Guru Nanak Jayanti

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • Guru Nanak

Why in news?

  • Guru Nanak Jayanti marks the birthday of the founder of Sikhism and the first of its nine gurus, Guru Nanak or Baba Nanak.
  • Sikhs celebrate this day with a procession called Nagar Kirtan, which sees groups of people sing hymns and visit gurudwaras.

Guru Nanak

  • Birth
    • Guru Nanak was born on Purnima Tithi in the month of Kartik in the year 1469 in Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi in Pakistan.
    • A Gurudwara was constructed at his birthplace, now called Nankana Sahib, situated in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
    • He was a beloved leader among people of all faiths. He spoke against discrimination and other evils of society.
    • He travelled several miles to spread his message of oneness and purity.
  • Spiritual journeys known as udasiya
    • During the first quarter of the 16th century, Guru Nanak embarked on extended spiritual journeys known as ‘udasiya.’
    • According to his own verses, he travelled to various places in the ‘nau-khand,’ representing the nine regions of the earth, which likely included major Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage centres.
      • Nanak is said to have travelled as far as Sri Lanka, Baghdad and central Asia to spread his teachings.
      • His last journey was to Mecca and Madina, the holiest sites in Islam, and he visited sites revered in other religions, too.
  • Founder of Sikhism
    • He was the founder of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that combines Hindu and Muslim influences.
      • Guru Nanak founded the Sikh faith in the Punjab region of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent in the end of fifteenth century.
      • The disciples who followed his teachings came to be known as Sikhs.
    • He was the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • The Guru Granth Sahib
    • Guru Nanak's words are recorded in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, in the form of 974 poetic hymns, or shabd
    • Some of the major prayers include: Japji Sahib; Asa di Var; Sidh Gosht.
  • Guru Nanak’s philosophy
    • The teachings of Guru Nanak emphasise ‘Ik Onkar’ - the oneness of God, equality among all individuals regardless of caste or creed and the importance of selfless service.
    • Guru Nanak’s philosophy revolves around the principles of compassion, honesty and devotion to a life of righteousness.
  • Nanak chose Guru Angad as the second Guru
    • Nanak spent the last years of his life in Kartarpur and his disciples followed a particular routine under him.
      • They arose before sunrise, bathed in cold water and gathered in the temple to recite the morning prayer and sang hymns.
      • Service or sewa was also carried out.
      • It exists to date as a system where people contribute their labour and help the needy through acts such as cooking food for them at the gurudwaras (what is known as ‘langar’).
      • This was followed in other gurudwaras, too.
    • One such disciple was named Lehna. As the Guru’s sons were not inclined towards spirituality, Nanak chose Lehna as the guru after him, giving him the name Angad (meaning ‘of my own limb’).
      • He also had a sizeable following of his own.
  • Death
    • Guru Nanak died on September 22, 1539. A well-known incident from his life is how Hindus and Muslims sought to assert their own rituals.

Q1) What is Ik Onkar?

Ik Onkar, is a phrase in Sikhism that denotes the one supreme reality. It is a central tenet of Sikh religious philosophy.

Q2) What is monotheistic religion?

Monotheism is the belief in a single god. Monotheistic religions include: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

Source: Guru Nanak Jayanti: 5 things to know about Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism | CNBC TV18