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Sikhism Article PDF Print E-mail

 

 

Punjab is a Sikh majority state. After its reorganisation

in 1966, (when the Hindi-speaking areas were separated

to constitute the new state of Haryana and some hill areas

were transferred to Himachal Pradesh), the religious composition

of the state was radically altered. The Sikhs constitute 63 per cent

of the state’s population at present. Their share in the rural

population is higher; about 72 per cent.

 

Sikhism was established by Gurus (literally teachers) over the period of 1469 to 1708. Most of the Gurus were born in Northern India, notably the Punjab, although they traveled extensively from as far west as Arabia to Assam in the east and Sri Lanka in the south. . These teachers were enlightened souls whose main purpose in life was the spiritual and moral well-being of the masses. By setting an exceptional example of how to live a holy and worthy life through the reciting of holy hymns called Shabads. The Gurus taught the people of India & beyond, to live spiritually fulfilling lives with dignity and honour.

 

 

 

Legend of the Ten Sikh Gurus

 


 

Ten Sikh Gurus

 

 

 

 

 

1. Guru Nanak - Guru from 1469 to 1539

 

 

 

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Guru ji mastered Punjabi, Sanskrit and Persian at an early age and in childhood revolted against ritualism, caste,  prejudices, hypocrisy and idolatry.

He regarded Hindus and Muslims as equals and referred to himself as neither Hindu nor Muslim but as a brother  to all those who believed in God and truth.

He made four great journeys, travelling to all parts of India, and into Arabia and Persia;    visiting Meccaand Baghdad. He spoke before Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Parsees, and Muslims. He spoke in the  temples and mosques, and at various pilgrimage sites. Wherever he went, Guru Nanak spoke out against  empty religious rituals, pilgrimages, the caste system, the sacrifice of widows, of depending on books to learn  the true religion, and of all the other tenets that were to define his teachings. Never did he ask his listeners to  follow him. He asked the Muslims to be true Muslims and the Hindus to be true Hindus.

 

 

The rejection of the caste system by Guru Nanak, the first Guru

of the Sikhs, appeared categorical. One of the widely quoted of

his ‘sabads is’: Fakar jati phakar nau, Sabhana jia ika chau

(Worthless is caste and worthless an exalted name; For all

mankind there is but single refuge). Another composition is

reproduced below:

Neechan andar neech jati, Neechi hun ati neech

Nanak tin ke sang sath, Vadian siyon kya rees

Jithe neech sanmalian, Tithe nadr teri bakhshish

 

 

2. Guru Angad - Guru from 1539 to 1552

Guru Angad Dev (31 March 1504 – 28 March 1552) was the second of the ten Sikh Gurus.

 

Guru Angad Dev ji He was born in the village of Sarae Nagain Muktsar district in Punjab, on March 31, 1504 and given the name  Lehna shortly after his birth as was the custom of his Hindu parents. He was the son of a small successful trader  named Pheru. His mother's name was Mata Ramo (also known as Mata Sabhirai, Mansa Devi and Daya kaur).  Baba Narayan Das Trehan was his grandfather, whose ancestral house was at Matte-di-Sarai near Mukatsar.

He invented the present form of the Gurmukhi script. It became the medium of writing the Punjabi language in

which the hymns of the Gurus are expressed .Guru Angad was a model of self-less service to his Sikhs and showed

them the way to devotional prayers. He took great interest in the education of the children by opening many schools for

their instruction and thus greatly increased literacy

.Guru Angad Dev 12 Bakshish

 

 

3. Guru Amar Das - Guru from 1552 to 1574

Guru Amardas Sahib , the Third Nanak was born at village Basarke Gillan in Amritsar district on Vaisakh Sudi 14th, (8th Jeth), Samvat 1536

(5th May 1479). (Some chronicles mention the month of April 1479). His father Tej Bhan Bhalla and mother Bakht Kaur (also reffered as  Sulakhani and Lakhmi Devi) were orhtodox Hindus and used to pay annual visits to the Ganges river at Haridwar. Guru Amadas Sahib was  married to Mata Mansa Devi ji and had four childern: two daughters; Bibi Dani ji and Bibi Bhani ji (she was married to Guru Ramdass Sahib), and  two sons; Mohan ji and Mohri ji.


Once Guru Amardas Sahib heard some hyms of Guru Nanak Sahib from Bibi Amro Ji, the daughter of Guru Angad Sahib. He became too much impressed and immediately went to see Guru Angad Sahib at Khadur Sahib. Under the impact of the teachings of Guru Angad Sahib, Guru Amardas Sahib adopted him as his spiritual guide (Guru). Then he started living at Khadur Sahib. He used to rise early in the morning, bring water from the Bias River for Guru's bath and fetch wood from the Jungle for 'Guru ka Langar'.

