Dr. Avnish Jolly, Winnipeg Canada November 6, 2014 : “Gurpurab – Guru Nanak Jayanti ” on Thursday, a day that marks the anniversary of the birth of “Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” the founder of Sikh religion and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus. The date of the festival varies each year in accordance with the Hindu lunar calendar and coincides with the full moon, or “Kartik Poornima.” The guru’s birth is the most sacred day for Punjabi Community. Among the great philosophers and thinkers that South Asia gifted to the world are two who above the rest — Buddha and Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founders of Buddhism and Sikhism respectively.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, one of the world’s great symbols of pluralism and tolerance. The Guru’s closest companion was Bhai Mardana. History reveals, It is said when Mardana was dying, the Guru asked him, “how would you like to die? As a Muslim?” To which the ailing Muslim replied, “As a human being”.
Guru Nanak Dev started Sikhism in the 15th century as a religion that denounces the caste system and unnecessary rituals and propounded the idea of Ek Onkaar (a monolithic God). Guru Nanak Dev ji preached oneness. God does not belong to any religion, and he is an energy that is beyond form. His teachings are practised in three ways — vand chakko, helping those in need, kirtkaro, making an honest living and naam japna, meditating on God’s name to control evils.
The occasion is celebrated with devotees singing hymns in praise of the guru and organizing street-processions with the “Nishan Sahib,” or the Sikh flag, to spread his teachings. Young men often perform the “Gatka,” a Sikh martial art, during these processions. Gurdawara also serves “Langar” – Free-community meals to people from all backgrounds and faiths. The concept of communal kitchen being an essential part of Sikhism, people across ages and professions were seen doing seva (service), with a smile.
Gurupurab was celebrated in all the eight Gurdwaras at Winnipeg and served Langer – Community Meals. The act of kindness by the Young Punjabi Immigrant volunteers was in celebration of Guru Nanak Devji birthday at all the Gurdwaras at Winnipeg.
Devotees served people on this day, and believe being a true student of Sikhism service to mankind is above all. “Working for the langar not only gives me immense satisfaction, but also presents an opportunity to serve our guru. I wait the entire year for this occasion,” said a young devotee.
Young immigrants Volunteers served the Langer and said “You just get a sense that you’re really helping people and you can see on their faces how happy they are to be receiving the meal.
Kamal Preet Nagra, a young Immigrant shared the teaching of Guru Nanak Dev Ji motivates him to serve the man kind and he shared the relevance of Savha Sauda – True business in his life is based upon the the historic event of Guru Nanak Dev ji’s childhood when his father gave him twenty rupees and asked him to do a business. He bought food for all the money and distributed among saints, and poor. When his father asked him what happened to business? Guru Nanak Dev ji’ replied that he had done a “True business”.
“I have been coming Gurdawara on this day since my childhood. I love the concept of working together,” said Amit Kumar
The essence of Sikhism, where God — termed Wahiguru — is shapeless, timeless, and sightless, can be summed up by these words of Guru Nanak: “Realization of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living.”
Glimpse of Nagar Kirtan in last two years: