TO spread the “real message of God” Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji travelled in all four direction – North, East, West and South and is believed to have travelled more than 28,000 kms. Most of his journeys were made on foot with his companion Bhai Mardana.
Guru Nanak’s long travels in the East, West, South and North are known as the “Four Udasis”.
Guru Nanak Dev ji travelled to covered Lahore, Eminabad, Pakpattan, Kuruksheta, Hardwar, Nanakmata, Prayaag Allahabad, Gaya, Assam, Dakka, Jagan Nath puri, Kanchipuram, Rameshwaram, Sri Lanka, Rajasthan, Punjab.
The Guru ji covered Dhanasri valley, Sangladip (Ceylon)
During the third Udasi, the Guru ji covered Sultanpur, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Khand, Sumer Parbat, Terral Rregions of Uttar Pradesh, North Bihar, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Northwest Burma, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, South East Bangladesh, Southern Burma, Malaya, Indonesia Thailand, Lahos, China, Tibet, Kashmir then back to Punjab.
The Guru ji covered Pakpatan, Multan, Uch, Sakhar, Lakhpat, Miani, Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, Iran, Turkistan, Kabul, Jalalabad, Sultanpur, Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Saidpur and then back to Punjab.
During the four journeys, Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji visited different religious places. He went to Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Joshi Math, Retha Sahib, Gorakh Matta (now known as Nanak Matta), Ayudhya, 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 Valley, Tibet, Ladakh, Kargil, Amarnath, Srinagar and Baramula. It is also said that Guru Nanak also visited certain areas of China, Burma, Thailand, etc.
Guru Nanak Dev ji also paid visit to Muslim holy places. In this regard, he went to Mecca, Medina, Baghdad via Multan, Peshawar Sakhar, Sone Miani, Hinglaj etc. Some accounts say that Guru Sahib reached Mecca by sea-route. Guru ji also visited Syria, Turkey and Tehran, present capital of Iran. From Tehran, Guru Sahib set out on the caravan route and covered Kabul, Kandhar and Jalalabad.
During his travels, he was observing and noticing the ills of the society. Wherever he settled down for rest, he would write down what he observed in poetry form. He would then ask Bhai Mardana to start playing on his Rebab and he would tune in with the Almighty and would start singing. People would join in to sing along. He always kept a copy of all such writings in his note book, which was known as Pothi.
During these tours, Guru Nanak also collected the divine writings of many God conscious people, such as Namdev, Kabir, RamaNand, Trilochan, Ravidas, Jai Dev, Dhanna, Farid, Sain, Sadhna, etc. They belonged to different castes different faiths while some belonged even to the so-called low caste and some to the high Hindu caste.
In later years of his life, Guru Nanak Dev Ji settled down at a town named Kartarpur, now in Pakistan. He spent the rest of his life at Kartarpur. Daily Keertan was recited and doctrines of Sikhism were talked about at this place. The institution of Langar, “free kitchen” was introduced by Guru Nanak.
Knowing that the end was drawing near, Guru Nanak Dev ji, after testing his two sons and some of his followers, installed Bhai Lehna ji as the Second Nanak in 1539 and named him Guru Angad Dev Ji. In the presence of congregation, Guru Nanak bowed before Bhai Lehna and gave him the book, which was usually called “Pothi”, which included all his revelations and the Gurbani that he had written and also that he had collected from Saints and Sages called Bhagats.
He rejected the path of renunciation, “Tyaga” or Yoga, the authority of the Vedas and also the Hindu caste system. Guru Nanak Dev ji emphasised the life of a householder (Grihsta) while remaining unattached to gross materialism. He asked everyone to be honest, truthful and loving. He preached and practiced honest labour for living, sharing with others in service to humanity and remembering and living by the attributes of God and in the services of mankind, such as, Seva (Service), Keertan (singing praises of God), Satsang (congregation of true followers of God) and faith in ‘One’ Omnipotent God.
Guru Nanak Dev ji was also a perfect musician. He with the company of Bhai Mardana, composed such tunes in 19 Indian classical Raagaas that charmed and tamed the wild and barbarian people, like Babar, subdued savaging kings, raved bigots and tyrants and turned thugs and robbers into saints.
Udasi Period Place
First (1499 -1506 AD) East up to East Bengal
Second (1506 – 1513 AD) South up to Sri Lanka
Third (1514 – 1518 AD) North up to Tibet & China
Fourth (1519 – 1521 AD) West up to South Arabia
10 ways to celebrate Guru Nanak for a day
1. Inhale “Wahe”, exhale “Guru”
2. Write down all the things you are grateful for. When finished, write, “These, and uncountable more, are God’s gifts.”
3. Get a couple friends and or family together and do any other item on this list together.
4. Bless yourself before eating, “May this food give me energy to keep the Naam in my mind.”
5. Wake up in the Amritvela
6. Chant the Mool Mantra 108 times
7. Look someone in the eyes. Give them a good look, see their soul. Then smile.
8. Get a nitnem and read it. With love. The whole thing.
9. Repeat this to yourself several times, “I am not good, no one is bad.”
10. Serve food to someone or to many someones.