Guru Nanak jayanti
Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ, Hindi: गुरु नानक देव, Urdu:گرونانک Guru Nānak) (15 April 1469 -22 September 1539) is the first of the ten
Guru Nanak Dev (1469 to 1539)
The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, was celebrated with fervour and gaiety in India and Abroad on
Wednesday, the 28th November 2012. All the Gurudwaras were decorated with lights to add to the festivities. The birth anniversary celebrations are a three-day affair.
The first two days are dedicated for the Akhand Paath or non-stop reading of Guru Granth Sahib -- the religious book of the Sikhs. The day began with the reading of the Akhand
Paath. This was followed by `asa di vaar kirtan' in which kirtan mandalis sang in the praise of the guru and urged him to bless all those who
visited the gurudwara and even those who did not come.
A langar (community lunch) was also arranged in the
gurdwaras. Served by local volunteers with a spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion), the langar was open to people from all walks of life and faiths.
Everyone, irrespective of caste and religion, sat together and shared the meal with the traditional `Karah Prasad'.
Guru Nanak (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ) (Saturday 15 April 1469 - Monday 22 September,
1539) is the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs. He was born in the village of Talwandi, also called Rai Bhoe-ki Talwandi, now known
as Nankana Sahib, near Lahore in present-day Pakistan. He was born, according to
all ancient Sikh records, in the early morning of the third day of the light half of the month of Baisakh (April - May) in the year 1469 AD; this is believed
to be Saturday 15 April 1469. However, the Sikhs now celebrate this auspicious event on November 24, every year.
Before Guru Nanak departed for his heavenly abode in 1539, his name had travelled not only throughout India, but also far beyond into Arabia, Mesopotamia (Iraq),
Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Turkey, Burma and Tibet. As Guru's Birth Anniversary (also called "Guru Nanak
Jayanti") is lunar linked, it celebrated on the full moon in November. This year it was celebrated on November
Foundation of Sikhism and travels
Rai Bular Bhatti, the local landlord and Guru Nanak's sister Bibi Nanaki were
the first people who recognized divine qualities in Guru Nanak. They encouraged and supported Guru Nanak to study and travel.
Although the exact account of his itinerary is disputed, he is widely
acknowledged to have made four major journeys, spanning thousands of
kilometres, the first tour being east towards Bengal and Assam, the second south towards
Tamil Nadu, the third north towards Kashmir, Ladakh, and Tibet, and the final
tour west towards Baghdad, Mecca and Medina on the Arabian Peninsula.
Guru Nanak's teaching
Guru Nanak founded and formalized the three pillars of Sikhism:
1. Naam Japna Guru ji led the Sikhs directly to practice Simran and Naam Japna –
meditation on God through reciting, chanting, singing and constant remembrance
followed by deep study and comprehension of God’s Name and virtues. In real life
to practice and tread on the path of Dharam (righteousness) - The inner thought
of the Sikh thus stays constantly immersed in praises and appreciation of the Creator and the ONE ETERNAL GOD Waheguru.
2. Kirat Karni He expected the Sikhs to live as honourable householders and
practice Kirat Karni – To honestly earn by ones physical and mental effort while
accepting both pains and pleasures as GOD's gifts and blessings. One is to stay
truthful at all times and, fear none but the Eternal Super Soul. Live a life
founded on decency immersed in Dharam - life controlled by high spiritual, moral and social values.
3. Vand Chakna. The Sikhs were asked to share their wealth within the community
by practising Vand Chakna – “Share and Consume together”. The community or Sadh
Sangat is an important part of Sikhism. One must be part of a community that is
living the flawless objective values set out by the Sikh Gurus and every Sikh
has to contribute in whatever way possible to the common community pool. This
spirit of Sharing and Giving is an important message from Guru Nanak.
Guru Nanak's teachings can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth, a vast
collection of revelatory verses recorded in Gurmukhi.
Guru Nanak's contributions to humanity
Guru Nanak was revered by both Hindus and Muslims and even today many, outside of the Sikh faith, revere him.
Equality of humans: Guru Nanak preached against discrimination and prejudices due to
race, caste, status, etc. He said: "See the brotherhood of all mankind as the
highest order of Yogis; conquer your own mind, and conquer the world."
(SGGS page 6); also "There is one awareness among all created beings." (page 24) and
finally "One who recognizes the One Lord among all beings does not talk of ego.
||4||" (page 432). He urges all the peoples of the world to "conquer" their
minds to these evil practises. All human beings had the light of the Lord and
were the same -- only by subduing one's pride and ego could one see this light in all.
Equality of women: Guru Nanak sought to improve the respect of women by spreading this message: "From
woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and
married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come.
When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call
her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman,
there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman."
(page 473). In so doing, he promoted women's rights and equality — a first for the 15th century!
Universal message for all : Guru Nanak spoke to all of humanity: To the Muslim he said: "And when, O Nanak, he is
merciful to all beings, only then shall he be called a Muslim. ||1||" (page 141); to the Hindu, he said "O Nanak, without the True
Name, of what use is the frontal mark of the Hindus, or their sacred thread?
||1||" (page 467); and to all he preached: "To take what rightfully belongs to
another is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef."(page141).