Guru Nanak Jayanti is being celebrated throughout the world, learn of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, his life, and his teachings.
Who is Guru Nanak?
Gurū Nānak born on 15 April 1469 and died on 22 September 1539 was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is commemorated throughout the globe as Guru Nanak Gurpurab on Katak Pooranmashi (‘full-moon of Kattak’), i.e. October–November. His birth anniversary is also called Gurpurab.
What Was His Early Life?
He was born in Talvaṇḍī Village (present-day Nankana Sahib, Punjab, Pakistan) in the Lahore province of the Delhi Sultanate. Both parents were Hindu Khatris working as merchants. His father was Kalyan Chand Das Bedi, the local accountant for crop revenue and merchant, and his mother was Mata Tripta.
The birth and early years of Guru Nanak’s life revealed that he had been blessed with divine grace. There are recorded stories of his early life writing of his growing divine enlightenment at an early age.
From the young age of five, he was drawn to divine subjects. At age seven, his father enrolled him at the village school, as per custom. He stunned his teacher by describing the implicit symbolism of the first letter of the alphabet, similar to the mathematical version of one, as denoting the unity or oneness of God.
During his childhood, bizarre and miraculous events were noticed about him such as the one seen by Rai Bular where the sleeping child’s head was shaded from the extremely blazing sunlight. In another instance, his life was saved from a venomous cobra.
He had one sister, Nanaki, five years older than him. In 1475, she married and moved to Sultanpur. Nanaki’s husband, Ram was employed at a storehouse for revenues in the service of the Delhi Sultanate’s Lahore governor Daulat Khan. Laterm Ram helped Guru Nanak get a job and he moved to Sultanpur, and started working at the modikhana around the age of 16.
As a young man, Nanak married Sulakhani, daughter of Mūl Chand and Chando Raṇi, married on 24 September 1487, in the town of Batala and they had two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Chand. Nanak lived in Sultanpur until c. 1500, which would be a fruitful time for him, as the puratan janamsakhi suggests, and in his myriad of allusions to governmental structure in his hymns, most likely gained at this time.
Where did he travel?
Guru Nanak travelled far and wide across Asia . Around the age of 55, Nanak settled in Kartarpur, living there until his death in September 1539. During this period, he went on short journeys to the Nath yogi centre of Achal, and the Sufi centres of Pakpattan and Multan. By the time of his death, Nanak had acquired several followers in the Punjab region, although it is hard to estimate their number based on the extant historical evidence.
What were his teachings?
Guru Nanak travelled far and wide across Asia teaching people the message of ik onkar ( ‘one God’), who resides in every one of His creations and holds the eternal Truth. He started a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue.
His words are written in the form of 974 poetic hymns, or shabda, in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, with some of the central prayers being the Japji Sahib (jap, ‘to recite’; ji and sahib are suffixes signifying respect); the Asa di Var (‘ballad of hope’); and the Sidh Gosht (‘discussion with the Siddhas’). It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Nanak’s sanctity, divinity, and religious authority had descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved onto them.
The Sikh records state that Nanak died on the 10th day of the Asauj month of Samvat 1596 (22 September 1539 CE), at the age of 70 years, 5 months, and 7 days.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartar Pur in Narowal, Pakistan, marks the site where Guru Nanak is said to have died. Bhai Gurdas wrote on a full-moon-day of the Kattak month several decades after Nanak’s death that Nanak had “obtained omniscience” on the same day, and it was now the author’s turn to “get divine light.
Some insights into his life
Guru Nanak longed to meet God since childhood. One night, he did not sleep, telling his mother, ‘If chakor isn’t sleeping without meeting the Moon then how could I sleep without meeting my God?”
He had the longing, love, and passion to attain God at the age of 16 and after tremendous hardships and difficulties, found God at the age of 30.
At the age of 16, Guru Nanak Dev ji used to cry night after night for the attainment of his enlightenment and he finally found it.
Guru Nanak used to say that a person who earns by working hard and spends the 10th part of his earnings in charity and the 10th part of his time in devotion to God will find the path of the Truth.
Guru Nanak tried to remove social evils growing in society and lived by perfect example. He travelled far and wide for this and gave up his own personal gains, and wealth, and left his family as he was mostly traveling.
He inspired the world, teaching them godliness, which is “not about hearing voices from God, but it is about changing the nature of the human mind, and anyone can achieve direct experience and spiritual perfection at any time.” The thought that all had access to God was purely transformative. Guru Nanak emphasized that all human beings can have direct access to God without rituals or priests and this divine insight enriched the power of spirituality taking it to a new level.
Punjab | Devotees take a holy dip in 'Sarovar' at Golden Temple in Amritsar and offer prayers on the occasion of #GuruNanakJayanti pic.twitter.com/01TYmGYn8F
— ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2022