Even though it is believed that Guru Nanak was born on 15 April, his birthday is celebrated on the full moon in November each year.
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the village of Talwandi, near Lahore in Pakistan, now known as Nankana Sahib. Deeply spiritual since a small child, in his early 30s while bathing at a local river after his Sadhana, his body disappeared. The townspeople assumed he had drowned as no body was found. However, during his three day physical absence, he experienced a Divine Communion with God, where he was taken to God’s Court and received the blessing of Amrit (nectar). When he reappeared, the first words he shared were:
“There is no Hindu, nor any Mussalman (Muslim). So whose path shall I follow? I shall follow God’s path.”
Guru Nanak didn’t see any differences or separation between religions, communities or people; he saw the Light of the Divine in everyone and he spread this message across all four directions of the earth through his Shabads, sung from the heart of someone who has fully experienced and realised God. All of Guru Nanak’s compositions are written and spoken in verse; embodying the vibrational frequency of the Divine, representing Truth and reflecting the Light in all.
Guru Nanak is the Soul of Sikh Dharma, who brought light to the age of darkness, and each of his successors were the same jot, the same light. The compositions of six of the Sikh Gurus are included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and each Guru used the signature of Nanak.
When we chant or sing Gurbani (the Word of the Guru) with devotion and right intention, we may be blessed to experience what Guru Nanak experienced. This is his gift to us.
Guru Nanak was the first Sikh Guru until 1539, when left his physical body. He had already chosen Lehna, his loyal and obedient servant, to become the second Guru, whom he named Guru Angad – meaning Limb of Nanak.
In its simplicity, Sikh Dharma, as outlined by Guru Nanak, consists of three pillars:
– Vaṇḍ Chakko: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need
– Kirat Karo: Living as a householder, earning an honest living, without exploitation or fraud
– Naam Japna: Daily meditation through reciting and repeating God’s Name. Focussing the mind on God’s identity controls the five senses and passions, eliminates suffering and enables us to live a God-conscious, fulfilled life
ਸੁਣੀ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ਦਾਤਾਰ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਗ ਮਾਹਿ ਪਠਾਇਆ || ਚਰਨ ਧੋਇ ਰਹਰਾਸਿ ਕਰਿ ਚਰਣਾਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਿੱਖਾਂ ਪੀਲਾਇਆ ||
ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੂਰਨ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਅੰਦਰ ਇਕ ਦਿਖਾਇਆ || ਚਾਰੇ ਪੈਰ ਧਰਮ ਦੇ ਚਾਰਿ ਵਰਨ ਇਕ ਵਰਨੁ ਕਰਾਇਆ ||
ਰਾਣਾ ਰੰਕ ਬਰਾਬਰੀ ਪੈਰੀ ਪਵਣਾ ਜਗਿ ਵਰਤਾਇਆ | ਉਲਟਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਪਿਰੰਮ ਦਾ ਪੈਰਾਂ ਉਪਰਿ ਸੀਸ ਨਿਵਾਇਆ ||
ਕਲਿਜੁਗ ਬਾਬੇ ਤਾਰਿਆ ਸਤਿਨਾਮੁ ਪੜ੍ਹਿ ਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਸੁਣਾਇਆ || ਕਲਿ ਤਾਰਣਿ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਇਆ ||੨੩|| ਵਾਰ ੧ ||
“The Provider Lord listened to the cries (of humanity) and sent Guru Nanak to this world.
He washed his feet, praised God and got his Disciples to drink the ambrosia of his feet.
He taught in this Dark Age that sargun (Brahm) and nirgun (Parbrahm) are the same and identical (all gods are just one).
Dharma was now established on its four feet and all the four castes were converted into one (of humanity).
Equating the poor with the prince, he spread the custom of being humble.
Inverse is the game of the beloved; he got the egotist high heads bowed to feet.
Baba Nanak rescued this Dark Age and recited ‘satnam’ mantar for one and all.
Guru Nanak came to redeem this Dark Age of Kaljug.”
Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 1, Pauree 23
Please forgive any misunderstanding, misrepresentation or mistakes in the above text.