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Wednesday, 15 January 2014 06:53

Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev

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Guru Nanak Dev was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. 

A guru is a teacher who brings the light of knowledge to his pupils. 

They claim that at his birth, an astrologer who came to write his horoscope insisted on

 

seeing the child.

On seeing the infant, the astrologer is said to have worshipped him with clasped hands.  When Nanak was five years old, he voiced an interest in divine subjects. When he was seven, he started going to the village school.

Apparently Nanak astonished his teacher by describing the implicit symbolism of the first letter of the Persian or Arabic alphabet.  This is an almost straight stroke resembling the mathematical version of one, as denoting unity or oneness of God.

There were other accounts of strange and miraculous childhood events about Nanak such as a poisonous cobra being seen to shield the sleeping child's head from the harsh sunlight.

Most of Nanak's teachings appear in the Guru Granth, a vast collection of revelatory verses.

Nanak's teaching is understood to be practiced in three ways:

Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God)Earning or making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraudSharing with others, helping those with less who are in need.

Towards the end of his life Nanak would frequently test the devotion of his sons and nearest followers.  One particular devotee, Lehna, never faltered in his faith in Nanak.  Nanak proclaimed Lehna as the successor Guru and renamed him Angad, meaning limb or ones very own. This act of succession wasn't a mere gesture. There was a transformation, compared in Sikh tradition as the passing of a flame from one candle to another, where the Guru-aspect of Nanak descended upon Angad.   In effect Angad became Nanak and according to the Guru Granth there was even a physical manifestation whereby Angad in person suddenly appeared to look like Nanak.

The Sikhs believe that although there were ten separate Gurus in physical form, there was actually only one single Guru whose metamorphosised light moved from one successor or vessel to the next, granting a kind of rebirth to those personalities on their initiation. That is why all gurus held the original name of Nanak.

Shortly after proclaiming Lehna as the next Guru, Nanak announced that he was going to die.  He sat under a tree in the lotus position while the life force was guided upwards and outwards from his body.

Read 1236 times Last modified on Friday, 14 February 2014 07:52
Elsabe Smit

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