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Gurus Birthday of Guru Nanak

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by NamHariKaur, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. NamHariKaur

    NamHariKaur
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    Sat Nam;
    I have read someplace that "scholars say" that Guru Nanak was born on the 15th of April. I am told that Sikhs do not celebrate it on that day.

    Can anyone fill in more details on both parts of this?

    I became more curious when I heard about the "scholars" version because the day I first found myself going to the Sikh Ashram here - almost feeling compelled to go - without really feeling comfortable about going - was on April 15 last year. :shock:
    Not that this would mean anything really even if it was Guru Nanaks Birthday but I have been kind of amazed at how many of these sorts of "odd synchronicities" have come along since I became involved in this path. Some of them mean a lot more to me than this one would, but I am curious about it. A biography by Gopal Singh that I have read does not give anything but the year of his birth, which suggests that there might be some uncertainty about it.

    Thank you!

    Wahe Guru!
    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene Oregon
     
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Based on The Encyclopedia of Bhai kahn Singh Nabha..Mahan Kosh, ALL ancient texts have recorded Guru nanak ji's Birth as April, 15th, 1469. The earliest text is in a sakhi written in 1600. Bhai Mani Singh Ji also writes the April 15th Date.


    The First reference to a KATTAK (NOVEMBER) date is given in the Bhai Babal Janamsakhi on which the Kavi Santokh Singh based his own Guru Nanak Parkash Granth completed in 1800.

    Almost all historians agree that there is NO SUCH person named Bhai Bala as he is NOT mentioned in any contemporary texts, or the Vaars of Bhai Gurdass Ji who was the Bard who wrote 40 Vaars about Sikhe/history and who was Honored to be made the Official SCRIBE of Guru Granth Ji by Guru Arjun Ji.
    The ONLY companion of Guru nanak ji was BHAI MARDANA who is mentioned even in Gurbani of Guru Nanak Ji through two Saloks in Guru Granth Ji.

    Bhai Bala's Janamsakhi is a spurious creation probably scribed by the Members of Guru Households who FAILED to get appointed GURU. These dissatisfied persons set out to DEMEAN the Guru Household for their benefit..later on even "scribing FALSE Bani under the Name of NANAK...( one of the reasons why GURU ARJUN Ji decided to compile the GURU GRANTH JI and close this back door adulteration of GURBANI) The month of November in which Guru nanak ji's Birth has been changed to, is considered "Bad Luck days"... According to Hindu Astrologers and thus one reason for "forcing Guru nanak Ji to be born in those days is to show that he was NOT a Prophet !! as He was even born on un-auspicious day !!

    Vaisakhi has always held a special place in Sikh history as can be seen by the Celebrations ordered in Vaisakhi by GURU AMARDASS JI Onwards..and then Guru Gobind Singh Ji also chose Vaisakhi 1699 to reveal the Khalsa as His Final Mission.

    The Sant Lobby of traditional seminaries like the damdami taksaal and others are the ones that refuse to budge on this issue as on other similar issues where in it has been historically proven that the Vaisakhi 15th date is Correct. This controversy has been raging since the 1930s when a book Katak ke Vaisakhi was written . ALL major eminent Sikh scholars like Bhai kahn Singh nabha believe in the Vaisakhi 15th date..but traditionally the November date continues to be observed.

    Jarnail Singh Gyani Arshi
     
  4. NamHariKaur

    NamHariKaur
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    Sat Nam Jarnail Singh Gyani Arshi Ji;

    Your answer to my question is more detailed and thorough than I expected to get. This is a wonderful answer and I thank you for taking so much time to present it fully as you have done.

    I had heard a little about those who had written their own Bani and that Guru Arjun had compiled the Adi Granth so as to make it clear which works were considered true works of the Guru, but I had not realized that the false works had been by family members of Guru Nanak. Perhaps it had been stated thus and it had not fully registered with me. Also I had not read anything about the scholars you mentioned, who investigated these elements of history,. so that part was entirely new to me.


    My gratitude to you for this fine reply to my question. I will copy it and present it to my friend that told me that the April 15 date was incorrect. And now I can also feel doubly blessed at having found myself compelled to go to the local Ashram for the first time on as auspicious a date as Guru Nanaks birthday April 15 (of 2004). One of the reasons this detail caught my attention is that from the beginning, when I knew nothing at all of Sikhi or Gurbani, after a few weeks of listening to Hukhams and Kirtan, I came to notice that whenever the name of "Nanak" was pronounced (which was only a "word" to me at that time), I would experience a "wave" of bliss or rapture if I was in a meditatively attentive state. I had found that to be wonderful but strange and was all the more intriqued when I begun my studies and learned who Guru Nanak was. Then when I read that Guru Nanak's birthday was thought to be April 15 by scholars I just shook my head in wonderment. I know better than to let my ego mind make too much of such things but it all just tends to add weight to the intensity of all of the early events leading to my immersion in this life of worship.


