Guru Nanak Dev Ji - The First Guru

Business Sphere - - Contents - By G R Khattar, Edi­tor-in-Chief

Born on Oc­to­ber 20th 1469 AD at Tal­wandi (Nankana Sahib) to a Hindu fam­ily near the city of La­hore (now a part of Pak­istan), Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of Sikhism. His fa­ther was Me­hta Kaloo Ji and mother Mata Tripta Ji. Bhai Gur­das Ji writes about the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, "With man­i­fes­ta­tion (birth) of True Guru Nanak, the mist of ig­no­rance and false­hood dis­ap­peared and there was the light of right­eous­ness." (Sat­gur Nanak par­gatya miti dhundh jagg chanan hoa). The young Nanak en­joyed the com­pany of holy men and en­gaged them in long dis­cus­sions about the na­ture of God. Around the year 1500, Guru Nanak Dev Ji had a rev­e­la­tion from God, shortly there­after, he ut­tered the words: There is No Hindu, There is No Mus­lim This pro­nounce­ment was sub­stan­tial as it re­ferred to the day and age in which Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived: Hin­dus and Mus­lims of In­dia con­stantly and bit­terly fought each other over the is­sue of re­li­gion. The Guru meant to em­pha­sise that, ul­ti­mately, in the eyes of God, it is not re­li­gion that de­ter­mines a per­son's mer­its, but one's ac­tions. The Guru wit­nessed the Mughal in­va­sion of In­dia, and saw the hor­rors in­flicted upon the com­mon peo­ple by the in­vaders. Guru Nanak Dev Ji did not hes­i­tate to speak up against in­jus­tice: The kings are rav­en­ous beasts, their min­is­ters are dogs. The Age is a Knife, and the Kings are Butch­ers In this dark night of evil, the moon of right­eous­ness is nowhere vis­i­ble. Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid forth three ba­sic prin­ci­ples by which ev­ery hu­man be­ing should abide: 1. Re­mem­ber the name of God at all times. 2. Earn an hon­est liv­ing as a house­holder. 3. Share a por­tion of your earn­ings with the less for­tu­nate. Be­sides re­ject­ing the Hindu caste sys­tem, adul­tery, and rit­u­al­ism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached uni­ver­sal equal­ity. In con­sis­tence with his mes­sage of equal­ity, Guru Nanak Dev Ji scorned those who con­sid­ered women to be evil and in­fe­rior to men by ask­ing: Why should we call her in­fe­rior, when it is she who gives birth to great per­sons? He preached the con­cept of love, hu­mil­ity, com­pas­sion, self­less Sewa, so­cial wel­fare, moral, so­cial and spir­i­tual val­ues. He preached the ser­mon of hu­man lib­erty, equal­ity and fra­ter­nity. Guru Nanak Dev Ji em­pha­sised, "Truth is high but higher still is truth­ful liv­ing.' Guru Nanak Dev Ji has been doc­u­mented to have trav­elled across In­dia and the Mid­dle East to spread his mes­sage. Once, at Mecca, the Guru was rest­ing with his feet point­ing to­ward the holy shrine. When a Mus­lim priest an­grily rep­ri­manded the Guru for show­ing dis­re­spect to God, the Guru replied, "Kindly point my feet to­wards the place where God does not ex­ist." Among the many philo­soph­i­cal foun­da­tions laid by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, his char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of God, as il­lus­trated by his visit to Mecca, is most recog­nis­able. It forms the open­ing lines of the 1430th page of the Sikh holy scrip­ture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The trans­la­tion is as fol­lows: There is but One God, The Supreme Truth; The Ul­ti­mate Re­al­ity, The Creator, With­out fear, With­out en­e­mies, Time­less is His im­age, With­out Birth, Self Cre­ated, By His grace re­vealed. Like all the Gu­rus af­ter him, Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached by ex­am­ple. Dur­ing a time of great so­cial con­flict and re­li­gious de­cay, his mes­sage served as a fresh, un­cor­rupted ap­proach to­wards spir­i­tu­al­ity and God. The Guru founded the in­sti­tu­tions of Gur­d­wara, San­gat and Pan­gat. He in­tro­duced the con­cept of suit­abil­ity for Gu­ru­ship by ig­nor­ing his sons and ap­point­ing Bhai Lehna Ji as the sec­ond Sikh Guru to con­tinue spread­ing his teach­ings. He de­parted for heav­enly abode on Septem­ber 7, 1539. The mes­sage of the Guru Ji took al­most 240 years to un­fold, and so, in ac­cor­dance with the Will of God, the soul of Guru Nanak Dev Ji merged into the souls of his nine suc­ces­sors.

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