5. Missionary Tour

In 1553, Guru Amardas undertook a missionary journey to the eastern and south-eastern parts of the Punjab. He first visited Kurukshetra on the occasion of the Abhaijit festival to preach the Guru's way to the thousands of pilgrims who had gathered there. It is wrong to say, as some biased historians have written, that Guru Amardas undertook the pilgrimage to holy places to appease the Hindus who were alleged to have been dissatisfied with his rejection of caste restrictions and ancient rituals. The Guru preached to the crowds that the Abhaijit solar eclipse was a natural phenomenon and there was no merit gained by fasting and bathing on this occasion. The best pilgrimage is bathing inwardly in the Holy Name. Guru Ramdas subsequently composed a hymn to expound the message to Guru Amardas to the congregation at Kurukshetra, Jamna, Hardwar and places en route.

"A sight of the true Guru (Amardas) is the real bathing of the Abhaijit festival"       (Page or Ang. 1116)

"The true pilgrimage is meditation on the Holy Name and a dip in the divine nectar"        (Page or Ang.  687)

Huge crowds followed the Guru's party because the tax-collectors did not collect the pilgrim tax from the Guru. The rush was great at Hardwar where the local gentry gathered in a central place to hear the Guru's discourse. The Guru also held discussions with Yogis, Jain Digambars, Sanyasis and the exponents of the six systems of Indian philosophy and won their love and respect.