The Panth has not been able to agree on a fixed date for the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Sahib. A section of the community insists that it be celebrated on the full moon day (puranmashi) of the month of Katak – but according to the Bikrami calendar. So, this year it actually falls on the 11th of Maghar according to the Nanakshahi calendar or 24th of November according to the Common Era calendar. By the way, 11th of Maghar is also the “fixed” date for the Shahidi gurpurab of our Beloved Nanak IX and his three jivan-mukt disciples (I will write more about that later).
On the topic of Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary I thought I would share with you the words of a great scholar, commentator, philosopher, poet, administrator (he was the first jathedar of the Akal Takhat) and, in general, thought leader of the Sikhs. This is what Bhai Gurdas ji wrote about the coming of Guru Nanak many many years ago.
Imagine, if you will, walking in an area where one cannot see anything because of mist, dust, and darkness. Then suddenly the mist and dust clears and resplendent light shines bright. Imagine, if you will, a dark night with only the occasional twinkle of stars in the sky that may seem beautiful but really don't give aid to the direction of our walking path. Then suddenly the sun rises, the skies are bright and the sparkling stars are over taken by the bright shining light of the sun - now one can see where they are walking. Imagine, if you will, a jungle with quiet and calm deer munching along in the brushes and grass and suddenly the sovereign lion comes out of the trees and roars loudly communicating its presence. The deer scatter away in fear as the king of the jungle has come to establish its empire. That was the feeling when Guru Nanak came to this earth. Wherever the great Baba went, there was established a place of learning. All the hearts he touched became active with remembrance of the Divine and all the homes he visited became active with societal and community service. The pursuit of Truth became the passion for everyone and this revolution hit everywhere.
Such was the coming of Guru Nanak, the First Prophet of the Sikh Nation...
In this var Bhai Gurdas ji has established the uniqueness and the strength of the first Master of our Nation. The coming of Guru Nanak is best celebrated by understanding our place in world society. By understanding our scripture, practicing our way of life and living - not resting - on the laurels of our history.
Congratulations on the celebrations of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak - the First Prophet of the Sikhs.
Var 1, Pauri 27 - Varan Bhai Gurdas
siqgur nwnk pRgitAw imtI DuMD jg cwnx hoAw]
ijauN kr sUrj inkilAw qwry Cpy AMDyr ploAw]
isMG buky imrgwvlI BMnI jwey n DIr DroAw]
ijQY bwbw pYr DrY pUjw Awsx Qwpx soAw]
isD Awsx sB jgq dy nwnk Awd mqy jy koAw]
Gr Gr AMdr Drmswl hovY kIrqn sdw ivsoAw]
bwby qwry cwr ck nO KMf ipRQmI scw FoAw]
gurmuK kil ivc prgt hoAw ]
With the emergence of the true prophet Guru Nanak,
the mist cleared and the light scattered all around.
As if at the sun rise the stars disappeared and the darkness dispelled.
With the roar of the lion in the forest the flocks of escaping deer now cannot have endurance.
Wherever Baba Nanak put his feet, a religious place was erected and established.
All the sidh-places now have been renamed on the name of Nanak.
Every home has become a place of dharma where singing of hymns has become a daily liturgy.
Baba Nanak gave deliverance to all within the four directions and nine divisions of earth.
Gurmukh (Guru Nanak) has emerged in this kaliyug, the dark age.
P.S. - Translation based on "Varan Bhai Gurdas - Text Transliteration and Translation - Dr. Jodh Singh"