Today, Sikhs across the world are celebrating the birth of Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism and the first in a line of ten Sikh Gurus in human form), who was born in 1469. The Guru of the Sikhs today is the Sikh holy book called the Guru Granth Sahib, which contains over 970 of Guru Nanak’s verses. The religion that sprouted from his following became Sikhism, but Guru Nanak is highly regarded among Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist communities as well.
The White House released a statement today from President Obama in which he offers his felicitations:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 10, 2011
Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji
I send my best wishes to all those observing the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru. On this occasion, we are reminded of the fundamental principles of Sikhism, including the equality of all people, the sanctity of living an honest life, and the importance of service to our neighbors. I’m proud that during my presidency the White House hosted the first celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak, and our country is grateful for the extraordinary contributions that Sikh Americans have made to our nation. As Sikhs across America and around the world celebrate the life of Guru Nanak, all of us can draw inspiration from his message of equality, honesty, and helping those who are in need.
While it is celebrated in November, the actual date of Guru Nanak’s birth is believed to have been in the middle of April over 540 years ago. However, his birth has traditionally been celebrated on this date in November.
Happy Gurpurab to all! May this celebration remind us to enact Guru Nanak’s teachings and mission to recognize one God for all and in all people.