Sikh History & Personalities

What do you know of Guru Amardas Ji?

Guru Amardas Ji (1479-1574) came to the succession by dint of his selfless services, at the age of 73. Guru Angad Dev Ji’s son, Dattu, was enraged at this and kicked Guru Amardas Ji. Guru Amardas Ji did not take it ill but rather apologized to him, saying, “Pardon me; my hard bones must have hurt your foot.” Thus reflecting the Guru’s great humility and wisdom.

Guru Amardas Ji paid serious attention to the propagation of Sikhi. He appointed a devout Sikh in charge of each region. The total number of such devotees were 22. The Guru also trained a number of travelling missionaries who spread the message of Sikhi to other parts of India. In order to bring the Sikhs closer to one another he fixed three festivals – Diwali, Baisakhi and Maghi – when all could assemble for religious conference.

It is said that the followers of Sri Chand, son of Guru Nanak Dev Ji who had started the Udasi group and who had advocated the renunciation of home and property, came to Guru Amardas Ji for consultation. The Guru advised them to lead a life of renunciation in the midst of the home. He explained it was a compromise between asceticism and worldly enjoyment. The householder’s life was indeed the best life, because it offered an easy way for the common man – Remembrance of God, sharing of food and income, and honest living – Naam Japna, Wand Chhakna and Dharam-di-kirt. The Guru started a new centre of worship at Goindwal where he dug a well for the benefit of the people.

Guru Amardas Ji was very friendly to the emperor Akbar. The Emperor came to pay respects to Guru Amardas Ji at Goindwal and according to custom took meals in the Langar. He was very much impressed by the universal message of Sikhi and its free kitchen.

Guru Amardas Ji, in the tradition of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, tested his disciples before nominating a successor. He found in his son-in-law, Bhai Jetha Ji, a devoted and humble Sikh. He, therefore, installed him as Guru Ramdas Ji in 1574.