The Dust of the Lotus Feet

The Gurus, in addition to mentioning the Lotus Feet of the Lord, also mention the dust of the Lord's feet in their hymns. A study of the hymns shows that like 'Lotus Feet' the term 'dust of the feet' has also been used in different contexts.

The dust is obtained from holy men and Saints. In the hymns of the Gurus, the praises of holy men and Saints have been sung in many different ways. We need them for spiritual progress. The Gurus say that the whole universe longs to have the dust of holy men's feet. The Lord has ordained it as the means by which one is to cross the ocean of the world.

All your universe, my Lord, Longs for the dust of the feet of the Saints.

Malar M4, 1263-10

Both men and gods are anxious to get this dust.

The service of the Lord's feet leads to salvation. Both seers and sages, men and gods, are eager to get the dust of His feet.

Bhairon M5, 1138-10

Rishis and Munis (seers and wise men) such as Shankar, Narad and others, were all anxious to get this dust, and the very earth on which such Saints walk is made holy.

Shankar, Narad, Sesh-nag and Munis + all wish to have the dust of the feet of the Saints; the earth they walk upon becomes holy.

 Kalyan M4, 1326-10

This dust doth cleanse as no ritual ablutions can, in this dust lies the merit of countless pilgrimages; this dust is holy and wipes off all sins. Even gods and goddesses worship at His feet as humble servants; the dust of the Lotus Feet is most beneficial, it conquers all circumstances and gives mastery over actions; the dust of the Lotus Feet is most purifying; through it sinners become pure and are redeemed.

Bhai Gurdas Ji, Kabit, Sawayye 339

Shamas-i-Tabriz, the great Persian Saint, says:

You should brighten your eyes with the dust of the Saints, so that you may understand everything from the beginning to the end. You should use the dust of the feet of the Lord's chosen beings as collyrium in order to see the Lord.

Illumine your eyes with the dust of the Saints' feet, that you may see the beginning and the end of things. Use the dust of Their feet as collyrium, through pain that is very sweet, it makes for clearer vision.

Many places, where Saints lived or where they spent time in devotion and enlightened people, have become centres of pilgrimage. Thus many sacred places have come into being owing to the greatness of holy men, Saints and devotees. For the Sikhs, Nankana Sahib, Panja Sahib and Kartarpur are considered sacred in memory of Guru Nanak. Khandur Sahib was founded in memory of Guru Angad. Because of Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan Dev, Amritsar and Taran Taran respectively are considered holy places. 

Similarly, the following are considered as sacred: — Mecca and Medina by the Muslims; the rivers Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati and Godawari and the city of Kashi, Banaras, by the Hindus; and Jerusalem by the Christians.

The Gurus say in this respect:

All the gods, to whom the places of pilgrimage are dedicated, crave for the dust of the feet of the Saints.

Malar M4, 1263-9

The Ganges, Yamuna, Godawari and Saraswati, all crave for the dust of the feet of the Saints.

Malar M4, 1263-5

Places of pilgrimage are revered because of their association with holy men, Saints and sages. Saints and other holy men, however, are not attached to any one single place. The place where they sit becomes sacred. They are mobile points of pilgrimage.

Bhai Gurdas Ji says:

The Ganges, Saraswati, Yamuna and Godawari, Gaya, Prayag, Set, Kurukshetra and Mansarovar, Kashi, Kanchi, Dwarka, Mathura and Ayodhya, Gomti, Avantka and snow-bound Kidar Nath, Narbada, various forests, sacred spots and Kailash, the blue Mandrachal, and Mount Sumer, sacred spots, wealth, truth, righteousness, compassion and contentment, all of them together are not equal to the dust of the feet of the Master.

Kabit, Sawayye 416

Sacred is the dust of the Master's feet, blessed is the dust rubbed on the forehead; blessed are those that see it, they get all that is desired. Nothing is as great as the glory of the forehead, neither the brilliance of a million jewels, nor the effulgence of millions of suns and moons, nor the splendour of great palaces, won by great good fortune, can equal the glory of this dust.

Kabit, Sawayye 421 

Repetitions of mantras, austerities and visiting the sixty-eight holy places of pilgrimage are nothing as compared to the dust of the Saints' feet.

Attachment and doubt are removed by the Grace of the Saints. The dust of the feet of Saints is praised by all religions.

 Gauri M4, 183-6

The true Name satisfies the mind; the dust of the feet of the Saints gives the merit of baths at all the sixty-eight holy places.

Asa M5, 377-3

My desire was fulfilled on seeing the Master. By rubbing the dust of His feet on my forehead the benefit of bathing at the sixty-eight sacred places was obtained.

It is only after obtaining the dust of the feet of the Saints that a man is really alive.

The Lord is merciful and omnipresent; Nanak has found life, for he has obtained the dust of the Saints' feet.

 Dhanasri M5, 676-19

It is only when the Lord wishes it that a person gets the dust of the feet of the Saints. It can be had only through His Grace.

Oh Lord, give Nanak the dust of the Saints' feet; oh bountiful Lord, I do not know anyone else who can give it.

 Bihagara M4, 556-18

It is not everyone who gets the dust of the feet of the Lord's loved ones.

Oh Nanak, the dust of the feet of those who are dear to the Lord is a rare boon.

