Guru Nanak in Iran
On reading an Arabic inscription in a shrine outside the town of Baghdad, he wrote: "Upon this slab of granite didst thou sit discoursing of love and holy light, O Guru Nanak! Prince among India's holy ones! What song didst thou sing to charm the soul of Iran! What peace from the Himalayas' lonely caves and forests didst thou carry to the groves and rose-gardens of Baghdad? What light from Badrinath's snowy peak didst thou bear to illuminate the heart of Bahlol, thy saintly Iranian disciple!..."
"Eight fortnights did Bahlol hearken to thy words on Life and its Mystery, on the Path and the Spring Eternal, while the moon waxed and waned in the pomegranate groves beside the grass-covered Desert of the Dead! And after thou, O Nanak, didst depart for thy beloved Bharat, Bahlol, the fakir, spoke to none: he listened not to the voice of man. And his fame spread, far and wide, and the Shah of Iran came to pay him homage: but the holy fakir took no earthly treasure nor listened to the praise of kings and courtiers..."
"Thus lived he, lonely, devoted, thoughtful, for 60 years, sitting before the stone on which thy sacred feet had rested. And ere he left this house of avidya, he wrote these words on the stone: Here spake the Hindu Guru Nanak to fakir Bahlol, and for these 60 years, since the Guru left Iran, the soul of Bahlol has rested on the Master's Word, like a bee poised on a dawnlit honey rose".
In Khuram Shahr (Iran) Guru Nanak buried Bhai Mardana. It is narrated that Mardana got "Sool" (which is belived to refer to 'heavy Fever'). When Guru Nanak reached Khurham Shahr which is on the banks of Kuram river, Guru Ji told Mardana that his life time now comes to an end. Bhai Mardana died on 13 maghar samat 1581.
In the News
Nanak in Baghdad Tribune India, Friday, July 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Much has been written about Guru Nanak’s Gurdwara in Baghdad. I would like to add a little more. During his third great travel (1518-1521-Tiji Udasis), Guru Nanak visited some Arabic Muslim countries along with Bhai Mardana. On his way back from Mecca, Guruji came to Baghdad via Medina, Khuram Shahr (Iran), Basra and Karbla. After Mecca, Madina and Karbla are the two other holy shrines of Muslims.
In Baghdad (1520), Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana put their camp in a graveyard, outside Baghdad town. Here Guruji had religious discourse with Pir Dasat Gir successor and Seikh Behlol and his son. Guru Nanak convinced Pir Behlol, his son and others that there are so many patals (earths) and Akashs (sky). Pir Behlol and his son were so much impressed by Guru Nanak that they became his true devotees along with others.
Swami Anadacharya also mentioned Guru Nanak’s visit to Baghdad and religious discourse with Pir Behlol long ago in his famous book “The Snow Bird” published in 1918 from London. Later, a Punjabi poet translated Swami Anadacharya’s poem in Punjabi entitled “Sil Te Betha Faquir” (a saint sitting on a big stone). Pir Behlol and his son soon started living there with Guruji. They requested Guru Nanak to stay there for some more time. Guruji and Mardana stayed at Baghdad for 4-6 months.
The Queen of Baghdad had no child. By the blessings of Guru Nanak, a son was born to the Queen and she offered a chola (robe) to Guru Nanak prepared by herself, having the hymns of Quaran on it. That chola is still lying in Gurdwara Chola Sahib at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur district, Punjab. From Baghdad, Guruji came back to India in 1521 A.D. via Kabul, Jalalabad, Turkey; through Khyber Pass to Peshawar and Panga Sahib (Hassan Ibdal) near Rawalpindi in West Punjab.
Guru Nanak visited many other places in Arabic and South East Asian countries such as Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand. Nobody bothered to preserve these holy places. I had a chance to visit Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and a few Arab countries, especially those visited by Guru Nanak and Guru Teg Bahadur. All are in a bad shape. Only a few local people offer some prayers there. Even the SGPC officials may not know those places; some historic shrines have vanished. We need to take care of them to spread Guru Nanak Dev’s message of universal fatherhood or oneness of God. International brotherhood of mankind, love, peace and harmony can also be spread.
MALKIAT SINGH SAINI, Ropar
- Twarikh Guru Khalsa of Giani Gian Singh