Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Prakash Divas of Guru Nanak Dev Ji!

November 4th is the Prakash Divas (birthday) Guru Nanak Dev Ji! We will have programs at the Gurdwara Sahib everyday this week from 5 to 7 pm. Make sure to attend!

Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the founder of Sikhism and was born to Hindu parents Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta in 1469 in Talwandi (now Nankana Sahib in Pakistan). Although he was born April 15, the birth date is celebrated on the full moon in November. He had an older sister named Bibi Nanaki. His unique path became apparent at a young age when he learned at an unprecedented rate and impressed his teachers.

One morning in 1499, Guru Nanak Dev Ji bathed in the river and disappeared for three days. No one could find him, and people feared he had died. He resurfaced three days later, having spent those days with God Himself. His first words after he emerged were “There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim”, meaning that everyone is the same according to God. Guru Ji was respected by all religions and travelled extensively spreading messages of honesty, equality between men and women, and speaking out against the caste system. It is thought he travelled over 28,000 km including to present-day Afghanistan, Turkey, Burma, Tibet, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Persia, and Arabia. Bhai Mardana, a muslim, accompanied him on his travels and played the rabab while Guru Nanak sang the hymns. 

Guru Nanak introduced the concepts of Naam Japo (remember God), Vand Shako (share what you earn), Kirat Karo (earn an honest living) everywhere he went. He made sure to communicate in simple language so everyone could understand, not just those who had a formal education. He was married to Mata Sulakhani and had two children, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Daas. He emphasized that you can still live a spiritual life at the same time as a family life. The following are some stories from his travels.

In the town of Saidpur on his travels Guru Ji stayed with Bhai Laalo, a low-caste man, rather than with the weathly Malik Bhago. Malik Bhago questioned Guru Ji on his choice and Guru Ji showed, by holding Lalo’s food in one hand and Bhago’s food in the other by squeezing them that blood poured from the food of Malik Bhago and milk from Lalo’s. This was to demonstrate that Malik Bhago did not earn his food honestly and rather exploited others, but Lalo worked hard.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji emphasized that we should not be stuck in rituals but rather be true to their religion. For example, he observed people throwing the water from the Ganges towards the sun to reach their ancestors and he started throwing it in the opposite direction, claiming that if their water reached the ancestors then his should reach his fields in Punjab. 

Guru Ji started the tradition of Langar, a free community kitchen where everyone was welcome to sit and eat next to each other as equals. This was extremely important given the emphasis on caste status at the time. This continues on in Gurdwaras (sikh temples) everywhere today. After his travels he built the village Kartarpur. 

When Guru Ji passed on from this world in 1539 it is said there was arguments between the Hindus and Muslims about whether the body should be cremated or buried but under the sheet, instead of a body there were only flowers, half of which were burned and half buried. He was succeeded by Guru Angad Dev Ji.

Book: Illustrated Life Stories of Guru Sahibs’ 


  1. This was an interesting blog I found years ago written by a Sikh man who after retiring spent all of his time and pension money on trying to unearthen Guru Nanak's European and North American journeys. During Guru Nanak's time, before Babur attacked India - Turks use to rule India and they were involved in Slave trade - catch people from India and sell them in Europe and middle East. Guru Nanak he said travelled with these people to Europe and as far as Montreal. Guru had met Martin Luther(the German reformist and the Pope) - he said Guru's name is in Latin books in Italy's Catholic library. This post he talks about Guru in Montreal. I have not heard from him because I don't think anyone was interested in what he was writing...
    Satguru Nanak Sahib In Montreal ( Formerly, Hochelaga).
    Dr. Ganda Singh was absolutely correct, when says tha Satguru stayed in some village around Mount Royal in North America. That lucky village happen to be in Montreal. The name of that village is"Hochelaga".( Ref. Montreal, Island City of St. Lawrence.1966).The particular page four of this book gives an important information.-----Most authorities place it as just south of the Mcgill University campus.But another book named" Montreal after Two Hundred Fifty Years Later-1642-1892" leaves no doubt about the location of this village. Page eight of this book states that--"A Tablet on the latter street, near Sharebrooke, marks the place where most of the relics found and reads as follows." Site of a large Indian Village, claimed to be the town of Hochelaga visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535. Plaese note that the Indian Chief(Real Indian) donated sixty acres of this village land for the construction of Modern Montreal.
    A batch of real Indians and African slaves were brought to this villageThe agents had displayed the boards of real Estates, but actually they were doing the business of slave-trading. He got release of the slaves from traders (real Estate Agents), by His logical truth that same blood runs in their veins ( that is in the vains of slaves). No body has the right to enslave others. Ibrahim Lodhi used to supply slaves to Henry-VIII and other European Traders, particularly from Portugal Spain. England, Prussia Empire of Germany, Cuba, Virginia, Montreal and Newfound Lands etc.(ref. Military History Of India, by Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar).Page no. two of" Montral After 250 Years".gave yet another important information, when it says that this village was "covered with grass, Indians, white men and real estate agents."


  2. I forgot to give you the link


  3. Sikh Soldiers brought to Canada by the British in 1887


  4. A prominent Sikh poet reading a poem written by him on Guru Nanak with English subtitles