“Satguru Nanak Pargateya, mitti dhundh jagg chaanan hoya, Jiyo kri suraj nikalya, taare chhipe andher ploya”

Its generally said ,that the greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals. People celebrate their glorious heritage through festivals, which are reasons enough to bring everyone together and live harmoniously. One of these festivals is the Guru Nanak Jayanti, the day of birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and a  sacred festival celebrated by the Sikh communities around the world. According to the lunar calendar, Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated on full moon day of Kartik month or Kartik Poornima. . It is, therefore observed on the full moon of October–November of the Gregorian calendar.  Baba Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru of Sikhs, holds the highest position among the 10 gurus worshipped by the community.

He who regards all men as equals is religious.

The word “Gurpurab” is a combination of two words– “Gur”, means Guru or master, and “Purab”, which means parv in Hindi, meaning day. Born  to Kalayan Das Mehta and Matta Tripat, on April 15, 1469(1469AD – 1539AD) , in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi (Now in Pakistan; Nanakana Sahib) ,Guruji is the founder of Sikhism. He is known as one of the greatest religious innovators of all times. He travelled across the world to spread the message of peace, and teachings of God. 

Burn worldly love, rub the ashes and make ink of it, make the heart the pen, the intellect the writer, write that which has no end or limit.

As per the beliefs, almighty dwells in every one of his creations and constitutes the eternal truth. He had set up various spiritual social and political platforms based on equality, goodness, and virtue. His teachings are registered in the form of 974 hymns in the holy texts of the Guru Granth Sahib. According to the beliefs of Sikh religion, it is believed that the spirit of Nanak Dev descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus. 

“Dwell in peace in the home of your own being, and the Messenger of Death will not be able to touch you.

About Guru Nanak ji:

Guru Nanak, from an early age, had a spiritual quest. When he was asked to wear the sacred thread, usually worn by the upper caste Hindus, he refused. He did not believe in superficial aspects of religion and said that he would rather wear the God’s name in heart that would never get impure or get broken.

Death would not be called bad, O people, if one knew how to truely die.

He worked as a storekeeper in the granary of Daulat Khan Lodi in Sultanpur, where he came into contact with Mardana, a Muslim servant. Together they organised gatherings for Hindus and Muslims where they sang hymns to praise the creator.

Sing the songs of joy to the Lord, serve the Name of the Lord, and become the servant of His servants

Guru Nanak was married at the age of 18 and also had two sons. The turning point in his life came at the age of 28, when he disappeared for three days and upon returning revealed that there is no Hindu and no Muslim, there is only one God who is formless and could be worshipped by any name. The constant remembrance of God, also refereed as naamsimran is the only way to liberation, he preached.Before his death at the age of 70, he appointed Guru Angad as his successor.

Guru Nanak’s main teachings are:-

Naam japo: Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God).

Vund chako: Share and care, especially with those who are in need

Kirat Karo: Earn an honest living by ensuring that no action leads to cheating or exploitation.

Importance:

The birth of Guru Nanak, who taught the message of one god and established a unique social and spiritual platform based on truth, love, equality and morality, is celebrated with great fervor by people of Sikh community across the world. His soulful lessons also include the importance of overcoming the five weaknesses, or thieves of human behaviour, as he puts it – attachment (moh), greed (lobh), lust (kama), pride (ahankar) and anger (krodh).

Nanak, the whole world is in distress. He, who believes in the Name, becomes victorious.

The celebration is similar to the festivities around anniversaries of other Sikh gurus and includes hymns and prayers. The celebrations consist of a beautiful amalgamation of energy and devotion. The festivities start two days before Guru Nanak Jayanti with a nonstop reading of the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, in the Gurudwaras for 48 hours and it is called Akhand Path. Nagarkirtan, a procession is organised on the day prior to the Jayanti. The “Panj Pyaras” lead this procession carrying the Palanquin of the holy book Guru Granth Sahib and the Nishan Sahib, which is the Sikh flag. During the procession, people sing devotional songs and hymns. Mock battles and martial arts using traditional weapons are displayed by the Gatka teams. This procession spreads the Guru Nanak’s teachings and message.

“Whatever be the qualities of the man with whom a woman is united according to the law, such qualities even she assumes, like a river, united with the ocean.”

On the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the celebration begins as early as 4 am with Prabhat Pheris, which is the morning procession. The processions start from Gurudwaras. The Gurudwaras are decorated with lights and flowers on this day. People sing morning hymns(Asaa-Ki-Vaar) ,read out Sikh scriptures(Katha) religious hymns (Kirtan) during the Amrit Vela, i.e. between 3:00 and 6:00 am.. This is followed by a special community lunch called as the “Langar”.These langars are organised by the Gurudwaras and usually volunteers help in the preparation of the lunch. Everyone, irrespective of class, caste or creed, is welcome for the langar. Later in the day, around sunset, people gather in the Gurudwaras for the night prayers or the Rehras and the Kirtan. Post midnight, at about 1:15 am, Gurbani is sung as it is believed to be the actual time of Guru Nanak’s birth. The Gurbani completes the day and leaves a soulful mark on everyone.

And, while all of this is happening, how can one forget their loved ones? Don’t just wish them “Happy Gurpurab”; this time, send them some gifts, too!

“Whatever kind of seed is sown in a field, prepared in due season, a plant of that same kind, marked with the peculiar qualities of the seed, springs up in it.”

Here are some gift ideas you can use to celebrate Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday:

  • Ik Onkar Pendants – They will not only look pretty but also keep reminding the ideology Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived by.
  • Books – Religious books with the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji can be a great way to celebrate the day.
  • Pooja Hamper – Make someone’s day with a beautiful hamper of small yet useful prayer essentials, such as a diya, some incense sticks, an incense stick holder, candles, etc.
  • Idols and Pictures – You can also gift idols or beautifully framed pictures of Guru Nanak Dev Ji with an elegant, handwritten note.
  • Sweets and Dry Fruits – No festival is complete without sweets and dry fruits. Get your loved ones’ their favourite sweets or put an assortment together to make the day even more special for them.

Festivals brings people together in the right spirit. We must, therefore, never forget the reasons why we celebrate them. Let’s look at what kids can learn from Guru Nanak’s teachings.

“If the people use the wealth bestowed on them by God for themselves alone or for treasuring it, it is like a corpse. But if they decide to share it with others, it becomes sacred food.”

Things Kids Can Learn From Guru Nanak’s Teachings

The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji can help everyone lead content and happy lives. Encourage your kids to learn them and share them with their friends, too.

  • Practice selfless devotion and work hard every single day.
  • God is one.
  • Before God, we are equal. No one is differentiated on gender, the colour of the skin or social status.
  • Nothing pleases God but honest and true living.
  • Kindness is important. Be kind to everyone, including birds and animals.
  • Pray for everyone’s good.
  • Never fear, and never frighten anyone.
  • God and truth are one.
  • Love everyone equally.

There is but One God. His name is Truth; He is the Creator. He fears none; he is without hate. He never dies; He is beyond the cycle of births and death. He is self-illuminated. He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the beginning; He was True when the ages commenced and has ever been True. He is also True now.

These words, so beautifully, explain the ideology Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived by. This Guru Nanak Prakash Parv, enlighten your loved ones with some of these teachings and make them a part of your life, too. You don’t have to be religious to follow them. Remember, those who have loved are the ones who found God.

Dr. Dimpy Gupta

BDS, MBA(Symbiosis, Pune)

Relationship managerIndus Hospitals(Mohali, Dera Bassi, Fatehgarh Sahib,Punjab)