Puri, commonly called Jagannath Puri after the hindu Temple of Jagannath, was visited by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji in 1509 during his eastern travels. Guru Nanak preached against idolatry and exhorted the people to sing praises of One God.
Gurdwara Mangumath Sahib and Gurdwara Baoli Sahib (unknown location) are served by Udasi priests commemorate the Guru's visit. These were first established by Bhai Almast, the notable Udasi preacher, during the middle of the seventeenth century.
Situated by the sea, Jagannath Puri is an important place of pilgrimage for hindus. The stone idols of Krishna and Vishnu are worshipped as Gods here. The pandits (hindu priests) worship the stone idols and exhort their followers to do the same.
When Guru Nanak visited this place in 1509 AD the temple priests were praying to their stone Gods. Guru Nanak was watching the ritual silently amidst the crowd and then appeared before the people and said the following;
'The entire sky is the silver plate. The Moon and the Sun are lamps. The luminous stars are studded in it like jewels. The wind was the scent of all flowers on earth. Thus worship is performed, O Thou the destroyer of births!
And the unstruck melody of God's word ringeth through the universe. Millions are Thy eyes and yet Thou has no eye. Millions are Thy feet and yet Thou has no feet, Millions are Thy noses and yet Thou has no nose, and through the Guru's instruction this light is illuminated.
Oh people! that alone is worship that pleaseth my Lord. Like the honey is to bee, my mind cherishes the honey of His Lotus feet. Oh Lord! allay the thirst of Nanak, thy Sarang, 0h Lord of Bliss! So that he merges in His Name.'
The message was of a philosophical nature conveying to the world that there is only one God, describing God's presence in the beautiful forms of nature, describing that the bright sky, as a silver plate, taking Sun and the Moon as lamps, while all the illuminating Stars as jewels, wind throwing the fragrance of flowers, with these people would worship God. The hymns also highlighted the truth that there are millions of his eyes, millions of feet, millions of noses, however God has no eyes, no feet and no nose, keeping himself formless. Guru Nanak added that the mind of a Sikh is pleased with the remembrance of Lord's lotus feet.
Gurdwara Mangumath Sahib stands near the Jagannath temple in the memory of the Gurus visit there.
There is a well of water near the sea shore; the water from this well was used by the Guru during his stay there. This is the only well which has sweet and palatable water. The well is located next to the Emar Math, this math is associated with a Guru Nanak sect. The math provides a sacrificial ram to be offered to Goddess Bimala on the annual Maha Navami night. Please note, this is not a Sikh custom.
Baaul Math is another math of the Guru Nanak sect. The udasi (non-Sikh) caretaker said their was a story of Guru Nanak where he went into a deep meditation (samadhi) and that on the third day Lord Jagannath got worried about losing his status. Jagannath himself walked from his temple to meet Guru Nanak. That is why his idol sits next to the Adi Granth.
At Gurdwara Baoli Sahib there is a story associated with Guru Nanak. One morning Guru Nanak went for a stroll. There were many people bathing, just as the pilgrims do now in their customary fully attired manner. Guru Nanak's companion, Mardana, felt thirsty. The water all around was insipid. The Guru with his staff dug up the sand near him and there appeared a spring of cool drinking water, from which Mardana drank to his satisfaction.
Guru Nanak with a pandit who claimed he could see the impossible. This human life is not meant to be wasted in such spurious and fake acts.
The Guru visited the temple not to adore stone idols but to teach the people that the worship of God was superior to the worship of the deity.
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors