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Indian Heritage & Culture

Guru Nanak Jayanti

  • 30 Nov 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The President of India has greeted the citizens on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti.

  • It is a sacred festival of the Sikh community and is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, who is believed to be born on Poornima (full moon) of the Kartika (8th month of Hindu calendar), which falls on 30th of November in 2020.

Key Points

  • Guru Nanak Dev:
    • Birth: In 1459 at Talwandi Rai Bhoe village near Lahore, which was later renamed as Nankana Sahib.
    • He was the first of the 10 gurus of Sikhism.
    • Contributions:
      • Initiated inter-faith dialogue way back in the 16th century and had conversations with most of the religious denominations of his times.
      • Wrote compositions which were included in the Adi Granth, compiled by Guru Arjan (1563-1606), the fifth Sikh guru.
        • This came to be known as Guru Granth Sahib after the additions made by the 10th sikh guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708).
      • Advocated the 'Nirguna' (devotion to and worship of formless divine) form of bhakti.
      • Rejected sacrifices, ritual baths, image worship, austerities.
      • Set up rules for congregational worship (Sangat) involving collective recitation.
      • Gave the basic mantra of ‘Ek Onkar’ to his followers and insisted on treating all human beings equally, without discriminating on the basis of caste, creed and gender.
    • Death: In 1539 at Kartarpur, Punjab.
  • Relevance of Guru Nanak Dev for Modern India:
    • Building an Egalitarian Society: His idea of equality can be deduced by the following innovative social institutions, as given by him:
      • Langar: Collective cooking and sharing of food.
      • Pangat: Partaking food without distinctions of high and low caste.
      • Sangat: Collective decision making.
    • Social Harmony:
      • According to him, the whole world is God’s creation and all are born equal. There is only one universal creator i.e. “Ek Onkar Satnam”.
      • Apart from it, forgiveness, patience, forbearance, and kindness are the core of his teachings.
    • Creating a Just Society:
      • He placed the motto of "kirat karo, naam japo and vand chhako" (work, worship and share) before his disciples.
      • He stood for karma as the basis of dharma, and he transformed the idea of spiritualism into the ideology of social responsibility and social change.
      • He advocated the concept of “dasvandh” or donating one-tenth of one’s earning among needy persons.
    • Gender Equality:
      • According to him, "Women as well as men share the grace of God and are equally responsible for their actions to him.”
      • Respect for women and gender equality is perhaps the most important lesson to be learnt from his life.
    • Bringing Peace:


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