2023 GS4 Answer

Q. What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS4 Paper

Model Answer: 

Guru Nanak – The Founder of Sikhism

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was a profound philosopher, social reformer, and spiritual leader who lived in the 15th century. His teachings, which revolve around love, equality, fraternity, and virtue, are of immense relevance in the contemporary world.

1. Oneness of God:

Guru Nanak preached the concept of monotheism, emphasizing the presence of one supreme power. He discouraged the worship of idols, asserting that God is formless, timeless, and omnipresent. In this era of religious intolerance and fanaticism, this teaching is highly pertinent. It inspires us to respect all religions, as they all lead to the same divine power.

2. Equality and Fraternity:

Guru Nanak was a strong advocate of equality. He denounced the caste system and preached that all humans are equal, regardless of their race, religion, or gender. This principle is reflected in the Sikh practice of Langar, a community kitchen where everyone sits together to eat, irrespective of their social status. In today’s world, where discrimination and prejudice are rampant, Guru Nanak’s teachings remind us to treat everyone with equal respect and dignity.

3. Importance of Honest Work:

Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of honest work and earning one’s livelihood. He taught his followers to be self-reliant and to contribute to society through their work. This teaching is especially relevant in today’s world, where corruption and dishonesty are prevalent. It encourages individuals to value their work and to contribute positively to society.

4. Service to Humanity:

Guru Nanak taught that serving others is the highest form of worship. He urged his followers to practice selflessness and to help those in need. This teaching is of immense significance in the contemporary world, where people often prioritize personal gain over the welfare of others. It inspires us to be compassionate and to help those in need.

5. Meditation and Self-Realization:

Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of meditation and self-realization. He taught that through meditation, one can attain peace of mind and become aware of the divine presence within oneself. In the modern world, where stress and anxiety are common, Guru Nanak’s teachings offer a path to inner peace and self-awareness.

6. Respect for Nature:

Guru Nanak taught his followers to respect and protect nature. He regarded nature as a manifestation of God and emphasized its preservation. This teaching is particularly relevant today, as the world grapples with environmental issues like climate change and deforestation.

In conclusion, Guru Nanak’s teachings, which emphasize love, equality, honesty, service to humanity, and respect for nature, are of immense relevance in the contemporary world. They offer a path to peace, harmony, and sustainable development. His teachings continue to inspire millions around the world and guide them towards a more compassionate and equitable society.

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