Growth Of The Sikh Community

Growth Of The Sikh CommunityIn 1538, Nanak chose his disciple Lahina, a Khatri of the Trehan clan, as a successor to the guruship rather than either of his sons. Lahina was named Angad Dev and became the second guru of the Sikhs. Nanak conferred his choice at the town of Kartarpur on the banks of the river Ravi, where Nanak had finally settled down after his travels. Though Sri Chand was not an ambitious man, the Udasis believed that the Guruship should have gone to him, since he was a man of pious habits in addition to being Nanak's son. They refused to accept Angad's succession. On Nanak's advice, Angad shifted from Kartarpur to Khadur, where his wife Khivi and children were living, until he was able to bridge the divide between his followers and the Udasis. Angad continued the work started by Nanak and is widely credited for standardising the Gurmukhi script as used in the sacred scripture of the Sikhs.

Amar Das, a Khatri of the Bhalla clan, became the third Sikh guru in 1552 at the age of 73. Goindwal became an important centre for Sikhism during the guruship of Amar Das. He preached the principle of equality for women by prohibiting purdah and sati. Amar Das also encouraged the practice of langar and made all those who visited him attend laṅgar before they could speak to him. In 1567, Emperor Akbar sat with the ordinary and poor people of Punjab to have laṅgar. Amar Das also trained 146 apostles of which 52 were women, to manage the rapid expansion of the religion. Before he died in 1574 aged 95, he appointed his son-in-law Jetha, a Khatri of the Sodhi clan, as the fourth Sikh guru.

Jetha became Ram Das and undertook his duties as the new guru. He is responsible for the establishment of the city of Ramdaspur later to be named Amritsar. Before Ramdaspur, Amritsar was known as Guru Da Chakk. In 1581, Arjan Dev—youngest son of the fourth guru—became the fifth guru of the Sikhs. In addition to being responsible for building the Harimandir Sahib (often called the Golden Temple), he prepared the Sikh sacred text known as the Adi Granth (literally the first book) and included the writings of the first five gurus. In 1606, for refusing to make changes to the Granth and for supporting an unsuccessful contender to the throne, he was tortured and killed by the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir.

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