We all are well aware of the fact that India is a country that has become the home to many religions. There is a brotherhood among all religions. Human rights are the same for every religion. Be it APJ Abdul Kalam whose picture can be seen in Indian temples or Vallabh Bhai Patel who encouraged the idea of a united India, the equality and love for each other can be seen in India everywhere.
But are you aware of who supported the idea of equality even before it was a term? At the time when the caste system was still prevalent, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the spiritual leader of Sikhs promoted the idea of equality through his preachings that made Sikhism the first religion that implemented equality and abolished the caste system. There are the six teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji that make our world a better place.
Who was Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of Sikhism, one of the youngest religions. He was born on 23 September 1469 in Rai Bhoi ki Talvandi, the present day, Punjab. Born to Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta, Guru Nanak Dev ji was the first Sikh Guru and the spiritual leader who laid the foundation of Sikhism religion with his spiritual teachings. As a child, He had profound knowledge about the divine subjects. Eventually, his interest and knowledge towards the divinity led him on the spiritual path of spreading the God’s message to every human being.
There was one incident in 1475 when Guru Nanak Ji used to go to a nearby river to bathe and meditate. One fine day, he went to the river as per his ritual but didn’t return for three days. It is believed that he went deep inside the forest and stayed there for three days. When he came back, he looked like a possessed man and didn’t utter a word. When he finally spoke, his first words were that there was no Hindu and No Musalman. This was the beginning of his spiritual preachings and the new religion “Sikhism” was formed.
Principles Of Sikhism
With his teachings, Sikhism emphasized on leading the spiritual life without embracing monasticism. This religion teaches us to escape from the clutches of five thieves, lust, rage, greed, attachment and conceit. This religion believes that God is timeless, shapeless and invisible and also teaches the concept of Karma, worldly illusions (Maya) and liberation. The key practices of Sikhism are meditation and reciting the name of God or Gurbani, the hymns composed by Gurus.
What are the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji?
Guru Nanak Dev Ji taught that every human being is capable of attaining a spiritual life that will lead them to God and the divine. He also said one can feel the presence of god by repeating the name of God (Naam Japna). He also urged everyone to lead an honest and content life by serving and helping others without indulging in fraud or bad habits.
Guru Nanak also took several journeys to spread the message of God all around the world. He was extremely saddened by the plight of mankind as the world was losing its compassion and kindness into the darkness of Kalyug.
He spent 24 years of his life spreading his messages to people all over the world. His teachings were immortalised in the form of 974 hymns that became known as the ‘Guru Granth Sahib,’ Sikhism’s holy text. Let’s learn about the major teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
1. Oneness of God
Guru Nanak Dev Ji firmly believed that there is only one God. He taught people that there is one creator who has created us. Ik Onkar is the mool mantra of Sikhism. It is the opening text of the holy book, “Guru Granth Sahib,” as it holds great importance. The meaning of this mool mantra is that “there is one God and his name is the only truth, he is the only creator, he is fearless, he is without hate, he is immortal, he is beyond birth and death, and by only his grace one can chant his name.”
Guru Nanak Dev ji has followers from both religions Hindus and Muslims. Even in his last days, the followers wanted to honour their great Guru’s body, Guru Nanak Dev Ji advised them that Hindus and Sikhs might place flowers on the right side of his body, but Muslims could place flowers on the left. Whichever flowers had not faded by the morning would determine who may decide on the funeral arrangements.
The morning after his spirit merged with God, his followers discovered that his body had vanished. All that remained were fresh flowers on all sides. The Hindus and Sikhs cremated their flowers, and the Hindus buried them on their side. As a result, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was buried in a way that touched everyone.
2. Equality and Social Justice
Guru Nanak Ji was against the inequality and caste system. Guru Nanak Ji believed that we are the creation of one god and hence we are equal. He was against discrimination based on caste, colour or gender. He treated everyone with equality. Through the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sikhism became the first religion that supported equality.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji spoke out against the many injustices he witnessed in the world around him. The treatment of women was one of the most prominent topics. Women were not afforded economic freedom, education, or independence during the period. Their lives were supposed to revolve around serving their husbands and running the household.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji became a feminist activist. He questioned the structures and customs that subjugated women. He gave them equal status in Sikhi. His teaching has a profound effect in today’s time as now equality is considered important and caste system has also abolished. Every person of any religion receives an equal opportunities.
3. Naam Japo
Naam Japo by Guru Nanak Dev Ji reminds us to keep our thoughts aligned with God. He encourages us to remember God in our daily lives and showcase our gratitude towards him. He also encouraged us to meditate on God through chant, song, and recitation in addition to studying as it removes ego from our soul.
4. Kirat Karo
Kirat Karo urges us to live honest lifestyles. We should work hard and be honest in everything we do, especially in our careers. This work takes up most of our days and should make us better individuals.
5. Vand Chakna
Vand Chakna encourages us to give to those in need and to our communities. We should share our blessings, talents, and wealth with others. This emphasised Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message to all Sikhs to share and give.
6. Service ( Sewa)
Guru Nanak Dev Ji emphasised the importance of selfless service towards others. He urged the people to do sewa with no intention of expecting something in return. Guru Nanak Dev Ji believed that one can achieve contentment through engaging in selfless service as the calmness it brings us is unmatchable.
These teachings by Guru Nanak Dev Ji came at that time when mankind was going through the conflicting world of Kalyug and people were so intoxicated with pride and ego that kindness and compassion towards each other was on the verge of ending. His teachings were the ray of light in that dark world that is still brightening today’s world.
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If you feel inspired after reading these teachings of Guru Nanak Dev, then do read about Daanpatra Foundation Using Our Waste For Good Of Needy People, Impacted More Than 35 Lakhs Lives