    You have been very generous to provide all this information;
    Sat Nam!

    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene, Oregon
     
  5. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Satnaam and Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji ki fateh Ji.

    Glad to be of help.

    I am not surprised that you have been called by GURU JI in that manner. I have many mails in my mailbox testifying to the fact that GURU JI calls us in so many different ways. One wonderful soul Bhai Sahib Bhai randheer Singh Ji of Narangwaal India was called by Guru Ji as he was passing by a Gurdwara on his way to work...He went in and sat through an entire 48 hour non stop recitation of Guru Granth ji known as an Akhand Paath...oblivious to his absence from work...and when he did report for work thinking he would be reprimanded..he was pleasantly surprised to find he had not been "absent" at all. From that moment on He was of the GURU till the day he died.

    Bhai Sahib Ji has written several books on Gurbani but unfortunately they are all in Punjabi...but there is one book..his autobiography of sorts..Jail Chitthiaan..Letters from Prison...which I beleive have been translated into English. This book is an eye opener as to how GURU JI affects our lives if we let Him in.

    Once again a very warm wlecome to this Forum and Sikhe. Always glad to help in whatever way. Warmest regards

    Jarnail Singh

    Nam hari kaur Ji,
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh and Satnaam ji.

    in case you are interested here is an article from the Sikh coalition website..a bit technical but should be interesting as well.

    [​IMG]Nanakshahi: The Sikh Calendar

    Birth Date of Guru Nanak Sahib
    Pal Singh Purewal

    Over the past one hundred years a lot has been written about the birth date of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Perhaps it might be thought that the issue has been discussed 'ad nauseum'. But there is one aspect which has been overlooked by all researchers so far. I endeavour to discuss that in this article.

    Let me first summarise the views of two opposing schools of thought.

    Traditional View

    Traditionalists maintain that Guru Ji was born on Kartik sudi pooranmasi, 1526 Bikarami. They also adhere to the view that Guru Ji's Jyoti Jot date was Asu vadi 10, 1596 BK, quoting from Bhai Bala's Janam Sakhi and mentioning entries made in various very old hand-written copies of the Adi Granth Sahib. Since, the older texts give Guru Ji's age as 70 years, 5 months and 7 days, they are unable to reconcile the birth date, the Jyoti Jot date, and the age. So they believe that the figure of 70 years, 5 months and 7 days is incorrect and calculate the age as less than 70 years.
    The champion of this school has been Giani Ishar Singh Nara who in his book "Vaisakh Nahi Katik" (Punjabi) has tried to prove that the horoscope which S. Karam Singh Historian has tried to prove incorrect, is in fact correct. Giani Ishar Singh Nara shows total lack of knowledge of calendars, which we shall go into in detail a little later.

    Converting the above dates into the corresponding dates of the Common Era (CE) and the Bikarami solar year we get:

    Katik sudi pooranmasi 1526 BK
    = 20 Oct, 1469 CE
    = 21 Katik, 1526 BK
    = Friday

    The next pooranmasi occurs on 19 November, 1469 CE; 22 Maghar 1526 BK, the day being Sunday. That pooranmasi is Maghar sudi 15 and not Katik sudi 15.

    Asu vadi 10, 1596 BK
    = 7 Sep, 1539 CE
    = 8 Asu, 1596 BK
    = Sunday

    Guru Ji's age:

    a). Katik sudi 15, 1526 to Asu vadi 10, 1596 BK= 69y 10m 10d

    b). 21 Katik 1526 to 8 As 1596 BK = 69y 10m 17d*

    c). 20 Oct 1469 CE to 7 Sep 1539 CE = 69y 10m 17d*

    * May differ by 1 day by using different methods of subtraction

    Age in number of days = 25524
    = 3646 wks 2d

    Modern View

    Modern researchers believe that the Jyoti Jot date is Asu sudi 10, 1596 BK which is 15 days later than that which the traditionalists believe. They accept 70 years, 5 months and 7 days as the correct age of Guru Ji. Calculating backwards, and citing from various Janamsakhis they arrive at the date of Vaisakh sudi 3, 1526 BK as the birth date, rejecting Katik pooranmasi.

