Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, is celebrated and remembered with great reverence on his birth anniversary, which falls on September 24th. His life and teachings continue to inspire millions of Sikhs and people worldwide. Guru Ram Das played a pivotal role in shaping Sikhism and left behind a legacy that emphasizes selfless service, devotion, and compassion. As we commemorate his birth anniversary, let us delve into the life and contributions of this remarkable spiritual leader.
Early Life and Spiritual Journey:
Guru Ram Das was born as Bhai Jetha on September 24, 1534, in Lahore, which is now in Pakistan. From a young age, he exhibited a deep spiritual inclination and a profound love for serving others. His parents raised him with strong values, instilling a sense of compassion and humility in him.
Bhai Jetha's life took a significant turn when he met Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru, in his early adulthood. Impressed by Bhai Jetha's devotion and sincerity, Guru Amar Das blessed him and gave him the name "Ram Das," which means "servant of God." This marked the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey for Guru Ram Das.
Contributions and Legacy:
Amritsar - The Holy City: Guru Ram Das is renowned for founding the city of Amritsar, which means "Pool of Nectar." He excavated the holy Amrit Sarovar (pool) around the Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple. Amritsar is now one of the most sacred cities for Sikhs and a place of pilgrimage for people of all backgrounds seeking spiritual solace.
Compilation of Hymns: Guru Ram Das composed many devotional hymns that are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism. His verses reflect his deep spiritual insights and emphasize the importance of selfless service, devotion to God, and the oneness of humanity.
Promotion of Langar: Guru Ram Das continued the tradition of Langar (free community kitchen) that Guru Nanak initiated. He expanded it, ensuring that no one in the community went hungry. This practice of serving meals to all, regardless of their background, is a hallmark of Sikhism and embodies the spirit of selfless service.
Equality and Inclusivity: Guru Ram Das worked tirelessly to break down social barriers and promote equality. He emphasized that all individuals, regardless of their caste or social status, could connect with God through devotion and selfless service.
Teachings of Guru Ram Das:
Guru Ram Das's teachings are a beacon of light for those seeking spiritual enlightenment and a path to leading a meaningful life. Some key teachings of Guru Ram Das include:
Seva (Selfless Service): Guru Ram Das emphasized the importance of serving others without expecting anything in return. Through selfless service, one can purify the mind and attain spiritual growth.
Devotion: He encouraged people to cultivate a deep love and devotion for the Divine. It is through this devotion that individuals can find peace and contentment.
Equality: Guru Ram Das staunchly advocated for the equality of all human beings. He believed that every individual had the potential to connect with God, regardless of their social or economic background.
Guru Ram Das's legacy of selfless service, devotion, and equality continues to inspire generations, reminding us of the importance of living a life rooted in compassion and spirituality. In doing so, we honor the memory of Guru Ram Das and the profound impact he had on Sikhism and the world at large.