The Udasis of Guru Nanak

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Guru Nanak in the Himalayas
Painting by Ravi Bhangu

Guru Nanak was moved by the plight of the people of world and wanted to tell them about the "real message of God". The peoples of the world were confused by the conflicting message given by priests, pundits, qazis, mullahs, etc. He was determined to bring his message to the masses; so in 1499, he decided to set out on his sacred mission to spread the holy message of peace and compassion to all of mankind.

It is believed that Guru Nanak is the the second most travelled person in the world; most of his journeys were made on foot with his companion Bhai Mardana. He travelled in all four directions - North, East, West and South. The founder Sikh Guru is believed to have travelled more than 28,000 Kms in five major tours of the world during the period from 1500 to 1524. The record for the most travelled person is held by Ibn Battuta of Morocco.

Guru Nanak saw the world suffering out of hatred, fanaticism, falsehood and hypocrisy. The world had sunk in wickedness and sin. So he decided that he had to travel and educate and press home the message of Almighty Lord. So he set out in 1499 on his mission for the regeneration of humanity on this earth. He carried the torch of truth, heavenly love, peace and joy for mankind. For 1 year he spread his message of peace, compassion, righteousness and truth to the people in and around his home.

Guru Nanak's Divine Journeys

Then in 1500, he embarked on his Divine Mission and went towards east, west, north and south and visited various centers of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jainis, Sufis, Yogis and Sidhas. He met people of different religions, tribes, cultures and races. He travelled on foot with his Muslim companion named Bhai Mardana, a minstrel. His travels are called Udasis. In his first Udasi (travel), Guru Nanak covered east of India and returned home after spending about 6 years. He started from Sultanpur in 1500 and went to his village Talwandi to meet and inform his parents about his long journey. His parents wanted their young son to provide comfort and protection for them in their old age and so they told him they would prefer it if he did not go. But he told them that the world was burning in the fire of Kalyug and that thousands and thousands were waiting for the Divine message of the Almighty for comfort, love and salvation. The Guru, therefore, told his parents, "There is a call from Heaven, I must go whither He directs me to go." Upon hearing these words, his parents agreed and gave their blessings. So Guru Nanak started his mission and the roots of Sikhism were laid down first towards the east of India.

According to the Puratan Janamsakhi, which is one of the oldest accounts of the life history of Guru Nanak, Guru Ji undertook five missionary journeys (udasiya) to the far away places of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Mecca, Baghdad, Kamroop (Assam), Tashkand and many more. Guru ji travelled far and wide to spread the word of Gurbani and covered most of India, present day Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, South West China, Afganistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.


The five journeys

Below is a brief summary of the confirmed places where Guru Nanak visited:

  • First Udasi: (1500-1506 AD) Lasted about 7 years and covered the following towns and regions: Sultanpur, Tulamba (modern Makhdumpur, zila Multan), Panipat, Delhi, Banaras (Varanasi), Nanakmata (zila Nainital, U.P.), Tanda Vanjara (zila Rampur), Kamrup (Assam), Asa Desh (Assam), Saidpur (modern Eminabad, Pakistan), Pasrur (Pakistan), Sialkot (Pakistan). Guru Nanak was of the age of 31-37.
  • Second Udasi: (1506-1513 AD) Lasted about 7 years and covered the following towns and regions: Dhanasri Valley, Sangladip (Ceylon). Guru Nanak was of the age of 37-44
  • Third Udasi: (1514-1518 AD) Lasted about 5 years and covered the following towns and regions: Kashmir, Sumer Parbat, Nepal, Tashkand, Sikkim, Tibet. Guru Nanak was of the age of 45-49
  • Fourth Udasi: (1519-1521 AD) Lasted about 3 years and covered the following towns and regions: Mecca and the Arab countries.

Guru Nanak was of the age of 50-52

  • Fifth Udasi: (1523-1524 AD) Lasted about 2 years and covered the following towns and regions: Places within the Punjab.

Guru Nanak was of the age of 54-56

After which he settled to Kartarpur before leaving his physical form (1525-1539 AD). Guru Nanak was of the age of 56-70. Baba ji spent 24 years on the 5 udasis.

Alternative Account:

The following is an account by: Harbhajan Singh S.E. (retd.) 2/1 Sanjay Nagar Jammu-1800-10.

