Sikhism/Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji

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Guru Angad Dev Ji (31 March 1504 - 28 March 1552) was the second of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was born in the village of Sarae Naga in the Muktsar district of the Punjab region. He was given the name Lehna shortly after his birth as was the custom of his Hindu parents. His father was a small successful trader named Pheru. His mother's name was Mata Ramo ji (also known as Mata Sabhirai ji, Mansa Devi and Daya kaur). Baba Narayan Das Ji Trehan was his grandfather, whose ancestral house was at Matte-di-Sarai near Mukatsar.

In 1538, Guru Nanak Dev Ji chose Lehna, his disciple, as a successor to the Guruship rather than one of his sons.[1] Bhai Lehna was given the name Angad and designated Guru Angad Dev, becoming the second guru of the Sikhs. He continued the work started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

He married Mata Khivi in January 1520 and had two sons (Dasu and Datu) and two daughters (Amro and Anokhi). The whole family of his father had left their ancestral village in fear of the invasion of Babar's armies. After this the family settled at Khadur Sahib, a village by the River Beas, near what is now Tarn Taran a small town about 25 km from the city of Amritsar the Holiest site of the Sikhs.

Devotion and service to Guru Nanak Dev Ji[edit | edit source]

One night, Bhai Lehna heard the recitation of a hymn of Guru Nanak Dev Ji from Bhai Jodha a neighbour who was a follower of the Guru. His mind was captured by the tune and while on his annual pilgrimage to Jwalamukhi Temple he asked his group if they would mind going to see the Guru. Everyone thought this most inappropriate and refused. Not one to shirk his responsibilities, he was after all the guide and leader of the group, he couldn't abandon them with thieves along the way. But the man of honour and dharma that he was, the poems and prayers (kirtan) of Nanak still held onto his every thought. So one night without telling anyone he mounted his horse and proceeded to the village now known as Kartarpur (God's city) to visit with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. As soon as he found the Guru, he threw himself at Nanak's feet. His very first meeting with Guru Nanak Dev Ji completely transformed him. He dedicated himself to the service of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and so became his disciple (Sikh) and began to live in Kartarpur.

His deep devotion and service (Sewa) to Guru Nanak Dev Ji was so intense that the Guru's family grew jealous. He was therefore sent by his new master back to his home to tend to his family and watch over the Guru's Sikhs in and around Khadur. After later returning to Kartarpur, he was given a series of tests of his obedience and service (one where he had to eat what appeared to the Guru's sons to be carrion, which only Lehna was willing to eat, which magically turned into the sweetest of foods) he was instated as the 2nd Guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had touched him and renamed him Angad (part of the body) or the second Nanak on September 7, 1539. Before becoming the new Guru he had spent six or seven years in the service of Guru Nanak Dev Ji at Kartarpur.

After the death of Guru Nanak Dev Ji on September 22, 1539, Guru Angad Dev Ji left Kartarpur for the village of Khadur Sahib (near Goindwal Sahib). He carried forward the principles of Guru Nanak Dev Ji both in letter and spirit. Yogis and Saints of different sects visited him and held detailed discussions about Sikhism with him.

Community work[edit | edit source]

The text of the Mul Mantar, the holiest prayer in Sikhism, written in the Gurmukhi script

Guru Angad Dev Ji introduced a new alphabet known as Gurmukhi script, modifying the old Punjabi script characters. Soon, this script became very popular and started to be used by the people in general. He took great interest in the education of children by opening many schools for their instruction and thus increased the number of literate people. For the youth he started the tradition of Mall Akhara, where physical as well as spiritual exercises were held. He collected the facts about Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life from Bhai Bala and wrote the first biography of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He also wrote 63 Saloks (stanzas), which are included in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. He popularised and expanded the institution of Guru ka Langar (the Guru's communal kitchen) that had been started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Guru Angad Dev Ji travelled widely and visited all the important religious centres established by Guru Nanak Dev Ji for the preaching of Sikhism. He also established hundreds of new centres of Sikhism and thus strengthened its base. The period of his Guruship was the most crucial one. The Sikh community had moved from having a founder to a succession of Gurus and the infrastructure of Sikh society was strengthened and crystallised — from being an infant, Sikhism had moved to being a young child, ready to face the dangers that were around. During this phase, Sikhism established its own separate religious identity.

Death and successor[edit | edit source]

Guru Angad Dev Ji, following the example set by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, nominated Sri Amar Das Ji as his successor (The Third Nanak) before his death. He presented all the holy scripts, including those he received from Guru Nanak Dev Ji, to Guru Amar Das Ji. He breathed his last on March 29, 1552 at the age of forty-eight. It is said that he started to build a new town, at Goindwal near Khadur Sahib and Guru Amar Das ji was appointed to supervise its construction. It is also said that the deposed Mughal Emperor Humayun (Babar's son), while being pursued by Sher Shah Suri, came to obtain the blessings of Guru Angad Dev Ji in regaining the throne of Delhi.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Shackle, Christopher; Mandair, Arvind-Pal Singh (2005). Teachings of the Sikh Gurus: Selections from the Sikh Scriptures. United Kingdom: Routledge. xiii-xiv. ISBN 0-415-26604-1.