Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Teachings: Kirat Karo, Naam Japo, Vand Chako
On the occasion of Guru Nanak Dev’s Ji’s birthday let’s Read & Reflect on Guru ji’s main teaching for Sikhs.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings are summarized as the Three Pillars of Sikhism:
Guru Nanak Dev Ji asked the Sikhs to live as householders and practice “Kirat”: to earn an honest living. The term means to earn an honest, pure and dedicated living by exercising one’s God-given skills, abilities, talents and hard labour for the benefit and improvement of the individual, their family and society at large. One is to speak the truth at all times, live a life of decency, high moral values and spirituality honest work.
Those who have meditated on the Naam, the Name of the Lord, and departed after having worked by the sweat of their brows
Oh Nanak, their faces are radiant in the Court of the Lord, and many are saved along with them!
Guru Nanak Dev Ji in SGGS Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Naam Japna, or Naam Simran refers to the meditation, contemplating various Names of God (or qualities of God), especially the chanting of the word Waheguru, which means “Wonderful Lord” representing the formless being, the creator.
Naam means name, so in this context it is referred to God’s name. Japo means to repeat again and again. So the basic meaning of this, is that something we should all do is to recite and repeat God’s name. Whether by doing Kirtan (singing hymns), chanting, or Simran (meditating with mantra). We should do our best to recite God’s name and make sure we are staying connected to God at all times.
Guru Ji says in the Guru Granth Sahib page 189:
With my hands I do God’s work;
with my tongue I sing God’s Glorious Praises.
With my feet, I walk on the Path of my Lord and Master. ((1))
It is a good time, when I remember Him in meditation.
Meditating on the Naam, the Name of the Lord,
I cross over the terrifying world-ocean. ((1)(Pause))
With your eyes, behold the Blessed Vision of the Saints.
Record the Immortal Lord God within your mind. ((2))
Listen to the Kirtan of God’s Praises, at the Feet of the Holy.
Your fears of birth and death shall depart. ((3))
Enshrine the Lotus Feet of your Lord and Master within your heart.
Thus this human life, so difficult to obtain, shall be redeemed.
Vand Chakko’s basic meaning is to Share what we have, and consume it together. Guru Ji is teaching us that whatever we have, we have to appreciate it since some people don’t even have access to those things. And when we do get nice things, we should not be greedy and keep it to ourselves. We should consume it together with those who also want it and make everyone happy.
It means to share what you have and to consume it together as a community. This could be wealth, food. etc. The term is also used to mean to share ones wealth with others in the community, to give to charity, to distribute in Langar and to generally help others in the community who need help. A Sikh is expected to contribute a portion of their wealth or income to people in need or to a worthy cause.
An alternative spelling and meaning, “Vand Ke Chakna”, means to share the fruits of one’s labor with others before considering oneself, thus living as an inspiration and a support to the entire community.
Guru Ji says:
“The twelfth day of the lunar cycle: Dedicate yourself to giving charity, chanting the Naam and purification.
Worship the Lord with devotion, and get rid of your pride. Drink in the Ambrosial Nectar of the Lord’s Name, in the SadhSangat, the Company of the Holy.
The mind is satisfied by lovingly singing the Kirtan of God’s Praises. The Sweet Words of His Bani soothe everyone.
The soul, the subtle essence of the five elements, cherishes the Nectar of the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
This faith is obtained from the Perfect Guru. O Nanak, dwelling upon the Lord, you shall not enter the womb of reincarnation again.”
SGGS Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji , page 299
“I have enshrined the Lord’s Feet within my heart.
Contemplating my Lord and Master, my True Guru, all my affairs have been resolved.
The merits of giving donations to charity and devotional worship come from the Kirtan of the Praises of the Transcendent Lord; this is the true essence of wisdom.
Singing the Praises of the unapproachable, infinite Lord and Master, I have found immeasurable peace.
The Supreme Lord God does not consider the merits and demerits of those humble beings whom He makes His own.
Hearing, chanting and meditating on the jewel of the Naam, I live; Nanak wears the Lord as his necklace.”
SGGS Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji , page 718
“The Gurus of the Sikhs inspire the Sikhs of the Guru to serve.
Serving the holy congregation they receive the fruit of happiness.
Sweeping and spreading the sitting mats they bathe in the dust of the holy congregation.
They bring unused pitchers and fill them with water.
They bring sacred food and distribute it among others and eat.” 
Bhai Gurdas Ji in Vaars, page 20
Simran Walking Meditation: Sikh meditation with mantra “Waheguru” :
Simran means (Gurmukhi ਸਿਮਰਨ, Hindi: सिमरण, सिमरन) is a Punjabi word derived from the Sanskrit word स्मरण smaraṇa, “the act of remembrance, reminiscence, and recollection,” which leads to the realization. Simran is a commonly used term as a verb in Gurmukhi, which refers to ‘meditating’ of the Nām, or name, of God.
Read More: Simran Walking Meditation