Age has nothing to do with ability or wisdom. It holds true in Guru Nanak’s case, who was born over 500 years ago and inspired many around him. Since his childhood, he was “wise, rational and humane,” suggests Rajni Sekhri Sibal in her book ‘The Guru – Guru Nanak’s Saakhis.’
While Nanak asked difficult questions and the logic behind everything, he was a content soul who donated his brand new clothes to a group of wandering monks on the occasion of Diwali. His mother scolded him for this act but he pacified her by saying, “Mata ji, so many times, you have urged us to share with others.” The author mentions the incident in the chapter titled ‘Care to Share.’
Nanak understood sachha sauda as an act of helping the needy, unlike his father, who wanted to teach him how money needs to be utilised to gain materialistic things. “What is better sacha sauda than buying food for the hungry, water for the thirsty and medicines for the sick?” he tells his friend Bhai Mardana in one of the chapters.
How did the author get interested in Nanak’s life? Well, a little after her eighth birthday, Sibal asked her grandmother for the first time to hear a saakhi (story) about Nanak. She agreed and narrated the saakhis to her granddaughter, which were truly life-altering for her.
“The philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev is rational and wise and his core values are humane: truthfulness, compassion, respect for equality and a firm belief in the unity of mankind,” says Sibal, a retired IAS officer and recipient of the Indian of the Year Award 2013 who has authored several articles and books.
Sibal’s book has 10 chapters that talk about Nanak’s birth, his days in school and his journey towards experiencing and understanding the power of ‘One Supreme Almighty.’ The chapters reveal these awakenings within his heart and mind.
The author’s simple and effective narration keeps the reader hooked till the last page. She explains Nanak’s life in a way that one can see, listen to, and travel with him, while flipping through the pages. He was a curious soul, who believed in the power of ‘Ikk’ (one). He visited Haridwar, Puri and Mecca, among other religious places and found God to be omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time).
As for human beings, every person was special for Nanak irrespective of the path they chose to walk. He believed in equality and in respecting the dignity of all, no matter the caste, class, colour, religion or gender.
Why do we talk of Nanak today? Kailash Satyarthi, a Nobel peace laureate, has the answer. “The Saakhis narrated in the book are thought-provoking and imbued with a depth of wisdom, and provide a direction to the reader to help lead a purposeful life,” he says in the foreword.
Book : The Guru – Guru Nanak’s Saakhis
Author :Rajni Sekhri Sibal
Publisher: StoryMirror Infotech
Price: Rs 349