|Guru Angad Dev Ji|
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
Sat Nam Readers!
Continuing on with the theme of sharing what I’ve learned about our Gurus, today’s post will be about Guru Angad Dev Ji. If you read the post about Guru Nanak Dev Ji, you will know (or maybe you know already) that Guru Angad Dev Ji, prior to becoming Guru was known as Bhai Lehna. He was a Hindu who sought to find and study with Guru Nanak Dev Ji. After passing many tests Guru Nanak had for him, he ascended to the guruship shortly before Guru Nanak’s death in 1539. He was our Guru for 13 years, merging with Waheguru in 1552.
He was born on March 31st, 1504 in Matte De Sarai in Muktsar, Punjab.
One of the tests (other than suggesting he eat a corpse as described in the post about Guru Nanak Dev Ji) that Bhai Lehna passed before becoming Guru was being asked to build a wall 22 times. The wall was irrelevant, the test was not about patience or how perfectly a wall could be built but this test was important because it meant that Bhai Lehna was willing to do what God had asked of him (being asked through Guru Nanak Dev Ji).
The passing of the light from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Angad Dev Ji is important in Sikhi because it ensured that the focus of our worship is on the light itself and not on a person, as the light of the Gurus could be passed from one person to another. Sikhi would survive beyond the death of its first Guru. This survival was important for the societal change that needed to happen for Sikhi to become the lifestyle and duty that it is today.
The passing of the guruship caused some confusion. Sikhs at the time were not sure who to follow. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s eldest son, Siri Chand claimed, for example, that he was supreme and the Sikhs should follow him.
At 35 years old Guru Angad Dev Ji was blessed with the guruship and entrusted with the bani of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He left Kartarpur and set up in Kadur Sahib. In Kadur Sahib, a man there had become quite frustrated with Guru Angad Dev Ji’s popularity. It had been dry for an extended period of time and the rains were very late in coming. This man, Tapasvi, told others that the reason the rains had not come was the presence of Guru Angad Dev Ji. If they rid themselves of the Guru, it would rain. They people of Kadur Sahib asked Guruji to leave. They did and the rains did not come. The situation was becoming dire. The villagers were told that it would only rain where the man was taken, it would rain there. He was dragged from field to field and indeed it rains, unfortunately though in their excitement to make it rain, the man died.
The Sikhs then asked Guru Angad Dev Ji to return to Kadur Sahib from his seclusion in Sanghar. They did kirtan outside of the house he was in until he took pity on the Sikhs and returned.
He married Mata Khivi, who is an important woman in Sikhi, spoken of in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. She is said to have provided shade and comfort to everyone and that she fed kheer to the sangat. She continued in her seva even after Guru Agnad Dev Ji passed away. Together she and Guru Angad Dev Ji had four children, two sons and two daughters.
His daughter Bibi Amro married a nephew of a future Guru – Guru Amar Daas Ji and was responsible for bringing him into Sikhi.
Guru Angad Dev Ji very much focused on langar. The concept of langar is more than just a free kitchen in a gurdwara. Langar is a concept which is based in an equal, caste-less and classless society – a society in which we are all brothers and sisters. He also said that seva (selfless service) should be done not only within the gurdwara or community but outside as well.
Guru Angad Dev Ji also popularized the Gurmurkhi alphabet in which the Guru Granth Sahib is written. It also became the script of the Panjabi language. The Sikhs had from that time, their own written language, separating them from other languages and cultures and completely separating them from the caste-based Hindus. At the time it was illegal for many Hindus to even hear their scripture on pain of having molten lead poured into their ears. The popularization of this alphabet and the idea that all Sikhs should learn the script in order to read bani, greatly increasing the literacy of people in the Panjab region. Literacy and education became an important part of Sikh life.
Also unique in those times was the fact that Guru Angad Dev Ji did not live off of the money of the sangat. He performed his own work, earning his own income. He also set up Ankhara Sahib, encouraging Sikhs to become and remain fit. He built and supported many Dharamsalas (early gurdwara) as places of learning and spirituality.
Guru Angad Dev Ji also gave us many of the bani found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, particularly bani dealing with the bondage of our egos.
Our blessed second Guru died on March 29th, 1552 at the age of just 47 years. He appointed Amar Das as his successor and gave Amar Das all of his writings and the writings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Guruji left us many gifts, including the concept of langar and our script, gifts that would become a large part of the Sikh identity.
If you want to learn more about Guru Angad Dev Ji you can visit the Basics of Sikhi YouTube Channel or read any number of books including A History of the Sikhs by Khushwant Singh or The Sikhs by Patwant Singh. The books are available in English on Amazon.ca. I trust you all know where to find YouTube but just in case, here is a link directly to a video about Guru Angad Dev Ji: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brDFI_-l6PA&list=PL5UNLfJ1TsJksushCeFTr20HE7srx_H0B
If I’ve made mistakes, and I’m sure I have or will, then I ask that you please forgive me.
Sat Nam Readers!