    Converting these dates into the corresponding dates of the Common Era (CE) and the Bikarami solar year we get:

    Vaisakh sudi 3, 1526 BK
    = 15 Apr, 1469 CE (Saturday)
    = 20 Vaisakh, 1526 BK
    Asu sudi 10, 1596 BK
    = 22 Sep, 1539 CE (Monday)
    = 23 Asu, 1596 BK
    Guru Ji's age:
    d). Vaisakh sudi 3, 1526 to Asu sudi 10, 1596 BK = 70y 5m 7d

    e). 20 Vaisakh 1526 to 23 Asu1596 BK = 70y 5m 3d

    f). 15 Apr 1469 to 22 Sep 1539 CE = 70y 5m 7d

    Age in number of days = 25727
    = 3675 wks 2d

    Let us ignore the CE dates for our discussion from now onwards, since this era came into use in India only after the advent of the English into India. Dates in items (a) and (d) are given in sudi and vadi system of the luni-solar calendar of Bikarami era while the dates in items (b) and (e) are according to the solar calendar of the Bikarami era. In north India lunar month starts with vadi 1, which is the next day after pooranmasi of the previous month, and ends on pooranmasi the full moon day. The solar months of the same era start on the 'sankranti' day.

    The lunar year is shorter than the solar year by about 11 days. To keep this year in step with the solar year an extra lunar month is added to the lunar year every 2 or 3 years. This makes 13 lunar months in that lunar year. This additional month is known as malmas or adhika mas or intercalary month. There are 7 intercalary months in a cycle of 19 solar years. In 2056 BK (1999-2000 CE) there were 2 lunar months by the name Jeth, one being the adhika or mal.

    Because the lunar months differ from the solar months in number of days in the month, and since the lunar years frequently contain intercalary months, the age of a person reckoned in the two system will rarely be exactly the same. This can be confirmed comparing item (a) with (b), and (d) with (e). Therefore, it may be easily seen that if along with the age it is not mentioned whether it is according to luni-solar calendar or solar calendar one may arrive at erroneous conclusions. The following example will make it more clear:

    1. Chet sudi 1, 2049 BK occurred on 22 Chet
    2. Chet sudi 1, 2050 BK occurred on 11 Chet
    3. Chet sudi 1, 2051 BK occurred on 29 Chet

    Although lunar dates in 1 and 2 differ exactly by one year, and lunar dates 2 and 3 also differ exactly by one year yet according to the solar calendar (using sankrantis) the same dates differ by 11 days less than a year in one case, and by 18 days more than a year in the other. Also lunar dates in 1 and 3 differ by 2 complete years but the same according to solar calendar differ by 2 years and 7 days.

    Proponents of Vaisakh sudi 3 as the birth date should bear in mind that it is not the originally recorded date. It is a 'calculated' date using the luni-solar calendar. It has been arrived at by a simple subtraction of 70 years 5 months and 7 days from the assumed date of Jyoti Jot viz: Asu sudi 10. It is immaterial for our discussion whether this subtraction was performed by Bhai Mani Singh or by any other earlier Janam Sakhi writer. The date is not original but calculated. Citing an earlier writing is more meaningful in the case of an actually recorded date than of a calculated one.

    The Spurious Teva

    Before we try to 'establish' a more rational and convincing birth date of Guru Ji, let us first dispose of some of the inconsistencies of the birth chart (horoscope or 'teva') which Giani Ishar Singh Nara believed to be accurate:

    1. Katik sudi pooranmasi is shown on 9 Maghar, 1526 BK in the horoscope. As mentioned earlier Katik sudi pooranmasi was on 21 Katik. The next pooranmasi was on 22 Maghar. So the date of 9 Maghar is totally wrong. In fact on 9 Maghar the lunar date was Maghar sudi 2.

    2. The week day given in the horoscope is Thursday. This is also wrong. Katik pooranmasi was on Friday and the next pooranmasi on Sunday.
    3. The time given in the teva is 41gharis and 18pala which works to about half an hour before midnight. But all agree that the birth-time of Guru Sahib was after midnight. So the time given is also wrong.

    Was it a mirracle after 500 years?

