Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was born on 15 April 1469 into a Bedi (Khastriya) family in a village of Rai Bhoi di Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore. It was mostly populated by Muslims. His father was Mehta Kalyan Das Bedi, popularly shortened to Kalu Mehta and his mother was Tripta Devi.
At the age of 5, he voiced his interest in divine subjects. At the age of 7, he was enrolled at the village school. He followed his elder sister to Sultanpur to live with her and her husband Daulat Khan at the age of 16 years. He was married to Mata Sulakhni at about 19 years of age.
At the age of 30, he had a spiritual vision and disappeared from the village. After three days he reappeared and spoke about God’s path—”There is neither Hindu nor Musalman, so whose path shall I follow? I shall follow God’s path.” He said that he had been taken to God’s court. There he was offered a cup filled with Amrit (nectar) and given the command, as if, from God Himself—”This is the cup of the adoration of God’s name. Drink it … I have bestowed the gift of my name upon you. Let this be your calling.”
He made four major journeys—first, towards Bengal and Assam, second, towards Tamil Nadu, third, towards Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet, and the final tour towards Bagdad, Mecca and Medina on the Arabian Peninsula. One evening at Mecca, Guru Nanak was sleeping with his feet towards the Kaaba Mosque. An orthodox Muslim Kazi Rukan-ud-din observed this and angrily objected. Guru Nanak replied to turn his feet in a direction that did not have a house of God. The Kazi understood the meaning that “God is everywhere” and was struck with wonder. Guru Nanak preached “God is the Doer and without God, there is no other.” He advised his followers to practise his teachings in three ways : (1) Naam Japna: Chanting the Holy name, (2) Kirat Karo: Earning a living honest by means, (3) Vand Chakko: Helping those helpless people who are in need of your help. Guru Nanak expired on 22 September 1539 in Kartarpur at the age of 70.