Guru Nanak - His Life and Times (Part-II)

The Sikh Review, Kolkata, WB, India 67 (02):38-43 (2019)
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Abstract

Guru Nanak was not content to remain a mystic. He undertook [9-11] four long travels, called udasis, to spread his message far and wide and to share his spiritual experiences with others. Bhai Mardana always accompanied the Guru during missionary tours. During the four travels, Guru Nanak visited different religious places. He went to Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Joshi Math, Ratha Sahib, Gorakh Matta (Nanak Matta), Audhya, Prayag, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Dhubri and Gauhati in Assam, Dacca, Puri, Cuttock, Rameshwaram, Ceylon, Bidar, Baroach, Somnath, Dwarka, Janagarh, Ujjain, Ajmer, Mathura, Pakpattan, Talwandi, Lahore, Sultanpur, Bilaspur, Rawalsar, Jawalaji, Spiti Vally, Tibet, Ladakh, Kargil, Amarnath, Srinagar and Baramula. Guru Nanak also paid visits to Muslim holy places. He went to Mecca, Medina, Beghdad via Multan, Peshawar Sakhar, Son Miani, Hinglaj etc. Some accounts say that Guru Sahib reached Mecca by sea route. He also visited Syria, Turkey and Tehran (Iran). From Tehran he set out on the caravan route and covered Kabul, Kandhar and Jalalabad. The aim of his tours was to awaken the people, and to realize the truth about God and his creation. He established a network of preaching centres of his philosophy called “Manjis”. He appointed able and committed followers as their in-charges. The basic tenets of Guru Nanak's philosophy were wilfully conceived by people from all walks of life. Thus the seeds of Sikhism were sown all over India and abroad in a well-planned manner. In 1516, Guru Nanak laid the foundation of a city, In the central Punjab, near Pakhoke Randhawa, for wider dissemination of his message. He built a Dharamsala (a place for the religious congregation), established the Holy Fellowship of the people there, and named the city the Abode of the Creator — 'Kartarpur'. But he and Bhai Mardana soon left it for his travel to Mecca in autumn of 1518 A.D. In the year 1520, Babar attacked India. His troops slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians. Women and children were made captives, and all their property was plundered at Eminabad (now in Pakistan). Guru Nanak, who was at Eminabad at that time, challenged this act of barbarity by Babar in strong words. He was arrested and released shortly after, making Babar realize his blunder. All the prisoners were also released. Guru Nanak came back to Kartarpur in 1521 A.D.

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Devinder Pal Singh
Center for Understanding Sikhism

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