Sikh Gurus

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Guru Nanak DevJi:

Birth: April 15, 1469: at Talwandi (Nankana Sahib Pakistan)
Father: Mehta Kalyan Dass (Kalu Rai) Bedi Khatri
Mother:  Mata Tripta ji
Spouse: Sulakhni, D/o. Sri Mool Chand of Pakhoke Randhawe (District Gurdaspur)
Offspring: Baba Sri Chand ji, Baba Lakhmi Das ji
Demise: September 7,1539 at Sri Kartarpur (Punjab)

Guru Nanak Devji

Guru Nanak was the founder and the first Guru of the Sikh religion. He was born in a simple Hindu family in the Western Punjab village of Talwandi. From an early age he was very inquisitive about the meaning of life. At age 13 he refused to accept the sacred cotton thread from the Hindu priest. As a young man, he would spend long hours absorbed in meditation and in religious discussions with Muslim and Hindu holy men. At age 16 he was married to Sulakhani and had two sons, Sri Chand and Lakshmi Chand. He took up a job as an accountant in the stores of Daulat Khan Lodi, the Governor of Sultanpur. Guru Nanak would work during the days, but early in the mornings and late at nights, he would meditate and sing hymns accompanied by his childhood friend Mardana on the rabab.

These sessions attracted the attention of many people, who started joining the two. Early one morning in 1499 AD, at the age of 30, Guru Nanak went to the river Vayee for his bath and did not come out and it was feared that he was drowned. After three days Guru Nanak appeared at the same spot from where he had disappeared. He was no longer the same person he had been and there was a divine light in his eyes and his face was resplendent. Guru Nanak was in the Holy Communion with God. The Lord God revealed Himself to Guru Nanak and enlightened him. Then onwards, Guru Nanak began extensive travel to spread the message of God in the form of musical hymns. Guru Nanak chose this medium to propagate his message because it was easily understood by the population of the time. He traveled throughout the Indian Subcontinent as well as abroad and visited places like Makkah, Medina and Baghdad. He toured the world, preaching Universal love and Oneness of Divinity. Bala and Mardana were the true followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. One was a Hindu and the other was a Muslim.


Guru Angad:

Birth: March 31, 1504, at Matte DI Saraan (Naange DI Saraan) (Dist. Firozpur)
Father: Sri Pheru Mal Ji Trehan Khatri
Mother: Mata Daya Kaur ji.
Spouse: Mata Khivi ji D/o Shri Devi Chand ji.
Offspring: Sons: Sri Datu ji Dasuji
Daughters :Bibi Amro ji, Bibi Anokhi ji.
Demise: March 29, 1552.

Guru Angad

Guru Angad, originally known as Lehna, was ardent devotee of the Hindu goddess Durga. Upon meeting Guru Angad at the age of 27, Lehna became his devout disciple and renounced his former practices and embraced Sikhism. Guru Angad appointed him as his successor on July 14, 1539 and named him Guru Angad. Guru Angad maintained a langar where people of all religions and castes could gather for a free meal. He took keen interest in physical fitness and encouraged his devotees to be involved in sports after their morning prayers. Guru Angad was very fond of children and took great interest in their education and advocated that the children should be taught to read and write in their mother tongue, Punjabi. He popularized the use of Gurmukhi script.

The credit of getting the Second authorized biography of Guru Angad written in 1544 AD as well as having a number of copies of Guru Angad’s hymns written out in the new Gurmukhi script goes to Guru Angad Dev.


Guru Amar Das:

Birth: May 5, 1479 at Basarke (Dist. Amritsar)
Father: Sri Tej Bhan ji Bhalla Khatri
Mother: Mata Sulakhani (Lachhmi ji)
Spouse: Mata Ram Kaur jib, D/o Sri Devi Chand jib Behl.
Sons: Baba Mohri ji and Baba Mohan ji
Daughters: Bibi Daani ji and Bibi Bhaani ji
Demise: Sept 1, 1574, at Goindwal (District Amritsar)

Guru Amar Das

Guru Amar Das was a very religious Vaishnavite Hindu who spent most of his life performing Hindu ritual pilgrimages and fasts. It was not until his old age that Amar Das met Guru Angad and converted to Sikhism. He eventually became Guru at the age of 73 and succeeded Guru Angad. He further institutionalized the free communal kitchen called langar among the Sikhs. Guru Amar Das was a great champion of women and tried to foster the idea of women’s equality. He tried to liberate women from such practices as the purdah(wearing a veil) and sati.