Guru Angad Sahib appointed Guru Amardas Sahib as third Nanak in March 1552 at the age of 73. This was a result of his services and devotion to Guru Angad Sahib and his teachings. He established his headquarters at newly built town Goindwal. There he propagated the Sikh faith in a very planned manner. He divided the Sikh Sangat area into 22 preaching centres. (Manjis), each under the charge of a devout Sikh. He himself visited and sent Sikh missionaries to different parts of India to spread Sikhism.

He strengthened the tradition of 'Guru ka Langer' and made it compulsory for the visitor to the Guru saying that 'Pehle Pangat Phir Sangat'. Once the emperor Akbar came to see Guru Sahib and he had to eat the coarse rice in the Langar before he could have an interview with Guru Sahib. He was too much impressed from this system and expressed his desire to grant some royal property for 'Guru ka Langar', but Guru Sahib declined it with respect. Guru Amardas Sahib persuaded Akbar to waive off toll-tax (pilgrim's tax) for non-Muslims while crossing Yamuna and Ganga, Akbar did so. Guru Amardas Sahib maintained cordial relations with emperor Akbar.

 

 

4. Guru Ram Das - Guru from 1574 to 1581

 

Guru Ramdas Sahib was born at Chuna Mandi, Lahore (in Pakistan), on Kartik Vadi 2nd, (25th Assu) Samvat 1591 (September 24, 1534).

Guru RamdasSon of Mata Daya Kaur ji (Anup Kaur ji) and Baba Hari Das ji Sodhi Khatri was very handsome and promising child. His parents were too poor to meet even the daily needs and he had to earn his bread by selling boiled grams. His parents died when he was just 7 year old. His grandmother (mother's, mother) took him to her native village Basarke. He spends five years at village Basarke earning his bread by selling boiled grams. According to some chronicles, once Guru Amardas Sahib came village Basarke to condole with the grandmother of (Guru) Ramdas Sahib at the death of her son-in-law and developed deep affection for (Guru) Ramdas Sahib. Along with grandmother he left for Goidwal Sahib to settle there. There he resumed his profession of selling boiled grams and also began to take part in the religious congregation held by Guru Amardas Sahib. He also made active participation in the development of Goindwal Sahib.

(Guru) Ramdas Sahib was married to Bibi Bhani Ji (daughter of Guru Amardas Sahib). She bore him three sons: Prithi Chand Ji, Mahadev Ji and Arjan Sahib (Guru) Ji. After the marriage he stayed with his father-in-law and deeply associated himself with the Guru Ghar activities (Sikhism). He commanded full confidence of Guru Amardas Sahib and often accompanied him when the latter went on long missionary tours to different parts of India. 

(Guru) Ramdas Sahib was a man of considerable merit. He became famous for his piety, devotion, energy and eloquence. Guru Amardas Sahib found him capable in every respect and worthy of the office of Guruship and installed him as Fourth Nanak on september 1, 1574. Guru Ramdas Sahib laid the foundation stone of Chak Ramdas or Ramdas Pur, which is now called Amritsar. For this purpose he purchased land from the zamindars of the villages: Tung, Gilwali and Gumtala, and began digging of Santokhsar Sarover. Later on he suspended the work on Santokhsar and concentrated his attention on digging Amritsar Sarovar. Bhai Sahlo Ji and Baba Budha Ji, the two devoted Sikhs were assigned the supervising work.

 

5. Guru Arjan Dev - Guru from 1581 to 1606

Guru Arjan Dev Ji or Guru Arjun Dev Ji (Punjabiਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ) (15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606) was the fifth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism.

He was born in GoindvalPunjabIndia, the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amar Das[1]. He became the Guru of the Sikhs on 1 September 1581 after the death of his father Guru Ram Das. Guru Arjan Dev died in Lahore,Punjab, (now in Pakistan). Before his death, he nominated his son Har Gobind as the next Guru of the Sikhs.

 

 

Guru Arjan Sahib completed the work on two sacred tanks (Sarowars) Santokhsar and Amritsar. He got the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib, laid by a Muslim Saint Hazrat Mian Mir Ji of Lahore on 1st Magh, Vikrami Samvat 1644 (December 1588). After the completion of Sri Harmandir Sahib, Guru Sahib completed the construction of Santhokhsar. Guru Arjan Sahib founded the town of Tarn Taran Sahib near Goindwal Sahib and also created a large tank and Gurdwara there. A house for lepers was also built. He also laid the foundation stone of the town Kartarpur in Doaba region (near Jalandhar city). Guru Arjan organised the Masand system, a group of representatives who taught and spread the teachings of the Gurus and also collected the Dasvand, one-tenth of a Sikh's income (in money, goods or service) that Sikhs paid to support the building of Gurdwara Sahib, the all important Guru ka Langars (free communal kitchens) originally intended to share with sense of love, respect and equality, still an important element today in any Gurdwara.

