Remembering Guru Nanak Dev ji on 550th birth anniversary

“The Provider Lord Listened To The Cries (of humanity). Guru Nanak Descended into this World”.

“Washing His Feet & Praising God, He Got His Sikhs To Drink The Ambrosial Nectar(of humility). In this Dark Age, He Showed all Gods To Be Just One”.

“The Four Feet Of Dharma, The Four Castes were Converted into One”.

“Equality of The King & Beggar, He Spread the Custom of being Humble”.

“Reversed Is the Game of the Beloved, the Egotist High Heads Bowed to the Feet”.

 “Baba Nanak rescued this Dark Age; read Satnam & recited the Mantra”.

 ” Guru Nanak Came to redeem this Dark Age Of Kalyug”.

—-Bhai Gurdas Ji ( Vaar 1, Pauri 23).

Celebrating the 550th Birth Anniversary of the greatest spiritual teacher and founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Sikh Panth across the world is in rejoice and is overwhelmed with the ardour of true Sewa.

Tracing the footsteps of Guru Nanak makes one realise the true relevance of the universality preached by the first Sikh Guru. Guru Nanak Dev Ji during his religious sojourn called ‘Udasis’ travelled across West Asia, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Northern Part of India, Afghanistan across Indus, Mecca, Iran and Turkey. He was the greatest traveller of his times travelling across nine countries covering a distance of 28000 KM. On his religious travellings, Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached the message of ‘Oneness’ and proclaimed the coexistence of different faith. He laid the foundation of a very progressive “Panth” i.e Sikhism.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born at a time when people were with religious divisions. The quality of life of an average individual was very poor. There were religious oppression and persecutions. At that time Guru Nanak Dev Ji came up with a message of love and oneness i.e ‘IKONKAR’ which symbolises-

One Creator- An infinite source around us. The source of everything.

One Human race- All are equal with one’s light within and is free of Gender, Race or Nationality.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji saw the world’s suffering out of hatred, fanaticism, falsehood and hypocrisy. He carried the torch of truth, heavenly love, peace and joy for mankind. He carried an open dialogue with all existing faith on the true aspect of spirituality.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s journey is a classic example of universal brotherhood. Bhai Mardana (A Muslim Rabab player) who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev Ji on his Udasis was a Muslim all his life. It was on his compelling that Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Mecca.

In his first sermon itself, Guru Nanak Dev Ji Said- “Na Hindu, Na Musaelman”. i.e in God’s eyes there is neither Hindu nor Muslim. God isn’t interested in our religious labels but in how we live and what are our actions. All these places still carry the fragrance of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings and are places of interfaith. Guru Nanak’s teachings were immortalized in the form of 974 Hymns in Shri Guru Granth Sahib.

Renowned author of two books- “Lost Heritage; The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan” and “The Quest Continues: The Lost heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan”, S. Amardeep Singh is on a Voyage tracing the religious travellings of Baba Nanak.

The author says- “In the borderless world of the 15th century, where people travelled distances to trade and rulers invaded to expand territory, Guru Nanak Glided across the geographies advocating the message of peace”.

In Colombo, Sri Lanka, it isn’t only Sikhs, Hindus and Sindhis, but also the local Sinhalese Christians who delve into the teachings of Baba Nanak through the syncretic form of worship. Till date in Pakistan, the descendants of Bhai Mardana, Muslim by faith, sing hymns of Guru Nanak from Guru Granth Sahib. These are some of the amazing stories collected by author Amardeep Singh. He also explored the lives of people living across Indus who despite of their religion had firm belief in teachings of Guru Nanak. They considered themselves Nanakpanthis.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached the message of Monism, where everything is one. We all are one. Guru Nanak Dev Ji stressed on honest living rather than living with falsehoods. He united the entire world into one.

As Gurbani Says-

“Khalik Khalak Khalak Main Khalik” (The creation is in the creator and the creator is in the creation).

Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid the foundation of an egalitarian society. Through his life teachings, Guru Nanak founded and formalised three pillars of Sikhism.

“Naam Japna”- Reciting God’s Name.

“Kirat Karni”- Earnest and Honest living.

“Vand Chakna”- Share before you eat.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s spiritual teachings were beyond time and scientific innovations. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a visionary and he even unraveled the timeless secrets of universe. In the following verse, Guru Nanak Dev Ji contemplated the origin and vastness of Universe-

“There are planets, solar systems and galaxies. If one speaks of them, there is no limit, no end. There are worlds upon worlds of his creation. All he commands, so they exist. He watches over all and contemplating the creation, He Rejoices. Nanak Says, To describe this is as hard as steel”.

-SGGS-Ang 8.

On 12th Nov, 2019 when the world will be celebrating the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, The Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan will open its doors to Sikh pilgrims from across the world.

Situated on the banks of river Ravi, Pakistan, Kartarpur Sahib is the place where Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent the final 18 years of his life. It was Kartarpur Sahib where Guru Nanak Dev Ji started the tradition of “Guru ka langar”. It was the place where the Guru’s belief in equality of every men and women was first manifested in India, which had long been a segregated society. People dined together by sitting in one Pangat (Line) irrespective of their caste, creed, or even their wealth.

With the opening of Kartarpur Sahib, I see an emergence of hope and peace. From “Conflicts To Corridors” this miracle could only happen in the name of Baba Nanak. I feel the Kartarpur Corridor will be a Hymn on Indo-Pak Perimeter, which will end all differences.

As Gurbani Says-

“Tohi Mohi, Mohi Tohi Antar Kaisa”

“You are me, I’m You, What’s the difference”.

Kanwal Singh is a Sikh Scholar and Columnist.

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