    Giani Ji makes much of the 'fact' (according to him) that exactly after 500 years Katik pooranmasi occurred 'again' on 9 Maghar 2026 BK, just to show that the earlier date was correct. But it is not a fact, as very simple arithmetic will show precisely the opposite i.e. pooranmasi cannot occur on the same Bikarami solar date after exactly 500 BK years. It occurred on 9 Maghar 2026 BK because it was Maghar sudi 2, not pooranmasi, on 9 Maghar 1526 BK:

    9 Maghar 1526 BK = 6 Nov 1469 CE (Julian calendar)
    9 Maghar 2026 BK = 23 Nov 1969 CE(Gregorian calendar)

    Number of days between these 2 dates may be worked out as follows:
    6 Nov 1469 to 6 Nov 1569 = 36525 days
    6 Nov 1569 to 6 Nov 1669 = 36525 days
    6 Nov 1669 to 6 Nov 1769 = 36514 days (11 days dropped in 1752 CE)
    6 Nov 1769 to 6 Nov 1869 = 36524 days (1800 not leap yr)
    6 Nov 1869 to 6 Nov 1969 = 36524 days (1900 not leap yr)
    6 Nov 1969 to 23Nov 1969 = 17 days
    ---------------------------------------
    Total number of days = 182629 days = 26089 weeks 6 days

    one lunar month = 29.530589 days
    182629 days =6184 lunar months and 12 days

    Therefore, the tithi on 9 Maghar 1526 BK would be less by 12 days than that on 9 Maghar 2026 BK. Since we know that the tithi on 9 Maghar 2026 BK is pooranmasi, therefore according to the above calculation it should be sudi 3 on that day. Actually the tithi is sudi 2. This difference of 1 tithi is because we have used the average value for calculations. The true tithi may differ from the average tithi by 1. Also from the above calculation we can see that the week day would be 6 days earlier than that on 9 Maghar, 2026 BK. It was Sunday on that date. Therefore, the week day on 9 Maghar 1526 BK should be 6 days earlier than Sunday. We find from Jantri 500 that it was indeed Monday on 9 Maghar 1526 BK, which is correct according to the above calculation. Determination of the name of the lunar month is a little more involved and will not be given here.

    In stead of giving all the above calculation, we could have simply looked into Jantri 500, page 1, and found that it was Maghar sudi 2 on Maghar 9, 1526 BK, and also got the dates in the other calendars along with the day of the week.

    The New Date

    Now let us try to determine the 'correct' birth date of Guru Ji. It is common knowledge that the age of a person is reckoned by solar calendar and not by lunar calendar. This can be easily confirmed by going to a village and asking an elderly illiterate person his date of birth. If he knows, he shall tell the date by solar Bikarami calendar saying 'so many days the month of Chet or Vaisakh etc had gone' when he was born. He shall not answer in vadis and sudis. Why the Sikh writers have been using sudis and vadis to calculate the ages and the periods of guruship of the Gurus is not known. It may be surmised, however, that since the sudis and vadis are used for fixing most religious festivals, the Sikh writers used them for calculation of periods between dates also. However, an instance of lunar calendar being used for calculating age may be found in the book "Ma'asre Alamgiri" by Must'ad Khan in which he gives the age of Aurangzeb according to lunar as well as solar calendars. But more importantly, he does not fail to mention the calendar used in each case. It must also be borne in mind that the Hijri calendar used by Muslims is a purely lunar one.

    The author believes that 70 years, 5months and 7 days is the correct age of Guru Ji as mentioned in earliest records, and also that Asu vadi 10, 1596 BK is the correct Jyoti Jot date, since this date has been found recorded in very old handwritten recensions of Adi Granth Sahib Ji, and according to Dr Piar Singh the 'story' about this date got 'established' even before the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. If the date were spurious and it were a story only, surely Guru Arjan Dev Ji would have taken steps to rectify it. With these values let us do the calculation in a different manner, the way neither of the two schools have done before:

    Asu vadi 10,1596BK=1596 Asu 8 (Sunday)
    subtract age 70y 5m 7d
    ______________
    Birth Date =1526 Vaisakh 1 (Monday)
    *** It was also pooranmasi on that date ***

    Why no one arrived at this result before was due to two reasons. First, researchers consistently ignored the calculation by solar calendar. Second, even if they had done the calculation as above they would have arrived at the wrong conclusion because Dr Ganda Singh erroneously gave 1596 Asu 7 BK as the equivalent of Asu vadi 10., when actually it was Asu 8, according to Punjab usage of the Bikarami Calendar.

    The calculation given above shows that both schools are partly right and partly wrong. From Katik pooranmasi the pooranmasi portion is right and from Vaisakh sudi 3 the Vaisakh portion is correct.

