550 Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev & the Golden Temple

On this date of 12
November 2019, 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji is being celebrated
across the world particularly in India and Pakistan with full dedication,
devotion and gaiety.
    His sayings and messages are still relevant
and will also continue till the day human beings survive. I am quoting from one
of his sayings which has greatly influenced me, “There is but One God. His name
is Truth; He is the Creator. He fears none; he is without hate. He never dies;
He is beyond the cycle of births and death. He is self-illuminated. He is
realized by the kindness of the True Guru. He was True in the beginning; He was
True when the ages commenced and has ever been True. He is also True now”.
Another one, “Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion
cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God”.

    Guru Nanak ji was born at present place of Nankana Sahib, near Lahore of Pakistan.
According to various literatures and beliefs, the birth and initial years of
Guru Nanakji’s life were marked with
many astonishing incidents that validated that Nanak ji was born with divine
 Guru Nanak Dev ji later on settled down at Kartarpur (now in Pakistan) which was
founded by him in 1522 and spent the rest of his life there (1522-1539). Kartarpur is now great news in the world
as 3-kilometre  corridor which connects Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba
Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of
Punjab (India) has  allowed pilgrims’
mainly Sikh pilgrims’ direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in
, where Guru Nanak Dev
passed away. Hope this corridor will bring peace in the region so that no
mothers have to lose their sons or children had to suffer because death of
their fathers. Guru Nanak Dev ji long ago rightly said, “Dwell in peace in the
home of your own being, and the Messenger of Death will not be able to touch
  Although Guru Nanak ji was the founder of
Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus but all the other Gurus had done
excellent work for human beings. In this context, the Golden Temple is a
glaring example. The Golden Temple of Amritsar (Sri Harmandir Sahib) is not only a central religious place of the
Sikhs, but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody
irrespective of caste, creed, religion or race can visit the place.
Regarding the Temple it
may be mentioned that, as advised by Sri Guru Amar Dass Ji (3rd Sikh Guru), Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji (4th Sikh Guru)
started the digging of Amrit Sarovar
(Holy Tank) of Sri Harmandir Sahib in
1577 A.D., which was later on brick-lined by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (5th Sikh Guru) on 15 December, 1588 and he
also started the construction of Sri Harmandir
. Sri Guru Granth Sahib
(scripture of the Sikhs) was first installed at Sri Harmandir Sahib on 16 August 1604 A.D.
     The Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir Sahib Amritsar) has a unique
Sikh architecture. Built at a level lower than the surrounding land level, the Gurudwara teaches the lesson of
egalitarianism and humility. The four entrances of this holy shrine from all
four directions signify that people belonging to every walk of life are equally
welcome. The Sikhs and others of different religions all over the world daily
visit Sri Harmandir Sahib.  
    The author had the opportunity to visit
holy Golden Temple (Sri Harmandir
Sahib) in August 2017. So the author’s first visit to Golden Temple created different
feelings in the mind and heart of the author as everywhere selfless service was
observed- whether serving of food, water, cleaning of utensils, making of roti etc. were concerned. It is
heartening to mention by quoting Hindustan Times, 19th May 2016,
epaper, that “The Golden Temple (Harmandir
Sahib) in Amritsar has been ranked number 3 in the country on the travellers’
choice landmarks list of a leading travel planning and booking site
TripAdvisor. Surrounded by a holy ‘sarovar’,
its construction was completed in 1604 and presently runs one of the largest
free kitchens in the world, which serves an average of 1,00,000 people daily”.

Dr Shankar Chatterjee
Former Professor & Head (CPME),NIRD & PR ( Govt. of India), Hyderabad,  India
Former Associate Professor, Eritrea
Former Assistant Prof, Govt. Degree College, Tripura, India
Former Senior Planning Officer, Govt of Assam, India