Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Nanak travelled far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of God’s creations and constitutes the eternal Truth. He set up a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue. It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Guru Nanak’s sanctity, divinity and religious authority descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was passed onto them. His birth is celebrated world-wide on Kartik Puranmashi, the full-moon day, which falls on different dates each year in the month of Katak (October–November). Today we are celebrating his birthday.
Japji Sahib is a beautiful hymn, a concise summary of Sikh philosophy, which was composed by Guru Nanak. The compilation consists of the Mool Mantra, a set of 38 Pauris or hymns and a final closing Salok. This bani appears at the very beginning of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scripture of the Sikh religion. It is lovingly recited by Sikhs every morning to start the day. The word ‘Jap’ literally means to ‘recite,’ ‘to ‘chant’ or ‘to stay focused on.’
At Miri Piri Academy it is an essential part of our lives to recite Japji Sahib every morning in the ambrosial hours, the amrit vela. During our normal schedule the students recite Japji Sahib together first thing, before doing PT or practicing yoga. During the 40 days of Parkarma Seva at the Golden Temple, some students recite it from memory while they take their dip, while some others read their Nitnem’s on the bus or at the Parkarma. Even though many students do not yet know the meaning of the bani, they can feel the effects of the Guru’s words as they begin their day.
Guru Nanak’s birthday is an important holiday here in Amritsar. Each year the teachers of CPA (Combined Performing Arts) program, including Bhangara, Pottery, Classical Music, and Art, collect funds to give the students a sweet surprise in honor of Guru Nanak. They all gratefully received a box of paneer pakoras and burfi.
For our Beloved Guru, may we embrace his subtle energy in our lifestyle, our prayers and in our most sacred inner silence, so that we find that he lives forever in within our hearts.
Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!