First Sikh guru, Guru Nanak (or Guru Nanak Dev; Guru Nanak Naam Leva Sangat calls him Baba Nanak and Nankashah Fakir, too) strengthened brotherhood in society and heralded a new era by conveying the message “nām japo, kirat karo, vand chhako (pray to God, sing paeans to God, share what you have with the community)” to the world. He gave a new thought and direction to society by opposing social evils. He was the guru who started the custom of langar (community meal) to eliminate the evil of discrimination between the high and the low and cement brotherhood.
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in Sri Nankana Sahib (now in Pakistan). Every year, the day of Kartik Purnima is observed with great enthusiasm in the country and abroad as a festival of light. Gurumati Samagam is organised and the sangat is enthralled by his teachings.
Guru Nanak spent his life in the service of humanity. He not only lived in India but also went to Afghanistan, Iran and Arab countries and exhorted people to stay away from hypocrisy. Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated as Guru Parva or Prakash Parv. Sri Nankana Sahib also has the famous Gurudwara Sri Nankana Sahib. It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
On the day of Prakash Parva where grand decorations are done in the gurudwaras, the Akhand Path Sahib is offered bhog while commoners are offered food through langars. Preparations for Guru Nanak’s arrival festival start with prabhātpheris (morning march with chanting of prayers) before Prakash Parv. Sangats chant “Satnam Sri Waheguru” and bāni (immortal words of the guru). In cities, grand kirtans are organised and every batch accorded a grand welcome from place to place. Religious platforms are decorated and shabad kirtan (prayer songs) is performed. Religious programmes continue day and night in gurudwaras.
The festival was celebrated today, 12 November, on the occasion of Kartik Purnima. It is the 550th Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak. Seventy-two years after the partition of India Pakistan, Pakistan-situated gurudwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib has been opened for pilgrimage by the believers between Indian and Pakistani Punjabs. Gurdwara Sri Kartarpur Sahib is the place where Guru Nanak ji spent the last 18 years of his life. In the year 1539, he visited Jyoti Jot.
Facets of Guru Nanak Dev
- Guru Nanak Dev’s father’s name was Mehta Kalu (Kalyan Chand Das Bedi) while her mother’s name was Tripta Devi. Guru Nanak Dev’s sister was Nanaki.
- Nanak was very patient since childhood. He opposed conservative thinking since childhood.
- Once his father sent him with Rs 20 to the market and said that he should get a good bargain. He bought food for some hungry monks with that money. On returning home, he told his father that he had come back after a good bargain.
- Guru Nanak Dev’s wife’s name was Sulakhani; she was a resident of Batala. They had two sons, one son named Srichand and the other named Lakshmidas.
- Nanak founded Sikhism. He is the first guru of Sikhs. He was a staunch opponent of superstition and ostentation.
- Nanak was a philosopher, social reformer, poet, householder, yogi and patriot.
- He was against caste. He started the custom of langar to eliminate this evil from society. At a langar, the rich and the poor alike eat together.
- He propagated nirgun upasana. He was against idol worship. God is one, He is omnipotent, He is the truth, taught he.
- Nanak made four udasis (journeys) to enlighten society aware. He visited places like Haridwar, Ayodhya, Prayag, Kashi, Gaya, Patna, Assam, Bikaner, Pushkar Tirtha, Delhi, Panipat, Kurukshetra, Jagannathpuri, Rameshwar, Somnath, Dwarka, banks of the Narmada, Multan, Lahore etc to spread his message.
- God is one, always worship God.
- God is everywhere, He is in all beings. Believe in Him.
- A person who worships God should never be afraid of anyone.
- Work hard and take care of yourself.
- No person should do a bad deed nor ever think about it.
- Forgiveness should be prayed to sought from God for the mistakes one makes. Also, a person should always be happy.
- All men and women are equal.
- Whatever you have earned with hard work and honesty in your life, some part of it should be donated to the poor. Help the needy.
- Nanak said no human being should be greedy, arrogant or jealous.
- Amassing wealth is an evil act, which shows you think only about yourself.