Guru Nanak Was Born on 1 Vesakh (14 April)

Guru Nanak Born on 1 Vesakh 14 April featured img

Sat Kartar to all! Happy Celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak and the birth of Khalsa. 1 Vesakh (14th April) marks a truly auspicious day for all Sikhs worldwide as we are not just celebrating one but two very important events.

Vesakh Or Kathik?

Wait! Why are we celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday today?

That’s because the actual birth date of Guru Nanak falls on 1st Vesakh (14th April). This is in accordance with several evidences, old historical texts, Janam Sakhis and the SGPC sanctioned Mool Nanaksahi calendar.

Sardar Pal Singh Purewal, a Canadian born researcher who finally nailed the correct birth date of Guru Nanak as 1st Vesakh, spent close to 15-years doing research specifically on this subject as he saw the growing confusion and flaws of using the Hindu Bikrami calendar. In fact, we Sikhs needed to have our own calendar.

Flaws of  The Bikrami Calendar to Celebrate Gurpurabs

So, let’s take a look at this issue from a science perspective.

The Bikrami calendar is a Hindu calendrical system which utilizes the Lunar system (the movements of the moon) to determine historical event dates. Similarly, the Muslim Hijri calendar also utilizes the moon to determine their religious and historical dates.

Any calendar system based on Lunar (moon) will suffer from uncertainty of dates. In comparison to a Solar (Sun) based calendar system where the dates are fixed.

According to Sardar Sarbjit Singh’s research paper, the year according to Lunar System is of 354 days; whereas Solar Year is of 365/366 days.*** In Lunar System months are not related to the climate and keep on changing every year.

Christian era calendar (CE) is only 26 seconds more than the Solar Year and Bikrami calendar is 20 minutes more than the solar year. Hence, there is approximately one day difference after 3300 years in case of Christian era calendar.

Whereas there is approximately one day difference after 70 or 71 years in case of Bikrami calendar. How does this affect Vasakhi dates? Vasakhi will be falling on the following dates if we go on adopting the Bikrami calendar.

(09.04.1753, 10.04.1799, 12.04.1899, 14.04.1999, 15.04.2100, etc.).

After 1100 years, Vasakhi  will be celebrated in the month of May. After 13,000 years, Vasakhi will happen in October. Can we accept this? In fact, this problem will not just be apparent for Guru Nanak’s Gurpurab date but  all Gurpurab dates, Char Sahibzaadeys Shahidi Dihara dates, etc.

Take for example Guru Gobind Singh’s Gurpurab. If we were to follow the Bikrami calendar, Prakash Divas of Guru Gobind Singh will sometimes fall twice in a Solar Year and sometimes not even once in a Solar Year. Can we accept this drastic shift in dates of the birth dates of our Gurus?

Historical Evidence Points to Vesakh, Not Kathik

The Taksalis, Sant Babas, Deras, and a few other Sikh groups are all sating Guru Nanak was born in Kathik Sudi Pooranmasi, 1526 Bikrami (November 15). But, at the same time, they also agree that Guru Nanak’s Jyoti Jot date (demise) is in Asu Vadi 10, 1596 Bikrami. Thank goodness they’re not denying this fact.

Here is the issue. All the old historical texts and Janam Sakhis (except the Bhai Bala Janam Sakhi) agree that Guru Nanak lived for 70 years, 5 months and 7 days. Unfortunately, the groups mentioned above disagree. They say Guru Nanak lived for 69 years plus and not 70-years. Question is, if that were the case, then all the 8 historians including Bhai Gurdas Ji was wrong as well as the 5-Janam Sakhis which clearly states 1 Vesakh as the birthdate of Guru Nanak are wrong too?

The following authors, scholars and Janam Sakhis have given 1 Vaisakh (14 April) as the birthdate of Guru Nanak:-

  1. Bhai Gurdas – late 16th century
  2. Karam Singh (Historian) – 1912
  3. Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha
  4. Dr Ganda Singh
  5. Principal Satbir Singh
  6. Professor Sahib Singh
  7. Hari Ram Gupta
  8. Mr M.A. Macauliffe

Janam Sakhis:-

  1. Meherban Vali Janam Sakhi
  2. Gian Ratnavali – Bhai Mani Singh
  3. B-40 Janam Sakhi
  4. Puratan Janam Sakhi
  5. Lithographically printed Janam Sakhi
    – copy in archives of Khalsa College, Amritsar

Where Is The Logic?

Let’s look at the logical side.

In order to know what was the birthdate of a person, all one has to do is to take the date of demise and subtract it all the way back and you will get the correct date of birth, right? And when you do that, you will realize that the date of Guru Nanak’s birth actually falls in Vesakh and not in Kathik!

