Guru Nanak remains a Guru for Humanity. He is a Guru to anyone who wishes to learn, a Sikh, a learner.
It is interesting to note that out of the three fundamental principles of life enunciated by the first Sikh Guru, meditation or reciting and singing the name of the formless one is only the second principle, not the first. The first principle he laid down was hard and honest work while the equally important third one is sharing the fruits of your labour before you consume them.
Enunciated some five hundred years ago, they are as follows:
* Kirat Karo (Work hard)
* Naam Japo (Meditate on the Lord , sing His name)
* Vand Chhako (Share before you consume)
The Word or Bani of Guru Nanak embodies a simple, natural and universal spirituality that cuts across all divisions of caste and creed, gender or race, language or ethnicity, culture or geographical boundaries.
Bhai Gurdas, the first chronicler of Guru Nanak, was clear in telling us that teachings of the Guru were meant for everyone.
Khatri Baahman Suud Vais
Updesh Chaau Varna ko Saanjha
(The teachings are common to all four castes: Be it the warrior - landlord kshatriyas , the scholar- priestly Brahmins , the so-called untouchables, the Shudras or the trader-moneylender Vaishyas - all with no distinction)
Bhai Gurdas also recalled a conclave where Hindu priests and Muslim Maulavis cornered Guru Nanak and challenged him to negate the supremacy of their own religion. Is the Hindu greater or the Muslim in the eyes of God?
The Guru’s disarming reply was that without performing good deeds in this life, both would have to weep in the end and neither would find refuge with the Almighty.
The Guru also preached gender equality, frowned on practices like Sati and clearly did not subscribe to the prevailing idea that women were inferior to men.
“From woman man is born
In her he is conceived
To a woman man is married
It is woman he befriends
It is a woman who takes forward the race, or man’s legacy
If his woman dies , man looks for another woman
It is to a woman that he is tied in relationship
Why call her inferior
Who gives birth to kings ?”
Nor was the Guru impressed with restrictions or injunctions on food and clothing.
Haqq Paraaya Nanaka
Uss suuar, Uss gaaye
(It is the eating up of others’ rights ( Haqq Paraya) / Unjustly snatching what belongs to others / That is what pork Eating is to the one / and Beef eating to the other).
Injustice is the real sin and should be taboo for all men.
Na Koyi Hindu
Nanak ka Guru
There is no Hindu
Praise be to the Formless One
Truth is the creator
The Guru of Nanak
Is the formless One
Guru Nanak’s words of revelation were pronounced after he is said to have emerged from the Bein river at Sultanpur Lodhi near Kapurthala in Punjab after having disappeared in its waters for three days. He was believed to have drowned and was presumed dead.