Guru Nanak was considered as a guru after the foundation of Sikhism during the 15th century. He is the first guru of Sikh religion. Nanak was born on 15th April 1469 at Talwandi near Lahore in Punjab which is in Pakistan now. His parents were Kalyan Chand Das Bedi or Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta. They both were Hindu belonging to the merchant caste. Nanak loved his sister named Bebe Nanaki and after her marriage, he followed her to Sultanpur to live with her and her husband Jai Ram.
At the age of 16 Nanak started working under Daulat Khan Lodi. This was the formative time for him as he came to know about various the early years of Nanak were marked with many events according to Sikh tradition. They believed that Nanak had been marked by divine grace. At the age of five, Nanak said to have voiced interest in divine subjects. As child Nanak astonished his teacher by describing the implicit symbolism of the first letter ‘Ik’ denoting the oneness of God.
At the age of 18 in 1487 Nanak married Mata Sulakkhani and had two sons Sri Chand and Lakhmi Chand. Sooner Nanak understood the pathetic condition of the people, especially in Punjab region. People were regularly harassed by the invaders, non-administration by Delhi Sultanate. Their earnings were snatched by the revenue collectors of local Jagirdars. The remaining was spent on pooja path done by Brahmins on the name of fears, paradise, hell, and heaven etc.
He emphasized that God is shapeless, timeless & invisible hence denounced all the orthodox beliefs of Brahmins. Guru Nanak awakened people to work hard to earn and live a good life. He taught people to share their prosperity with others. His teachings are in the form of 974 poetic hymns combined in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth saheb written in Gurmukhi language.
Guru Nanak said that there is no such thing as hell or heaven but believed in the spiritual union of the soul with the ultimate power that results in salvation. Guru Nanak started the Shabad kirtan tradition because he believed that it is a powerful way to achieve tranquility while meditating. His beliefs include the demolition of superstitions like killing or sacrificing animal, fasting, conducting self-torture and many other things in the name of god. He taught that the only way to please God is to love him and singing his endless glories.
Guru Nanak was one of the greatest religious innovators of all time. He traveled to many places to teach his message of ‘Ik Onkar’ and that the god is one who dwells in every one of his creations and constituents of the eternal truth. Sikhism founded by Guru Nanak is monotheistic religion based on equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue. It is the 5th largest religion in the world with more than 30 million population worldwide.