Guru Nanak Dev, First Founder Guru of the Sikhs
Guru Nanak Dev or ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ (Saturday 15 April 1469 - Monday 22 September, 1539), the founder of Sikhism and the first guru of the Sikhs, was born in the village of Talwandi, also often called Rai Bhoe-ki Talwandi. Presently known as Nankana Sahib, it is located close to Lahore in the present day Pakistan. The birthplace of Guru Nanak is nowadays demarcated by the Gurdwara Janamasthan. However, Guru Nanak Date of Birth is not unanimously decided. The father of Guru Nanak, Mehta Kalyan Das Bedi, mostly known as Kalu Mehta, was a Hindu Kshatriya by caste and worked as an accountant or patwari under the local landlord, Rai Bular Bhatti. Tripta Devi was the mother of Guru Nanak. The elder sister of Guru Nanak was Bebe Nanaki, who first recognised Nanak to be a divine soul. Bebe Nanaki wedded Jai Ram and they lived in Sultanpur, where Jai Ram worked as the steward to the Governor of Lahore, Daulat Khan Lodi. Nanak went to live with his sister in Sultanpur and was appointed as an employee of Daulat Khan at the early age of 16. This was a formative phase in his life and the biographies of Guru Nanak give quite importance to this period.
Janamsakhis Biographies of Guru Nanak
The Guru Nanak Janamsakhis, which are the earliest biographies of Guru Nanak, along with the vars or expounding verses of Bhai Gurdas, record this phase of the life of Guru Nanak. The most popular Janamsakhi is supposed to be written by Bhai Bala who was one of the closest companions of the Guru. Nevertheless, the diction and linguistic styles of the work of Bhai Bala has left the modern Sikhim scholars like Max Arthur Macauliffe in doubt whether they were written during the life of Nanak or well after his death. certain that they were composed after his death. Apart from that Bhai Gurdas, who was a distinguished scribe of the Guru Granth Sahib, also contributed in his vars about the life and works of the Guru. However, they are not as minutely detailed as the Janamsakhis. They have collectively built up what we may easily call Guru Nanak Wiki.
Early Life of Guru Nanak
According to the Janamsakhis, the astrologer who came to work out the baby's horoscope, worshipped the infant and expressed his regret that he won't live to see the baby as an adult. Even at the early age of five years, Nanak exhibited his interest in the divine subjects. Two years later when his father enrolled him in the village school, he surprised his teacher by analysing a divine symbolism of the first letter. The first letter of the Persian or Arabic alphabet is almost a single stroke, complementing the mathematical one, which Nanak interpreted as the oneness of God. Many other miracles of Guru Nanak are also accounted in the biographies.
Foundation of Sikhism by Guru Nanak
The Foundation of Sikhism or the beginning of Sikhism is associated with a myth. According to the Sikh myths, one day at the age of 30, Nanak did not return from his ablutions. Mysteriously, his clothes were found near a river called the Kali Bein. The townsfolk thought that he had drowned, but they could not find the body even after dredging the river. Three days later, Nanak suddenly reappeared, and kept mum about his mysterious disappearing. The next day he spoke, stating of God's oneness, and to follow the righteous path of God, instead of quarrelling over Hinduism and Islam. Being enquired, he remarked that he was taken to God's Court, offered a cup of nectar or Amrit there, and bestowed with divine bliss and commandments. Henceforth he was called the deliverer and the Guru, and the history of Sikhism started. He travelled widely for preaching, and the gospels of Guru Nanak soon spread from Bengal to Baghdad, and from Tibet to Tamilnadu. Nanak Dev breathed his last on 22 September 1539 in Kartarpur, at the age of 70.