Sikh Gurus > Guru AmarDas Ji

Guru Amar Das was born on April 5, 1479 at Basarka village in Amritsar district. He was the eldest son of his parents, Bhai Tej Bhan and Mata Lakhmi. At the age of 24, he was married to Mansa Devi who gave birth to two sons, Mohan and Mohri, and two daughters, Bibi Dani and Bibi Bhani.

Guru Angad's sons were upset because they claimed that after their father, they were the legitimate heirs to Guruship. Guru Angad's son Datu, therefore, proclaimed himself as Guru in Khadur; but the Sikhs did not accept him as such. Secondly under Guru Amar Das's strict dictum, it was mandatory that all persons, high or low, rich or poor, king or the commoner, Brahmans or Sudras, and Hindus or Muslims, must sit in the same row as equals to dine in the Guru's langar (kitchen). This had upset the Brahmans very much and they were on the search of an opportunity to rectify this situation. These Brahmans and other higher caste leaders saw some chance in Datu's revolt to capture the Guruship. Upon their support, Datu proceeded to Goindwal where the Guru was stationing.

Guru Amar Das was sitting on his religious throne and was delivering instructions to the congregation. Datu came along with a large number of his companions and kicked the Guru, who fell down the platform. Datu took possession of the platform and proclaimed himself as the Guru. Guru Amar Das got up and said in extreme humility,"Sir, pardon me, my hard bones might have hurt your tender feet." After this the Guru left Goindwal and went to his village Basarka. He confined himself in a house outside the town without letting anybody know about his whereabouts.

Datu sat on Guru's throne in Goindwal and was very proud of his position. The Sikhs, however, did not accept him as Guru, and all the pilgrims to Goindwal went away on hearing of the insult to their Guru. On seeing the Sikhs' contempt towards him, one day Datu loaded his newly acquired wealth on a camel and returned to Khadur. On his way he was encountered with some robbers who seized the camel with the load, and one of the robbers struck Datu on the same foot with which he had kicked the Guru. Datu's foot swelled up and caused him great pain.

The Sikhs were very much distressed at loosing their Guru. They searched all over but could not find him anywhere. Under the leadership of Bhai Buddha, they prayed and then let Guru's mare loose and anxiously followed it for a short distance. The mare made her way to the Guru's house in Basarka, and stood before his door. It was written on the door,"Whoever openeth this door is no Sikh of mine, nor I am his Guru." They did not o pen the door, but made an opening in the wall and made supplication before the Guru. The Guru could not disregard the love and devotion of his Sikhs and returned to Goindwal. The Guru's return was celebrated with illuminations, rejoicing and feasting.

Guru Amar Das purchased some land in Goindwal and laid the foundation of a Bawli (a well with descending steps) in 1559. All Sikhs joined in the work of digging the Bawli. There was great activity throughout the construction of the Bawli.

Hari Das, a Khatri of Sodhi tribe, lived with his wife, Daya Kaur, in Chuna Mandi, a suburb of Lahore . Both husband and wife were very religious. After twelve years of their marriage, a son was born to them on September 24, 1534 . They called him Ram Das, who was generally known as Jetha meaning first-born. He was very handsome having fair complexion with pleasing personality. As he grew up he liked t he company of holy men. One day his mother boiled some pulse, put it into a basket and gave it to him to sell and make profit. Jetha went to the river Ravi . Soon he saw a company of holy men, and Jetha gave the boiled pulse to them and went home. The holy men were very much pleased and prayed for the boy.

One day Jetha saw a company of Sikhs singing the hymns and proceeding with great rejoicing. He asked whither they were going, one of them said,"We are going to Goindwal where Guru Amar Das holds his court. Every blessing in this world and the next is obtained by his favor. Come with us." On hearing this Jetha was delighted and he joined them in their pilgrimage.

On seeing the Guru, Jetha's heart was filled with love and devotion. When he made his obeisance to the Guru, he was attracted by his pleasing personality. The Guru remarked,"If you have come abandoning all worldly desires, you shall obtain a true sovereignty. Perform work and service." Jetha happily applied himself to the Guru's service. He worked in the kitchen, cleaned dishes, shampooed his Master and brought firewood from the forest. He worked in the excavation of the Bawli during his leisure time.

Guru's eldest daughter, Bibi Dani (also known as Sulakhni) was married to Rama. The other daughter, Bibi Bhani was very r eligious from the very childhood. When she was of marriageable age, her mother reminded the Guru that it was time to search for a match for her. The Guru ordered the search. When his agent was ready to depart, Bibi Bhani's mother saw a young person standing outside and she said to the agent,"Search for a boy like him." The Guru heard her remarks and exclaimed, "He is his own parallel, for God had made none other like unto him." The young man thus chosen was Jethaji (Ram Das).

At the time of marriage, the bridegroom was asked by the Guru to choose a gift for himself, as it was customary to do so. Jethaji replied,"Sir, bless me with the gift of Hari Nam ." Bibi Bhani not only considered the Guru as her father but her Guru also. In the same way she served Jetha not only as her husband but as a saint also. Prithi Chand was their first son and three years later Mahadev, the second son made his appearance. On April 15, 1563 Jetha and Bibi Bhani were blessed with their third son, Arjan, at whose birth there were unusual rejoicing.

Meanwhile the Sikhs continued excavation of the Bawli. After digging very deep they found large stones which hindered the progress. The Guru asked the Sikhs if there was any one who would be courageous to drive a peg into the base to remove the obstruction. He had, however, warned that the operation had great danger because if the person could not avert the gush of the water, he might be drowned. All the Sikhs remained silent and no one came forward to take such a risk. At last Manak Chand of Vairowal, who was married to a niece of the Guru, offered his services. This was the same Manak Chand whose parents were blessed with a son (Manak Chand) by Guru Nanak.

Manak Chand, invoking God's name and through the grace of the Guru, was able to wedge through the stone and the stream of water immediately overflowed the Bawli. He was overtaken by the gush of the water. He almost drowned but by the grace of the Guru, he came to the top from where he was taken out and was revived. Therefore, he was called 'Marjiwra' (revived after death).

The Bawli when finished yielded sweet drinking water. The Sikhs rejoiced at the successful completion of their labor. There were eighty-four steps reaching down the Bawli. It is believed that whosoever recites Japji attentively and reverently at each step, is saved from the cycle of transmigration.