Guru Amar Das Ji: A Spiritual Leader and a Champion of Social Equality
Guru Amar Das Ji, the third Sikh Guru, was a towering spiritual leader who made significant contributions to the Sikh faith during his lifetime. He was born in 1479 in a Hindu family in the village of Basarke in present-day Amritsar, Punjab. He was married to Mansa Devi, and the couple had two sons and two daughters. At the age of 62, Guru Amar Das Ji was chosen by Guru Angad Dev Ji as his successor, and he served as the Sikh Guru from 1552 until his death in 1574. During his tenure, Guru Amar Das Ji established the institution of langar, a free community kitchen, which became an integral part of the Sikh faith. He also introduced the concept of manji system, which involved appointing Sikh preachers to different regions to spread the message of Sikhism. Guru Amar Das Ji was a strong advocate of social equality, and he worked tirelessly to eliminate the caste system and promote the dignity of women. He encouraged his followers to reject the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy and instead focus on their devotion to God. He also abolished the practice of sati, in which widows were expected to throw themselves on their husband's funeral pyre, and advocated for the education of women. Under Guru Amar Das Ji's leadership, the Sikh community grew in both numbers and strength. He established the city of Goindwal Sahib and built a baoli, a step-well, which became a site for pilgrimage. He also composed many hymns, which are still recited by Sikhs today. Guru Amar Das Ji's contributions to Sikhism were not limited to spiritual matters. He also played an active role in the political affairs of the time. He maintained good relations with Emperor Akbar, and his advice was sought on several occasions. He also helped settle a dispute between the Rajputs and the Mughals, which prevented a potential conflict. In conclusion, Guru Amar Das Ji was a visionary spiritual leader who championed the values of social equality and worked tirelessly to promote them. His contributions to the Sikh faith and society at large continue to be felt to this day. As Sikhs around the world celebrate his legacy, they remember the words of Guru Amar Das Ji, "One who calls himself a Sikh of the Guru, shall rise in the early morning hours and meditate on the Lord's Name. [...] O Nanak, this is the way to achieve the Lord's Court." .