Ethical Values of Guru nanak

Guru nanak

Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism. He was a contemporary of Kabir. He was born in a Khatri family at Talwandi (Nankana Sahib) in the district of Seikhpura in West Punjab, now in Pakistan.

He was sent to school at the age of seven to learn Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian. Different types of miraculous stories are associated with the astonishing wisdom of child Nanak.

Nanak had played a very dominant role in the Bhakti movement of medieval India. Both Sufism and Bhakti had contributed to the development of Nanak’s religious philosophy. So his teachings were composite by nature comprising of the noblest principles of Hinduism and Islam. At the same time he discarded the retrograde elements of both religions.

Nanak believed in the presence of a soul in every human being. Good actions of a man help the soul to merge with the Eternal soul that is God. Evil actions increase the burden of sin for which the soul cannot rise high and remains in darkness. So each individual must do good and be virtuous to get eternal liberation from the bondage of the world.

hus Nanak’s teachings rested upon two themes—praise of virtues and condemnation of vices. In other words moral conduct and emphasis on moral values constituted the foundation of his teachings.

Like all Sufi saints Nanak was in favour of accepting a guru who would guide the individual in all his conduct. In his own words, “Without guru, nobody can attain God. Under the guru’s instruction, God’s word is heard and knowledge is acquired.” So the presence of a guru is essential for every man for his own spiritual emancipation.

Nanak was very practical in his outlook. He wanted to bring an end to the conflict among various religions. That is why he vehemently rejected the caste system, authority of the Vedas and the Quran and idolatry or image-worship. He never laid any emphasis upon renunciation of the world. Rather he stressed upon upholding moral values and rejection of religious hypocrisy, falsehood, selfishness and violence.

Nanak had both Hindu as well as Muslim disciples. His catholicity of spirit and loving approach aimed at bridging the gap between the two communities by establishing harmony between them. He endeavored towards this end till his death in 1538 A.D.

His mission and teachings were carried on by a line of nine successors who worked devoutly for about a century after his death. His teachings were included in the Adi Granth compiled by the fifth Guru, Arjun Das. It was during the time of later Gurus that the followers of Nanak began to be known as Sikhs – a distinct religious unit.

 

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