ANGAD DEV ( 1504-1552, Guruship- 1539-1552 )
Guru Angad Dev was born on March 31, 1504 in a village called Harike
in Ferozepur district of the Punjab. His father, Bhai Pheru was
a trader. His parents called him Lehna. He was married at the age
of fifteen. His wife, Khivi was a native of Mattei di Sarai in Ferozepur
district. His father grew weary of Harike and with his family returned
to his ancestral place, Mattei di Sarai and lived there. Bhai Lehna's
wife gave birth to two daughters, Amro and Anokhi, and two sons
called Dasu and Datu.
When Mattei di Sarai was sacked by the Mughals
and Baloches, Bhai Lehna and his father moved to Khadur, now a
famous town near Tarn Taran. Bhai Lehna grew very religious under
the influence of his mother, Daya Kaur, and became a devotee of
Durga, the goddess of Shakti. He used to organize yearly pilgrimage
of devout Hindus to Jawalamukhi, a place of Durga temple in the
lower Himalayas where fire issued from the mountains. He used
to lead Durga dance around the fire in a harness of jingling bells.
Bhai Jodha, a Guru's Sikh, lived in Khadur and
it was his daily routine to rise early every morning and recite
Japji and Asa di Var. One day as Bhai Lehna attentively listened
the Divine Sabad recited by Bhai Jodha, his mind obtained peace.
After the day break he asked Jodha who had composed that stimulating
hymn. Bhai Jodha then told him all about Guru Nanak, who was living
at Kartarpur at that time. The touch of Divine Sabad made such
an impact on Bhai Lehna's mind that he got impatient to meet the
Guru. When he was on his annual pilgrimage to Jawalamukhi, he
broke his journey at Kartarpur to offer his obeisance to the Guru.
During his meeting, the Guru spoke to him of the True Creator,
leaving such an impression on Bhai Lehna that he threw away the
jingling bells, which he was carrying with him to dance before
the goddess. He had obtained such a peace of mind that he decided
to discontinue his pilgrimage and abide with the Guru. On seeing
his increasing devotion, the Guru said to him one day that he
should go home and settle his affairs and on his return he would
initiate him as his Sikh. Upon this Bhai Lehna returned to Khadur
for some time.
A detailed account has been given in the last
chapter regarding the circumstances which led to his succession
to Guruship. One day as Sikhs assembled, Guru Nanak seated Bhai
Lehna on his throne, put five paise and a coco-nut in front of
him and bowed before him and then said to Bhai Buddha,"This
is my successor- Guru Angad; put a tilak on his forehead in token
of his appointment to the Guruship." Bhai Buddha did so.
The Guru then ordered his followers to obey and serve Guru Angad;
who was in his own image. Bhai Gurdas describes the succession
to Guru Angad (Var 1, pauri-45):
"Angad got the same tilak, the same umbrella
over his head, and was seated on the same true throne as Guru
Nanak. The seal of Guru Nanak's hand entered Guru Angad's, and
proclaimed his sovereignty."
After his appointment to the Guruship, Guru Nanak
directed Guru Angad to return to Khadur. Upon this Guru Angad
returned to Khadur and lived there.
GURU ANGAD IN SECLUSION:
The Guru sat in a room locked from outside near
Khadur, and meditated on God without any distraction or interruption.
He did not eat or drink anything except a pot of milk daily. About
six months passed like this and the Sikhs did not know the whereabouts
of the Guru. One day Bhai Lalo, Bhai Saido and Bhai Ajita and
other Sikhs came to Bhai Buddha and asked him the whereabouts
of the Guru. They had searched Khadur and other places but could
not find him anywhere. It is said that Bhai Buddha concentrated
his thoughts on the Guru and was able to visualize his place of
meditation. Next morning they all went to the house near Khadur
where the Guru was sitting in seclusion. The owner of the house
gave them no information but went inside the house and told the
Guru about the visit of four Sikhs. The Guru told the owner that
they should be shown inside. He embraced Bhai Buddha and uttered
the following Slok:
"Cut off the head which boweth not to the
Lord, Nanak, take and burn the wretched body which feeleth not
the pain of separation." (Slok Mohalla 2, p-89)
Bhai Buddha requested him to take his seat as
Guru and receive the Sikhs publicly. After this Guru Angad came
forth from his seclusion. When the Guru came out, crowds went
to see him and presented to him their offerings. Whatever he received,
the Guru passed on to his kitchen. There were continuous preaching,
singing of hymns and repetition of Name.
EMPEROR HUMAYUN COMES TO THE GURU:
Emperor Humayun succeeded his father Baber but
he was badly defeated by Sher Shah. Humayun inquired for some
saint who could help him regain his throne and kingdom. He was
advised to seek assistance of Guru Angad. Upon this Humayun came
to Khadur. At that time the Guru was in a trance and the minstrels
were singing the hymns. The Emperor was kept standing unattended.
Humayun felt offended and in moment of rage, he put his hand on
the hilt of his sword with the intention of striking the Guru.
