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Gurus Guru Nanak Sahib (Jayanti November 28)

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

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    A place to participate! Please upload your favorite shabad, video, mp3 file or article and make this thread a great repository of resources about Guru Nanak.


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    Re: Guru Nanak Dev ji (Parkash November 21)

    Part 1 Guru Nanak (1469 - 1539)

    Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji was born in 1469 in Talwandi, a village in the Sheikhupura district, 65 kms. west of Lahore. His father was a village official in the local revenue administration. As a boy, Sri Guru Nanak learnt, besides the regional languages, Persian and Arabic. He was married in 1487 and was blessed with two sons, one in 1491 and the second in 1496. In 1485 he took up, at the instance of his brother-in-law, the appointment of an official in charge of the stores of Daulat Khan Lodhi, the Muslim ruler of the area at Sultanpur. It is there that he came into contact with Mardana, a Muslim minstrel (Mirasi) who was senior in age.

    By all accounts, 1496 was the year of his enlightenment when he started on his mission. His first statement after his prophetic communion with God was "There is no Hindu, nor any Mussalman." This is an announcement of supreme significance it declared not only the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God, but also his clear and primary interest not in any metaphysical doctrine but only in man and his fate. It means love your neighbour as yourself. In addition, it emphasised, simultaneously the inalienable spirituo-moral combination of his message. Accompanied by Mardana, he began his missionary tours. Apart from conveying his message and rendering help to the weak, he forcefully preached, both by precept and practice, against caste distinctions ritualism, idol worship and the pseudo-religious beliefs that had no spiritual content. He chose to mix with all. He dined and lived with men of the lowest castes and classes Considering the then prevailing cultural practices and traditions, this was something socially and religiously unheard of in those days of rigid Hindu caste system sanctioned by the scriptures and the religiously approved notions of untouchability and pollution. It is a matter of great significance that at the very beginning of his mission, the Guru's first companion was a low caste Muslim. The offerings he received during his tours, were distributed among the poor. Any surplus collected was given to his hosts to maintain a common kitchen, where all could sit and eat together without any distinction of caste and status. This institution of common kitchen or langar became a major instrument of helping the poor, and a nucleus for religious gatherings of his society and of establishing the basic equality of all castes, classes and sexes.

    When Guru Nanak Dev ji were 12 years old his father gave him twenty rupees and asked him to do a business, apparently to teach him business. Guru Nanak dev ji bought food for all the money and distributed among saints, and poor. When his father asked him what happened to business? He replied that he had done a "True business" at the place where Guru Nanak dev had fed the poor, this gurdwara was made and named Sacha Sauda.

    Despite the hazards of travel in those times, he performed five long tours all over the country and even outside it. He visited most of the known religious places and centres of worship. At one time he preferred to dine at the place of a low caste artisan, Bhai Lallo, instead of accepting the invitation of a high caste rich landlord, Malik Bhago, because the latter lived by exploitation of the poor and the former earned his bread by the sweat of his brow. This incident has been depicted by a symbolic representation of the reason for his preference. Sri Guru Nanak pressed in one hand the coarse loaf of bread from Lallo's hut and in the other the food from Bhago's house. Milk gushed forth from the loaf of Lallo's and blood from the delicacies of Bhago. This prescription for honest work and living and the condemnation of exploitation, coupled with the Guru's dictum that "riches cannot be gathered without sin and evil means," have, from the very beginning, continued to be the basic moral tenet with the Sikh mystics and the Sikh society.

    During his tours, he visited numerous places of Hindu and Muslim worship. He explained and exposed through his preachings the incongruities and fruitlessness of ritualistic and ascetic practices. At Hardwar, when he found people throwing Ganges water towards the sun in the east as oblations to their ancestors in heaven, he started, as a measure of correction, throwing the water towards the West, in the direction of his fields in the Punjab. When ridiculed about his folly, he replied, "If Ganges water will reach your ancestors in heaven, why should the water I throw up not reach my fields in the Punjab, which are far less distant ?"

    He spent twenty five years of his life preaching from place to place. Many of his hymns were composed during this period. They represent answers to the major religious and social problems of the day and cogent responses to the situations and incidents that he came across. Some of the hymns convey dialogues with Yogis in the Punjab and elsewhere. He denounced their methods of living and their religious views. During these tours he studied other religious systems like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam. At the same time, he preached the doctrines of his new religion and mission at the places and centres he visited. Since his mystic system almost completely reversed the trends, principles and practices of the then prevailing religions, he criticised and rejected virtually all the old beliefs, rituals and harmful practices existing in the country. This explains the necessity of his long and arduous tours and the variety and profusion of his hymns on all the religious, social, political and theological issues, practices and institutions of his period.

    Finally, on the completion of his tours, he settled as a peasant farmer at Kartarpur, a village in the Punjab. Bhai Gurdas, the scribe of Guru Granth Sahib, was a devout and close associate of the third and the three subsequent Gurus. He was born 12 years after Guru Nanak's death and joined the Sikh mission in his very boyhood. He became the chief missionary agent of the Gurus. Because of his intimate knowledge of the Sikh society and his being a near contemporary of Sri Guru Nanak, his writings are historically authentic and reliable. He writes that at Kartarpur Guru Nanak donned the robes of a peasant and continued his ministry. He organised Sikh societies at places he visited with their meeting places called Dharamsalas. A similar society was created at Kartarpur. In the morning, japji was sung in the congregation. In the evening Sodar and Arti were recited. The Guru cultivated his lands and also continued with his mission and preachings. His followers throughout the country were known as Nanak-panthies or Sikhs. The places where Sikh congregation and religious gatherings of his followers were held were called Dharamsalas. These were also the places for feeding the poor. Eventually, every Sikh home became a Dharamsala.

    One thing is very evident. Guru Nanak had a distinct sense of his prophethood and that his mission was God-ordained. During his preachings, he himself announced. "O Lallo, as the words of the Lord come to me, so do I express them." Successors of Guru Nanak have also made similar statements indicating that they were the messengers of God. So often Guru Nanak refers to God as his Enlightener and Teacher. His statements clearly show his belief that God had commanded him to preach an entirely new religion, the central idea of which was the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God, shorn of all ritualism and priestcraft. During a dialogue with the Yogis, he stated that his mission was to help everyone. He came to be called a Guru in his lifetime. In Punjabi, the word Guru means both God and an enlightener or a prophet. During his life, his disciples were formed and came to be recognised as a separate community. He was accepted as a new religious prophet. His followers adopted a separate way of greeting each other with the words Sat Kartar (God is true). Twentyfive years of his extensive preparatory tours and preachings across the length and breadth of the country clearly show his deep conviction that the people needed a new prophetic message which God had commanded him to deliver. He chose his successor and in his own life time established him as the future Guru or enlightener of the new community. This step is of the greatest significance, showing Guru Nanak s determination and declaration that the mission which he had started and the community he had created were distinct and should be continued, promoted and developed. By the formal ceremony of appointing his successor and by giving him a new name, Angad (his part or limb), he laid down the clear principle of impersonality, unity and indivisibility of Guruship. At that time he addressed Angad by saying, Between thou and me there is now no difference. In Guru Granth Sahib there is clear acceptance and proclamation of this identity of personality in the hymns of Satta-Balwand. This unity of spiritual personality of all the Gurus has a theological and mystic implication. It is also endorsed by the fact that each of the subsequent Gurus calls himself Nanak in his hymns. Never do they call themselves by their own names as was done by other Bhagats and Illyslics. That Guru Nanak attached the highest importance to his mission is also evident from his selection of the successor by a system of test, and only when he was found perfect, was Guru Angad appointed as his successor. He was comparatively a new comer to the fold, and yet he was chosen in preference to the Guru's own son, Sri Chand, who also had the reputation of being a pious person, and Baba Budha, a devout Sikh of long standing, who during his own lifetime had the distinction of ceremonially installing all subsequent Gurus.

