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RLGA01H3 Chapter Notes -Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Angad, Guru Nanak

Course Code
Henry Shiu

of 23
23/10/2010 20:29:00
Ch. 3
Sikh Traditions
Founded in the 15th cent. in Punjab by Guru Nanak
believed in the possibility of achieving spiritual liberation through meditation on
the divine Name (nam) and the living of an ethical life in this world
Punjab : crossroads where the cultures of the Middle East, Cent. Asia, and India
have interacted in various ways
Sufi Islam established in Punjab by 11th cent. CE
by 15 cent, Buddhists disappeared from Punjab, save a few Jaina
also three Hindu communities, devoted to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi (the
1st Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
born 1469
upper caste khatri (merchant)
at time of birth, most of northern India under Muslim rule for more than 2 cent.
Guru Nanak’s Mystical Experience
Info about G. Nanak’s life is from the janam-sakhis (birth narratives)
Written 7 decades after G. Nanak’s death
While bathing in the Vein River, he disappeared w/o a trace
After being assumed dead, he came back from within the water
Proclaimed “There’s no Hindu, there’s no Muslim”.
Believed his duty was to preach the message of the divine Name
Left his family to pursue his calling
Foundation of the Sikh Panth
G. Nanak founded village of Kartarpur in 1519
Lived there for the remainder of his life as a ‘spiritual guide’
Disciples received the message of liberation through religious hymns
They used these hymns in devotional singing (kirtan) as part of
congregational worship
The first Sikh fam. who gathered around Nanak @ Kartarpur formed the center of
the Nanak Panth (Path of Nanak)
Nanak broke existing traditions, and formed logical groundwork for a new
rational model of human behaviour based on divine authority
Received spiritual message directly from the Divine Reality itself
974 hymns preserved in the Adi Granth : most reliable account of his teachings
Nanak made distinctions between his teachings and the contemporary teachings
of other religions around him
Nanak used concepts familiar to his audiences to connect with them
more effectively
Nanak prescribed daily routines
Morning: Japji (Honoured Recitation) recited
Evening: So Dar (That Door) and Arti (Adoration) sung
Balanced w/ agricultural work for sustenance
Defined ideal person as Gurmukh (one oriented towards the Guru)
Gurmukh practiced the threefold discipline of nam dan ishnan (The
divide Name, charity, and purity) (AG 942)
Nam (relation to the Divine), dan (relation to society), ishnan (relation
to self)
Established balance between individual and society
Nanak preached truth, humility, taking only one’s right share, respect,
These virtues expressed through 3 institutions: sangat (holy
fellowship), a spiritual fraternity in some respects; dharamsala, the
original form of the Sikh place of worship; langar, communal meal
Langar prepped by memers of the sangat
Served to everyone attending the gurdwara (Sikh place
of worship)
Ppl of different castes, gender, ritual purity, etc attended
Promoted equality of all ppl; unity
Lineage of Gurus
G. Nanak created the institution of the Guru
Central authority in community life
Before G. Nanak’s death, he appointed Lehna as his successor, and renamed him
Lineage established
Continued until Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), the tenth and the last
human Guru of the Sikhs