To millions of Sikhs around the world, Guru Nanak is the prime teacher, philosopher and guide who gave them a religion, enriching their moral, social and educational characteristics. Regarded as one of the most renowned religious leaders of all times, Guru Nanak gave humanity some of the most precious values that are essential to promote harmony, peace, goodwill and understanding.
As Sikhs mark his 543rd birth anniversary on November 28, 2012, tens of thousands of people, representing not only the Sikh religion but also other faiths, will assemble at Gurdwaras around the world and pay tributes to one of the greatest religious leaders of the world.
Ministers, businesspersons and community leaders would be among them.
They would also pay tributes to the Sikh community that has been one of the most active participants in the progress of the country’s progress and prosperity.
As the first settlers representing the Indian community, dating back to more than 115 years, Sikhs have been epitomes of hard work, dedication, devotion.
Over the years, they have established themselves as farmers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, businesspersons, government officials and in other vocations.
Among our most celebrated personalities are members of the Sikh community.
As well as being successful in any venture that they undertake, Sikhs are known to preserve and promote their traditional and religious values.
The Gurudwars that they have built around the country bear testimony to their penchant for keeping alive the teachings of their Gurus.
It is therefore fitting that the Sikh community marks the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji every year with enthusiasm and religious fervour.
Sri Kalgidhar Sahib
Thousands of members and volunteers of the Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand (which owns the Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sikh Sangat Gurdwara in Otahuhu and the Sri Kalgidhar Sahib in Takanini) will participate in Guru Nanak Jayanti on November 28.
Spokesman Daljit Singh said that the event this year will comprise Kirtans, discourses and readings from the Guru Granth Sahib.
“We expect more than 5000 men, women and children to listen to Kirtans, rendered by two prominent singers from India and the ‘Kavishri’ conducted by scholars, also from India. The programme would include a Baptist Ceremony at the two Gurdwaras,” he said.
Mr Singh said that Sri Kalgidhar Sahib will wear a festive look with the members of the community and others displaying solemnity that the occasion deserves.
“There would be popular games played at the Gurdwara grounds in Takanini on the day of Guru Nanak Jayanti. The festival is open to all,” he said.
Similar festivities will be held at Sri Dasmesh Darbar Gurdwara (166 Kolmar Road) Papatoetoe, Sri Nanaskar Thath Isher Darbar (read separate story in this Special Report) in Manurewa and other Centres, including Hamilton, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch.
The festivities in the Sikh religion revolve around the anniversaries of the 10 Sikh Gurus, known as ‘Guruparabs.’ These Gurus were responsible for shaping the beliefs of the Sikhs. Their anniversaries are celebrated with great dedication and devotion. On the auspicious occasion of Guru Nanak Dev and indeed all Guruparabs, free sweets and langar (community lunches) are offered to everyone irrespective of religious faith. Men, women, and children, participate in this ‘Karseva’ as service to the community, cook food and distribute it in the ‘Guru ka Langar,’ with the traditional ‘Karah Prasad.’
The Sikhs also visit Gurdwaras where special programmes are held and religious songs are sung in praise of Guru Nanak. Houses and Gurdwaras are lit up to add to the festivities. The most sacred shrine of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple, located in the city of Amritsar, in Punjab, where Sikhs comprise the majority of the population. The Golden temple is named after its dome, which is covered completely with 400 kg of gold leaf.
Guru Nanak served as a beacon light for his age. He was a great seer, saint and mystic. A prolific poet and a unique singer of God’s laudation, he was the messenger of peace, love, truth and renaissance.
Even in his childhood, Guru Nanak had a mystic disposition and he used to talk about God with saints. He had a contemplative mind and a pious nature. He began to spend his time in meditation and spiritual practices. He was, by habit, reserved.
Guru Nanak ideas were ahead of his times. His universal message is as fresh, true even today as it was in the past, and Sikhs all over the world practice what he preached, to reaffirm their beliefs in the teachings of their founder.
He believed in and preached the concept of one God, one without any physical form.
That is why the Sikhs do not worship idols.
Guru Nanak became part of India’s progressive movement from medievalism to modernity. He pioneered a change in religious beliefs creating new convictions and fervour among his followers.
He came to the world with a message of peace, unity, love and devotion to God. He came at a time when the Hindus and the Muslims were at loggerheads and at a time when real religion was believed to be mere rituals and forms.
He came to preach the gospel of peace, brotherhood or the unity of humanity, love and sacrifice.