contemporary of Namdev, who mentioned or addressed him in his hymns. Inquiries at Pandharpur and the neighbouring city of Barsi have, however, failed to furnish any information regarding Trilochan. The following legend passes for history among his admirers. He had a perfect faith in and love for saints, but they visited him in inconveniently large numbers, and there were only he and his wife to attend and wait on them. He thought that they were not served as he could have wished, so he resolved on engaging a servant if he could find one who was accustomed to minister to holy men. He continued to search for such an attendant, but not finding one became sad at heart. It is said that God was not pleased at the sorrow of his saint, and sent him a candidate for service. Trilochan asked the candidate who he was, whence he had come, and whether he had parents and a house and home. The man replied that he had no parents or home. He had merely come to be engaged as a servant. He could wait on the saints of God without assistance from others, as his life had been spent in such service. He gave his name as Antarjami, which interpreted means Searcher of hearts. Trilochan was highly pleased and ordered his wife to engage him and cheerfully supply all his wants. She was cautioned to consider his pleasure as her first duty.

Antarjami performed menial services for the saints, such as cooking, drawing water, washing their feet, shampooing and bathing them, in such a manner that Trilochan's house became famous for its hospitality ; and a large crowd of saints began to live with him and consume his substance. Thirteen months passed in this way, until one day Trilochan s wife went to visit a female neighbour. The latter inquired why she was so dirty and looked so miserable. She replied that her lord had taken into his employ a servant who required so much attention that she had to spend all her days grinding corn and cooking for him. This was reported to Antarjami and he promptly disappeared.

When the time came to wait on the saints, Antar jami could not be found. Trilochan became very much grieved, and, rebuking his wife, told her that it was through her indiscretion Antarjami had left their service. When Trilochan's grief had lasted for three days it is said that he was comforted by divine interposition. He consequently applied him self to the praise and contemplation of the one true God. His sorrow was then dispelled.

The following hymns of Trilochan are found in the Granth Sahib :—

Sri Rag

Trilochan admonishes mortals.

The heart feeleth great worldly love, O mortal, through which man forgetteth old age and the fear of death.
O fool, thou art pleased on beholding thy family, like a thief on espying his neighbour's house.
When the powerful myrmidons of Death come with a rush,
I cannot withstand them.
May some friend come and speak to me ![2]
Come to me, my God, throw Thine arms around me !
Come to me, my God, and rescue me !
In various pleasures and royal state, O mortal, hast thou forgotten God, and deemest thyself the only immortal one in this world.
Deceived by mammon thou hast not thought of God, and hast lost thy life, O heedless man.
Mortal, thou must tread a difficult and terrible path where neither sun nor moon hath entrance.
When man hath abandoned the world, he forgetteth his worldly love.
To-day it hath become clear to mine understanding that Dharmraj will keep his eye on man.
There his very myrmidons will rub men between their hands, and none may withstand them.
If any one give me instruction, let it be this that God is contained in every place.[3]
God, saith Trilochan, Thou knowest everything.


A Hermit, a Sanyasi, a Brahmin called Jai Chand, a Jogi, and a Kapria held a religious discussion in which each maintained the superiority of his own sect. They came in the heat of their arguments to Trilochan, and he, knowing that they were all hypocrites, addressed them each in turn as follows :—

To the Hermit.— Thou hast not cleansed thy heart from tilth, although thou wearest the dress of a hermit.
To the Sanyasi.— In the lotus of thy heart thou hast not recognized God ; why hast thou become a Sanyasi ?
To the Brahmin.— Thou hast gone astray in error, O Jai Chand,
And not recognized God the Primal Joy.
To the Jogi.— Eating in every house thou hast fattened thy body ; thou wearest a patched coat and beggar's ear-rings for gain.
Thou hast rubbed on thyself the ashes of the cremation-ground, but, being without a spiritual guide, thou hast not found the Real Thing.[4]
Why mutter spells ? Why practise austerities ? Why churn water ?
Remember God the Dweller at ease, who hath created the eighty-four lakhs of existences.
To the Kapria.— O Kapria, why earnest thou a water-pot ? Why wanderest thou to the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage ?
Saith Trilochan, hear, O mortal, having no corn why layest thou a threshing-floor ? Last thoughts determine man's future state.
At the last moment, he who thinketh upon his wealth and dieth in that thought,
Shall be born again and again as a serpent.
O my friend, forget not God's name.
At the last moment, he who thinketh of a woman and dieth in that thought,
Shall be born again and again as a prostitute.
At the last moment, he who thinketh upon a boy[5] and dieth in that thought,
Shall be born again and again as a hog.
At the last moment he who thinketh of a mansion and dieth in that thought,
Shall be born again and again as a sprite.
At the last moment he who thinketh upon God and dieth in that thought,
Saith Trilochan, shall obtain salvation, and God shall dwell in his heart.


