Bebe Nanaki

Bebe Nanaki (Punjabi: ਬੇਬੇ ਨਾਨਕੀ, 'sister Nanaki') (1464–1518) was the elder sister of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder and first Guru (teacher) of Sikhism. She was originally a Hindu. Later, they adopted Sikhism. Nanaki is an important religious figure of Sikhism, and is known as the first Gursikh. She was the first to realize her brother's "spiritual eminence", and is credited for inspiring his use of music as an instrument of devotion to God.[1][2]

Bebe Nanaki
Bebe Nanaki - elder sister of Guru Nanak Dev.jpg
Bebe Nanaki and Guru Nanak
Chahal, near Lahore (present Kasur district)

Early lifeEdit

Nanaki and her brother were the children of Kalu and Tripta. Born in the city of Chahal, near Lahore (present Kasur district), Nanaki was named by her grandparents who named her Nanaki after the word Nanakian, meaning the home of your maternal parents.[2][unreliable source?]

Bebe and Ji are added to her name as a sign of respect. Bebe is used in regards to an older sister and Ji given to anyone you want to show your respects to. Bebe Nanaki was married off at an early age at 11 years old. In those days it was customary to be married at such a young age.[citation needed]

Nanaki married Jai Ram, an Uppal Khatri employed at a modikhana, a storehouse for revenues collected in non-cash form, in the service of the Delhi Sultanate's Lahore governor Daulat Khan. Jai Ram helped Nanak get a job at this modikhana in Sultanpur.[3]

Brother and sisterEdit

Nanaki had an immense adoration for her brother and was the first to recognize his "enlightened soul".[1] She was 5 years older but played the role of a mother to him. She not only protected him from their father but she loved him unconditionally. Nanak was sent to live with Nanaki when he was only 15 years old. To instil his independence, she searched for a wife for him. Nanaki along with her husband found a woman, Sulakhni, for Nanak to marry.[1] Since Bebe Nanaki had no children of her own she loved and helped raise her brother's children, Sri Chand and Lakhmi Chand.[2]

Bebe Nanaki is known as being Guru Nanak Dev's first follower.[1] She was eternally devoted to him and his cause. She is also known for inspiring Nanak in using music as an instrument of devotion to God. Knowing he had musical talent she bought him a Rebab to help him further his music.[2]


Bebe Nanaki died in 1518. As one of her last wishes she willed her brother, Guru Nanak, to be by her side during her last days. Her last breaths were enlightened with the Japji Sahib which was recited to her.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bebe Nanaki Gurdwara". Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Sikh Women Now". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  3. ^ J. S. Grewal (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. The New Cambridge History of India (Revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-521-63764-0.