receiving a complaint, the Emperor sent a special messenger to Goindwal
asking Guru Amar Das to see him. The Guru* did not agree to go personally
on account of his old age but commissioned Bhai Jetha to wait upon
the Emperor and to answer the allegations made against him at the
Jetha set out for Lahore, the Guru is said to have spoken to him thus:
"Thou art in mine image; Guru Nanak will be with thee, and none
shall prevail against thee. The Khatris and Brahmans who have complained
are ignorant and false. Answer truly all the questions put to you.
Be not abashed and fear nobody. If any difficult questions are put
and you art at a loss for an answer, then think of the Guru, and thou
shall be able to give a suitable reply. Vindicate before the court
the true teaching of Guru Nanak. Falsehood cannot contend with truth."
Jetha appearing at the Mughal court answered all the charges contained
in the complaint to the entire satisfaction of the Emperor. Greatly
pleased with the skill and confidence with which he had answered the
adversaries, the Emperor dismissed the complaint outright and requested
Jetha to convey his deep respects to the Guru.
Jetha was a paragon of love, devotion, service and resignation. He
looked upon Guru Amar Das not merely as his father-in-law but also
as his most revered ideal, i.e., the Guru. He served him in a spirit
of complete self-surrender. He along with his wife Bibi Bhani used
to shampoo him, draw water, cook, serve meals from the kitchen and
then wash the dishes. The more he served the Guru the more his love
for him and for all mankind increased. Gradually his disposition became
divine just as they say iron is turned into gold by the contact of
the philosopher's stone. Later on, when the construction of the Baoli,
a well with stairs, was undertaken, Ram Das became conspicuous for
his tireless and unremitting labor. He carried baskets of earth on
his head like everybody else and paid no heed to the banter or reproaches
of his companions or his relatives.
Once when his relatives were returning from a pilgrimage to the river
Ganga, they halted briefly at Goindwal on their way to Lahore. When
they saw Jetha working like a common laborer, they were furious and
said to him. "You have shamed the family by performing menial
service like Shudra in thy father-in-law's house. Couldn't you obtain
suitable maintenance to draw water, scrub daily vessels, and shampoo
Jetha was much displeased at this language and replied, "In your
estimation the Guru is my father-in-law, but in mine he is God in
On hearing this they went to the Guru and complained to him about
what he had made of his son-in-law. To this Guru's replied, "I
have not made him carry filth on his head, but I have put filth on
the heads of his slanderers, and I have caused the umbrella of true
sovereignty to wave over him. If he had not been born in your family,
you would all have been damned. It is he who has saved the whole of
The final and supreme test of Jetha's spirit of service and sacrifice
came when Guru Amar Das wanted to select his successor, just like
the first two Gurus (all the Sikh Gurus starting from Guru Nanak Dev).
The Guru asked both of his sons-in-law, Rama and Jetha to make him
two platforms beside the Baoli at Goindwal. He held out the promise
without telling them about the Guruship that he who did the better
work in his eyes should receive the greater honor. When they completed
their platforms, the Guru went to inspect them. Both the platforms
were declared to be defective and they were asked to throw them down
and rebuild them. In obedience to his command, new platforms were
erected. These were also disapproved and ordered dismantled. On this
Rama, the elder son-in-law, refused to build it a third time.
He demurred, "The Guru has grown old and his reason fails him."
Jetha's work was subjected to the same rigorous standard. He continued
to build platforms, which were then dismantled each time pronouncing
it faulty by the Guru. This process was repeated seven times. Ultimately,
Jetha clasped the Guru's feet and humbly addressed him.
"I am a fool; please have regard for your slave as your son.
I am erring and have mean understanding, while you possess all knowledge."
On hearing this the Guru smiled and embraced him affectionately saying,
"Jetha is a perfect being who has become incarnate and the world
following him shall be saved"
The Sikhs were astonished on witnessing Jetha's marvelous devotion
and obedience, and henceforth began to recognize him as the image
of the Guru.
In 1574 A.D. Bhai Jetha succeeded Guru Amar Das as the fourth Sikh
Guru under the name Ram Das. His pontification lasted until 1581.
