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IASbaba Big Picture RSTV Analysis- Guru Nanak
Published on Dec. 4, 2015, 12:33 p.m.

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Guru Nanak’s Values and Current Social Challenges

   

Facts about Baba Nanak Devi Ji --

  • Born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan
  • He advocated nirguna bhakti
  • He firmly repudiated practices of religions around him like sacrifices, ritual baths, idol worship, austerities, and scriptures of both Hindus and Muslims.
  • He took the god as formless which has now gender and proposed a simple way to connect to him by just remembering and repeating his name.
  • He set up rules for congregational worship (sangat) involving collective recitation.
  • He appointed Angad to succeed him as the Guru.
  • He never wished to establish new religion, but after his death his followers consolidated his practices and distinguished from both Hindus and Muslims by calling themselves ‘Sikhs’.
  • Fifth Guru Arjandev Ji compiled Guru Nanak, His successor, and other religious poets teaching in Adi Granth Sahib.

Values & teaching of Guru Nanak and present social challenges --

  • The time in which Guru Nanak lived and present time are not very different. Back then, caste system, idol worship, exploitation of poor and women, intolerance towards other religions, fraud godman, addiction of drugs and other problems were prevalent. Unfortunately, all of them are present today also.
  • Some basic teachings of Guru Nanak were --
    • Submission to the will of God (Waheguru)
    • One God
    • Goodwill for all
    • Speaking truth
    • Social Service
    • Overcoming 5 evils -- Ego, Anger, Greed, Attachment and Lust
    • Adopting 5 virtues -- Truth, Compassion, Contentment, Discipline and Contemplation
    • No discrimination
    • Stop following rituals/idol worship/superstitions
 
  • Guru Nanak opined that moral principles have great value not just in thinking but also in practical orientation in society. Therefore, social philosophy of Guru Nanak was primarily based on moral philosophy with support of religious outlook.
  • His teaching hold great value today in overcoming caste and religious discrimination, intolerance of other views, corruption, addiction of alcohol and drugs, clash of civilisations, terrorism and other social evils.
  • Problem with today's generation is we have limited Guru Nanak and his teaching just to Guru Granth Sahib and have not adopted it, i.e., moral philosophy is lacking. Therefore, there is a strong need to revive the values and teachings of Guru Nanak.