He was born at Talwandi in the Punjab in 1469 to Hindu parents of the Kshatriya caste. At approximately 30 years of age he had a vision of God whilst meditating in the forest. He was told he had been singled out as a prophet of the true religion and his message was to be, ‘there is no Muslim and there is no Hindu.’ He traveled India preaching the unity of Islam and Hinduism. He died in 1538 and appointed his disciple Angad as his successor.
Guru Nanak taught his way of life which was to:
· ’Nam Japa’ – (daily devotions in remembrance of God) To get up each day before sunrise, to clean the body and mediate on God’s name and recite the Guru’s hymns to clean the mind.
· ‘Dharam di Kirat Karni’ – To work and earn an honest living by the sweat of your brow and to live a family way of life and practice truth and honesty in all your dealings.
· ‘Vand Ke Chakna’ – To share you income from your labour before thinking of yourself and help support the community you are living in.
· ‘Sewa’ – Service to the wider community.
Guru Nanak passed his knowledge on to his disciple who then became the next Guru, who then passed his light onto the next etc. The word Guru comes from the root ‘Gu’ meaning darkness/ignorance and ‘Ru’ meaning light/knowledge. The Guru is the experience of Truth (God).
Each Guru represents a divine attribute:
|Name||Life Dates||Date as a Guru from||Attribute|
|Guru Amar Das||1479-1574||1552||Equality|
|Guru Ram Das||1534-1581||1574||Service|
|Guru Arjan Dev||1536-1606||1581||Self-sacrifice|
|Guru Haragobind Raj||1595-1644||1606||Justice|
|Guru Har Raj||1630-1661||1644||Mercy|
|Guru Har Krishan||1656-1664||1661||Purity|
|Guru Tegh Bahadur||1621-1675||1664||Tranquility|
|Guru Gobind Singh||1666-1708||1675||Royal Courage|