Like his father-in-law, he too had to deal with the hostile and perverse
attitudes of Brahmans, Tapas and Yogis. Both Mehma Prakash and Suraj
Prakash are replete with descriptions of such categories of people
coming and holding long discussions with him on such subjects as observance
of caste discipline, performance of rites and ceremonies, pilgrimage,
reading of old religious texts, etc. One illustration will suffice
to make it clear. Once a company of Yogis called upon him and questioned
him as to why he attached no importance to the practice of Yog (celibacy)
among his Sikhs. The Guru's reply to this was that a man may wear
a Yogi's garb and keep chanting God's name and test himself variously,
but without devotion in his heart, God will not enter it."
Guru Amar Das had devoted much of his time to the problems of definition
and organization confronting the young emerging Sikh panth (called
nirmal panth by Sarup Das Bhalla). Lest the Brahmanical influence
should reassert themselves over his followers, he had all along endeavored
to make the Sikh position in the matter of religious beliefs and practices
as well as in social behavior as definitive as possible.
he made efforts to improve the organizational setup of the Sikh Society.
The introduction of the annual Baisakhi day, the construction of the
Baoli, and the distinction drawn between sachi (authentic) and kachi
(unauthentic) Bani (sacred compositions), were a few of the measures
taken by the Guru in this connection.
Ram Das went ahead with the work thus begun by his master. Through
his words as well as deeds he underscored the essential features of
the Sikh teachings and repeatedly warned his followers against the
pitfalls involved in the Brahman's emphasis on pilgrimage, ritualism
or formal reading of Vedas and Shastras. He also took every opportunity
to caution them against the futile practices of the Udasis, Yogis,
Naths, Tapas and Sidhs, all ascetics of one kind or another. A good
number of these ascetics fell under his spell and adopted his creed.
Before he was appointed as Fourth Guru, just after completing the
Boali at Goindwal, Guru Amar Das ji, sent him to a magical place in
the vicinity of the villages of Sultanwind, Tung, Gumtala, and Gilwali,
all at the pargana of Jhabal in the Taaluqa of Patti, which formed
a part of the Suba of Lahore, ruled by the Mughals.
Guru Amar Das ji wanted him to create and establish another Sikh center
apart from Goindwal. Guru Ram Das was so impressed with this place
that he started visiting it every Sagrand (the first day of the Punjabi
month) and Amavasaya (the dark moonless night of the month). Bhai
Jetha purchased this area with wild shrubs (Ber trees) and jungles
on the payment of Rs. 700 to the Zamindar of village Tung.
Later, villagers of Sultanwind presented more land to the Guru out
of regard and reverence for him. Earlier, Emperor Akbar also had gifted
a tract of land in the vicinity to the daughter of Guru Amar Das ji,
Bibi Bhani, Guru Ram Das's wife. After obtaining land for the purpose
of creating the Sikh center, he was told by Guru Amar Das ji to excavate
a tank, now called Santokhsar at Baba Atal. That he did. He also built
a small house for himself. Thus he founded the town of Ram Das Pur,
later Amar Das, which continues to be the center of Sikhism to this
Guru Ram Das builds Golden Temple
Guru Ram Das
The Golden Temple aka Siri Darbar Sahib
Experience the Golden Temple
then, Guru Amar Das ji was nearing his end and thus the project had
to be put on hold for some time. Guru Ram Das ji decided to start
it again in 1577 and thus the year 1577 has gone down in the history
as the foundation year of Amritsar Sarovar. Guru Amar Das ji had again
told him to excavate another tank about 1 km down from the old one.
This is the current Sarovar of the Golden Temple. See The Golden
Temple in 360.
