Updated | September 10, 2017 13:33 IST
Guru Nanak was born at Talwandi(now known as Nanakanasahib in Pakistan) in 1469 in a family of traders. Guru Nanak followed the profession of his family and lived the life of a householder in the early part of his life.
While travelling as a trader, he took a deep interest in different religions and became familiar with the Hindu as well as Muslim schools of philosophy.
Influenced by the religious doctrines of both, he developed his own religious doctrine which he sought to make free from the rigid and narrow views of the two communities. He became a wandering preacher and travelled widely within and outside the subcontinent holding discussions with the leaders of the various religions and sects. Finally, he settled at Kartapur in Punjab and established a religious order based on Guru-shishya relationship.
He made a collection of his own teachings along with those of some other Nirguna saints like Kabir, Ravidas, Namdev and others, which is known as the Adi Granth. His followers were drawn from different religions and castes and came to be known as Sikhs who formed a distinct religious community known by that name. He was succeeded by nine other Gurus.
The teachings of all the Gurus were also added to the Adi Granth which then came to be known as the Granth Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th and the last of the Gurus ended the order of succession and declared that after him the Granth Sahib would be the Guru for all Sikhs in times to come.
Teachings of Guru Nanak:
1. Like Kabir and other Nirguna saints, Guru Nanak also maintained that there was only one God who was formless and whom people knew by many different names. God was not be worshipped in the form of idols and images.
2. God was the creator and the judge of mankind. The devotees were required to exclusively meditate that formless God instead of practising rituals which in his view were meaningless.
3. Repetition of Satnam(the name of true God) was recommended as the means to help in meditation.
4. Unlike the belief of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Guru Nanak believed in the traditional Hindu belief in the cycle of repeated births and deaths which the soul had to undergo in this world. The purpose of devotion, therefore, was to free the soul from that cycle of death and rebirth.
5. Guru Nanak rejected the idea of asceticism and maintained that God could be realized with sincerity of devotion even while living a life of a householder.
6. Guru Nanak rejected all distinctions based upon birth, caste, class, creed. His devotees came from different religions and castes and formed one community of Sikhs who were not expected to practise any social distinctions.
Keywords: Guru Nanak teachings, Guru Nanak life, Preachings of Guru Nanak
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