True Pilgrimage, Who is Great ? Saints or the Places of Pilgrimage

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"O Man ! You have bathed in the external places of pilgrimage, now also bathe in the internal true pool of Nectar (Amritsar, Mansarover) which removes all the impurities of the mind and the soul."
The places, where true devotees of God took birth, lived for sometime, practised meditation, performed physical or mental austerities or gave up the body, later on emerged as sacred spots of pilgrimage and worship. The importance of the sacred spots is owing to the greatness of holymen, Saints and devotees of God. In fact, the places of pilgrimage are revered because of their association with the holymen, seers and sages. The places where they sit become sacred.
Guru Arjan Sahib says :
The sixty-eight pilgrim stations are there where the Saints put their feet.
Heaven is there where the Lord's Name is uttered. (M.5 Ramkali 890-21)
Similarly, Mahatama Charan Das says :
The ground and pilgrim stations,
Where the Saints put their feet are glorified.
Charan Das ! so sayeth the Lord.
Past history reveals that thirteen hundred years ago, there were no sacred places of pilgrimage of the Muslims. Mecca and Madina became the places of Islamic pilgrimage only after the birth of Hazrat Mohammed. Five Hundred years ago, there were no sacred centres like Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib, Amritsar, Tarn Taran etc. of the Sikhs. These places emerged as sacred spots only after the birth of Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan. Similarly, other sacred places of pilgrimage of the Hindus and other religions came into being and gained importance.
Generally, it is believed that the holy places of pilgrimage have more importance than the Saints. But this belief is unfounded. The Saints are mobile points of pilgrimage. They are not bound to any particular place. In fact, the various sacred spots became the places of pilgrimage only because of the grace of the Saints.
Mahatama Tulsi Das says that the Saints are a sort of mobile pilgrimage. The external places of pilgrimage like Hardawar, Dwarka, Amar Nath etc. are stationery. By bathing at the sacred places the outside of the body is cleansed. However, the Saints are mobile points of pilgrimage. They remove the internal impurities pertaining to the mind and soul.
Guru Ram Das ji says that all the places of pilgrimage including the sacred rivers like Ganges, the Jumna, the Godawari etc. crave for dust of the feet of the Saints for purification.
As many as are pilgrim stations established by Gods.
So many do crave for the dust of the Saint's feet.
Even the Ganges, the Jumna, the Godawari and the Saraswati;
All yearn for the dust of the Saint's feet.
And pray: O God ! we are laden with sin and are
delivered not till the Saints come to anoint us
with the dust of their feet. (M.5 Malar 1263-5)
It is said that a Brahmin used to offer water, flowers and a betel-nut (Supari) to the Ganges daily. One day he went to Guru Ravi Das to buy a pair of shoes. He had a brief conversation with the Guru about the worship of the Ganges. Guru Ravi Das gave a pair of shoes to him free of cost and in lieu of it, he urged him to offer a betel-nut to the Ganges on his behalf. After bathing, when the Brahmin offered the betel-nut to the Ganges, on behalf of Guru Ravi Das, an open hand emerged from the water and accepted the offer. The Brahmin was wonder struck to see this miracle as it had never happened previously.