Guru Arrives At The Golden Temple In Exaltation
The Golden Temple Overview
The Golden Temple (Upper right)
The Golden Temple aka Siri Hari Mandir Sahib
A family dip in the nectar tank at the Golden Temple
The Mul (Mool) Mantra
In gold relief at main entrance of the Golden
Mantra from Japji Sahib
by Guru Nanak in Gurmukhi script Ek
Ong Kaar - Sat Naam - Kartaa Purakh - Nirbhau
Nirvair - Akaal Moorat - Ajoonee Saibhang - Gur Prasaad - Jap Aad Sach - Jugaad Sach - Hai Bhee Sach - Naanak Hosee Bhee Sach
The Mul Mantra
of Mul Mantra
From Peace Lagoon
By Premka Kaur
The Creator of all is One; Truth is His Name; He is Doer of everything.
He is Fearless; Without anger; Undying; Unborn; Self-illumined.
This is revealed through the True Guru's
grace. Let us Meditate.
He isTrue in the beginning; Through all the ages; True even now.
O Nanak, The One Creator shall always be
True! Sikh Songs
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF THE WORD
The Siri Singh Sahib taught about the unique classes of languages. He
called them phonetic languages where the sounds of the syllables impart
meaning by the way they resonate with the archetypal human psyche. He
described Gurmukhi, Sanskrit and French as three such languages. In the
16th century, the second Sikh guru, Guru Angad, created the Gurmukhi
alphabet to phonetically represent many, if not all, languages.
"Guru Angad, the second Sikh Master, invented the Gurmukhi script. Guru Nanak named Guru Angad to succeed him as the Guru for the Sikhs in 1539. Gurmukhi means "from the mouth of the Guru." The Gurmukhi script accomplished something very special. It allowed people to be able to read and pronounce the songs written by Guru Nanak. Up until that point in history, the dialect spoken by Guru Nanak and his contemporaries had no written equivalent. Written languages were reserved for the powerful, the wealthy, and the high-castes. There was no writing or reading based on the common language.
THE GURMUKHI ALPHABET
"The meaning of the Word-Sound is not what is important.
It is the effect of the Word-Sound that matters." -- Hari Singh Khalsa
Gurmukhi was developed to be a very precise phonetic language. By learning to pronounce Gurmukhi, people could not only learn to read and pronounce the songs written by Guru Nanak; they could also learn how to pronounce the songs that Guru Nanak had preserved during his life from other masters and sages, even if those songs were in a completely different language. The purpose of Gurmukhi was not to simply represent the common language of the time, but to allow people to read and sing sacred songs in other languages as well.
Why did this phonetic language develop? And what does it have to do with the Shabad Guru – the Guiding Sound of Wisdom?
Being awakened or enlightened is not simply a mental state. It is a physiological state as well.How we breathe, how the glands secrete, how the nervous system is operating—all of this changes based on what we speak, what we hear, and what we perceive. When Guru Nanak sang his songs, the words he brought forth had a two-fold effect. On the level of language, they imparted a certain philosophical meaning of how to see the world. But in the science of Naad (sound), the songs have the ability to change the physiology of a person and bring them to a more heightened state of consciousness.
IMPORTANT: The invention of Gurmukhi was key to opening the doors of the Shabad Guru to all people. Through learning this very simple, precise method of pronunciation, and by repeating the words of the sages, you begin to induce in yourself the same state of consciousness that they were in when they sang the songs. It begins to create the same changes in the physiology. It opens the door to higher awareness. And all that is required is your breath and voice imitating and repeating those sounds.
This is the essence of the Shabad Guru. It is between you and you. There is no one else involved. It only requires your breath reciting this sacred poetry. By this practice, there is a process you undergo within your own ego and identity to transform your awareness to live at these heights. -- Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa
dug a tank, which became the principal place of pilgrimage. Traders
and artisans were invited to settle at the town so that its growth
could be rapid. In due course it became the largest commercial centre
in northern India. A phrase came to be associated with the tank dug
at Amar Das … "Ram Das Sarovar Nahate, sab uttre paap kamate."
"I bathe in the tank of Ram Das, and all my sins are washed away."
It was a landmark in the life of the community because the Guru established
a central place that was quite distinct from that of the Hindus and
the Muslims. Since, Amar Das is for the Sikhs what Mecca is for the
Muslims. All this indicates that Guru Ram Das had a distinct sense
of his mission and did everything to establish it as a separate religious
system and entity.
