Guru Angad

Guru Angad Dev Ji: was born in the village named, Mattay-dee-Sarai (ਮੱਤੇ ਦੀ ਸਰਾਏ), near Mukatsar, in Punjab, on March 31, 1504. Bhai Lehna was his name given to him by his parents. He was the son of a petty trader, named Pheru ji. His mother's name was Bibi Daya Kaur (also known as Bibi Sabhrai). Baba Narayan Das Trehan was his grandfather.

He was married to Bibi Khivi ji, in January 1520 before he was installed as the successor of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He had two sons (Dasu ji and Datu ji) and two daughters (Amro ji and Anokhi ji). Under the influence of his parents, Bhai Lehna ji began to worship Durga, a Hindu mythological goddess. He used to lead a batch of worshippers to Jawalamukhi Temple every year.

Bhai Jodh ji was a Sikh of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Bhai Lehna ji was thrilled when he heard the recitation of a hymn of Guru Nanak Dev Ji from Bhai Jodh ji. The following year, he decided to proceed through Kartarpur to have a glimpse of Guru Nanak Dev Ji while on his pilgrimage to Jawalamukhi Temple along with a batch of worshippers. He was completely transformed during his very first meeting with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. From there on, he renounced the worship of Hindu goddess. He dedicated himself to the service of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and became his Sikh. He began to live at Kartarpur where he spent close to seven years in the service of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. While at Kartarpur, Bhai Lehna Ji learned about the doctrines introduced by Guru Nanak and practices of these doctrines in real life. There after, Bhai Lehna Ji, left Kartarpur for village Khadur Sahib, near Goindwal.

During Bhai Lehna ji's stay at KartarPur, Guru Nanak Dev Ji tested him in various ways and found in him an embodiment of obedience and service. His devotion to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his holy mission was so great that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, on September 7, 1539, bowed before Bhai Lehna and installed him as his successor. He gave Bhai Lehna all the Hymns he had written along with the Hymns of the Bhagats he had collected during his tours of India and which were kept securely in Pothi (Kitab - ਕਿਤਾਬ). Guru Nanak Dev Ji also gave him a new name, Angad. Thereafter, he began to be called Guru Angad Dev Ji by his followers.

After the death of Guru Nanak Dev Ji on September 22, 1539, in a very committed and determined way, he carried forward the mission 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 Guru Angad Dev Ji.

Considering the importance of the Punjabi language and also the literacy among common people, specially in the Punjabi language, Guru Angad Dev ji, re-arranged the Punjabi alphbets and added a few more to what Guru Nanak had listed in his Hymns " Patti Likhi - ਪਟੀ ਲਿਖੀ ". To promote the message of Guru Nanak, it became essential for Guru Angad Dev ji to start educating followers in the Punjabi language.

To introduce education among the masses, Guru Angad Dev Ji prepared small booklets written by using Punjabi Alphabets. The script used to write in Punabi began to be known as Gurumukhi Script. It became the script of the masses very soon.

Sanskrit was considered to be the language of gods by the Hindus while Persian language was the official language of India in those days and was difficult to learn. Lower cast people were not allowed to have any education by the upper caste Hindus. Guru Angad Dev Ji took great interest in the education of children by opening many schools for their education using the Punjabi language spoken by the common people. This was the first opportunity for ordinary people to learn reading and writing in Punjabi langauge. This way, he increased the number of literates.

To enrole the youth in his teachings, he started the tradition of Mall Akhara (wrestling and workout area) for the youth for physical exercises and fitness.

He started the Punjabi reading and writing classes for all children. This is historically well known that after the King Himayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri, he came to Guru Angad Dev Ji to obtain blessings in regaining the throne of Delhi. At that time, Guru Angad Dev Ji was busy teaching young children and could not pay attention to Himayun. Himayun took this as insult and pulled his sword in anger against the Guru. Guru Angad Dev Ji saw this and displaying great courage and confidence said, "where was this sword when it was the most needed"? Hearing this, Himayun was ashamed and he apologized.

Guru Angad Dev Ji would spend time to write "Jap" Ji and other hymns of Guru Nanak Dev Ji to prepare small pamphlets in Punjabi for distribution among people who visited him. Not only, people statrted reading and becoming familiar with the Hymns of Guru Nanak, this effort encouraged literacy among people, which was not permitted for under privileged and the so called low caste people under the Vern tradition (Caste system) of Hindus.

He collected the facts about Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life and wrote the first biography of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, known as "Janamsakhi". Unfortunately, the original Janamsakhi is not available anymore. The one which is available is a completely distorted and interpolated version of the original, known as Bhai Bale Waali Janamsakhi.

This Janam Sakhi was written by a staunch Brahmin " Gorakh Das " of Lahore for which he was paid handsomely by Bal Chand, the elder son of Handal of Guru Kaa Jandialla, near Amritsar. For more detail, read a very well researched book by Dr. S. S. Padam, published by Singh Brothers. This is janam sakhi is totally aimed at damaging the image of Baba Nanak among his followers.

Guru Angad Dev Ji wrote 62 Saloks (Hymns), which Guru Arjan Dev Ji later included these hymns in Pothi Sahib or Aad Granth Sahib.

He popularized and expanded the institution of 'Guru ka Langar' started earlier by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. His wife, Mata Khivi Ji, worked very hard in the 'Guru ka Langar' to make it a success.

The period of his Guruship was the most crucial one. The Sikh community, while going through its infant years was facing a number of dangers. It was not difficult for Hinduism to swallow the newly born Sikhism in due course of time.

Udasis sect of Sri Chand ( son of Guru Nanak dev Ji) and the activities of Jogies had not yet fully abated. At this hour of juncture, he lived Guru Nanak Dev Ji's tenets in true spirit and there were manifest signs of drifting Sikhism away from Hinduism. Guru Angad Dev Ji worked very hard and thus strengthened the base of Sikhism. This way, Sikhism established its own separate religious identity.

Guru Angad Dev Ji had started to build a new town at Goindwal near Khadur Sahib and he appointed one of his Sikh, Baba Amar Das Ji who later became his successor to supervise the development of this town.

By following the example of Guru Nanak, before his death, Guru Angad Dev Ji, nominated Amar Das Sahib as his successor. He bowed before Amar Das Sahib and presented to Amar Das Ji all the holy hymns he wrote, including those he received from Guru Nanak Dev Ji. This way, he named Amar Das Ji as the next Guru, later known as Guru Amar Das Ji. He breathed his last on March 29, 1552 at the age of forty-eight.

Brief Review

What did we learn from this narrative?

Who was Guru Angad Dev Ji?

What were his contributions to Sikhism?

Was Guru Angad Dev Ji married before or after becoming the Guru?

Who Was Sri Chand and which Sect he belonged to?

What was Sri Chand promoting?

How Guru Angad Dev Ji saved Sikhism from being swallowed by Hinduism?

How he strengthened the Sikh community and Sikhism?

Name the new town he established?

What role Guru Angad Dev ji played in promoting the Punjabi language?

How he promoted literacy and among whom?

What role his wife played during his Guruship?

Did Guru Nanak worship any gods or goddesses or did he visit any Holi places for worshiping purposes? If the answer is no, explain your answer?

Why Sikhs from Canada and from other countries, including India go to Hemkund?

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