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The Sikh Gurus
Sikh Missionary Society: Articles: Essays on Sikh Values: The Sikh Gurus

The Sikh Gurus
The Sikh Gurus

Introduction

From the birth of Guru Nanak in 1469, to the death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708, makes a period of 239 years.

Guru Nanak Dev, the first Guru, was a Guru from his birth. The Gurus selected their successors in their own lives. Selection of the next Guru, depended purely on the merits and nothing else. The Gurus continued without a break for 239 years. One after the other, ten Gurus came to the world not simply to teach goodness to the people, but also to put it deep into their minds and practices. The extremely downtrodden people had to be awakened. This needed continued effort and time.

When Guru Gobind Singh became sure that the goal of awakening the people had been achieved, he ordered that after him no human being but only the Shabad - the Word, will be the Guru of the Sikhs. Gurbani i.e. the Word, is in Guru Granth Sahib - the Holy Book, and this is the Living-Guru of the Sikhs.

GURU NANAK DEV
Guru Nanak Dev
The First Guru of the Sikhs He was the born GuruBorn 1469 AD. Death 1539 AD. The King at Delhi, at the time of his birth was Behlol Lodhi. Babur, a Mogul, had also started his occasional attaks on India. In 1521 AD, Babur destroyed the village Saedpur, mentioned in the Hymns of Guru Nanak.
 

Birth

Guru Nanak Dev was born in 1469 AD (15 April), at the village Talwandi (Rai Bhoe Ki Talwandi), now called Nankana Sahib (Sahib - the word of respect like `Sir'). At the time of the partition of Punjab in 1947, this town went to Pakistan. His father was Mehta Kalyan Das, commonly known as Mehta Kalu. He was a patwari (revenue collector). His mother was Mata Tripta (Mata - mother). He was the only son of his parents, and had one elder sister named Nanki.
 

Life

He was sent to the teacher Gopal, a Brahmin, when 7. He learned Persian from Sayad Hassan. The names like Mohammad Hussain, and Maulvi Kutabdeen are also mentioned as his persian teachers.

At his age of 9, Pandit Hardyal tried to put the Janeoo (Janju - the Hindu sacred thread) on his body (across his trunk). He refused to wear it, because in time it would rot away.

He went to sleep while grazing his cattle. A cobra protected his face from the sun with his expanded hood. Once again, while sleeping, his cattle spoiled the field of a farmer. On complaint, the investigating officer found the field intact. Rai Bular, a local Muslim officer, impressed by the spirituality of the Guru, was deeply devoted to him.
 

Sacha Sauda
True Business.

He purchased food for the hungry saints with rupees twenty his father gave him to purchase the goods for his shop.
 

Marriage

When 15, he was married to Sulakhni, daughter of Mool Chand Chona, of Batala, District Gurdaspur, Punjab. He had two sons Siri Chand and Lakshmi Chand. Sri Chand became a renunciate. Lakshmi Chand was a householder.
 

Service

When 35, he went to his sister Nanki at Sultanpur Lodhi, and took a Job through his brother in law Jai Ram Das, as an incharge of the food stores of the Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi. The Guru was very honest and liberal.

He had taken with him a balad-singer, Mardana. He used to accompany singing of the Guru with his Rabab - a stringed instrument played with a striker. The Guru became deeply involved in remembering God. When 38, he dived into Baeen canal, came out of it after two days and proclaimed that none was a Hindu or a Muslim. Most probably, he tried to convey that many of them did not practice their faiths sincerily. Pehaps, as well, that all were one, the human beings.
 

Preachings

He went for preaching far and wide, in all the four directions. He preached “One God” and equality of man. He was against superstitions and rituals - meaningless actions in worship. He kept traveling for about 8 years. At Mecca, he taught that God was everywhere. At the mountain Sumer and lake Batal, he had discussions with Sidh (adepts). Later, he settled down at Kartarpur, living the life of a householder. He died when 70, on 5 September 1539 AD. Before his death, he made Bhai Lehna a Guru. Guru Nanak composed Hymns and recorded them in a notebook.
 

Teachings

    God is one, He is everywhere and in everything. He is kind and loves everyone. He is the doer of everything.
Have faith only in God. Remember God only and worship nothing else.
    All human beings are equal, without discrimination of men or women, high or low, rich or poor, color or creed, and of place.
    Do good and live an ethical.
    Be free from superstitions, malice, hate, enmosity, hypocrisy,
    Have an honest earning, share with the needy.
    Practice compassion, forgiveness, honesty, justice, truth, and sincerity.
    Be humble, sweet, and polite.
Contribution
    Guru Nanak preached the worship of one God. This was to bring about the unity and harmony in the mankind. For this, he gave -
Beej-Mantar -
Ik-Oankar <> ie`kAoAMkwr - There is only one God. He is all pervading, in every thingand is the doer. God is one and the same for everyone from any faith. There are no different Gods for different faiths.
Mool-Mantar -
<> siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBau inrvYru Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ]
<> siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBa inrvY{ Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBz gur pRswid ]
Ik-Oankar Satte-Naamu kartaa purakhu nirbh-a-o nirvair akaal moorat-e ajoonee saibhn. gur parsaade.
Gur-Mantar -
Waheguru
vwihguruU
vwihgurU
- The wonderful Lord, remover of ignorance.
Gurbani -
gur-Sbd
gurSbd
- the Holy Hymns i.e. the Scripture.
Congregation -
sMgq
sMgq
- Worship of God by sitting together. It was to banish discrimination of every kind, and to create equality, mutual consideration, tolerance and selfless love.
Common-Kitchen -
lMgr
lMgr
- community kitchen, jointly cooked free food for everyone, to be eaten sitting together at one place. It was to affirm the removal of discrimination of every sort, and to develop the sense of equality, selfless service and compassion.
GURU ANGAD DEV
Guru Angad Dev
The Second Guru 1504 AD, to 1552 AD. An apostle of selfless service, humility and fearlessness. King of the time was Ibrahim Lodhi. In 1526 AD, Babur, a Mogul, defeated him, and became the King at Delhi.
 

Birth

The name before he became the Second Guru was Bhai Lehna (Bhai-brother). He was born on 1504 AD (31 March), at the village Mattae D.ee Saraan, District Ferozepur, Punjab. His father was Baba Pheru Mall, a Trehan Khatri by caste (Baba, a respected person or an old man). His mother was Mata Sabhrai (Mata, revered mother). He was a shopkeeper dealing in the general merchandize. He was married to Bibi Khiwi, daughter of Devi Chand, a Khatri by caste, of village Sanghar. He had two sons, Datu, Dasu, and two daughter Amro and Anokhi. Before meeting the Guru, Bhai Lehna was a Devi Bhagat - worshipped a goddess instead of God, and was leader of a group of Bhagats - devotees.
 

Life

At the village Khadoor Sahib, Bhai Lehna happened to listen to the Gurbani (Hymns) recited by Bhai Jodh. This made him eager to meet Guru Nanak Dev, whose Gurbani he listened. At the age of about 29, on his pilgrimage trip to Devi (goddess), he met Guru Nanak Dev at Kartar Pur, in the District Sialkot (now in Pakistan), where the Guru had settled in his old age. Guru Nanak Dev lived with his family, attended to his farming, preached, and ran a Langar. Bhai Lehna, took up selfless service of the Guru, and did not go back to his own family.

Bhai Lehna carried fodder on his head and his clothes got soiled by wet grass. Guru Nanak Dev remarked that it was not mud but saffron. Dried saffron flowers are soaked in water and this golden liquid is sprinkled on the clothes of a person you want to honor.
 

Selfless Service

On the instance of Guru Nanak, Bhai Lehna happily removed a dead rat from verandah, whereas others hesitated to go near it. A dead rat used to be an ill-omen of the spread of plague.In a severe winter night, a wall of the building fell down due to rain. Guru Nanak wanted it repaired at that very time. No one was willing to do it at that odd hour. Bhai Lehna, gladly started repairing it there and then.

Guru ji asked for washing his clothes in middle of the cold night. All others hesitated, but Bhai Lehna went to the river Ravi and washed them.

Once, the Guru was bathing in Ravi when a hailstorm came. Other Sikhs left for protection, but Bhai Lehna stayed put there. On the Guru's asking for the reason for his not leaving, Bhai Lehna replied that except for the Guru there was nowhere else for him to go.

The Guru told Bhai Lehna to eat a deadbody. Bhai Lehna, asked where from to start eating, but when the cover was removed, only pudding was there.

The sons of Guru Nanak Dev had refused to do all these odd jobs and failed the tests. In 1539 AD, when Bhai Lehna was 35, Guru Nanak Dev selected him for his selfless service, declared him a Guru, and named him Angad Dev (Angad - my own self). Guru Angad Dev composed Gurbani (Hymns). Most of his Bani (Hymns) deals with deep and intricate philosophy.
 

Life as the Guru

Guru Angad Dev advocated selfless service without ego, and to stay in surrender to God. After getting defeated from Sher Shah Suri, Hamayun escaped to the Punjab, visited the Guru at the village Khadoor and got annoyed that the Guru did not receive him properly. The Guru preached him to get rid of his ego.

A Yogi named Shivnabh incited the villagers to turn the Guru out of the village to get rain. On learning this, it rained when Bhai Amar Das (later Guru Amar Das) got Shivnabh punished by the villagers for his insulting the Guru. On this, the Guru admonished Bhai Amar Das for not forgiving the Yogi.

The Guru laid stress to always keep God in the mind. He advised the people to get rid of the physical weakness and to make the body strong. He encouraged children to wrestle. A healthy person has a halthy mind fit to worship God!
 

Contribution

The Guru continued and promoted preaching started by Guru Nanak Dev.

    In place of hard postures of Yogis, the Guru laid stress on exercises to keep in good health. He encouraged children to wrestle.
    He attached masses to the regional language. He modified Gurmukhi to make it easy, and wrote a Gurmukhi primer for children.
    The Guru added his own Hymns to the collection of Guru Nanak.
    As the first biography, he collected episodes of the life of Guru Nanak.
    To save the people from becoming Oudasi (renunciate), he strongly advocated the householder's life.
    He promoted Langar (common kitchen) - cooking and sitting together to eat, to keep up the preaching of equality, and eradication of discrimination.
    For the first time, the Guru set up discipline for the Sikhs - to get up at the start of the fourth quarter of the night (early in the morning), take bath, recite the name of God and Scriptures, go to the Gurdwara and listen to Kirtan with Sangat, help in preparing and serving Langar (food) and as well eat there, after this attend to your avocation. Attend Sangat and Langar in the evening too.


The Next Guru

Taking into consideration selfless service of Bhai Amardas, Guru Angad Dev ignored his sons and selected him to be the next Guru. Guru Angad Dev breathed his last on 29 March 1552 AD.

GURU AMAR DAS
Guru Amar Das
The Third Guru 1479 AD, to 1574 AD. King of the time was Akbar.
 

Birth

Birth- 1479 AD (April). Father - Bhai Tej Bhan. Mother - Mata Lachhmi. Marriage with Bibi Ram Kaur, daughter of Bhai Devi Chand Behl, Khatri by caste, of the village Sankhatrae. Children - two sons Mohri and Mohan. Daughters two - Bibi Dani, and Bibi Bhani. life, about 95 years. Death 1574 AD.
 

