What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak ji and exaplain their relevance in the contemporary world.

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Title: Major Teachings of Guru Nanak Ji: Relevance in the Contemporary World

Among the galaxy of spiritual leaders who have graced the Indian subcontinent, Guru Nanak Ji holds an esteemed position. His teachings have shaped the lives of millions worldwide, transcending temporal, spatial and cultural boundaries. As UPSC aspirants, a detailed understanding of his ideology and its relevance today becomes necessary for the comprehensive appraisal of social harmony and religious unity in India.

Guru Nanak Ji was the founder of Sikhism, a monotheistic faith that emerged in the late 15th century during a period when the Indian society was deeply fragmented on the lines of religion and caste. He propounded an egalitarian social order, stripped of discrimination and rampant hypocrisy.

1. Monotheism: Guru Nanak Ji preached monotheism, the belief in one supreme omnipresent God. He propounded that God is the ultimate truth and salvation lies in realizing and accepting His presence in all. He strongly criticized idol worship and ritualistic worships that were prevalent during his time. In today’s context, secular democracies like India continues to be multi-religious and multicultural, underscoring the relevance of his teachings in strengthening interfaith harmony.

2. Equality and Social Justice: The doctrine of equality was a cornerstone in Guru Nanak’s teachings. He denounced the caste system, asserting that all humans are equal irrespective of their social or religious status. He propagated ‘Langar’, a community kitchen where anyone, regardless of caste, religion, or social status, could eat together. This practice promotes inclusivity, solidarity, and equality, which are the pillars of any democratic society. In current times, his teachings influence policies aimed at social justice, equality, and inclusivity, thereby reducing social disparities.

3. Humanism and Service to Humanity: ‘Sarbat da Bhala,’ which signifies the well-being of all, was a crucial element of his teachings. He urged people to selflessly serve others, considering service to humanity as the highest form of worship. This ideal resonates in today’s ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – the world is one family notion which encourages global solidarity and collective action.

4. Honest Hard Work – Kirat Karo: Guru Nanak mandated that one should earn their living with hard work, honesty, and righteousness. He encouraged people to lead the life of a householder (Grahstha) and carry out their duties, instead of renouncing the world. The present-day scenario of rampant corruption and unethical practices necessitates the reaffirmation of the value of honest hard work.

5. Naam Japna and Vand Chakna: Guru Nanak preached Naam Japna – remembering God’s name in all activities, and Vand Chakna – sharing with others, especially the less fortunate. These principles help foster a sense of community, selflessness, and empathy, aiding in the creation of a compassionate society. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN gravitate towards these principles in the fight against poverty and inequality.

In conclusion, the teachings of Guru Nanak Ji provide a blueprint for a harmonious and united society. They foster peace, solidarity, and brotherhood, crucial for a pluralistic society like India. As future administrators, UPSC aspirants would benefit significantly from internalizing these principles that encourage a humane and inclusive approach towards public administration. They have not only historical or religious importance but also immense practical relevance in fostering social cohesiveness and harmony – a prerequisite in today’s diversified and globalized world.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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