    All these facts indicate that Guru Nanak had a clear plan and vision that his mission was to be continued as an independent and distinct spiritual system on the lines laid down by him, and that, in the context of the country, there was a clear need for the organisation of such a spiritual mission and society. In his own lifetime, he distinctly determined its direction and laid the foundations of some of the new religious institutions. In addition, he created the basis for the extension and organisation of his community and religion.

    The above in brief is the story of the Guru's life. We shall now note the chief features of his work, how they arose from his message and how he proceeded to develop them during his lifetime.

    (1) After his enlightenment, the first words of Guru Nanak declared the brotherhood of man. This principle formed the foundation of his new spiritual gospel. It involved a fundamental doctrinal change because moral life received the sole spiritual recognition and status. This was something entirely opposed to the religious systems in vogue in the country during the time of the Guru. All those systems were, by and large, other-worldly. As against it, the Guru by his new message brought God on earth. For the first time in the country, he made a declaration that God was deeply involved and interested in the affairs of man and the world which was real and worth living in. Having taken the first step by the proclamation of his radical message, his obvious concern was to adopt further measures to implement the same.

    (2)The Guru realised that in the context and climate of the country, especially because of the then existing religious systems and the prevailing prejudices, there would be resistance to his message, which, in view of his very thesis, he wanted to convey to all. He, therefore, refused to remain at Sultanpur and preach his gospel from there. Having declared the sanctity of life, his second major step was in the planning and organisation of institutions that would spread his message. As such, his twentyfive years of extensive touring can be understood only as a major organizational step. These tours were not casual. They had a triple object. He wanted to acquaint himself with all the centres and organisations of the prevalent religious systems so as to assess the forces his mission had to contend with, and to find out the institutions that he could use in the aid of his own system. Secondly, he wanted to convey his gospel at the very centres of the old systems and point out the futile and harmful nature of their methods and practices. It is for this purpose that he visited Hardwar, Kurukshetra, Banaras, Kanshi, Maya, Ceylon, Baghdad, Mecca, etc. Simultaneously, he desired to organise all his followers and set up for them local centres for their gatherings and worship. The existence of some of these far-flung centres even up-till today is a testimony to his initiative in the Organizational and the societal field. His hymns became the sole guide and the scripture for his flock and were sung at the Dharamsalas.

    (3) Guru Nanak's gospel was for all men. He proclaimed their equality in all respects. In his system, the householder's life became the primary forum of religious activity. Human life was not a burden but a privilege. His was not a concession to the laity. In fact, the normal life became the medium of spiritual training and expression. The entire discipline and institutions of the Gurus can be appreciated only if one understands that, by the very logic of Guru Nanak's system, the householder's life became essential for the seeker. On reaching Kartarpur after his tours, the Guru sent for the members of his family and lived there with them for the remaining eighteen years of his life. For the same reason his followers all over the country were not recluses. They were ordinary men, living at their own homes and pursuing their normal vocations. The Guru's system involved morning and evening prayers. Congregational gatherings of the local followers were also held at their respective Dharamsalas.

    (4) After he returned to Kartarpur, Guru Nanak did not rest. He straightaway took up work as a cultivator of land, without interrupting his discourses and morning and evening prayers. It is very significant that throughout the later eighteen years of his mission he continued to work as a peasant. It was a total involvement in the moral and productive life of the community. His life was a model for others to follow. Like him all his disciples were regular workers who had not given up their normal vocations Even while he was performing the important duties of organising a new religion, he nester shirked the full-time duties of a small cultivator. By his personal example he showed that the leading of a normal man's working life was fundamental to his spiritual system Even a seemingly small departure from this basic tenet would have been misunderstood and misconstrued both by his own followers and others. In the Guru's system, idleness became a vice and engagement in productive and constructive work a virtue. It was Guru Nanak who chastised ascetics as idlers and condemned their practice of begging for food at the doors of the householders.

    (5) According to the Guru, moral life was the sole medium of spiritual progress In those times, caste, religious and social distinctions, and the idea of pollution were major problems. Unfortunately, these distinctions had received religious sanction The problem of poverty and food was another moral challenge. The institution of langar had a twin purpose. As every one sat and ate at the same place and shared the same food, it cut at the root of the evil of caste, class and religious distinctions. Besides, it demolished the idea of pollution of food by the mere presence of an untouchable. Secondlys it provided food to the needy. This institution of langar and pangat was started by the Guru among all his followers wherever they had been organised. It became an integral part of the moral life of the Sikhs. Considering that a large number of his followers were of low caste and poor members of society, he, from the very start, made it clear that persons who wanted to maintain caste and class distinctions had no place in his system In fact, the twin duties of sharing one's income with the poor and doing away with social distinctions were the two obligations which every Sikh had to discharge. On this score, he left no option to anyone, since he started his mission with Mardana, a low caste Muslim, as his life long companion.

    (6) The greatest departure Guru Nanak made was to prescribe for the religious man the responsibility of confronting evil and oppression. It was he who said that God destroys 'the evil doers' and 'the demonical; and that such being God s nature and will, it is man's goal to carry out that will. Since there are evil doers in life, it is the spiritual duty of the seeker and his society to resist evil and injustice. Again, it is Guru Nanak who protests and complains that Babur had been committing tyranny against the weak and the innocent. Having laid the principle and the doctrine, it was again he who proceeded to organise a society. because political and societal oppression cannot be resisted by individuals, the same can be confronted only by a committed society. It was, therefore, he who proceeded to create a society and appointed a successor with the clear instructions to develop his Panth. Again, it was Guru Nanak who emphasized that life is a game of love, and once on that path one should not shirk laying down one's life. Love of one's brother or neighbour also implies, if love is true, his or her protection from attack, injustice and tyranny. Hence, the necessity of creating a religious society that can discharge this spiritual obligation. Ihis is the rationale of Guru Nanak's system and the development of the Sikh society which he organised.

    (7) The Guru expressed all his teachings in Punjabi, the spoken language of Northern India. It was a clear indication of his desire not to address the elite alone but the masses as well. It is recorded that the Sikhs had no regard for Sanskrit, which was the sole scriptural language of the Hindus. Both these facts lead to important inferences. They reiterate that the Guru's message was for all. It was not for the few who, because of their personal aptitude, should feel drawn to a life of a so-called spiritual meditation and contemplation. Nor was it an exclusive spiritual system divorced from the normal life. In addition, it stressed that the Guru's message was entirely new and was completely embodied in his hymns. His disciples used his hymns as their sole guide for all their moral, religious and spiritual purposes. I hirdly, the disregard of the Sikhs for Sanskrit strongly suggests that not only was the Guru's message independent and self-contained, without reference and resort to the Sanskrit scriptures and literature, but also that the Guru made a deliberate attempt to cut off his disciples completely from all the traditional sources and the priestly class. Otherwise, the old concepts, ritualistic practices, modes of worship and orthodox religions were bound to affect adversely the growth of his religion which had wholly a different basis and direction and demanded an entirely new approach. The following hymn from Guru Nanak and the subsequent one from Sankara are contrast in their approach to the world.

