Sri Guru Amar Das Ji


Guru Amar Das ( 5 May 1479 – 1 September 1574) was the third of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Sikh Guru on 26 March 1552 at age 73.

Guru Amar Das was an important innovator in Sikhism, who introduced a religious organization called the Manji system by appointing trained clergy, a system that expanded and survives into the contemporary era. He wrote and compiled hymns into a Pothi (book) that ultimately helped create the Adi Granth. Guru Amar Das helped establish the Sikh rituals relating to baby naming, wedding (Anand Karaj), and funeral, as well as the practice of congregation and celebrations of festivals such as Diwali, Maghi and Vaisakhi. He founded centres of Sikh pilgrimage, and picked the site for the Golden Temple.


Early Life


Guru Amar Das was born to mother Bakht Kaur (also known as Lakshmi or Rup Kaur) and father Tej Bhan Bhalla on 5 May 1479 in Basarke village in what is now called Amritsar district of Punjab (India). He married Mansa Devi and they had four children which they named as Mohri, Mohan, Dani and Bhani.

He is famous in the Sikh tradition for his relentless service to Guru Angad, with legends about waking up in the early hours and fetching water for his Guru's bath, cleaning and cooking for the volunteers with the Guru, as well devoting much time to meditation and prayers in the morning and evening. Guru Angad named Amar Das his successor in 1552, instead of naming of his surviving son Shri Chan After Amar Das became the third Guru, he continued his pilgrimages to religious sites, one of which is authenticated in a hymn of the Guru Granth Sahib as being to Kurukshetra in January 1553.


Death


Guru Ji died in 1574, and like other Sikh Gurus he was cremated, with the "flowers" (remaining bones and ash after the cremation) immersed into harisar (flowing waters). The use of fire being most appropriate way was explained by Guru Nanak in religious terms of god Agni burning the trap of death, and Guru Amar Das was consigned to the same tradition


Teachings


Guru Amar Das emphasised both spiritual pursuits as well an ethical daily life. He encouraged his followers to wake up before dawn, do their ablutions and then meditate in silent seclusion. A good devotee, taught Amar Das, should be truthful, keep his mind in control, eat only when hungry, seek company of pious men, worship the Lord, make an honest living, serve holy men, not covet another's wealth and never slander others. He recommended holy devotion with Guru image in his follower's heart.

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