The First Sikh: The Life and Legacy of Guru Nanak by Nikki-Guninder Kaur Singh

By Harvinder Singh

The interesting fact about the book and explanation beyond expectations

The book has been written by Nikki Guninder Kaur under which they describe the life and legacy of Guru Nanak who is considered the first Sikh of the Sikh religion. The book is describing the different realities of Janam Sakhis, philosophical thoughts, environmentalists, and the overall life of Guru Nanak. The description of each concept is unique that informs the thorough meaning of life patterns and teaching of Guru Nanak. Several concepts surprised me with different meanings and descriptions of the actual thought of the Guru. The first and foremost thing that surprised me a lot due to its presentation because it has been written that Guru Nanak generate a different variety of poetry that was astonishing due to its literary qualities. Those literary qualities are expressing his mastery over the lyrically poetic mosaic and exposure of spiritual reality in his composition. Moreover, the longer composition is depicted in melodious forms that represent spiritual, emotional, social, and political resonances. These resonances are quite useful that represent the generation across different cultures to bring equality. Furthermore, the literary mosaic was harmonized with the 19 musical measures that are also called ragas. These musical measures are used for bringing Sonic energy between literary concepts. The overall aim of Guru Nanak is to bring multicultural phenomena with his ideology in a poetic syntax. The description of the literary qualities of Guru Nanak rendering different meanings, bringing equality, representing different cultures, and rending emotive powers to society surprised me a lot.

Apart from this, there is one thing That I didn't expect in the book is it related to the explanation of the concept and thoughts of Guru. There's one thing that I observed on page 14 of the book is related to the explanation of months. The description of those months is quite impressive because I haven't learned the meaning of those months uniquely. This explanation of months is also called “Baramah” which universally describe the personal dimensions offer to women in both psychological and spiritual way. These months depicted how a woman longed for her beloved over the 12 months. For instance, the month name kattak (October/November) represents that when the day ends it dictates the meaning of 2 lit a lamp that represents the mental state of women.

Teaching and learning from the books and their application

This book is also rendering a different kind of teaching and learning experience because it is explaining the learning and teaching of Guru Nanak. The author of the book is describing the life learning, thoughts, poetic mosaic, and multiculturalism thoughts of Guru Nanak in a very simple language. As I learned from the book through the different quotations to opt for the universality of equality while considering the hearing and verbal experiences of the world. The learning taught them how to become good learner as described in the quotation of Guru Nanak which says, “Seve Sikhu so Khoj Lahai” which means the teaching itself identify the learner. Thus, it dictates the meaning that the learner should have the ability and the will to learn, then the teaching will be more beneficial. The teacher can only be successful when the learner is fully capable and willing to learn. Therefore, it can be said that the book is describing the synergy between teaching and the learner that signifies the Sikh.

Apart from this, I learned the importance of hearing from past incidents will be more beneficial to overcome future contingencies. As Guru Nanak would have known the importance of hearing is described by Nikki Guninder Kaur Singh.  This learning of hearing applies to others as well because it promotes the importance of hearing and listening. Several individuals can apply This learning in the real world because hearing is considered the most important aspect to grasp any meaning. Thus, the guru Nanak consider the concept of hearing from the past that provides a pathway for an individual to develop new thoughts, path, learning, and uniqueness in identity to familiarize themself with different cultures. As the guru described the learning can be received indirectly, in sensory and other manners they describe the instruction that can be given by the Sikhs to the learner by their true guru. This can promote the teaching and learning processes with good hearing.

The striking information from the book

The most striking part that I learned from the book is written by Nikki Guninder Kaur Singh under which they described the quote and thoughts of Guru Nanak such as “Satnam”. The author described that “Satnam” is also recognized as truth or reality. The author explained the exact meaning that is named as “ekk on kar” which indicates the guru's language and describes the truth. Moreover, the information revealed that it is considered the common and continuous world in which we live together by talking about overtime. The longer description of this phrase reveals the cosmos in the human world of motion and emotions. Apart from this the author also explained the nature of “karta purakh nirbhau nirvair Akal Murat ajuni saibhan gur Prasad” in a deep meaning. They've described the word-to-word meaning of this expression such as creator person for the karta purakh, nirbhau for them without fear, without enmity for the nirvair, timeless in form for the Akal Murat, arjuni for the unborn, gur prasad for the self-existent gift of the guru. Thus, this clear explanation is eliminating the chances of error and misunderstanding among individuals. This style makes it more understandable to avoid misinterpretation and mistranslations. It can be said that the author is strikingly dictating the facts to reveal the real scenario of the facts of the religious guru Nanak. The explanation of the months in a unique manner they're describing a women's mental state about how long she's waiting for her beloved one. Those descriptions are quite striking because it gives phenomenal information about the month and the purpose behind the information.


Harvinder Singh is from Sangrur, Punjab. He is studying at Sheridan College and is a recipient of the Scholarship. When asked about his interested in Sikhi reading and writing, he wrote, "I am also from a Sikh family and I used to visit Gurudwara Sahib in my childhood to attend Gurmat Classes every Sunday and I won lots of prizes by participating in Sikh competitions. The reason behind the reading and writing is to increase my knowledge about Sikhism and to get the opportunity to write something about Sikhism. I was free these days becuse I have no work at moment. Therefore, I utilised my free time to read something good that provided me a happiness and satisfaction."