Guru

He became a Guru in 1552 AD, at the age of 73 years. He was the Guru for 22 years.
 

Life

Bhai Amar Das (later Guru Amar Das) was a shopkeeper, honest, and very religious minded. He considered the river Ganga sacred, and for this he visited Hardwar twenty times. There, a saint became his friend. He advised Bhai Amar Das to find a Guru (a master to lead him in the spiritual pursuits).Bhai Amar Das, then 61, happened to listen to the Gurbani (Hymns) recited by Bibi Amro, and perceived the peace of mind. Bibi Amro was daughter of Guru Angad Dev, and was married to a nephew of Bhai Amar Das. He went to Guru Angad Dev with Bibi Amro at the village Khadoor Sabib, and was deeply impressed on meeting him. He did not go back and served Guru Angad Dev continuously for 11 years (from 1541 AD).
 

Selfless Service

Bhai Amar Das, even in spite of his old age, went everyday early in the morning when it was still dark, to fetch water from the river Beas, about 5 miles away. He brought a pitcher full of water to give bath to the Guru. When the toe of the Guru became infected and painful, Bhai Amar Das kept comforting it with his own warm mouth and breath till late in the night.

Once, when fetching water in the dark, the foot of Bhai Amar Das hit a wooden peg fixed there by the weaver, and he fell down. The weaver's wife passed taunting remarks, and due to this she lost her mind. She recovered when the weaver begged apology from Guru Angad Dev.

Guru Angad Dev got deeply moved by the selfless service of Bhai Amar Das, and declared him to be The Guru after him (1552 AD). Guru Amar Das was 73 years old at that time. As a Guru, he moved to the village Goindwal.
 

Contribution

The Guru considered Gurbani i.e. Shabad - the Word, the real Guru, and the body was of no importance.

    The Guru built the village of Goindwal, settled there, and made it popular.
    He constructed a Bauli (a deep well with steps) there, as the source of clean water to the villagers. Later, the Sikhs started visiting it from far and wide.
    The Guru ordained that anyone visiting him should first take food in Langar (community kitchen). This was to finish the caste system and to remove difference of high and low by sitting together at one level and eating the same food. When the King Akbar visited, he took food in Langar before meeting him.
    The Guru reorganized and established 22 seats of preaching called Manjian' (beds - denoting a seat).
    The women were instructed not to cover their faces to develop courage in them, and to establish their equality to men.
    He passed an edict that no woman should commit Satti - self immolation on the pyre of her husband.
    The Guru wrote Gurbani (the Scriptures - Hymns), and added it to the collection of Bani (Hymns) of his preceding two Gurus.The Guru further stressed the idiology of householder's life.To give identity to the Sikhs, he composed the Bani called Lavaan (to go around the Guru) for solemnizing marriage, and more Hymns as well for the occasions of birth, death etc. Lavaan means circumambulation.


Successor

He declared Bhai Ram Das to be Guru after him. Guru Amar Das died in 1574 AD (1st September).

GURU RAM DAS
Guru Ram Das
The Fourth Guru1534 AD to 1581 AD. King of the time was Akbar.
 

Birth

The name before he became the Guru was Bhai Jaitha. Birth - 1534 AD (September), at Choona-Mandi, Lahore (now in Pakistan). Father- Bhai Hardas, Sodhi by caste. Mother - Mata Daya Kaur. He was married to Bibi Bhani, daughter of Guru Amar Das. He was blessed with three sons, Maha Dev, Prithi Chand, and Arjun Dev (5th Guru).
 

Life

His parents died when he was a child, and his maternal grandmother brought him to her village Basarkay. This village was birth place of the 3rd Guru Amar Das. (Guru Amar Das shifted to Goindwal after becoming the Guru). Bhai Jaitha was 7 years old at that time.

There was poverty in his parent's and grandmother's house. He started selling Ghunganiaan - boiled and spiced chick-peas, to run the family. When he grew up a little, he started going to Goindwal to sell chick-peas and used to visit the Guru. Ultimately, he settled down there and started serving the Guru. The Guru was impressed by his selfless service and married his younger daughter Bibi Bhani to him. They both lived with the Guru and served him with great love and devotion. The Guru started calling Bhai Jetha by the name of Ram Das.
 

Guru

To test as to who would be his successor, the Guru told both his sons in law Bhai Rama and Bhai Jetha to build a masonary platform for him to sit on. The both of them constructed these many times, but the Guru got them repeatedly demolished. Bhai Rama got annoyed and lost the game. Bhai Jetha kept on building it, and passed the test with his obedience, love and devotion. In 1574 AD, Guru Amar Das declared Bhai Jetha to be his successor with the name of Guru Ram Das. He became Guru and served as such for about 7 years.
 

Contribution

    With instructions from the Third Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das constructed the town of Amritsar, in Punjab, India. He provided facilities for all types of trades to flourish there. This town provided the Sikhs with a center for them. Besides, they became self sufficient by earning their livelihood.
    The Sarovars (water tanks) - Santokhsar and Amritsar. The Amritsar Sarovar - pool, was ordered by Guru Amar Das, started by Guru Ram Das, and was completed by Guru Arjun Dev. Later, Guru Arjun Dev constructed Golden Temple - Harimandir Sahib, in the middle of Amritsar pool. This became the central place for the Sikh to worship. It became a place of pilgrimage - a high religious seat to visit and get inspired.
    Masand System (Masand - masnid, a seat). The Guru selected people particularly for collecting Dasvandh (tithe), for the projects of humanity.
    Dasvandh - tithe, a contribution of 10% of income for good causes (charity) was set up. This money was spent for running Langar - free food, etc.
    The Guru composed Gurbani - Hymns, and added these to the existing collection of the previous three Gurus.


Successor

Prithi Chand and Maha Dev put up excuses, but Arjun Dev (later, the Guru) immediately followed instructions of his father Guru Ram Das, and left to attend the marriage of the son of Sahai Mall, a cousin of the Guru, living at Lahore. Bhai Arjun Dev did not return till the Guru called him back. His humility and obedience pleased the Guru, and he declared Bhai Arjun Dev to be the Guru after him. Guru Ram Das died in 1581AD (1st September) at Goindwal.

GURU ARJUN DEV
Guru Arjan Dev
The Fifth Guru 1563 AD, to 1606 AD. The King of the time was Akbar, and later Jahangir.
 

Life

Born in 1563 AD (15th April), at Goindwal. Father- Guru Ramdas. Mother- Mata Bhani. Brothers - two, Prithi Chand and Mahadev. He was married to Bibi Ram Devi, daughter of Chandan Das, a Khatri, of the village Maur, but she died childless. His second marriage was with Bibi Ganga, daughter of Kishan Chand, a Khatri, of the village Mao in the Phalaur area, near Jalandhar. Hargobind (Guru) was born at Wadali near Amritsar, when the Guru was about 32 years old.
 

Guru

Prithi Chand and Mahadev put up excuses, but (Guru) Arjun Dev fulfilled the desire of his father and attended the marriage of his cousin, son of his uncle Sahal Mall, at Lahore. Guru Ram Das, impressed by the humility, devotion, obedience and saintly nature of Bhai Arjun Dev, declared him to be the Guru after him. On this, Prithi Chand became a staunch opponent of (Guru) Arjun Dev. After the death of Guru Ram Das, Baba Budha proclaimed Bhai Arjun Dev a Guru. He was 18 years old at that time. He was a Guru for 25 years.
 

Life as a Guru

By nature, The Guru was very tolerant, patient, soft spoken, and a good poet. Bhatts (the Brahmin scholars, seekers after truth), eleven in number, came to Guru Arjun Dev. The spiritual loftiness of the Guru moved them to write Hymns in the praise of the Gurus.

Prithi Chand opposed the Guru vehemently and tried utmost to harm him. He tried to kill his son Hargobind. Satta and Balwand were two Ragis (singers) with the Guru. Prithi Chand exploited them to desert the Guru, but ultimately they returned to the Guru and apologized. Bhai Gurdas and Baba Budha neutralized the misdeeds of Prithi Chand.

During a famine in 1598, Akbar (a liberal Muslim King) met the Guru at Goindwal, and on request of the Guru he exempted 50% revenue of the farmers in the Punjab.
 

Contribution

    The Guru completed development of Amritsar town with the construction of Gurdwara Santokh Sar and Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple). Foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid down by the Muslim saint Mianmir.
    The Guru built the town of Tarantaran with a Lepor's home. The Gurdwara had a big pool. His second town was Kartarpur.At Chheharta, close to Amritsar, he dug a big well, and at Lahore constructed a Bauli (deep well with steps).
    Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by the Guru, and was scribed by Bhai Gurdas. It was placed in Harimandir In 1604 AD, and Baba Budha was made its first caretaker.
    He composed a great number of Hymns and added these to the previous collection.
    The Guru continued to preach against the custom of Satti (to burn wife along with the dead husband).
    He started remarriage of the widows.
Due to preachings of the Guru, the Sikh faith spread in the country and far and wide. The Sikhs were there in every town.
 

Martyrdom

Akbar died and his son Salim became the King under the name of Jahangir. He did not tolerate spread of the Sikh faith, and was very prejudiced against the Sikhs. Chandu became an enemy of the Guru when he refused to betroth his son Hargobind with his (Chandu's) daughter. Prithi Chand was already an opponent of the Guru. Khusro, son of Jahangir revolted. They all falsely implicated the Guru for his support to Khusro. On orders from Jahangir, Chandu tortured the Guru and put him to death on 30 May 1606 AD. Before his death, the Guru designated his son Hargobind the next Guru.

GURU HARGOBIND
Guru Hargobind Sahib
The Sixth Guru 1595 AD, to 1644 AD. King of the time was Jahangir, and later Shahjahan.
 

Birth

Guru Hargobind was born in 1595 AD (14 June), at the village Wadali, near Amritsar, Punjab. Father - Guru Arjun Dev. Mother - Mata Ganga. Prithi Chand - an uncle of Hargobind, tried to kill him when he was an infant.

The Guru had three wives -

Mata Damodri, daughter of Narain Das of the village Dalla. She gave birth to Baba Gurditta, Ani Rai, and daughter Veero.
Mata Nanki, daughter of Hari Chand of the village Bakala. To her were born Baba Atall, and Tegh Bahadur (Guru).
Matai Mahadevi, daughter of Daya Ram of the village Mandiali. Suraj Mall was born to her.
Grand sons of the Guru were Dhir Mall, and Har Rai (Guru), sons of Baba Gurditta.
 

Guru Gaddi

He became a Guru in 1606 AD (25 May), when he was 11, and served as a Guru for 38 years. He started wearing two swords - one of the temporal power - sovereignty, and the other of spirituality (Guru). He settled at Amritsar. He died in 1644 AD, at Kiratpur.
 

Life

The Guru was well trained in Gurbani, preaching, and warfare. Baba Budha was his teacher. After Martyrdom of his father Guru Arjun Dev, he kept an army of 2000 horsemen to protect the faith and the people. He was tall, heavy, handsome, soft spoken, and very courageous. The Guru lived like a king, and went out for hunting.
 

Gwalior Fort

The King Jahangir invited the Guru to meet him, and when he went there, he put him under house arrest in the fort at Gwalior. Saint Mianmir, and others pressed Jhangir, and realizing that the enmity will not do, the King released the Guru after about two years and befriended him.
 

Jahangir a Friend

While hunting together, the Guru saved Jahangir from an attacking lion. Due to this friendship, the Guru got a peaceful time for preaching and for organizing the Sikhs. He went to distant places for preaching the Sikh discipline - the Sikh faith.
 

Kaulan

Bibi Kaulan daughter of Rustam Khan, a Kazi - judge, at Lahore, was liberal minded. She came to the protection of the Guru due to excesses of her fanatic father for her liberal views.
 

Samrath Ramdas

Samrath Ramdas the teacher of Shivaji, met the Guru at Sri Nagar, Kashmir. On his questioning, the Guru replied that although looking rich, he had renunciation at the heart; weapons were to save the humble and to punish the cruel; Baba (Guru) Nank renunciated the worldly attachments and not the world.

After Jahangir, Shahjahan became the king, the struggle started once again. Mostly, the fights of the Muslim kings, or of their Nawabs(Governors) with the Gurus were because they were fanatics. They feared spread of the Sikh faith, and awakening of people due to preachings of the Gurus. Also, the Sikhs had gained power. Guru Hargobind had to fight fve battles. Gradually, the Sikhs became well organised and very strong. The Guru breathed his last in 1644 AD, at Kiratpur.
 

Lohgarh Fort

The Guru constructed Lohgarh Fort in Amritsar, in 1609 AD, before constructing Akal Takht.
 

Akal Takht

The Sixth Guru constructed Akal Takht in front of Golden Temple, at Amritsar, in 1609 AD. Here, the Guru held his court, decided disputes of the people, and took decisions about the important matters regarding the Sikh faith. This is one of the five Takhts of the Sikh faith. A Takht is a place where the Sikhs solve their social, political and religious problems.

Successor

Before his death, he declared his Grand son Har Rai (Son of Baba Gurditta) to be the next Guru.

Contribution

    Akal Takht - Throne of the Lord. The Guru built this highest seat of the Sikh temporal power and faith.
    He drew the minds of the people to, and prepared them for protection of the faith, needy, and self. He appreciated offerings of horses and weapons, encouraged training of the martial art, and kept an army.
    He constructed the towns of Kiratpur, Sri Hargobindpur, and fort Lohgarh at Amritsar.
    He spread the Word of the Gurus far and wide, sent Bhai Bidhi Chand to Bengal to preach, and greatly popularized the Sikh faith.
Guru Hargobind, did not compose Gurbani. GURU HAR RAI
Guru Har Rai
The Seventh Guru 1630 AD to 1661AD. The King of the time was Shahjahan, and later Aurangzeb.
 

Biodata

Father- Baba Gurditta Mother- Mata Nihal Kaur. Birth at Kiratpur in 1630 AD (January 30). His elder brother was Dhir Mall. Har Rai (Guru) was married to Bibi Krishan Kaur (Sulakhani), when he was about 11 years old. Children - Ram Rai, and Harkrishan (Guru). Death in 1661 AD (Total age 31year).GuruHe became a Guru in 1644, at the age of 14, at Kiratpur, and guided the Sikh world for about 18 years. The education and training of Har Rai (Guru) was done under the supervision of Guru Hargobind. Besides Gurbani, he was well versed in the use of weapons.
 

Life

Har Rai (Guru) was healthy, strong and soft hearted. While passing through his garden, a flower got plucked with his Chola (cloak, long shirt). He felt bad and narrated the incidence to Guru Hargobind. The Guru advised, when one wore a long, flowing dress, the one should be more careful. He meant that a responsible person should be careful that no one's feelings were hurt. Thereafter, as a respect to his father's words, all his life he picked up his Chola high when walking. Har Rai (Guru) never hurt the feelings of anyone. He had an army, but was peace-loving, and appreciated a peaceful path. He would go for hunting, catch the animals, treat their injuries and release them when healed.Out of his sympathetic nature, he opened a dispensary that had rare and precious medicines, too. Dara Shakoh, son of the King Shahjahan was also treated with medicines from there.
 

Aurangzeb

He was a fanatic King. Some unscrupulous people started telling lies against Guru Har Rai that he helped the king's brother Dara who had revolted. Also, that Guru was anti Muslim, and Guru Granth Sahib had anti Muslim Gurbani. The Guru sent his elder son Ram Rai to Delhi to clarify it. Rather than resolving doubts, he started displaying his supernatural powers, and presented Gurbani wrongly. The Guru was annoyed and ordered his son Ram Rai never to see him. As well, he was rejected to be the Guru after him.
 

Hakikat Rai

Bhai Nand Lal Puri met the Guru in Sialkot (now in Pakistan). On his humble request, the Guru advised him to keep his hair, not to wear a cap, and not to use tobacco. Bhai Nand Lal adopted the advice in his life. His son Magh Mall was sympathetic to the Sikhs. His son Hakikat Rai, a child, was martyred by Zakria Khan for refusing to accept Islam.
 

Gurbani

Guru Har Rai did not compose Gurbani, but was extremely devoted to it and preached it intensively as well as extensively.

The Guru trained his younger son Harkrishan who was 6 years old, and declared him to be the Guru after him. Guru Har Rai died in 1661 AD (6th, Oct. Life 31 years), at Kiratpur.
 

Contribution

    The Guru promoted sharing with the needy and selfless service.
    He continued a peaceful struggle against anti Sikh activities of Aurangzeb by strengthening the Sikh preaching. He sent preachers to distant places, especially to those where it had not been paid a full attention. He maitained 2,200 soldiers for any unforeseen occasion.
    He laid stress on sympathy and compassion, and opened a dispensary. He treated the injured animals, too.
    He was the first person who set up the precedence of writing Gurbani in separated words for easy reading. He wrote Mool-Mantar - Basic Formula, this way.
GURU HARKRISHAN
Guru Harkrishan Sahib
The Eighth Guru 1656 AD, to 1664 AD. The King of the time was Aurangzeb.
 

