Remembering a Saint on his 550th Birth Anniversary

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“There is no Muslim, there is no Hindu”, were the first words uttered by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, after attaining enlightenment. 550 years later, these words are as significant as they were back then- a testament to this saint’s wonderful philosophy.

Baba Nanak was born in difficult times, with the Mughals exercising a violent reign over large parts of North India, and Hindus steeped in a centuries old patriarchal and rigid caste system. His simple message of equality, peace and religious harmony was the need of the hour then, as it is today. His deeds matched his words, and he attracted disciples in large numbers during his widespread travels. These were people looking to break free from societal shackles and rampant social evils such as the caste system, the deplorable treatment of women, communal hatred and its resulting atrocities. Later, these disciples formed the basis of the Sikh congregation, which grew under the able guidance of the Sikh gurus, eventually flourishing as a world-wide community. In modern times, the holy book, known as the Guru Granth Sahib, acts as guide for the Sikhs.

Having been a Sikhni since birth, I am fortunate to have been introduced to the tenets of this uncomplicated and straightforward faith from a young age. Now at age 32, I strongly feel that I would have chosen to follow Sikhism, even if I had not been born into a Sikh family. The core strength of my belief is Baba Nanak’s ideology. Before Sikhism became a militaristic/ Khalsa sect, it was a simple religious philosophy of inclusion, which advocated a practical way of life.

Baba Nanak preached equality between men and women, equality between religions, equality of caste as well as economic status. The Sikh practices of unhindered communal gatherings of men and women in the Gurdwaras or Nagar Kirtans, and Langar or seated communal eating, are great examples of these principles. He further preached a message of peace and civility towards all beings– particularly significant in that historic period which was mired in violence and war. A simple way of life, humility about one’s status, and charity towards the less fortunate, were other basic principles that Sikhs strive to follow even today.

On the 550th anniversary of Baba Nanak’s birth, it’s important to bear in mind that his popularity stemmed from being human, not god. It is indeed amazing that his teachings are as relevant today, as they were 5 centuries ago.

This Gurpurab celebration also has particular international significance, as it heralds the easing of tension between India and Pakistan. For the first time since the partition of India in to two countries, a visa-free path, known as the Kartarpur Corridor, has been opened between the two nations, enabling Indians to visit Gurdwara Durbar Sahib in Pakistan, where Baba Nanak established his first ever Sikh commune.

Hence, I feel this is the best time for us to keep his legacy and message alive and attempt to bury the religious hatchet at home as well. Let’s remember Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s most important message- ultimately, we are neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Sikh nor Christian, we are all simply human.


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**Copyright in content belongs to and cannot be republished or repurposed without permission from the author. As I am a copyright lawyer by profession, infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.


  1. I totally agree with his views. Only great men have such awesome views. It’s great to see that the celebration has eased tensions. That’s what we need. Peace.

  2. Happy Gurupurab. Yes I agree Kartarpur sahib is a a mark of peace between two countries. I am feeling so happy to see that. May babaji bless us all with happiness and peace in our lives. Sarbad da bhala karo waheguruji.

  3. Being a Punjabi myself I believe in his ideologies too. So have said so correctly it was the need of the hour then and now. It’s time we get over caste and creed and focus on humanity.

  4. That’s such a beautiful post and believe me, reading the post was in itself such a soothing experience. The opening of the Kartarpur corridor couldn’t have come at a better time than now, when we celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of the great saint Guru Nanak ji. His teachings are still as relevant as they were in the centuries gone by. His ideology of equality and fraternity love is a message for everyone to break all the religious/ caste barrier and be together as one. Thanks for penning down such a beautiful article about such a wonderful soul 🙂

  5. I was fortunate enough to have a very close Sikhni friend who used to discuss Guru Nanak ji’s teachings with me. It made me realise how rich and meaningful his idologies were.

  6. I love reading and listening to stories of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was God sent angel who spread Humanity,love and unity among all. He travelled worldwide and brought every religion together as one.

  7. I may now be knowing much about Sikhism but I have great respect For Guru Nanak Dev Ji. His teachings apply everywhere and not limited to Sikhism.

  8. Beautiful post Noor. I completely agree that is was not being god but being human. If we all just started being human towards each other, the world will be a better place to stay in.

  9. This year I had visited golden temple first time with my family and got a chance to observe the sikhism closely. thanks a lot to you for sharing such great info about guru nanak sahab and their principles. I am highly impressed and would love to read more in detail about their life and life principles.

  10. Ours is actually a religion of humanity and equality between the sexes which is not found anywhere. I am so proud of our religion and I am glad you shared it in such a simple manner.

  11. This is a lovely write up for non-Sikhs like me. I’m so happy in these disturbed times to see there is a respected leader who was so enlightened centuries ago. today we need to know about such great people.

  12. Loved reading your Post Noor. All teachings by Guru Nanak were very simple. In fact Sikh religion itself is very simple. One of the reasons of Guru Ji’s teachings was to detach yourself from any myths and don’t complicate your life. I am proud to be a Sikh today 😀

  13. I believe in Nanak Devji teachings. I am blessed I got the chance to learn more about Sikh culture as the Sikh Regiment is very close to my native place. Equality, peace and especially humanity and charity are the main strength of the Sikh culture. Very well described Noor.

  14. The Guru Nanak birth anniversary was well celebrated since it was his 550 th birthday.His wisdom and words are timeless.

  15. The teachings of the great saint are prevalent irrespective of time. Few months ago I came across a documentary showing people visiting Indo-Pak border and getting glimpses of kartarpur corridor shrine with help of telescope. The opening of doorway surely is appreciated by all the pilgrims and a step towards peace.

  16. This is a lovely post, thanks. I am a sikhni as well. But we live in an India where there is no prospect of burying the hatchet between different religions, specially with the new CAB and NRC. However, there is hope. We are united by our culture, our heritage, our history. I have written a snippet about this:

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