What Would Guru Nanak Do? (WWGND)

Were it up to him, Guru Nanak may not have us celebrate his birthday......

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurpurab

The Birthday of Guru Nanak


Were it up to him, Guru Nanak may not
have us 
celebrate his birthday.

Guru Nanak historic imageVery recently it was discovered that Guru Nanak had traveled to Nepal and stayed in a village for about a year. During that time, the king of the land willed a large amount of property to Guru Nanak. The country of Nepal still has the letter and Guru Nanak, till today, is written in their legal documents as the owner of that land. Before Guru ji continued his travels onward, the king offered to name a city after him. Guru ji refused. It was not the Guru’s mission to spread his own name. It was his mission to spread the Holy Name. There would be no convincing this bright man of light to pass on his name. The king was clever and didn’t give up either. He wanted to honor Guru Nanak as only a king can. “If I can not name this city after you, please allow me to name the city after your companion, Bala.” The kings sincere request was granted and the city was named “Balaju."

Far be it from me to guess the motivation of Guru Nanak, but I offer that everything he did was in direct line with The Divine Will. He was a vehicle. He did not create Bani. Bani came from the Divine. He delivered it. He was the messenger, not the Creator. He was the teacher, not The Teaching. If the One Creator is the sun, Guru Nanak is the moon, reflecting the light of truth lest we be lost in the dark.

He taught that we, the Sikhs, the Guru, all people, ALL OF US are the wives of God. There is only one Husband and in all our own ways we are learning how to be more beloved wives. 

ਭਨਤਿ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਕੋ ਸੋਇ॥

 “Says Nanak, for all souls there is only One Husband (God).” 
                                                                   - Guru Nanak (Ang 351)

So why do we celebrate the Guru’s birthday? Why not? He is chief among spiritual wives. To remember him, is to remember his message. To remember his message is to remember the One Who Sent Him. We get closer to the Creator by praising our Guru. The more humble the Guru, the more praise we offer. 

Guru Nanak Gurbani quote 
There can only be one danger is celebrating and praising our Guru. If we do so without paying attention to what the Guru was actually saying.

It has been said, 'In the West it is very simple. When a holy man comes and people don’t want to listen to him, they beat him, torture him and kill him. In the East we are more clever than that. When a holy man comes and people don’t want to listen to him, we fashion a statue in his image, pay respects to his idol and we never have to listen to anything he says.'

We might praise Guru Nanak, but if we ever feel we are superior to anyone, we have offered no praise at all. A true praise to Guru Nanak is to adopt his way.

Guru ji said, “ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥ I am not good and no one is bad.” 

Sometimes we do believe that we (or our friends, our family, people in our religion, people who agree with our opinions, and those who buy us lots of birthday gifts) are good. Sometimes we do believe that others (people who smoke, who vote on the wrong side of the aisle, who have a different interpretation of Bani, who leave rude facebook comments... and of course Jaywalkers) are bad. For this day, let us suspend our preconceptions and see all others as fellow wives.

Soul Sisters

In the end, the simple fact that we are getting together to praise and celebrate is more important than the cause. Whenever and whatever we celebrate, let us imbibe the true spirit of Guru Nanak in our hearts.

The message of Guru Nanak, while dynamic, is simple: Be a good wife to the Good Lord and take as many along with you as you can.


Here are 10 suggestions for ways to 
celebrate Guru Nanak for a day

1. Inhale “Wahe”, exhale “Guru”

2. Write down all the things you are grateful for. When finished, write, “These, and uncountable more, are God’s gifts.”

3. Get a couple friends and or family together and do any other item on this list together.

4. Bless yourself before eating, “May this food give me energy to keep the Naam in my mind.”

5. Wake up in the Amritvela

6. Chant the Mool Mantra 108 times

7. Look someone in the eyes. Give them a good look, see their soul. Then smile.

8. Get a nitnem and read it. With love. The whole thing.

9. Repeat this to yourself several times, “I am not good, no one is bad.”

10. Serve food to someone or to many someones.

Let us open our hearts to each other. Let us listen to Guru Nanak, chief among wives, and be grateful for every breath that we are gifted with. Let the birthday of Guru Nanak be a celebration of not only his teachings but THE teachings. Let us be happy for we are all drops in the same vast and gracious ocean.

Happy Birthday Guru ji

The short narrative of Guru Nanak in Nepal comes from the ‘Shri Guru Nanak Dev Sewa Society International’.

To help us remember Guru ji on his most blessed day you can 
listen to Guru Nanak Shabads all day on the SikhNet Radio.

VIDEO - Japji Sahib
Find out why this video is the most viewed video we have ever uploaded to youtube. 
Japji Sahib: The Song of the Soul
Audio Stories

We hope you enjoy this collection of Guru Nanak stories:

Offer What is YoursThis is a quintesential story which illustrates the deep teachings of Guru Nanak in a way that is easy to understand.
 Offer What Is Yours

Guru Nanak and the BrahminsOne of the most beloved and classic stories of Guru Nanak where he humorously challenges a popular ritual.
Guru Nanak and the Brahmans

Guru Nanak and the YogisThe yogis had a lot of power and respect, but that didn't stop Guru Nanak from challenging their ways and inspiring them.
Nanak's Talk With The Yogis

Have you heard these stories before? Share them with your children!

Illuminating The Sikh Heart

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