Standfirst: 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.
Sikhs will mark his 550th Birth Anniversary on November 12, 2019.
In Auckland, Ethnic Communities Minister and Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister hosted an event to pay tribute to Guru Nanak on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust in Onehunga.
Ms Salesa and Ms Radhakrishnan extolled the teachings of Guru Nanak, stating that they were relevant even today.
“Guru Nanak is one of the greatest leaders of all times and we are proud of our Sikh community which has contributed to the growth and progress of New Zealand. Guru Nanak taught human values which we must cherish and promote,” they said.
Jasjit Singh was the main speaker at the event. The following is an extract of his speech which included a Power Point Presentation.
About Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak was the Founder of Sikhism, the youngest and fifth largest religion in the world. Guru Nanak is known as the world’s greatest philosophers, revolutionary, activist, social reformer and a spiritual teacher.
Born into a simple Hindu family (on April 15, 1469), he showed signs of uniqueness even in his early years. His father Mehta Kalian Das was an accountant in the employment of the local Muslim authorities. From an early age, Guru Nanak made friends with both Hindu and Muslim children and was keen to learn and practice the meaning of life.
Those were one of the darkest periods of Indian history. Evil and injustice reigned, the society was deeply divided by casteism, ritualism and shackled by the chains of religious and political tyranny.
He was a fearless and outspoken critic of injustice and rose against the cruelty of the rulers. This revolutionary outspokenness was seen as a threat by the rulers and Guru Nanak was imprisoned by Babar, who invaded India and brutalised the Hindu and Muslim population.
He laid the foundation for a universal religious vision when he proclaimed the message of ‘Ik Onkar,’ meaning One Spiritual Reality, symbolising Oneness of God.
He said that he was neither a Hindu nor a Muslim but a servant of God who had come to deliver His message.
According to Guru Nanak, religion supports and promotes life, love for God and His creation, service to mankind, dedication and truthfulness.
He lost no opportunity to condemn mindless rituals, bigotry and the caste system.
He said there is only one caste and that is humanity.
Guru Nanak strongly disapproved of asceticism and life of deprivation.
He revolutionised the system by introducing the concept of Langar (Community Meal) in which people of all castes, creeds and faiths sat together to eat a meal. This was a very bold step as eating together by people of different castes was taboo and never heard of before. This tradition of langar is followed in all Gurdwaras all over the world. The Golden Temple in Amritsar in the Indian State of Punjab feeds up to 100,000 people every day which is a world record.
Guru Nanak was believed to be the second most travelled person in the world at that time. He covered more than 28,000 kilometres by foot and boat. He taught people how to practically approach God. He spent all his life teaching and helping people, He journeyed west through Mecca and Baghdad, North to Afghanistan and Tibet, East to Assam and Bangladesh and South all the way to Sri Lanka. He eventually settled down in Kartarpur in Punjab, which is now in Pakistan.
Sofia Kaur of the Young Sikh Professionals Network was the Master of Ceremonies at the event held on October 26, 2019. Among the other speakers were Harsimran Kaur and Dr Malvindar Singh Bains who spoke on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, which were among the important teachings of Guru Nanak.
An Interfaith Panel comprising Anwar Taufeek (Islam), Reverend Bruce Keeley (Christianity) and Nitika Sharma (Hindu) spoke about the universality of the teachings of Guru Nanak.
Greetings from Us
Indian Newslink salutes the Sikh community for their hard work and strenuous efforts to achieve success in every endeavour they undertake and offers them best wishes for their continued progress and prosperity.
The management and staff of this newspaper also extend their best wishes to the community on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev JI.
The teachings of the great religious leader and founder of the Sikh religion will forever be the leading light of the community.
Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa with (from left) Samrath Singh, Harsimran Kaur, Chani Kaur, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Jasjit Singh and Sukrit Singh