Dr Amrit Kaur | November 04, 2022 03:07 PM

This year i.e. in 2022 his 483 rd year of leaving for heavenly abode was observed on Sept. 20. Kartarpur Sahib situated on the right bank of river Ravi in District Narowal of Pakistan near the Indo-Pak border usually referred to as Kartarpur (Ravi) to distinguish it from the Kartarpur town which falls in District Jallandhar of Punjab is a very sacred place for the Sikhs because Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539) the founder of Sikh Religion spent the last 17-18 years of his life at this place and also left for his heavenly abode from this place. Until the partition of India i.e. 1947 this place fell in the Tehsil Shakargarh, District Gurdaspur of Punjab.

Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Patshahi-Pahili is visible from the high embankment marking the Indo-Pak boundary north of Dera Baba Nanak which is situated on the left bank of river Ravi and falls in District Gurdaspur of Punjab. The aerial distance between these two places is less than two kms.

Sri Guru Nank Dev Ji was born on April 15, 1469 at Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi now named Nankana Sahib but by tradition his birthday is celebrated world-wide on the full-moon day in the month of Kartik, the eighth desi month which coincides with October-November.

Nankana Sahib is about 65 kms south-west of Lahore and falls in Pakistan. His father Kalian Chand Ji popularly known as Mahita Kalu Ji belonged to Bedi clan of Kashatriyas and was a Patwari i.e. village accountant in the service of Rai Bhullar,the local Muslim Chief. The father and mother Mata Tripta Ji of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji were both very religious minded.

To spread the word of God Almighty Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji covered several cities in India and abroad. He undertook four Udasis (long journeys) in the four directions - north, south, east and west. The places visited by him in India during the first Udasi included Kurukshetra, Mathura, Haridwar, Delhi, Kashi, (Banaras), Gaya and Jagannath Puri. During this Udasi he visited several places in Bengal and Assam. In the second Udasi he went south-ward and visited Arbudgiri (Kohabu), Setuband, Rameshwaram, Sinhaldeep, Sri Lanka. During this third Udasi he visited Garhwal, Hemkunt Sahib, Gorakhpur, Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibbet. His last Udasi was towards the West during which he visited Balochastan, Mecca, Madina. Rome, Baghdad, Iran, Kandhar and Kabul. After these Udasis he returned to Hasan Abdal (Panja Sahib) which falls now in Pakistan.

During these travels he visited the Sufi establishments at Pak Pattan and Multan and shrine sites along the west coast of India. He concluded his travels around 1521 and arrived at the village Pakkhoke Randhave now named as Dera Baba Nanak which falls in District Gurdaspur of Punjab and sat near a well owned by Ajitta Randhava who was Chaudhary (headman) of this village. Guru Sahib's family was already staying in this village with his wife Mata Sulakkhni Ji's parents. It may be mentioned that Mata Sulakkhni Ji's father Mul Chand Ji who belonged to Batala was holding a minor revenue office at the village Pakkhoke Randave and was residing in this village. It is around this spot where Guru Sahib halted grew the town of Dera Baba Nanak. The people from the surrounding villages started pouring in to receive Guru Sahib's blessings. Ajitta Randhava requested Guru Sahib to settle at this place. But in the meantime a wealthy follower of Guru Sahib donated land on the right bank of the river Ravi for establishing a habitation. Thus Guru Sahib went across the river Ravi and established a village which he named Kartarpur Sahib which is now named as Kartarpur (Ravi) and which became the centre for the congregation of his followers. Thus Kartarpur Sahib became the centre of the newly founded Sikh Panth (Community). Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived at Kartarpur Sahib (Ravi) for about 17-18 years and thus this place became the principal seat of Sikh faith. The parents of Guru Sahib also moved to Kartarpur (Ravi). According to the Encylopeadia of Sikhism published by Punjabi University, Patiala. Guru Sahib's father Mehta Kalu Ji (1440-1522) died at Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib in 1522. Soon after his death Mata Tripta Ji also left for her heavenly abode at Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's message was nam japo (pray to God), vand chhako (share your food with others) and Kirat Karo (indulge yourself in labour).

Through these ethical codes Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid the foundation of praying to God, earning one's livelihood through labour and the concept of langar (community meals). At Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib Guru Sahib ploughed his own fields Before Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji left for his heavenly abode on September 7, 1539, he proclaimed Bhai Lehna Ji as his successor who later became the second Guru of the Sikhs and named Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji.

