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  • Raghav Sand

Guru Nanak: Eternal Saint

There is only one God and its name is truth. All of Guru Nanak’s teaching can be summarised in this one sentence. Sikhism is foremost among religions which prioritize respect and dignity for humanity over arcane rituals. No wonder the followers of Sikhism dedicate their allegiance to the holy text and its teachings. Collective consciousness about the oneness of all living beings is at the core of Guru Nanak. Every year, his birth anniversary is celebrated with a simple yet strong belief – the human birth should be dedicated to service of mankind irrespective of faith, caste or gender.

Guru Nanak’s Life in Brief

Born in 1469 at Talwandi (now in Pakistan), Guru Nanak was named after his elder sister Nanki. The family priest proclaimed that Nanak will be a great saint and his fame will spread far and wide. In early childhood, Nanak showed glimpses of profound generosity. He would take sweets for friends and would balance play and singing God’s praises seamlessly. At the age of six Nanak was enrolled in school and soon mastered everything there was to learn. His parents tried to keep him occupied with learning and made him learn Persian; he attained proficiency in short period.

By the time Nanak was ten years old, he started to devote more time in religious songs and less time in play. Once Guru Nanak’s father gave him some money and asked him to strike a good bargain. Instead of thinking about profit, Guru Nanak bought food and clothes for the needy. This incident left Guru Nanak’s father, Mehta Kalu, fuming.

After his marriage to Sulakhani, he started working as a storekeeper in state granary. Guru Nanak and Sulakhani had two sons together. He worked in the granary for twelve years, but eventually the worldly jobs failed to excite him. Once Guru Nanak went to bathe in the stream and did not return home for the next two days. His family was steeped in gloom, then, suddenly he appeared on the third day. Guru Nanak told his family that he has received divine command to teach people the path of love and tolerance.

Guru Nanak finally decided to leave home. When his parents asked him about the duty to his family, Guru Nanak said that, he who has assigned me this task will take care of all of you. Guru Nanak travelled throughout northern India and parts of present-day middle east. He preached and transformed the lives of many and left them wiser.

Preaching in Practice

Guru Nanak was transforming lives with his teachings and had a thought of applying his own preaching in practice. He was 52 years old when he settled down in Kartarpur and started a farmer’s life. It was during this phase of his life when Guru Nanak established a community kitchen or langar.

Succession Planning

Guru Nanak was aging and he decided to appoint a successor. One day he tested his disciples and chose Lehna as the worthy heir. After a brief ceremony, Guru Nanak named Lehna as Guru Angad. On September 22, 1539 he fell deep into meditation and his soul departed to its heavenly abode.

Selected Teachings

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