Friday, October 26, 2007

TIRATH /ਤੀਰਥਿ



A pilgrimage is simply a sacred journey to a sacred place by a pilgrim. A tirath, on the other hand, is indelibly associated with a body of beliefs in the merit-giving efficacy of austerities, rituals, vows, purifications, and other practices.  However, not all pilgrimages are tiraths even if, all tiraths are pilgrimages. A tirath, according to Sabd Guru is an outer sacred journey whose beliefs and practices distract the seeker from the inner sacred journey. It is, therefore, empty of any utility, unless the pilgrim enters into a special experiential relationship with the sacred site for further spiritual growth.

ਜਪੁ ਤਪੁ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਮੰਨਿਐ ਅਵਰਿ ਕਾਰਾ ਸਭਿ ਬਾਦਿ
ਨਾਨਕ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਮੰਨੀਐ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ
Jap Tap Sabh Kich Maneai Avar Kara Sabh Baad. Nānak mani­ā mannī­ai bujẖī­ai gur parsāḏ.
Meditation, austerity and everything come through belief in God's Name. All other actions are useless. Believe in the One who is worth believing in, and realized through Guru's Grace says Nanak. -----Guru Angad, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 954-6


Because a pilgrimage is only an outwardly sacred journey, it is by itself empty. But such an outer journey can guide the seeker to the inner sacred journey. If it does so, it is of some utility. If it fails to do so, it is vacuous and useless. It is the internal pilgrimage of the self, which is the spiritual path to the truth:
                                ਸਚੁ ਤਾਂ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਆਤਮ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥
ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਨੋ ਪੁਛਿ ਕੈ ਬਹਿ ਰਹੈ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥
Sacẖ ṯāʼn par jāṇī­ai jā āṯam ṯirath karė nivās. Saṯgurū no pucẖẖ kai bahi rahai karė nivās.

One who knows the Truth, does so only after he dwells in the sacred shrine of pilgrimage of his own consciousness. He sits and receives instruction from the True Guru, and lives in accordance with Its Will.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGE, Page, 468-12

Guru Arjan ponders on the ego of the individuals visiting pilgrimage places:
ਤੀਰਥਿ ਜਾਉ ਤ ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤੇ
ਪੰਡਿਤ ਪੂਛਉ ਤ ਮਾਇਆ ਰਾਤੇ
ਸੋ ਅਸਥਾਨੁ ਬਤਾਵਹੁ ਮੀਤਾ
ਜਾ ਕੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਨੀਤਾ
ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਬੇਦ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰ
ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਅਉਤਾਰ
ਗਿਰਸਤ ਮਹਿ ਚਿੰਤ ਉਦਾਸ ਅਹੰਕਾਰ
ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਜੀਅ ਕਉ ਜੰਜਾਰ
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਤੇ ਮਨੁ ਵਸਿ ਆਇਆ  
ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਤਰੀ ਤਿਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ
ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਗਾਈਐ
ਇਹੁ ਅਸਥਾਨੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇ ਪਾਈਐ
Ŧirath jā­o ṯa ha­o ha­o karṯė. Pandiṯ pūcẖẖa­o ṯa mā­i­ā rāṯė. So asthān baṯāvhu mīṯā. Jā kai har har kīrṯan nīṯā. Sāsṯar bėḏ pāp punn vīcẖār. Narak surag fir fir a­uṯār. Girsaṯ meh cẖinṯ uḏās ahaʼnkār. Karam karaṯ jī­a ka­o janjār. Parabẖ kirpā ṯė man vas ā­i­ā. Nānak gurmukẖ ṯarī ṯin mā­i­ā. Sāḏẖsang har kīrṯan gā­ī­ai. Ih asthān gurū ṯė pā­ī­ai.