Guru Ram Das was not merely a constructive genius, who planned and
founded a new city and instituted an original missionary order, but
also a poet of great sensitivity and tremendous effect. He composed
679 hymns in varying musical measures, which were incorporated into
Adi Granth by his son and successor, Guru Arjan Dev.
Panoramic view of the Golden Temple
Night view of the Golden Temple
A reflected view of the Golden Temple
Top view of the Golden Temple
Inside view of the Golden Temple
His whole life was the embodiment of love, devotion, dedication and
service. All these noble sentiments are abundantly reflected in his
writings. His straight and simple message went straight to the heart
and evoked the most sensitive chords of one's consciousness. There
was only a modicum of metaphysics in his compositions and almost the
entire emphasis was laid on a life of selfless service rendered in
a spirit of total devotion to the Guru and God.
"O my beloved, I live by meditating on thy Name; without the
Name I could not live, O my Sat Guru, implant It in me. The Name is
a priceless jewel; the perfect Sat Guru possesses it. By applying
myself to the service of the Sat Guru, He brings forth and displays
the jewel of the Name. Blessed are the very fortunate who come to
the Guru and meet Him." Adi Granth, Sri Rag
The momentous career of the Guru came to its end on September 1, 1581,
after a Guruship of 6 years, 11 months and 18 days. His youngest son,
Arjan Dev, succeeded him. The eldest son Prithia created many obstacles
and tried to influence the decision in his own favor, but the Guru
was as firm in regard to the issue of succession as he had been throughout
all his life. --
Personal Narrative From a Golden Temple pilgrim
Golden Temple epitomizes the very spirit of Sikhism and its values.
Many of us are spellbound by the sheer beauty of its grandeur at first sight. But
very few are aware that the Golden Temple signifies many more things than what the eye beholds.
As you go down the marble steps to enter into the Golden Temple complex,
you are mesmerized by the shining gold of the temple and the surrounding shimmering
lake of water. But what you maybe did not notice is that the temple is built
on a lower level as compared to the city outside.
This begets a sense of humility. We have to shed our pride and come
down from our fickle heights of our worldly thrones of power and position to obtain
God's blessings. Even this highest abode of Sikh religion is built
on a lower level, and can only be reached through humility.
Why is this heavenly abode built on a lake? The lake signifies calm,
peace and tranquility. When you visit this holiest of holy shrines,
you are surrounded by the 'shanti' and 'sheetalta' of the calm and
serene waters. Water also quenches your thirst - man's thirst for
peace with himself as well as with mankind. It puts you into a proper
frame of mind for your meeting with God.
As you walk into the sanctum sanctorum you are greeted by the lyrical
strains of hymns in praise of God that are sung constantly throughout.
There is no deity or picture but only the words of God - the 'shabd'
- in the form of the holy Siri Guru Granth Sahib - to which you lower
your head to the floor. You do not bow to any human, but you lay down
your 'Man-Mat', your heart and mind, to the 'Gur-Mat', the words of
the Lord almighty, and His true wisdom.
To satiate our hunger, the Sikhs have a tradition of serving 'Langar',
a 24 hour kitchen serving of basic meals to all who visit the Gurdwara, the abode of
God. This langar service also signifies that that there is no differentiation between
the rich and the poor. See Langar At The Golden Temple.
Sangat members serving langar
Anybody is welcome to partake of langar
Everybody sits together on the floor and partakes of the common food
that is served, irrespective of any caste, creed or color. This langar also reminds
us that no religion can be practiced on an empty stomach. A person who is hungry will only
concentrate on his hunger, not on achieving his oneness with God. All the fasts and days
of abstaining from food do not bring us any closer to the Lord but only deviate our focus
more towards food.
Before leaving, notice that there are 4 entrances to this Golden Temple
complex. This signifies that everyone is welcome from all four corners of the world.
The SIKH philosophy does not discriminate and welcomes all, men or
women, from any country and from which ever community they may belong
to. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. My Lord is everywhere and
omnipresent. We search all over, but within my Lord is right there,
Let us open our inner eyes to see and accept that God is in me, and
I am in thee, and we all an extension of His entity. --