Guru Nanak Jayanti 2021-22 - All about Date, History, Celebrations of Gurpurab

Guru Nanak Jayanti in 2021


November, 2021


Every year, the birth commemoration of Guru Nanak Dev, the first Guru and founder of Sikhism, is celebrated as Gurpurab, Guru Nanak Jayanti, or Prakash Parv across the world on Kartik Purnima. Followers of Sikhism carry out Prabhat Pheri and Nagar Kirtan on the morning of Guru Nanak Jayanti and offer handkerchiefs. They make donations in Gurudwaras and feed the poor. Guru Nanak Jayanti is known as Guru Parv and Gurpurab, which translates into 'the festival of Guru' Gurpurab is the most important day for the followers of the Sikh religion. 

Guru Nanak Dev was born in Talwandi village of Shedkhupura district of Punjab, which is now a part of Pakistan. Every year, Sikh people celebrate the day of Kartik Purnima as Guru Nanak Day. Guru Nanak Dev is remembered and revered for his many noble deeds and contribution to humankind's spiritual development. Nanak Dev Ji gave the message of religious harmony, integrity, peace, and brotherhood. Guru Nanak Dev founded Sikhism, one of the major religions followed by millions worldwide. The saint Guru Nanak Dev Ji left for his heavenly abode on September 22, 1539, in Kartarpur, now a part of Pakistan.  

Guru Nanak Ji is remembered for his teachings and noble deeds that he performed during his lifetime. His teachings are still relevant, and millions of people across the globe follow his message. Nanak Dev's father was Baba Kaluchand Bedi and his mother was Tripta Devi. His parents named him Nanak. His father was the revenue officer with the local government in his village. Guru Nanak Dev showed signs of an insightful and intelligent mind from a very early age. He mastered many languages and became a polyglot at a very young age.  

He had a deep knowledge of Persian and Arabian languages. He started working as an accounts manager in the office of Daulat Khan Lodi. Nanak Dev Ji got married in 1487 with Sulakhni Devi while he was residing in Sultanpur Lodi. They became parents of two boys in 1491 and 1496. 

Guru Nanak Ji is known for his supreme spiritual knowledge and great values in life. To disseminate his brotherhood message and 'One God', Guru Nanak Ji left his home and travelled to faraway places, mostly on his feet. To spread his teachings and principles, he would go places and participate in religious discourse with common people and learned individuals, sages, and monks. Later, he renounced his worldly life and started living as a monk. Nanak Dev Ji extensively worked for the betterment of underprivileged and poor people of society. He spread awareness against discrimination, idol worship, and religious superstitions. He visited many Hindu and Islamic pilgrimage sites to interact with people of these faiths and made them aware of many religious malpractices. 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji devoted 25 years of his life to disseminating his teachings, during which time he travelled to distant places and touched the lives of millions of people. During the last leg years of his life, he settled in a village named Kartarpur, Punjab, now part of Pakistan's Punjab province. Here, Nanak Devi Ji lived till his death. After twelve years of Nanak Dev's death, Bhai Gurudas was born, who joined the Sikh mission from early childhood. Bhai Gurudas is remembered reverently for his great contribution to the development of the Sikh community. He opened many Dharmashalas (community rest house) and inspired people to follow Guru Nanak Dev Ji's teachings.  

Why Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated?

Gurpurab, also known as Guru Parv and Prakash Parv, is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru, was born on April 15, 1469, at the place called Rai Bhoy's Talwandi in Nankana Sahib district, now part of Pakistan's Punjab province.  

Nankana Sahib was named after Guru Nanak Dev, which is home to one of the most popular religious shrines in the world, Gurudwara Nankana Sahib. This is one of the most sacred & important places of worship for Sikh people. Gurudwara Nankana Sahib is visited by lakhs of people every year from all over the world. The leader of Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, popularly known as Sher-E-Punjab, renovated Gurudwara Nankana Sahib during his period. 

Who was Guru Nanak Dev Ji?

