Guru Angad Dev ji (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੇਵ) (Thursday March 31 1504 – Saturday April 16 1552) was the second of The Ten Gurus of Sikhism. Guru ji became Guru on Thursday, September 18 1539 following in the footsteps of Guru Nanak Dev ji, who was the founder of the Sikh religion. Before Guru Angad […]
Guru Angad Dev ji (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੇਵ) (Thursday March 31 1504 – Saturday April 16 1552) was the second of The Ten Gurus of Sikhism. Guru ji became Guru on Thursday, September 18 1539 following in the footsteps of Guru Nanak Dev ji, who was the founder of the Sikh religion.
Before Guru Angad Dev Ji left for his heavenly abode, he nominated Guru Amar Das as the third Guru of the Sikhs. The second Sikh Guru contributed the following to the people of the world:
- To do Nishkam Sewa Selfless Service to humanity.
- Completely surrender to the Will of God.
- Disapproval of exhibitionism and hypocrisy.
- Formalised the present form of the Gurmukhi script
Born: March 31, 1504
Place of Birth: Harike, Amritsar, Punjab, India
Life Span: 1504 to 1552 – 48 years
Parents Father: Bhai Pheru Mall Ji and Mother: Mata Sabhrai Ji (also known Daya Kaur, etc)
Wife: Mata Khivi Ji
Sons: Baba Dasu Ji and Baba Dattu Ji and Daughters: Bibi Amro Ji and Bibi Anokhi Ji
Guruship: From age 35 for 13 years: 1539 to 1552
Gurbani: Total of 63 Shabads and Saloks
Invention of Gurmukhi
Guru Angad invented the present form of the Gurmukhi script. It became the medium of writing the Punjabi language in which the hymns of the Gurus are expressed. This step had a far-reaching purpose and impact. Firstly, it gave the common people a language that is simple to learn and write. Secondly, it helped the community to dissociate itself from the very reserved and complex nature of the Sanskrit religious tradition so that the growth and development of the Sikhs could take place unhampered and unprejudiced by the backlog of the earlier religious and social philosophies and practices.
Earlier, the Punjabi language was written in the Landa or Mahajani script This had no vowel sounds, which had to be imagined or construed by the reader in order to decipher the writing. Therefore, there was the need of a script which could faithfully reproduce the hymns of the Gurus so that the true meaning and message of the Gurus could not be misconstrued and misinterpreted by each reader to suit his own purpose and prejudices. The devising of the Gurmukhi script was an essential step in order to maintain the purity of the doctrine and exclude all possibility of misunderstanding and misconstruction by any person.
Guru Angad Dev Ji’s message to the masses –
Guru Angad stood for a casteless and classless society, in which no one was superior to the other and no one, through greed or selfishness, could be allowed to encroach upon the rights of others. In short, he visualized a society in which members lived like a family, helping and supporting one another. He not only preached equality but practiced it. To promote the acceptance of human equality, Guru established a community kitchen where all sat together in a row, regardless of caste or status, and ate the same food.
Devotion and Love towards God
Guru stressed the oneness of God. The purpose of life is to seek God, find him and be united to Him. He called upon the people to give up formal and superficial rituals and rally around the Creator, who alone was Omnipotent and Omnipresent. According to Guru Angad, no one has ever found acceptance or achieved self-realization without true devotion to God.
He was a constructive architect of a society which focused on the social and religious freedom and equality, promoting dignity of action without distinction of caste and status. He was born at a time when ritual, caste distinctions and superstition had reduced the people to a low level of existence. He gave them courage and uplifted them. He taught the people to lead a righteous life and show due reverence and respect to God instead of supplicating before men. By his own example he made the people fearless and put a new life and spirit in them.
Company of the Holy
Guru Angad confirms that “those who meditate on the Eternal Lord, who is fearless and is All Pervasive, are not only themselves emancipated, but they rescue many others form this net of illusion.”
Guru Angad believed in the service and well-being of all mankind and not just of his own followers. He laid stress on character building rather than observance of rituals and formalities. The path which Guru Angad pointed out to his Sikhs for achieving enlightenment was through service and good actions and devotion and worship of one God. He asked his followers to win Divine grace by prayer, singing His praises, cultivating humility, a spirit of service and submitting at all time to His will. Paying a fine under pressure, does not bring either merit or goodness. That alone is a good deed, O Nanak, which is done by one’s own free will. Sewa has to be done selflessly.
He stressed the importance of the physical body as an instrument of spiritual development. He told his followers that there was a spark of divinity in every human being. The body is the temple of God as it houses the soul. God’s presence can be felt by deeper contemplation and reflection within.