Spiritual significance of Kartik Purnima or Guru Nanak Jayanti
Kartik month is considered very holy for performing rituals and gaining virtues. The full moon day (Poonam) of this month has special significance – as it’s celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti, i.e. the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji – the foremost guru in Sikhism, who was born in Talvandi (Nanakana Sahib) in Lahore.
Guru Nanak Ji spread the message of “One God” who dwells in each one of the God’s creations and constitutes the Eternal Truth. He set up a unique spiritual, social and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness and virtue.
When he started learning the lessons of practical life in school, he stopped at the counting of ‘one’ saying that only One Supreme Bliss is to be remembered i.e. ‘Ek Omkar’. He had started helping in his family-business at quite young age. Once, while counting goods to give those out to customers, he was into such a trance state that his conscience was deeply delved into the Almighty God; and stopping at 13 (as 13 is called as ‘terah’ in Hindi, which means: “all things belong to thee”), he distributed all the remaining goods to the customers without counting further.
It is a legend that he once went to a river and people thought that Nanak Ji was drowned; but he is said to have come out ‘Self-Realized’ after a few days. Nanak Ji spent his most of the time in public welfare and teaching people the lessons of humanity, social service etc.
Many miracles happened in his life that made him popular all over the world. It is said that he was travelling with his disciples Bhai Bala and Mardana through a forest when one of them demanded something to eat. Guru Nanak Dev Ji told him to eat some fruits from Reetha (soap-nut) tree and the obedient disciples went near the tree and ate the fruits which were, to everyone’s surprise, tasty & sweet, despite being bitter in taste generally, by nature. This incident took place near Reetha Sahib Gurudwara. ‘Meetha Reetha Sahib Gurudwara’ is also a place of great significance where Guru Nanak Dev Ji himself plucked a Reetha from a tree, which exists till date in the premises of the Gurudwara located at the confluence of the Lodhiya and Ratiya rivers. Scientists fail to apply any science or logic on such incidents.
There is another Gurdwara named Panja Sahib located in Pakistan, which is one of the most holy places of Sikhism because of the presence of a rock believed to have the hand print of Guru Nanak Dev imprinted on it.
Once Guru Nanak Dev Ji, along with Bhai Mardana reached Hasan Abdal (a historic town in Punjab, Pakistan) in summer season. Bhai Mardana felt thirsty and on his Guru’s instructions, he went to Hazrat Shah Wali Qandhari (a local saint) thrice, but he refused to quench his thirst, for he was upset with the fame of Guru Nanak Ji and ironically remarked: “Why don’t you ask your Master whom you serve?” After listening to the whole story, the Guru put aside a big rock lying nearby and a pure fountain of water sprang up and began to flow endlessly. Bhai Mardana quenched his thirst while, the fountain of Shah Wali Qandhari dried up. The Wali, in his rage threw a part of a mountain towards the Guru from the top of the hill. The Guru stopped the hurled rock with his hand, leaving his hand print in the rock. This led the Wali to be the Guru’s devotee. This holy and revered place was named Panja Sahib visited by Sikhs twice a year.
All these incidents prove that when a Self-Realized Saint says something, nature becomes bound to prove his words.
‘Sant ka kehya na jaye adha akhhar, nanak brahmgyani sabka thakur’
‘Iha uha jo mukh se bole sohi sab sach hove’
Gurudwara Chakki Sahib: Even such a great saint – Guru Nanak Dev Ji was imprisoned by Babar (Mughal emperor). He was, along with many of his fellow prisoners, forced to grind corn with hand-driven chakkis (millstones). His captors were surprised to see that the millstone used by Nanak Ji was turning, by itself, while he was simply pouring grist into the opening in the stone, as he sang songs to the Glory of One God; the Mughal soldiers brought this to the immediate attention of Babar. Babar bowed his head to the Guru and the latter forgave the former, thus giving the lesson of social service and humanity. The present building, inside the town of Eminabad, is a simple flat-roofed room with some ancillaries surrounded by a brick paved compound has a great significance.
Saints like Guru Nanak Dev Ji have been defamed by people since the universe came into existence; but this makes their true disciples closer to them and comprehends their preaching.
Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu (hereinafter ‘Bapuji’) used to quote Guru Nanak Ji’s verses in His discourses, a few of those are:
“Firat firat prabhu aaeeyo paryo tav sharnayi, Nanak ki prabhu benati to apni bhagti layi”.
Means, this ‘jeeva’ has been moving from number of birth cycles; now this jeeva prays to God, asking Him to give him the Supreme Bliss to sing His glory and be devoted and surrendered unto Him.
‘Bhay naashan durmati haran, kali me Hari ko naam; Nish din nanak jo jape, Safal hove sab kam’
That is, ‘Whoever recites the name of God everyday becomes fearless, prudent and successful in one’s deeds.’
All these verses, though written by 10 Gurus, were all compiled in ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ in the name of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. This volume was made mandatory for all Sikhs after the 10th Guru – Guru Govind Singh Ji when the Sikhism was in its final stage.
Through popular tradition, Nanak Ji’s teaching is understood to be practiced in three ways :
- Vaṇḍ Chakkō: Sharing with others, helping needy and deprived sections.
- Kirat Karō: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
- Naam Japna: Meditating on God’s name to control one’s 5 evils to eliminate suffering and live a happy life.
It is said that in that era there was no discrimination of Hinduism to Sikhism; of say two children in a family, one was made Hindu and another was Sikh. Sikhism emerged to save the nation from the mental, physical tortures to the public from assassins. Now some people also made a conflict on the statements made by the Bapuji’s spokesperson, who’d once said that all Gurus had to face defamation and Bapuji is also facing the same. Some people had projected the matter in such a way that it became controversial; though the court gave the order that this statement was not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.
Bapuji’s number of disciples hail from Sikh community and have been initiated and blessed by Him for serving the mankind. (Refer Experiences of BJP MP Mr Navjyot Singh Siddhu and Mr. Prakash Singh Badal, ex-Chief Minister of Punjab ).
The 10 Gurus in that era and Bapuji in the present era have the same motive to lead one towards the path of Supreme bliss and enlightenment.
Wish you all very a happy Guru Nanak Jayanti (Guru Nanak Dev ji’s Holy Birthday) and Kartik Poonam.