Bhai Gurdas was born around 1560 at Goindwal and was the son of Datar Chand, the younger brother of Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru. Bhai Gurdas learned Sikhism from his uncle Guru Amar Das and upon the Gurus death was sent by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, as a missionary to preach Sikhism at Agra.
Under the guidance of Guru Arjan Dev, Bhai Gurdas spent a year with the Guru at Amritsar and helped to scribe the original copy of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Bhai Gurdas also met the mughal emperor Akbar and convinced him that the Siri Guru Granth Sahib was not derogatory to Islam.
Bhai Gurdas was also a great writer and provides the best information that we have about the early days of Sikhism. He composes 40 vars (ballads) and 556 kabits (couplets) which Guru Arjan blessed as being “the key to the Guru Granth Sahib”.
Out of his humility Bhai Gurdas did not have any of his compositions included in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, but they are part of the writings outside the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that are approved for recital by Sikhs.
While Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, was imprisoned at Gwalior Fort, Bhai Gurdas along with Baba Buddha were in charge of running the affairs of the Sikh community. Bhai Gurdas also helped to construct the Akal Takht. Bhai Gurdas died in 1629 at Goindwal and had his last rites personally performed by Guru Hargobind.