Shri Guru Nanak Dev: The Founder of Sikhism and the First Sikh Guru

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is one of the most revered figures in Indian spiritual history. Born in 1469 in the village of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now known as Nankana Sahib in present-day Pakistan, Guru Nanak embarked on a spiritual journey that laid the foundations for one of the world’s major religions. His life, teachings, and legacy continue to inspire millions around the globe.

Early Life and Spiritual Awakening

Guru Nanak was born into a Hindu family, but from an early age, he showed little interest in the rituals and traditions that surrounded him. His profound spiritual inclinations were evident through his questions and contemplations about the nature of God and the universe. It is said that he would engage in discussions with holy men and scholars who visited the village, absorbing various religious and philosophical ideologies.

One of the pivotal moments in his life occurred when he was around 30 years old. After disappearing into the river for three days, where people presumed he had drowned, Guru Nanak returned with a vision to preach and spread the message of Ek Onkar—there is but One God. This experience marked the beginning of his missionary work and his role as a spiritual leader.

Teachings and Philosophy

Guru Nanak’s teachings were revolutionary for his time. He preached the unity of humanity and the rejection of societal divisions based on caste, creed, and religion. His philosophy was deeply rooted in the belief that everyone has a direct relationship with God, and that all people are equal in the eyes of the divine.

Central to his teachings are three key principles:

  1. Naam Japna: Emphasizing the importance of remembering God at all times.
  2. Kirat Karni: Urging an honest living made by one’s physical and mental effort while accepting both its virtues and vices.
  3. Vand Chakna: Encouraging the sharing of goods and resources with the less fortunate in the community, promoting a sense of social justice.

Contributions to Society

Guru Nanak was not only a spiritual leader but also a social reformer. He challenged the ritualistic practices of both Hinduism and Islam and emphasized the importance of an ethical, virtuous life over mere religious formalities. His langar, a communal kitchen, remains a central element of Sikh practice, symbolizing the ethos of equality and community service.

Literary Works

The poetic hymns of Guru Nanak have been compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs, which he began. His writings reflect his deep spirituality and his call for a society based on justice and equality. These hymns are recited in Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) around the world, where they continue to inspire and guide the lives of the faithful.

Legacy and Global Influence

Guru Nanak’s vision transcended geographical boundaries, and his teachings have influenced not only South Asia but the entire world. His message of unity, peace, and love continues to resonate across continents and cultures, providing a beacon of hope and spirituality. Today, Sikhism has over 25 million adherents worldwide, and Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, Gurpurab, is celebrated with great fervor.


Guru Nanak Dev’s impact on the world is profound and enduring. As the first Guru of the Sikhs, his life and teachings laid down the bedrock of Sikhism, advocating a life of devotion, truth, and equality. His universal message of love and oneness continues to inspire and heal divisions, making him a timeless figure in the spiritual history of humanity.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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