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The Travels of Guru Nanak
Living Sikhi - Lesson Twenty Six






Lesson Objectives:

1   To appreciate how far Guru Nanak traveled.

2   To learn about the reasons Guru Nanak gladly suffered so many difficulties.

3   To begin to understand how universal is pure Truth and how the Three Golden Rules are universal.


Teachers, ask the students to say the Sikh greeting with you; then fold hands and do simran with the students.


Homework Review:  Did you do some conscious eating this week? What did you learn about the food you ate? (Pause for discussion.)

Teachers, please show the students a map or globe so that they have some concrete idea of how far were the distances traveled by Guru Nanak. Show them from West Punjab through India to Sri Lanka, up to Tibet and China, to Assam and Burma, around the sea route to Arabia. Show them how varied the geography is - where the mountains, the seas, the jungles and deserts are. 

Guru Nanak traveled great distances for over twenty years to bring the message from Sach Khand to the people. Many other people have also traveled far from home. What was so different about His reason as opposed to the Vikings who traveled from Norway across the Atlantic Ocean to the "New World", or the traders who traveled the Silk Road or Christian crusaders who traveled from Europe to Jerusalem? (Pause for answers.)

Right! Most people who travel for long distances do so for selfish reasons. They are looking to enjoy themselves or for better farm land to feed their own families or to bring back treasure and loot from their conquests, or to make money trading some valuable goods. Or they may be under the impression that they alone have the true faith and must force others to their religion. Or they believe that a certain place is so sacred to their religion that if another religious group takes it, it is worth killing them to get it back. For thousands of years, these reasons have impelled many individuals, tribes and religions to travel long distances and many times to suffer many hardships along the way.

Guru Nanak gladly suffered all of these hardships: terrible heat and cold, storms and droughts, hunger and thirst, disease. There were no restaurants or bottled water. No comfortable clothes or beds. No automobiles, trains or buses. He did not speak many of the languages in the regions to which he traveled. He met people of many religions and many customs different from his own.

There were Animists who believed that spirits inhabited trees and creatures. There were Buddhists who believed in moderation (like Nanak) and emptiness. There were Taoists who believed that God can be found in creation (like Nanak) and also had rituals and spells to control nature. There were some Muslims who practiced a ritual of beating themselves with whips (Shia) and others (like Nanak) who believed we can experience the love of God (Sufis).

Why did he do this traveling? (Pause for answers.) Right! He had compassion for all of us who suffer the pain of ignorance, materialism, and separation from God.

Guru Nanak had visited Sach Khand, the Realm of Truth. He knew how blissful was that realm and he wanted to share that bliss with everyone because he knew that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Wherever he traveled, Guru Nanak never made fun of people, but he did not hesitate to look silly himself in order to bring attention to the Three Golden Rules that everyone, everywhere can follow. What are they? (Pause.) These Golden Rules bring happiness and peace to everyone who practices them, no matter what their religion, language, culture or the time period in which they live. If they are Native Americans or Hindus, Animists or Buddhists, they will be happy. Practicing them will bring happiness to you today, just as they did in Guru Nanak's time or a hundred years from now. This means that these rules are universal - that is, for everyone, everywhere, and for all time. They are derived from the Truth of Sach Khand.

Here is another story about Guru Nanak's travels: One day when Guru Nanak approached a village, he and Bhai Mardana were very hungry and thirsty. They stopped at several homes both grand and humble to ask for a morsel of food and some water. No one helped them. As they were leaving, Guru Nanak turned toward the village and said, "May all the people in this village always prosper here and remain here."

In the very next village, everywhere they went, people were kind and generous to them. As they were leaving, at some distance from the village, Guru Nanak turned toward it and said, "May the people of this village get uprooted and scatter to different lands!"

Bhai Mardana was stunned. He thought that Guru Nanak had rewarded the bad people of the first village and cursed the good people of the second village.

Homework: What do you think Guru Nanak meant by these words? Please write down your thoughts to share with the class. For extra credit: Apply the lesson of this story to your own life. How would you do it?


Shabad: Naal Narayan Merai


November 9, 2010 

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Living Sikhi - Lesson Twenty Six"

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