Guru Nanak's teachings and its relevance on his 545th birth Celebrations.

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The Sikhs across the world would be
joined by Hindus, Muslims and others in celebrating the 545th birth anniversary
of Baba Guru Nanak, the fountain head of Sikhism.


Also Published on page 18 of The Indian Panorama weekly, a Dallas Paper

The tradition of celebrating the
anniversary of the Gurus or the spiritual teachers is called Gurpurb
(celebration of the teacher). There are ten Gurus in Sikh faith and their holy
book is called the Guru Granth Sahib. Granth Sahib is a compilation of entire
teachings of the Gurus, and remains a perpetual guidance for Sikhs.
As a pluralist who has done over 25
hours of Radio Talk shows and two workshops on Sikhism as a part of
“Understanding the wisdom of Religion, all the beautiful religions”
my goal was to share the essence of each faith and their relevance to the
common man on the street who is not related to that particular religion.
Let me begin with the recognition of
how Guru Nanak’s teaching has produced an exemplary model of dealing with the
conflicts today.   
On August 5, 2012, a gunman Wade
Michael Page walked into the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin, and opened the
fire killing 6 people causing tremendous panic and apprehension. This is an
accumulation of many smaller incidents beginning with the murder of Balbir
Singh Sodhi, a gas station owner in Phoenix, Arizona, and many incidents later,
the humiliation of Dr. Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh Professor in New York and
harassment of Mr. Jageet Singh, a truck driver by a Judge in Mississippi.  
How did the Sikhs respond to the
harassment and the violence?
They followed the teachings of Guru
Nanak by responding to the Wisconsin massacre with forgiveness, patience,
forbearance, and kindness, it was the right thing to do when tragedy befalls a community.
They set a new benchmark in America.
Instead of expressing anger,
threatening to sue the authorities, or demonstrating their apprehensions, the
Sikhs across America chose the most powerful tools of all: Prayer and
forgiveness. Indeed it resonates with the teachings of Jesus, Prophet Muhammad
and other great masters, and recently Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March and Martin
Luther King’s march in Selma. It disarms the oppressor and the message of
goodness gets conveyed. 

Every Gurdwara in America held candle light vigils and speeches focused on
forgiveness and goodwill –
The selfless service to mankind known as Seva is central to the teaching of
Sikhism. There is no thought of reward or gains, it pure service to fellow beings.

The Sikh community must be
appreciated by one and all, and were indeed appreciated at the Unity Day USA
for setting the standards of dealing with conflicts.

Indeed, it is our duty to “honor and cherish individuals “who have dedicated
their lives to building bridges among Americans. Their pioneering spirit in
facilitating communities to know each other and to respect each other is
appreciated by the people of Dallas/ Fort Worth. On this day, we appreciate and
celebrate their contributions towards building a cohesive America, where no one
has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.

Click on picture for enlarged version

Picture: Sikh Community Honored at
IX Annual Unity Day USA in Dallas. 
Mayors of Richardson, Garland, Police and Fire chiefs and
representatives of 7 Gurdwaras, Bob Mong, CEO of Dallas Morning News, Dr.
Harbanslal and the event Chair Mike Ghouse.

Guru Nanakji’s birthday
has a special significance to me, indeed, the religion we called Sikhism today,
started out as an interfaith movement, where Guru Nanak primarily brought
people from different religions together and taught common sense goodness, and serving
humanity and caring for the neighbors.

Today, I wrote my weekly piece at Dallas Morning News on Pluralism, I was asked
what verse from Quran I would recommend to those who serve in public office. The verse I
recommend reminded me of the Sikh Brother, Bhai Kanhaiya’s story from the
battle of Anandpur Sahib in 1704.

Quran, 5:8 (Asad translation): “O YOU who
have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing
witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead
you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being
God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that
you do.”

Indeed, the word hatred has multiple meanings in this case – bias to color,
race, appearance, deport and other temperamental proclivities that are
destructive to everyone. Indeed Bhai Kanhaiya took it further to include enemy
soldiers.  Martin Luther King Jr., said,
“Injustice to one is injustice to all” – thank you Bhai Kanhaiya for setting
the new standard of inclusion and caring.  

