4. Guru Ramdas Ji
(1534 - 1581 & Guruship: 1574 - 1581)
Guru Ram Das
Ji (a.k.a. Bhai Jetha) was born in 1534, in Chuna Mandi, Lahore
(now in Pakistan). His parents were Sri Hardas Ji and Mata Daya
Kaur Ji. He was married to Bibi Bhani Ji and had three sons namely
Prithi Chand, Mahandev and Arjun Dev.
service and humility were the marked characteristics of Guru Angad
Dev and Guru Amar Das Ji. They passed through very strict tests
before they were accepted by the Gurus and the spark passed on
to them. Guru Ram Das, who was called Jetha before acquiring the
Guruship, kept up the tradition. He was just an infant went he
lost his mother, and at the age of seven his father also passed
away. Even at this young age, he gave solace and comfort to his
sad and heart-broken grandmother. He started earning his livelihood
in the village of Basarke, as a small hawker selling boiled grains.
Guru Amar Das
used to observe the young Jetha flocked by enthusiastic customers
with whom he was very popular because of his sweet manners.
When Guru Amar
Das moved to Goindwal, Jetha followed him there. In due course
the far-sighted Guru Amar Das got Bhai Jetha married to his daughter
|Bhai Jetha was directed by Guru
Amar Das to set up a new township at the site marked by the Guru.
This place was
called 'Guru-Chak', later known as Ramdaspura. Subsequently when
Guru Ram Das had a holy pool constructed on this spot, the place
came to be known as Amristsar or the 'Pool of Immortality'. Phrase
came to be associated with the tank dug at Amritsar which was
"Ramdas Sarovar Nahate, Sab uttre paap kamate", "I
bath in the tank of Ramdas and all my sins were washed away".
Amritsar, continues to be the centre of Sikhism and holiest place
for the Sikhs till today.
Bhai Jetha's sincere
devotion and selfless service earned him the admiration of Guru
Amar Das and finally, in the year 1574, He transferred the 'Divine
Light' to Guru Ram Das Ji. He was now responsible to advance the
Sikh religion keep up to the tradition set up by his previous masters.
Guru Ram Das
continued the tradition of Kirtan (holy music), langar and sewa
(selfless service). During his Guruship period, Guru Ram Das always
emphasized the value of sewa, which should be the primary duty
of every Sikh and his family. Besides every Sikh should be engaged
in honest labour during which the name of God should always be
on ones lips.
This would bring
happiness in the world and mukti or liberation from the painful
process of birth and death.
Once Guru Ram Das's
first cousin Sahari Mal, came to invite the Guru to visit Lahore
in connection with the marriage of his son. The Guru being much
too busy with his work promised to send one of his sons instead.
Guru Ram Das asked his eldest son Prithi Chand to attend on his
behalf, but he refused. Prithi Chand feared that his father was
perhaps trying to eliminate him in order to install his youngest
brother Arjan as the next Guru. Arjan was a great favorite of his
father. Mahadev the Guru's middle son was a recluse and excused
himself on the ground that he was not interested in the affairs
of the world.
The Guru therefore
asked his youngest son Arjan Dev to attend, which he agreed to
do with such grace and humility, that Guru Ram Das was very pleased.
Arjan Dev now proceeded to Lahore, where his father asked him
to remain until called for and to take charge of the needs and
education of the Sikhs in Lahore, his ancestral home. After two
years of feeling intensely homesick, Arjan Dev composed a poem
of love and devotion and sent it to Guru Ram Das. This poem along
with another one a few month's later were intercepted by the Guru's
jealous son Prithi Chand who made sure his father never received
them. Finally Arjan wrote a third poem and numbered it with a
3 and gave strict instructions to the messenger to only hand it
over to the Guru personally.
separation and it was like an age. When do I see you now, my beloved
Lord ? My night does not pass, nor do I get sleep, Without seeing
the Guru's darbar. I am a sacrifice, I am a sacrifice again to
the true darbar of the Guru. 3" (Majh) Upon finally receiving
this poem, Guru Ram Das sensed what must have happened to the
earlier two messages so he confronted his eldest son Prithi Chand.
At first, Prithi Chand denied everything, but seeing the insistence
of the Guru and the consequences of refusal to obey him, he finally
confessed his treachery and produced the other two letters. When
Guru Ram Das read them, he was moved to tears by the humility
and sincerity of his son Arjan's compositions. Guru Ram Das immediately
sent for Baba Buddha to journey to Lahore and to bring back his
son Arjan Dev with full honour. The Guru then had Bhai Budhha
apply the saffron mark to the forehead of Arjan Dev and declared
him his successor. Prithi Chand would not accept his fathers wishes
and continued to misbehave and abuse Guru Arjan Dev. Guru Ram
Das had to publicly condemn his son Prithi Chand for his actions.
Shortly thereafter Guru Ram Das breathed his last on September