    "the sun and moon, O Lord, are Thy lamps; the firmament Thy salver; the orbs of the stars the pearls encased in it.
    The perfume of the sandal is Thine incense, the wind is Thy fan, all the forests are Thy flowers, O Lord of light.
    What worship is this, O Thou destroyer of birth ? Unbeaten strains of ecstasy are the trumpets of Thy worship.
    Thou has a thousand eyes and yet not one eye; Thou host a thousand forms and yet not one form;
    Thou hast a thousand stainless feet and yet not one foot; Thou hast a thousand organs of smell and yet not one organ. I am fascinated by this play of 'l hine.
    The light which is in everything is Chine, O Lord of light.
    From its brilliancy everything is illuminated;
    By the Guru's teaching the light becometh manifest.
    What pleaseth Thee is the real worship.
    O God, my mind is fascinated with Thy lotus feet as the bumble-bee with the flower; night and day I thirst for them.
    Give the water of Thy favour to the Sarang (bird) Nanak, so that he may dwell in Thy Name."3

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  4. spnadmin

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    Re: Guru Nanak Dev ji (Parkash November 21)

    It Is A North Indian Coin from region of PUNJAB and depicts the Sikh faith. A rare coin purportedly minted 260 years ago in 1748 by one of the Sikh missals. (Minted 1804 is Hindu calendar call Vikram Smavat started 56 years ahead of Georgian Calendar) The coin made of an alloy resembling bronze, bears picture of the first Guru (Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji) on observe (Date Side) exergues reads Sant Kartar and the tenth Guru (Shri Guru Govind Singh Ji) on the reverse side. While Guru Nanak Dev is flanked by Bhai Mardana and Bhai Bala, holding rabab(Violin like instrument) and chaur(Hand-held Fan) in their hands, a bai is seen sitting near Guru Gobind Singh. Also shown in the picture are the khrawon (slipper made of wood) and a lota (small water pot). It Is claimed and maintained that the ambiguity about the pictorial and mohar coins was due to lack of concern shown by successive governments about the Sikh history. It was certainly after October 14, 1745, that the chief of missals started minting coins in the names of the ten Gurus. The very fact the coin bears pictures of the first and the tenth Guru shows that it was not minted during the regime of any sovereign ruler . Referring to the pages of history, each chief tried to strengthen his hold over the areas under his control and even started minting coins. A number of mints in Amritsar and one at Anandgarh came into existence. But a special feature of these mints was that coins were minted by all in the name of the Sikh Gurus as had been the traditional practice and no chief put his name on these coins or even changed the legend.

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    Part 2 Guru Nanak: Moral Philosopher and Householder (continued from Sikh History)

    Sankara writes: "I am not a combination of the five perishable elements I arn neither body, the senses, nor what is in the body (antar-anga: i e., the mind). I am not the ego-function: I am not the group of the vital breathforces; I am not intuitive intelligence (buddhi). Far from wife and son am 1, far from land and wealth and other notions of that kind. I am the Witness, the Eternal, the Inner Self, the Blissful One (sivoham; suggesting also, 'I am Siva')."

    "Owing to ignorance of the rope the rope appears to be a snake; owing to ignorance of the Self the transient state arises of the individualized, limited, phenomenal aspect of the Self. The rope becomes a rope when the false impression disappears because of the statement of some credible person; because of the statement of my teacher I am not an individual life-monad (yivo-naham), I am the Blissful One (sivo-ham )."

    "I am not the born; how can there be either birth or death for me ?"
    "I am not the vital air; how can there be either hunger or thirst for me ?"
    "I am not the mind, the organ of thought and feeling; how can there be either sorrow or delusion for me ?"
    "I am not the doer; how can there be either bondage or release for me ?"
    "I am neither male nor female, nor am I sexless. I am the Peaceful One, whose form is self-effulgent, powerful radiance. I am neither a child, a young man, nor an ancient; nor am I of any caste. I do not belong to one of the four lifestages. I am the Blessed-Peaceful One, who is the only Cause of the origin and dissolution of the world."4

    While Guru Nanak is bewitched by the beauty of His creation and sees in the panorama of nature a lovely scene of the worshipful adoration of the Lord, Sankara in his hymn rejects the reality of the world and treats himself as the Sole Reality. Zimmer feels that "Such holy megalomania goes past the bounds of sense. With Sankara, the grandeur of the supreme human experience becomes intellectualized and reveals its inhuman sterility."5
    No wonder that Guru Nanak found the traditional religions and concepts as of no use for his purpose. He calculatedly tried to wean away his people from them. For Guru Nanak, religion did not consist in a 'patched coat or besmearing oneself with ashes"6 but in treating all as equals. For him the service of man is supreme and that alone wins a place in God's heart.

    By this time it should be easy to discern that all the eight features of the Guru's system are integrally connected. In fact, one flows from the other and all follow from the basic tenet of his spiritual system, viz., the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. For Guru Nanak, life and human beings became the sole field of his work. Thus arose the spiritual necessity of a normal life and work and the identity of moral and spiritual functioning and growth.

    Having accepted the primacy of moral life and its spiritual validity, the Guru proceeded to identify the chief moral problems of his time. These were caste and class distinctions, the institutions, of property and wealth, and poverty and scarcity of food. Immoral institutions could be substituted and replaced only by the setting up of rival institutions. Guru Nanak believed that while it is essential to elevate man internally, it is equally necessary to uplift the fallen and the downtrodden in actual life. Because, the ultimate test of one's spiritual progress is the kind of moral life one leads in the social field. The Guru not only accepted the necessity of affecting change in the environment, but also endeavoured to build new institutions. We shall find that these eight basic principles of the spirituo-moral life enunciated by Guru Nanak, were strictly carried out by his successors. As envisaged by the first prophet, his successors further extended the structure and organised the institutions of which the foundations had been laid by Guru Nanak. Though we shall consider these points while dealing with the lives of the other nine Gurus, some of them need to be mentioned here.

    The primacy of the householder's life was maintained. Everyone of the Gurus, excepting Guru Harkishan who died at an early age, was a married person who maintained a family. When Guru Nanak, sent Guru Angad from Kartarpur to Khadur Sahib to start his mission there, he advised him to send for the members of his family and live a normal life. According to Bhalla,8 when Guru Nanak went to visit Guru Angad at Khadur Sahib, he found him living a life of withdrawal and meditation. Guru Nanak directed him to be active as he had to fulfill his mission and organise a community inspired by his religious principles.

    Work in life, both for earning the livelihood and serving the common good, continued to be the fundamental tenet of Sikhism. There is a clear record that everyone upto the Fifth Guru (and probably subsequent Gurus too) earned his livelihood by a separate vocation and contributed his surplus to the institution of langar Each Sikh was made to accept his social responsibility. So much so that Guru Angad and finally Guru Amar Das clearly ordered that Udasis, persons living a celibate and ascetic life without any productive vocation, should remain excluded from the Sikh fold. As against it, any worker or a householder without distinction of class or caste could become a Sikh. This indicates how these two principles were deemed fundamental to the mystic system of Guru Nanak. It was defined and laid down that in Sikhism a normal productive and moral life could alone be the basis of spiritual progress. Here, by the very rationale of the mystic path, no one who was not following a normal life could be fruitfully included.

    The organization of moral life and institutions, of which the foundations had been laid by Guru Nanak, came to be the chief concern of the other Gurus. We refer to the sociopolitical martyrdoms of two of the Gurus and the organisation of the military struggle by the Sixth Guru and his successors. Here it would be pertinent to mention Bhai Gurdas's narration of Guru Nanak's encounter and dialogue with the Nath Yogis who were living an ascetic life of retreat in the remote hills. They asked Guru Nanak how the world below in the plains was faring. ' How could it be well", replied Guru Nanak, "when the so- called pious men had resorted to the seclusion of the hills ?" The Naths commented that it was incongruous and self-contradictory for Guru Nanak to be a householder and also pretend to lead a spiritual life. That, they said, was like putting acid in milk and thereby destroying its purity. The Guru replied emphatically that the Naths were ignorant of even the basic elements of spiritual life.9 This authentic record of the dialouge reveals the then prevailing religious thought in the country. It points to the clear and deliberate break the Guru made from the traditional system.

