Guru Nanak at Hassan Abdal
After travelling through Arabia and many other countries, in 1521 A.D during the summer season, Guru Nanak reached a place called Hasan Abdal. Hasan Abdal is located fifty kilometers from Rawalpindi in present-day Pakistan to the west side of the mountains. This is a hilly area and some places here have natural fountains which flow from the ground.
Guru Ji with Bhai Mardana and a small party halted at this place at the foot of a hill. Under the cool shade of a tree, Guru Nanak and Bhai Mardana started reciting Kirtan as it was their normal practice. Slowly, the local devotees began to gather around the Guru. Soon, a large crowd of people began to regularly gather around the Guru. He talked to them about God and the true path of the holy. He told them the greatness of God and His creations and how we should all remember God at all times. More and more people began to gather around the Guru as each day went by.
Wali Qandhari's Hill
On the top of the nearby hill, there lived a Muslim priest (also referred to as a "pir"). His name was Bawa Wali Qandhari. Wali Qandhari had established a celebrated dera (holy place) at this hill at Hasan Abdal, near a natural fountain. His house was very close to the fresh water spring from where the water flowed down to the town and was then used by the people for all their needs. There was no other source of fresh water nearby, therefore Wali Qandhari used this dera to assist people who followed his faith and to punish the "non-believers".
Wali Qandhari was an arrogant person, when he saw people gathering around Guru Nanak Ji instead of his place, he became very angry. So, he stopped the spring water from flowing down to the town. The people became frustrated and now the question arose, how could they and their cattle survive without water?
Group Goes To Wali Qandhari To Ask For Water
A group of them went to Baba Wali Qandhari and begged him to let the water flow down as before. But Bawa Wali Qandhari said angrily, "Go to your Guru, the one you visit everyday now and ask him for water." The people went to the Guru and told him the whole story.
The Guru said, "Don't lose your heart. Trust in God. He will not let you die of thirst."
The Guru then said to Bhai Mardana, "Go and appeal to Bawa Wali Qandhari and request him to let the water flow down to the town."
Bhai Mardana went to appeal to Wali Qandhari to release the water so that the village folk could quench their thirst and give water to the thirsty animals. But as soon as Bhai Mardana got to the top of the hill, Bawa Wali Qandhari began shouting angrily, "Go back to your Guru and ask him to give water to the people. I will not give you any water."
Guru Ji asked Bhai Mardana to go again. Although he was reluctant, Bhai Mardana very humbly approached Wali Qandhari and begged for water. He requested and begged him to release the water so that they could quench their thirst, but, Wali Qandhari again refused to give him any water and even abused him with harsh words.
Despite all of this, Mardana still very politely stuck to his request. Wali again ironically remarked: "Why don't you ask your Master whom you serve? Isn't he able to give you any water?"
Bhai Mardana Returns Empty Handed
Bhai Mardana returned to the Guru and narrated what Bawa Wali Qandhari had said to him. The Guru sent him once again. Bhai Mardana was very reluctant to go as he knew that the Wali would not change his mind; still Bhai Mardana obeyed the Guru's request.
But again he came back empty handed with the same story. The frustration of the public grew each second. The Guru said, "Don't lose your heart. God is great and merciful. He can make springs flow from wherever He likes. Let us all pray to Him." They all prayed together with much dedication.
A Small Stream Flows From The Ground
Then Guru Nanak Dev Ji lifted a stone under his feet. At once, a small trickle of cool, clean water began to flow from the place where the Guru had lifted the stone.
At the same time, Bawa Wali Qanhari's spring began to dry up. He was red with anger; he could not control his fury. In this crazy state of his mind, from the top of the hill he pushed a large rock towards the Guru. The rock came rolling down towards the Guru.
Wali's Big Rock Tumbles Down The Hill
Wali Qanhari thought that the rock would crush the Guru to death. However, the Guru quietly and calmly raised his hand and the rock stopped at the instant it touched the Guru's hand. The Guru's hand was imprinted on the rock. Wali Qundhari's pride was broken.
He could not believe how such a huge rock could have been stopped. Instantly, he realised that the Guru was a person of God and that God Himself had protected his devotee. He quickly came down and fell at the Guru's feet. The Guru said to him, "Rise my friend. Live as lovers of God should live. Be kind to all."
Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib
The rock with the imprint of the Guru's palm still exists. There is a beautiful Gurdwara at that place called the Panja Sahib. Panja means "hand print". Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, after conquering the Sindh province during the Sikh rule, had the beautiful huge Gurdwara and Sarovar (pool) built at the site.
Many thousand of people visit the site and during the hot summer weather bathe in the cool waters that God revealed to the Guru and his followers on that day.
- This article with thanks to realsikhism.com and www.sgpc.net