Universal Relevance of Guru Nanak's Teachings

In Proc. Fourth Canadian Punjabi Conference (Celebrating 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji), 6th July 2019,. Ottawa, ON, Canada: pp. 318-330 (2019)
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Abstract
Although 550 years have passed since the birth of Guru Nanak, his life and teachings still hold great power and meaning for humanity in the 21st century. He was not only the founder of the Sikh religion but was a great poet, an eminent philosopher, a notable humanist, and a leading social reformer. His philosophy for a social revolution and universal brotherhood is relevant more than ever before. He not only propounded a new way of life but a realistic and optimistic worldview. Quintessentially, his most penetrating insight is that the ultimate goal of human life, to be a sachiara (truthful being), can be achieved by following the path of truthful living. He envisaged the emergence of a race of gurmukhs (God-conscious beings). The teachings of Guru Nanak focus on the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society and their empowerment to live a life of dignity. Love of God (who is the epitome of virtues), egalitarianism, altruism, harmony with nature, cultivation of scientific temper, Interdependence, impermanence, inter-faith harmony, multiculturism, lifelong learning, pro-active social justice, and peaceful co-existence are the lodestars of Guru Nanak’s message to humanity. Three cardinal points of his teachings: Kirat Karo (honest living), Naam Japo (devotion to God) and Vand Chhako (sharing with others) have become an integral part of the lives of Sikhs all over the world. The crux of his teachings found expression by the establishment of daramsals (gurdwaras) and the development of langar (community kitchen), pangat (sitting in a row on the same level) and Sangat (holy congregation) traditions among his followers. Thus even in the contemporary world, Guru Nanak's universal teachings are as relevant as ever.
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