Guru Amar Das is the third Sikh Guru. Born and raised in the Hindu tradition, his story is inspiring when we understand that he came to the Sikh Panth later in life, at the age of 61. After hearing and meditating on the hymns of Guru Nanak, Amar Das was so moved that he embarked on a pilgrimage to meet the Guru of the time, Guru Angad, at Khadur Sahib in India. There, Amar Das adopted the path of Sikh Dharma. He took up residence in Khadur Sahib, endorsed the Guru as his spiritual sovereign, and became involved in service to the community. He was so dedicated and absorbed in this service to Guru Angad that he extinguished pride and attachment to the point that, to the outside world, he appeared to be merely a quiet old man.
Although Guru Amar Das became Guru late in life, he accomplished many important things. He was influential with the Moghul Emperor of the time to stop the persecution of Hindus and Sikhs. Encouraging Sikhs not to go on pilgrimage to Hindu or Muslim shrines, he established the town of Gowindwal and created the well there with 84 steps as a very important Sikh pilgrimage destination. He was a prolific writer who’s many compositions are included in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, including Anand Sahib (Sikh Prayer of Bliss). Guru Amar Das ji strengthened and promoted the tradition of Guru ka Langar. He created the “Manji” system by designating ministers or preachers to share the teachings of Sikh Dharma throughout the northern regions of India. During his lifetime, Guru Amar Das trained and commissioned 52 female ministers and 22 male ministers to spread the Guru’s teachings. Advocating the abolishing of “Sati” (a widow’s sacrifice on her husband’s funeral pyre) and “Paarda” (the wearing of a veil to conceal a woman’s face) Guru Amar Das helped to elevate the status of women. He taught humility, service, dedication, equality and honor to all.
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