Q79. What do you know of Guru Amardas?
Guru Amardas (1479-1574) came to the succession by dint of his selfless services, at the age of 73. Guru Angad’s son, Dattu, was enraged at this and kicked Guru Amardas. Guru Amardas 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 paid serious attention to the propagation of Sikhism. He appointed a devout Sikh in charge of each region. The total number of such devoutees were 22. The Guru also trained a number of travelling missionaries who spread the message of Sikhism 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 who had started the Udasi group and who had advocated the rununciation of home and property, came to Guru Amardas 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 – Nam 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 was very friendly to the emperor Akbar. The Emperor came to pay respects to Guru Amardas at Goindwal and according to custom took meals in the Langar. He was very much impressed by the universal message of Sikhism and its free kitchen.
Guru Amardas, in the tradition of Guru Nanak, tested his disciples before nominating a successor. He found in his son-in-law, Bhai Jetha, a devoted and humble Sikh. He, therefore, installed him as Guru Ramdas in 1574.