By Aruna Turay
Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Shri Gurudwara Sahib Sierra Leone limited has joined the world to celebrate the 553rd-year birthday of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, also referred to as Bābā Nānak, Founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus in India.
The event which was held at the Gurudwara Sahib, Lumley in Freetown was attended by dozens of worshipers of Sikhism Religion across Sierra Leone. The celebration was mapped with events including Bhog Shri Sehaj Path Ji, Kirtan (Sadh Sangat), Kirtan – Ardas (Bhai Ranjit Singh Ji), Arti & Ardas and Guru Ka Langar, among other activities.
Speaking to AYV on the importance of the celebrant and the celebration to the Shikh faith, Mohinder Bir Singh Sachdeva, who also doubles as CEO of Jetty Trading Company, said the Sikh religion is one of the youngest world religions and was founded more than 500 years ago (1469) in Punjab, North India, by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in response to a spiritual revelation.
He said the Shri Gurudwara Sahib Sierra Leone Limited from India has been in Sierra Leone for some decades now promoting their culture, faith and beliefs.
He said in parts of their works in Sierra Leone over the years, they have been able to financially support kids suffering from severe medical challenges and providing scholarship and paying schools fees to needy pupils in different communities across the country.
India High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Neeraj Kumar Saina who also graced the celebration said Baba Guru Nanak and his nine successors are known as ‘gurus’, which is a term for a spiritual guide or teacher.
Guru Nanak, he said, taught true religion consists of always being mindful of God, meditating on name and attributes of God and reflecting on God’s Power in all activities of daily life.
The High Commissioners went on that Guru Nanak’s followers became known as Sikhs (from the Sanskrit word shishysa), which means disciple. The Holy Book, the “Guru Granth Sahib”, is the ultimate spiritual authority for Sikhs.
He said it contains the teachings and devotional compositions written and recorded by the Sikh Gurus and some contemporary Hindu and Muslim saints, adding that the Guru Granth Sahib is at the heart of Sikh worship and its presence lends sanctity to the Sikh place of worship, the Gurdwara.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest religion. The word ‘Sikh’ means ‘learner’ or ‘seeker of truth’. Sikhism advocates equality, social justice and service to humanity, and tolerance for other religions.
Few months ago, the faith awarded its first Baba Guru Nanak Scholarship Package to over twenty-eight private schools and over sixty pupils within the Lumley community and its environs.
The aim is to give back to the community from the small profit made in business or work.
The Sikh religion in Indian, believes in the 3 guiding principles which includes: “Always remember God throughout the day; earn your livelihood through hard work and by honest means; and to selflessly serve and share with others especially with those less fortunate than yourself.