Parents, families and friends

Owen Cole, World Religios

'If I were to give a young Sikh friend, or anyone aged from twelve to sixteen, a book on Guru Nanak, this thoughtfully written and thought-provoking book would be it.'

~ Owen Cole

World Religions in Education


'This is a book that allows many 'glimpses' of Guru Nanak'.  This is all we have offered and if for a moment someone's vision has been broadened, looking in or looking out, our efforts have been worthwhile.' 

~ Gopinder Kaur.

      Painting by PM Wylam of Guru Nanak Dev Ji as a    young boy confronted by Rai Bular, from a popular childhodd sakhi, in Chapter 1, 'Who was Guru Nanak?' (p. 14)

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Guru Nanak Dev Ji holds a special place in the heart of anyone born into a Sikh family or drawn to Sikh tradition.  It is no surprise that hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written about Guru Nanak.  You might wonder what could possibly be new or different about another book bearing his name in its title?  Perhaps Guru Nanak Dev Ji's words in Asa Di Var come to mind: 'One may read cartloads of books...but only true understanding of the One ultimately counts: all else is the babble of the ego.'

To help answer this, the authors remind readers of the well-known story about when Guru Nanak arrived in Multan (part of Punjab now in Pakistan) famous for its saints and holy men.  The presented the Guru with a bowl of milk, full to the brim, indicating that the place was already overflowing with religious teachers and did not need any more.  Guru Ji's response was to add a white jasmine flower to the milk and hand it back.  Even a place full to the brim with religious teachers could be pleasantly fragranced and enriched by the Guru's word and presence. 

To a world already over-filled with books, Guru Nanak is offered in the same spirit as the jasmine flower.  It aims to explore Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life and legacy in a fresh way, relating this to contemporary life and so appealing to a new generation of readers. 

Many Sikhs have grown up listening to 'sakhis' about the Gurus from their parents or grandparents.  This book is designed to help young minds that have begun to ask questions and search for answers.  Its diverse and colourful collection of images include traditional pictures from calendars and cards, comic-strip storytelling (from the well known Amar Chitra Katha series), paintings by artists over the centuries, (from historical Janam Sakhi illustrations to the modern 'minatures' of the Sikh sister artists, Amrit and Rabindra Kaur of Twin Studios ), as well as photographs from everyday Sikh life in Britain and Punjab.

In 2000, Guru Nanak was given the Shap Award for 'making an outstanding contribution to the teaching of world religion.'  The authors - Eleanor, a writer and academic, and Gopinder, a British born Sikh - hope that the book will find a welcome place Sikh homes.  As well as a classroom resource, it makes a beautiful and original gift for birthdays, Gurpurbs and other special occasions.