Guru Ram Das

Guru Ram Das Ji: (Jetha ji) was born at Chuna Mandi, Lahore (in Pakistan), on September 24, 1534 (Kartik Vadi 2nd, (25th Assu) Samvat 1591). Son of Mata Daya Kaur ji (Anup Kaur ji) and Baba Hari Das ji Sodhi, Khatri was very handsome and promising child. His parents were too poor to meet even the daily needs and he had to earn his living by selling boiled and salted grams (brown chana). Both his parents died by the time he was just 7 years old. His grandmother from mother's side took him to her native village Basarke. His grand-parents were also very poor. He spent five years at village Basarke earning his bread by selling boiled and salted grams. According to some chronicles, once Guru Amardas Sahib came to the village Basarke to offer condolences to the grandmother of Bhai Jetha at the death of her son-in-law, father of Bhai Jetha and developed deep affection for Bhai Jetha.

Sometimes later, along with his grandmother, Bhai Jetha left for Goindwal Sahib to settle there. There he resumed his profession of selling boiled grams and he also began to take part in the religious congregations held by Guru Amardas Sahib. He also made active participation in the development of Goindwal Sahib. Here, he also started studying langiages, such, Gurmukhi, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and Persian.

Bhai Jetha Ji was very handsome and grew tall. He also took keen interest in Sikhism and used to remain busy serving the congregation after his day?s work of selling boiled and salted grams. Bibi Bhani had been also busy in serving the congregation of Guru Amardas Ji. Both were growing up as goods Sikhs with great interest in learning about Sikhism and its principles. Guru Amardas Ji and his wife decided and married their daughter, Bibi Bhani Ji with Bhai Jetha Ji. After the marriage, he stayed with his father-in-law and deeply associated himself with the activities of Sikhism in the Gurdwara. Bhai Jetha Ji and Bibi Bhani Ji had three sons; Prithi Chand Ji, Mahadev Ji and Arjan Dev Ji (Guru) Ji. He commanded full confidence of Guru Amardas Sahib and often accompanied him when the latter went on long missionary tours to different parts of India.

For establishing a new town, not very far from Goindwal, Guru Amardas Ji purchased land from the farmers of the villages: Tung, Gillwali and Gumtala (ਤੁੰਗ, ਗਿਲਵਾਲ਼ੀ ਅਤੇ ਗੁਮਤਾਲਾ) . The foundation stone for this town named Chak Ramdas was laid by Bhai Jetha Ji. Guru Ji gave Bhai Jetha Ji the responsibility to supervise the development of this town. Guru Amardas Ji also began digging of Santokhsar Sarover at Chak Ramdas. Digging of Santokhsar was suspended and instead concentrated his attention on digging Amritsar Sarovar. Bhai Sahlo Ji and Baba Budha Ji, the two devoted Sikhs were assigned the supervising work. Under the guidance of Guru Amardas Ji, people of 52 different trades were brought in to settle there. Chak Ramdas was on the Sher Shah Suri Road, connecting Delhi and Lahore and soon became very well known city to people all over. The name of Chak Ramdas was later changed to Ramdas Pur, which is now a big city, called Amritsar.

Bhai Jetha Ji was a man of considerable merit. He became famous for his piety, devotion, energy and eloquence. Guru Amardas Sahib found him capable in every respect and worthy of the office of Guruship and installed him as his successor on September 1, 1574. As per the tradition, Guru Amardas Ji bowed before Bhai Jetha Ji in the congregation and gave him all the Bani (Hymns) he had written along with what he had received from Guru Angad Dev Ji and declared him as the fourth Guru. Guru Amardas Ji also also gave Bhai Jetha Ji a new name of Guru Ramdas Ji.

Guru Ramdas Sahib laid the foundation stone of Chak Ramdas or Ramdas Pur, which is now called Amritsar. The new city (Chak Ramdas Pur) flourished soon as it was situated at the centre of international trade routes. It grew into an important center of trade in Punjab after Lahore. Guru Ramdas Sahib himself invited many merchants and artisans from the different walks of life and trades. Later on, it proved to be step of far-reaching importance. It provided a common place of worship to the Sikhs and paved the way for the future guidelines for Sikhism as a different religion. Guru Ram Das Sahib introduced Masand system in place of Manji system and this step played a great role in the consolidation of Sikhism.

Guru Ramdas Sahib strengthened the Sikhism a step further by composing Four Lawans and advised the Sikhs to recite them in order to solemnize the marriages of their children. Thus he introduced a new matrimonial system based upon Sikhism instead of Hindu's Vedi system. Thus this distinct marriage code for the Sikhs separated them from the orthodox and traditional Hindu system. also made rapprochement with different sects of Udasis through Baba Shri Chand Ji. He, like his predecessors carried forward the tradition of Guru ka Langer. Superstitions, caste system and pilgrimages were strongly decried.

He wrote 638 hymns in 30 ragas, these include 246 Padei 138 Saloks, 31 Ashtpadis and 8 Vars and are a part of Guru Granth Sahib. He nominated his youngest son (Guru) Arjan Dev Ji as Fifth Nanak. After this he left Amritsar and retired to Goindwal Sahib. There, after a few days he passed away on September 1, 1581 (Bhadon Sudi 3rd (2nd Assu) Samvat 1638.

Brief Review

What do we learn about Guru Ram Das ji from this brief narative?

Who was Bhai Jetha Ji?

What were the names of the parents of Bhai Jetha ji?

At what age Bhai Jetha became orphan?

Who looked after Bhai Jetha after his father passed away?

Where did Bhai Jetha move to and how he was supporting himself?

How, where and why he became interested in Sikhism?

Who was Bibi Bhani Ji and what were her interests?

Who was Bhai Jetha married to?

How many children Bhai Jetha and Bibi Bhani had and what were their names?

What projects were supervised by Bhai Jetha?

Who succeeded Guru Amar Das to the office of Guruship and on what date and why?

Who laid the foundation stone of Chak Ram DasPur?

Whose Bani Guru Ram Das Ji had when he became Guru?

Name the system he started to propagate and strengthen Sikhism?

Do you find any similarities in the activities of Guru Ram Das Ji and the previous Gurus?

At what age Guru Ram Das Ji passed away?

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