Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations were marked with a ‘parkash’ of Sri Guru Granth Sahib inside the South Australia Parliament on Tuesday.
The South Australia Parliament marked the gurpurab of Guru Nanak, the first guru and founder of the Sikh faith, with a ‘parkash‘ ceremony (ceremonial opening) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh scriptures) at its premises on 16 November, three days ahead of the auspicious occasion on 19 November.
The occasion was also marked with the recital of hymns by the local Sikh community members to spread Guru Nanak’s message of the oneness of humanity and equality.
The celebrations were organised by MLC Russell Wortley and MP Dana Wortley.
Labor Member for Torrens, Ms Wortley said while the SA Parliament has been celebrating Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary every year over the past five years, it’s the first time that the parkash took place in its premises.
SA Labor Leader MP Peter Malinauskas also attended the gupurab celebrations as a guest speaker.
The Teachings of Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak taught that there is only one God, Akal Purak, meaning ‘a timeless being that never dies’ (also known as Waheguru and Satnam), to whom everyone can have direct access. This, combined with the other bedrock teachings of Sikhism – that everyone is equal regardless of race, colour, ability, religion or gender — was extremely controversial, and in complete opposition to the Hindu faith with its extensive rituals, priests, Sanskrit texts and hierarchical caste system, which he denounced.
While Guru Nanak still believed in reincarnation, he believed that spiritual progress and mukti (liberation) from awagaun (the cycle of life, death and rebirth) came through living a productive and moral life in service to God and the community. He rejected the notion that being celibate and living the ascetic life of a sadhu (a holy man who relies on others for food and shelter) was a quicker path.
He taught that the aim of a Sikh was to overcome his haumai (ego) by meditating on God’s name. Far from renouncing life, this meant living among people and being an agent for change. Earth was a place to practise dharmsal (righteousness) and move away from being manmukh (self-centred) with the negative human temptations of lobh (greed), kam (lust), karodh (anger), ahankar (pride) and moh (attachment), towards becoming guru-sikh (guru- oriented). This in tum would create harmonious living with hukam, the Divine Will that shapes everything, while accepting that we also have free will to create our destiny both in this life and in the lives to come.