The sword, however, did not come out of the sheath which gave
Humayun time to repent his act. Upon this the Guru addressed to
him,"Where was your sword when you were facing Sher Shah?
Now when you have come amongst the priests, instead of saluting
them respectfully, you want to draw your sword on them. In a cowardly
manner you fled from the battle ground, now posing as a hero you
wish to attack the priests engaged in their devotion." Humayun
repented and begged for Guru's spiritual assistance. The Guru
replied,"Hadst thou not put thy hand on the hilt of thy sword,
thou shouldst at once obtained thy kingdom. Thou shalt now proceed
for a time to thine own country, and when thou returnest thou
shalt recover thy kingdom." Humayun went back to his country
and having obtained a reinforcement of cavalry from the king of
Persia, he returned to India. After fighting a pitched battle
he recovered his empire and captured Delhi.
Clipped or imperfect alphabet of Punjabi existed
at the time of Guru Nanak, but Guru Angad modified and polished
the existing script. Since the Guru had adopted the modified alphabet,
it was called 'Gurmukhi'- spoken through the mouth of the Guru.
The significance of the adoption of this script
by Guru Angad lies in the fact that he rejected all other scripts,
and adopted the script which was his own and suited to the language
of the people. It also helped to enhance their culture. The Guru
recorded everything onwards in Punjabi in Gurmukhi script.
BABA AMAR DAS COMES TO GURU ANGAD:
Baba Amar Das was living in a village called Basarka
near Amritsar. He was a firm believer of Vaishnav faith and used
to fast regularly. Every year he went to Hardwar for pilgrimage,
bathed in the river Ganges and would give alms to the poor. It
was the twenty-first year of his pilgrimage and he was sixty-two
years old. He was coming back from Hardwar when he decided to
lay down to sleep outside the village of Mihra. Here he met a
Vaishnav Sadhu (a monk) with whom he became so intimate that they
cooked for each other. As they continued their journey and as
the monk found Baba Amar Das zealously discharging all the duties
of a pious Hindu, he asked him (Baba) who his guru was who taught
him such piety and wisdom. Baba Amar Das replied that he had no
guru. On hearing this the monk said,"I have committed a sin
by eating from the hands of a man who has no guru. My ablutions
bathing in the Ganges are of no avail now. I can only be purified
if I return to bathe in the Ganges again." After lamenting
like this, the Sadhu departed.
This was a great shock to Baba Amar Das and he
was jolted in his heart thinking he was a man of no guru (Nigura):
"Satgur bajho gur nahi koee, nigurei ka hai
nau bura." (Rag Asa Mohalla 3, p-435)
'Satgur is the competent guru and without that
no other guru is worthy of acceptance but if a person has no guru
at all, that person's name is sinful." (translated)
He started thinking seriously how he could find
a guru and he prayed for that. One day early in the morning he
heard a divine melody which thrilled his heart and he stood spell-bound
listening to the hymn. This was voice of Bibi Amro, Guru Angad's
daughter, who was recently married to his nephew. It was Bibi
Amro's routine to rise early, bathe and recite Japji and other
hymns of Guru Nanak. Bibi Amro had recited the following Sabad
which was heard by Baba Amar Das:
"Neither sisters, sisters-in-law, nor mothers-in-law
remain with one;
But the true relationship with the Beloved, when found through
the Guru, shall never be sundered. I am a sacrifice to my Guru,
I am ever a sacrifice unto him. I have grown weary of wandering
so far without a Guru;
Now the Guru hath united me with my Beloved.
(Maru Mohalla 1, p-1015)
Baba Amar Das asked Bibi Amro whose composition
it was. She replied that it was Guru Nanak's hymn and she had
learnt it from her father who was the successor to Guru Nanak.
Baba Amar Das then requested her to take him to the Guru. After
some days he accompanied Bibi Amro to visit the Guru in Khadur.
When Baba Amar Das arrived, the Guru on account of his relationship,
wanted to embrace Babaji and receive him respectfully, but Babaji
fell on the feet of the Guru and said,"Thou art as God and
I am only a worm." Baba Amar Das was so much overwhelmed
by Guru's darshan (holy sight) that it was unbearable for him
to leave his presence. The love for the Master sprang so deep
and intense in his heart that he wanted to serve him in every
One day meat was prepared for dinner and Baba
Amar Das commented,"If the Guru is the knower of hearts,
he should know that I am a strict Vaishnav and do not touch meat."
Realizing this the Guru ordered the Sikh who was serving the dinner
(langar) that only dal (bean-curry) not meat should be served
to him (Baba Amar Das). Soon after that, Baba Amar Das realized
that a disciple, whose practice differed from that of his Guru,
must inevitably fail. He told the cook that if the Guru were kind
enough to give him his meat leaving, he would partake of it. In
order to further remove his prejudices, the Guru instructed him,"These
are the meats to abstain from- others' wealth, others' wives,
slander, envy, covetousness and pride." The Guru then recited
the Slok Mohalla 1 of page 1289 on the subject.
