Legend of the Ten Sikh Gurus
The “Gurus” in Sikhism are regarded as enlighteners and divine messengers. They were the messengers of the Timeless, who brought forth the eternal wisdom. They were universal men who freed our minds from bigotry and superstitions, dogmas and
from 1469 to 1539
1. Guru Nanak Dev Ji
The first of the Gurus and the founder of the Sikh religion was Guru Nanak. He was born at Talwandi (now known as Nankana Sahib in Pakistan) on October 20, 1469.
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,
from 1539 to 1552
2. Guru Angad Dev Ji
He was born in 1504. Guru Angad invented and introduced the Gurmukhi (written form of Punjabi) script and made it known to all Sikhs.
The scripture of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji is written in Gurmukhi. This scripture is also the basis of the Punjabi language. It became the script of the masses very soon. 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.
from 1552 to 1574
3. Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji
He was born in 1479. Guru Amardas took up cudgels of spirituality to fight against caste restrictions, caste prejudices and the curse of untouchability.
He strengthened the tradition of the free kitchen, Guru Ka Langar (started by Guru Nanak), and made his disciples, whether rich or poor, whether high born or low born (according to the Hindu caste system), have their meals together sitting in one place.
He thus established social equality amongst the people. Guru Amardas introduced the Anand Karaj marriage ceremony for the Sikhs, replacing the Hindu form.
He also completely abolished amongst the Sikhs, the custom of Sati, in which a married woman was forced to burn herself to death in the funeral pyre of her husband. The custom of Paradah (
from 1574 to 1581
4. Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji
He was born in 1534. Guru
The temple remains open on all sides and at all times to everyone. This indicates that the Sikhs believe in One God who has no partiality for any particular place, direction or time.
The standard Sikh marriage ceremony known as the Anand Karaj is centered around the Lawan, a four stanza hymn composed by Guru Ram Das
from 1581 to 1606
5. Guru Arjan Dev Ji
He was born in 1563. He was the third son of Guru Ram Das Ji. Guru Arjan was a saint and scholar of the highest quality and repute.
He compiled the Adi Granth, the scriptures of the Sikhs, and wrote the Sukhmani Sahib. To make it a universal teaching, Guru
Guru Arjan Dev completed construction of Sri Darbar Sahib also known as Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Sri Darbar Sahib welcomes all without discrimination, which is
from 1606 to 1644
6. Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji
He was born in 1595. He was the son of Guru Arjan Dev and was known as a “soldier saint,” Guru Hargobind ji organised a small army, explaining that extreme non-violence and pacifism would only encourage evil and so the principles of Miri-Piri were established.
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.
At the age of 13, Guru Hargobind erected Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, ten feet above the ground and adorned two swords, Miri and Piri, representing temporal and spiritual power.
from 1644 to 1661
7. Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji
He was born in 1630, spent most of his life in devotional meditation and preaching the teachings of Guru Nanak.
Although Guru Har Rai Ji was a man of peace, he never disbanded the armed Sikh Warriors (Saint Soldiers), who earlier were maintained by his grandfather, Guru Hargobind. He always boosted the military spirit of the Sikhs, but he never himself indulged in any direct political and armed controversy with the Mughal Empire. Guru
He also continued the grand task of nation-building initiated by Guru Hargobind.
from 1661 to 1664
8. Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji
He was born in 1656. Guru Har Krishan was the youngest of the Gurus. Installed as Guru at the age of five, Guru
Even Aurangzeb did not try to disturb Guru Harkrishan Sahib sensing the sensitivity of the situation, but on the other
Anyone who invokes Guru Har Krishan with a pure heart has no difficulties whatsoever in their life.
from 1665 to 1675
9. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji
He established the town of Anandpur. The Guru laid down his life for the protection of the Hindu religion, their Tilak (devotional forehead markings) and their sacred (
It was for this cause that he faced martyrdom for the defense of the down-trodden Hindus. So pathetic was the torture of Guru Tegh Bahadur that his body had to be cremated clandestinely (a follower burned down his own home to cremate the Guru’s body) at Delhi while his severed head was secretly taken four hundred kilometers away to Anandpur Sahib for cremation. Because of his refusal to convert to Islam a threatened forced conversion of the Hindus of Kashmir was thwarted.
from 1675 to 1708
10. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji
He was born in 1666 and became Guru after the martyrdom of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur.
He created the Khalsa (The Pure Ones) in 1699, changing the Sikhs into a saint-soldier order with special symbols and sacraments for protecting themselves. After the Guru had administered Amrit to his Five Beloved Ones, he stood up in supplication and with folded hands, begged them to baptize him in the same way as he had baptized them. He himself became their disciple (Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple). The Five Beloved Ones were astonished at such a
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
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
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.”
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