Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in a Bedhi Kshatriya family on April 15, 1469 in the village of Rai Bhoi Di Talwandi (now called as Nankana Sahib), Punjab state. He founded Sikhism and was the first of the 11 gurus of the Sikhs. Sikhs celebrate his birthday as a felicitous occasion every year on the full moon day which mostly falls in between October and November months as the date floats from one year to another.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji – Early Life
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s mother’s name is Triptha Devi and father’s name Mehta Kalu, who was a patwari employed for Rai Bular Batti. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had an elder sister named Bebe Nanaki. She was the first one in Nanak’s family to observe his brother as an enlightened soul. Nanak from his childhood had an enquiringly and questioning mind. He rejected to wear ‘Janeu’( a sacred thread) as a child, and rather told his family members that he will wear God’s name in his heart to safeguard himself. And he even explained the uncertainty of wearing thread as it may be lost, burnt or soiled and may not secure at all time. Kalu Mehta joined Nanak in a village school when he was seven years old. Nanak surprised his teacher by explaining the inferred symbolism of the first letter in the alphabet. In Arabic or Persian it is a straight hit implicating the mathematical version of one. Nanak explained it as representing the oneness or unity of God.
Journey From Nanak to Guru Nanak Dev Ji:
Nanak’s childhood friends describe miraculous and strange happenings about him. In an incidence, Rai Bular observes a poisonous snake(Cobra) protecting the child Nanak’s head from the severe sunlight. The youngster enjoyed the association of the religious men and hooked them in great discussions about the nature of the God. Nanak got married to Sulakhni and had two sons named Lakshmi Das and sri chand. Nanak’s brother-in-law Jai Ram fetched a manager job in a government granary unit to him in Sultanpur.
At the age of 28, One fine morning, Nanak went down to the river as a regular act of taking bath and doing meditation. And then he didn’t appeared for three days to anyone. But his clothes were found near the Kali Bein place, bank of the river. People around the town thought that he might have drowned in the river. A person named Daulat Khan( at whom Guru Nanak worked as storekeeper) made a search in the river but didn’t found anybody. After the three days of disappearing, Nanak came and stayed silent. The next day opened mouth and said “There is no Musalman and no Hindu”. This utterance was significant as it invoked the day and age wherein Guru Nanak evolved: Muslims and Hindus of India bitterly and constantly fought each other for the sake of religion. The Guru Nanak implied to affirm that, finally, in the view of God, it is not the religion that concludes a person’s advantages. But one’s actions.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji Personal Mission:
Nanak as a homeowner, extended to fetch out the mission of his life to motivate people on the right path of the God, to drive away thoughts of superstitions, to figure out people from ritualistic practices, to guide them to follow Gurbani directly without the help of clergy and priests and to keep under control and escort against the five evils within – Anger, Lust, Pride, Agreement and Greed. Right from childhood, Guru Nanak was against caste system, hypocrisy, prejudices and ritualism kind of things.
The Guru Nanak has seen the Mughal rule in India, and witnessed the frights imposed on the common people by the Mughal emperors. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, being a peace-lover, didn’t pondered to speak against the injustice: The kings are voracious beasts, and minister are dogs. The kings are butchers and the Age is a knife. In this black night of horror, the moon of goodness is nowhere visible.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Teachings:
- God is One not Many
Guru Nanak stated that “I am neither a Muslim nor a Hindu, I am a follower of God” which explains about his belief in one God. In Sikhism, God is Universal, sightless(alakh), timeless(akar) and shapeless(nirankar). Sikhism emphasizes that, before Creation there was God, and by virtue of God’s will(hukum), the illusion(maya of enticement and attachment) came into existence. The God is not a female or a male in Sikhism and can be visualized through internal eye. Guru Nanak Dev Ji clearly describes that there exists only one who gives everything to everybody in this universe and that is God, and we must not forget him.
- Waheguru – Submissiveness to Willingness of God
Guru Nanak Dev Ji says “Hukam Rajai Chalna Nanak Likheya Naal” which means everything happens by God’s mercy, as he knows well what is good and bad, right and wrong for us. Hence, we must submit ourselves for whatever happens to us without questioning.
- Sarbat Da Bhala – Goodwill for All
Guru Nanak Dev Ji delivered a message of universal brotherhood. He states that religion is not just a mix of mere words but treats all men and women equally. Universal brotherhood is a sacred text written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. In our prayer, we utter these words at the end of Ardaas – “Nanak Naam Chardi Kala Tere Bhane Sarbat Da Bhala”, which means Nanak asks for Naam with obtains happiness, well-being and positive spirit and with your blessings, everybody in the world be in peace and prosperous.
- Avoid Five Evils: Guru Nanak Dev Ji told his followers to stay away from these five evils such as Anger, Greed, Lust, Ego and Attachment in order to develop nature of salvation.
- The Three Principles: These are the following three principles guided to his followers:
- Naam Japna: Chanting God’s name regularly makes you remember and devoted to the God at all times.
- Kirat Karo: Live honestly without cheating and doing fraudulent things in life.
Vand Chako: Help people who are in need and share what you have in excess to the needy ones.
- Sach Sunaisi Sach Ki Bela – (to speak the truth)
As mentioned earlier, Guru Nanak Dev Ji witnessed the Mughal invasion in India, he told to the king Babar that “You are not Babar but Jabar”. According to Guruji’s saying, everybody should speak truth and stand on it firmly without getting suppressed by falsehood things.
The followers of Sikhism celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji as “Guru Nanak Gurpurab” also called as Guru Nanak Jayanti. In 2017, Guru Nanak Gurpurab i.e.,Birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Ji will be performed on 4th November, 2017