Trilochan, engaged in his devotions, neglected his worldly calling, and this led to his straitened domestic circumstances. Thereupon his wife became discontented and upbraided God. The following is Trilochan's remonstrance. He endeavoured to console her by telling her that her distress was the result of her sins.

Why slander God, O erring and ignorant woman ?
Thy woe and weal are according to thine acts.[6]
Though the moon is attached to Shiv's forehead, and daily batheth in the Ganges ;
Though Krishan the avatar of Vishnu became incarnate in the moon's family ;
Yet the stain contracted on account of his misdeeds is ineffaceable from his head ;
Arun, the charioteer, whose lord is the sun, the lamp of the earth, whose brother was Garur, the king of birds, was born without feet on account of his sins ;
Shiv, the remover of many sins, the lord of the three worlds, wandered to many places of pilgrimage, but never reached the end of them :
The act of cutting off Brahma's head was never effaced from his person.
Although ambrosia, the moon, the all-yielding cow, Lakhshmi, the miraculous tree, the steed with seven faces, and the physician arose from the ocean, the lord of rivers,
Yet on account of its deed the brackishness of the ocean departeth not ;
Although Hanuman who burnt the fortress of Lanka and uprooted the park of Rawan, took the wound-healing plant to Ram Chandar and made him happy,
Yet, on account of his act of theft the curse that he should never have more than a loin-cloth was not effaced from his person.
The result of past acts is never effaced, O wife of my house ;
Wherefore repeat for me the name of God ;
Trilochan repeateth God's name.[7]

  1. The dates of birth of Trilochan and several other Bhagats have been given to the author by Sādhu Jānkībar Saran of Ajudhia.
  2. That is, give me spiritual consolation.
  3. Wan trin, literally — in the woods and glades.
  4. God.
  5. Larke. This phrase is also translated — He who thinketh upon his children. The idea apparently is that man ought to think of nothing but God in his last moments.
  6. When such is the case, it is no use to rail at God in adversity.
  7.  The following are the allusions in the preceding hymn :—
    The Sursari is the Ganges, so called because it is suron ki sari, the river of demigods or divine heroes. It is said to flow from Shiv's head.
    Krishan belonged to the Chandarbans, or family of the moon. Rām Chandar, on the other hand, belonged to the Sūrajbans, or family of the sun.
    The moon fell in love with the wife of Brihaspati, the spiritual guide of the gods, and took her away. The dark spot in the moon is said to be the stain resulting from this act. In Sanskrit and cognate literature the moon is masculine.
    Arun was son of Vinata by Kashyap. Vinata prematurely hatched an egg, and the offspring was born without thighs, hence he is called Anuru, thighless, or Vipād, footless. He cursed his mother, and prayed that, for having brought him forth before the due time, she should be a slave to her rival, Kadru. At his mother's earnest entreaties, however, he modified the curse, and said that her next son would deliver her from bondage. Arun, in later Hindu mythology, appears to be the same as the dawn and the charioteer of the sun.
    Garur, or Garuda, Arun's younger brother, was chief of the feathered race, and an implacable foe of serpents. In a contest between his  mother and her rival, the latter was successful, and, in accordance with conditions previously agreed on, made Vinata her slave. Garur brought nectar from heaven to purchase her freedom. Vinata was released. The nectar was taken back by Indar, but recovered by Garur. Garur is represented as the vehicle of Vishnu and as having a white face, an aquiline nose, red wings, and a golden body.
    Shiv cut off Brahma's head, and it would never leave his hand till at last it fell from it at the pilgrimage of Kapālmochan.
    The Rikhi Agast once invited the ocean to a banquet. It failed to answer the invitation, whereupon Agast became angry, took the ocean in his hand and drank it off. He afterwards voided it as urine, and hence its brackishness.
    Rām's brother Lakshman was wounded, and Hanumān, on the advice of the physician Sukhen, took the bisalya plant to heal the wound.
    Hanumān, the monkey-god, once plundered a holy man, leaving him only a loin-cloth. The holy man cursed him and said: Only a loin-cloth shall remain with thee also. Thou shall never be able to put on other clothes.