Although they make journeys to sacred shrines, I see these mortals acting in ego. If I examine the Pundits, I find them tainted by Maya. Show me that place, O friend, where the Kirtan of the God's Praises are forever sung. The Shaastras and the Vedas speak of sin and virtue; they say that mortals are reincarnated into heaven and hell, over and over again. In the householder's life, there is anxiety, and in the life of the renunciate, there is egotism. Performance of religious rituals may only result in the entanglement of the conscience. By God's Grace, the mind is brought under control.  O Nanak, the Guru oriented crosses over the ocean of Maya. In the Company of the holy, one should sing the songs of the God's Praises. This place is found through the Guru.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 385
ਹਉ ਹਉ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਰਮ ਰਤ ਤਾ ਕੋ ਭਾਰੁ ਅਫਾਰ
ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਜਉ ਨਾਮ ਸਿਉ ਤਉ ਏਊ ਕਰਮ ਬਿਕਾਰ
Ha­o ha­o karṯė karam raṯ ṯā ko bẖār afār. Parīṯ nahī ja­o nām si­o ṯa­o ė­ū karam bikār.

Acting in egotism, selfishness and conceit, the lovers of rituals carry the unbearable load. When there is no love for the Naam, then these rituals are corrupt.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 252-2                                                                         

Guru Nanak further clarifies in Raag Gauri that the God, one is looking for, is in one’s self.
ਜੈ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਤਟਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਹੀ
ਰਤਨ ਪਦਾਰਥ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਮਾਹੀ
ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਬਾਦੁ ਵਖਾਣੈ
ਭੀਤਰਿ ਹੋਦੀ ਵਸਤੁ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ
JaiKaarN Tat Tirath Jaahee, Ratan Pdaarath Ghat Hee Maahee, Parh Parh Pundit Baad VakhaNai, Bheetar Hodee Vasat Na JaaNai.
One may journey to sacred shrines and holy rivers for his/her own sake, however, the priceless jewel is within your own heart. The Pundits, the religious scholars, read and read endlessly; they stir up arguments and controversies.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 152-5,6
Sikh pilgrimage does raise some questions?

  1. Should Sikhs go on a pilgrimage?
  2. Is there pilgrimage in Sikhism?
  3. Is there any spiritual benefit from it?

The following hymns answer the above questions.

ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ
ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ
Soochay Ayhi Na Aakhee-ahi Bahan Je Pindaa Dho-ay, Soochay Say-ee Nankaa Jin Man Vasi-aa So-ay.

They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds God abides. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 472-9  
ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਪੈਜ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਫੈਲੁ
ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਉਤਰੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਲੁ
ਜਿਨ੍ਹ੍ਹ ਪਟੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਗੁਦੜੁ ਤੇ ਭਲੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ
Andrahu Jhoothay Paij Baahar Dunee-aa Andar Fail, Athsath Tirath Jay Naaveh Utrai Naahee Mail, Jinh Pat Andar Baahar Gudarh Tay Bhalay Sansaar.

Those who are false within, and honorable on the outside, are very common in this world. Even though they may bathe at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage, their filth still does not depart. Those having silk on the inside and rag on the outside, are the good ones in this world.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 473-15

ਪਾਪ ਕਰਹਿ ਪੰਚਾਂ ਕੇ ਬਸਿ ਰੇ
ਨਾਇ ਕਹਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਉਤਰੇ
Paap Karahi PanchaaN Kay Bas Ray, Tirath Naa-ay Kaheh Sabh Utray.

They commit sins, under the influence of the five thieves. They bathe at sacred shrines, and claim that everything has been washed off. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1348-8

Although a distinction is seldom made, a religion has both a normative and an operative aspect.

Normative beliefs and practices are those prescribed by scripture. In contrast, operative beliefs and practices are those actually held and followed by adherents of the religion. The former are implicitly written within the “Sabd Guru” and are known through Its study with understanding and reflection.

Operative beliefs are explicit within the religious community and can only be known through observation. Although the two are complementary, studies of religion generally emphasize the former. There can, of course, be substantial variation between what a scripture of that faith says about what people should do and what they actually do.                          

In Sabd Guru, which is the core of the Sikh spiritual path for the attainment of liberation; pilgrimage, visiting a tirath, is given no value. It is explicit on this point: pilgrimages to sacred places are of no use without true devotion to God, and for that one need not go to sacred places. The Gurus' position on tirath in their compositions is the authoritative position within Sikh tradition.  It is easy to conclude in answer to the first question that there is no doctrine of pilgrimage in Sikhism. Sikh Gurus taught outer sacred journeys are futile if there are not simultaneously inner journeys. Inner journeys can be made anywhere since their source, God, is everywhere as well as in oneself. And yet, in the Sikh community, pilgrimage is popular.

