Gurpurab, also called Guru Parv, is an auspicious day to remember the Guru. The November 12 Gurpurab is dedicated to the first Sikh Guru - Guru Nanak Dev - and will be celebrated as Guru Nanank Gurpurab, also called Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti and Guru Nanak Prakash Utsav. It will be celebrated in India and parts of the world remembering the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev who laid the foundation of Sikhism. For Sikhs, this is one of the most auspicious days. What makes the day more special is that this year will be 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
In Sikhism, the festivities centre around the birth anniversaries of the 10 Sikh gurus. After Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru, Adi Granth or Guru Granth Sahib, which has all the writings of the gurus, is considered the guru.
Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti: Know 10 Facts About First Sikh Guru Guru Nanak Dev's life:
- Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present Pakistan. The place is known as Nankana Sahib. The date of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev varies from year to year, per the Indian lunar calendar.
- Guru Nanak Dev was born in a Hindu family to Kalayan Das Mehta and Matta Tripat, and from an early age, had a spiritual quest.
- During his childhood, he was asked to wear a sacred thread which is born by upper caste Hindus, but he refused, saying that he would rather wear the God's name in his heart which would never get broken.
- He studied Islam and Hinduism extensively and demonstrated great ability of a philosopher.
- When started working at a granary, he met a Muslim servant named Mardana. The two organised gatherings for Hindus and Muslims and sang hymns to praise the creator.
- The turning point in his life came at the age of 28, when went away for three days. After his return, he said, there is no Hindu or Muslim, there is only one God who is formless and could be worshipped by any name. The constant remembrance of God, also referred as "naamsimran" is the only way to liberation, he preached.
- His teachings, in form of poetry, were in contrast to the religious practices of his time. For him, external things like pilgrimages and penances were of far less spiritual value than internal changes to the individual's soul.
- Though he was married and had two sons, in 1496, he decided to set out on a spiritual journey through India, Tibet and Arabia that lasted nearly 30 years. His teaching attracted many disciples.
- Guru Nanak taught that all human beings, irrespective of gender and caste are equal. He also preached that there is only one God, and all human beings can have direct access to God without any rituals.
- Guru Nanak Gurpurab is a reminder for the devotees to follow his teachings and overcome the five vices - lust, greed, attachment, anger and pride and devote one's life in the selfless service of God.
The three guiding principles of Guru Nanak Dev are: "Naam japana, kirat karna, vand chhakana", which means to repeat God's name, to be ready to engage in the labour of one's hands and to be willing to share with others what one has gathered. Guru Nanak Dev's teachings became part of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. Before his death at the age of 70, he appointed Guru Angad as his successor.