CITY OF GOINDWAL:
One day a man, Gobind, came to the Guru and said
that if he became victorious in a lawsuit against his relations,
he would found a city in honor of the Guru. Fortune favored him
and he started to found the city on the bank of the river Beas.
He began the work but what was done during the day, was in some
mysterious manner undone at night. Gobind came to the Guru and
prayed to him to grant him his desire to build the city.
Upon this the Guru sent Baba Amar Das to help
him. Babaji prayed to God for His assistance. The city's work
proceeded without any further delay and Baba Amar Das named it
Gobindwal and later on it was called Goindwal. Gobind did not
forget to build a palace in it for his benefactor Amar Das. When
the work was successfully completed, Gobind went to the Guru to
offer his thanks and to beg him to come and live in the newly
founded city. The Guru did not wish to leave his town, so he ordered
Baba Amar Das to go and live in Goindwal by night and come to
him by day. Babaji obeyed the Guru and settled in Goindwal. In
the process of time he took with him all his relations from Basarka
and helped them in settling there.
Baba Amar Das was now living in Goindwal and his
daily routine was- to rise very early in the morning, take a pitcher
of water from the river Beas and proceed to Khadur which was about
three miles away. The pitcher of water was for Guru Angad to bathe
with. On the way he would recite Japji. There was a mid-way spot
which was called Damdama or breathing place where he could rest
for a while. A temple was erected on this spot later on. After
attending the morning service, Asa di Var, he would fetch water
for the Guru's kitchen, clean dishes and bring firewood from the
forest. During the day he would learn Gurbani (Word) from the
Guru. In the evening he would attend Sodar and evening Kirtan.
After putting the Guru to rest, he would return walking to Goindwal
backwards in supreme reverence for his Master.
GURU ANGAD AND TAPA:
There lived a Sadhu (monk), Tapa in Khadur. He
was worshipped as a Guru by the Khahira Jats only. Tapa had jealousy
against the Guru and contended reverence shown to Guru by his
followers. He maintained that he should be worshipped instead
of the Guru since Guru was a family man and not an ascetic.
One year there were no monsoons and as a result
there was a drought in the land. People were distressed and went
to Tapa for his help to procure rain. Tapa told them that he was
a monk, yet no one worshipped him and instead everybody worshipped
the family man (Guru), and so he asked them to go to the Guru
and ask him to procure rain for them. They went to the Guru who
replied,"Be satisfied with God's Will." They came back
to Tapa who told them,"If you expel the Guru from the town,
I will bring rain within twenty-four hours." Ultimately the
Guru left the town and went seven villages away from Khadur where
Tapa had no influence.
When Baba Amar Das arrived in Khadur next morning,
he found the Guru's house empty. On inquiry the people narrated
the whole story to Babaji. In the meantime Tapa failed to bring
any rain. Upon this Baba Amar Das asked the people if a lamp could
be substituted for the sun. He asked them to punish Tapa if they
wanted rain. It so happened that as Tapa was being punished, the
rain came in torrents. After that the people went to the Guru
to ask for forgiveness for their acts.
When Guru Angad heard of Tapa's punishment, he
felt much grieved and addressed to Amar Das,"You have not
obtained the fruits of my companionship, which are peace, forbearance
and forgiveness." On hearing this Babaji fell at the feet
of the Guru and humbly sought his pardon. He confessed that he
got Tapa punished because he could not take Guru's insult and
promised to obey the Guru's instructions in future.
One night in March 1552, it rained all night,
cold winds blew and lightning flashed. Baba Amar Das brought a
pitcher of water from river Beas for his Master. While he was
coming to the Guru's house, he struck against a wooden peg which
a weaver had driven into the ground, and he fell into the loompit.
It was a weavers' colony and when they heard the thud of his fall,
one of the weavers' wife said,"Who could it be at this early
hour? It must be that homeless Amru who sleeps not, who knows
no rest and who tires not. He is ever bringing water from the
river and firewood from the forest; and what a Guru to serve!"
The Master felt the twitch and was deeply moved.
He embraced Baba Amar Das who was seventy-three years old then
and said,"My Amar Das, he will be the home of the homeless,
the honor of the unhonored, the strength of the strengthless,
the support of the supportless, the emancipator of the captive."
After that Guru Angad installed Baba Amar Das
in his seat, put five paise and a coco-nut before him, and asked
Bhai Buddha to put saffron tilak of Guruship on his forehead.
He was then declared as Guru Amar Das:
"Jot uha jugat sai seh kaya pher paltiai."
(Ramkali ki Var- Rai Balwand, p-966)
'Divine Light is the same
Way and Mode are the same The Master has only changed the body."
(Translation of the above)
Guru Angad directed him to live in Goindwal and
left for his heavenly abode on March 29, 1552.
to Guru's order and worship of God, was the guiding principle
in selection of the Guruship. In spite of the opposition of his
sons and relations, Guru Angad conferred the Guruship on Baba
Amar Das who was proved to be the fittest and the most worthy
for the Divine throne of Guru Nanak.