History of Ten Sikh Gurus

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08-Jan-2017

Why in news?

Recently, Prakash Parva – The holy day commemorating the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated.

Sikh Gurus

  • The era of the ten gurus of Sikhism spans from the birth of Nanak Dev in 1469, through the life of Guru Gobind Singh.
  • At the time of Guru Gobind Singh’s death in 1708, he passed the title of Guru to the Sikh scripture, Guru Granth.

1. Guru Nanak Dev - Guru from 1469 to 1539

  • Guru Nanak Dev, first of the 10 gurus, founded the Sikh faith, introducing the concept of one God.
  • He started the institution of Guru Ka Langar. Langar is the term in the Sikh religion refers to the common kitchen where food is served to everyone without any discrimination.
  • He emphasized the equality of women and rejected the path of renunciation and he rejected the authority of the Vedas.
  • He was the contemporary of Mughal emperor - Babur.

2.  Guru Angad Dev - Guru from 1539 to 1552

  • Guru Angad Dev, second of the 10 gurus, invented and introduced the Gurmukhi (written form of Punjabi) script.
  • He compiled the writings of Nanak Dev in Guru Granth Sahib in Gurmukhi Script.
  • Popularized and expanded the institution of Guru ka Langar which was started by Guru Nanak Dev.

3. Guru Amardas Sahib - Guru from 1552 to 1574

  • Guru Amardas introduced the Anand Karaj marriage ceremony for the Sikhs, replacing the Hindu form.
  • He established Manji & Piri system of religious missions for men and women respectively.
  • He strengthened the tradition of Guru Ka Langar.
  • He also completely abolished amongst the Sikhs, the custom of Sati and purdah system.
  • He was the contemporary of Mughal emperor - Akbar.

4.  Guru Ram Das - Guru from 1574 to 1581

  • Guru Ram Das, fourth of the 10 gurus, founded the city of Amritsar.
  • He started the construction of the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs.
  • He requested the Muslim Sufi, Mian Mir to lay the cornerstone of the Harmandir Sahib.

5. Guru Arjan Dev - Guru from 1581 to 1606

  • He compiled the Adi Granth, the scriptures of the Sikhs.
  • He completed construction of Sri Darbar Sahib also known as Golden Temple in Amritsar.
  • He founded the town of Tarn Taran Sahib near Goindwal Sahib.
  • He became the first great martyr in Sikh history when Emperor Jahangir ordered his execution. Thus, he was hailed as Shaheedan-de-Sartaj (The crown of martyrs).

6. Guru Har Gobind Sahib - Guru from 1606 to 1644

  • He was the son of Guru Arjan Dev and was known as a "soldier saint”.
  • He organised a small army and became the first Guru to take up arms to defend the faith.
  • He waged wars against Mughal rulers Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

7. Guru Har Rai Sahib - Guru from 1644 to 1661

  • Though he was a man of peace, he never disbanded the armed sikh warriors who were earlier maintained by Guru Har Gobind.
  • He gave shelter to Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal Ruler Shah Jahan, who was later persecuted by Aurangazeb.
  • He cautiously avoided conflict with Emperor Aurangzeb and devoted his efforts to missionary work.

8. Guru Har Krishan Sahib - Guru from 1661 to 1664

  • Guru Har Krishan was the youngest of the Gurus. He was installed as Guru at the age of five.
  • He was contemporary of Aurangazeb and summoned to Delhi by him under framed charges of anti-Islamic blasphemy.

9. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib - Guru from 1665 to 1675

  • He established the town of Anandpur.
  • He opposed the forced conversion of the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits by Mughal ruler Aurangazeb and he was consequently persecuted for this.

10. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib - Guru from 1675 to 1708

  • He became Guru after the martyrdom of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur.
  • He created the Khalsa in 1699, changing the Sikhs into a saint-soldier order for protecting themselves.
  • Last Sikh Guru in human form and he passed the Guruship of the Sikhs to the Guru Granth Sahib.

11. Guru Granth Sahib

  • Guru Granth Sahib (also known as the Adi Granth) is the scripture of the Sikhs.
  • The Granth was written in Gurmukhi script and it contains the actual words and verses as uttered by the Sikh Gurus.
  • It is considered the Supreme Spiritual Authority and Head of the Sikh religion, rather than any living person.

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