Grand celebrations planned in the USA
Dr Rajwant Singh
Washington DC, December 18, 2018
Next year is the 550th Gurpurab of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
We will celebrate his revolutionary vision to create a world that recognises fundamental truths that (a) women are equal to men (b) all people, regardless of their colour, creed, or religion, are equal and (c) that all people have a right to peacefully practice their faith.
Even in the contemporary world with all of our technology, advancement, and knowledge, Guru Nanak’s wisdom remains distinctly modern and has guided our community and millions of others for over half a millennium.
Although we as Sikhs recognise his transformative philosophy, a majority of America and the world has no idea about Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
All the while, his philosophical peers, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Mohammad, are known and extensively studied around the world.
The ‘National Sikh Campaign’ and ‘We Are Sikhs’ will pledge to focus our efforts in 2019 to educate our neighbours about Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and his vision to create a more equal society.
We hope to create the first comprehensive documentary about his life that will air on public television across the country.
We know from years of research and practice that his message of equality and tolerance will resonate with people all over the world.
However, we cannot share Guru Nanak’s message without your help.
Please consider helping us spread his story.
Donations (suggested in 10 monthly instalments of US$ 100 each or in any lumpsum can be made online at https://sikhcampaign.nationbuilder.com/contribute
Dr. Rajwant Singh is Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of the National Sikh Campaign, Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Chairman, EcoSikh, Communications Director, Sikh Human Development Foundation and many other Sikh organisation in the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
Our Staff Reporter adds:
About Guru Nanak Dev Ji
The Founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the Western Punjab village of Talwandi to a simple Hindu family.
His father, Mehta Kalian Das was an Accountant employed by the local Muslim authorities. From an early age, Guru Nanak made friends with both Hindu and Muslim children and was keen to learn the larger meaning of life.
At the age of six, he learnt Hindi, Mathematics, Muslim Literature, Persian and Arabic.
He was an unusually gifted child who learned quickly and often sought clarifications from his teachers.
Guru Nanak created a sensation when he refused to perform the ‘sacred thread ceremony’ at the age of 13 according to the Hindu custom.
He sang the following poem: “Let mercy be the cotton, contentment the thread, Continence the knot and truth the twist. O, Priest! If you have such a thread, do give it to me. It will not wear out, get soiled, burnt or lost. Blessed are those who go about wearing such a thread.”
As a young man herding the family cattle, Guru Nanak would spend long hours absorbed in meditation and in religious discussions with Muslim and Hindu holy men who lived in the forests surrounding the village.
Thinking that if bound in marriage, he may evince interest in household affairs, his parents arranged his marriage with Sulakhani, daughter of a pious merchant.
Guru Nanak did not object as he felt that married life would not conflict with spiritual pursuits. He sired two sons-Sri Chand in 1494 and Lakshmi Chand three years later.
He was persuaded by his parents to take up the job of an Accountant in charge of the stores of the Muslim Governor of Sultanpur Daulat Khan Lodi.
Guru Nanak agreed and was joined by his family and an old Muslim childhood friend Mardana, a musician by profession.
He would work during the days but meditate and sing hymns accompanied by Mardana on the rabab (a string instrument) during early and later hours of each day.
According to records, God appeared before Guru Nanak and enlightened him.
In praise of the Lord, Guru Nanak uttered, “There is but One God, His name is Truth, He is the Creator, He fears none, he is without hate, He never dies, He is beyond the cycle of births and death, He is self-illuminated, He is realised by the kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the beginning, He was True when the ages commenced and has ever been True, He is also True now.”
These words are enshrined at the beginning of the Sikh Holy Scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Nanak did not believe in a Trinity of Gods or the belief that God can be born into human form.