Guru Nanak Dev Prakash Purab
विक्रम सम्वत् 2071 कार्तिक शुक्ल पूर्णिमा 6th November 2014
Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith was born in 1469 A.D. in the village of Talwandi in Lahore, Pakistan. Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh religion. Sikhs do not worship idols and believe that God is formless. They celebrate the birth anniversaries of 10 Sikh gurus as Gurupurabs with devotion and dedication.
About Guru Nanak Dev
Guru Nanak was born into a Kshatriya family and was a son of an accountant. Even as a child, Nanak had a mystic disposition and had a contemplative mind. He was of a pious nature and started meditation and spiritual practices very early in life. As a seven year old boy, he questioned his Hindi teacher about ‘knowledge’ and how will it help to attain freedom. His father then tried to divert his mind to worldly affairs and asked him to cultivate land and tend the cattle. He also put him in charge of a shop but all his efforts failed as his only work was meditation and praying to God. Guru Nanak eventually married and had two sons but he left his family life and became an ascetic.
The three basic guidelines
Guru Nanak founded & formalized the three pillars of Sikhism :
1. Naam - Guru ji led the Sikhs directly to practise Simran and Naam Japna – meditation on God through reciting, chanting, singing and constant remembrance followed by deep study & comprehension of God’s Name and virtues. In real life to practice and tread on the path of Dharam (righteousness) - The inner thought of the Sikh thus stays constantly immersed in praises and appreciation of the Creator and the ONE ETERNAL GOD Waheguru.
2. Kirat Karni - He expected the Sikhs to live as honourable householders and practise Kirat Karni – To honestly earn by ones physical and mental effort while accepting both pains & pleasures as GOD's gifts and blessings. One is to stay truthful at all times and, fear none but the Eternal Super Soul. Live a life founded on decency immersed in Dharam - life controlled by spiritual, moral & social values.
3. Vand Chakna - The Sikhs were asked to share their wealth within the community by practising Vand Chakna – “Share and Consume together”. The community or Sadh Sangat is an important part of Sikhism. One must be part of a community that is living the flawless objective values set out by the sikh Gurus and every Sikh has to contribute in whatever way possible to the common community pool. This spirit of Sharing and Giving is an important message from Guru Nanak.
Guru Nank Jayanti is marked by prabhat pheris or early morning processions that begins from the gurudwaras and then moves to different localities singing hymns or shabads. The celebration lasts for three days. Usually two days before the birthday of Guru Nanak, ‘Akhand Path’ or forty-eight hour non-stop reading of the holy book of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is carried on at the gurudwaras. A procession is carried out on the day before his birthday which is led by the Panj Pyaras (Five Beloved Ones). Sikh flag, or the Nishan Sahib and the palki or the palanquin of Sri Guru Granth Sahib is taken out in the procession. The procession also includes a group of singers singing hymns in praise of Guru Nanak and Gatka teams displaying their showmanship through martial arts. The leaders of the procession also spread the message of Guru Nanak.
Gurupurab day begins early with the singing of the Asa-di-Var (morning hymns) and hymns from the Sikh scriptures. It is followd with Katha or the exposition of the scriptures along with poems and lectures in praise of Guru Nanak. Langar or special community lunch is prepared at the gurudwaras. The langar along with ‘Karah Prasad’ is offered to men and women of all communities.