Guru Nanak (1469-c.1539): Indian guru and founder of Sikhism, a religion based on the unity of God and the equality of all human beings. He was strongly opposed to caste divisions. Born in the Punjab, to a Hindu family in an area deeply divided between Muslims and Hindus. After training to be an accountant like his father, he found himself increasingly attracted to a life of prayer and meditation. He appears to have had a conversion experience which led to his saying: 'There is neither Hindu nor Muslim, so whose path shall I follow? I shall follow God's path. God is neither Hindu nor Muslim and the path that I follow is God's.' He travelled round India and other countries teaching this message.
Greatly influenced by Islamic mysticism (Sufism), Nanak preached a new path of release from the Hindu cycle of rebirth and caste divisions through sincere meditation on the name of God. He is revered by Sikhs ('disciples') as the first of their ten gurus (religious teachers). At 50, after many years travelling and teaching, he established a new town in the Punjab called Kartarpur, where many people came to live as his disciples. On his deathbed, Guru Nanak announced his friend Lehna as his successor, and gave him the name Angad ('part of me').