Asserting that Guru Nanak Dev lives in "our hearts", President Ram Nath Kovind called upon people on Tuesday to follow the path shown by the founder of Sikhism and work towards eliminating social disparities.
He also impressed upon people to imbibe the teachings of all the 10 Sikhs Gurus to contribute in making our country and the world a better place.
Sporting a suit and a turban, President Kovind, along with his wife Savita Kovind, arrived at Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab's Kapurthala district to attend the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
He was received by Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his wife Preneet Kaur. Later, the President drove straight to the historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib, where he and his wife paid obeisance.
The President then addressed religious gatherings at two events organised by the Punjab Government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Notably, the Punjab government and the SGPC has been at loggerheads over the issue of joint celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The SGPC set up a separate stage at a stadium near Gurdwara Ber Sahib to hold the main event while the state government set up its own ''pandal'' to hold the function.
President Kovind first went to the stage set up by the Punjab government, where he was honoured with a memento and a ceremonial sword.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot and Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore were present at the event.
Greeting the gathering with "Sat Sri Akal", the President said, "Guru Nanak Dev lives in our hearts. He is our common legacy. He is the guiding light for the entire humanity. It is the responsibility of all of us to follow his ideals and work towards eliminating social disparities."
Guru Nanak Dev spread the light of wisdom with his teachings and preached ''Sarbat Da Bhala'' which means welfare of all, asking people to rise above inequalities, caste and creed, the President said.
"Guru Nanak Dev ji''s life and teachings give a message of affection, compassion and brotherhood for the entire humanity. I extend my heartiest congratulations to countrymen and the Indians all over the world on the occasion," the President said.
Ram Nath Kovind shed light on how Guru Nanak through his teachings enlightened the society, which during the 15th century was plagued with social ills, including casteism, as darkness of ignorance prevailed.
"He gave the ''maha mantra'' to mankind -- ''Naam Japo, Kirat Karo and Wand Chhako'' - chant the name of God, put in hard and honest labour, and share the fruits of one's earnings with others," he said.
At the SGPC event, where Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore, SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal, ex-Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal were present, the President delivered his speech in Punjabi.
He said that being in Sultanpur Lodhi on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev is a matter of great pride.
"This is the land where Guru Nanak Dev attained enlightenment. The town has places associated with spiritual journey of the Guru. After attaining enlightenment here, he travelled far and wide to spread the light of knowledge," he said.
Guru Nanak Dev preached equality, brotherhood, good deeds and behaviour while making efforts to rid the society of various ills, the President said, adding the Sikhism founder used simple language to ensure his message reached maximum people.
He broke the myth that if one has to attain "moksha" one has to leave one's family. Through his life, he put before people an example of fusion of hard work and "bairaag", the President said.
"It is the result of spiritual knowledge based on hard work that the followers of Guru Nanak are known for their success worldwide and appreciated for their ''Sanjhi Varta'' (collective voice)," he said.
"It is common to see those reaching pinnacle of success perform all kind of ''Sewa'' (voluntary service) in Gurudwaras without any hitch or selfishness," he said.
From the first Sikh Guru to the 10th Guru Gobind Singh, there has been a tradition of being fearless for the cause of upholding justice and ensuring truth prevails, Ram Nath Kovind said, adding Guru Gobind Singh was the embodiment of devotion and strength, who inspired people to always stand up and fight injustice.
"We have to imbibe the teachings of the Gurus in making our country and world a better place. By doing so, we would give a real tribute to Guru Nanak Dev," he said.