    While Guru Nanak was catholic in his criticism of other religions, he was unsparing where he felt it necessary to clarify an issue or to keep his flock away from a wrong practice or prejudice. He categorically attacked all the evil institutions of his time including oppression and barbarity in the political field, corruption among the officialss and hypocrisy and greed in the priestly class. He deprecated the degrading practices of inequality in the social field. He criticised and repudiated the scriptures that sanctioned such practices. After having denounced all of them, he took tangible steps to create a society that accepted the religious responsibility of eliminating these evils from the new institutions created by him and of attacking the evil practices and institutions in the Social and political fields. T his was a fundamental institutional change with the largest dimensions and implications for the future of the community and the country. The very fact that originally poorer classes were attracted to the Gurus, fold shows that they found there a society and a place where they could breathe freely and live with a sense of equality and dignity.

    Dr H.R. Gupta, the well-known historian, writes, "Nanak's religion consisted in the love of God, love of man and love of godly living. His religion was above the limits of caste, creed and country. He gave his love to all, Hindus, Muslims, Indians and foreigners alike. His religion was a people's movement based on modern conceptions of secularism and socialism, a common brotherhood of all human beings. Like Rousseau, Nanak felt 250 years earlier that it was the common people who made up the human race Ihey had always toiled and tussled for princes, priests and politicians. What did not concern the common people was hardly worth considering. Nanak's work to begin with assumed the form of an agrarian movement. His teachings were purely in Puniabi language mostly spoken by cultivators. Obey appealed to the downtrodden and the oppressed peasants and petty traders as they were ground down between the two mill stones of Government tyranny and the new Muslims' brutality. Nanak's faith was simple and sublime. It was the life lived. His religion was not a system of philosophy like Hinduism. It was a discipline, a way of life, a force, which connected one Sikh with another as well as with the Guru."'° "In Nanak s time Indian society was based on caste and was divided into countless watertight Compartments. Men were considered high and low on account of their birth and not according to their deeds. Equality of human beings was a dream. There was no spirit of national unity except feelings of community fellowship. In Nanak's views men's love of God was the criterion to judge whether a person was good or bad, high or low. As the caste system was not based on divine love, he condemned it. Nanak aimed at creating a casteless and classless society similar to the modern type of socialist society in which all were equal and where one member did not exploit the other. Nanak insisted that every Sikh house should serve as a place of love and devotion, a true guest house (Sach dharamshala). Every Sikh was enjoined to welcome a traveller or a needy person and to share his meals and other comforts with him. "Guru Nanak aimed at uplifting the individual as well as building a nation."

    Considering the religious conditions and the philosophies of the time and the social and political milieu in which Guru Nanak was born, the new spirituo- moral thesis he introduced and the changes he brought about in the social and spiritual field were indeed radical and revolutionary. Earlier, release from the bondage of the world was sought as the goal. The householder's life was considered an impediment and an entanglement to be avoided by seclusion, monasticism, celibacy, sanyasa or vanpraslha. In contrast, in the Guru's system the world became the arena of spiritual endeavour. A normal life and moral and righteous deeds became the fundamental means of spiritual progress, since these alone were approved by God. Man was free to choose between the good and the bad and shape his own future by choosing virtue and fighting evil. All this gave "new hope, new faith, new life and new expectations to the depressed, dejected and downcast people of Punjab."
    Guru Nanak's religious concepts and system were entirely opposed to those of the traditional religions in the country. His views were different even from those of the saints of the Radical Bhakti movement. From the very beginning of his mission, he started implementing his doctrines and creating institutions for their practice and development. In his time the religious energy and zeal were flowing away from the empirical world into the desert of otherworldliness, asceticism and renunciation. It was Guru Nanak's mission and achievement not only to dam that Amazon of moral and spiritual energy but also to divert it into the world so as to enrich the moral, social the political life of man. We wonder if, in the context of his times, anything could be more astounding and miraculous. The task was undertaken with a faith, confidence and determination which could only be prophetic.

    It is indeed the emphatic manifestation of his spiritual system into the moral formations and institutions that created a casteless society of people who mixed freely, worked and earned righteously, contributed some of their income to the common causes and the langar. It was this community, with all kinds of its shackles broken and a new freedom gained, that bound its members with a new sense of cohesion, enabling it to rise triumphant even though subjected to the severest of political and military persecutions.

    The life of Guru Nanak shows that the only interpretation of his thesis and doctrines could be the one which we have accepted. He expressed his doctrines through the medium of activities. He himself laid the firm foundations of institutions and trends which flowered and fructified later on. As we do not find a trace of those ideas and institutions in the religious milieu of his time or the religious history of the country, the entirely original and new character of his spiritual system could have only been mystically and prophetically inspired.

    Apart from the continuation, consolidation and expansion of Guru Nanak's mission, the account that follows seeks to present the major contributions made by the remaining Gurus.
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Guru Nanak's Concept of Nature

    by Sirdar Kapur Singh

    Guru Nanak was a prophet of religion and philosophy was not central to his teachings: Numerous dogmas there are and as many more intellectual disciplines. As many are the systems of philosophy. All these, so many of them are the chains that curb the spontanity of the psyche. For a man of religion, the central concern is that of liberation.1

    However, Guru Nanak was not unconcerned with the study of humanities and sciences.

    There are those who are cultured neither in philosophy nor in scripture nor have developed proper taste for music. And, likewise, there are those who are unaquainted with aesthetics and the arts. They have neither a trained character, nor disciplined intellect, and, as such, they are devoid of true learning, so much so that the true significance of accumulated human wisdom is outside their sphere of interest. Such people, says Nanak, are true animals for they strut as human beings without the qualifications of a human being.2


    Intellectual curiousity and scientific knowledge are necessary for removing doubts that beset human understanding.3

    From this the following can be inferred:

    i. intellectual activity is not directly relevant to religious activity.

    ii. that, for a properly developed and integrated person, intellectual and scientific studies are imperative.

    iii. that, although religion is philosophically indeterminate, philosophical enquiries are necessary for preparing the mind suitably towards the acceptance of religious discipline.

    There are two fundamental concepts that run through almost all schools of Indian philosophy: the concept of purusa and prakriti. Broadly speaking, these concepts correspond to the concepts of 'subject' and 'object'. This duality between 'life' and 'nature' and 'mind' and 'matter' is present in the philosophies of both East and West.

    Samkhya doctrines of purusa and prakriti have undergone developments over the centuries. In the Bhagavad-Gita the meanings of these concepts have been extended, whereas Vijnanabhiksu and Aniruddha have developed the classical Samkhya still further.

    Noting the dualism in these philosophies, Guru Nanak has abandoned the term prakriti while retaining the term purusa. It should be noted though that the Guru's definition of purusa is different from that of the Indian philosophy as found in the classical Samkhya or the Samkhya of the Bhagvad-Gita or the Neo-Samkhya of Aniruddha and Vijnanabhikshu. For the other term of dualism Guru Nanak has employed the Arabic word qudret and has relegated prakriti altogether to other contexts.

    The world, manifest or un-manifest, according to Samkhya, is not derived from the purusa ie the Nature, does not have its matrix, in the Mind. The world is comprehended in the term of purusa, but does not originate from it neither is it grounded in it. This purusa is not personal though it is discreet and individual (Karika, 38).4 It is the propinquity of this purusa, to prakriti which gives rise to the world of appearances. In the absence of this nearness, the world is there but it simply remains avyakta, un-manifest. 'The world is that which is perceived or witnessed, lokyanti iti lokah, and thus the world of appearances serves the purpose of the individual purusa, purusartha.(Karika, 63).5

    This discrete and individual purusa is in itself translucent and transparent; it is a witness; it is a fact of consciousness and that is its primary mode of function, witnessing or seeing the world (Karika, 19).6 It is inherent in this primary function of the purusa that by so functioning it appears different from what it is; it appears as if it were a panorama of appearances, and appearances likewise appear as if they were possessed of consciousness. That is how a double obfusciation afflicts the basic human situation, namely concerning its awareness of the world and of himself (Karika, 20).7

    The purusa appears as it is not and the prakriti appears other than itself. This double negation occurs because of the very nature of the purusa which has its function as witness and to reflect or to appear as it is not. In order to be what it is, it must appear as what it is not.