Guru Nanak Dev was the first-ever Sikh Guru and founder of Sikhism. He is known as Nanak Dev Ji, Baba Nanak, and Nanakshah among his followers. In Ladakh and Tibet, Nanak Dev Ji is known as Nanak Lama. He devoted all his life in the service of humankind. To preach his teachings and message, Nanak Ji travelled extensively, not just in South Asia but to regions as far as Afghanistan, Iran, and Arabian nations. In the Punjabi language, his travels are known as Udasis. 

He undertook his first Udasi Yatra between 1507 AD and 1515 AD. At the age of sixteen, he married Sulakhni Devi and became the father of two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. Nanak Dev Ji took his last breath in 1539 AD, at a Dharmashala in Kartarpur district of present-day Pakistan. Before his death, he had declared Bhai Lehna as his successor, who later came to be known as Guru Angad Dev. Guru Angad Dev was the second Sikh Guru.  

Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid the foundation for Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur . Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the first-ever Sikh Guru. He laid the foundation for the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara. He is known as Nanak, Nanak Dev Ji, Baba Nanak, and Nanakshah among the follower of Sikhism. His birth anniversary is celebrated as Gurpurab, also known as Guru Parv and Prakash Parv. 

Gurudwaras are decorated elaborately across the world. On the day of Gurpurab, also known as Prakash Utsav, Sikh worship place Gurudwaras are elaborately decorated with lights and flowers. Nonstop recitation (Akhand Path) of Guru Granth Sahib are conducted, and Langars are run. Preparations for grand celebrations start many days prior to the festival with the early morning procession called Prabhat Pheri. Sikh people in huge numbers participate in Prabhat Pheri and sing Guruvani and Satnam Wahe Guru. Large processions of Nagar-kirtan are also carried out. Groups participating in Nagar-Kirtan are welcomed by their community members at many stops during the course. Shabad-Kirtan are conducted, and special arrangements are made in Gurudwaras for the big day. Celebrations continue day and night till Gurpurab, the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti.   

Ten facts about Guru Nanak Dev

1. Guru Nanak Dev was born on the Purnima (full moon) Tithi of Kartik Shukla Paksha. People celebrate his birth anniversary every year as Guru Nanak Jayanti on Kartik Purnima.

2. Guru Nanak's father name Mehta Kalu and his mother was Tripta Devi. Guru Nanak Dev also had a sister; her name was Bebe Nanaki. 

3. Guru Nanak Dev felt a detachment from worldly life from the very beginning of his childhood. Later, he began spending all his time in spiritual contemplation and Satsang (religious discourse).  

4. Due to many miracles associated with him right from the young age, people started believing him as a divine personality. 

5. Right from childhood, Guru Nanak Dev opposed the various orthodox and conventional belief systems prevalent during that era. He used to visit pilgrimage sites and discourse with religious leaders to highlight their shortcomings. He would urge people not to get misguided by religious superstitions and preachers blindly. 

6. Guru Nanak Dev married Mata Sulakhni in 1487. He had two sons, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Das. 

7. Guru Nanak Dev gave the message of 'Ik Onkar' or 'One God'. He encouraged people of all faith and religion to worship one God. He rejected the idea of Murti Puja (idol worship) and polytheism. Nanak's teachings resonated with Hindus and Muslims equally.  

8. There is a famous story associated with Guru Nanak Dev. Once, Nanak's father gave him twenty rupees to start a business and instructed him to conduct a Sacha Sauda (profitable deal) with those twenty rupees. Nanak Dev set off on his journey to the city. On his way, he met with a caravan of saints and monks. He bought food for the saints with those twenty rupees and returned home. At home, his father inquired whether he made some profit or not, to which Nanak Ji replied with a yes and said he bought food for saints with that money. 

9. Guru Nanak Dev espoused the idea that God resides within, and if your heart lacks compassion and is filled with anger, animosity, hate, and malevolence for other people, then God will never stay in such an impure heart. 

10. During his final years, Guru Nanak Dev settled in Kartarpur. This holy saint left for his heavenly abode on September 22, 1539. Before his death, Guru Nanak Dev had appointed his disciple Bhai Lehna as his successor who later came to be known as Guru Angad Dev.  

The preaching of Guru Nanak Dev

1) Ik Onkar, that is, 'One God'. God is omnipresent. We all are the children of God and must live in solidarity with each other. 

2) We should keep fulfilling our duties without taking unnecessary stress, and always strive to be happy. 

