Did Guru Nanak Ever Come to Visit SriJagannath at Puri in His Lifetime?
Did Guru Nanak ever come to visit the Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri?
19th-century mural painting from Gurdwara Baba Atal depicting Guru Nanak
I don’t think the abode of lord Jagannath in Puri and Guru Nanak , neither of them needs an introduction. Let me just give a brief understanding about the place and the founder of Sikhism who is none other than Guru Nanak ……..
Puri is one of the four holy religious centres ( or otherwise called Dham) of Hinduism established by none other than Adi Shankaracharya during the seventh century ( debatable) in four distinct corners of the then India . It is often referred to as an important place of pilgrimage in India because of its religious sanctity and rich culture. Jagannatha Cult is a combination of various strict religious convictions and it stands for universal fraternity and resilience . Puri is called the ideal place of Sarva Dharma Samanvaya Dhama.
Guru Nanak, was the founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His entry ( or birth) to the world is commended worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab in the period of October–November. The heavenly religious text of Sikhs is called Guru Granth Sahib.This is being expected that Guru Nanak Ji visited Puri twice during the first decade of sixteenth century and during his second visit , most presumably in 1510 AD , he met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Puri . Though we don’t have any immediate proof from contemporary writing to prove, we track down the accompanying Chaitanya Bhagbat of Ishwar Das ( written in Odia in the seventeenth Century).
Srinivasa Viswambhara, Kirtan madhyare vihar, Nanak Saranga ye dui, Rupa Sanatana duibhai, Jagai Madhai ekatra, Kirtan Karanti Nritya,
It is believed that Nanak left for Sri Lanka via Rameswaram from Puri . One of the ‘Panch Pyare’ or five cherished ones, who were immersed by Guru Govind Singh Ji on 30 March 1699 was from Puri. He was as a matter of fact Bhai Himmat Singh from Puri . In this way, Puri always remained a focal point of pilgrimage for each religious minded Sikh.
Guru Nanak was a holy person of the Bhakti Cult . He had the objective of joining mankind through wholehearted and utmost commitment to God and He, alongside other saints of the Bhakti Cult like Kabir,Ramananda, Tukaram, Chaitanya etc.had all trusted in the undefined love of the Lord.He always kept his efforts continued to make the people believe in the formless and oneness of God , no matter what religion they follow....Thousands of their disciples keep on visiting the spots visited by these holy people on the way to the Lord Jagannath temple.
The veteran entertainer Balraj Sahni, who was teaching in Shantiniketan in the last part of the 1930’s, once asked Rabindra Nath Tagore, “You have composed the national anthem for India. Why not compose a worldwide anthem in praise of humanity for the entire world?” “It has effectively been composed, for the world as well as for the whole universe. It was written in the sixteenth century by Guru Nanak,” answered Tagore. He was alluding to the Sikh Arti (the function of light). Gurudev Tagore was so enchanted by this Arti that he had actually made an interpretation of it into Bengali. Another secret and significant truth that has stayed uncelebrated is the impact of Jayadeva’s work the “Geeta Govinda ” on the Guru Granth Sahib. Two songs made by Jayadeva have been fused in the Guru Granth Sahib. Jayadeva had a significant impact on Guru Nanak during Nanak’s visit to Puri. Around then the tunes of Jayadev’s Geeta Govinda were consistently being played in the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri. Perhaps that was the reason behind the fusion of the hymns of Geeta Govinda in Guru Granth Sahib.
Another widely discussed event which portrays the strong connection between the Sikh community and Shri Jagannath temple at Puri is the unfruitful will of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in his death bed. Before losing his realm in the possession of Britishers, It was uniquely in 1838 AD, Maharaja Ranjit Singh during his deadly sickness in the deathbed, offered to donate the well known Kohinoor Diamond to the temple of Lord Jagannath at the advice of his court priest cum astrologer , however the imperial overseer Beli Ram declined to accede to the regal wish of Maharaja Ranjit Singh ,and Kohinoor Diamond couldn’t find it’s way to the Ratna Bhandar of Lord Jagannath of Puri. Beli Ram and his family experienced an awful passing and the Sikhs lost their realm in a brief time frame. The British, as an issue of strategy, didn’t entertain the charity work of any Indian religion.
It has been established that Guru Nanak arrived at Puri for the first time at the age of 36 years . It is expected that he came to Puri through Bhadrak and Cuttack. Settlement records talk about the revenue village ‘Sangat’ in Bhadrak area where Nanak is said to have remained while heading to Puri and held ‘Guru ka langar’ ( otherwise called community kitchen) and community prayers as well . The village has a recorded plot ( well known as NANAKDIHA even today) on which the Guru had constructed a little thatched hut and remained for a few days . The reference of Nanak’s visit is likewise found in the compositions of a poet of this village called Banshi Ballav Goswami( eighteenth century).He has composed several poetry and drama in Odia, Bengali, Hindi and Persian too . In a portion of his sonnets he has given a few signs in regards to the village Sangat, Nanak and Mahadev and the village deity of Sangat. Rajballabh Mohanty in his composition called ‘Bhadrakali Janan(composed in Odia in 1930)’ has likewise referenced with regards to Nanak’s visit to the town Sangat close to Bhadrak . The main reference of Guru Nanak’s visit to Puri is found in his own ‘ Japji’ where it has been plainly referenced that ‘Sangat hai Guru Nanak kon’ or it can be translated as ‘Sangat belongs to Guru Nanak’ . Besides that a couple of manuscripts containing a few stanzas from the popular ‘Japji’ of Guru Nanak were additionally found at Sangat in Bhadrak.
The legend says that Guru Nanak was joined by his two disciples called Bala and Mardana. They were extremely parched and sitting on the sea shore totally drained and depleted. Thirst drove them to dive into the sand . They were totally shocked to get spotless sweet drinking water rather than pungent water out of meters from the ocean. Baula is the term given in the Punjab region to such water openings . The opening was safeguarded as a well and later on a Math was set up there by the Nanak Panthis . This Math in the current day is known as Bauli Math.
The Bauli Math and the Mangu Math at
Puri both are said to have the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and the significance to the Guru’s visit is recorded.In this connection when we pay a visit to the present day Mangu Math and Bauli Math and want to take a stock of evidence if at all any, still prevailing regarding the Guru Nanak’s visit to Puri once upon a time, we will be seriously disappointed… because there lies almost nil evidence. In this connection , when we put a glance on the report given by David Smith, the then sanitary commissioner of Bengal in the year 1868 , we find that there were several groups of Punjabis who were coming all the way from different places of Punjab to the abode of Lord Jagannath in regular intervals. The journey was arduous , very much time-consuming and not less than around 2000kms then. They were staying for a few days in the abode of Lord Jagannath, Puri and going back to their place of original residence in Punjab. From the above account, it appears that Nanakpanthis were regularly visiting Puri as a pilgrimage and Nanak had set that trend…..
Dr. Manoj Mishra