Sri Guru Nanak Dev Jee (1469 - 1539)- Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism and was the first Guru among the ten Sikh Gurus. Sikhs worldwide joyfully mark Guru Nanak's Birthday, also known as Pawan Prakash Utsav and celebrate it with deep devotion and festive activities.

Guru Nanak Professed:

  • God is one. He has innumerable forms. He is the creator of all.
  • Truth is High; Higher Still is Truthful Living.
  • Engage in a daily practice of Meditation (by reciting and chanting of God’s Name).
  • Honest Living. Daily earnings must be through honest means.
  • Share with the needy. It is the greatest and true worship of all time.

Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism and was the first Guru among the ten Sikh Gurus. Sikhs believe that all the other Gurus after him had the same divine and religious power. In one of Guru Nanak's important writings, known as Japji Sahib, there are deep and holy teachings. It's considered a special collection that guides Sikhs spiritually.

Japji Sahib states, "There is but One Universal Creator God; His name is ‘Truth’ and He is the Creator. He fears none; He is without hate; He never dies; He is beyond the cycle of births and death; He is self existent and self illuminated; He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the primal beginning; True throughout the ages; Ever been True. He is also True now."

At the start of the Sikh Holy Scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, you'll find these special words. Guru Nanak had a special way of living, full of goodness. Imagine a path covered with countless beautiful flowers, that's what his life was like. He found a connection with God by singing about God's goodness and doing good things in his life.

He used to sing in a lovely way, like poetry. He sang from his heart, often without planning, and it was so heartfelt that his singing became a form of meditation and hymns. Nanak's way of life was like a path adorned with beautiful songs – songs that praised and glorified the Almighty Lord.

Guru Nanak's beautiful and captivating songs are not like those of a regular singer. They carry the essence of truth and reflect God's presence. These songs, filled with love and honesty, along with the hymns from Guru Nanak's nine successors, make up the everlasting guide for Sikhs—the Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Nanak laid the foundation for Sikhism and established its three core principles.

Meditation: Guru Nanak taught people to connect with God by meditating through reciting, chanting, singing, and always remembering. To live a good life, Sikhs focus their thoughts on praising and appreciating the Creator, who they call Waheguru, meaning The Wonderful Lord. This involves deep study and understanding of God's name and virtues. So, in their daily lives, Sikhs aim to follow the path of goodness with a mind full of gratitude towards the One Eternal God.

Honest Living: Guru Nanak wanted the Sikhs to be good people who work hard for an honest living. They should appreciate both good and bad things as gifts from God. Always tell the truth, and don't be afraid except of the Eternal Super Soul. Their lives should be built on being good, with strong values in spirituality, morality, and society.

Share with the Needy: Guru Nanak told Sikhs to share what they earn with those who need it. He wanted them to practice the idea of "share and consume together." In Sikhism, being part of a community is crucial. It's important to join a group that follows the values set by Sikh Gurus perfectly. Every Sikh needs to contribute to the community pool in any way they can. Guru Nanak's message is all about sharing and giving, and it's an important lesson for everyone.

Guru Nanak's Divine Journeys, (known as The Udasis In Sikh History):

In 1499, Guru Nanak set out on a special journey to spread a message of love and goodness. He walked across India, meeting people from different religions and cultures. This journey, called Udasis, aimed to share the "real message of God" with those he encountered.

Guru Nanak was deeply concerned about the suffering caused by hatred, fanaticism, lies, and hypocrisy in the world. Witnessing the widespread wickedness and sin, he felt compelled to travel and enlighten people about the teachings of the Almighty Lord. Armed with the values of truth, love, peace, compassion, righteousness, and joy, Guru Nanak aimed to bring positive change to mankind.

Guru Nanak's travels were more than just a journey; they were a mission to uplift humanity. He carried a torch of truth and heavenly virtues, spreading a message of social reform and contributing to the well-being of society.

Equality of Humans: Guru Nanak taught us to treat everyone fairly, no matter their race, caste, or status. He said that all people are equal, created by the same higher power. He encouraged us to overcome harmful thoughts in our minds. According to him, we all have the divine light inside us, and to see it, we need to let go of our pride and ego.

Equality of women: In 1499, when women didn't get much respect, Guru Nanak wanted to change that. He said, "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."

Universal message for all people: In the past, religious leaders usually talked only to their own followers, and people of different religions kept separate. But Guru Nanak did things differently. He broke the old way of doing things and spoke to everyone, not just his own group. This was a big change! He believed in reaching out to all people, no matter their religion.

Unity, Harmony, Equality, Love, Faith, Sharing, Giving…is Guru Nanak!

*Based on an article by Manmohan Singh Bharara, published in Southington Patch on 9th November 2011


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