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Guru Nanak Dev
Guru Nanak was born on 15 April 1469, now celebrated as Guru Nanak Gurpurab.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji Born on 15th April, 1469 at Talwandi in Pakistan of today, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of the Sikhs is believed to be the founder of the religion who was sent to earth by the almighty as a harbinger of peace and brotherhood by dispelling away the anguish and woe. Better known as Nanakana Sahib, his birth place is now in the Shekhpura district of Pakistan. Falling on the full moon day of Kartik by the Hindu calendar, his birthday is annually celebrated with a great pomp and show by the Sikhs.Born at the house of Mehta Kalyan Das or Mehta Kalu, Chief Accountant of Rai Bular and Mata Tripta, an undemanding, virtuous and extremely devout woman, Nanak was the beloved brother of Nanaki, his elder sister. A rare personality since childhood, Nanak was the master of an astute rationality and pensive mind. He was sent to language schools to learn Hindi and Sanskrit at the age of seven where he surprised all his teachers with his divine knowledge. He also learnt Persian and became the most learned guy in the region at the mere age of 16 years. Despite many efforts of his family, Nanak could not concentrate on the worldly pleasures and always reacted in a saintly manner. He was rebuked a number of times by his father for doing so, but in vain. In August 1507, he realized that the almighty was calling him to dedicate his self to the service of humanity after taking a holy dip Vain Nadi. There was thence no looking back and here on he started undertaking long travels to preach his unique and divine doctrine (Sikhism).
These travels were not limited to Punjab only rather they were long tours that covered various religious shrines in India and abroad. These tours are popularly known as Char Udasis of Guru Nanak Sahib. Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Joshi Math, Ratha Sahib, Nanak Matta, Ayodhya, Prayag, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Guwahati, Puri, Cuttack, zameshwaram, Ceylon, Bidar, Baroach, Somnath, Dwarka, Janagarh, Ujjain, Ajmer, Mathura, Pakpattan, Talwandi, Lahore, Sultanpur, Bilaspur, Rawalsar, Jawalaji, Spiti Vally, Tibet, Ladakh, Kargil, Amarnath, Srinagar and Baramula were all covered by Nanak during these tours. He even went to several Muslim shrines like Mecca, Medina, Beghdad via Multan and Peshawar.His tour aimed at general awakening of the masses in order to bring about a realization of God. Nanak even appointed certain able and dedicated followers as preachers of Sikhism. This was observed as sowing the seeds of Sikhism all over India and abroad in a planned manner.
Guru Nanak Sahib JI was arrested and released later in the year 1520, after he challenged the barbarity of Mughal Emperor Babar who invaded India at that time. Thence, the saint settled down at Kartarpur city (now in Pakistan in 1522 and stayed there for the rest of his life till1539. Having sensed his end, this divine being installed Bhai Lehna ji (Guru Angad Sahib) as his successor in 1539. Nanak established Sewa, Kirtan, Satsang and faith in God as the fundamental concepts of Sikhism. He preached the theory of a formless or Nirankar creator to his followers who is believed to be an ever lasting creator or Karta Purakh. Also acting as a social reformer, Nanak Sahib also worked hard for the upliftment of women, downtrodden and the poor. The citadel of Hindu caste system also suffered a great blow form Him.
Having written 947 hyms of Japuji Sahib, Asa Di Var, Bara Mah, Sidh Gosht and Dakhani, Nanak is definitely regarded as a born poet. An amalgamation of a saint, poet, social reformer and a born leader, Nanak was considered not the image of God, but God Himself by Guru Arjan Sahib Ji.
2. The Birth of Guru Nanak
Early one morning before the light of dawn, Tripta, the wife of Kalu Bedi, gave birth to a baby boy. The baby charmed the midwife who attended his delivery. The parents called an astrologer to predict his fortune. They named their son Nanak, after his older sister Nanaki. The family lived in the town of Nankana, which is now a part of Pakistan.
3. Nanak the Herdboy
When Nanak became old enough, his father gave him the job of watching cattle. Nanak would slip into deep meditative trances while the cattle grazed. He got into a lot of trouble couple of times when the cattle wandered into the neighbors fields and ate up their crops. Nanaks father often became very upset with him, and scolded him severely for his laziness. Some villagers noticed very unusual things happening when Nanak meditated. They became convinced that Nanak must be a mystic or saint.
4. Nanak the Scholar
One of the villagers, named Rai Bullar, noticed that Nanak tended to meditate at every opportunity. He became convinced that Nanak had devout disposition. He persuaded Nanaks father to put him in a class where he could receive an education in religious studies. Nanak learned very quickly astounding his teacher with the spiritual nature of his school work. The teacher believed that Nanak wrote divinely inspired compositions.
5. Nanak the Reformer
When Nanak came of age, his father arranged for him to participate in the Hindu thread tying ceremony symbolizing mans connection with God. Nanak refused, objecting that the thread had no value because it would eventually wear out. He also rejected the Hindu caste system of Brahman hierarchy. Nanak denounced idolatry, and the worship of demi gods.
6. Nanak the Merchant
As Nanak matured, his family arranged a marriage for him with a girl named Sulakhani. She bore him two sons. Nanaks father attempted to set him up in business as a merchant, so that he could support his family. He gave Nanak money and sent him to make purchases. Nanak spent all the money feeding homeless, and hungry, holy men that he met on the way. When he returned empty handed, his father became very angry and scolded him severely. Nanak insisted that doing good deeds for others had earned an excellent profit.
7. Nanak the Householder
Nanaks father became increasingly frustrated with him. His sister, Nanaki, lived with her husband in a town called Sultanpur. They found Nanak a job working in a granary. Nanak left his wife and sons with his parents promising to send for them as soon as he could support them. Nanak did well in his new position. He treated everyone generously, and dealt with them fairly. Before long his family joined him, and they moved into a house of their own. Nanak became acquainted with a Muslim minstrel, named Mardana. They met every morning at a local river, where they meditated before going to work. The entire community expressed astonishment that men of different faiths could worship together.
8. Nanak the Enlightened One
One morning, Nanak went to meditate and bathe beside the Kali Bein, or Black River, with Mardana. Nanak walked into the river and disappeared beneath the water. When he did not show up for work, his employer discovered that he had never come back out from under the water. Everyone assumed that he had drowned except for his sister Nanaki. Three days passed and then, astounding everyone, Nanak emerged from the river alive saying, Na koe Hindu, na koe Musalman There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim. The amazed towns people agreed that Nanak must be a completely enlightened being and began to call him Guru.
9. Guru Nanak the Traveler
Nanak immersed himself fully in meditation. He seldom spoke to anyone and quit his job. He gave away all of his personal belongings to the poor. He made living arrangements for his wife and sons, and then left town with his spiritual companion Mardana. They became wandering minstrels. Mardana played a stringed instrument called a rabab and accompanied Nanak, when he sang his poetic compositions. They embarked on a series of Udasi mission tours and traveled together preaching, and teaching, that there is only one God. There is no Hindu. There is no Muslim. There is only one brotherhood of humanity.
10. Guru Nanak Comics Series
Guru Nanak, the First Sikh Guru by Sikh comics spans the life, ministry and mission tours of Guru Nanak Dev in an entrancing series of five graphic novels. Colorful illustrations, English narration and Gurbani quotes bring to life the illustrious history of the first guru.
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