Guru Nanak Jayanti 2019, 550th birth anniversary: History and Celebrations
Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the first Guru of 10 Sikh Gurus and is the founder of the Sikhism religion.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is also known as Guru Parv, Gurupurab or Guru Prakash Parv. According to the Hindu calendar, it falls on a full moon day in the month of Kartik Puranmashi. And according to the Gregorian calendar, it falls in the month of October and November. This festival is not only celebrated in India with full enthusiasm but also in various parts of the world. This year it falls on 12 November 2019.
How is Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrated?
Basically Guru Nanak Jayanti is a three day festival which is celebrated with full of excitement. Two days prior to the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Akhand path is held in the Gurudwaras. In this path, 48 hours of non-stop reading is done of the Guru Granth Sahib, the religious book of the Sikh religion. A day prior to the birthday, a procession is organised which is led by Panj Pyaras and known as Nagarkirtan. In the procession, the Sikh flag that is known as the Nishan Sahib and the Palanquin of Sri Guru Granth Sahib are carried. Various groups of singers participate, sang hymns with brass bands in the procession.
On the main day of Guru Nanak Jayanti or birthday people get up early in the morning and sing Asa-di-Var or some morning hymns from the Sikh scriptures. In the Gurudwaras, priests recite poems in praise of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Langar or special community lunch is served in the afternoon which is enjoyed by the Sikh community and others. "Gatka" which is a special type of martial art is performed by the people on this occasion with the sword.
About Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Date of Birth: 15 April, 1469
Place of Birth: Rai Bhoi Ki Talvandi (now Pakistan)
Father's Name: Mehta Kalu
Mother's Name: Mata Tripta
Spouse Name: Mata Sulakhni
Children: Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das
Famous as: Founder of Sikhism, First Guru of 10 Sikh Gurus
Died: 22 September, 1539
Place of Death: Kartarpur (Now in Pakistan)
Resting Place: Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Pakistan
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born on 15 April, 1469 at Rai Bhoeki Talwandi, Punjab (now in Pakistan). The village is also known as Nanakana Sahib which is situated near Lahore. His father’s name was Mehta Kalu Ji who was an accountant. His mother’s name was Lata Tripta Ji. He had spent his childhood days with his older sister, Bebe Nanaki.
He was the founder of Sikhism and the first Guru of ten Sikh Gurus. To spread his teachings, he travelled across South Asia and the Middle East. His teachings were immortalised in the form of 974 hymns which are mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred book of Sikh religion.
He was an extraordinary child with distinguished divine grace. His thinkings were completely different from others and he refused to partake in traditional religious rituals. He also spoke out against various prevalent social practices including the Caste System, idolatry and the worship of demi-Gods. Guru Nanak Ji, at the age of 16 mastered various religious texts and languages like Sanskrit, Persian and Hindi.
In 1487, he was married to Mata Sulakhni Ji and had two sons namely Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. Guru Nanak Ji had a Muslim childhood friend named Bhai Mardana. He moved to the town of Sultanpur Lodhi, where he took the job of an accountant in charge of the stores of the local Governor. He worked during the day, but in the early morning and nights, he meditated and sang hymns accompanied by Bhai Mardana on the rabab that is a stringed instrument.
One of the early mornings while taking bath in the "Vain Nadi", Guru Ji heard a voice of God and told him to dedicate his life complete life to the service of humanity. Therefore, for the next 30 years, accompanied by Baba Mardana, Guru Nanak Ji travelled and visited four major places in India, South Asia, Tibet and Arabia covering about 30,000 kilometers. He preached people in the journey a new concept of God that is "Supreme, All powerful and Truthful, Formless (Nirankar), Fearless (Nirbhau), Without hate (Nirvair), the Sole (Ik), the Self-Existent (Saibhang), the Incomprehensible and Everlasting creator of all things (Karta Purakh), and the Eternal and Absolute Truth (Satnam)".
Guru Nanak Ji always focused that 'One' God dwells in every one of his creations and anyone can have direct access to God without the need of any rituals or priests.
In the later years of his life, Guru Nanak Dev Ji settled down at the township of Kartarpur on the banks of the river Ravi (Rabi) in Punjab (now in Pakistan). Here, he introduced the institution of Langar that is a free communal kitchen at Kartarpur. In the year 1539, he passed away and installed Bhai Lehna Ji (Guru Arjan Dev Ji) as the Second Nanak.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji's Teachings
He founded three pillars of Sikhism namely Naam Japna, Kirat Karni, and Vand Chakna.
Therefore, Guru Nanak Jayanti, 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Ji is celebrated with full fervour on 12 November in India and in several parts of the world.