History of Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak Dev was born on 15th April 1469 in the village called Rai Bhoi Di Talwandi (present Nankana Sahib) near Lahore in Pakistan. The entire life history of Guru Nanak Dev is steeped in legends. Right from his birth, he showed traits of a great personality. It is said that an astrologer called upon his birth expressed his sorrow at the fact that he would not live to see the miraculous deeds of Guru Nanak Dev.

Teachings and Legends of Guru Nanak

There are several legends that associate themselves with Guru Nanak Dev. Each of them only concretizes the fact more strongly that his entire life was a struggle to aid the mankind to discover the path of righteousness and to eradicate the darkness of superstitions and ill-beliefs prevalent at his time.

The rampant issues of the time like caste system and practice of sati (burning a widow with her dead husband) were severely criticized by him and he traveled in all the four directions giving rational explanations against the misleading rituals and blind faith to the people. Above all, he was a prime advocate of humanity and brotherhood.

Legends of Guru Nanak Dev

Sacha Sauda (True business)

When Guru Nanak Dev was twelve years old, his father, Mehta Kalyan Das decided to involve young Nanak in the business and test his aptitude for the same. He gave Guru Nanak Dev 20 rupees which was a huge amount at that time and asked him to do some business with it. Guru Nanak Dev utilized the sum to feed the poor and hungry saints and when he was asked for an explanation by his father, he explained that there can’t be a better business than to feed the poor and needy. Thus, it was established that Guru Nanak was born with a golden heart which concerned for everyone.

The Legend at Mecca

Guru Nanak Dev once traveled to Mecca, and was sitting with his feet towards the holy place. The Moulvi (highly qualified scholar of Islam) came running and shouted at him for placing his feet towards the God’s abode. Guru Nanak Dev asked him politely to move his feet in the direction where there was no God. To the utter surprise of moulvi, in whichever direction he moved the feet of the Guru, Mecca seemed to shift to that direction. The Guru’s motive behind the whole incident was to make the moulvi realize that there is no particular place where God can be located, he is omnipresent and lives within.

Teaching at Haridwar

When Guru Nanak Dev visited Haridwar during one of his Udasis (journeys taken by him to enlighten people), he saw people following a ritual of throwing the water of River Ganga towards the sun. When he asked them as to what was the significance of this practice, they replied that the water thrown will reach their ancestors in heaven. Guru Ji didn’t say anything. The following day, he started throwing water of River Ganga towards West and when asked about it, Guru Nanak replied that if the water can reach heavens, why it can’t reach to his fields in Punjab which are a lot closer. Thus, he helped people overcome their superstitions in a very practical way.

Lesson to Malik Bhago

On reaching the town of Saidpur, Guru Ji received an invitation from Malik Bhago to stay at his place. Malik Bhago was very rich and influential person of the town. Guru Ji instead chose to stay at the house of a poor carpenter named Bhai Lalo. Malik Bhago’s pride was hurt and he sent his men to fetch the Guru. Guru Nanak Dev went to his place and when asked by him for the reason of not staying at his place, the Guru replied that he was a dishonest person who made his living out of treachery and fraud; this is the reason why the Guru restrained from staying at his place. When asked to prove his point, the Guru held two different breads, one from Malik Bhago’s house and the other from Bhai Lalo’s house in both his hands. When he squeezed them, blood flowed out of Malik Bhago’s bread whereas milk flowed out of Bhai Lalo’s bread. Thus, the guru proved his point and Malik Bhago realized his mistake and spent rest of his life with honesty.

There are several other instances when Guru Nanak Dev threw light to some of the very vital facts of existence which went unnoticed by the preceding ages. Whether it is teaching a pandit that body is only a garment to the soul, or giving the three golden rules of Vand Chakna (eating while sharing), Kirat Karna (importance of hardwork) and Naam Japna (necessity to remember the almighty), Guru Nanak Dev proved an instrumental saint and preacher to bring people out of their misconceptions in an age which badly required one such preacher.

Last Updated on : November 21, 2018