Guru Nanak jayanti: Gurupurab a holy festival for Sikhs

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Guru Nanak Jayanti is one of the most important festivals of Sikhism and is also called Gurupurab. The festival marks the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Saheb Ji, he was the founder and first Guru of Sikhism. All the Sikh community across the world memorize this day by taking out processions, reciting hymns and reading the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikh). This day is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Kartik (month of October or November) according to the Hindu calendar. Guru Nanak was the first in line from the 10 Sikh gurus and one of the prime one and this day is to mark his contribution.

Guru Nanak’s Childhood

Gurupurab: The childhood days of Guru Nanak Ji

Guru Nanak Ji was born to Kalyan Das Mehta and Matta Tripat. He was always in a spiritual quest from an early age. He was asked to wear the sacred thread which was the symbol of upper caste Hindus, to which he refused. He did not believe in shallow aspects of religion and was rebellious. He considered wearing God’s name in the heart that would always remove pure.

He worked as a shopkeeper in the granary of Daulat Khan Lodi in Sultanpur. He met a person named Mardana, a Muslim servant. As they got together, they organized a gathering for Muslims and Hindus where they sang hymns to praise the creator. Guru Nanak was married at the age of 18 and also had 2 sons. The turning point in his life came at the age of 28 when he disappeared for 3-days and upon returning revealed that there is no Hindu and no Muslim, for everyone there is only one God who is formless and could be worshiped by any name. The constant remembrance of God also referred to as “naamsimran” is the only way to liberation, he preached.

His teachings stood in contrast with the religious practices of his time and became a part of Guru Granth Sahib which was declared as the holy book of the Sikhs. He died at the age of 70 but before that he appointed Guru Angad as his successor.

Celebrating Guru Nanak Jayanti

How Gurupurab is celebrated?

The celebration lasts for 3 days. There is a ritual in Sikhism to commence a religious procession from Gurudwaras which is carried out in the early morning of the previous day of the festival and proceeds towards the localities. That is lead by the Panj Pyares, the 5-armed guards. These guards’ head the procession that carries the Sikh flag known as the Nishan Sahib along with Guru Granth Sahib (a holy book) and is set in a Palki (Palanquin) ornamented with flowers on the day of Gurupurab.

Devotees begin the main celebration on the day of the festival with the recitation of the holy book Guru Granth Sahib and the non-stop reading will continue for 48 hours in the Gurudwara. This continuous recitation of the Guru Granth is known as Akhand Path.

The Gurudwara hall also conducts the Kirtan-Darbars and Amrit Sanchar ceremonies, a special thing on this day. Free sweets and community lunches are offered to everyone irrespective of religious faith. All the young and old women, men and even children participate in this Karseva as service to the community by cooking food and distributing it in the ‘Guru ka Langar’, with the traditional ‘Karah Prasad’.

To sum it up, Guru Nanak Gurpurab is celebrated in remembrance to the holy Guru and is a reminder for the devotees to overcome the five vices namely lust, attachment, greed, anger and pride. His teachings are followed by his devotees and are encouraged for a selfless service towards God.

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