Guru Nanakwas the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the eleven Sikh Gurus, the eleventh being the living Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. His birth is celebrated world-wide on Kartik Puranmashi, the full-moon day which falls on different dates each year in the month of Katak, October-November.
He was born on 15th April, 1469 in a place named Talwandi Raibhoya (Nankana Saheb). Guru Nanak Jayanti is also known as Prakash Utsav. It is celebrated on the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima. Sikhs celebrate this day with a lot of zeal and excitement. Guru Nanak Dev was a neutral Guru. He learned all the teachings of different Gurus and Sants in the Guru Grantha Sahib and preached everyone in the same manner. He spent his whole life in servicing the needy.
Guru Nanak showed extra ordinary talent since a very young age. When Guru Nanak Dev was just 5 years old, he surprised everyone by talking about God and high level spiritual knowledge. He was a brilliant student and was well versed in languages like Hindi, Persian, Punjabi and Sanskrit. Even though he was brilliant in studies, he preferred to seek spiritual knowledge and meditate.
He had no interest in business or working to earn a living and collect money. Once his father gave him some amount to start a business of his own, but he spent the money on some hungry ascetics whom he met on the way. He married at the age of 16 and had a happy married life. Despite having a domestic life, he never left meditating and pursuing higher knowledge and level of realization. But very soon, he left home to seek out the higher truth.
Guru Nanak never differentiated between different religions and considered all Gods to be the same.The principles and teachings of Guru Nanak Dev are followed by a lot of people even today. He explained that God is only one and we are all his children. He said that no one can be different from each other as we are the children of the one same person. His teachings which were given 500 years ago are still popular among the people. Guru Nanak Dev established Sikh religion and worked for the betterment of the whole mankind. He gave rise to a sense of unity and love among the people.
Guru Nanak did not believe in these mindless superstitions and rituals. He always believed and taught that there was only one God who was omnipresent. He taught that chanting God's name and living life purely would free a person from the cycle of birth and death. To make it easier for people to take God's name, he prepared the Japji, which was essentially a morning prayer. He also composed a set of poems that constitute the first chapter of Guru Granth Sahib which is the holy book of the Sikhs. His teachings and philosophies continue to inspire many around the world. Guru Nanak breathed his last in 1538 when he was 70 years old. He appointed one of his disciples as the second Guru and named him Angad.