Birth

Youngest Guru in the Sikh history. He is also addressed as Harkishan.

Har Krishan (Guru) was born in 1656 AD (7th, July), at Kiratpur, Punjab. Father - Guru Har Rai. Mother - Mata Krishan Kaur. Brother - Elder, Ram Rai, who did not favor Harkrishan to become a Guru. Death in 1664 AD (30th, March), at Delhi. Total age 8 years and 3 months.
 

Guru

Har Krishan, aged 6 years, became a Guru in 1661 AD (7th October), at Kiratpur, and continued to be so for two and a half years. He became a Guru as a child, died as a child, and hence no marriage and no children.
 

Selection as a Guru

Sri Har Krishan (Sri, to denote respect like `Sir') recited Gurbani (Scriptures) with great adoration, devotion, and absorption. His father, Guru Har Rai sent a man to test the single-mindedness of his son Harkrishan. The man pricked him with a needle but he did not feel it and kept reciting the Gurbani unperturbed. Impressed by his adoration of Gubani, the Sixth Master selected Har Krishan to be the next Guru.
 

The Perfect Guru

Pandit Lal Chand - To test Guru Harkrishan, Pandit Lal Chand asked the Guru the essence of Gita. Rather than telling anything himself, the Guru blessed an ordinary man named Chhaju, placed a stick on his head, and he scholarly commented on what the Pandit asked. Chhaju was an uneducated village Jheor - a waterman.

Mirza Raja Jai Singh - Raja Jai Singh, tactfully requested the Guru to point his Rani out of the other women dressed like her. The Guru, leisurely pointed her out to the Raja. He was convinced that the Guru was genuine.

Raja Jai Singh had especially been asked by Aurangzeb to find the truth about the Guru. The Raja, handled the situation very tactfully, and reported to Aurangzeb his experience about the great Guru. The King realized the truth, abstained from interfering with the matters of the Guru, and gifted seven villages to him .

When Guru Har Krishan visited Delhi at the request of Raja Jai Singh, his father Guru Har Rai had told him never to see Aurangzeb, not to fear anyone including the King, and his own elder brother Ram Rai, and to continue preaching the faith. The Guru kept the promise; he did not meet Aurangzeb, did not fear anyone, and supervised the Sikh-Panth (the Sikh world) with the dexterity of a Guru although he was only six years old. (Some think he was 12).
 

Sympathetic Guru

Cholera broke out in Delhi. The Guru visited the sick, comforted the berieved, lifted their morale, and attached them to God. The people started visiting him enmass for health and mental comfort.
 

The End

During an epidemic of smallpox at Delhi, the Guru contracted infection and had a very severe attack of the malady. Before his end, on the request of Sangat, he pointed out “Baba at Bakala” - his Baba (grandfather) Tegh Bahadur who lived at the village Bakala, to be the next Guru. He died in 1664 AD, at Delhi. The Guru stayed at the bungalow of Raja Jai Singh. Later, in his memory, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib was constructed at that place. He lived for 7 yrs and 9 months.

Contribution

    The Guru continued preaching, and leading the Sikhs. This made it clear that a God-sent Guru can be of any age.
    He set the value of compassion, and sacrificed his life to give comfort and peace to the people. He did not fear, worked amongst the smallpox patients, and showed to the people acceptance of the will of God.
    He selected his grandfather Tegh Bahadur - the right person, to be the next Guru.
    He gave the lesson of fearlessness and did not care for his adversary Ram Rai, or King Aurangzeb. He boldly refused to see the King.
GURU TEGH BAHADUR
Guru Tegh Bahadur
The Ninth Guru 1621 AD, to 1675 AD. An apostle of detachment, and the King of Martyrdom. The King of the time was Aurangzeb.
 

Birth

The name before he became a Guru was Tyag Mall. Father - Guru Hargobind. Mother - Mata Nanki. Birth - 1621 AD (1 April), at Amritsar, Punjab. Marriage at the age of 13 years with Bibi Gujri, daughter of Bhai Lal Chand of Kartarpur, near Jalandhar, Punjab. Child - Gobind Rai - he became the Tenth Guru, and after taking Amrit changed his name to Gobind Singh.
 

Guru

He became a Guru in 1664 AD (30 March), at the age of about 43 years, and continued to be so for about eleven and a half years.
 

Life

Tayag Mall was 13 years old when he bravely fought the battle at Kartarpur. Due to his valor and dexterity in battle, his father Guru Hargobind changed his name to Tegh Bahadur.

Meditation - He meditated for about 27 years (26 years, 9 months and 13 days) at Baba Bakala, District Amritsar, 12 miles from Batala. He meditated in a small basement. This basement is protected in the Gurdwara at that place. It was a mud plastered cubilce, but of late it has been marbled.
 

Makhan Shah Lubana

The ship of Makhan Shah Lubana got caught in a storm. He prayed to the Guru for safe journey and his ship was saved. In his prayer, he promised to offer 500 Mohur - gold coins, to the Guru. When he placed two coins before Tegh Bahadur (Guru), he reminded him his promise of 500 coins. On this, Makhan Shah found the true Guru out of so many “fake gurus” in Baba Bakala, and he openly proclaimed it.

Dhir Mall was nephew of Guru Tegh Bahadur.(son of Baba Gurditta and grandson of Guru Hargobind). He was an opponent of the Guru. For peace, he (Guru) left Baba Bakala, built a new town named Anandpur in District Ropar, Punjab, and shifted there. (Ropar has now been named Rup Nagar, but so far this name has not caught fancy of people).
 

