Home   »   UPSC Mains GS Paper 4 Model...

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

Q6(a). What were the major teachings of Guru Nanak? Explain their relevance in the contemporary world. (10m) – Theory


Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion was a great poet, an eminent philosopher, a notable humanist, and a leading social reformer. His life and teachings still hold great power and meaning for humanity in the 21st century. 


Major teachings of Guru Nanak and their relevance

Major Teachings Contemporary Relevance
Oneness of God (Ik Onkar): 

Guru Nanak emphasized the monotheistic belief in one God, referred to as “Ik Onkar,” which means “One Creator.” 

    • This is relevant today as it promotes religious tolerance and encourages people to see the common thread that runs through all religions
  • E.g. Muslim weavers making clothes for deities in Ayodhya, Temples offering food and shelter to all destitutes. 
Equality and Social Justice: Guru Nanak vehemently opposed discrimination based on caste, creed, or gender. He preached that all human beings are equal in the eyes of God and should be treated as such.
  • This teaching remains highly relevant as issues of inequality and discrimination persist. 
  • His ideas can be linked to ideals of Equality, Justice in our Constitution and Universal Declaration for Human RIghts.(UDHR)
Service (Seva): Guru Nanak stressed the importance of selfless service to others, which he called “Seva.” 
    • This concept is relevant today as it promotes altruism and community engagement. 
  • E.g. Gurdwaras and temples offering Langars (food), people serving orphans and  
Vaand Chhako (sharing): Sharing whatever God has given you with others and helping those who are in need.
  • Relevant to tackle inequality as highlighted by Oxfam Report.
  • E.g. Philanthropists like Azim Premji donating for social welfare, CSR Projects like – Nanhi Kali (Mahindra), People donating blood/platelets during COVID.  
Kirat Karo: Means, make a living honestly with the virtues truthfulness, and living an ethical life . 
    • In a world where dishonesty and corruption are pervasive, these teachings are especially relevant as they promote integrity and moral values.
  • E.g. Integrity shown by public servants like S. Manjunath.
Respect for Nature: He advocated for responsible stewardship of the Earth and its resources.
  • In today’s world, where environmental degradation and climate change are pressing concerns, these teachings remind us of the importance of caring for the planet.
  • E.g. LiFE Movement, Van Mohatsavs
Interfaith Dialogue: Guru Nanak engaged in dialogues with followers of various religions, emphasizing the commonalities among them. 
  • In today’s multicultural world, his teachings on interfaith harmony and dialogue are essential for promoting understanding and peaceful coexistence among different religious communities.
Spiritual Development (Naam Japo): Guru Nanak encouraged individuals to seek a deeper connection with God through meditation and prayer. 
  • In the contemporary world, where people often grapple with stress, anxiety, and the fast-paced nature of modern life, these teachings can provide solace and a path to inner peace.
  • E.g. Kirtanas


Guru Nanak’s teachings hold significant relevance in the contemporary world by promoting values such as tolerance, equality, social justice, service, and environmental responsibility. They offer a timeless guide for individuals and societies to navigate the challenges of the modern era while fostering compassion, unity, and spirituality.




Check out the UPSC Mains GS Paper 4 2023 Analysis with detailed expatiation of the topics of Mains GS Paper 4 By the Study IQ Experts

Sharing is caring!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *