Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize

Messages of Hope

Messages of Hope Offered in Honor of Guru Nanak’s Birthday

In honor of Guru Nanak’s 551st birthday, we at Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the home of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, in consultation with TJ Bindra, as representative of the family of Sardar Ishar Singh Bindra and Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra who endowed the Interfaith Prize, reached out to past recipients of Hofstra’s Guru Nanak Prize, asking them to share messages of hope and compassion with the greater community.

These are challenging times, both in terms of the global pandemic and in terms of hateful rhetoric and violence here in the United States and around the world. This is precisely the time that people everywhere should be turning to words of sages and prophets, including Guru Nanak, to inspire and to see not “others,” but sisters and brothers.

We thank the following past honorees for their contributions to this endeavor.

In this season of gratitude and hospitality, Guru Nanak has shown the way for all humanity. He taught us to share the harvest of our labors with all and to welcome people of every race and faith into a common, simple feast.  Everyone who comes to the Gurdwara is moved by the expression of hospitality found there. While the tradition of langar may be truncated during this time of pandemic, the spirit of langar is one that all humanity can appreciate.

Diana Eck, and all her students who have been welcomed in the Gurdwara
Pluralism Project at Harvard University (2016 honoree)

I am honored to join in the celebration of Guru Nanak's 551th birthday! His legacy lives on in the lives of Sikhs around the world, some of whom are close colleagues and friends. Through their living example, I have come to respect Sikh values and practices--of connection to the oneness of divine light, an embrace of equity and a rejection of hierarchies, service in pursuit of justice, the honing of the authentic self that lives deeply from a place of joy and love. Guru Nanak's wisdom offers much to Americans today as we search to build a world of thriving for all humans and for the Creation herself. 

Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President, 
Auburn Seminary (2014 honoree)

As Sikhs and non-Sikhs worldwide observe the 551st anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism, we do so with the utmost humility and reverence of his Universal message of Unity, Love, Compassion, Justice, and Oneness. Guru Ji’s message was far ahead of his time and his path provided Sikhs the framework of living in our faith by Naam Japna, Kirat Karna, and Vand Chakna which respectfully means to mediate and reflect on God, to work honestly and not take from anyone, and share what you have in the spirit of reciprocity. His message is more important now than ever as the world faces growing tensions, a population nearing 8 billion, and increasing threats to our personal health, the climate and the earth. It is my sincere hope that we reflect on Guru Ji’s message and build a world where we accomplish the vision of the Guru by raising our consciousness to see the spirit of Waheguru in all, and thus create a more just world for all God’s sentient beings." 

Pardeep S. Kaleka
Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee 
(2016 honoree)