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In a world where politics and religion often divide us, understanding the essence of Ek Ong Kar, Guru Nanak's central message, is crucial.

Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta's family celebrated a special day as their son reached a significant milestone. It was time for the sacred Hindu thread ceremony, marking his coming of age. Friends and family joined to bless the child on this auspicious occasion. The thread represented the child's esteemed lineage and spiritual legacy.

The Janeu Ceremony 

The ceremony was a grand affair, with a high priest invited to officiate. After the ceremony, there was to be a splendid feast to mark the occasion. The child approached the sanctified spot where the priest awaited, his face beaming and eyes shining with wisdom. As the priest began chanting Sanskrit Salokas and tried to put the sacred thread around the child, to the surprise of everyone, the child halted him. The priest was furious, and the gathered relatives and friends were taken aback by the interruption in the sacred ceremony.

With a clear voice, the child asked a question about the strange ceremony. They questioned the Brahmin's actions of spinning a thread and placing it around someone. The child also inquired about the consequences if the thread were to break.

The priest, taken aback by the child's boldness, responded with sarcasm, asking what type of thread the child was referring to. Undeterred, the child remained confident and addressed the large gathering of guests.

“From the cotton of compassion,

Spin a yarn of contentment

Making knots of continence

Twirl it with truth

Spin such a sacred thread for the mind

That neither breaks nor gets lost

Nor burns nor gets soiled

No less a thread will I accept

The man who wears this is blessed”.

During a special ceremony, Guru Nanak, spoke words that shaped his teachings. He emphasized that everyone's worth is determined by their actions, not by birth. Truth, fairness, kindness, satisfaction, and doing good deeds are the foundation of a meaningful life, he believed.

Whenever questioned about his faith, Guru Nanak responded, “I am neither a Hindu nor Muslim.” This was not an expedient way of side-stepping the issue about his spiritual affiliation in a tough political climate, but a deep and reflective statement from a man of God whose teachings transcended religion.

The belief systems 

Guru Nanak felt sad about how people in India suffered under the ruler Babar and how some religious leaders preached love for God but acted with prejudice. He didn't agree with excluding others based on religion and criticized those who forced their beliefs onto others. He taught that no single religion has all the answers and that everyone should focus on doing good deeds. When asked which religion is the best, he said that good actions matter more than just following a particular faith.

Guru Nanak stressed that people of all religions should focus on their actions to please God, regardless of their beliefs. He often repeated the idea that people reap what they sow and eat what they earn.

Guru Nanak's teachings were straightforward, often using metaphors familiar to farmers. He emphasized the importance of living truthfully, comparing the body to a field that should be nurtured with truth to cultivate goodness and virtues within oneself. One of his significant messages was advocating for the equality and respect of women, acknowledging their roles as mothers, nurturers, and companions essential for a fulfilling life.

What set Guru Nanak apart was his approach to delivering his message. He did so with love, humour, and without belittling others. For instance, at Haridwar, he encouraged Brahmins to reflect on their actions as they offered water to the Sun. Similarly, in Mecca, he urged the Mullah to recognize Allah's presence in every direction. Guru Nanak's actions were also impactful; by feeding the hungry and calling it "Sacha sauda," he inspired people to ensure that nobody around them went hungry or suffered from poverty.

In Kartarpur, the free kitchen called Langar welcomed people of all backgrounds to eat together. This was a big change. Also, the Sarovars, where everyone bathed together, showed equality. Guru Nanak made sure everyone had a place at the table and could talk openly. The gurdwaras were like schools where everyone was welcome to learn.

Guru Nanak had three important ideas. First, Naam japna means living with divine thoughts. Second, Vand ke chakkna means sharing resources. Third, Dharam di kirat karni means doing good deeds. These ideas helped people live better lives. Helping others and being fair were important parts of this way of life.

The core message: Oneness

In a world where politics and religion often divide us, understanding the essence of Ek Ong Kar, Guru Nanak's central message, is crucial. It emphasizes unity beneath our differences and urges us to take action.

Guru Nanak teaches that there is only one Creator and one World, highlighting the interconnectedness of all beings. This means that our actions affect others deeply. On a personal level, it means feeling the hunger of others as our own and recognizing that harming others ultimately harms ourselves. Our well-being is intertwined with the well-being of others.

Guru Nanak's teachings transcend boundaries, embracing the entire human race. He recognized the interconnectedness that modern physicists are now uncovering. He was revered by both Hindus and Muslims, earning the titles of "sage of the Hindus and the Pir of the Muslims." When he passed away, both communities claimed him as their own, symbolized by the division of the  shawl he wore, which was cremated by Hindus and buried by Muslims.

In today's world, many challenges like hunger, poverty, greed, violence, and natural disasters are causing harm to the Earth. Additionally, the existence of weapons of mass destruction poses a serious threat to humanity. Guru Nanak's teachings emphasize the importance of righteous actions, sharing resources, and seeking Divine guidance to heal our planet and lead fulfilling lives.

On the occasion of Guru Nanak's birth anniversary, it's an opportunity to reflect on his teachings and pray for peace and well-being for everyone. We can draw inspiration from the prayer that Guru Nanak himself offered, seeking harmony and prosperity for alll.

“The World is burning

Shower thy mercy upon it,

Whatever door thy devotees seek thee from,

Uplift them.”Page 853 SGGS
 

*Based on an article by Jessi Kaur, published in sikhpoint.com on 16th November 2013

 

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