The 10 Gurus’ that Shaped Sikhism
Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539)
Founder of Sikhism taught there is only one God (Wahe Guru). At 13, the Guru declined the sacred thread at his coming of age ceremony. Years later, after vanishing for three days, the Guru returned to his family with a revelation from God.
Guru Angad (1539 – 1552)
He was the successor to Guru Nanak. A notable achievement of his was creating the “Langar”, a free kitchen where people could gather and eat.
Guru Amar Das (1552 – 1574)
Increased the role of the “Langar” and set it up in many locations. He also taught everyone was equal in the eyes of God, including women. Furthermore, he formed the first manuscripts of the Sikh holy book, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib by compiling the writings of the previous Gurus.
Guru Ram Das (1574 – 1584)
Preached against superstition. He also told Sikhs, being involved in the merriment and griefs of others was just as vital as personal spiritual development.
Guru Arjan (1581 – 1606)
He was Guru Ram Das youngest son and successor. After becoming leader he left for Ramdaspur to continue the work there. The City of Amritsar was initially called Ramdaspur. Habitation for Sikhs was established here by Guru Ram Das. It is the Sikhs spiritual centre where the Golden temple is.
Guru Hargobind (1606 -1644)
He became leader of the Sikh faith at the age of 10 after the death of his father Guru Arjan. During his reign he began the militarisation of the Sikh.
Guru Hargobind Rai (1644 – 1661)
He became Guru at the age of 14 and was relatively peaceful, teaching simplicity and devotion to God through love and self-sacrifice.
Guru Har Krishan (1661 – 1664)
He was the youngest of the Gurus at the age of 5 and astonished the Brahmin Pundits (Hindu Scholars) with his knowledge and spiritual powers. The Guru died while serving and healing the epidemic stricken people in Dehli.
Guru Tegh Bahadur (1665 – 1675)
He was born in Amritsar in 1621. During his leadership he established the town of Anandpur and was martyred for protecting the Hindu religion as he believed people had the right to the freedom of worship.
Guru Gobind Singh (1675 – 1708)
He was the son of his predecessor and created the ‘Khalsa,’ (Pure Ones) in 1699, the name given to all Sikhs who have been baptised or initiated, changing the Sikhs into a saint-soldier order with special symbols and ceremonies for protecting themselves. Guru Gobind Singh named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book) as his successor thus, making it the eternal religious guide for Sikhs.