The religion, Sikhism has been established by the ten gurus from the period 1469 to 1708, that is, a total of 239 years. The word ‘Guru’ means a teacher, honored person, religious person or saint in Sanskrit. Sikhism, on the other hand, defines the word ‘Guru’ in its own way. It means an enlightener and messenger. The Gurus are believed to be universal men who renew the eternal wisdom, free the minds from bigotry and superstitions, dogmas and rituals and emphasize the simplicity of the religion. The honor of being called a Guru started with Guru Nanak Dev in 1469 and ended with Guru Gobind Singh in 1708. After this, the Sikh Holy Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib was regarded as the permanent Sikh Guru. Given here is the list of the 10 gurus of Sikhism.
Guru Nanak Dev
Guru Nanak Dev was first of the ten Sikh gurus and the founder of the Sikhism religion. Born on 14th April, 1469 at Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present district of Shekhupura in Pakistan (now Nanakana Sahib), Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary is celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti on the full moon of the Kartik month. Since childhood, he revolted against ritualism, caste, prejudices, hypocrisy and idolatry. He traveled throughout India and made four great journeys. He even visited Mecca and Baghdad in Arabia and Persia. He considered Hindus and Muslims to be equal.
Guru Angad Dev
Guru Angad Dev was born as Lehna in the village of Sarae Naga in Mukhtar district of Punjab on March 31, 1504. He was chosen by Guru Nanak Dev as his successor and was given the name of Angad, thereby becoming Guru Angad Dev. He, hence, became the second guru of the Sikhs. It was Guru Angad Dev who introduced the Gurmukhi script (written form of Punjabi) and made it popular amongst all Sikhs. Even the Guru Granth Sahib is written in Gurmukhi. The Gurpurab of Guru Angad Dev is celebrated on 18th of April.
Guru Amar Das
Guru Amar Das was the third of the ten gurus of Sikhism. He was born in a village called Basarke Gillan in Amritsar on 5th May, 1479. He became the Sikh guru at the age of 73, thereby following in the footsteps of his teacher, Guru Angad Dev, who died at 48 years of age. He fought against restrictions, caste prejudices and the curse of untouchability. He even introduced the Anand Karaj marriage ceremony to be followed by the Sikhs, thereby replacing the Hindu form.
Guru Ram Das
Guru Ram Das was Guru Amar Das’s daughter, Bibi Bhani’s husband. He was born as Bhai Jetha on 9th October, 1534 at Chuna Mandi in Lahore. Every year, this day is celebrated as his birth anniversary. The city of Amritsar was founded by Guru Ram Das. He even started the construction of the well-known Golden Temple at Amritsar. He gave the Laava, a four stanza hymn read out during the traditional Sikh marriage ceremony.
Guru Arjan Dev
Guru Arjan Dev was the youngest son of Guru Ram Das and the fifth Sikh guru. He was born on 15th April, 1563 at Goindval Sahib. His birth anniversary is celebrated on May 2nd. He became a guru on 1st September, 1581. He completed the construction of the Golden Temple and compiled the Adi Granth, the scriptures of the Sikhs. Though relations between Guru Arjan Dev and Mughal Emperor Akbar were cordial, things changed once Jahangir took over the throne. He was arrested by Jahangir and tortured to death for blessing Jahangir’s rebel son, Prince Khusrau Mirza.
Guru Har Gobind
Guru Har Gobind was the sixth guru in Sikhism. Son of Guru Arjan Dev, Har Gobind was born in the village of Guru Ki Wadali on June 19, 1595. He was merely 11 years old when his father was executed. The birth anniversary of Guru Har Gobind is celebrated on 5th of July. He was a soldier saint and a deadly enemy of the Mughals from the beginning. He was the first of the gurus who took up arms to defend the faith. He built the Akal Takht, the Throne of the Almighty, at the age of 13. He put in two swords, Miri and Piri, representing temporal and spiritual power.
Guru Har Rai
Guru Har Rai was the grandson of Guru Har Gobind and the seventh of the Sikh gurus. He was born on 26th February, 1630 and became a guru on 8th March, 1644 at the tender age of 14. Most of the life of Guru Har Rai was spent in devotional meditation and preaching the teachings of Guru Nanak. He continued to boost the military spirit of the Sikhs and avoided any conflict with the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Guru Har Krishan
Before his death, Guru Har Rai nominated his five year old son, Har Krishan as the next Sikh guru. Guru Har Krishan was born on July 7th, 1664 in Kiratpur Sahib in Rupnagar in Punjab and became the eighth of the ten Sikh gurus. He was the youngest of all the Sikh gurus. He was blessed with astonishing knowledge and spiritual powers. He was a symbol of service, purity and truth to the Sikhs. He served his life in healing the epidemic-stricken people in Delhi. He died at the age of eight after getting infected with smallpox.
Guru Tegh Bahadur
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the grand uncle of Guru Har Krishan and the youngest of the five sons of Guru Har Gobind. He was born on 1st April, 1621 in Amritsar. The town of Anandpur was established by him. He became the ninth guru of the Sikhism community. He strictly defended against the rights of the Hindu religion. Hence, he had to face martyrdom at the refusal to accept Islam when offered by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. He was put in chains and tortured. Thereafter, he was beheaded publicly at Chandni Chowk in Delhi.
Guru Gobind Singh
The tenth and final guru of Sikhism was Guru Gobind Singh, son of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Born as Gobind Rai Sodhi in Patna, Bihar on 22nd December, 1666, Gobind Singh became a Guru on 11th November, 1675 at the age of 9. He established the Khalsa, The Pure Ones, in 1699. Guru Gobind Singh gave the name of Singh (lion) and Kaur (princess) to the Sikhs. He fought several battles with the Mughals and their alliances. On 3rd October, 1708, he appointed the holy Guru Granth Sahib as the next permanent Sikh Guru.