Consequently, the conflict between normative and operative has remained largely unresolved. The conclusion drawn here is that sacred journeys are attractive because sacred places offer the tangible possibility of an encounter with sacred ideals.

Nanak knew the true sacred place to be inward. He prescribed meditation and devotional love for God as a replacement for pilgrimage. His position on pilgrimage is stated clearly in his own Japji Sahib. The Guru's teachings about pilgrimage, tirath, appear at four places within its thirty-eight stanzas.
ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਾ ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਭਾਵਾ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਕਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਰੀ
Tirath Naavaa Jay Tis Bhavaa ViN BhaaNay Ke Naa-ey Karee.

I would bathe at places of pilgrimage if it were pleasing to God. If it is not pleasing to God, then what is the use?-----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page,  2-11

Guru Nanak's understanding of the value of pilgrimage was made explicit when he wrote:

ਸੁਣਿਐ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਕਾ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ
SuNiaAthsath Ka Isnaan.

Listening to the True Name of God is equivalent to bathing at the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage.-----Guru Nanak -Japji, AGGS, Page,   3-1

Guru Nanak's understanding of the value of pilgrimage was made explicit when he wrote:

ਤੀਰਥੁ ਤਪੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ
ਜੇ ਕੋ ਪਾਵੈ ਤਿਲ ਕਾ ਮਾਨੁ
ਸੁਣਿਆ ਮੰਨਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਕੀਤਾ ਭਾਉ
ਅੰਤਰਗਤਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਮਲਿ ਨਾਉ
Tirath Tap Daya Dat Daan, Jay Ko Pavai Til Ka Maan, SuNiaa Maniaa Man Keetaa Bhaou, Antargat Tirath Mal Naaou.

Pilgrimages, austere discipline, compassion and charity, these by themselves, bring not even an iota of merit.  Listening to the Naam, and believing it with love and humility in your mind, cleans yourself, at the sacred shrine deep within. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 4-14,15
Finally, he described the myriad forms designed by God and sustained by God's will that sing God's praise.
ਗਾਵਨਿ ਰਤਨ ਉਪਾਏ ਤੇਰੇ ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਲੇ
Gaavan Ratan Oupaa-ay Tayray  Athsath Tirath Naalay.

Jewels created by You, together with the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage made sacred by You, sing Your praise.                                                           -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 6-10

Guru Nanak "Invariably attached no importance to pilgrimage, "The true tirath is in the Naam and Sabd," "There is no tirath like the Guru," and "The object of pilgrimage is within oneself". Succeeding Sikh Gurus continued to discourage ritualism, the worship of images and natural objects, and visits to waters, tombs, and temples considered sacred by people of the other faiths.

ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਣ ਜਾਉ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ
ਤੀਰਥੁ ਸਬਦ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ
ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਸਾਚਾ ਥਾਨੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਦਸ ਪੁਰਬ ਸਦਾ ਦਸਾਹਰਾ
ਗੁਰ ਵਾਕੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਸਦਾ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਨਿਤ ਸਾਚੁ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਮਜਨਾ
Tirath Navan Jaa-ou Tirath Naam Hai, Tirath Sabd Bichar Antar Gian Hai, Gur Gian Saacha, Thaan Tirath Das Purab Sada Dasaahra, Gur Vaak Nirmal Sada Chanan Nit Saach Tirath Majna.

What good is my going to bathe at holy spots, the Divine Name is the true holy spot. The sacred shrine of pilgrimage is spiritual wisdom within, and contemplation on the Word of the Sabd. The spiritual wisdom given by the Guru is the True sacred shrine of pilgrimage where the ten festivals are always observed. The Master’s Word is the eternal light, which is equivalent to daily bathing at a holy place.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 687- 14,16

ਭੇਖੀ ਹਾਥ ਨ ਲਭਈ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਹੀ ਦਾਨੇ
ਬੇਦ ਪੜੰਤਿਆ ਮੂਠੀ ਵਿਣੁ ਮਾਨੇ
ਨਾਨਕ ਕੀਮਤਿ ਸੋ ਕਰੇ ਪੂਰਾ ਗੁਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੇ
Bhaykhee Haath Na Labha-ee Tirath Nahee Daanay, Poochha-o Bayd Parhanti-aa Moothee Vin Maanay, Nanak Keemat So Karay Pooraa Gur Gi-aanay.

