WHO IS GURU NANAK IN THE SIKH RELIGION?

Born in 1469, in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the first guru and founder of the Sikh religion – the fifth-largest religion in the world. Born into a Hindu family of a high caste, Guru Nanak had a revelatory experience at a young age, denounced his faith and caste, and realized that “there is one God and one human race.”

He traveled extensively to spread his belief that we can find the divinity within each of us through prayer, humility, service, meditation, and virtuous living. He was a poet, a mystic, a philosopher, and a singer who denounced ritualism as well as discrimination against women and those of lower socioeconomic status. Guru Nanak’s followers became known as Sikhs, which means seekers of truth.

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GURU NANAK

The Founder of Sikhism: Life and Legacy

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GURU NANAK’S TEACHINGS IN SIKHISM

Guru Nanak impressed upon his followers the oneness of all things. In order to achieve peace and become closer to God during their temporary time on Earth, Sikhs believe we must work at and practice certain important behaviors. Guru Nanak taught his followers to live honestly, treat everyone equally regardless of gender, religion, etc., respect the environment, and give back to the community through service.

Guru Nanak preached total equality for people of every race and gender. Guru Nanak instituted three practices to promote equality: Sangat, meaning all can pray together, Pangat, all can eat together, and Langar, distributing free food to rich and poor alike. These customs are still practiced today.
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Guru Nanak insisted that women deserved the same treatment as men. The holy scriptures of Sikhism state that women are entitled to the same rights and privileges as men, and women are allowed to lead congregations, as well as serve as spiritual leaders in the Sikh faith.
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There is a famous saying of Guru Nanak’s: “Truth is high, but higher still is truthful living.” By this he means that living truthfully, showing devotion to truth through one’s behavior and actions, brings one closer to spiritual awakening and to God. Righteousness and morality are central to the practice of Sikhism.
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Guru Nanak taught that God is within all people and therefore, serving people is serving God. He encouraged his followers to live normal, compassionate lives in tandem with the larger society. Seva, (service to the wider community) and volunteerism towards all people, especially those less privileged or underserved, is a key goal set for all Sikhs.
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Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of living in harmony with the Earth, teaching that all life is in unity with one another and that the Earth and universe are sacred. He taught that the reality we create around us is a reflection of our inner state, and in order to live in resonance and oneness with the planet, we must ascend to a higher spiritual state through a respect for all of God’s creation.
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THE BASICS OF SIKHISM

Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest religion with more than 25 million Sikhs worldwide. The Sikh Gurus, known as spiritual guides or teachers, established the religion. Guru Nanak was the first Guru and was born in the 15th century in the Punjab region of India. Sikhs believe in the oneness of all beings and the equality of everyone. 

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