Gurdwara Celebrates Nanakshahi New Year on March 14, 2008
Los Angeles, March 15, 2008
Management Committee and Board Of Directors of Shri Guru Singh
Sabha-Walnut has celebrated 540th Nanakshai year (1st Chetar )
on Friday, 14th March 2008.
Families and Friends Wished Happy New Year after Ardas Sikh Kaum
Di Chardi Kala Lai and Guru Ka Langer was served from 7:30 onwards.
Nanakshahi calendar is a solar calendar that was adopted by the
Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee to determine the dates
for important Sikh events. It was designed by Pal Singh Purewal
to replace the Hindu calendar and has been in use since 1998.
The epoch of this calendar is the birth of the first Sikh Guru,
Nanak Dev in 1469. New Year's Day falls annually on what is March
14 in the Gregorian Western calendar.
Rationale of Nanakshahi Calendar
The Sikhs have been celebrating the important days of the Gurus,
as Bhai Gurdas - 17th century exponent of the Sikhism - has stated
"Balhar tina Gursikhan bhav bhagat Gurpurb Karande"
(I am sacrifice to those Sikhs who celebrate the days of
Guru with devotion). The Sikhs have therefore, been in constant
quest to find the actual date relating to birth, succession and
death of the Gurus. The literature of Gurparnalis is the result
of this quest. Bhai Randhir Singh has compiled these Gurparnalis
which were published by the S.G.P.C., and had tried to find out
correct dates with the help of newly discovered Bhatt Vahis. But
more scientific work was of Karam Singh who first wrote "Katak
Ke Vaisakh" to find out the correct date of birth of Guru
Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Later on, he wrote "Gurpurb
Nirnay" in which he has discussed and worked out the birth
dates, succession dates and death dates, of the Gurus. His findings
are mostly considered correct. He has correlated these dates to
the common calendar.
Some people allege say that following his whims one N.R.I. has
converted Guru’s dates to solar reckoning. This is not correct.
The late Karam Singh, who has done pioneering work in Sikh history
research, wrote in his monograph Gurpurb Nirnay (published by
Patiala state in 1912 A.D.) that the dates fixed by lunar calculation
are variable every year. They cannot be fixed once for all. Moreover,
if we celebrate Guru’s dates by lunar calculation we shall
be celebrating the day before or after the actual date. We can
find the exact date by solar calculation only. Similarly, late
Prof. Sahib Singh, the great theologian wrote in 1948: "Having
lunar calculation the Sikhs had started believing in tithis, which
is against the Sikhs way of life (Gurmat). We should delink Gurus
from lunar calendar".
Recently, laud able attempt has been made in preparing the new
Sikh Almanac, popularly known as Nanakshahi Jantri, by making
two fold reforms. The Bikarmi dates relating to the Gurus has
been converted to the common calculator Christian calendar prevalent
in all the countries. Secondly, uniformity in the length of months
has been brought. Though Amavas and Puranmashis have been shown
in the Nanakshahi Jantri but the Gurpurb dates have been linked
with the solar calculation, and delinked from lunar calculation.
It may be noted here that calendar reform is not in violation
of any religious principles. The Christians have twice reformed
their calendar: once on 5th October 1582 and, for second time,
on 2nd September 1752. Pope Gregory reformed the calendar. It
is unfortunate that the Sikhs who have been spearheading reform
in every field are now bogged down with needless controversy over
the calendar reforms which have been overdue for long.