Wearing religious robes, God is not obtained, nor is God obtained by giving donations at sacred shrines of pilgrimage. Go and ask the readers of the Vedas.  Without faith, the world is cheated. O Nanak, he alone values the jewel, which is blessed with the spiritual wisdom of the Perfect Guru.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1012-13

ਤੀਰਥਿ ਭਰਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਪੜਿਆ ਬਾਦੁ ਬਿਬਾਦੁ ਭਇਆ
ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਸੁ ਅਧਿਕ ਵਡੇਰਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਭਇਆ ॥੮॥
Tirath Bharmai Roag Na Chootas Parhia Baad Bibbaad Bhae-aa. Ḏubiḏẖā rog so aḏẖik vaderā mā▫i▫ā kā muhṯāj bẖa▫i▫ā. ||8||

Wandering around at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, the mortal is not cured of his disease. Reading scripture, he gets involved in useless arguments. The disease of duality is so very deadly; it causes dependence on Maya. ||8||-----Guru Nanak, Raag Bhairo, AGGS, Page, 1153-16

Guru Amar Das proclaims that truth is the real pilgrimage in Raag Suhi:

ਸਚਾ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਸਤ ਸਰਿ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਪਿ ਬੁਝਾਏ
ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਦਿਖਾਏ ਤਿਤੁ ਨਾਤੈ ਮਲੁ  ਜਾਏ ॥
Suchaa Tirath Jit Sat Sar NaavaN Gurmukh Aap Bujhaa-ay. Aṯẖsaṯẖ ṯirath gur sabaḏ ḏikẖā▫e ṯiṯ nāṯai mal jā▫e.

True is that place of pilgrimage, where one bathes in the pool of Truth, and achieves self-realization as Guru Willed and understands his own self.  God has shown that the Word of the Guru's Sabd is the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage; bathing in it, filth is washed away.-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 753-15
ਹਰਿ ਸਰਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਜਾਣਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਨਾਇਆ
ਸਬਦਿ ਮਰੈ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਰਿ ਧੰਨੁ ਜਣੇਦੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥
Har Sar Tirath JaaN Manuaa Naaeaa. Sabaḏ marai man mār ḏẖan jaṇeḏī mā▫i▫ā.

God is my sacred shrine of pilgrimage and pool of purification; I wash my mind in It. One who dies in the Sabd and conquers his mind - blessed is the mother who gave birth to him.-----Guru Amar Das, Raag Malar, AGGS, Page, 1286-3
ਜਪ ਤਪ ਤੀਰਥ ਸੰਜਮ ਕਰੇ ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਇਆ
ਹਿਰਦਾ ਸੁਧੁ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵਦੇ ਸੋਹਹਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ॥
Jap Tap Tirath Sabjam Karay Mayray Prabh Bhaeaa. Hirḏā suḏẖ har sevḏe sohėh guṇ gā▫i▫ā.
The merits of chanting, meditation, penance, self-discipline, bathing at sacred shrines of pilgrimage are attained only if they pleasing to my God. So serve the God with a pure heart; singing Its Glorious Praises, you shall be embellished and exalted.-----Guru Ram Das, Raag Sarang, AGGS, Page, 1244-1
ਜੇਤੇ ਰੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਏ ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਮੈਲੁ ਲਾਏ ਘਰ ਕੋ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਇਕੁ ਤਿਲੁ ਨ ਮਾਨੈ
ਕਦਿ ਪਾਵਉ ਸਾਧਸੰਗੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਆਨੰਦੁ ਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਜਨਿ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਇਸਨਾਨੈ ॥੪॥
Jaytay Ray Tirath Naa-ay Ahanbudh Mail Laa-ay Ghar Ko Thakur Ik Til Na Maanai. Kaḏ pāva▫o sāḏẖsang har har saḏā ānanḏ gi▫ān anjan merā man isnānai. ||4||