He also disapproved of a widow remaining unmarried for the rest of her life. In 1567 AD Emperor Akbar visited Guru Amar Das and was very impressed by him and the religious doctrine of the Sikhs. Guru Amar Das carried out a systematic expansion of the Sikh Institutions. He trained a band of 146 apostles (including 52 women) called Masands and sent them to various parts of the country. He also set up 22 dioceses called Manjis across the country, which helped in the spread of Sikhism among the masses. He also declared Baisakhi, Maghi and Diwali as three special days where all the Sikhs should gather to hear the Guru’s words.


Guru Ram Das:

Birth: September 24,1534, at Chune Mandi, Lahore
Father: Sri Haridas ji Sodhi,
Mother: Mata Daya Kaur Ji
Spouse: Bibi Bhaani ji, D/o Sri Guru Amar Das ji
Sons: Sri Prithi Chand, Sri Mahadev, Sri Guru Arjan Dev ji
Demise: September 1, 1581 at Goindwal

       Guru Ramdas

Guru Ram Das was known as ‘Jetha’, meaning the ‘Third born’. He was fond of the company of religious men right from his childhood. He soon became a disciple of Guru Amar Das. His hard work and devotion eventually won him the hand of Guru Amar Das’s younger daughter, Bibi Bhaani. He successfully represented Guru Ram Das before the Mughal royal court to defend the charges by jealous Hindus that Sikhism maligned both the Hindu and Muslim religions.

Eventually Jetha was ordained as Guru Amar Das’s successor and named Guru Ram Das (meaning ‘servant of God’). Under the directions of Guru Amar Das, his father-in-law, Guru Ramdas laid down the foundation for a new township called Ramdaspur, which later became the present day Amritsar, the holiest city of the Sikhs. The standard Sikh marriage ceremony known as the Anand Karaj is centered on the Lawan, the four stanza hymn composed by Guru Ram Das.


Guru Arjan Dev:

Birth: April 15,1563 at Goindwal (District Amritsar)
Father: Sri Guru Ram Das Ji Sodhi
Mother: Mata Bhaani ji
Spouse: Mata Ganga Devi ji, D/o. Sri Krishan Chand ji
Son: Sri Guru Har Gobind Sahib ji
Demise: May 30, 1606 : Martyred at Lahore (Pakistan)

         Guru Arjan Dev

Guru Arjan Dev was the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and Mata Bhani. In 1581 AD he was invested with the Guruship by his father Guru Ram Das. Guru Arjan Dev completed the two tanks of Santoksar and Amritsar and undertook the expansion of Ramdaspur. He laid the foundation of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in the middle of the tank of Amritsar. Guru Arjan Dev also purchased some land near Jullundur and laid the foundations of a new township called Kartarpur and a well called Ganga Sagar. Guru Arjan Dev built another great temple twelve miles away from Amritsar called Tarn Taran.

Guru Arjan started the arduous task of compiling the Third edition of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib. He decided to include the compositions of Hindu and Muslim saints, which were consistent with the teachings of Sikh Gurus. He included the works of such Hindu Bhaktas as Kabir, Jaidev, Namdev, Dahnna, Ravidas, Pipa and Ramanand. He also included the works of such Muslim divines as Mardana, Baba Farid, Satta and Balwand. This Third edition of the Guru  Granth Sahib known at that time as Pothi Sahib was installed on a high pedestal within the Harmandir Sahib in August 1604 AD. The revered Baba Buddha was appointed the Third Granthi (custodian) of the book. Guru Arjan Dev dictated that the Pothi Sahib could be open to reading by anyone of any caste, creed or sex.

Guru Arjan Dev was tortured to death at the instance of Emperor Jehangir on the charges that the Pothi Sahib was blasphemous to both Hinduism and Islam.


Guru Hargobind:

Birth: June 14, 1595, Thursday, at village Vadali (District Amritsar)
Father: Sri Arjan Dev Ji Sodhi
Mother: Mata Ganga ji
Demise: March 3, 1644, at Kiratpur Sahib (District Ropar) Punjab

      Guru Hargobind

Guru Hargobind was the only child of Guru Arjan Dev. He was invested with the Guruship on May 25, 1606 just days before his father’s martyrdom. From a young age he was educated in the sciences, sports and religion. Baba Buddha was responsible for overseeing the Guru’s religious teachings. During the Guruship ceremony, Guru Hargobind respectfully declined to wear the Seli(woolen cord worn on the head) but asked for two swords – a sword of shakti (power) and a sword of bhakti(meditation). Soon after his ascension to Guruship in 1606, he had a throne, called the Akal Takht built at the temple at Amritsar, from where he would administer Sikh affairs. Guru Hargobind donned the royal regalia of a King and was known by the Sikhs as Sacha Padshah (The True King). He encouraged Sikhs in physical activity and weapons training as well as prayers. Soon an army of one thousand horses was raised. During the life of Guru Hargobind some of the most influential Sikhs of the time like Baba Buddha, Bhai Gurdas and Baba Sri Chand passed away.


