Gurbani Says all Shrines and Pilgrimage are Within only if We were to Understand it!

The Gurmat GiyanWisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is Universal in every way. For example, if one were to understand the Gurbani (SGGS), it teaches the entire humanity where all shrines and locations of pilgrimage are located!

The Message of the SGGS is Universal

For example, the Gurbani (SGGS) teaches our Muslim brethren that the ‘Kaabaa‘ (the Temple of Mecca, ਅਲਹ ਦਾ ਗੁਪਤ ਘਰ) is Within.

  • ਸਤਰਿ ਕਾਬਾ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜੇ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਈ ॥੨॥ : Kaabaa is hidden within the Heart, if (you) only understood it. ||2|| (sggs 480).
  • ਜੋ ਦਿਲੁ ਸੋਧੈ ਸੋਈ ਹਾਜੀ ॥ : He alone is a Haji (one who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca), who strives to keep (his) heart pure (sggs 1084).

Similarly, the Gurbani Teaches our Hindu brethren:

  • ਕਾਇ ਕਮੰਡਲੁ ਕਾਪੜੀਆ ਰੇ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਕਾਇ ਫਿਰਾਹੀ ॥ : O ‘Kaaparheeaa‘ (Yogi who wears patched cloth)! Why bother to carry the bowl; and why bother to visit the sixty-eight holy places of pilgrimage (i.e. it’s of no use)? (sggs 526).
  • ਜੈ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਤਟਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਹੀ ॥ ਰਤਨ ਪਦਾਰਥ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਮਾਹੀ ॥ : For the sake of this (Naam Ratan or Jewel…), you journey to the banks of sacred shrines (i.e., places of pilgrimage); but this Jewel (of Naam) is within you. (The Pandit reads Vedas and engages in debate etc. but he) does not understand the (Real) thing which is within. ||3|| (sggs 152).

Similarly, the Gurbani reminds our Jain brethren:

  • ਇਕਿ ਜੈਨੀ ਉਝੜ ਪਾਇ ਧੁਰਹੁ ਖੁਆਇਆ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਾਇਆ ॥ : Having lost (their true path), many (who call themselves) Jains are ruined. Neither is the Naam (Spiritual Wisdom…) on their lips; nor (they) bathe in this (Naam-) Teerath (sggs 1285).

The Message of the SGGS also applies to Sikhs!

It’s not that the Gurbani’s Teaching is only for Hindus, Muslims etc. IN FACT IT ALSO APPLIES TO THOSE WHO CALL OR IDENTIFY THEMESELVES AS SIKHS (learners or students of the SGGS)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ਮਨੁ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਤਨੁ ਵੇਸ ਕਲੰਦਰੁ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ॥ ਏਕੁ ਸਬਦੁ ਮੇਰੈ ਪ੍ਰਾਨਿ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਬਾਹੁੜਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਾ ॥੧॥ : (Now that the Enlightening spiritual Message of the Shabad has become the support of my life) my mind has become the temple, the dwelling for God, my body (i.e. all of my senses) has become mendicant (i.e. my wandering senses have returned within), now I only BATHE at this TEERATH Within. The one divine Shabad has become the support of my life (now I’m convinced my mind) will not go astray in life again. (sggs 795).

Bhagat Kabeer Ji teaches us:

  • ਕਹਤੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਲੋਈ ਭਰਮਿ ਨ ਭੂਲਹੁ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਕਿਆ ਕਾਸੀ ਕਿਆ ਊਖਰੁ ਮਗਹਰੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਜਉ ਹੋਈ ॥੨॥੩॥ : Says Kabeer, listen, O people — let no person fall into any delusion (that liberation is found in Kashi, but not in Magahar). If Divine (Naam: Giyan-Wisdom/Virtues…) in the Heart then there is NO DIFFERENCE between (the so called holy place called) Kashi and (the so called unholy place called) Magahar (NOTE: It is the general belief of Hindus that a person who gives up his body while living in Kashi or Banaras becomes liberated because this city belongs to Shiva and whoever dies in the city of Magahar becomes a donkey. Kabeer Ji here dispels this misconception, and teaches all of us that God realization is NOT location-dependent). ||2||3|| (sggs 692).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਹਜ ਕਾਬੇ ਹਉ ਜਾਇ ਥਾ ਆਗੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਖੁਦਾਇ ॥ ਸਾਂਈ ਮੁਝ ਸਿਉ ਲਰਿ ਪਰਿਆ ਤੁਝੈ ਕਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਫੁਰਮਾਈ ਗਾਇ ॥੧੯੭॥ : Kabeer, I was going on a pilgrimage to Kaabaa (in Mecca), I visualize God on the way. God got upset at me and asked me, who told you that I reside only at this place or any other place of pilgrimage. ||197|| (sggs 1375).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਹਜ ਕਾਬੈ ਹੋਇ ਹੋਇ ਗਇਆ ਕੇਤੀ ਬਾਰ ਕਬੀਰ ॥ ਸਾਂਈ ਮੁਝ ਮਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਖਤਾ ਮੁਖਹੁ ਨ ਬੋਲੈ ਪੀਰ ॥੧੯੮॥ : Kabeer, I have been on the pilgrimage to Kaabaa (in Mecca) many times (but he did not see God there, he begged). O God, You don’t talk to me, what faults are you seeing in me? ||198|| (sggs 1375).

For realization of the Omnipresent Creator Within, the foregoing Shabad of Bhaagat Kabeer Ji rejects and debunks the self-serving Pujaaree’s (clergy) concocted belief system such as:

  • It rejects and debunks the importance or significance (ਅਹਿਮੀਅਤ, ਮਹੱਤਤਾ) of the so called ‘religious holy places’ concocted by the self-serving Pujaaree (clergy) to generate revenue to support his own freeloading, lavish lifestyle (ਵੇਹਲੜ/ਐਸ਼ਪਰਸਤੀ ਦਾ ਜੀਵਨ).
  • It rejects and debunks caste discrimination (Jaat Paathigh and low social status, casteism)…

Aptly, the Gurbani in SGGS repeatedly instructs us that the  ‘Harmandir‘ is within the human body.

Furthermore, the Gurbani asserts this Real Harmandir within can only be realized by the Spiritual Giyan-Wisdom (Enlightenment).

Since a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree (Unenlightened) does not care about the Spiritual Message of the Shabad, his false ego-sense (Haumai) and blockheadedness does not believe or accept the Gurmat’s edict that the ‘Harmandir’ is within!

  • ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਹੈ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਰਤਨਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਮੂਲੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਨੀ ਮਾਣਸਿ ਹਰਿ ਮੰਦਰੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੨॥ : This body is the ‘Hari Mandir’ (Hari’s Temple, but this secret) is revealed by the Jewel of the Divine Wisdom (Aatm-Giyan, Brahm Giyan, Divine Knowledge …). The Manmukhs do not know their Mool (Origin, Source, Root…); (on account of this ignorance, they) do not believe that the ‘Hari Mandir‘ is within the human (body). ||2|| (sggs 1346).

Apparently not too many Sikhs (educated and uneducated alike) believe the Gurbani’s Teaching. Otherwise, why Sikhs should be wasting their time traveling and visiting all the external (unreal, perishable) locations of pilgrimage (Teerath Yaatraa) and taking RITUAL BATH there which is repeated critiqued, rejected and debunked in the SGGS!!!!!!!!

According to the Gurbani, these people are stubborn, Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree, fearful, deluded by doubt (Bharam), perplexed, Haumai-ridden (egoistic), greedy, misled by the self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc.

  • ਜੇਤੇ ਰੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਏ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲਾਏ ਘਰ ਕੋ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਇਕੁ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ : In spite of the many places of pilgrimage for people to bathe in, their minds are still stained by their stubborn ego; God is not pleased by this at all (by bathing at pilgrim places). (sggs 687).
  • ਭਰਮੇ ਭੂਲਾ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗਹੈ ॥ : Deluded by doubt (he) visits all Teerath (external shrines of pilgrimage). (sggs 1142).
  • ਸਾਕਤ ਥਾਨ ਭਰਿਸਟ ਫਿਰਾਹੀ ॥੫॥ : Saakat Thaan Bhrisat phiraahee (sggs 239).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥ : The bathing at places of pilgrimage does not remove inner impurities and does not take one to heaven. (sggs 484).