In spite of the many places of pilgrimage for people to bathe in, their minds remain stained by their stubborn ego; the God & Master is not pleased by this at all.  When will I find the Company of the Holy? There, I shall be always in the ecstasy of the God, Waheguru, and my mind shall take its cleansing bath in the healing ointment of spiritual wisdom. ||4||-----Guru Arjan, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 687-3
ਬਨੁ ਬਨੁ ਫਿਰਤੀ ਖੋਜਤੀ ਹਾਰੀ ਬਹੁ ਅਵਗਾਹਿ
ਨਾਨਕ ਭੇਟੇ ਸਾਧ ਜਬ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ  
Ban Ban Firti Khojti Hari Boh Avgah, Nanak Bhaytay Saadh Jab Har Paaeaa Man Maaeh.
From forest to forest, I wandered searching. I am so tired of taking baths at sacred shrines of pilgrimage. O Nanak, when I met the Holy Saint, I found the God within my mind.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 455-12,13

Guru Arjan in Raag Parbhati describes the futility of rituals of external cleansing as follows:

ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਮਹਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ
ਪੂਜਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਬਿਸਥਾਰਾ
ਕਰਿ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਤਨਿ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਬਣਾਏ
ਅੰਤਰ ਕੀ ਮਲੁ ਕਬ ਹੀ ਨ ਜਾਏ
ਇਤੁ ਸੰਜਮਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਕਿਨ ਹੀ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ
ਭਗਉਤੀ ਮੁਦ੍ਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਮੋਹਿਆ ਮਾਇਆ
ਪਾਪ ਕਰਹਿ ਪੰਚਾਂ ਕੇ ਬਸਿ ਰੇ ॥ 
ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਇ ਕਹਹਿ ਸਭਿ ਉਤਰੇ  
ਬਹੁਰਿ ਕਮਾਵਹਿ ਹੋਇ ਨਿਸੰਕ
ਜਮ ਪੁਰਿ ਬਾਂਧਿ ਖਰੇ ਕਾਲੰਕ
ਘੂਘਰ ਬਾਧਿ ਬਜਾਵਹਿ ਤਾਲਾ
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਪਟੁ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਬੇਤਾਲਾ
ਵਰਮੀ ਮਾਰੀ ਸਾਪੁ ਨ ਮੂਆ
ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਜਿਨਿ ਤੂ ਕੀਆ
ਪੂੰਅਰ ਤਾਪ ਗੇਰੀ ਕੇ ਬਸਤ੍ਰਾ
ਅਪਦਾ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਤੇ ਨਸਤਾ
ਦੇਸੁ ਛੋਡਿ ਪਰਦੇਸਹਿ ਧਾਇਆ
ਪੰਚ ਚੰਡਾਲ ਨਾਲੇ ਲੈ ਆਇਆ
ਕਾਨ ਫਰਾਇ ਹਿਰਾਏ ਟੂਕਾ
ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਮਾਂਗੈ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਾਵਨ ਤੇ ਚੂਕਾ 
ਬਨਿਤਾ ਛੋਡਿ ਬਦ ਨਦਰਿ ਪਰ ਨਾਰੀ
ਵੇਸਿ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਹਾ ਦੁਖਿਆਰੀ
Man Meh Krodh Mhaa Ahankaraa, Pooja Kareh Bahut Bistharaa, Kar Isnan Tan Chakar BaNaaey, Antar Ki Mal Kabhi Na Jaaey, It Sanjam Prabh Kin Hi Na Paa-i-aa,Bhag-utee Mudraa Man Mohi-aa Maa-i-aa, Paap Karahi PanchaaN Kay Bas Ray, Tirath Naa-ay Kaheh Sabh Utray, Bahur Kamaaveh Ho-ay Nisank, Jam Pur BaaNDh Kharay Kaalank, ghooghar baaDh bajaaveh taalaa, antar kapat fireh baytaalaa, Varmee Maaree Saap Na Moo-aa, Parabh Sabh Kichh Jaanai Jin Too Kee-aa, PooNar Taap Gayree Kay Bastaraa, Apdaa Kaa Maari-aa Garih Tay Nastaa, Days Chhod Pardayseh Dhaa-i-aa, Panch Chandaal Naalay Lai Aa-i-aa, Kaan Faraa-ay Hiraa-ay Tookaa, Ghar Ghar MaaNgai Tariptaavan Tay Chookaa, Banitaa Chhod Bad Nadar Par Naaree, Vays Na Paa-ee-ai Mahaa Dukhi-aaree.

