This Tuesday, the 12th of November marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and it will be celebrated with merriment and devotion.
Processions are organized in various states like Punjab and Delhi and people engage in Sewa or selfless service. Distributing free food and drinks is one such grand service. Processions are usually led by the Panj Pyaras, the Five Beloved Ones carrying the Sikh flag, Nishan Sahib. The procession has singing hymns in praise of their lord and performing Gatka, a distinct form of martial art.
On the day of Gurpurab, the Akhand Path is ended by singing Asa di Var, the morning prayers. People visit the Gurdwaras and offer their prayers and seek blessings. Gurdwaras are adorned with flowers and it is a breath-taking view.
All kinds of delicious food are served outside the Gurdwaras. Langar, the food that is famously prepared by the people and for the people is an example of exemplary community service. Karha Prasad is also served throughout the day.
Gurdwaras are calming and during Gurpurab, the festivity multiplies. Visit Punjab or Delhi and take part in the procession, for fun, food, and frolic!
Our neighbor celebrates Guru Nanak Devji’s birthday too:
Pakistan has issued a commemorative coin to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan shared a picture of the coin on a Facebook post.
“Pakistan issues commemorative coin to mark the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji,” Mr. Khan shared. The coin came ahead of the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor by Mr. Khan on November 9.
This year marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Devji, whose birthplace is now in Pakistan. Last year, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib which is the final resting place of Guru Nanak Devji – in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
Pakistan has also set up 80 immigration counters at Kartarpur to help speed the clearance process of the pilgrims who will be visiting the holy shrine. This will be a visa-free visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
The festival explained:
Gurpurab is celebrated on Kartik Puranmashi which is a full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. The festival is usually celebrated in the Katak month, also known as the eighth month of Nanakshahi Calendar. It corresponds to Gregorian calendar months of October-November.
There is some controversy which is related to the birth of Guru Nanak Devji, some people believe that he was born on Vaisakhi, which marks the beginning of a new year as per the traditional Sikh calendar. However, as per one of Guru Nanak Devji’s childhood friend Bhai Bala’s testimony, he was born on Puranmashi in the Hindu Lunar month of Kartik. This claim is accepted and Gurpurab is celebrated on Puranmashi (full moon) in Kartik month.
His early life and teachings:
Guru Nanak Ji was born at Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi, near Lahore which is in the present day located at the Sekhpura district of Pakistan. There is now a Gurudwara Janam Asthan where Guru Nanak was born and the city is known as Nankana Sahib, which is located in Punjab province of Pakistan.
Guru Nanak Ji’s father Kalyan Chand Das Bedi, a local accountant (patwari) for crop revenue at Talwandi was a simpleton. His mother was Mata Tripta and his sister was Bebe Nanaki. He later moved with his sister to Sultanpur, where she also got married in 1475.
At an early age of 16 Nanak worked under Daulat Khan Lodi, the governor of Lahore during the reign of Ibrahim Lodi. There are numerous even from Nanak’s early life, which suggests that he had divine grace upon him. He was very deeply impacted by divine subjects, since the early age of five.
There are reported incidents where Nanak had surprised his teachers by displaying supernatural spiritual knowledge and understanding. There are lores that narrate Guru Nanak’s compassion to help the poor and vulnerable.
Guru Nanak was married to Mata Sulakkhani on 24th September 1487. The couple had two sons namely Sri Chand (8th September 1494 – 13th January 1629) and Lakhmi Chand (12th February 1497 – 9th April 1555). Sri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak was the founder of the Udasi sect, an ascetic sect for the sadhus (ascetics) of North India.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a religious guru, a spiritual healer maestro who started the composition of Guru Granth Sahib by contributing 974 hymns. The teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib emphasize the philosophy of one creator. It expresses selfless service to humanity, social justice, and prosperity. The Hindu concept of reincarnation or being a messenger of God is forbidden in Sikhism; contradictory to the role of a Guru as spiritual and social master forms the base of the religion.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji has preached the fact that spiritual and social lives are interwoven. He has preached and lived a socially active life bustling with truthfulness, honesty, purity and selfless service for the society, specially dedicated to the poor and needy. Nanak died in Kartarpur, present-day Pakistan on 22nd September 1539.
Celebrating the festival:
This special day or Jayanti is celebrated with reverence by the Sikh community. The celebrations commence with the early morning processions known as Prabhat Pheri, and participants singing hymns from Guru Granth Sahib.
Recitation of the Guru Grant Sahib starts two days before the festival at the Gurudwaras. A 48 hours Akhand Path or the nonstop recitation is also conducted. On the day before Nanak’s birthday, a procession called Nagarkirtan is organized.
Amrit Vela, or the wee hours of the morning before dawn is considered most auspicious by Sikhs for meditation and reciting Guru Granth Sahib. Hence Nanak Jayanti commences with chanting of Asa di Var, a kirtan written by Guru Nanak Devji himself, at the Amrit Vela (4 a.m. to 6 a.m.). This is followed by kirtan and Katha in praise of the Guru.
A community luncheon called Langar is organized where people from different sections of the society irrespective of religion, caste or gender; sit together to eat the blessed food.
The festival affirms the faith in religion and preaches the basic idea of service to humanity above self. The community lunch conveys the message that nothing is greater than the service to humanity. The festival is significant in many ways to millions of people worldwide.
We live the love, joy, happiness, and euphoria with these beautiful heartwarming Shabads celebrating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Baba Nanak Ji with all of humanity.
Watch Guru Nanak Aya in the soulful voice of Daler Mehndi
Nanak Naam Chardi Kala, tere bhane sarbat da bhala.