Let’s ask the Gurbai: What is considered a real or a true Teerath?

According to the Gurbani (SGGS) – not according to the fool-o-sophy of the self serving Pujaaree (clergy: Granthis, Parcharaks, Ragis, Dhadees etc.) and the freeloading Deraa-Vaad Baabaas (ਵੇਹਲੜ) etc. – the true Teerath of the Gurmat is the divine-Naam.

  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਹਰਿ ਕੋ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਤਤੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : The Hari-Naam is my Teerath. The Guru has instructed me in this True Essence of spiritual Wisdom (Aatmic-Giyan; ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ ਦਾ ਇਹ ਨਿਚੋੜ – ਗਿਆਨ). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1142).
  • ਬਿਸਟਾ ਅਸਤ ਰਕਤੁ ਪਰੇਟੇ ਚਾਮ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਊਪਰਿ ਲੇ ਰਾਖਿਓ ਗੁਮਾਨ ॥੩॥ ਏਕ ਵਸਤੁ ਬੂਝਹਿ ਤਾ ਹੋਵਹਿ ਪਾਕ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਬੂਝੇ ਤੂੰ ਸਦਾ ਨਾਪਾਕ ॥੪॥ : (O ignorant fool) You are nothing but ordure, bones and blood wrapped in skin. It is upon this filthy bundle you have based your conceit. ||3|| If you could realize God within, then you would become pure. ||4|| (sggs 374).

Let’s ask the Gurbani: Where is this Real Teerath located?

Baabaa Nanak made it very clear in the outset of the SGGS that this Real Teerath is located within.

  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਜੇ ਕੋ ਪਾਵੈ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੁਣਿਆ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਕੀਤਾ ਭਾਉ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਗਤਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਮਲਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ : The performance of rituals (Karamkaand) of pilgrimage (Teerath), penances, offerings and giving of alms (in the conduct of spirituality); earns one nothing beyond temporal praise. Listen and accept (i.e. Internalize) and BECOME (the Gurbani) with Love in the mind. This is the Inner Teerath bathing in which the mind is cleansed (of Bikaar / vices) and thus its filth is removed. (sggs 4).

Let’s ask the Gurbani: How can this Real Teerath be realized Within?

As per the Gurbani this True Teerath within can be realized through the Spiritual Wisdom cultivated through churning the Gurbani via the earnest Shabad-Vichhar.

  • ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ॥ : To Reflect on the Shabad (Shabad-Vichaar…) is the Teerath (because of this) Spiritual Wisdom arises within (sggs 687).
  • ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰੋਵਰੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਮਜਨੁ ਅਪਰੰਪਰਾ ॥ : The Gurdev (Giyan or Wisdom) is the (true) Teerath, the ‘Sarovar’ or pool of Amrit; the bath of the Guru’s wisdom (-water) is superior (to the bath of all other pilgrimages). (sggs 262).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਬੁਝਾਇ ॥ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਈ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹੋਆ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਸਰਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਇ ॥ : Deep within is the sacred shrine (Teerath) of Giyan (Spiritual Wisdom…), which the Satigur has revealed. Bathing in this pool of Amrit, filth of the mind (filth of Bikaars…) is removed and it becomes pure. (sggs 587).
  • ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਘਰ ਮਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਨਾਹੀ ॥ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਟੋਲੈ ਸੋ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਹੀ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਸੁਹੇਲਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥: (The Divine Virtues, Wisdom, Spiritual tranquility, Naam, Shabad, Amrit, Prabh, ਆਤਮਕ ਸੁਖ…) all that is within the Heart-Home; not outside. Who searches outside is deluded by doubts. By ‘Gur Parasaadee’ (i.e. by the Grace of the Gur-Giyan, the Divine Wisdom of the Gurbani …), those who have Realized within are Happy (tranquil) inwardly and outwardly. ||1|| (sggs 102).(sggs 102).

