My first blog post since January 2019 could not have come on a more blessed day. Today is the 550th birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. When I have ever needed peace, I have always sought solace from his words, which are scribed in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in Talwandi, which is now known as Nankana in modern day Pakistan. He was born into a Hindu family and aged 30 he had a spiritual experience in which he started speaking of “Ek Oankar: There is only One God” and travelled far and wide across Asia to tell people God’s message.
I have always been drawn to the messages that Guru Nanak instilled within the fundamentals of Sikhi, which were carried on and implemented by his ten successors.
The “Mool Mantar”, the beginning of the Japji Sahib is how people start their day, with God’s words grounding them, reminding them to live their Truth daily. This is my go to prayer sometimes multiple times a day as it grounds me to the present in seconds and gives me mental clarity.
The Three Pillars of Sikhi
1. Kirat Karo: Work hard at whatever task you undertake and make an honest living
2. Vand Chhako: Share your wealth, possessions and talents with others
3. Naam Jappo: Meditate on God’s name inwardly and outwardly through reciting, chanting and singing.
I have been reflecting on these teachings this week and tried to apply them. This came much easier this week, which may be due to watching my close family and friends prepare for today, sharing their experiences. Some family and friends are in Pakistan right now, at the birthplace of Guruji, and others in my hometown watching the fireworks display in His honour.
This week I have been meditating and singing simran (naam jappo; although very badly) at every opportunity. At work, I have used today’s festivities as an opportunity to share mithai and snacks to teach others about the significance of today (vand chhako) and to show them the amount of love and compassion at the core of Sikhi. I also achieved a personal goal today (kirat karo) and lectured for a full day (6 hours of talking, send water for my throat please!) for a MSc course, teaching about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Perinatal Mental Health. This type of dissemination of knowledge is such an easy way of giving back to people around you, and I am super happy that I was able to do it with what felt like Guruji by my side.
I hope I can continue to be inspired by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in this way, and I can maintain my adherance to the principles of Sikhi. On another time, I will share my thoughts about the role of religion in mental health (my Oxford Uni dissertation) which may interest you. For now, I am going to spend my evening to listening to kirtan.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and my return back to the blogging world. Gurpurab di lakh lakh vadaiyan! I hope you have a great time celebrating 🙂
How people are celebrating
- The Kartarpur corridor has been opened by Pakistani PM Imran Khan, to allow Sikh pilgrims to visit the site, with no visa or passport. An incredible gesture by the PM, which will be valued by Sikhs for many years to come. Read about it at the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-50380898
- How my homies in Wolverhampton are celebrating https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-50374567