Within the mind dwell anger and massive ego. Worship services are performed with great pomp and ceremony. Ritual cleansing baths are taken, and sacred marks are applied to the body. But still, the filth and pollution within never depart. No one has ever found God in this way. The sacred ear rings - ritualistic hand gestures - are made, but the mind remains enticed by Maya. They commit sins, under the influence of the five thieves. They bathe at sacred shrines, and claim that everything has been washed off. Then they commit them again, without fear of the consequences. The sinners are bound and gagged, and taken to the City of Death. The ankle-bells shake and the cymbals vibrate, but those who have deception within wander like demons. By destroying its hole, the snake is not killed. God, who created you, knows everything. You worship fire and wear saffron colored robes. Stung by your misfortune, you abandon your home. Leaving your own country, you wander in foreign lands. But you bring the five rejects with you. You have split your ears, and now you steal crumbs. You beg from door to door, but you fail to be satisfied. You have abandoned your own wife, but now you sneak glances at other women. God is not found by wearing religious robes; you are utterly miserable! -----Guru Arjan, Raag Parbhati, AGGS, Page, 1348-8                                                       

                               ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਅਰੁ ਦਾਨ ਕਰਿ ਮਨ ਮੈ ਧਰੈ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ
                              ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਜਾਤ ਤਿਹ ਜਿਉ ਕੁੰਚਰ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ
           Tirath Barat Ur Daan Kar Man Mai Dharai Gumaan, Nanak Nehfal Jaat Teh Jeo Kunchar Isnaan.
The practices such as making pilgrimages to sacred shrines, observing ritualistic fasts and making donations to charity while the minds are full of pride, O Nanak, these are useless. They are like an elephant taking a bath, and then rolling in the dust.-----Guru Tegh Bahadur Slokes, AGGS, Page, 1428-18
ਕਬੀਰ ਭਾਂਗ ਮਾਛੁਲੀ ਸੁਰਾ ਪਾਨਿ ਜੋ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਖਾਂਹਿ ॥
ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕੀਏ ਤੇ ਸਭੈ ਰਸਾਤਲਿ ਜਾਂਹਿ
Kabīr bẖāʼng mācẖẖulī surā pān jo jo parānī kẖāʼnhi.Tirath Barat Naym Kee-ay Tay Sabhai Rasaatal Jaaneh.

Kabir, those mortals who consume marijuana, fish and wine -No matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all go to hell.-----Kabir Sloke 233, AGGS, Page, 1377-3

Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances implies accuracy and honesty. It is considered to be the supreme reality.  Truth is the ultimate meaning and value of existence. The study of Truth is part of philosophy and epistemology. Falsehood is an offensive weapon, truth a defensive armor. Truth cannot be found with filthy heart.

ਨਾਵਣ ਚਲੇ ਤੀਰਥੀ ਮਨਿ ਖੋਟੈ ਤਨਿ ਚੋਰ
ਇਕੁ ਭਾਉ ਲਥੀ ਨਾਤਿਆ ਦੁਇ ਭਾ ਚੜੀਅਸੁ ਹੋਰ ॥
NaavaN Chalay Tirathee Man Khotai Tan Choar. Ik bẖā▫o lathī nāṯi▫ā ḏu▫e bẖā cẖaṛī▫as hor.

They go and bathe at sacred shrines of pilgrimage, but their minds are still evil, and their bodies are thieves. Some of their filth is washed off by these baths, but they only accumulate twice as much.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 789-9

