Bithur is a small town in Kanpur District, 23 kilometres north of Kanpur city, in Uttar Pradesh, India. Bithur is situated on the left bank of the river Ganga. It is a centre of pilgrimage, and some believe it to be the birthplace of Luv and Kush.
In AD 1857, Bithur would become an important part of the history of modern India. It would see the launch of the first war of Indian independence, but that would be in the future. It is AD 1672, and the town is being visited by Guru Gobind Singh, who is moving from Patna in Bihar to Anandpur Sahib in Panjab. The Guru is all of 6 years old, but his presence endears all.
He has already passed through Prayag and Ayodhya, where he spent a few days, and the holy congregations of Bithur have already heard of his deep wisdom. A large gathering of religious personalities meets him during a visit to Brahmavrat Ghat, the holiest of the holy ghats of Bithur, where the disciples of Lord Brahma pray.
They repeatedly try to engage the Guru in spiritual dialogue. There are those who say they have given up the world, and while some pile the hair on their head in great locks. Others roam about naked, and say they have nothing to hide. The Guru understands them as not full of feeling for God, but lost in their own selfish motives. The young Guru is quiet at their harangue, and they mistake it for acquiescence. When they stop, the six year old had this simple gem to say:
What do you see, when you close your eyes and sit in meditation?
Bathed at and visited pilgrimages across seven seas, and lost both this world and the next?
Seeking to interpret and preach, you criticized others?
Listen ye all—I speak the truth:
Only those who loved Him, met Him!