Subject: Re, Inspirational Teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Date: Thursday, 11 April, 2019, 10:36
This year the Sikhs and Non Sikhs alike are celebrating the 550th Birth Day of the founder of the Sikh faith,
Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Many of you will be invite to the celebrations and may be asked to speak. Please find some information which I feel will be useful for you to understand the Sikh faith. Thank you.
Happy 550th Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev JI
We are privileged to be celebrating the historic 550th Prakash Utsav (Birthday) of Shri Guru Nanak Dev JI this year. It is a matter of pride for every Sikh that Guru Nanak’s birth is being celebrated across the world not only by the Sikhs, but also by the Govt. of India on an unparalleled scale to demonstrate that His teachings are universal and benefit the
entire mankind. Guru Nanak’s teachings have become even more relevant than ever before in our fractured world where religious intolerance and disharmony is on the increase.
The Government of India has committed to a number of initiatives to mark the 550th Gurpurab of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, including a commemorative postage stamp, coin and the ‘Inauguration of Chairs’ in his name at various Universities
across the world.
Pakistan is now the land where Guru Nanak Ji was born on 15th April in 1469 in Nankana Sahib and also left for his
heavenly abode on 22 September 1539 in Kartarpur, Pakistan. The Govt of Pakistan under Imran Khan has given the ultimate respect to its son of the soil by opening Kartarpur corridor to pilgrims so that His devotees can have visa free access to the shrine where Guru Ji took his last breath. The stature of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is such that even the arch rivals, nuclear adversaries are ready to open their border to show their respect to Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
What is religion?
It is a philosophy which is designed to guide us through life. If one follows an enlightened and progressive philosophy, then one becomes an enlightened and progressive person. It is as simple as that!
In other words, the way we are taught from the beginning is the way, we are conditioned to lead our lives. No one is born intolerant, but the doctrine one follows will condition one's attitude accordingly.
Guru Nanak Dev ji, was curious from his young age to find out about the true meaning of life. He was puzzled to see disparity in society. He could not understand the difference in the status of people based on religion, caste or gender. He found it hard to believe that to find God, people had to divorce themselves from their normal family life and endure extreme hardships in isolation for a long period of time in jungles and mountains. He felt that if God was our creator, then surely He must reside within us and surely, we must all be equals as his children.
Guru Nanak travelled the length and breadth of India and beyond, in search of truth and to discover the true meaning of life. He even travelled to Mecca the holy place for Muslims in his quest to find answers.
During his travels, he met many holy and wise men which led him to the conclusion that no one religion or person could have a monopoly over truth. He said whatever was fundamental and right, must be the language of God and
should be adopted without hesitation to realize its benefits. So he brought teachings of Saints and Holy men and
helped compile the most appropriate and relevant book on truth, the Guru Granth Sahib. It includes the teachings of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslim Saints as well as that of ordinary learned men regardless of their caste or social status making it a truly inclusive holy book based on interfaith teachings.
The result, the Sikh holy book enables the followers to lead fuller lives, thereby making them the most progressive and
prosperous human beings in the world. Guru Ji was ahead of his time to realise over 500 years ago that religions must unite and not divide mankind if we are to live in harmony.
Let’s see how progressive the founder of the Sikh faith was.
First against gender inequality and gave equality to women over 500 years ago. “So Kyon Manda Aakhiye Jin Janme
Rajan” “ which means why consider someone inferior who bears Kings”.
First against religious conversion. Guru Nanak said that God is not interested in our religious labels, instead, he is interested in our actions and deeds.
He was accompanied by Bala a Hindu and Mardana a Muslim throughout his life and yet he never asked them to become Sikhs. Instead, he said if you are a Muslim, then be a good Muslim and if you are a Hindu, then be a good
First against the caste system. God is the creator of us all and as a result, He has created us equal regardless.
First against religious intolerance. He was the first to incorporate teachings of every faith in the Granth Sahib as a mark of respect for every faith.
First against ritual and outdated practices. He said that obsession with God would make us focus far too much on the creator and lesser on our worldly duties and responsibilities towards His creations like the family, work and helping others who are less fortunate in society.
First to seek the welfare of the whole of mankind. He included in the Sikh prayer the welfare for entire mankind. Tere Bhane Sarbat Ka Bhala. Meaning O Lord, please bless the entire mankind regardless.
First to provide food and shelter to anyone who walked through the doors of a Sikh Gurdwara regardless of their race or religion. It is also on record that Guru Nanak dedicated his life for social reforms and for the uplift of mankind and above all, for human freedom.
As they say, proof of the pudding is in the eating. We will always find followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji serving mankind
The teachings of Guru Nanak uplifts the soul makes us realise the real meaning of life. One just have to visit a
Gurdwara to realise the effect of Guru’s teachings upon people regardless.
Dr Rami Ranger CBE
The British Sikh Associations