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SIKH GURUS

GURU NANAK SAHIB
(1469-1539)


GURU NANAK SAHIB, son of Mata Tripta and Baba Kalyan Das, was born at village Rai-Bhoi-Di Talwandi (now Nanakana Sahib). When he was five years old he was sent to school. Here, he learnt Sidhongaiya (an early script of the Punjabi language). At the age of seven, he learnt Hindi and Sanskrit. At the age of thirteen, he learnt Persian. He studied a lot of literature of Persian and Sanskrit. At the age of 16, he was one of the most learned young men. In 1487, he married (Mata) Sulakkhani, who gave birth to two sons : Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. In 1504, he moved to Sultanpur Lodhi and joined a job as storekeeper in the administration of Daulat Khan Lodhi.

In 1507, he left Sultanpur Lodhi and began his first Udasi (missionary journey) to give the people the message revealed to him by the Almighty. Between 1507 and 1521(with an interval of about one year during 1516-17), he traveled for and wide. He visited Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Tibet, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Assam, Bengal, Kashmir, Punjab, several parts of India, most of the present Pakistan etc. He visited all the major centers of the Hindus, the Muslims, the Sufis, the Buddhists, the Jains, the Yogis etc. and held discourse with the holy men, the scholars and the common people. Wherever he went, the people bowed before his knowledge and his spiritual personality. His Udasis brought several thousand followers to his mission. He founded the town of Kartarpur in 1522 and spent the rest of his life (1522-39) there.

Guru Nanak Sahib preached: There is but one God (Eternal, Infinite, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent). He is the Creator, the Sustainer and the Destoyer. Salvation is possible in this world and can be attained through meditation and truthful living. Truthful living means: honest earning; sharing with others; helping the needy, the weak and the oppressed; praying for and participating in the welfare of the whole of humanity; having faith in the Almighty's Grace; bowing before His will etc. Guru Nanak Sahib rejected rituals and stressed truthful life. He rejected renunciation of the world and asked his followers to live the life of an active householder. He asked his followers to renounce Maya (attachment with the world) and not the world itself. Guru Nanak Sahib wrote 947 hymns including Japji Sahib, Asa Di Var, Sidh Gosht, Barah Mah, (Dakkhani) Onkar. All his hymns have been included in Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Nanak Sahib institutionalized the Sikh religion in his lifetime. He established Sangats and Dharamsals in various parts of world. Before his departure Guru Nanak Sahib appointed Guru Angad Sahib, who was the most worthy of his followers, as his successor-in-mission. Guru Nanak Sahib did not appoint his elder son Sri Chand, as the latter had renounced the world, as his successor-in-mission (Sikhism rejects asceticism, monasticism and the other-worldliness). Guru Nanak, Sahib rejected his younger son too and appointed Guru Angad Sahib, as the latter was the most qualified. (Sikhism rejects hereditary succession).

When Guru Nanak Sahib appointed Guru Angad Sahib successor-in-mission, he was presented with all the Sikh Scriptures that Guru Nanak Sahib had in his possession. Guru Nanak Sahib merged his light in Guru Angad Sahib's light. Thought a separate physical existence it was the same light (of Guru Nanak Sahib) in Guru Angad Sahib.




 
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