Preachings

He went all over India to preach. He was on his way to Assam when (Guru) Gobind singh was born. He particularly covered those areas where previous Gurus had not gone. The Sikhi (Sikh faith) spread to far off places in India.
 

Pundits Pray at Amar Nath

Kashmiri Pundits, cornered due to the forced convertions with sword, gathered in the Shiva Temple at Amar Nath to find the ways and means to address the problem. There, Pundit Kirpa Ram dreamed Shiva advising him to go to Guru Tegh Bahadur. Kirpa Ram led a group of 500 to the Guru, at Anandpur Sahib.
 

Appeal by the Pundits

Aurangzeb, converted Hindus to Islam by force, and daily murdered countless of them. It is said that everyday about forty kgs. of Janju - the Hindu sacred threads, were collected by converting or murdering the Hindus.

The Pundits from Kashmir appealed to the Guru to save them. Gobind Singh (Guru), hardly 9, respectfully and with humility supported the Pundits.The Guru advised the Pundits to tell Aurangzeb that all the Hindus would become Muslims if he would convert Tegh Bahadur (Guru). The Guru declared his son Gobind Rai to be the Guru after him, and on his own, started moving towards Delhi, preaching on the way. He was arrested at Agra near Delhi.
 

Martyrdom

Bhai Matti Das and Bhai Dayala were tortured and killed to terrorize the Guru, but he remained unmoved. The Guru refused to accept Islam, or to show miracles. He was beheaded in 1675 (11th November), at Delhi under a banyan tree, where now the Gurdwara Sis Ganj stands.
 

Cremation

The king had ordered the four pieces of the Guru's body to be hung on the four walls of Delhi. Very couragously and smartly, Bhai Jaaeta Ranghreta removed the head, and presented it to Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib. It was cremated with honor, and afterwards, there was erected Gurdwara Sis Ganj (at Anandpur Sahib).

Without any fear of death, Bhai Ouda concealed the body of the Guru on one of the carts of Bhai Lakhi Shah and took it away from there. To avoid detection, Bhai Lakhi Shah cremated the body by putting his house on fire. Now, at that site is Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, in Delhi.

Contribution

    The Guru preached the Sikh faith, and also awakened courage and bravery in the masses.
    The Guru himself went to Delhi fearlessly, although he knew for sure that he will be killed. It was to assert his will not to convert for saving not only the Hindus, but all others who were terrorized, supressed, and converted by force. By this martyrdom, a new wave of self assertion awakened in the downtrodden people, and turned them fearless.
    The Guru built the town of Anadpur, an isolated, peaceful place.
    The Guru composed Gurbani full of devotion, self surrender and of detachment from the mundane.
    Martyrdom of the father Guru, laid down the direction for the son Guru Gobind Singh to conduct the Sikh Panth and faith. It paved the path for creation of the Khalsa. Besides attachment to God, it made the Sikhs bearers of arms to protect the faith, needy, self, and liberty.
    The Guru brought unity in the faith by his death, and the Sikhs got reorganized to fight tyranny and torture. The same sentiments were awakened in the masses. It laid down a plinth for the freedom of the people and their faiths, and for the liberty of the country from the foreign forces.
GURU GOBIND SINGH
Guru Gobind Singh
Tenth Guru 1666 AD, to 1708 . The King of the time was Aurangzeb.
 

Name

Gobind Rai, later the name was changed to Gobind Singh. Birth - 1666 AD (22 Dec), at Patna Sahib. Gurdwara Harimandir Sahib stands there (in Patna Sahib). Father - Guru Tegh Bahadur. Mother - Mata Gujri. Marriage - Bibi Sunder Kaur (Jito - Ajit Kaur), and Bibi Sahib Kaur the Mother of Khalsa. Children - elder sons Ajit Singh, and Jujhar Singh, who died fighting at Chamkaur. The younger sons Zorawar Singh, and Fateh Singh. These two were murdered by Nawab Wazir Khan, at Sirhind. Death - in 1708 AD (7 October) at Nanded in Maharashtra, about 300 miles from Bombay. Now, at that place is Gurdwara Hazoor Sahib, or Abchal Nagar Hazoor Sahib. His total life was about 42 years.
 

Guru

His father Guru Tegh Bahadur, before leaving for Delhi, made him a Guru in 1675 (11th Nov.) at Anandpur Sahib, when he was 9 years old.
 

Life

He was a fearless and courageous child and used to play war games (fake battles). When about 7 years old, he was brought to Anandpur Sahib, in Punjab. Here, he was educated in all the Languages of that time including Persian, Sanskrit, and Devnagri. He learnt Bihai as a child at Patna Sahib, and Punjabi was his mother tongue. He was fully trained in the battle techniques. He became highly learned and a great general.
 

Battles

To protect Anandpur Sahib, the Guru constructed forts, kept a strong army, continued the work of preaching and used to go for hunting to develop courage of the people. At Anandpur Sahib, Kaes Garh is one of the five Takhts - the seat of spirituality and of the Sikh authority.

The Guru tried his best to unite the hill-Rajas, but they were selfish and feared that Guru Gobind Singh might not annex their lands. They always opposed Guru Gobind Singh, sided the Mogul Government at Delhi, and kept fighting him. The Guru had to fight many battles to curb cruelty, injustice, and to eradicate discrimination. His aim was liberty of the body and soul, and freedom of practicing the faith. He was heading the masses towards liberty from the shacles of the foreigners.
 

