GURU RAM DAS JI
Born on September 24, 1534, he was seven years old when his parents died. At age nine, he started supporting himself and his grandmother by selling cooked grams. At age 16, he came in contact with Guru Amar Das ji (the third Guru) and became his devotee. Later, Guru Amar Das ji chose him to become his son-in-law. At age 40, he became the fourth Guru.
- His contribution to the establishment of Sikh way of life and worship was very significant. He laid down the daily routine of a Sikh and prescribed the rules for various occasions such as birth, death, wedding etc. He wrote hymns appropriate for those occasions. The verses of ‘lavan’, which are recited during Sikh weddings, are composed by Guru Ram Das ji.
- He gave us a holy place of worship by founding the city of Ramdaspur, now called Amritsar. This city has played an important role in the evolution of Sikh religion. By founding this city he provided an economic base for ensuring jobs and housing for his Sikhs.
- He enlarged the scope of Sikh missionary work in different regions by reorganizing the system. The missionaries collected offerings for the various welfare schemes and charitable projects.
He taught his Sikhs the value and dignity of voluntary labor called ‘kar sewa’. Even today, the tradition of kar sewa continues and large number of Sikhs participate in kar sewa by doing voluntary labor when the Sarovar (lake) at Harmandir Saheb is cleaned or any repair work is done at any Gurudwara.
He exposed the corruption and hypocrisy of his time. He rejected ritualism, idol worship, pilgrimage, fasting, and practice of self-punishment to please God.
- He banned the giving of dowry, display of pomp and pageantry, and singing of vulgar songs.
He emphasized family life with a sense of detachment, and enjoyment of life with control over mind. He said that a true Sikh does not reject wealth, he enjoys the amenities of life but does not become a slave of the riches, a true Sikh may live in princely style but at the same time he will be humble and not hesitate in serving the people, he performs all the worldly tasks and yet keeps his mind attuned to God.
Guru Ram Das ji’s deep humility and his spirit of service and devotion throughout his life was a great source of inspiration for his followers. He daily attended the langar (community kitchen) and was filled with joy when he saw his Sikhs eating in the community kitchen. He nominated his youngest son Arjan as the fifth guru and passed away in 1581 at age 47.
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
According to the current Rehat Maryada published by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), every Sikh is expected to recite the following banis everyday:
Morning: Japji Saheb, Jaap Saheb, Ten Swayyas. Ardas is performed after reciting these banis.
Evening: Rehras Saheb and Ardas.
Night: Kirtan Sohela
- Written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji
- This is the first bani in Guru Granth Saheb, also called Adi Granth.
- This bani is not assigned to any Raga (most of the bani in Guru Granth Saheb is in various Ragas)
- Consists of mool mantra, 38 paurees, and a slok.
- This bani is recited in the morning before starting the daily routine.
- Written by Guru Gobind Singh ji
- This bani is not in the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Saheb ji). It is in Dasam Granth, which is a separate Granth (holy book) containing writings of Guru Gobind Singh ji only.
- This bani has 199 verses, which are written on the first ten pages of Dasam Granth.
- This bani is recited in the morning, before starting the daily routine, after Japji Saheb.
- Written by Guru Gobind Singh ji
- This bani is not in the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Saheb ji). It is in Dasam Granth.
- This bani has 10 verses, four lines each.
- This bani is recited in the morning, before starting the daily routine, after Jaap Saheb.
- A collection of nine hymns, four of which are written by Guru Nanak Dev ji, three by Guru Ram Das ji, and two by Guru Arjan Dev ji. These hymns follow Japji Saheb in the Adi Granth.
- Also includes Chopyee Saheb, one swayya, and one dohera by Guru Gobind Singh ji, six paurees of Anand Saheb (first five + the last) written by Guru Amar Das ji, and two hymns by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
- This bani is recited in the evening at sunset.
- A collection of five hymns, first three by Guru Nanak Dev ji, fourth by Guru Ram Das ji, and the last hymn is written by Guru Arjan Dev ji.
- All five hymns are from Adi Granth – Guru Granth Saheb ji.
- This bani is recited immediately before going to bed at night and also at funerals
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
ayk noor tay sabh jag upji-aa ka-un bhalay ko manday. ||1||
[From the One Light, the entire universe welled up. So who is good, and who is bad? ||1|| ]