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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaaj Da Parkaash Puraab

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaaj Da 538th Parkaash Puraab
Happy Gurpurab to all Sangat!

On November 24, 2007 many millions of spiritually inclined people around the planet will celebrate the 538th birth anniversary of the most widely respected of saints in the world, Baba Nanak. Baba ji was born in 1469 and brought a universal message of peace, love, unity, mutual respect, service and dedication to all of humankind. He turned people from violence to peace; he converted tyrants into compassionate beings; and he changed painful societies' into blissful communities. People of all faiths listened to his message and all gained from his wise and sacred words.

Out of respect for his wisdom and fascination for his beautiful poetry, many thousands of followers heeded his words and changed their way of life. Today in these violent and turbulent times, many millions continue to gain from his spiritual insight and lead a tranquil and peaceful existence treading on the path that he established – his teaching enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib are a beacon to many millions in the world. He never asked anyone to change their religion; all he said was "If you desire eternal bliss, O Nanak, ever remember the Lord in meditation" .He asked all to mend their ways, to remember God and do good deeds.
The message of Nanak is today propagated throughout the world in the sacred words of the Guru Granth Sahib which says "… I teach both Hindus and Muslims" and "The Muslim God Allah and the Hindu God Paarbrahm are one and the same" . To the Hindus, the Guru says: "He is a true Pandit (Hindu priest), who instructs his own mind" and to the Muslim, "Repeat the prayer of good deeds, and then, you may call yourself a Muslim" Nanak's achievements have been recognised by peoples of all faiths and much respect is showered on this "Saint of God". The Supreme body of the Bahá’í faith have called Nanak: "….saint of the highest order". The Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama said, "Saints like Guru Nanak make their presence in this weary world in order to show the right path to the suffering humanity by their personal sacrifice and example. The message of Guru Nanak was a great blessing at a time when India was facing a great crisis".

Sikhs must cease to think of their faith as just another good religion and must begin to think in terms of Sikhism being the religion of this new age". Ms. Pearl Buck, Nobel laureate in her foreword to the translation of the holy Sikh scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib wrote, "Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes. They speak to persons of any religion or of none. They speak for the human heart and the searching mind."

Bhai Gurdas writes about the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, “With the birth of Guru Nanak, the mist of ignorance and falsehood disappeared and there was the light of righteousness in the world.” Satgur Nanak pargatya miti dhundh jagg chanan hoa. ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਿਆ ਮਿਟੀ ਧੁੰਧ ਜਗ ਚਾਨਣ ਹੋਆ ॥ ਜਿਉਂ ਕਰ ਸੂਰਜ ਨਿਕਲਿਆ ਤਾਰੇ ਛਪੇ ਅੰਧੇਰ ਪਲੋਆ ॥ (Bhai Gurdas Var 1.27)

Baba Nanak's message of the unity of all humankind and the need for all the peoples of the world to become better human beings irrespective of their religion is a world first. No other religion in the world promotes other faiths so broadly and so profusely; only Nanak welcomes peoples of all faiths to his domain. Nanak says, "In the Company of the Guru, all the people of the world are saved" . He does not single out any particular faith as inferior or superior; he says, "All people are saved through the Naam, the Name of the Lord" and also "That mortal being is supreme among all people, who is perfumed by the fragrance of the Lord's Name" . He asks for "All people [to] praise the One Lord" The remembrance of the Lord's Name is highlighted over and over again. The mortal being can only gain spiritually by doing good deeds and treading on the path of righteousness – not by performing useless rituals in blind faith. "Only the good deeds which you have done shall remain with you, O my soul" say Baba Nanak and also "Pilgrimages, fasts, purification and self-discipline are of no use, nor are rituals, religious ceremonies or empty worship"

Many millions will celebrate the birthday of the great Guru, spiritual teacher during the coming week. In every major city in the world, celebrations will take place. Officials in Pakistan Punjab estimated that more than 25,000 Sikhs are likely to visit the sacred Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Nanak from across the globe during November to celebrate the Parkash Divas (birthday) of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of the Sikhs.


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Friday, November 09, 2007

Bandi Chaur Divaas, Diwaali

Sikhs celebrate Diwali by celebrations takeing place to mark the Sikh celebration of Bandi Chorh Divas.
Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhorh Divas to mark the return of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was freed from imprisonment and also managed to release 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) at the same time from the famous fort of Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir in October, 1619.

So the Kings/rajahs were freed and the Guru became known popularly as the "Bandi Chor" (Deliverer from prison). He arrived at Amritsar on the Diwali day and the HarMandar (also known as the "Golden Temple") was lit with hundreds of lamps (Devai) to celebrate his return and hence the day came to be known as the "Bandi Chhor Divas" (the day of freedom).

Sikhs also celebrate Diwali becuase this was the day that the first foundation stone of Shir Harimandar Sahib was laid. These celebrations are carried out across the World were ever there are Sikhs.