Gurpurab, also known as Guru Nanak Jayanti, is a sacred Sikh festival celebrated to honor the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. While the essence of Gurupurab is widely understood as a time for reflection, prayer, and community gatherings, there are lesser-known aspects that contribute to the rich tapestry of this festival.
1. Significance of the Gurpurab Date:
Gurupurab is observed on the full moon day of the month of Kartik according to the Nanakshahi calendar. The selection of this auspicious date holds deep spiritual significance, symbolizing the enlightenment that dispels the darkness of ignorance.
2. Amrit Ceremony Connection:
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, during his divine mission, established the practice of Amrit Sanchar, the initiation ceremony to create the Khalsa Panth. Gurpurab often includes the reenactment of the Amrit ceremony, emphasizing the commitment to Sikh values and principles.
3. Morning Procession – Prabhat Pheris:
Before the break of dawn, Sikhs partake in Prabhat Pheris, early morning processions, singing hymns and spreading the message of Guru Nanak. This symbolic act represents the idea of waking up to righteousness and embracing the divine path.
4. Langar Tradition:
One of the pillars of Sikhism is selfless service, and Gurpurab exemplifies this through the tradition of Langar. Sikhs worldwide organize free community kitchens, serving meals to people irrespective of their background or beliefs, fostering a sense of equality and unity.
5. Three Pillars of Sikhism:
Guru Nanak Dev Ji laid down the three fundamental principles of Sikhism: Naam Japna (meditating on God’s name), Kirat Karni (earning an honest living), and Vand Chakna (sharing with others). Gurpurab serves as a reminder to uphold these pillars in daily life.
6. Universal Message of Guru Nanak:
Beyond the borders of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings encompass a universal message of love, equality, and compassion. Gurpurab is an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together, fostering interfaith understanding and harmony.
7. The Golden Temple’s Radiance:
The holiest shrine in Sikhism, the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib), is illuminated magnificently during Gurpurab. The ethereal glow symbolizes the spiritual light Guru Nanak brought to the world and attracts pilgrims from around the globe.
8. Musical Celebrations – Kirtan Darbar:
Gurpurab witnesses vibrant Kirtan Darbars, where devotional hymns (kirtans) are sung to honor the Guru. The soul-stirring music enhances the spiritual atmosphere, connecting the worshippers with the divine.
Gurpurab is not merely a commemoration but a profound celebration of Sikh values, community spirit, and the timeless teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Understanding the lesser-known facets of this festival enriches the experience, fostering a deeper connection to the spiritual heritage it embodies.