GURU ANGAD DEV JI
Guru Angad Dev ji was born in 1504 in a village named Khadur in Punjab. Before he became guru, his name was Bhai Lehna. He had heard about Guru Nanak Dev ji from his neighbor and decided to meet the Guru on his way to a pilgrimage to a Hindu holy place called Jwalamukhi. He was so impressed after meeting Guru Nanak Dev ji that he decided to become a disciple and serve the Guru. After several years, Guru Nanak Dev ji selected Bhai Lehna to be his successor over the objections of his two sons, because Bhai Lehna was the most deserving. Some of his major contributions are summarized here:
- Guru Angad Devji consolidated the Sikh religion, strengthened Guru Nanak’s mission and re-emphasized his message. For over twelve years, he guided the Sikhs with his exceptional organizational capabilities and saved Sikhism from being absorbed by other religions.
- Guru Nanak Dev ji’s bani was written in a script called “Landae”, which was prevalent at that time, but difficult to read and write. Guru Angad Dev ji modified that script by adding vowels and other signs to make it easy to read and write by average people. This new script was called Gurmukhi which means utterance of the Guru. He wrote Guru Nanak Dev ji’s bani and his own bani in Gurmukhi script and distributed to the Sikh devotees.
- Guru Angad Dev ji loved little children. He wrote Gurmukhi alphabet and produced wooden slates for children to learn the new script. He was keen on spreading literacy in Punjab. He started a school at his village Khadur and himself taught Punjabi language in Gurmukhi script.
- He emphasized Gurmukhi for correspondence, accounts and trade. Gurmukhi broke monopoly of Sanskrit, which was the language normally used in books and scriptures.
- He established new centers of worship. He asked his devoted disciple, Amar Das ji, to start a new village at Goindwal in Punjab and established a center there.
- He rejected celibacy and emphasized that Sikhism was the religion of family and living in a social environment.
- He opposed the idea of a priestly class. Any Sikh from the sangat could do the duties of a priest.
- He was a disciplinarian and would not tolerate any neglect of duty by his Sikhs. For example, the two musicians, Satta and Balwanda, were dismissed by Guruji when they showed ego and neglect of duty.
- He also paid attention to the physical well being of his Sikhs. He organized physical education classes and established a wrestling ring at Khadur. Competitions in games, sports, and athletics were organized in Khadur. Thus, sportsmanship and physical culture became a part of the Sikh way of life. This was also the beginning of the saint-soldier concept which became more prominent during Guru Hargobind ji’s and Guru Gobind Singh ji’s time.
This is a good opportunity to memorize Gurbani, one Pauri at a time. You can concentrate better and enjoy more if you recite bani without looking at the gutka.
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DID YOU KNOW
In Sikhism, we have five seats of authority, called TAKHATS. Takhat literally means ‘throne’. The five Seats of Authority (Takhats) are:
1. Akal Takhat
Akal Takhat (the throne of timeless God) is situated in front of the Harmandar Sahib in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, Punjab. It was established by Guru Hargobind Ji (the 6th Guru) in 1609. The Guru did not consider it appropriate to discuss the political and military matters inside the Golden Temple itself, which is meant purely for worship of God. So, he established a separate place, within the complex, to discuss those matters. Even today, the political matters and other issues are discussed here by the Sikh leadership and Hukamnamaas (orders for the Sikh masses) are issued by the Jathedaar (head priest) of Akal Takhat.
2. Takhat Sri Patna Saheb
The second seat of authority is called ‘Takhat Sri Patna Saheb’. It is located in the city of Patna in Bihar state in India. Guru Teg Bahdur ji lived here in 1665 and Guru Gobind Singh ji was born here and spent his childhood here. Some of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s relics, including his weapons and proclamations, are preserved here.
3. Takhat Sri Kesgarh Saheb
The third seat of authority is known as Sri Kesgarh Saheb, where Guru Gobind Singh ji created the Khalsa on the Vaisakhi day of 1699. The historic double edged sword, called Khanda, with which the Guru stirred the Amrit (baptism water) that auspicious day, is kept here along with a number of other weapons of Guru Gobind Singh ji. Kesgarh Saheb is located in the township of Anandpur in Punjab. This town was founded by the ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur ji in 1665.
4. Takhat Sri Hazur Saheb
The fourth seat of authority is Takhat Sri Hazur Saheb. It is situated in the city of Nader in Maharashtra State in India. It is the place where Guru Gobind Singh ji passed away in 1708 and gave Guruship to Guru Granth Saheb (the Adi Granth). Maharaja Ranjit Singh renovated the temple and provided gold plated dome. Some of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s weapons and other relics are kept here and are put on display for visitors.
5. Takhat Sri Damdama Saheb
The fifth seat of authority is Damdama Saheb. This place owes its importance to the literary work done by Guru Gobind Singh ji during his stay here in 1706. Here, the tenth Guru prepared the authentic edition of the Aadi Granth, to which he gave the Guruship at the time of his passing away. Most of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s own writings were also prepared at this location.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
SOOCHE EH NA AAKHIEH BEHEN JO PINDA DHOE, SOOCHE SEYEE NANKA JIN MAN VASYAA SOE (SGGS-Asa Di Waar)
[(Spiritual) cleanliness does not come by taking a shower, Nanak says, (spiritually) clean are those who remember God with love and devotion. ]