WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 10, 2011) — President Barack Obama, on the Anniversary of the Birth of the first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev Ji, sent best wishes to all those observing the special day.
“On this occasion, we are reminded of the fundamental principles of Sikhism, including the equality of all people, the sanctity of living an honest life, and the importance of service to our neighbors,” Obama said. “I’m proud that during my presidency the White House hosted the first celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak, and our country is grateful for the extraordinary contributions that Sikh Americans have made to our nation.
“As Sikhs across America and around the world celebrate the life of Guru Nanak, all of us can draw inspiration from his message of equality, honesty, and helping those who are in need.”
Guru Nanak Sahib is believed to have been born on April 15, 1469 at Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in what is now Nanakana Sahib, Pakistan. He learned Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian languages and expressed advanced knowledge of divinity at an early age.
After marrying and working as a storekeeper, Sahib followed God’s calling at age 38 in 1507 and traveled to preach his unique and divine doctrine of Sikhism in a series of four journeys in South and Central Asia and the Middle East.
Sahib established a network of preaching centers called “Manjis” and settled down at Kartarpur city (Pakistan) in 1522. He died in 1539.
There are more than 25 million Sikhs around the world today. Minnesota has a Sikh population of approximately 500.
The Sikh Society of Minnesota has a Gurdwara Sahib center that is both a spiritual house of worship and a cultural learning center at 9000 W Bloomington Freeway just off I35W at W 90th Street in Bloomington, MN 55431. www.mnsikhs.com