Bhairon M5, 1143-8

Only a fortunate man gets the dust of Saints' feet; oh Nanak, it is only by meeting the Guru that one is attuned to the Lord.

Gauri M5, 193-19

One may inwardly obtain the dust or ray of the astral form of the Saints. The bright rays which emanate from the feet of the astral form of the Saints are described as the dust of their feet.

I partook of the nectar of the Name; I rubbed the dust of the Saints' feet on my forehead.

Sorath M4, 652-19

Tulsi Das Ji also says that the nails of the feet of the Master are brighter than diamonds.

The nails of the feet of the Master shine like diamonds; by remembering them one gets divine sight.

Ramacharitmanas

Tulsi Sahib Ji says that if you wish to see the dust of Saints' feet you should clean the mirror of the mind and body and keep the soul constantly at the centre behind the eyes. By contemplating in this way you will know the inner secret and see the light of the dust of the feet of the Saints.

Keep your soul behind the eyes every moment; clean the mirror of the mind and the body and beautify the soul; when you are fully concentrated you will realise the secret. Oh Tulsi, you will then see the light of the dust of the feet of the Saints.

What is this dust? The Gurus describe it as nectar or the precious Naam of the Lord.

Nanak says that the dust of the feet of the Saints is the precious Naam.

 Dhanasri M5, 691-14

The dust of the Saints' feet is in every 'heart' and sustains all. This is the nectar or Word of the Lord.

It is in all hearts and sustains them, this dust of the Saints' feet, oh Nanak.

Dhanasri M5, 677-6

One should sing of the nectar of the Naam, and bathe in the dust of the Saints' feet.

 Sorath M5, 623-13

The dust of the feet of the Lord is applied to the forehead. This precious dust is beyond the reach of gods, goddesses and men.

My forehead is covered with the dust of the feet of the Lord; it is beyond the reach of gods and men.

Namdev, Dhanasri 694-2

If one can get the dust of a holy man's feet he will obtain the merit of visiting millions of sacred places and of countless fasts and disciplines.

By obtaining the dust of Saints' feet, one obtains all the benefits of pilgrimages, fasts and disciplines.

 Sri Rag M5, 48-7

By obtaining the dust of the Saints' feet, all calamities, troubles, grieves and pains of separation are removed. Egotism, lust and other sins are destroyed. All the dirt is removed from the mind and it becomes pure. Other desires and aspirations are fulfilled. One becomes free from the wheel of birth and death and becomes happy. The fear of death vanishes and illusion disappears. Millions of living beings are redeemed and gain release. The Lord is seen everywhere. The devotee is honoured both here and hereafter, and in the court of the Lord. He enjoys natural and true happiness and real wealth.

Bhai Gurdas Ji has beautifully described the benefits of the dust of the feet of the Saints. 

He says:

One gets the sweet nectar from the Lotus Feet, and the mind is filled with sweet happiness. The Lotus Feet are sweet-scented and very delicate. They are the abode of everlasting peace. From them one gets the unfathomable spiritual delight. The Unending Music proceeds from them. They are the givers of supreme light and wealth. All other knowledge, meditation and remembrance are forgotten.

Kabit, Sawayye 271

By applying the dust of the Master's feet to the unclean mind, it becomes clean, like a mirror, and is firmly attached to the Master's words. The Master gives the collyrium of knowledge; He demolishes the fort of deception. The Immaculate One pervades all lands and seas. The dust removes all fear and doubt, and takes one beyond action and time. It breaks the power of the five senses, Its service is the service of the highest Immaculate One. It makes one free from illusion and free from sufferings.

Kabit, Sawayye 295

By applying the dust of the Lotus Feet to the forehead, all doubts, illusions and dread of destiny are removed. The nectar of the Lotus Feet cleans the unclean mind and removes doubts. The Lotus Feet are the natural home of happiness; the mind is stilled and is given a firm support; the praise of the Lotus Feet of the Master is unfathomable and incomprehensible. It leads to the attainment of all treasures and all virtues.

Kabit, Sawayye 337

By applying the dust of the Lotus Feet to the body, the body is cleansed of foul matter and becomes the abode of God. By drinking the nectar of the Lotus Feet, one is freed from the three modes (gunas) and knows oneself. By the light of the Lotus Feet enthroned in the heart, one knows all the three worlds and ages. The nectar of the Lotus Feet is sweet-scented and soothing. There is nothing equal to it. It is the only true support.

Kabit, Sawayye 338

Besides the dust of the Lotus Feet of Saints, a mention of the dust of the feet of devotees is also made in the scriptures.

Oh Nanak, ask for the dust of the feet of the devotee who himself repeats the Naam and makes others do so.

 Gauri Var M4, 306-2

Bhai Gurdas Ji says:

I put the dust of the devotee on my forehead; all else is but the dust of the road. This dust is the wish-giving tree amongst millions of trees. It is like the divine nectar, the lode-star, or the wish-fulfilling cow. Gods, men, yogis and wise men in all the three worlds and three ages have studied the Vedas and reasoned about their meaning; millions of gatherings of millions of disciples bow to the devotees of the Master and gain happiness.

Kabit, Sawayye 193

The Gurus pray again and again that they may obtain the dust of the Lotus Feet, and every sincere seeker searches for it.

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