GURU NANAK DEV JI



Guru Nanak Sahib the founder of Sikhism was born on 15th April, 1469 at Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present distrect of Shekhupura (Pakistan), now Nanakana Sahib. The Birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib is celebrated on 15th Kartik Puranmashi i.e. full moon day of the month Kartik. On this day the Birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib is celebrated every year. Guru Nanak's father, Mehta Kalyan Das, more popularly known as Mehta Kalu was the agent and Chief Accountant of Rai Bular. Guru Nanak’s mother was Mata Tripta, a simple, pious and extremely religious woman. Nanak had an elder sister, Nanki, who always cherished her younger brother.


From the childhood Nanakji was different in many ways.  He was gifted by God with very good thoughts. At the age of seven, he learnt Hindi and Sanskrit. He surprised his teachers with his extra-ordinary knowledge about divine things. At the age of thirteen, he learned Persian and Sanskrit and at the age of 16, he was the most learned young man in the region. He was married to Mata Sulakhni ji, who gave birth to two sons: Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. In November 1504, Guru Nanak's elder sister Nanaki ji took him to Sultanpurlodhi where her husband Jai Ram ji got him the Job of storekeeper in the Modikhana of the local Nawab, Daulat Khan Lodhi.

At the age of 38, in August 1507, Guru Nanak Sahib ji devoted himself to the service of humanity after bathing in "Vain Nadi" (a small river) Near Sultanpur Lodhi. The very first sentence which he ' uttered then was, “There is no Hindu, no Musalman". Now he started journey throughout Punjab. After visiting different places in Punjab, he decided to proceed on four long tours covering different religious places in India and abroad. These tours are called Char Udasis of Guru Nanak Sahib.

During the four journeys, Guru Nanak Sahib visited different religious places preaching Sikhism. He went to Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Joshi Math, Ratha Sahib, Gorakh Matta (Nanak Matta), Audhya, Prayag, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Dhubri and Gauhati in Assam, Dacca, Puri, Cuttock, Rameshwaram, Ceylon, Bidar, Baroach, Somnath, Dwarka, Janagarh, Ujjain, Ajmer, Mathura, Pakpattan, Talwandi, Lahore, Sultanpur, Bilaspur, Rawalsar, Jawalaji, Spiti Vally, Tibet, Ladakh, Kargil, Amarnath, Srinagar and Baramula. Guru Nanak Sahib also paid visit to Muslim holy places. In this regard he went to Mecca, Medina, Beghdad via Multan, Peshawar Sakhar, Son Miani, Hinglaj etc.  Guru Sahib also visited Syra, Turkey and Tehran. From Tehran Guru Sahib set out on the caravan route and covered Kabul, Kandhar and Jalalabad. The real aim of the tour was awakening the people to realise the truth about God and to introduce Sikhism. He established a network of preaching centres of Sikhism which were called "Manjis". He appointed able and committed followers as its head (preacher of Sikhism). The basic tenants of Sikhism were wilfully conceived by the people from all walks of life. The seeds of Sikhism were sown all over India and abroad in well-planned manner.


In the year 1520, Babar attacked India. His troops slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians of all walks of life. Women and children were made prisoners and all their property looted at Amiabad. Guru Nanak Sahib challenged this act of barbarity in strong words. He was arrested and released, shortly after making Babar realising his mistake. All the prisoners were also released.

Guru Nanak Sahib settled down at Kartarpur city (now in Pakistan) which was founded by him in 1522 and spent the rest of his life there (1522-1539). There was daily Kirtan and the institution of Langar (free kitchen) was introduced. Knowing that the end was drawing near, Guru Nanak Sahib, after testing his two sons and some followers, installed Bhai Lehna ji (Guru Angad Sahib) as the Second Nanak in 1539 and after a few days passed into Sachkhand on 22nd September, 1539.

During his life Guru Nanak Sahib ji emphasised the leading of householder's life,unattached to gross materialism. Guru Nanak Sahib Ji gave the basic concepts of mankind sewa, Kirtan, Satsang and faith in 'One' Omnipotent God. Thus he laid the foundations of Sikhism. He preached new idea of God as Supreme, Universal, All-powerful and truthful. God is Formless (Nirankar), the Sole, the Creator, the self-existent, the Incomprehensible and the Ever-lasting and the creator of all things.God is infinite, All knowing, True, All-giver, Nirvair, and Omnipotent. He is Satnam, the Eternal and Absolute Truth.

As a social reformer Guru Nanak Sahib upheld the cause of women, downtrodden and the poors. He attacked the citadel of caste system of Hindus and theocracy of Muslim rulers. He was a born poet. He wrote 947 hyms comprising Japji Sahib, Asa-Di-Var, Bara-Mah, Sidh-Gosht, Onkar (Dakhani) and these were included in Guru Granth Sahib by Guru Arjan Sahib. He was also a perfect musician. He with the company of Bhai Mardana composed such tunes in various Indian classical Ragas. He was a reformer as well as a revolutionary. God had gifted him with a contemplative mind and pious disposition. Guru Arjan Sahib called him "the image of God, nay, God Himself".

 

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