Guru Nanak Dev is the
founder of Sikhism, one of the largest religions
in the world. He is also popular as the first of
the ten Sikh Gurus. He was an excellent poet and
a musician and could easily convince people
through his speeches.
Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1469 in the Bedi family at Nankana Sahab city in Punjab (presently in Pakistan). It is believed that an astrologer was summoned at the time of his birth to prepare his horoscope. The astrologer persisted to meet Guru Nanak and worshipped him with folded hands. From about the age of five Guru Nanak Dev was inclined towards spirituality. He was enrolled in the nearby village school at the age of seven by his father. However, he left the school very soon and began taking private classes. At the age of fourteen Guru Nanak's family got him married to Sulakhni, daughter of Moolchand Chona, a rice merchant. Guru Nanak Dev was blessed with two sons - Sri Chand and Lakshmi Das. However, this did not deter him from following the life of spirituality. One day, along with a Muslim friend, he left his home and led the life of a wanderer for about twelve years.
While living his life as a wanderer, Guru Nanak Dev met several philosophers and religious teachers. He visited many places, such as Assam, Bengal, Kashmir, Tibet, Ladakh, Mecca, Baghdad, Tamil Nadu, Ceylon, etc. in search of truth. He finally left for the Himalayas after leading the life of a wanderer for about 12 years. It is there that Guru Nanak had the first concrete experience of God. After that he settled down in Kartarpur with his family and started giving religious discourses. He spent the remaining 15 years of his life in Kartarpur and initiated the practice of 'Langar' or community kitchen for the poor, deprived and the needy.
Once at the age of thirty Guru Nanak went missing and people thought that, he may have got drowned in the stream, where he used to go often for bath. After three days he returned home and began saying that "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim". He began preaching that God is one and we can reach him through any religion, be it Islam, Hinduism, or any other. This laid the foundation of Sikhism.
Guru Nanak Dev breathed his last at the age of 70 on September 22, 1539. Today his birth anniversary is celebrated by the Sikhs as Guru Nanak Gurpurab between the months of October and November. All the teachings and philosophies of Guru Nanak are recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture of Sikhism, in the form of 974 poetic hymns.