For over twenty years, Guru Nanak had been on his travels. He had visited all parts of India. He had been to the east as far as Assam and Burma. To the South he had gone as far as Ceylon. To the north he had gone even to places outside India. Crossing the Himalayas, he had visited Tibet and China. He had travelled on foot. What a tireless traveller he was !
He had travelled so long and so far, but he was not yet satisfied. He now decided to go towards the west. His aim was to visit Muslim countries. He wanted to visit also, the Muslim mosques in those countries.
He chose Mecca as the first such place to visit. Mecca is in Arabia. It contains the most sacred Muslim mosque that muslim mosque is called the Kaaba or the House of God. A visit to Mecca by a Muslim is called haj. A Muslim visitor to Mecca is called a haji. Guru Nanak decided to go on haj.
He put on the blue dress, worn by haj is. He took a fakir’s staff, or stick in his hand. Hajis carry under their arms their sacred Book, the Quran. In place of that, the Guru carried a book of his sacred songs or hymns. Like the hajis, he had with him a lota or jug. He also carried a mat like the hajis. Dressed thus, he looked like a typical haji. All along, he acted in every way as hajis did. Bhai Mardana was with him. He, too, was dressed as a haji.
Boarding a ship at Surat, he reached the Arabian coast. From there, he walked on foot. He reached Mecca in due course.
By the time he arrived in Mecca, he was very tired. His feet were sore. He needed rest. So he lay down to rest himself. He knew quite well that no Muslim would lie with his feet towards the Kaaba. But he wanted to draw the attention of the hajis, so that he could teach them his wisdom.
So, he lay down with his feet towards the Kaaba. All who saw him lying thus, began to shout and cry in anger.
They gathered around him. They
shouted at him. They threatened him.
One of them was more angry than the others. His name was Jiwan. He kicked the Guru and said, ‘Who are you?
Why do you lie with your feet towards the House of God ?’
The Guru did not show any anger.
In fact, he was never angry with anybody.
He smiled at Jiwan. In a calm, sweet voice he said to him, ‘Brother, don’t be angry. I am very tired. I need rest. I respect the House of God as much as any one. Please turn my feet in a “Please turn my feet in a direction in which God is not.
direction in which God or the House of God is not.’
Jiwan took hold of the Guru’s feet.
He dragged them in the opposite direction. Then he lifted his eyes. He saw the Kaaba standing in the direction of the Guru’s feet. He turned the Guru’s feet in another direction. The Kaaba was seen standing in that direction. Jiwan dragged the Guru’s feet to this side and that. He dragged, them round and round. The Kaaba was seen to be going round and round.
It was always, in the direction of the Guru’s feet. His feet were always towards the Kaaba.
Jiwan and the other hajis were all filled with wonder. Jiwan let go of the Guru’s feet. The Guru got up and said, ‘Don’t you see that God’s House is in every direction ? I tell you He dwells in every place, in every heart. He is in your hearts. He is also in mine.’
In the morning, a number of learned hajis gathered around the Guru. They held religious discussions with him.
He satisfied every one of them. He explained to them his golden rules of life and religion. They listened to him with utmost attention. They agreed to live and act as advised by him. One of them said to the Guru, ‘Holy Sir, give me something which will always remind me of you.’ The Guru gave him his pair of sandals. They were respectfully kept in the Kaaba for some time. That Muslim fakir then returned to India.
He brought the sandals with him. He kept them in his temple at Uch in Bahawalpur, now in Pakistan.