The Sikh Gurus are the spiritual masters of Sikhi. They established religion for about two and a half centuries from 1469. The year 1469 is the birth year of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism.
Guru Nanak was succeeded by nine other gurus. In 1708, Guruship was transferred to the Guru Granth Sahib, holy scriptures of Sikhs. Guru Granth Sahib is considered as the living Guru by the followers of the Sikh faith.
1. Guru Nanak
- Date of Birth: 15 April 1469
- Date of Death: 22 September 1539
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His father’s name is “Mehta Kalu” and his mother’s name is “Mata Tripta”. The word “Guru” means “teacher” in many Indian languages. His two sons are “Sri Chand” and “Lakshmi Das”.
2. Guru Angad
- Date of Birth: 31 March 1504
- Date of Guruship: 7 September 1539
- Date of Death: 29 March 1552
Guru Angad Dev is was one of the ten gurus who founded Sikhism. He became a Guru because of the obedience he showed to his Guru (Guru Nanak, the first guru in the Sikh religion). Guru Angad Dev invented the present form of the Gurmukhi script.
3. Guru Amardas
- Date of Birth: 5 May 1479
- Date of Guruship: 26 March 1552
- Date of Death: 1 September 1574
Guru Amar Das was the third of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Sikh Guru on 26 March 1552 at age 73.
Before becoming a Sikh, on a trip after having been advised to search for a guru, he heard his nephew’s wife, Bibi Amro, reading a hymn by Guru Nanak, and was deeply moved by it. Bibi Amro was the daughter of Guru Angad, the second and then-current Guru of the Sikhs. Amar Das urged Bibi Amro to introduce him to her father and in 1539, Amar Das, at the age of sixty, met Guru Angad and converted into a Sikh, devoting himself to the Guru. In 1552, before his death, Guru Angad selected Amar Das as the third Guru of Sikhism.
4. Guru Ramdas
- Date of Birth: 24 September 1534
- Date of Guruship: 1 September 1574
- Date of Death: 1 September 1581
Guru Ram Das was born on September 24 1534 in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, and died on 1 September 1581, in Amritsar, Punjab, India. He became the fourth of the ten Sikh Gurus on March 26, 1552. He advised Sikhs to not just sit in peace while meditating. He asked them to actively join in with other people’s fun while meditating.
Guru Ram Das nominated Guru Arjun Dev, his youngest son, as the next Guru of the Sikhs.
5. Guru Arjan
- Date of Birth: 15 April 1563
- Date of Guruship: 1 September 1581
- Date of Death: 30 May 1606
Guru Arjan Dev is a Sikh guru. He became a Guru because of the amount he sacrificed for himself. He laid down the foundations for the Harmandir Sahib, which means “The Golden Temple”. It was built in the middle of the second sacred [pool] in Ramdaspur that was the tallest building in the town. He thought that it should not be the highest building in town. So, he ordered it to be on the lowest ground in the pool. He helped a lot around and dug wells and laid more support.
6. Guru Har Govind
- Date of Birth: 19 June 1595
- Date of Guruship: 25 May 1606
- Date of Death: 28 February 1644
Guru Hargobind honored as the sixth Nanak, was the sixth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He had become Guru at the young age of eleven, after the execution of his father, Guru Arjan, by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
Guru Hargobind started the process of militarization to Sikhism, likely as a response to his father’s execution and to protect the Sikh community. He expressed it by wearing two swords, representing the dual concept of Miri and Piri (temporal power and spiritual authority).
7. Guru Har Rai
- Date of Birth: 16 January 1630
- Date of Guruship: 3 March 1644
- Date of Death: 6 October 1661
Guru Har Rai honored as the seventh Nanak, was the seventh of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He became the Sikh leader at age 14, on 3 March 1644, after the death of his grandfather and the sixth Sikh leader Guru Hargobind. He led the Sikhs for about seventeen years, till his death at age 31.
Guru Har Rai is renowned for keeping the large army of Sikh soldiers that the sixth Sikh Guru had gathered, yet avoiding military struggle. He supported the moderate Sufi inspired Dara Shikoh rather than traditional Sunni inspired Aurangzeb as the two brothers started into a war of succession to the Mughal Empire throne.
8. Guru Har Krishna
- Date of Birth: 7 July 1656
- Date of Guruship: 6 October 1661
- Date of Death: 30 March 1664
Guru Har Krishan was the eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus. At the age of 5, he became the youngest Guru in Sikhism on 7 October 1661, succeeding his father, Guru Har Rai.
In 1664, he caught smallpox and died before reaching his eighth birthday. It is said that he died because he caught smallpox while successfully curing his followers.
He is also known as Bal Guru (Child Guru), and sometimes spelled in Sikh literature as Hari Krishan Sahib. He is recognized in the Sikh tradition for saying “Baba Bakale” before he died, which Sikhs interpreted to identify his granduncle Guru Tegh Bahadur as the next successor.
9. Guru Tegh Bahadur
- Date of Birth: 1 April 1621
- Date of Guruship: 20 March 1665
- Date of Death: 11 November 1675
He was born in Amritsar, Punjab, India in 1621 and was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the sixth Sikh guru. He was a fearless warrior and a learned religious scholar and poet whose 115 hymns are included in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the main text of Sikhism.
10. Guru Gobind Singh
- Date of Birth: 22 December 1666
- Date of Guruship: 11 November 1675
- Date of Death: 7 October 1708
Guru Gobind Singh born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a religious leader, warrior, poet, and philosopher. When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was executed by Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh was formally introduced as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine, becoming the tenth and final human Sikh Guru. His four sons died during his lifetime – two in battle, two executed by the Mughal army.
11. Guru Granth Sahib
- Date of Guruship: 7 October 1708
The Guru Granth Sahib, also called Adi Granth, is the holy book of the religion Sikhism. It includes prayers and hymns of the Sikh religion. Sikhs regard the Guru Granth Sahib to be a living Guru, hence the Guru Granth Sahib has its place also generally known as ‘Sach Khand’ (the Heaven).
The name of the book is made up of three words. The first word is Guru, and a Guru in the Sanskrit language means a teacher. Granth is a word of Hindi, and this means a book. The third word Sahib is a word of Urdu language and it means master. Thus, the Guru Granth Sahib means a Master Book by the Teacher. The Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of hymns of the first five “Sikh Gurus”, the “Ninth Guru”, and various saints, or bhagats Sikhs and others such as Baba Farid.
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