    It is to the implication of this doctrine that Bhai Nand Lal Goya, a contemporary and beloved disciple of the Tenth Nanak, Guru Gobind Singh, refers in his Persian poem:

    We understand not that, from the begining of Time, the human consciousness constitutes the instrumenatlity through which the Maker of appearances builds a mansion for Himself.8

    It follows that between purusa and the process of purusartha "for the sake of purusa" no consciousness, deity or mind functions in the genesis of the manifest world. In its own nature and by itself the world is simply avyakta (un-manifest) as long as it is not in the vicinity of the purusa. The ultimate avyakta, mulaprakriti, is a confection of three gunas, but these gunas do not become creative unless in the presence of the purusa. In the primal state, the avyakta potentially contains everything that is in the un-manifest world, but in, and of, itself it is just an unconditioned, un-manifest, plentitude of being which is completely and utterly unconscious (Karika, 11).9

    The manifest world begins to emerge or unfold when purusa comes into the proximity of this avyakta, the plentitude of the un-manifest being. The gunas, three in number (triguna) in admixture with the mulaprikriti, gives rise to a series of evolutes or emergents from which is created the world of appearances. These gunas extend through the avyakta and vyakta and they are continually modified and transformed in the proximity of the purusa. They constitute the psychophysical make-up of human nature and they likewise constitute the nature of everything non-human and inorganic, and thus, they represent the fundamental structure of both the worlds, the seen and the un-seen. In themselves, however, they are wholly and utterly unconscious and like the mulaprakriti they are absolutely separate from the purusa (Karika, 14).10

    Thus in the Samkhya philosophy, the fundamental categories recognize no consciousness, or absolute or a Creator God. It does not deny the existence of gods, or even a God, the only and the lonely God. The God or the gods, indeed, may exist but they can be no more than the products of interaction of unconscious mulaprakriti and the conscious purusa, and the unconscious gunas.

    This dualism of Samkhya focuses on the distinction of the conscious and the unconscious, that between individual consciousness as one term and the unconsciousness as the other term. It is not the dualism of "mind" and "body" and "thought" and "extension" which are regarded as different dimensions or attributes of the world of appearances and their unity is supported by the doctrine of gunas.

    The purusa, the essence of which is consciousness is not a part of the manifest world which is unconsciousness. The purusa should not be confused with buddhi, the intellect, ahamkara, the I-consciousness, or manas, the mind. The content of this purusa can only be what it is not.

    The Tantrayana or Vajrayana school of Buddhism, founded in fourth century by Arya Asanga, adopted this insight as the base of the doctrine of Sunyata, the basic emptiness that sustains the human situation, the world and man's awareness of it, dridham saramasausiryam achhedya abhedya laksnam adahi avinasi ca sunyata vajra mucayate (Sunyata is designated as vajra, because it is firm, sound, cannot be penetrated, cannot be burnt and cannot be destroyed).

    It is this insight on which is based the poetic imagery of the ancient text of Samkhya-Karika which says: "After showing her face to the purusa the prakriti disappears like a dancer after her enchanting performance on the stage." "This is my considered view that there is nothing more sensitive and shy than prakriti who, once she knows that she has been seen by the purusa, never again unveils her bewitching face to the purusa."11

    The religious system and way of life which Guru Nanak revealed and preached are based on the philosophical doctrines that the One Absolute Purusa, both as self-conscious and unconscious, is the matrix of the world and not simply a term in a confection or admixture. That the world has a Creator, that as created Nature it has no absolute basis or essence independently and apart from this Purusa, and last, that the relation between the Creator and the created nature is not a separate and independent category of existence, but is merely an extension, an emanation of this Purusa.

    The One Absolute Purusa is to be counter-distinguished from the Purusa of the Vedas, repeatedly described in all the four Vedas;12 in Purusasukta, as "a fourth of Him is all beings and the three-fourths is in immortal heavens." This Vedic purusa is not the Creator or Controller of the world but just the neutral stuff of the manifest and the un-manifest, not fundamentally and essentially different from the purusa of the Samkhya.

    The first of these two doctrines stems from the Samkhya dualism of purusa and prakriti, and the third, out of the pivotal problem of the nature of relation. In modern Western philosophy, Hume brought the problem of relation to the forefront, particularly the problem of the causal relation. But his formation of this problem is in a very different context of British Empiricism. His problem is epistemological in nature, whereas that raised in Indian philosophy is metaphysical in nature where the question asked straightway is whether the relations are real.

    Two basic features of our experience are identity and difference and we find them in our experience as subject as well as object. All pairs of categories, "subject" and "object", "substance" and "mind", "universal" and "particular" can be reduced to these two basic aspects of human experience, identity and difference. These two aspects are inevitably related to each other. They are not jumbled together.

    What is the nature of this relation between the two, and if this relation is real, how can both belong to one and the same thing, because both are opposed to each other fundamentally?

    Either the difference and the identity and the relation, all three, are equally real or the relation between the two is false, whereas the two are real, or last, it might be that the relation as well as one of the relata is false. Of course there is a fourth logical possibility that the identity, the difference as well as the relation might be equally false, implicating the ultimate sunyata, just as the Vajrayana Buddhism depicts it.

    The Nyaya-vaisesika and the Mimansa, Jainism and the realist interpretations of Vedanta such as Dvaita, Visistadvaita, Suddhadvaita hold that all the three, the relata as well as the relation are real. Without holding this, it is not possible to uphold a pluralist view of reality, because how can there be an unreal relation between the two reals.

    The doctrine of Samvaya (inherence) of Nyaya-vaisesika and its doctrine of asatkaryavada (the theory that the effect does not pre-exist in its cause) is based on the reality of the relation and the relata. The Buddhist and the Vedantin, accepting the centrality of this problem of relation in the philosophical context of India, attacked the doctrines of reality of relation with much vigor. The Vedantin attacked by pressing the question that, if relation is real like the relata, this gives rise to regressus ad infinitum.

    The Buddhist puts the question: "if the relation is as real as the relata, why is it not seen as a thing as the relata are?" This weakness of the realist view of relation has given rise to the concept of release or moksa, which is central to all systems of Indian thought. Since purusa and prakriti, the one representing the identity and the other representing the difference, are both real (the relation between the two is not ultimately real), the relation can be eliminated or removed by some technique or know-how, by some discipline or sadhana and thus purusa and prakriti can be released from the bondage of each other and the purusa freed from the drudgery of samsara.

    The possibility of this release is logically implicated by the Buddhist dictum, yo viruddha dharmadhyasavan ne asau ekah (that which has opposite attributes cannot be one). There is, however, a flaw in this argument, for, it presupposes that relation merely implies a connection, but it fails to see that it also implies a separation. Through rejection of the relation, therefore, they will not fall apart.

    Anyhow, if the relation between the purusa and prakriti is false, what is there to separate the two. In other words they cannot see that the conception of the two absolutes is self-contradictory.

    Sikhism removes this gross nescience in the Mul-Mantra, which has the arithmetic numeral '1' as its first term.

