Guru Nanak (1469-1539) promulgated a unique and universal philosophy of humanism in the Indian sub-continent as the renaissance was taking place in Europe (14th to 16th centuries) and scientists were challenging religious concepts and beliefs. Guru Nanak carried his message far and wide to South Asia and the Middle East. He held discussions with religious leaders: Hindus—(Brahmans, Sidhs and Jogis), Muslims—(Sufis, mullahs and Qazis), Jains and Buddhists in India, the Middle East, Tibet and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
During his travels (odysseys, Udasis) Guru Nanak challenged the ancient mythology, religious concepts and rituals with which the peoples of South Asia and Middle East. People were unable to express their freewill in certain aspects of their lives because their lives were heavily influenced by their religious and political authorities. His philosophy, termed as ”Nanakian Philosophy‘, is embodied in his Bani (Word), which has been incorporated in the Aad Guru Granth Sahib (AGGS).
Nanakian Philosophy was further explained and strengthened by the Sikh Gurus who succeeded to the ”House of Nanak" in their Bani, which is also incorporated in the AGGS. A critical study of Nanakian Philosophy demonstrates all characteristics of universal acceptability and compatibility with the current Age of Science. Although there are many gaps in the travels of Guru Nanak, Fauja Singh and Kirpal Singh, Sikh historians, have collated the information from various sources into three major travels as follows:
- From Talwandi to Sultanpur to Benaras to Dhubri to Assam to Dacca to Ceylon to Ujain to Mathura to Talwandi.
- From Talwandi to Kailash (Tibet) Parbat to Talwandi.
- From Talwandi to Hinglaj to Mecca to Baghdad to Kabul to (Talwandi) Kartarpur.
Nonetheless,it is evident from the information collected by Fauja Singh and Kirpal Singh that the complete travels of Guru Nanak are still to be discovered. Moreover, research on the discourses held between Guru Nanak and the heads of various religious centres also need to be described, although some discourses, e.g.Sidh Gosht, Arti,and Onkar Bani are found in the AGGS and some isolated verses of Guru Nanak are linked to some travels in some Janam Sakhis.