Sikh History & Personalities

What was the mission of Guru Nanak Dev Ji?

Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in Talwandi, a village in Panjab, in 1469 at a critical period of Indian history. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born to reveal and propagate the Light of Truth in the world and to carry out the Divine Message of awakening the people with Divine Word (Gurbani).

The Lodi rulers wallowed in luxury and did not care for the affairs of State and welfare of their subjects. Their weakness and sloth brought Babar on to the Indian scene. Guru Nanak Dev Ji protested against the foreign domination and warned the rulers that if they did not look into the grievances of the people, they would meet the punishment they deserved.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji challenged the fanaticism and intolerance of the Muslims, of his time. During his visit to Mecca, he made the Kazis realize that God’s house is everywhere and not only in the direction of the Kaaba. Similarly, Guru Nanak Dev Ji also exposed the meaningless ritual and caste prejudices prevalent among the Hindus. He demonstrated to them the fallacy of feeding Brahmins at the time of the performance of the Sharaadh. At Hardwar, in a very amusing way, he exposed the folly of offering water to the manes of ancestors.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s life may be divided into three parts. The first period of 30 years was spent at Talwandi and Sultanpur as a householder. The second period of 22 years was spent in missionary travels far and wide and for the third and the last period of 18 years he stayed at Kartarpur for the benefit of his followers. He established places of worship called Dharamsalas. Wherever he went, he urged people to perform acts of charity and render services to the poor and the needy.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji propagated the equality of man. He treated Hindus and Muslims alike. He went to their important shrines and explained to them the true way of spiritual life. He opposed the distinctions of caste. He called himself a member of the lowest caste.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji insisted on living a house-holder’s life. The path of renunciation or Sanyaas is the way of escapism and defeat. Man must do his worldly duties and at the same time keep his spirit detached from worldly things.

Finding that his end was approaching, Guru Nanak Dev Ji tested his disciples and passed the throne of Guru and infused the Divine consciousness & Light onto the most worthy of them, Guru Angad Dev Ji, in 1539.