    But, if the relation is not real, then the two terms, "identity" and "difference", are false. The Buddhist holds the "identity" as false. That is why the Buddhist rejects the unifying categories such as, "substance" or "universal" (samanya) and the Vedantin is in favor of the unifying category of Atma: brahma satyam jaganmitthya jivabrahmaiva naparah. The Vedantins and the Buddhists both accept the falsity of the relation and also its implication that one of the relata must be false, but yet one goes to accept the relata of "difference" and the other relata of 'identity" and Vedantins argue that logically the 'identity" is more fundamental than "difference", abheda purvako bhedah, while the Buddhist argues that reality must be arthakriyakarin, ie efficient, whereas the 'identity" or "permanence" cannot be efficient

    The coup d'grace, in this controversy, has been administered by Madhyamika who rightly detects strains of dogmatism in both the schools which rejects one relata and accepts the other, and thus he argues that the "identity" and "difference" being correlated must disappear together and since atmavada and anatmavada are incompatible with each other, both cannot be accepted, but both can be rejected all right. If the falsity of relation leads to the falsity of one relata, the falsity of one relata likewise implicates the falsity of both the relatas.

    This inexorable logic of the Madhyamika exalts the reality to a pedestal which is outsided the realm of human experience. This would mean that the reality, or tattva, is completely beyond the reach of human experience and thus is logically unrealizable. If that is so, then all quest for the ultimate religious goal, the summum bonum, becomes futile and pointless.

    In order to remove the stigma of contradiction, the reality must be transcended, but in order to be realizable it must also be immanent in experience. It is in this background that we develop an appreciation for Sikh philosophy.

    Guru Nanak, has employed the Arabic term qudret as the second term of the dualism, with Purukh as the first. Qudret means "that under the power and authority of" its Master. Al-Qadir as one of the attributes is distinguishable from another attribute of God, al-Khaliq, i.e. the Creator. Guru Nanak in his term qudret includes both these attributes.

    He Himself creates and arranges the Nature,
    He Himself controls its progression and evolution.13

    He is the transcendent as well as immanent, and
    He is also the appearances.
    He is the Pure Consciousness, and
    He is also the Creator of Nature.

    The Universal Self has created the individual self, and
    He Himself hath created the differentiating names.
    Thus Nature hath He created as the 'other', and
    depositing Himself therein He is in a
    relation of aesthetic contemplation to Nature.15

    Nature is all that appears and Nature is the World
    as seen, felt and appreciate.
    Nature is all the spaces, and
    Nature is the totality of forms.16

    Glory to Thee who dwelleth in Nature.
    Infinite and Eternal, Thy
    limits and frontiers are unknowable.17

    He who has created the world in which
    He abides as Immanent, that Lord
    maybe recognized through Nature.
    He is not to be regarded as wholly Transcendant,
    as His voice can be heard in every heart.18

    O true Lord, Thy created nature is real.19

    All that is your qudret, and
    You are its Qadir and Karta, ie
    Absolute Controller and Creator.20

    God creates Nature and single and alone
    He contemplates it.21

    The question arises but no answer is forthcoming:
    The purpose, the significance, the value of Nature
    are beyond man's comprehension.22

    The Lord contemplates his own creation, Nature.
    he contemplates it and He sustains it. Why?
    He who does, He alone knows.23

    It thus becomes clear that Guru Nanak employs the term qudret to designate Nature and Cosmos, in the sense of the general cosmic order ordained by God in contrast to human derivations from it. Nature here is the complex of created things, in contradistinction to the Creator-Nature Naturans of scholasticism, whereas the created things are Natura Naturata. Guru Nanak gave a precise meaning and philosophical exactitude to the word qudret.

    The forgoing discussion also suggests why Guru Nanak abandoned the term prakriti. Prakriti has a permanent odor of absoluteness, existence in its own right, about it and no amount of reinterpretation of the term through the process which Nietzsche called, "transvaluation of values," could possibly have divested it of this inconveniently unpleasant smell.

    The Nature, according to Guru Nanak, is created by and utterly dependent on the Creator. The status of Nature in the philosophic scheme of Guru Nanak is also encompassed within the time-cycle so that the concept of God as first and last is kept intact.

    This concept of Nature is completely different from the concept of prakriti which forms the warp of the entire fabric of Indian philosophy. It is stangely akin to the concept of Nature held by Meister Eckhart in his Opus Tripartitum.

    It remains to conjecture over the reasons why Guru Nanak was at pains to borrow a fundamental term of Sikh philosophy [qudret] from a source, non Indo-Sanskrit.

    It would appear that main reasons were three: (i) Primarily, Guru Nanak wanted a term of philosophy to which he could impart such connotation and meanings as would fit with the base of the religion that he revealed... (ii) Incidently, Guru Nanak wanted to break the shell of prejudice enclosing the Hindu mind and attitudes toward modes of human communication other than Indo-Sanskrit. There is a severe injunction in the Bhavishyapurana:

    Even if the consequence is death, a true Hindu should refuse to learn the vulgar speech of the Western regions.24

    Guru Nanak's disapproval thus resulted in the broad liberalism of the 10th Nanak to the effect: All languages of whatever people and whatever region of the earth and all the true sciences, they are proper and acceptable.25

    (iii) Lastly, the Hindu mind was afflicted with a gross bias for centuries past, symptomatic of dogmatism and mental-stagnation. The famous Indologist, Al-Biruni (973-1048) in his, Kittabul-Hind, has recorded:

    The Hindus think that there is no science, no knowledge which exists or has originated beyond the frontiers of the sacred land of India.

    On the other hand, Guru Nanak aimed at opening the windows of the human mind to all the four quarters of space so that man's mind may grow freely and his soul remain whole through healthy contact with the insights gained by mankind in all countries, and in all ages, through such education as trains him to employ his, critical faculty as the anvil and the accumulated wisdom of mankind as the fashioning tool.26


    1 man hath budhi ketia kete bed bicar, kete bandhan jin ke gurmukh mokh duar (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I, 4)

    2 ikna nadu na bedu na gia rasu, rasu kasu na jananti,
    ikna sidhi na budhi na agali sar, akhar ka bheo na lahanti,
    Nanak te nar asali khar, ji binu gun garabu karanti (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I, 1411)

    3 man samjhavan karane kachuak parhai gian (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I, 340)

    4 tanmatra... vises as tebhyo mrta ... panca pancabhyah

    5 purusartham prati vimocayaty ekarupena

    6 kaivalyam madhyasthyam drastrtvakar trtra bhavas ca

    7 tasmat tatsamyogad acetanam ceta navad iva lingam
    gunakartrtvai ca karteva bhavatity udasinah

    8 nadanistam az ruz-i-azal in naqshi-i-adam ra, ki naqqash az barae budan-i-khud khana misazad

    9 trigunam aviveki visayah samanyam acetanam prasavadhrmi
    vyaktam tatha pradhanam tad vipari tas tatha ca punam

    10 avivekyadih siddhas traigunyat tadviparya ya bhavat

    11rangasya darsayitya nivartati nartaki yatha nrtyat
    purusasya tathatmanam prakasye nivartate prakrith
    prakrteh sukumarataram na kincid astiti me matir bhavati
    ya drasta miti punar na darsanam upaiti purusasya

    12 It is found in Rig (X-20) and consists of 16 verses. It is ascribed to Rishi Narayana. In the Shulkayajur, Vajsaneyi-samhita (XXXI, I.) it has 22 verses. In the Taittiriya-aranyyaka of the Krishnayajur (III.2) it has 18 verses. In the Arnya-samhita of Samaveda (IV.3) and in the Atherva (XIX.3) also it is there.