Guru Har Rai:

Birth: 1630 A.D. at Kartarpur Sahib (Punjab)
Father: Baba Gur Ditta ji (Son of Guru Har Gobind Sahib)
Mother: Mata Nihal Kaur ji

     Guru Har Rai

Sons: Sri Ram Rai and Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib ji
Demise: October 6, 1661, at Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab)

Guru Har Rai was born on January 16, 1630 in Kiratpur to Baba Gurditta the eldest son of Guru Hargobind. From a very young age he exhibited sensitivity to all living things and endeared himself to his grandfather Guru Hargobind. Har Rai loved solitude and did not mix very freely with people other than his disciples.

He blessed the Phul dynasty in Malwa. (Later known as Phulkian States of Nabha, Patiala and Maler Kotla). At the age of 14 after having received suitable training Har Rai was invested with the Guruship by his grandfather Guru Hargobind shortly before his death in March 1644.


Guru Harkrishan:

Birth: July 7, 1656, at Kiratpur
Father: Sri Guru Har Rai ji,
Mother: Mata Kishan Kaur ji
Succession to Gur-Gaddi: October 7, 1661

       Guru Har Krishan

Demise: March 30, 1664, at Delhi

Guru Har Rai was born on January 16, 1630 in Kiratpur to Baba Gurditta the eldest son of Guru Hargobind. From a very young age he exhibited sensitivity to all living things and endeared himself to his grandfather Guru Hargobind. Har Rai loved solitude and did not mix very freely with people other than his disciples.

He blessed the Phul dynasty in Malwa. (Later known as Phulkian States of Nabha, Patiala and Maler Kotla). At the age of 14 after having received suitable training Har Rai was invested with the Guruship by his grandfather Guru Hargobind shortly before his death in March 1644.


Guru Tej Bahadur:

Birth: April 1, 1621, at Guru Ke Mahal, Amritsar
Father: Sri Hargobind Sahib Sodhi
Mother : Mata Nanki ji
Spouse: Mata Gujri ji, D/o. Sri Lal Chand Khatri.
Offspring: Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji
Demise: November 11, 1675; martyred at Chandni Chowk

      Guru Tej Bahadur

Guru Tegh (Tej) Bahadur was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind and Bibi Nanki and was born at Amritsar on April 1, 1621. From a young age Tegh Bahadur was trained in the martial arts of swordsmanship and horse- riding as well as religious training by the wise Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. Tegh Bahadur spent nine years with his father before settling down at the isolated village of Bakala in 1656 and retired to a life of contemplation. He became known as ‘Tyag Mal’ meaning “the Master of Renunciation”. Here Tegh Bahadur would spend many long years in meditation and prayer. In 1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur founded the town of Chak Nanaki in the honour of his mother, which later came to be known as Anandpur Sahib. He visited Dhaka and Kamrup in the eastern India. On November 11, 1675 Guru Tegh Bahadur was publicly beheaded with a sword on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

The Guru laid down his life protesting against religious persecution. Gurudwara Seesh Ganj and Gurudwara Rakab Ganj at Delhi perpetuate his memory.


Guru Gobind Singh:

   Guru Gobind Singh

Birth: December 22, 1666, at Patna Sahib (Bihar)
Father: Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Sodhi
Mother: Gujri ji
1. Jito ji, D/o. Sri Har Jas Sabhikhia Khatri of Lahore
2. Sundri ji, D/o. Sri Ram Saran Kumrao Khatri of Lahore
Offspring:Sons: Baba Ajit Singh ji, Baba Jujhar Singh ji,Baba Zorawar Singh ji and Baba Fateh Singhji
Demise: October 7, 1708, Near Nanded on the Bank of the Godavari

He was the tenth and the last Guru of the Sikhs who established the Khalsa Panth. He was a great scholar and warrior. He fought by word and by sword against injustice, tyranny and superstition. He sacrificed his four sons for Khalsa Panth. The Sikhs pay a tribute to him by saying: “Sawa lakh se ek ladoon, tabhi Guru Gobind Singh Naam Kahaoon.”


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