Here is a dialogue between Bhai Kanhaiya and Guru Gobind Singh; the 10th
Guru of Sikhism who put the final touches to the religion, this story is
narrated by many sources including Wikipedia.  

Guru Gobind Singh summoned
Bhai Kanhaiya and explained that he had received a complaint about his actions
on the battlefield.

_ _ _ _ _
Guruji, “These brave Sikhs
are saying that you go and feed water to the enemy and they recover to fight
them again – Is this true?”
Bhai Kanhaiya, “Yes, my Guru,
what they say is true. But Maharaj, I saw no Mughal or Sikh on the battlefield.
I only saw human beings. And, Guru Ji, they all have the same God’s Spirit? –
Guru Ji, have you not taught us to treat all God’s people as the same?”

Guru Ji said, “Bhai
Kanhaiya Ji, You are right. You have understood the true message of Gurbani (compositions
of Sikh Gurus) “.
He then continued and told the Sikhs that Bhai Kanhaiya had understood the
deeper message of the Gurus’ teachings correctly and that they all have to
strive to learn lessons from the priceless words of Gurbani.

Guru also gave Bhai Kanhaiya Ji medical Balm and said “From now on, you should also put this balm on
the wounds of all who need it”’
Then turning to the sangat
Guru Ji said, Saadh
sangat Ji, Bhai Kanhaiya is a God-fearing saintly soul. His impartial and
non-biased behavior towards others has led him to achieve Sehaj-avastha. Let
him carry on with his mission. Many more will follow in his footsteps in the
years to come and keep the tradition of Nishkam Sewa alive.”
_ _ _ _ _

Guruji was committed to peace and harmony.

I hope on this auspicious occasion of Gurpurb, the Sikhs can make a genuine
effort to pay tribute to the spirit of Guru Nanak Devji and remove the
misunderstandings that erupted from a wrong translation of Quran that happened
350 years ago during the reign of Aurangzeb,  and has rightfully etched in the psyche of

In an article in Huffington
about Kentucky Senator
David William’s bigotry I wrote, “No one has a right to belittle other’s
faiths. If Senator Williams has a problem let it be his problem and no one
should malign Christianity for his bigotry.” Likewise, King Aurangzeb’s bigotry
should not be slapped on to Muslims. I have nothing to do with it, nor does any
Muslim today has anything to do with him.

One single mistranslation of a verse from Quran has created a great
misunderstanding between Muslims and Sikhs since the times of Aurangzeb, and
has lasted till this day. Sadly there was a lot of bloodshed during the
partition of India that has deepened the ill-will among a few Muslims and a few Sikhs. It is time to forgive
for our own sake, as it will release the tension and apprehension within us and
deal with each other as free individuals.

I was a speaker on “reading the scriptures” at the Parliament of world’s religions in Melbourne, Australia
and discovered this longest running ill-will between Sikhs and Muslims with Dr.
Avatar Dhaliwal of Tennessee.  I hope, to
honor Guru Nanak, we can put this behind through a serious dialogue. I am
willing to invest my time for the sake of common good and peace between people
of different faiths. We cannot have walls between us by the men who are no

Sikhism was one of the first formal religions that began as a reconciliatory
goodwill nurturing faith and let’s give the full value to it and work together.

May the Noor (divine light) of Guru Nanankji brighten the world today and for
eternity. Amen!


The DFW Sikh Community
invites you, our friends, neighbors and all members of the community, to
join us in the celebration of the 544th coming of the founder of the
Sikh Faith, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. His ideals of peace, harmony, egalitarianism,
social justice, living in the presence of the One Creator and with dignity and
honesty are the fundamentals we strive for everyday. This celebration will
include the 1st parade in the City of Richardson.

When: Saturday, November 16, 2013 from 10:00 AM – 2 PM.
Where: Gurdwara Singh Sabha of North Texas in Richardson.
will be served. This is the Sikh institution of the community kitchen and as
with any and all Sikh events it will include a complimentary vegetarian meal,
sweets, refreshments and drinks.

# # #           

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker
and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work
place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and
offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at He believes in Standing up for others and
has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on
national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox
TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the
Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News;
fortnightly at Huffington post; and
several other periodicals across the world. His personal site indexes all his work through
many links.   

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