Guru Nanak Dev Ji's udasi to the west.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji's udasi to the west.After traveling all over India, Guru Nanak Dev Ji with his companion Mardana headed west. They stopped at a place called Hasan Abdal in present day Pakistan. Guru Nanak Dev Ji sat below a hillock which was occupied by a Muslim fakir called Vali Qandhari. The fakir had built himself a compound on top of the hill surrounding a natural spring, which fed a well. There was no other source of water for many miles around.
Mardana was feeling thirsty. Guru Ji told him to go to the top of the hill and quench his thirst. Mardana went up the hill but the attitude of the fakir was not inviting. “What brings you here ?” asked the fakir. “I am thirsty and wish to have water from your well” said Mardana. “There is no water for you here” said the fakir. Mardana came back down but Guru Sahib Ji sent him up to ask again. “We are simple folk of God please may I have some water?” asked Mardana, but the reply was the same.
When Mardana returned Guru Sahib Ji said “Never mind Mardana, if the fakir will not give you water we shall have to find it ourselves. "Guru Sahib Ji pushed a small rock over with his foot and a small spring of water trickled out. Mardana dug a little deeper and the water gushed out. As the cool crystal waters passed by kissing the feet of the Guru, so the spring of the fakir began to lessen and soon stopped flowing. Seeing what had happened and his monopoly on the water over, the fakir became enraged and rolled a large boulder down the hill towards Guru Sahib Ji. Mardana saw the rock coming and warned Guru Sahib Ji, but Guru Ji did not move. As the rock neared Guru Sahib Ji put forward his hand and stopped the rock dead in its track. Vali came down and saw Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s face and was at once drawn to him. “O, friend, those who live so high, should not be dry as a rock” said Guru Sahib Ji. Seeing the wisdom in his words Vali fell at Guru Ji’s feet. This place is now known as Punja (hand print) Sahib and the hand print of Guru Nanak Dev Ji can still be seen on the rock the Vali threw down, and a pool of crystal clear water still exists.
Gurdwara Punja Sahib, Pakistan.
The hand print of Guru Nanak Dev Ji can clearly be seen on the rock face.
From here Guru Sahib Ji traveled west into Persia and the city of Baghdad. Guru Sahib Ji stopped near a tomb and early every morning would sing the praises of the Lord. Mardana would play the rabab and Guru Sahib Ji would sing about the infiniteness of God and His Creation, wherein occurred the expression: there are numerous patals (earths) and innumerable akashs (sky).
When some Muslim who was listening to it and understood its purport went and reported the blasphemy of the utterance - inasmuch as the Qu'ran had mentioned seven earths and seven skies only - to the Sajjdanashin of the Shrine of Pir Dastagir, Abdul Qadir Jilani. An agitated crowd gathered on the spot. The people were on the verge of throwing stones when they heard the Guru’s divine invocation. The people in remorse went to their Pir and told him of the presence of a holy man.
Gurdwara marks Guru Nanak Dev Ji's visit to Baghdad, located near the Baghdad-Samara railway station.
The Pir, having reached the place, enquired from Mardana who the holy man was. He was told that he was Nanak who had rejected all others except one God who was all pervading on earth, sky and in all four directions. Guru Nanak Dev Ji stayed in Baghdad for four months and had many discourses with other holy men.
Before his departure from there he was presented a chola (robe) as a token of respect on which verses in Arabic are inscribed.
This chola lies preserved in the Gurdwara at Dera Baba Nanak, in Pakistan. This chola is sometimes sited by Muslims that Guru Nanak Dev Ji was somehow a follower of Islam. The chola was given to Guru Sahib Ji by his devotees in Bagdhad and Guru Sahib Ji took it in the spirit in which it was given. Pir Babhol, a Sufi saint was deeply influenced by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to live where the Guru had stayed.
The text of the inscription, is:
Behold! How a wish has been fulfilled by Holy and High Providence. That the building of Baba Nanak has been newly built with the help of seven autat (great valis). That the happy murad of God (Baba Nanak) has started a fountain of grace issuing new water in the land. 917 Hijri
It is generally believed that Guru Nanak Dev visited Baghdad while on the way to Mecca and Medina, in commemoration of this tablets of stone were constructed at the time bearing Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s name. During the Great War, when the British and Indian armies conquered Baghdad, they discovered the place where Guru Nanak had his discourse with Bahlol.
It lies to the west of the town and between the old graveyard to the north and the present Baghdad-Samara railway line to the south. These tablets were discovered by the Sikh Engineers Regiment in May 9, 1918. Another stone inscription related to the Guru’s visit was found in the wall to the east of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s shrine near Baghdad Railway Station East. It had been seen by many, but went missing in 1926, when the wall collapsed.