Guru Nanak: Q&A

Sikh Art by G.S. Sohan Singh –

Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the first Guru of the Sikhs. He is the founder of the Sikh religion. He lived for 70 years, from 1469-1539. He was born in Talwandi, Pakistan, where the Gurdwara of Nankana was later established. He breathed his last in Kartarpur Ravi, Pakistan where the Gurdwara of Dehra Sahib was established. His father’s name was Mehta Kalyan Chand, but he was known as Kalu Ji. His mother’s name was Mata Tripta Ji. His wife’s name was Mata Sulakhni Ji. He had two sons. His elder son was Baba Sri Chand Ji and his second son was Baba Lakshmi Das Ji.

He taught truthful living, equality, peace, tranquility and justice. He taught that there is only one God.


Who made Guru Nanak Dev a Guru?

Nanak was a Guru from the time he was born. Recognition of his destiny and divinity as a Guru did not begin to spread until he was about thirty. He disappeared one day going into the rivulet named Vaiee(n) to bathe. When he re-emerged, three days later, he had a special glow. He had received enlightenment and the command from God, and gave expression to it in the Gurbani. His stewardship as Guru had begun. He devoted himself solely to dispelling the darkness of ignorance (‘gu’), and bringing the light of understanding (‘ru’) to all.

Guru Nanak was the first Guru of the Sikhs. Before his time no one was known as a Guru.


How many missionary journeys did Guru Nanak complete in his lifetime?

He completed four journeys, called Udasis. He traveled throughout India and neighboring countries to preach the religion of truth.


How were Guru Nanak’s teachings revolutionary?

Guru Nanak taught and gave the experience of the Almighty God openly to all people, rather than a chosen few in a special priestly caste. He taught a practical way of living, rather than a philosophy, because he said “Truth is high, but higher still is truthful living” His basic principles for living were:

  1. Nam Japo – Recite the True Name of God
  2. Dharm Di Kirit Karni – Earn an honest living righteously by hard work and the sweat of your brow
  3. Vand Chhako – Share the fruits of your labor with others Guru Nanak Dev Ji stressed on honesty· and equality, saying he did not recognize caste, and he elevated the status of women. These concepts were highly revolutionary during his times. Although it was not uncommon to hear ‘talk of virtues’, such as honesty and equality by the Brahmins and Quazis, they only spoke of these principles. They concerned themselves with rituals, status and power, rather than living the virtues of which they spoke. Nanak simply taught them by practicing them.


Has the message of Guru Nanak been spread as he intended?

Only Guru Nanak Dev Ji could answer this question. However we do know we have his message clear and unpolluted in the form of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, so that all people may continue to hear and receive his timeless wisdom. His message is as applicable today as it was during his lifetime, which is perhaps why he has been called The Guru for the Aquarian l,ge. His message offers hope that all people on earth, from all of our many different religions and cultures, may learn to live together in peace and prosperity for all.


~This information was originally shared in the book Living Reality (1994) by Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Khalsa.