Amrit - the Khalsa

On the Baisakhi day of 1699 AD, the Tenth Guru prepared Amrit, gave to the five Sikhs - Daya Ram, Dharam Das, Himmat, Mohkam Chand, and Sahib Chand. He added `Singh' - lion, to their names, turned them into the Khalsa - the Guru's own, and these were called “Panj Piarae” five beloved of the Gruu. Thereafter, the Guru himself took it from them, and changed his name from Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh. Thousands of others also, took it after them. It was the birth of Khalsa. The Guru laid down a strict discipline for Amritdhari - those who get conducted into the Sikh faith by drinking Amrit - the drink giving immortality.
 

Leaving Anandpur

On the false promises of Hindus and Moghul forces that had laid siege to the fort at Anandpur, the Guru left it on the night between 5 and 6 December 1705. Enemies of the Guru, broke their promises, attacked the departing Guru, and he had to fight a huge army with a few Sikhs. Two elder sons of the Guru were martyred in an unequal fight at Chamkaur, and two younger sons were murdered by Nawab Wazir Khan at Sirhind.

The Guru reached Mukatsar and there, Mai Bhago brought back to him the forty Sikhs who had deserted at Anandpur. They died fighting, and the Guru called them Muktas - the Liberated Ones.
 

Granth Sahib

Not yet installed as the Guru

From Mukatsar, the Guru reached a place named Damdama Sahib, at Talwandi, near Bathinda, Punjab. It is also called Talwandi Sabo. There, he recompiled Guru Granth Sahib and entered into it the Bani - Hymns, of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur. It was scribed by Bhai Mani Singh. Later, in 1708, one day before his death, the Guru declared this version to be the Guru of the Sikhs. It became the Word Guru.
 

Zafar-Namah
The letter of victory

From the village Kangar, he sent Zaffar Namah (the document of Victory) to King Aurangzeb. It was a frank and fearless letter in the Persian poetry. The King felt romorse and invited the Guru to meet him, but he (King) died before this meeting.
 

Bahadur Shah

Bahadur Shah, son of Aurangzeb, befriended the Guru, who in turn helped him to get the throne. The Guru desired to settle with Bahadur Shah various issues of the Sikhs. The King got busy with uprisings and the talks did not mature.
 

Nanded - Hazoor Sahib

The Guru went to Nanded in Maharashtra. When there, the Guru made saint Madho Das a Sikh by giving him Amrit, named him Banda Singh, and sent him to Punjab to reorganize the Sikhs, and to punish the cruel.
 

Guru Granth Sahib
Guru Granth declared the Guru

At Nanded, at the place where the Gurdwara Hazoor Sahib (Abchal Nagar) stands, a Pathan named Jamshed Khan, sent by the Nawab of Sirhind Wazir Khan, stabbed the Guru (15 September 1708). The King Bahadur Shah sent an English surgeon and he sutured the wound. After some days he tried an arrow and bow, and it opened up the wound. After a few days, the Guru breathed his last on 7 October 1708 AD, at night. A day before his death he declared that after him Guru Granth wolud be the Guru of the Sikhs, and no more any human being to be their Guru. Since then, Guru Granth, Damdami Beerr (Recompiled at Damdama Sahib), had been called Guru Granth (Guru Granth Sahib). Kartarpuri Beerr (Original Guru Granth copmpiled by the Fifth Guru is not the Guru of the Sikhs. It does not have the Bani by the Ninth Guru).
 

Contribution

The greatest contribution by the Guru was giving to the people the Word Guru - Guru Granth Sahib, to uplift their spirituality and for their evolution to be the perfect beings. The other contribution was the institution of Amrit in 1699, to turn the general Sikhs (disciples of the Guru) into the special Sikhs known as the Khalsa. It bound them by the discipline of 5 Kakkaars (5 Ks) and other conditions of the Doctrine of Amrit (Reht-Maryada). This was to attach them to God, to protect the people, and fight tyranny. It prepared the people for liberty. This revolution delivered the people from the grips of fake gurus. His contribution to the humanity and the country is unlimited -

    He set the movement of liberation of India on the organized and firm footings.
    He united the Sikhs by stopping the precedence of the human guru, and by declaring the Word (Guru Granth Sahib - The Holy Book) a Guru. It delivered the people from the cheat gurus, and made them independent for their meeting God (His realization) with their own self confidence self efforts and God's mercy.
    He put a firm stamp on the absolute eagerness for one's equality, indiscrimination, rights, dignity, justice, freedom of practicing his or her faith, and liberty.He gave Amrit to induct the people into the Sikh faith. It was not forced on anyone, but was one's own free choice (voluntary) to take it.
    Taking Amrit turned a person into Khalsa with a very specific discipline to live a highly God-oriented life full of sentiments of ethical avocation, compassion, selfless service, sharing, and recitation of the name of God. Such persons were Sant-Sipahi - the Saint-Soldiers.
    He made the people self-supporting, independent, and able to protect the needy. They were enabled to protect their faith by themselves.
    He firmly established the people in the faith in one God, the Gurus and their Word (Guru Granth Sahib), and put them to its practice. Body of the Guru was of no significance. The people were to find their spiritual path from Guru Granth Sahib. It was the spiritual independence.
    The Guru, for ever removed discriminations based on caste, sex, creed, color, status, place, etc. by giving Amrit - the Holy Drink.
    The Guru set a standard Ardas - invocation, for the Sikhs.
    The Tenth Guru composed huge amount of literature in his short life of about 42. He got selected ancient Hindu mythologies translated into the language of the time for making them easy for the people to understand. Only those works were selected that developed courage, fearlessness, strength to defend, and a desire for liberty.
    A good amount of his Bani (Scripture) covers Nit-Nem - the daily routine recitation of the Scriptures by the Sikhs and others. Example is Jaap Sahib, Swaiyae, Shabds, Chaupaees, and Akal-Oustat. His Bani is in Dassam-Granth (Book of the Tenth Master) compiled by Bhai Mani Singh, after death of the Guru.

 


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