The LUBP team offer our best wishes to our Sikh brother and sisters on the birthday (jayanti) of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in what is now Pakistan. At the age of 30 he mysteriously disappeared for 3 days. When he reappeared, he began to preach the Sikh faith and spent the rest of his life teaching, writing and travelling around the world to discuss religion with Muslims and Hindus.(Source)
For the benefit of our readers, we cross-post an article by Dr Kirat Singh Inqilabi which was recently published in the daily Rising Kashmir.
The Prophet of Peace
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was the Prophet of peace. On one full moon night in the month of Visak Samat 1526, Mata Tripta delivered a child. However Guru Nanak was a child with a difference. When he was five he did not play with other boys but always spoke words of wisdom.
Thus God spoke through this boy and the belief grew stronger. When Nanak was sent to the village Mosque to learn Arabic and other subjects he astonished his teacher. At the age of sixteen he was married to Sulakhni, daughter of Mul Chand Chona of Batala. They had two sons namely Shri Chand who visited Kashmir, Lakshmi Das and the one daughter who died in her infancy.
The whole thought of Guru Nanak springs from his understanding of the nature of God. His name is Truth. He is the creator. He is in the image of external. He is beyond birth and death. He is self existent. He can be attained by the grace of Guru. This is the key to Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of Sikhs. The ultimate essence is beyond all human categories of conception but he has also manifested himself in his creation. He is not an impersonal ultimate reality but a personal God of grace.
The dynamic process of creation, perseverance, destruction is the expression of God’s will. The crux of his message is that god is the Father and mother of all human beings. Guru Nanak was a life long pilgrim.
Guru Nanak was a linguist and he opted for the language of the people accepting all dialects. Propagations of Mother-tongue celebrated differences in the various communities and provide them a common bond, a common language. Guru Nanak’s metres and measures followed the folk songs and folk ballads familiar with the people.
Sir Maz Arthur Macauliffe in his famous book ‘The Sikh Religion’ describes the meeting of Barham Dass Pandit with Gum Nanak at Mattan as under:
After paying his respect, fully shaken, he sat before Guru Nanak who was sitting on a stone seat near the spring at Mattan. On seeing the Guru’s dress he said, ‘Is that the sort of faqir thou art? Why wearest thou leather, which is unclean? Why twist thou a rope around thy body? Why hast thou abandoned the observances of thy religion? And why eatest thou flesh and fish?”
Nanak said, “All these are irrelevant and unimportant questions. Your mind is filled with Maya and to attain the real knowledge you shall have to shun all this.’’
He then unburdened him of the thoughts which filled his mind. “God Himself created and recognized His Creation. He separated the earth from the sky and spread a canopy over it. He fired the heavens without Pillars by the utterances of a word having created the sun and moon. He infused His light into them. He made the wonderful play of night and day. Pilgrimage, religion, mediation and bathing on holy day. None of these is equal to Thee. O Go, how can I describe Thee? Though sides on a true throne: all else are subject to birth and death.
Guru Nanak played many roles in his life. He was family man who married and had children. He was dutiful husband and a loving father.
Sikhism believes in equality of religions. We should find no difficulty in recognising Sikhism as a distinct art of living facing new challenges to life and emerging as a true religion of mankind.
Guru Nanak condemned the discrimination against women; he believes all are equal. He expressed his thoughts about women like this ‘of a woman we are born, and are married, and it is woman who is friend and life partner, it is woman who keeps the race going. Without her there is no human birth, and without her there is no existence possible.’ So Guru Nanak believed in the equality of woman. Woman is Janani (creator). Guru Nanak did not write verse to vindicate his poetic prowess: the song was but a ‘Vista’ a vision, an epiphany that ascended like a rose to the bush to claim attention. He used discourse and argument to vindicate his message. To peep in Guru Nanak’s poetry means to look into the innermost spiritual states. The message of Guru Nanak is “inseparable from the medium and the muse.”
Author is a poet of national eminence and editor of Punjabi quarterly journal Jehlum. He be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pakistani and Indian Sikh devotees gather around a bus carrying the Sikh holy book “Palky Sahib” during a procession in Nankana Sahib on November 21, 2010, on the 541st birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev. – Photo by AFP. Source: Dawn