Nov. 9, 2022

Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti

Why in News?

Every year, Prakash Parv i.e. Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated on the day of Kartik Purnima. 

The festival marks the 553rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder and maiden Guru of Sikhs.

About Guru Nanak:

  • Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539) was born in Rai Bhoi di Talvandi village near Lahore, which later came to be known as Nankana Sahib.
  • He founded Sikhism. As a first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak gave the message of an Omkar, which means - God is one. He established the three pillars of Sikhism - Naam Japna (chanting the name of god), Kirat Karni (praying with devotional song) and Vand Chakna (donate some part of earning). He rejected Yagya, idol worship, penance. He propagated the concept of 'Karma' to the world and believed in formless sect of Bhakti ('Nirguna form).
  • He was always opposed to caste. Along with it, he also opened a front against conservatism, religious pomp and superstition. In this sequence, he started the langar practice, so that everyone can sit and eat together by ignoring caste discrimination.
  • He started inter-religious dialogue in the 16th century and interacted with most religious sects of his time.
  • His written works were compiled by the 5th Sikh Guru Arjan Dev (1563–1606) as Adi Granth.
  • This compilation came to be known as the Guru Granth Sahib after additions made by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708).

Teachings of Guru Nanak:

  • He gave the message of peace and harmony to all.
  • He was a great proponent of equality. His aim was to create a casteless society with no hierarchy. For him, differences and identities on the basis of caste, creed, religion and language were irrelevant.
  • Regarding women, Guru Nanak said “How can they be inferior when they give birth to men? Men and women both are eligible for the grace of God.” 
  • Tolerance and co-existence are the theme of Guru Nanak’s devotional songs.

Significance and relevance of his teachings:

  • Guru Nanak was one of the great spiritual leaders. His teachings are more relevant today than ever before. He wanted to promote peace, equality and prosperity around the world.
  • But modern India has failed in building an egalitarian society, social harmony, establishing of a just society and gender equality.
  • He died in 1539 in Kartarpur, Punjab.

Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

  • In 2018, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Kartarpur Corridor was completed connecting the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal district of Punjab in Pakistan with the Dera Baba Nanak temple in Gurdaspur district of India.
  • Kartarpur is considered one of the holiest places for the Sikhs as Guru Nanak preached there during last 18 years of his life.
  • This corridor acts as a peace treaty between India and Pakistan and promotes religious tolerance in the midst of all tensions.