The Life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the Sikh Faith

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The Life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the Sikh Faith
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“Under a full moon, a child who became known to the world as “Rai Bhoi di Talvandi” (pronounced “rai boy dee tahl-vaan-dee”) and more commonly known during his adult life as “Guru Nanak Dev Ji” (pronounced “goo-roo naan-ick dev jee”) was born in 1469, a person who would grow to become the founder of the Sikh faith, the worlds 5th largest religion.

The term “guru” means “teacher” or “spiritual guide” in Sanskrit, the term “dev” means “god” in Sanskrit, and the term “ji” is a sentence particle which signifies respect, akin to “sir” or “madam” in the English language, but an accentuated version of this, as the term is considered highly polite and formal.

Nanak, a 15th century teacher, poet, and revolutionary activist preached a universal message of justice and equality for all, women’s empowerment, service to others, honest living, and devotion to nature and the environment; ideas centuries ahead of their time, yet the story remains virtually unknown throughout most of the world.

Every year, pilgrims travel to the place of Nanak’s birthplace in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, enter the sacred golden temple in Armitsar, India, and celebrate Nanak by singing his hymns at the most revered and sacred Sikh festival, Vaisakhi (pronounced “vah-sak-ee”). The central tenant of Nanak’s philosophy is that the universal creator god, referred to as “eternal truth” by name, is one and everywhere simultaneously.

Sikhism teaches the practice of not cutting one’s hair, including both upon the top of the head and facial hair alike. The turban is designed to cover this hair and represents sovereignty, like a crown which signifies unity, acting as a beacon of trust for all who see it as a person wearing a turban desires to be recognized as a trustworthy and responsible human being. In centuries past, only monarchs wore turbans in India, to represent their royal status to those they came across. The Sikh religion and subsequent culture which followed adopted this practice in an effort to promote equality, so that every person is viewed as equally important as the next.

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