This year marks the 550th birth anniversary of Nanak, the mystic from the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent, whose universal philosophy is today being practised in the form of the religion known as Sikhism. From early in his childhood, Guru Nanak, as his followers reverentially remember him, viewed the universe as being the visible manifestation of the One Creator. As Nanak grew, so did his influence among the people with whom he came in contact. Unaffiliated to any but neutral to all religions, Nanak’s philosophy centred around the Fatherhood of The Creator and Brotherhood of Mankind. Through Nanak’s lens, man was equal to man; and woman was equal to man. No one was superior to another in race or creed, be it on an individual or societal level. A human’s quest for spiritual enlightenment was an individual journey attained through control of the inner-evils of greed, ego, attachment, lust and wrath.
Nanak personally took his teachings and learnings far and wide. Documentary evidence indicates his travels ranged from destinations including Mecca in the west to countries in Southeast Asia, a cumulative distance of approximately 28,000 kilometres covered during his four odysseys. These brought him in contact with adherents of all the major religions of the time. It is of no surprise then, that the Guru Granth Sahib, the scripture of the Sikhs, contains references to all the major religions and their related scriptures. Its pages are testament to the unity of mankind as evidenced by the inclusion of compositions from a diverse group of people of all walks of life from multiple religious backgrounds. Nanak used music to communicate his teachings. A majority of the compositions in the Guru Granth Sahib are arranged in prescriptive musical metre designed to invoke emotion consistent with the message of each composition.
Sikh Youth Australia (SYA), in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, have lined up a program that aims to “walk the talk” of Guru Nanak. SYA is honoured to invite you and members of your community to participate in any (or all) of the activities designed to exhibit and put into practice the inclusive approach to mankind that Guru Nanak professed.
1469 CE – 1539 CE, Punjab
Spiritual awakening from childhood
Philosophy driven by curiosity and discernment
Guru: “gu” (dispeller) of “ru” (darkness/ignorance)
ONE Creator – attributes articulated by the Mool Mantr (Root Invocation)
Equality of all human beings
Unaffiliated but acknowledged all religions akin to different rivers leading into the same ocean
Continuous remembrance of the Creator – Naam Japo
Honest & hard work to
earn one’s livelihood – Kirat Karo
Sharing earnings with and protection of those in need – Vand Chako
It is believed that Guru Nanak is the the second most travelled person in the world.
Accompanied by Bhai Mardana, he travelled more than 28,000 Kms in all four directions.
4 odysseys resulting in exposure to multiple faiths & cultures
Inclusion of teachings of other faiths in his compositions
Actively broke down barriers created by cultures, rituals and segregation
Moved by the world suffering out of hatred, fanaticism, falsehood and hypocrisy, Guru Nanak decided to travel, educate and press home the message of the Almighty Lord.
He set out for 4 odysseys that would regenerate humanity, as he spread his message of righteousness, truth peace and compassion, to the people in and around his home.