Sri Guru Ram
Das Ji (The Gurus)
Guru Ram Das Ji (1534 - 1581)
Guru Ramdas (1534 - 1581) was given the GurGaddi
at the age of forty. He put missionary work on sound basis and sent
massands to different parts of north India to propagate the message of
Sikhism. He himself was fond of serving his disciples. Sometimes,
he would distribute water or pull the fan for the Sangat.
Guru Ramdas was keen on giving a suitable center
of worship to the Sikhs. He developed the land purchased from local
land owners and established a new township called Ramdaspur. Many
Skihs settled in the new town because is was situated on the trade routes.
The city was subsequently called Amritsar.
Guru Ramdas was a perfect example of humility
and piety. Once Sri Chand - the son of Gurn Nanak - visited
him. He asked the Guru in a humorous way as to why he maintained a long
a flowing beard. The Guru gave him as apt reply: "To wipe the
dust of your holy feet." Sri Chand was deeply moved by this answer and
expressed regret for his impertinence.
The Guru's mission spread quickly among the poor
the high classes. Some aristocrats visited Amritsar and became his
followers. The Guru turned his friendship with Emperor Akbar to good
account by persuading him to relieve distress and to remove the oppressive
taxes on non-Muslims.
Guru Ramdas laid down a Sikh code of conduct and
worship. He prescribed the routine of a Sikh as his hymn to be found
on page 305 of Guru Granth Sahib. He composed the Lavan for Sikh
marriage cermony and other hymns appropriate to certain other functions
and festivities. Being a talented musician he composed hymns in eleven
Arjan, the youngest son on Guru Ramdas was devoted
to his father. At the bidding of his father, he went to Lahore to
attend a marriage. He was feeling terribly depressed without his father.
He wrote two urgent poetic letters, full of longing and love for the Guru.
"My soul yearns for the sight of the Guru.
It bewails like the Chatrik crying for the rain." (A.G. p. 96).
These letters were intercepted by his elder brother
Prithi Chand. When the third letter reached Guru Ramdas, he immediately
called him. Prithi Chand was keen on the succession, but the Guru
tested his sons and finally his choice fell on Arjan who was installed
as the Fifth Guru in 1581.