It is interesting to note that, although pilgrimage to external shrines has been strongly rejected in the Gurbani, still Sikhs glorify and advertise it (e.g., ‘Hemkunt Yatra’, this Yatra and that Yatra) in the Gurdwaras, newspapers, magazines, Internet, tv, other media outlets.

  • ਤਨੁ ਹੈਮੰਚਲਿ ਗਾਲੀਐ ਭੀ ਮਨ ਤੇ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ : One may let his body be frozen in the ice of Himalaya mountain, even than the mind would not be free of mental disease (Vices/Bikaar…). (sggs 62).

Hence, the Shabad-Guru (SGGS) tells its Sikhs (learners, students) that visiting fake locations of so called pilgrimage (i.e. Hemkunt etc.) has nothing to do with Sikhi or Gurmat of Baabaa Nanak!

Obviously, either such people have been brainwashed by the self-serving Pujaaree and thus have no understanding of the Gurbani (SGGS), or on account of their selfishness and fear they just don’t care!

Falsehood cannot propagate Truth. Baabaa Nanak says Truth (the One Creator) can only be Realized Within:

  • ਸਚੁ ਤਾਂ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਆਤਮ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ : One knows the Truth (ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਸਮਝ) only when he dwells in the sacred shrine of pilgrimage of his own Soul within. (sggs 468).

Now, how can all Teerath be realized within?

Again, let’s ask the Gurbani, which guides us: All Teerath can be realized within when one’s perplexed mind is fully under control, and his Heart is fully absorbed in ‘Hari’ (Mool, Jot, Brahm-Giyan, Wisdom…):

  • ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਤਿਸੁ ਸੰਗਿ ਰਹਹਿ ਜਿਨ ਹਰਿ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੪॥ : The sixty-eight places of pilgrimage remain with one, whose heart is filled with the Lord. ||4|| (sggs 491).
  • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਥਾਨੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਸ ਪੁਰਬ ਸਦਾ ਦਸਾਹਰਾ ॥ : The Gur-Wisdom is Eternal sacred shrine of pilgrimage (for me, which is equal to) the congregation of ten (Holy days or festivals for me). (sggs 687).

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  1. Thank you Bhai Sahib Satinder Pal Singh Oberoi Ji for taking the time to comment. Also, Thank you for your kind words. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog!

  2. Actually I was looking for some Gurbani Grammar youtube and just happened to chance upon it. This blog is awesome.Excellent.Blessings.

  3. Veerji I just read your article Gurbani is meant to be applied. Very nice article veerji.truly time to apply gurbani is now.thank you so much veerji for such a great article

  4. Veerji can you please explain that waheguru resides within us and watches us every moment.he is most near to us

  5. Even Sikhs are not truely understanding the true n intrinsic meanings of the messages in gurmati way so they also follow the crowd .If anyone tries to point them they totally reject without even listening to what is being said.
    Recently I observe few good scholars are trying to convey the true understanding of gurbanee messages but isee no effect on the mind set of people, In fact the roots of ignorance are so deep that it is very difficult to bring any change in the thinking of common sikhs.
    Let us hope that all sikhs get guidance from Guroo and this can happen thru the grace of Guru only.

  6. After Guru Nanak, the clergy class opened up new pilgrimage place to keep their commerce going. Let us not glorify our pilgrimage places except their historical significance if any.
    You are doing yeoman’s job in spreading the Guru’s Wisdom

  7. After Guru Nanak, the clergy class opened up new pilgrimage place to keep their commerce going. Let us not glorify our pilgrimage places except their historical significance if any.

  8. Just as the musk in the deer, the reflection in the mirror and the fragrance in the flower the beloved is within!

    Lovely piece T Singh Ji.

  9. Dear T. Singh,

    Thank you for expanding my vocabulary: fool-o-sophy. Brilliant!

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