Asu vadi 10,1596 Bikrami = 1596 Asu 8 (Sunday)
Subtract age 70y 5m 7d
Birth Date = 1526 Vaisakh 1 (Monday)

But because this faction of groups refuse to accept 1st Vesakh as the birthdate of Gur Nanak, due to the fact, they are referencing the date based on Bhai Bala Janam Sakhi and Giani Ishar Singh Nara’s book “Vaisakh Nahi Kathik”, their calculations are off and therefore claim that Guru Nanak lived a shorter life of 69-years;  just so they can match up the Kathik (Nov) date.

Authenticity of Bhai Bala Janam Sakhi

I won’t go into the depth about the origins of Bhai Bala or the Janam Sakhi here but I’ll tell you this much. There is ample evidence from all the Janam Sakhis mentioned above and old historical texts that a so called “Bhai Bala” NEVER existed during the time of Guru Nanak.

What does this mean? Bhai Bala Janam Sakhi is likely a concocted book of tales and a deliberate attempt by the abovementioned groups to use it as a reference point/ evidence point just so they can somehow prove their claim that Guru Nanak was born in Kathik (Nov).

According to Dr Karminder S. Dhillon’s (Phd) latest article in The Sikh Bulletin,

“ What’s more baffling is that Sikhs had the date right until the past 200 years or so. Historian M.A McAuliffe has said that the Sikh world had the date of Guru Nanak’s birth correct till 1816 – when the Sikhs enjoyed Khalsa Raj under Maharaja Ranjit Singh; and their religious leader was Nirmla Gyani Sant Singh as head granthi of Darbar Sahib.

The Benares trained Nirmla convinced the Maharaja to use his office to have Nankana Sahib celebrate Guru Nanak’s birthday in Katak – November – for the first time in 1816. It would take another hundred years before the Katak date would become acceptable to the Sikh world at large. So that’s 200 years of celebrating it on the wrong date after 346 years of celebrating it on the correct date.”

He further added,

One can thus surmise a number of reasons why Sikhs have gotten the Parkash date of Guru Nanak wrong. It was a deliberate act by persons or groups of people who controlled Sikh institutions, the Sikh historical narrative and, by extension, the Sikh psyche. The birth date was altered in accordance with a specific and disturbing agenda of these persons or groups.

In Conclusion

You’ve all heard of Bhai Gurdas Ji and you’ve probably even heard or read his Vaar #1 Pauri #27 describing the coming of Guru Nanak into this world.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਗਟਿਆ ਮਿਟੀ ਧੁੰਧੁ ਜਗਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਆ।
ਜਿਥੇ ਬਾਬਾ ਪੈਰ ਧਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਆਸਣੁ ਥਾਪਣਿ ਸੋਆ।

Satgur Nanak Pargateya Miti Thund Jag Chanan Hoa|
Jithey Baba Pair Thar Pooja Aasan Thapan Soa|
………..
ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਧਰਮਸਾਲ ਹੋਵੈ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਸਦਾ ਵਿਸੋਆ।

Ghar Ghar Andar Dharamsaal Howey Ki Ratan Sada Vesoa.

Bhai Sahib used the word ਵਿਸੋਆ (Vesoa). If one were to take a closer look at the correct meaning of this word within Mahan Kosh, (the oldest existing Sikh encyclopedia authored by Bhai Khan Singh Nabha), the word means “Vesakh” or month of Vaisakh.

As Sikhs or students of our beloved founder Guru Nanak, we can do either two things at this juncture:

  1. Ignore and keep celebrating Guru Nanak’s Gurpurab in November (the wrong month and date) OR
  2. Stand up and spread the word among our immediate families and friends that Guru Nanak was born in April 14 and not in November 15.

Within our own circles and capacity we can spread the word little by little. Small little actions we make today will eventually bring about huge effects and changes tomorrow. After all, who knows, if given enough time and pressure from Sikhs worldwide, SGPC and Akaal Takhat will take a stand and make the correction once and for all.

References

Video Reference

If you’d like to gain a deeper understanding of this topic, I implore you to view this video below:

 

Author

  • Amarjit S. Gulati

    Amarjit says, the Sikhi that is being practiced today & preached by most clergy (Gianis, Parcharaks, Kirtaniyas) is NOT aligned with Guru Nanak's teachings. As a researcher and a student of Nanakian philosophy, he attempts to share his utmost honest opinions and findings based on Gurmat and real-life experiences.

    View all posts

Was this helpful?

Share on Social. Print PDFs
Scroll to Top