Life of Guru Nanak

Sikh Art by G.S. Sohan Singh –

As was customary in India in the 1400s, an astrologer was called to cast the horoscope for a newborn infant. He amazed everyone by saying, “This is no ordinary child. This infant is a divine incarnation.” He predicted that this soul would have a profound influence on the world. The astrologer was definitely right, for the child grew up to be Guru Nanak, the first in the line of Sikh Gurus.

Born in a culture where people lived by the caste system and looked to the priesthood and so-called “holy men” as their connection to God, Nanak and his companion Mardana, who was born a Muslim, traveled on  foot  over  thousands  of  miles  across  India  and  Asia  to  enlighten  people  with  simple  songs  of  devotion.  Everywhere they went, people’s hearts were opened and filled with the love of God and humanity.

In  addition  to  being  a  poet  and  a  singer,  Guru  Nanak  was  a  great  saint,  seer,  mystic,  and  prophet.  He rejected the notion of divisions between people based on religion. He taught that there is only One Creator who created all of us, so there exists a fundamental brotherhood and sisterhood among all human beings. His simple but profound teachings were firmly rooted in the basic divine identity of all people. When lived with awareness of the Divine Light within everyone, human life becomes a profound experience of love and truth, bringing patience, peace, and contentment. His universal message is as true today as it was then. Listening to his words and songs, we are reminded of who we really are, just as his listeners discovered then.

Guru Nanak achieved enlightenment sometime around the age of 30. After disappearing into a river and meditating  in  the  water  for  three  days,  he  emerged  having  had  a  powerful  vision  of  the  nature  of  reality,  divinity,  and  human  existence.  He  sang  that  vision  in  the  song  known  as  Japji  Sahib—the  “Song  of  the  Soul.” Described in his own words, Japji Sahib gives a rare picture of what a Master experienced at the moment of his enlightenment. It became the foundation of a new spiritual tradition.

Guru Nanak traveled extensively. He brought together people from all walks of life, from beggars and thieves to kings and slaves. After his travels, he formed what today we would call a “commune” or “spiritual community” at a small village called Kartarpur (City of God), where he lived as a farmer with his family, working side by side in the fields each day with his students and continuing to teach everyone who came to learn from him.

~ Heroes, Saints and Yogis (2012) by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa and Guruka Singh Khalsa.