Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday is celebrated by Sikhs on 15th Kartik Puranmashi (full moon day of the Kartik month). The founder and first Nanak of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Sahib was born on April 15, 1469.
About Guru Nanak
Mehta Kalyan Das was Guru Nanak�s father and he was the Chief Accountant and agent of Rai Bular. Guru Nanak�s mother, Mata Tripta was a very pious and simple woman. Nanak�s elder sister Nanki, always appreciated him.
Right from childhood, Nanak was extra-ordinary. He had the gift of a meditative mind and rational thinking. He acquired the knowledge of Hindi and Sanskrit at the young age of seven. By the age of 16, Nanak became the best-learned youth in his region. He married Mata Sulakhni ji and had two sons, Lakshmi Das and Sri Chand.
Nanak�s service to Humanity
In August 1507 and at the age of 38, Nanak received a calling from God to serve humanity, after bathing in �Vain Nadi� (near Sultanpur Lodhi). He realized that �there is no Hindu and no Muslim�.
He then made long travels to preach his divine doctrine of Sikhism. His four long tours covered various religious destinations in India and abroad and are known as the �Char Udasis� of Guru Nanak. The places he visited for preaching included Haridwar, Gaya, Prayag, Varanasi, Dhubri, Patna, Puri, Dacca, Mathura, Ujjain, Lahore, Bilaspur, Kargil, Tibet, Ladakh, Ceylon, Turkey, Kabul and many other religious places.
The Muslim holy places he visited include Mecca, Medina, Son Miani, Peshawar Sakhar, Baghdad and more. Guru Nanak appointed committed followers and made the people conceive the basic tenets of Sikhism. He successfully sowed the seeds across India and abroad.
When Babar attacked India in 1520, numerous innocent people were killed and children and women were captured. Guru Nanak disapproved of this act vehemently and was arrested. Gradually, Babar realized the heinous deed committed by him and released Nanak along with the other prisoners. Before his death in 1539, Guru Nanak established the Second Nanak Bhai Lehna ji (Guru Angad Sahib).
Guru Nanak upheld the cause of the poor, downtrodden and the women. He attacked both the theocracy of the Muslims and the Hindu caste system. He was also a good poet and a musician. He wrote many hymns and composed a lot of tunes.
During his lifetime, Guru Nanak abandoned the path of renunciation (Tyaga). He also rejected the Hindu caste system and the authority of the Vedas. He led a simple life, free from the gross materialism. The basic concepts of Sikhism installed by Nanak are the services of mankind � Sewa, Satsang, Kirtan and Faith in the One and Only God.
Nanak had a new vision of God as universal, supreme, truthful and all�powerful. He preached that God is all knowing, infinite, all-giver, omnipotent and true.
Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday like all the birthdays of the 10 Sikh gurus is called a �Gurpurab�. Sikhs pray and celebrate on the Gurpurabs. The celebration for the gurpurabs continues for three days. Usually, two days prior to the birthday, the �Akhand Path� or the forty-eight hour non-stop reading session of the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib is held in the Gurdwaras.
A day before the Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday the Panj Pyaras or the five beloved ones organize a procession. Carrying the Sikh flag, they head the procession. The procession includes the singing of hymns and the playing of different tunes by the brass bands. Swordsmanship is also displayed.
After the morning hymns and the exposition of the scripture on the Gurpurab day, the Sikhs enjoy a community lunch arranged by the Gurdwaras. This activity symbolizes the offering of food for bhakti (devotion) and seva (service).
The celebrations are the best in Punjab and Haryana. The Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday or the Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated by the Sikhs all through the world.