On the eve of Guru Nanak’s birthday, let’s remember his three core messages to the world.
1. ਨਾਮ ਜਪਨਾ (Naam Japna) – Remember your Identity
“Naam” or Name of a person refers to the identity of the person. For example: when we say Vineet, the name Vineet refers to everything that the person stands for i.e. his body, his character, his dreams etc. The name “Vineet”, therefore, stands for the identity of the person.
“Japna” means remembrance.
“Naam Japna”, therefore, means remembering the identity of God, which is the same as the identity of each one of us. This is the first and the most important message of Guru Nanak.
Just as God is the embodiment of love and all the virtues such as compassion, kindness, forgiveness, happiness, joy, peace, gratitude, fearlessness, grace, benevolence, mercy etc,
we, as souls, are also embodiment of all of these virtues.
But we have forgotten our true nature. The first message of Guru Nanak is to remember our true nature or Identity.
Wouldn’t this world be a heaven if each one of us reflected our true nature i.e. love, compassion, kindness and all other virtues?
The following activities greatly help in our path of remembrance:
– Company of the enlightened souls and other seekers
– Daily routine of the above two activities
2. ਕਿਰਤ ਕਰਨੀ (Kirat Karni) – Make efforts
“As you sow, so shall you reap” is the fundamental law of the universe. Therefore, each one of us has the power to create our destiny the way we like.
The second message of Guru Nanak is to make efforts towards a future we want. Sitting and just wishing will not help us achieve what we want; our actions will.
To enjoy material comforts, we need to make efforts in this world. And if we also want to live a life of joy, bliss and peace, we would need to make efforts towards that. Gurbani guides us towards a life of peace, joy, and bliss.
But we need to walk the path prescribed by Gurbani. There is a chinese proverb that says:
Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
Merely repeating what Gurbani says will not help unless we walk the path, the second message says that. Taken together with the first message, it means that merely knowing that “meditation, company of the enlightened souls and a daily routine is required” won’t make our life any better if we don’t practice them in our lives.
3. ਵੰਡ ਛਕਨਾ (Vand Chhakna) – Share with others
The third message of Guru Nanak is to share with others what you have. You can share
– anything that you have
This message stands for the principle of Universal brotherhood.
It is about a feeling of co-operation, rather than competition, with the entire humanity. “Sarbat da bhala” or “Welfare of all”, one of the slogans of Sikhism, also bears out of this same message.
The feeling of brotherhood and compassion with everyone is the base of the religion:
Tulsi Das ji has written:
Daya dharam ka mool hai , paap mool abhimaan
Tulsi daya na chhodiya , jab lag ghat mein pran
In English, it translates to:
Compassion is the foundation of religion and egoism is the foundation of sin.
Tulsi, don’t leave compassion till you have breaths in your body.
Besides, if we understand the third message in the light of the the fundamental law of the universe (As you sow, so shall you reap) and do actions for the welfare of all and share with others what we have, we’ll receive even more abundance from the world.