Places of pilgrimage in Sikhism


Recently returned from a visit to Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib. This was the last residing place for the Tenth Guru. The journey was enjoyable, and the time spent very gainfully. I wished I could stay a few more days.

On the way, I spent some time thinking about what would constitute the most important place of pilgrimage. I share below some thoughts by the Gurus on this:

  1. The feet of the Holy
  2. Our mind and home
  3. The Lord’s name and discussion of the Divine Word
  4. The congregation of the Holy
  5. Satguru, the Divine Guide

The feet of the Holy:

ਜਨ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਜਾ ਕੀ ਨਿਰਮਲ ਮਹਿਮਾ ਜਨ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ਤੀਰਥ ਕੋਟਿ ਗੰਗਾ ॥
Jan pārbarahm jā kī nirmal mahimā jan ke cẖaran ṯirath kot gangā.
Immaculate and pure are the praises of the humble servants of the Supreme Lord God; the feet of His humble servants are equal to millions of Ganges (sacred shrines of pilgrimage).


Our mind and home:

ਮਨੁ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਵੇਸ ਕਲੰਦਰੁ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ॥
Man manḏar ṯan ves kalanḏar gẖat hī ṯirath nāvā.
The Lord’s Name enshrined within, my mind has become a temple. My body is the simple cloth of the humble seeker; and my home is the bathing of a sacred pilgrimage.


The Lord’s name and discussion of the Divine Word:

ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ॥
Ŧirath nāvaṇ jā▫o ṯirath nām hai.
Lets all bathe at sacred shrines: The Naam, the Name of the Lord, is the sacred shrine of pilgrimage.
ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥
Ŧirath sabaḏ bīcẖār anṯar gi▫ān hai.
My sacred shrine of pilgrimage is contemplation of Divine Words, which leads to spiritual wisdom within.


The congregation of the Holy:

ਰਾਮਦਾਸਿ ਸਰੋਵਰ ਨਾਤੇ ॥
Rāmḏās sarovar nāṯe.
By bathing in a pool of God Servants
ਸਭ ਲਾਥੇ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਤੇ ॥੨॥
Sabẖ lāthe pāp kamāṯe. ||2||
all the sins committed are washed off.


Satguru, the Divine Guide:

ਤੀਰਥੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੋ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਏ ॥
Ŧirath pūrā saṯgurū jo an▫ḏin har har nām ḏẖi▫ā▫e.
The True Guru is the Perfect Pilgrimage, Who remains ever absorbed in the Lord’s Name – night and day.


So, what does this mean? Should we not visit physical places of pilgrimage like Hazur Sahib?
We should because our mind has not yet been purified, and needs to understand the Guru’s Word. However, when we are at a place of pilgrimage, we should engage in these True Pilgrimage activities and not just enjoy visiting and babbling. Sikhism is perhaps unique in this respect.


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