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Guru Nanak and the Sikh Movement

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Guru Nanak and the Sikh Movement - Lesson Summary

The Guru Granth Sahib begins with the word “Ik Onkar,” which means “there is only one God”. It is composed by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and was born in 1469 at Talwandi. He finally settled in Kartarpur on the banks of the river Ravi.

His followers offered prayers by singing his hymns and ate together in langar, a common kitchen. His place of worship was dharmsal, now known as a Gurudwara. Guru Nanak appointed Lehna as his successor; known as Guru Angad.

Guru Angad compiled Guru Nanak’s and his own compositions in the Gurmukhi script, which is used for writing the Punjabi language. Later, all the teachings of Nanak’s successors and other religious people were compiled into the holy book of the Sikhs ─ the Guru Granth Sahib, affirmed by Guru Gobind Singh.
His followers were mainly traders and artisans, as Guru Nanak insisted that his followers follow a productive occupation. Guru Nanak’s teachings emphasized on three things: nam japna or right belief and worship, kirt karna or honest living, and vand chhakna or helping others.

In the 17 th century, Harmandar Sahib at Ramdaspur developed into an independent state of the Sikh community, now known as the Golden Temple, Amritsar. Seeing the Sikh community grow, Mughal Emperor Jahangir started considering them a potential threat, and had Guru Arjan executed. This led to the development of the Sikh movement and the creation of the Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind Singh that later became a political entity.

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