ਅੰਦਰਹੁ ਝੂਠੇ ਪੈਜ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਫੈਲੁ ॥
ਅਠਸਠਿ ਤੀਰਥ ਜੇ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਉਤਰੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਮੈਲੁ
Anḏrahu jẖūṯẖe paij bāhar ḏunī▫ā anḏar fail.Athsath Tirath Jay Naaveh Outrai Naahee Mail.
Those who are false within, and honorable on the outside, are very common in this world. Even though they may bathe at the sixty-eight sacred shrines of pilgrimage, still, their filth does not depart.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 473-16
                                                                                                                                   ਪਤਿ ਵਿਣੁ ਪੂਜ ਸਤ ਵਿਣੁ ਸੰਜਮੁ ਜਤ ਵਿਣੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਜਨੇਊ ॥
ਨਾਵਹੁ ਧੋਵਹੁ ਤਿਲਕ ਚੜਾਵਹੁ ਸੁਚ ਵਿਣੁ ਸੋਚ ਨ ਹੋਈ
Paṯ viṇ pūjā saṯ viṇ sanjam jaṯ viṇ kāhe jane▫ū. Naavoh Dhovoh Tilkak Charhvoh Souch Vich Soach Na Ho-ee.
Worship without faith; self-discipline without truthfulness; the ritual of the sacred thread without chastity - what good are these? You may bathe and wash, and apply a ritualistic tilak mark to your forehead, but without inner purity, there is no understanding.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 903-3
ਸੂਚੇ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਹਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਜਿ ਪਿੰਡਾ ਧੋਇ
ਸੂਚੇ ਸੇਈ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਿਨ ਮਨਿ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ
Soochay Ayh Na Aakheah Behn Jo Pinda Dhoey, Soochay Sayee Nanaka Jin Man Vasiaa Soey.

They are not called pure, who sit down after merely washing their bodies. Only they are pure, O Nanak, within whose minds God abides.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 472-9,10

Here, Nanak indicates that God was the ultimate source of whatever transformative power the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage possessed. Individuals can only be blessed with contemplation and reflection on the Sabd.

By itself, the external purity that comes from bathing in water is insufficient for attaining spiritual purity:
ਅੰਤਰ ਮੈਲ ਜੇ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਵੈ ਤਿਸੁ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ॥
ਲੋਕ ਪਤੀਣੇ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਰਾਮੁ ਅਯਾਨਾ॥
ਪੂਜਹੁ ਰਾਮੁ ਏਕ ਹੀ ਦੇਵਾ॥ ਸਾਚਾ ਨਾਵਣੁ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ॥
Antar Mail Jay Tirath Naavai Tis Baikunth Na Jaana, Loak PateeNay Kachoo Na Hovai Naahee Raam Aiaana. Poojoh Raam Ayk Hee Devaa, Saacha NaavaN Gur Kee Sayva.

With filth within the heart, even if one bathes at sacred places of pilgrimage, he still can not go to heaven. Nothing is gained by trying to please others -- the God cannot be fooled. Worship the One Divine Creator. The true cleansing bath is service to the Guru.-----Kabir, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 484-14,15
ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਲਖ ਲਖ ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਨਈਵੇਦ ਕਰੋੜੀ----ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਅਚਾਰ ਚਮੋੜੀ
Jap Tap Sanjam Lakh Lakh Hoam Jag Na-eevayd Krorhee---Ouper Sach Achaar Chamorhee.

There are millions of rituals -- recitation, penances, continence, burnt offerings and crores of oblations are there. Fasts, rules, control, activities are many but they all are like weak threads. Many are pilgrimage centers, anniversaries, and mullions of virtuous acts, charities and altruisms. Millions of kinds of worship of gods and goddesses, combinations, detractions, boons, curses are there. Many philosophies, caste, non-caste and many are the persons who do not bother about the unnecessary brands of lakhs of worships and oblations. Many are the forms of public behavior, virtues, renunciation, indulgence and other covering devices but all these craft-man ships remain far away from the truth, and they cannot touch it. Higher than truth is truthful living.-----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 18, Pauri, 19          
A pilgrimage may amplify the connection felt with the Guru, with the ideal that the Guru represents and with the affirmation of the doctrine that a seeker must approach God through the Guru. Gurus regarded pilgrimage travel and the beliefs surrounding it as empty.  They thought that such practices have no spiritual value. There is nothing wrong with bathing at a tirath per se, but the true means of spiritual attainment, love for God, need have nothing to do with sacred wells, water pools, and river crossings.                                                                                                                   

The only value that could be attached to the outer journey is that it may guide the seeker to the inner sacred journey. To the degree it does, tirath is of some utility, otherwise it is useless. 

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