    13 ape qudrati kare saji, sacu api nibere raju raji (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.1170)

    14 ape nerai duri ape hi ape manjhi miano, ape vekhai sune ape hi qudrati kare jahano (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.25)

    15 apinai apu sajio apinai racio nau, duyi qudrati sajiai kari asanu ditho cau (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.463)

    16 qudrati disai qudrati suniai qudrati bhau sukh saru, qudrati patali akasi qudrati sarab akaru (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.464)

    17 balhari qudrati vassia tera antu na jai lakhia (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.469)

    18 jini jagu siraji samaia so sahibu qudrati janova, sacra duri na bhaliai ghati ghati sabadu pachanova (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.581)

    19 sacci teri qudrati sacce patisah (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.463)

    20 sabh teri qudrati tun qadiru karta... (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.464)

    21 ape qudrati sajikai ape kare bicaru (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.143)

    22kahna hai kichu kahanu na jai, tau qudrati qimati nahi pai (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.152)

    23 kita vekhai sahibu apna qudrati kare bicaro, qudrati bicare sharan dhare jini kia so jane (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.580)

    24 na paret yamani bhasha paran karan gaterapi.

    25 sabhai lokbhasha sabhai deshbani sabhai shastra bidia samasto pardhani.

    26 ahrani mati vedu hathiaru (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, I.8)

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  8. Archived_Member16

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    Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Birth Anniversary: November 21, 2010


    May Guru Nanak Dev Ji be your guiding star through the course of your life,
    and shower HIS blessings upon you always !

    Basic Teachings of Guru Ji:
    Three basic principles:
    "Naam Japo" - Constant meditation on God's name,
    "Kirat Karo" - earning livelihood through honest means and
    "Wand Chakko" - Sharing one's earnings out of love and compassion for others.
    Mool Mantar:

    may you all enjoy:
    peace, love, light (enlightenment), health, happiness & prosperity in life always !

    Harbhajan S. Sangha
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  9. gurprit_gujral

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    Re: Guru Nanak Dev ji (Parkash November 21)

    The image posted with the images of Guru Nanak Ji with Bala and Mardana on one side and Guru Gobind Singh Ji on the other side with the year 1804 is not of a coin of the Sikhs but of a common religious token which is often mistaken for a coin.

    The regular coinage by the Sikh misls started in 1765 AD from Lahore, and the year on it was inscribed in Vikrami Samvat as 1822. The mint was inscribed as "Dar-al-Saltanat Lahore", the epithet "Dar-al-Saltanat" meaning "seat of sovereignty".
    The image of the coin is attached herewith for perusal by members.

    Gurprit Singh

    Attached Files:

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  10. jeevandeep

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    Re: Guru Nanak Dev ji (Parkash November 21)

    The rule under the Sikh's started with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, who used a Khalsa Seal, and minted Khalsa Rupees, fully adhering to the etho's laid down by Guru Nanak Dev ji, directly and through the incarnations of his philosophy starting with Him as the founder and passed down in human form till Guru Gobind Singh ji, and in word form, through Guru Granth Sahib ji.
    Banda Singh's seal carries the legend :
    Degh Tegh Fateh; Nusrat Bedarang
    Yaft az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh
    Economic Power, Strength of Arms & resultant victory with unrestrained help
    recieved by grace of the Guru's through Nanak to Gobind Singh
    his Coins carried the legend :
    Sikka zad bar Har do Alam; Tegh i Nanak wahib ast;
    Fateh Gobind Shah-i-Shahan fazl Saccha Sahib ast
    Coin struck in both the worlds, Sword of Nanak is the Guarantor;
    Victory of Guru Gobind Singh, King of Kings has been achieved by the grace of Lord Almighty

    The Sikh coins did not carry images of the Guru's. However, at one occassion Maharaja Ranjit Singh tried to mint a coin with the effigy of Guru Nanak, with the Maharaja kneeling before him and offering flowers. These coins were not brought into general circulation and withdrawn. Images of these coins are :
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  11. manbir

    manbir India
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  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Guru Nanak Dev ji Prakash Utsav
    Guru Nanak Dev ji Prakash Utsav November21st, 2010

    What Humanity Owes Guru Nanak

    When Guru Nanak came to this world, paths to enlightenment were devoid of divinity; they were completely distorted towards unholy goals of the exploiters of people. A class of religious leaders routinely concocted religious practices to thrust on people to serve many unholy interests. These interests were mutually supportive and were successful in designing a variety of concealed tricks to fool people who were seeking salvations.

    The religious institutions had devised beauty shows with religious practices that were intended to attract innocent minds. For example, they invented deities with accompanying stories, idols with descriptions of their powers, recitations to invoke imaginary deities, and rituals that buttressed each other. They asked people to erect stunning buildings to house god and promised accessibility to gods at precise times and places opened only through expense of wealth, time, and inner energy. Altruism was perverted so that it only benefited clerics and clergy.

    Many other tricks were implemented to speed a religion's institutional agenda. For example, miracles were invented to convert people and influence human behaviors. The religious myths were invented to answer real questions and then safeguarded those miracles and myths by un-testable threats and promises.

    Religious institutions built cults of external marks and body wrappings to encourage murders and wars against those who did not tow the line, or who were members of competing religions. People were asked to invest massive amount of money, time, and mind in ritualistic illusions and also in corrupted beliefs such as, either converting others or serving clergy with wealth or flesh would guarantee heavens no one had ever seen. Above all, they used horrific fears to ensure compliance of all their tricks.

    Guru Nanak came out of his enlightening meditation at the Veeni River with fervent zeal to spread what he said was inspiration from the ONE Creator. He then taught that human life was a result of the millions of years of history and the experience from numerous life cycles of birth and death.

    This history manifested in the human mind and body as the warehouse of primitive and corrupted instincts all inherited from plant and animal life. They become the basis of five inner evils (lust, resentment, insatiability, attachment, and ego). Upon birth into the human form the animalistic instincts are reinforced by illusions created by self-serving materialistic cultures on one hand and the ethnic religiosity promoted by selfish clerics on the other hand. As a result the human life is mislead.

    The mislead life in the human form continues to endure pains and sufferings, but at the same time its divine inner self longs for a salvation and unity with Cosmos.

    Guru Nanak taught that suffering comes from enslavement of five inner evils. Conquering them with the sword of knowledge, and seeking of enlightenment through contemplation of the Divine, brings freedom from suffering. It will lead to achievement of a timeless bliss.

    Nanak's first pronouncement is enshrined in the first verse of the Sikh scripture. In Roman alphabet, it reads: "Ik Onkar satnam karta purakh nirbhau nirvair akal murat ajuni saibhang gurprasad." It may be explained in nutshell as follows.

    There is one eternal reality that manifests in the creation, embodying the Infinite Wisdom in the universe to give it the format of One Spirit One World. One spirit and one unified world form the basis of unity among all humans; we may experience God by experiencing that unity in the blue-print of His creation.

    In God alone can we transcend the divisions inherent in our separatist attitudes of "mine" and "yours," "us" and "them", "we" and "others."

    The God permeating in its creation may be seen as the soul within all of us and it gives us an identity of eternal truth which liberates any human from the transient identities given for worldly chores.

    Guru Nanak urged humanity to meditate on God's attributes of creativity, fearlessness, devoid of animosity or negativity towards others, freedom from time cycles, and a mind of grace.

    The idea is that if we meditate towards emulating divine attributes in our mind and behaviors, we would become god-like, awakened, liberated and productive.

    Guru Nanak claimed that there was no religion that God would patronize. Each disciple of spirituality may seek guidance from the enlightened messengers and work out his/her own patterns of religious practices to calm down the mind and insure suitable paths of salvation.

    In Nanak's religion, the company of enlightened people will facilitate the journey to salvation. No deities, mythical stories, hidden powers, or other misleading tricks of organized religions would be desired for spiritual attainments.

    Guru Nanak advocated the institution of spirituality in earthly practices, all seeking the divinity in daily practices (naam) and leading a life that shared one's possessions with others (daan). He felicitated experience of divinity at every moment and in every act of life in order to inculcate cleansing acts that purify the heart (isnaan).