When Bhai Lehna Ji came to Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib he was blessed by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. When Bhai Lehna Ji arrived at Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib and went to the house of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Mata Sulakkhni Ji told him that Guru Sahib was out in his fields. Bhai Lehna Ji reached the farm and Guru Sahib asked him to carry a sheaf of some crop which was very wet to his home. Bhai Lehna Ji obeyed the orders of Guru Sahib. Mata Sulakkhni Ji asked Guru Sahib as to why he had asked Bhai Lehna Ji to carry a wet sheaf because it had drenched and spoiled his clothes. Guru Sahib answered that it is not mud. These are the drops of saffron which have fallen over Bhai Lehna Ji's clothes. Because of his obedience and perfection in the errands of seva instead of bestowing Guruship on his sons Baba Sri Chand Ji and Baba Lakhmi Das Ji Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji chose Bhai Lehna Ji as his successor. It is also said that when Bhai Lehna Ji met Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji for the first time, Guru Sahib asked him as to what was his name. Bhai Lehna Ji said my name is Lehna. 'Lehna' or 'Laina' means to receive. Guru Sahib retorted 'tu sathon laina te asin tenu dena' i.e. I have to give to you and you have to receive. Guru Sahib named him 'Angad' which denotes that his disciple had become as much a part of his body as his own limbs (ang). Bhai Lehna Ji devoted himself whole-heartedly to Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and it was because of his loyal obedience that Guru Sahib by-passed his sons and many other reputed disciples and chose him as his successor. At the time of installation of Bhai Lehina Ji as his successor Sri Guru Nank Dev Ji asked Baba Buddha Ji to apply the ceremonial tilak on his forehead. By proclaiming Bhai Lehna Ji as his successor Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji introduced the concept of Guruship as a continuing process wherein Sri Guru Granth Sahib is our prestigious eleventh Guru.

As mentioned earlier Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji established the village Kartar (Ravi) Sahib around 1521-1522 and lived here for about 18 years. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Holy Spirit left for its heavenly abode from this place The Sikhs, Hindus and Musalmans were involved in a tussel each of whom wanted to dispose off the mortal remains according to their respective religions. The Musalmas got some clothes of Guru Sahib and buried them in a Smadh (Grave). The Sikhs and Hindus cremated the mortal frame. The mortal remains were buried near Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib. In his fond memory a monument was raised over this place. Soon thereafter Guru Sahib's wife left for her heavenly abode. After a short time floods in the river Ravi washed away the monument raised in the fond memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Sahib's elder son Baba Sri Chand Ji salvaged the urn containing Guru Sahib's mortal remains and reburied them.

At the place where Guru Sahib had alighted after his four Udasis Dharam Das Ji, son of Guru Sahib's younger son Bhai Lakhmi Das Ji founded a new habitation and named it Dera Baba Nanak. In Dera Baba Nanak now stands Gurdwara Darbar Sahib which falls in the centre of Dera Baba Nanak.

Three memorials exist at Dera Baba Nanak (i) the well which originally belonged to Bhai Ajitta Randhava which is reverently called Sarji Sahib (ii) Kirtan Asthan which is the site where Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji had sat rapt in Kirtan when visiting Dera Baba Nanak for the condolence of the death of Baba Dharam Das Ji (iii) the central shrine called Thara Sahib marks the thara (platform) on which Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had sat when he had first come to Ajitta Randhava's well.

After the partition of India in 1947, Gurdwara Kartarpur (Ravi) Sahib Patshahi Pahili became inaccessible to the Sikhs and there were many efforts by the Sikhs. As a result of which the Pakistan Government has constructed a passage which is called a corridor which is a 4.1 km long four line highway to make it accessible to the Sikhs for whom it is a very sacred place. Now the pilgrims from all over the world are allowed to have a holy glimpse of this holy place after a few formalities.

Indian pilgrims have to carry a printout of ETA during the visit along with a valid Indian passport and pay a service fee of US $20 at the entry point. It may be added that it has now been decided to supply the water of Khoohi Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Kartarpur Sahib to places across the world.

This year i.e., in 2022 his 483rd year of leaving for heavenly above was observed on Sept. 20. 

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