To spread his gospel, Gur Nanak ji traveled widely throughout Asia . To this end he undertook four Udasis (Tours). The first udasi (1500-1505) was to the central and eastern parts of India. Second udasi (1506-1509) took him to important towns and religious centers of south India, including Sri Lanka. During the third Udasi (1514-1516) Guru Nanak traveled to the Gangetic plains, Bihar, Nepal, Lahsa, Leh, as far as Tashkand and then back to Punjab via the Kashmir valley. The fourth Udasi (1518-1521) took him to various Arab countries.

Guru Nanak Udasiya.jpg


Guru Nanak in Shikarpur?

Read full article at: Sindi Society and Culture

"A significant factor in the survival of the Hindu religion in Sindh during the Muslim period, in reasonably good shape, was the rise of the Sikh religion in the Punjab. With Sanatan Dharma having gone, more or less, moribund under prolonged Muslim rule, Sikhism came as a fresh breeze in the stale Sindhi atmosphere. The fact that the two provinces were neighbours, their people, kin and their languages allied, made Sikhism tick very well in Sindh.

It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev visited Shikarpur in his wide-ranging travels. One Kanayalal of Sindh joined Guru Govind Singh, who made it his duty to serve water to the wounded on the battle-field. Kanayalal gave water not only to the Hindu wounded but also to thc Muslim wounded. Some Sikhs thought it wrong to revive enemy soldiers. They took Kanayalal to the Guru, who appre- ciated his action and asked him to go and preach Sikh Dharma in Sindh. He came to be known as ``Khat Waro Bao (Khaat wala Bawa) because he gave his sermon while sitting on a cot."

External Links:

1) Sri Guru Babey ji di Chahun Jugi Janam Sakhi - An Autobiography of Eternal-Nanak - New Light on Eternally-old ATMAN

2) Janam Sakhi or The Biography of Guru Nanak, Founder of The Sikh Religion

3) Janamsakhian Daa Vikas tey Itihasik Vishesta - Dr. Kirpal Singh Tract No. 434

4) Guru Nanak Sahib da Arab Deshan da Safarnama - Dr. Jasbir Singh Sarna

5) Guru Nanak Jeevan chon Jhankian Tract No. 190

6) Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Chungthung - Gyani Brahma Singh Brahma

7) Guru Nanak Jhira Tract No. 389

8) Nanak Jhira Tey Gurmat Shah Rah Tract No. 159

Travels of Guru Nanak

First Udasi · Second Udasi · Third Udasi · Fourth Udasi · Fifth Udasi

Sakhis of Guru Nanak
Bhai Lalo's honesty Darshan The Guru always blesses all Durga worshipper from Khadur Sahib
Dukh Sukh Duni Chand Establishment of Kartarpur Nanak in Sikkim,Ladakh & Tibet
First Udasi Second Udasi Third Udasi The Udasis of Guru Nanak
Fourth Udasi Fifth Udasi Guru Ji's Sickness Guru Nanak and the Vaishno ascetic
Guru Nanak Grazing Buffaloes Guru Nanak and Duni Chand Guru Nanak and Moola Sacha Souda
Guru Nanak and the Sacred Thread Guru Nanak and two students Guru Nanak at Hassan Abdal Sajan the Robber
Guru Nanak at School Guru Nanak at Shikarpur Guru Nanak in Baghdad The Birth of the Guru
Guru Nanak in Mecca Guru Nanak in Nepal Mian Mitha The Two Villages
Guru Nanak in Tibet Guru Nanak in Tibet Quotes Guru Nanak's history Guru Nanak & The Doctor
Iron Clad Soldiers One God for the rich and... Janam Sakhis There is no Hindu and no Musalman
Janamsakhis Kauda the cannibal Mardana and the ants Three Days in the River
Mardana and the stone Mardana gives away clothes and food Watering the Crops Village of Children
Guru Nanak and the Brahman Guru Nanak and the Pandit Guru Nanak and the Millionaire Guru Nanak and Sheikh Brahm
Guru Nanak & the dried up river Bhai Bhoomiya Bhai Mardana Ji And Charity Bhai Sayt And Guru Nanak Dev
Daulat Khan Sakhis of Guru Nanak Stories of Guru Nanak Sakhis
Baba Wali Kandhari Durga worshipper from Khadur Sahib Guru Nanak In Syria Guru Nanak in Turkey
Hamza Gaus Heals the Physician How many Sikhs did Guru Nanak have? Raja Shivnabh And Guru Nanak Dev
Sheikh Brahm Mata Sulakhni