    Guru Ji's correct birth date is Vaisakh 1, 1526 BK (Vaisakhi day), Monday, it also being Chet sudi 15 (pooranmasi). The Common Era date is 27 March, 1469. This date may help reconcile the two opposing schools. If the highest religious authority accepts this date, then it would have to decide whether to celebrate Birth day Gurpurab of Guru Ji on Vaisakhi or on pooranmasi.

    With this date one does not have to stretch one's imagination to interpret the word 'vasoaa' in Bhai Gurdas's famous line 'Ghar ghar andar dharamsaal hovai keertan sadaa vasoaa'! 'Vasoaa' means 'Vaisakhi' or Vaisakh 1, and nothing else.

    The author of this article is convinced in his mind that the starting of Vaisakhi celebrations by Guru Amar Das Ji, and picking of this day for creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib was not coincidental, but because it was Guru Nanak Dev Sahib's birthday.

    Note: CE designates Common Era which is the same as AD but is more commonly used now because of its adoption by non Christian countries of the world as well.
     
  6. NamHariKaur

    NamHariKaur
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    Sat Nam!

    Thank you for this incredibly detailed report and all the research about Guru Nanak's birthday. I will make a file from it to look at later too.

    Also it was helpful for me to hear that the Guru calls to many people in amazing ways. If the people I approached a year ago at our Ashram had said that to me it would have made me feel so much less crazy. I am sure that having to come to believe in my experiences without help from others has only made me stronger, but it was a very painful growing process that took many months for me. I do not try to 2nd guess the Guru's ways.

    nwnk inrguix gxu kry gux vMiqAw guxu dy
    That might not be the best quote - but it is an example of how we can not predict or know what God's Will might be - because in that quote we can not know when or who will recieve the blessing of God's merciful glance - one with no virtues and seemingly undeserving may be so blessed or one who seems deserving of it might be so blessed.

    I have a separate question to ask relating to another posting you made at this site, if you would be so kind as to address it. You mentioned the way in which Yogi Bhajan was given the title of Siri Singh Sahib. There were quite a few words that I am not familiar with in that post. "takhat? or something like that for example. If you could clarify things like who these groups are that make decisions of this sort and a little about how many kinds of decision making bodies there are in Sikhi, and their relative power and/or some history of these matters or which group handles which realms - anything you can share about these matters would be great.


    Maybe you can just show me where I can read about that sort of thing myself and I can come back after reading there and ask a much shorter question or two. The Sikh community I worship with is 3HO and in fact we are the home of the Yogi Tea and Yogi Breakfast Cereals factory. This town was a favorite stopover place for Yogi Bhajan and also many of those here were his body guards and personal attendants as they grew up. Loyalty to him runs very high here. So I do not like to ask questions here that may be taken as impertinent or disrespectful to him. I never met him nor have I personally found his teaching style - from videos and tapes and transcribed lectures - to my liking, though I have not encountered anything in his teachings that I could not substantiate from other writings by others in Sikhi or other Eastern traditions. It is only his style that I find too abrasive - rude and insulting much of the time. Also he changes the subject before being complete with it. I also feel that because of the shifting of the subject in his lectures that some of the 3HO sikhs may not have interpretted some of his teachings the way he meant them to be understood. This is not the time for me to go into that, though I might do so somewhere at this site at another time. I am not wanting to be controversial, but neither am I one to bury my head in the sand if I have a truth that it might benefit others to hear.


    I know that currently there are issues about women not being allowed to do seva I think, in the Golden Temple and that women can not perform Kirtan in Golden Temple - if I have my facts straight. I am not asking you to take a position one way or the other on these issues but to inform me about the names of the groups that make such decisions. And if you know some of the history of these things that would be awesome.


    Another example is the group that has not changed Guru Nanak's birthday to April 15 also, do you have any knowledge about their position - why they have not changed the celebration of it to April 15? I know I am asking a lot of things here - and I will graciously accept whatever is right for you to respond to. I trust you will be able to help me find answers to some of these questions.

    I thank you again for what you have already provided for me and in advance for whatever consideration you give to these requests.

    Wahe Guru!
    Nam Hari Kaur, Eugene Oregon
     
  7. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Dear Nam Hari kaur Ji,

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh.

    I will get back to you in a few days...am busy with my Engineering/Computing Science students Semester Exams these few days.

    Thank you.

    Warm Regards

    jarnail Singh
     

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