 

 

6. Guru Har Gobind - Guru from 1606 to 1644

 

Guru Har Gobind ji, (Punjabiਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ) also Sacha Badshah (ਸੱਚਾ ਪਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ True King) (19 June 1595-2March 1644)

was the sixth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his fatherGuru Arjan Dev. He was the sixth Guru in Sikhism. He was not, perhaps, more than eleven at his father's execution.[1] Before ascension, he nominated Guru Har Rai, his grandson as the next Guru of the Sikhs.

From the very beginning he was the deadly enemy of Mughals.Guru Hargobind Sahib wore two swords, one of Spiritual Power - Piri and the other of Military Power - Miri. Now the Sikh became "Saint-Soldier." Guru Sahib issued various letters advising the Sikhs to take part in the military training and marshal arts. A Chronicler states that Guru Sahib kept seven hundred Cavaliers and sixty artillerymen. There was a band of Pathan mercenaries and Painda Khan Pathan was made its chief. Riding, hunting, wrestling and many others martial sports were introduced. And on the other hand the martial songs like 'Vars' were daily sung by the Dhadd-players in the court of Guru Sahib to inspire the Sikhs of heroic deeds. Abdul and Natha Mal were given the task in this respect. The Guru Sahib himself was healthy and strong in body and mind. He himself learnt the use of different weapons, besides riding wrestling and hunting.

Guru ji taught that it was necessary to take up the sword in order to protect the weak and the oppressed. Guru ji was first of the Gurus to take up arms to defend the faith. At that time it was only emperors who were allowed to sit on a raised platform, called a takhat or throne.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Guru Har Rai - Guru from 1644 to 1661

Guru Har Rai ji, was born in 1630, spent most of his life in devotional meditation and preaching the teachings of Guru Nanak.

Guru Har RaiGuru Hargobind Sahib, before his departure for heavenly abode, nominated his grand son, Har Rai Ji at the tender age of 14, as his successor (Seventh Nanak), on 3rd March, 1644. Guru Har Rai Sahib was the son of Baba Gurdita Ji and Mata Nihal Kaur Ji(also known as Mata Ananti Ji). Guru Har Rai Sahib married to Mata Kishan Kaur Ji(Sulakhni Ji) daughter of Sri Daya Ram Ji of Anoopshahr (Bulandshahr) in Utter Pradesh on Har Sudi 3, Samvat 1697. Guru Har Rai Sahib had two sons: Sri Ram Rai Ji and Sri Har Krishan Sahib Ji(Guru).

 

Guru Har Rai Sahib was a man of peace but he never disbanded or discharged the armed Sikh Warriors(Saint Soldiers), who earlier were maintained by his grandfather (Guru Hargobind Sahib). He otherwise further boosted the military spirit of the Sikhs. But he never himself indulged in any direct political and armed controversy with the contemporary Mughal Empire. Once on the request of Dara Shikoh (the eldest son of emperor Shahjahan). Guru Sahib helped him to escape safely from the bloody hands of Aurangzebs armed forces during the war of succession.

Guru Sahib also established an Aurvedic herbal medicine hospital and a research centre at Kiratpur Sahib. There, he maintained a zoo also. Once Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan fell seriously ill by some unknown disease. The best physicians available in the country and abroad were consulted, but there was no improvement. At last the emperor made a humble request to Guru Sahib for the treatment of his son. Guru Sahib accepting the request, handed over some rare and suitable medicines to the messenger of the emperor. The life of Dara Shikoh was saved from the cruel jaws of death. The emperor, whole heartily thanked and wanted to grant some "Jagir", but Guru Sahib never accepted.

He also continued the grand task of nation building initiated by Guru Hargobind.

 

 

 

8. Guru Har Krishan - Guru from 1661 to 1664

 

Guru Har Krishan ji, was born on July 7, 1656 to Guru Har Rai and Krishan Kaur on Sawan Vadi 10, (8 Sawan), Bikrami Samvat 1713, (July 7, 1656) at Kiratpur Sahib.

 

Before his death in October 1661 Guru Har Rai had appointed his younger son Harkrishan at the age of 5 as the next Guru as opposed to his elder son Ram Rai who was in collusion with the mughals. To the Sikhs he proved to be the very symbol of service, purity and truth. The Guru gave his life while serving and healing the epidemic-stricken people in Delhi. The young Guru began to attend the sufferers irrespective of cast and creed. Particularly, the local Muslim population was much impressed with the purely humanitarian deeds of the Guru Sahib and nicknamed him Bala Pir (child prophet).

