Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in 1469 A.D. at Tolevandi at a distance of about 50
kms from Lahore. In school, he picked up the wooden plank that served as his
slate, and wrote on it an acrostic using all 35 alphabets to compose verses
that questioned the meaning of learning without understanding, a verse that
forms part of the Granth Saheb. Often the father must have must have got
impatient indeed; when sent to buy goods from the marketplace, he gave away
all the money to a band of indigents that he saw in the bazar.
The son of a Kshatriya (warrior) family, he studied Hinduism and Islam. He got
married but then he abandoned his family and became an ascetic. Wandering for
many years he came under the influence of both Hindus and Muslims (especially
Sufi). The Muslim teacher Kabir (died in 1398) made a deep impression on Guru
Nanak. He began preaching, "There is no Hindu, there is no Mussulman." .
While still a youth, Nanak underwent a profound spiritual experience. For
three days he disappeared, immersed in the river Baain. Here, says the Puratan
Janamasakhi, he was in direct communion with God, who bade him to heed His
words, and to carry them to all mankind. "Nanak," said the Voice, "I am with
thee, and I do bless and exalt thee...Go rejoice in my Name, and teach others
to do so...Let this be thy calling."
He sought out the company of holy men, pandits and mullahs, ascetics who had
renounced life as well as scholars of the scriptures, and engaged them in long
discussions. The roots of this contemplation lay in the prevailing religious
atmosphere, a turbulent era of warring faiths.
Guru Nanak passed away in 1539. After him was to follow a succession of nine
Gurus, before Guru Gobind Singh decreed that thereafter there would be no
living Guru, but the Granth Saheb would be considered the embodiment of the
Guru, since it contained their collective wisdom
Guru Nanak Jayanti
Teaching and Phillosphy