3) He preached the philosophy of brotherhood and believed that all the citizens of the world are part of one extended family. 

4) One must stay away from greed and work diligently and honestly to earn a respectable living for themselves. 

5) One must never indulge in misappropriation and always work with integrity. Also, one must never hesitate to help the underprivileged. 

6) One must always endorse the idea of love, harmony, unity, brotherhood, and spiritual enlightenment in their life. 

7) One must never take pride in their wealth and worldly possessions. 

8) One must always respect women. Guru Nanak Dev treated men and women equally. 

9) Before preaching to others, a person should conquer their vices and bad habits.  

10) One must always remain humble and never let ego dictate their behaviour. 

List of Sikh Gurus

1. First Guru - Guru Nanak Dev

2. Second Guru - Guru Angad Dev

3. Third Guru - Guru Amar Das

 4. Fourth Guru - Guru Ram Das

 5. Fifth Guru - Guru Arjan Dev

 6. Sixth Guru - Guru Har Gobind

7. Seventh Guru - Guru Har Rai

8. Eighth Guru - Guru Har Krishan

9. Ninth Guru - Guru Tegh Bahadur

10. Tenth Guru - Guru Gobind Singh

After the first ten Gurus, the primary religious scripture of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib, is considered the living Guru or eternal Guru. There are total 1430 pages in Guru Granth Sahib which comprised the teachings of all the previous Gurus and the discourses of 30 other saints. 

Some important facts from the life of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji 

From a young age, Nanak Dev Ji displayed great poise and had an equanimous temperament. He opposed orthodoxy from a very early age.

Nanak Dev Ji was the first Sikh Guru and the founder of Sikhism. He was strongly against religious superstitions and pageantry prevalent in that period. 

Nanak Dev Ji was a philosopher, a social reformer, a poet, a family man, a Yogi, and a patriot. 

Nanak Dev Ji didn't approve the caste system. To eradicate this social evil, he started conducting 'Langar' (community kitchen), an inclusive dining concept in which free food was served to everyone without making a distinction based on caste, religion, race, ethnicity, financial background.

Nanak Ji disseminate the concept of 'Nirguna Upasana' (worship of formless God). He was strictly against the concept of idol worship. He propounded that God is one, almighty, and omnipresent. 

To spread the awareness about various social ills, Guru Nanak Ji travelled extensively in all the four directions. The journeys he undertook for this purpose were called Udasis. He travelled through Haridwar, Ayodhya, Prayag, Kashi, Gaya, Patna, Assam, Bikaner, Pushkar Tirth, Delhi, Panipat, Kurukshetra, Jagannatha Puri, Rameshwaram, Somanath, Dwaraka, Narmada Tat, Multan, Lahore, and many more regions across the Indian subcontinent. 

Teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

1. God is one; worship him with full devotion.

2. God is omnipresent; every living being is part of One God. Always have faith in God. 

3. Those who worship God with a pure heart must never feel afraid of anyone and anything. 

4. One must diligently fulfil their duties and earn their livelihood with fair means. 

5. One must never engage in immoral activities. Even the thought of such activities is deplorable.  

6.If one commits is a mistake, inadvertently or intentionally, they should confess it in front of God and seek forgiveness for their wrongdoings. 

7. One must always strive to be happy and content. 

8. Men and women are equal and should be treated equally by one and all.  

9. One must always donate a portion of their income earned through fair means to the poor and needy people. 

10. One must stay away from vices such as greed, ego, jealously, etc. 

Celebrations on Guru Parv or Guru Nanak Jayanti 

To commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, grand celebrations are organized. Sikh community starts taking out Prabhat Pheri three weeks prior to Gurpurab. Akhand Path (nonstop recitation) of Guru Granth Sahib is conducted in Gurudwaras. Shabad-Kirtan (singing devotional songs) and tableaux are also carried out during processions, and Langars are run. Sikh people visit their loved ones on the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab, Guru Parv, and Prakash Parv, to exchange greetings of the festival. As we are living in a digital age, wishing each other on festival through various social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram are gaining popularity, and people use these platforms to celebrate the festival and exchange wishes with their near and dear ones.

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