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The members of Sikh community around the world and people of other faiths will be gathering in homes, at religious forums, and Sikh Gurdwaras (Temple) this weekend to celebrate the 537th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev, the Founder of Sikh faith, an Illumined Teacher, Enlightened Soul, and a Man and Messenger of God for all mankind.

Sikhs would be enthusiastically celebrating the occasion: the life and times of Guru Nanak, revelations and sacred commandments for his followers; universal all-embracing message in Shabad-Keetan, religious discourse and prayers, and with a sharing of community meal (Langar);

Highlighting and Reflecting upon the Guru’s Central Message:

. Oneness, Unity, and Universality (Monotheistic Faith Doctrine)
. Sanctity of all life and all faiths
. Meditating upon God’s Name (Naam-Simran)
. Upholding equality, justice, and dignity of all life
. The special place for tireless and selfless service (Seva)
. Making our daily living through righteous endeavors
. Sharing our blessings with the needy (Vund Chhakna)

Meditating upon Guru Nanak’s Proclaimed Revelation and Affirmation in Japji:
One Supreme Immortal Reality, Naam, Shabd,
Creator: Father and Mother to all and His Unfathomable Creation,
Benevolent King: Without animosity and rancor against anyone;
Self-Created, Self-Illuminated: Free from the Cycles of Transmigration,
Eternal Truth: Immanent, without Limit or Measure, Immaculate,
True through the Ages: From before the beginnings to the ends of Time and Life.

500 years later, Guru Nanak’s universal message remains timely and urgent. Today his message of peaceful accommodation with our fellow human beings is finding resonance with people and scholars of other faiths and spiritual traditions.

As we remember and honor the life of Guru Nanak on this sacred occasion, may we discover our own responsibility to share his message, live his commandments; serve the cause of life, liberty, universal civic and spiritual freedoms and pray for well-being of fellow humans across diverse cultural and traditional divides and boundaries.

May we remember Guru Nanak’s message of humility, sweetness in temper; call to conquer formidable temporal distractions and challenges; honor truth and practice truthful living; and relating to, and respecting one another as One God’s Children.
May the Light of Guru’s Divine Message and Wisdom, as revealed in his marvelous hymns and sacred compositions that are incorporated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh Sacred Scripture), shine upon us through the ages, message and music, and in places and forums that we could not have imagined a few decades earlier. May we enshrine the essence of faith deep within our soul to guide our lives towards the paths that may lead to knowing God, serving His Wonderful Creation, and fulfill the supreme goal of human birth: be blessed an ultimate reunion with the Lord through eternity.

During his lifetime, Guru Nanak extensively traveled the world – throughout India, to Sri Lanka, Tibet (China), Mecca (Saudi Arabia), Baghdad (Iraq), Jerusalem, Egypt, Turkey, Tehran (Iran), and Kandhar and Kabul (Afghanistan) among other places. We can be certain that the Guru encountered rough terrains and dangers, hostile tribes, unfriendly kingdoms, unfamiliar languages, and unexpected positive responses and audiences during his travels to spread the message of new faith: of peace and love; the unity of human spirit and all Creation as the masterworks of One God, Waheguru (the Wonderful Lord).

Today, the Great Guru’s nearly 30 million followers (Sikhism is the fifth largest faith in the world) are in every continent and many countries, including 750,000 in the U.S.A. Now it is up to us as the pioneer generation, and generations that will follow in new lands and times, to carry on the message and traditions of Guru Nanak and Sikh faith: feeding and serving the hungry, dispossessed, and disenchanted; being champions for those who suffer under tyranny, injustice, denied basic rights and dignity; and safeguarding the human and natural environment for the safety of all living beings as an honor to God. We must make this challenge as a testament to our faith and spiritual and cultural heritage.

It is up to us to build bridges with, and towards other major faiths and spiritual traditions; seek peace with one another across traditional and long-standing faith, cultural and ethnic divides; discover common threads in a humanitarian spirit that may guide our actions;

Create an environment where learning from each other, as the Great Guru taught (the word Sikh means a disciple), remains a central focus and principal commitment of our lives. Ignorance of our history and indifference towards our heritage; understanding the faith in a changing world, struggles and strife, significant thresholds of our times; and unprovoked threats to Sikh identity are challenges that we must overcome in our lifetime.

Let the Light of Sikh faith, the strengths and wisdom from our collective sacred heritage, lift the spiritual and cultural fog that often separates us from one another and pray that we may recognize the God-Light that knows no limits or distinctions in each being.

May the Supreme Truth, Divine Wisdom, as revealed to Guru Nanak and succeeding Nine Gurus who nurtured the faith, reverentially enshrined in the Eternal Guru of Sikhs: Guru Granth Sahib (The Sikh Holy Scripture), be our Guiding Light and Teacher in all things, at all times, as commanded by the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh, in 1708.

Divine Messengers, Enlightened Souls, illumine our path and connection to God. Congratulations to the followers of Sikh faith and members of all faith communities on the Gurpurab (Birthday) of Guru Nanak, a brilliant Spiritual Light for all humanity.

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA