Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539), also called Baba Nanak, was the founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.
He was born on 15 April 1469, in Punjab, Pakistan. His father Kalyan Chand das Bedi was an agricultural revenue official in Talwandi village.
From a young age, he displayed his brilliance. As a kid, he was fascinated by spirituality and divine subjects. When he was seven, he started going to school.
From a young age, he was very spiritual and philosophical, and he decried idol worship. Also, he didn’t believe in Hindu castes. Despite being born into a Hindu family, he interacted with Muslims and enjoyed reading about their religions.
His dad tried to get him into business by giving him money for purchases. Rather than buy the stuff he needed for the business, he spent the entire money on feeding homeless and hungry people.
He started working under Daulat Khan Lodi when he was 16 years old. His brother-in-law worked there. Though he worked hard and was sincere, he did well at his job. He was also kind and generous.
In his free time, he used to meditate and pray with a Muslim singer named Mardana. He went to the Black River one morning with Mardana to bathe. When he got in, he disappeared under the water. Everyone thought he drowned in the river because there was no sign of him.
He miraculously appeared out of the river three days later and said he had gone to God’s court. The incident spiritually reawakened him and he became enlightened. Since then, everyone has called him “Guru Nanak”.
Eventually, he lost interest in work and family and quit his job. His wife and kids are now in the care of his parents, and he says God called him to spread His divine message, so he had to obey him.
So he founded Sikhism, a religion that teaches equality between people and rejects discrimination based on caste, creed, and gender. Sikhism’s central teaching is that God is one.
With Mardana, he traveled the world spreading the message of love and peace. Although there are no exact accounts of his journeys, he is believed to have made at least four trips of more than 28000 kilometers from 1500 to 1524.
After a long trip, he came home and settled down in Kartarpur, where he continued to preach. In the last years of his life, he appointed Bhai Lehna as his successor. After Guru Nanak’s death, Lehna became Guru Angad, the second Sikh Guru.
Guru Nanak founded Sikhism, now the fifth-largest organized religion in the world with 30 million people following it.
A Langar, or communal kitchen, was also established by him to demonstrate the importance of sharing and equality.
He died on22 September 1539, in Punjab, Pakistan.