    (Bhai) Harbans Lal

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  13. spnadmin

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    The Prophet of peace

    Message of Guru Nanak is inseparable from the medium and the muse

    Dr Kirat Singh Inqilabi

    Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was the Prophet of peace. On one full moon night in the month of Visak Samat 1526, Mata Tripta delivered a child. However Guru Nanak was a child with a difference. When he was five he did not play with other boys but always spoke words of wisdom.

    Thus God spoke through this boy and the belief grew stronger. When Nanak was sent to the village Mosque to learn Arabic and other subjects he astonished his teacher. At the age of sixteen he was married to Sulakhni, daughter of Mul Chand Chona of Batala. They had two sons namely Shri Chand who visited Kashmir, Lakshmi Das and the one daughter who died in her infancy.

    The whole thought of Guru Nanak springs from his understanding of the nature of God. His name is Truth. He is the creator. He is in the image of external. He is beyond birth and death. He is self existent. He can be attained by the grace of Guru. This is the key to Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of Sikhs. The ultimate essence is beyond all human categories of conception but he has also manifested himself in his creation. He is not an impersonal ultimate reality but a personal God of grace.

    The dynamic process of creation, perseverance, destruction is the expression of God's will. The crux of his message is that god is the Father and mother of all human beings. Guru Nanak was a life long pilgrim.

    Guru Nanak was a linguist and he opted for the language of the people accepting all dialects. Propagations of Mother-tongue celebrated differences in the various communities and provide them a common bond, a common language. Guru Nanak's metres and measures followed the folk songs and folk ballads familiar with the people.

    Sir Maz Arthur Macauliffe in his famous book ‘The Sikh Religion’ describes the meeting of Barham Dass Pandit with Gum Nanak at Mattan as under:

    After paying his respect, fully shaken, he sat before Guru Nanak who was sitting on a stone seat near the spring at Mattan. On seeing the Guru's dress he said, 'Is that the sort of faqir thou art? Why wearest thou leather, which is unclean? Why twist thou a rope around thy body? Why hast thou abandoned the observances of thy religion? And why eatest thou flesh and fish?"

    Nanak said, "All these are irrelevant and unimportant questions. Your mind is filled with Maya and to attain the real knowledge you shall have to shun all this.’’

    He then unburdened him of the thoughts which filled his mind. "God Himself created and recognized His Creation. He separated the earth from the sky and spread a canopy over it. He fired the heavens without Pillars by the utterances of a word having created the sun and moon. He infused His light into them. He made the wonderful play of night and day.

    Pilgrimage, religion, mediation and bathing on holy day. None of these is equal to Thee. O Go, how can I describe Thee? Though sides on a true throne: all else are subject to birth and death.

    Guru Nanak played many roles in his life. He was family man who married and had children. He was dutiful husband and a loving father.

    Sikhism believes in equality of religions. We should find no difficulty in recognising Sikhism as a distinct art of living facing new challenges to life and emerging as a true religion of mankind.

    Guru Nanak condemned the discrimination against women; he believes all are equal. He expressed his thoughts about women like this ‘of a woman we are born, and are married, and it is woman who is friend and life partner, it is woman who keeps the race going. Without her there is no human birth, and without her there is no existence possible.’ So Guru Nanak believed in the equality of woman. Woman is Janani (creator). Guru Nanak did not write verse to vindicate his poetic prowess: the song was but a 'Vista' a vision, an epiphany that ascended like a rose to the bush to claim attention. He used discourse and argument to vindicate his message. To peep in Guru Nanak's poetry means to look into the innermost spiritual states. The message of Guru Nanak is "inseparable from the medium and the muse.”

    Author is a poet of national eminence and editor of Punjabi quarterly journal Jehlum. He be mailed at drkiratsing46@rediffmail.com

  14. findingmyway

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    Here is a video that reviews the janamsakhi's

    To those who do not understand Panjabi, I apologise. I was unable to find an English version but I do have an English written document which is too long to post here. If anyone is interested in it let me know.
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  15. findingmyway

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    The most important story from Guru Nanak Dev Ji's childhood is the janeu story as it has a whole pauri dedicated to it in Asa Ki Var

    When Nanak had attained the age of nine years, his father determined to have him invested with the janeu, or sacrificial thread of the Hindus. Until a boy is so invested, he is deemed almost an outcast. When the members and relations of the family, and all the neighbours, secular and religious, had assembled, and all preliminary rites had been duly performed, Hardial, the family priest, proceeded to put the sacred thread on Nanak's neck. The boy caught the thread with his hand, and asked the priest what he was doing, and what advantage it was to put a thread of that description on him. The priest then explained that the janeu was the basis of the Hindu religion, that without it a man would only be a Sudar,[1] and that by putting it on greatness should be obtained in this world and happiness in the next. On hearing this the young Guru gave utterance to the following:--
    <dir> <dir> Make mercy thy cotton, contentment thy thread, continence its knot, truth its twist.
    That would make a janeu for the soul; if thou have it, O Brahman, then put it on me.
    It will not break, or become soiled, or be burned, or lost.
    Blest the man, O Nanak, who goeth with such a thread on his neck.
    Thou purchasest a janeu for four damris,[2] and seated in a square puttest it on;
    </dir> </dir> [1. There are four great varans or castes of Hindus--Brâhmans, the priestly class; Kshatris, the militant class; Vaisyas, the trading class; and Shûdars, the working class, the lowest of all. Of these castes there are now many subdivisions.
    2 Four damris is one paisâ of Indian, or a farthing of English money.]
    <dir> <dir> Thou whisperest instruction that the Brahman is the guru of the Hindus--
    Man dieth, the janeu falleth, and the soul departeth without it.[1]
    </dir> </dir> The priest explained that the custom of wearing a janeu had descended from the Vedic ritual, and that no Hindu could be deemed religious without wearing it. The Brahman then familiarly addressed the Guru, 'Thou art but a child of yesterday, and are we not as wise as thou? Unless thou wear this thread thou shalt be deemed a person without religion.' Guru Nanak replied:--
    <dir> <dir> Though men commit countless[2] thefts, countless adulteries, utter countless falsehoods and countless words of abuse;
    Though they commit countless robberies and villanies night and day against their fellow creatures;
    Yet the cotton thread is spun, and the Brahman cometh to twist it.
    For the ceremony they kill a goat and cook and eat it, and everybody then saith 'Put on the janeu'.
    When it becometh old, it is thrown away, and another is put on,
    Nanak, the string breaketh not if it be strong.
    </dir> </dir> The Brahman priest, on hearing this, became angry, and asked the Guru if everybody else was a fool, and he alone, who had abandoned the customs of his forefathers, was wise. He then called on the Guru to tell him what a proper janeu was. The Guru replied:--
    <dir> <dir> By adoring and praising the Name honour and a true thread are obtained.
    In this way a sacred thread shall be put on, which will not break, and which will be fit for entrance into God's court.
    </dir> </dir> [1. Âsa ki Wâr. This composition will subsequently be given in extenso, and the meaning of the word wâr explained.
    2. Lâkh. Here used for an indefinite number.]
    {p. 18}
    The Guru then wound up his instruction on the subject as follows:--
    <dir> <dir> There is no string for the sexual organs, there is no string for women;
    There is no string for the impure acts which cause your beards to be daily spat upon;
    There is no string for the feet, there is no string f or the hands
    There is no string for the tongue, there is no string for I the eyes.
    Without such strings the Brahman wandereth astray,
    Twisteth strings for the neck, and putteth them on others.
    He taketh hire for marrying;
    He pulleth out a paper, and showeth the fate of the wedded pair.
    Hear and see, ye people, it is strange
    That, while mentally blind, man is named wise.[1]

    </dir> </dir>
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