Guru Nanak Birthday (Gurpurab 2018): Significance, Traditions, And Celebrations
The year 2018 will mark the 549th birth anniversary of saint Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak was the founder of the religion Sikhism and the first of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Nanak Jayanti or birth anniversary is celebrated worldwide on the day of Kartik Purnima. In 2018, Guru Nanak Jayanti will be marked on November 23 (Friday). He was the first Gurus of ten Sikh Gurus. Guru Nanak Jayanti is also called Gurpurab or Gurparv.
‘Waheguruji Ka Khalsa Waheguruji Ki Fateh’
Gurpurab is derived from two words ‘Gur’ meaning Guru or the master and ‘Purab’ meaning day.
The meaning of Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh can be explained as below:
Wahe means great and greatness, as in wow.
Guru is again split in 2 words i.e.
Gu which means darkness. The mind is in darkness of the higher power. The mind has been polluted with all wrong stuff from all direction for many years and life times.
Ru means light. God’s light can provide us with direction to find our true self. i.e Ruis light of God;
Waheguru as in whole word means the greatest of the greatest that holds the power to eliminate the darkness from mind and turn it into light of God. However, before we can eliminate it we need to find out that what it is that we want to eliminate, and what form is darkness; darkness can be lust, anger, greed, attachments, ego, hate, anger, back stabbing, steeling, lying, cheating, misleading, misrepresenting etc.
Ji is a word of respect like sir, like we say uncle ji
Waheguruji Ka Khalsa
Ka means His, who it belongs to, who khalsa belongs to is waheguru;
Khalsa means pure. We can only become pure, if we see God in all without any of these lust, anger, greed, attachments, ego, hate, anger, back stabbing, steeling, lying, cheating, misleading, misrepresenting i.e. darkness and then purity belongs to waheguru and khalsa belongs to waheguru.
Therefore waheguru ji ka khalsa means purity belongs to waheguru, the creator.
Fateh means victory. We are only victorious if we learn, love and follow Guru’s order, if we see God in all, without any of these lust, anger, greed, attachments, ego, hate, anger, back stabbing, steeling, lying, cheating, misleading, misrepresenting.
Thus waheguru ji ki fateh means that if we become pure and become khalsa then any victory we attain; we are saying to our Guru Sahib Ji that this victory that He gave us belongs to Him. Once we follow Guru’s order and become khalsa, only then we will be blessed with His victory.
Guru Nanak believed that there is no Hindu and no Muslim and there is only one God who is formless.
Guru Nanak Jayanti Timings (According to Panchang)
Purnima Tithi Begins: 12:53 pm (November 22, 2018)
Purnima Tithi Ends: 11:09 am (November 23, 2018)
It is a practice of non-stop reading of Gur Granth Sahib, the religious book of Sikhs, for 48 hours. One day before the birthday of Guru Nanak, devotees organize a procession which is led by Panj Pyaras. Group of singers participates in the procession and sing hymns. These processions are popular in the state of Punjab.
On the day of Guru Nanak Gurpurab, people wake up early in the morning (before sunrise) and go for Prabhat Pheris. ‘Prabhat’ means morning and ‘Pheris’ means taking rounds. It is a ritual where devotees gather in nearby Gurudwaras and take early morning rounds around the society and recite morning hymns or Asa-di-Var, hymns from Sikh scriptures. In the afternoon, Gurudwaras organize Langars, a free communal meal for everyone.
Guru Nanak’s teachings rested upon two themes – praise of virtues and condemnation of vices. He also wanted to bring an end to the conflict among various religions and rejected caste system. Nanak had both Hindu and Muslim disciples. His teachings remind us to overcome the five vices – lust, greed, attachment, anger and pride and devote one’s life in the selfless service of God.