Sri Guru Nanak
Dev Ji (The Gurus)
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Guru Nanak was born in Talwandi, a village in
Punjab, in 1469 at a critical period of Indian history. The Lodi
rulers wallowed in luxery and did not care for the affairs of State and
welfare of their subjects. Their weakness and sloth brought Babar
on to the Indian scene. Guru Nanak protested against foreign domination
and warned the rulers that if they did not look into the grievances of
the people, they would meet the punishment they deserved.
Guru Nanak challenged the fanaticism and intolerance
of the Muslims, of his time. During his visit to Mecca, he made the
Kazis realise that God's house is everywhere and not only in the direction
of the Kaaba. Similarly, Guru Nanak also exposed the meaningless
ritual and caste prejudices prevalent among the Hindus. He demonstrated
to them the fallacy of feeding Brahmins at the time of the performance
of the Sharaadha. At Hardwar, in very amusing way, he exposed the
folly of offering water to the manes of ancestors.
Guru Nanak's life may be divided into three parts.
The first period of 30 years was spent at Talwandi and Sultanpur as a housholder.
The second period of 22 years was spent in missionary travels far and wide
and for the third and last period of 18 years he stayed at Kartarpur for
the benifit of the followers. He established places of worship called
Dharamsalas. Wherever he went, he urged people to perform acts of
charity and render services to the poor and the needy.
Guru Nanak propagated the equality of man.
He treated Hindus and Muslims alike. He went to their important shrines
and explained to them their true way of spirtual life. He opposed
the distinctions of caste. He called himself a member of the lowest
Guru Nanak insisted on Grahsta- living a house-holder's
life. The path of renunciation or Sanyas is the way of escapism and
defeat. Man must do his worldly duties and at the same time keep
his spirit detached from worldly things.
Finding that his end was approaching, Guru Nanak
tested his disciples and passed Gurudom into the most worthy of them, Guru
Angad, in 1539.