Nanak

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Nanak

 

Born Apr. 15, 1469, in the village of Rai Bhoi di Talvandi, district of Shekhupura, Punjab; died Sept. 22, 1539, in Kartarpur. Indian poet, preacher, and ideologist of Sikhism. Wrote in Punjabi.

Nanak was the son of a merchant. His teachings were based on the doctrine of bhakti. He preached religious unity, social and caste equality, and spiritual self-improvement. He rejected the rituals of existing religions and advocated the active participation of his Sikh disciples in secular life. He founded a community in which unquestioning obedience to the authority of the guru (teacher) was required. The members of the Sikh community included members of the upper castes, untouchables, and Muslims; for the most part, they were from the trading and artisan strata of society. There were also members of the Jat peasantry, whose antifeudal views were reflected in Nanak’s teachings. In his verse, Nanak used Indian and Persian measures. The Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs, contains 974 works by Nanak, of which the most important are his “Prayer,” “Hymn to Hope,” and “Twelve Moons.”

WORKS

In English translation:
Selections From the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs. London, 1960.

REFERENCES

Reisner, I.M. Narodnye dvizheniia ν Indii ν XVI1-XVIII vv. Moscow, 1958.
Serebriakov, I. Pendzhabskaia literatura. Moscow, 1963.
Guru Nanak: K 500-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia poeta i gumanista Indii. Moscow, 1972.
Mahankavi guru Nanak. Patiala, 1956.
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They gathered in West Bromwich yesterday, many in the traditional Sikh colours, to mark the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.