Q: Can making pilgrimages wash your sins and/or help you meet God?
A: Sikhs do not believe in going to pilgrimages to clean themselves. Sikhs believe that one can only be cleansed from his heart and soul.
Muslims make holy journeys to Mecca and Hindus take bath at sacred shrines. "Pilgrimages to the Ganges, the Gaya and the Godawari are merely worldly affairs" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1195). Sikhism respectfully disagree with the practice of pilgrimage carried out by both Hindu and Muslims. Making journeys to Pilgrimages does not bring anyone any good. If one wants to be cleansed then one should clean himself within his soul by getting rid of lust, anger, greed, worldly attachment and ego.
You do not have to go to Mecca to experience God. "The temple of Mecca is within your soul, if you try to realize it" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 480). Try to find God within your soul.
"He alone is a pilgrim, who purifies his heart. He alone is a Mullah, who banishes evil; he alone is a saint, who takes the support of the God's Praise (Naam)" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1083). The one who purifies his heart is a real pilgrim, not the one actually going to Mecca.
Worship of God is above all. "Someone may go to Ganges, Godaavari, Kumbha festival, or bathe at Kaydaar Naat'h, or make donations of thousands of cows at Gomti; he may make millions of pilgrimages to sacred shrines, or freeze his body in the Himalayas; still, none of these is equal to the worship of God" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 973).
Kabeer Ji says, "I do not make pilgrimages to Mecca, nor do I worship at Hindu sacred shrines. I serve the One Lord, and not any other. I do not perform Hindu worship, nor do I practice the Muslim prayers. I have taken the One Formless Lord into my heart; I humbly worship Him there" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1136). Kabeer Ji has enshrined the Name of God in his heart and do not go to Mecca or Hindu sacred shrines. The Pilgrimages do not clean your soul, you have to do it yourself. So becomes aware of your sins and cleans yourself deep within. That is called the real cleansing.
"What is the use of bathing at sacred shrines or pilgrimages, when the filth of stubborn arrogance is within the mind?" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 60). There is no use of bathing at sacred shrines because Pilgrimage cannot clean the filth of one's ego.
Meditation on God cleans your soul and helps you get rid of sins. Guru Arjan Dev Ji writes, "I meditate on God within my mind. This is my cleansing bath at all sacred shrines and pilgrimages" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 195). Furthermore, Naamdev Ji says, "I do not go to see sacred shrines of pilgrimage, or bathe in the sacred waters; I do not bother any beings or creatures. The Guru has shown me the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage within my own heart, where I now take my cleansing bath" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 972). Naamdev Ji cleans himself from deep within with the help of meditation shown by the Guru. Related Information