 

To the Sikhs he proved to be the very symbol of service, purity and truth. The Guru gave his life while serving and healing the epidemic-stricken people in Delhi. The young Guru began to attend the sufferers irrespective of cast and creed. Particularly, the local Muslim population was much impressed with the purely humanitarian deeds of the Guru Sahib and nicknamed him Bala Pir (child prophet).

Even Aurangzeb did not try to disturb Guru Harkrishan Sahib sensing the sensitivity of the situation, but on the other hand never dismissed the claim of Ram Raialso.

Anyone who invokes Guru Har Krishan with a pure heart has no difficulties whatsoever in their life.

 

 

 

9. Guru Tegh Bahadur - Guru from 1665 to 1675

 

Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib was born on Vaisakh Vadi 5, (5 Vaisakh), Bikrami Samvat 1678, (1st April, 1621) in the holy city of Amritsar in a house known as "Guru ke Mahal".

 

 

 

Sri Guru Teg bahadur Ji was the youngest son of Sri Guru Hargobind Ji and grand uncle of Sri Guru Harkrishen Dev Ji. He was born at Amritsar . Guru Tegh Bahadur spent many year meditation and reached sublime heights therefore was appointed the ninth guru. He became Guru at the age of 43. Like Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, he travelled and spread the message of one God and also the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. He challenged the atrocities and persecution of Hindus by the Muslim emperors through passive resistence and sacrificed his own life in doing so,therby saving the Hindus from compulsory conversion into Muslims .

He helped villagers in many ways. Guru Sahib and Sikh Sangat assisted them in planting trees on barren stretches of land. They were also advised to start dairy farming and in this respect many cattle heads were also distributed free of cost among the poor and landless farmers. To cope with the scarcity of water many community wells were dug on the behest of Guru Sahib by performing Kar-Sewa (free service). Thus Guru Sahib identified himself with the common masses.The main and important halts of Guru Sahib were Patiala (Dukhniwaran Sahib), Samaon, Bhiki, Tahla Sahib, and Talwandi in Bhatinda, Gobindpura, Makrora, Bangar and Dhamdhan. Guru Sahib toured these areas about one and a half years and returned Anandpur Sahib in 1675.

 

 

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib ‘Hind di chadar’ sacrified his life for the cause of Dharma, truth and the betterment of humanity.

 

 

 

10. Guru Gobind Singh - Guru from 1675 to 1708

Guru Gobind Singh (Punjabiਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ, (22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708) was the tenth Guru of Sikhism

 

 

Guru Gobind Singh

He was born in Patna, Bihar in India and became a Guru on 11 November 1675, at the age of nine years, succeeding his father Guru Tegh Bahadur. He was the leader of the Sikh faith, a warrior, a poet, and a philosopher. In the Sikh society, Guru Gobind Singh is considered a perfect example of manhood; highly educated, skilled in horsemanship, armed combat, chivalrous, and generous in character.

 

 

He fought many battles against the armies of Aurangzeb and his allies. After he had lost his father, his mother and four sons to Mughal tyranny, he wrote his famous letter (the zafarnama) to Aurangzeb, in which he indicted the Grand mughal with his treachery and godliness, after which the attacks against the Guru and his Sikhs were called off. Aurangzeb died soon after reading the letter. Soon, the rightful heir to the Mughal throne sought the Guru's assistance in winning his kingdom. It was the envie and fear of the growing friendship between the new Emperor and the Guru which lead to the sneak attack of the Pathan assasins of Wasir Khan who inflicted the wound which later caused the Guru's death.

Thus the tree whose seed was planted by Guru Nanak, came to fruition when Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa, and on 3 October 1708, appointed Guru Granth Sahib as the Guru. He     commanded: "Let all bow before my successor, Guru Granth. The Word is the Guru now."

 

 

 

11. Guru Granth Sahib - Guru from 1708 to eternity

The final living Guru
In 1708, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave Guruship to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji . The first holy book of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was compiled by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji. The work on compilation was started in 1601 and completed in 1604 .This recension was called POTHI SAHIB JI and was installed at Harimandir Sahib in 1604. The Pothi was called Kartarpuri Bir. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji added Hymns of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji to the Pothi Sahib AND called it GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI and said that this shall be the
final living Sikh Guru and thereafter no more Sikh human Gurus. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji said that the MISSION of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji has been completed. The Sikhs will get their guidance from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and temporal advice from Panj Pyare . Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji has 1430 pages . It contains Hymns of 6 Sikh Gurus, 15 Saints , 11 Bhats and other Sikhs .