9th October markes the Parkaash Purb of Guru Raam Daas jee, the fourth Nanak. Saariaa Nu Lakh Lakh Vadhaaee Hove!
A SHORT GLIMPSE AT THE LIFE OF GURU RAAM DAAS JEE
Guru Raam Daas jee was born at Choona Manddee Bazaar in Lahore in 1534. His parents, Mata Anoop Devi jee and Bhai Hari Daas jee, named him 'Jetha', meaning 'first born'. At a young age Bhai Jetha jee joined Sangat who were travelling to Goindval Sahib to meet Guru Amar Daas jee. Since meeting Guru Amar Daas jee, the third Jyot of Guru Nanak, Bhai Jetha fell in love with the True Guru and became a devout Sikh who would do tireless seva.
Marriage to Bibi Bhani
Bhai Jetha jee would roast chick-peas (sholay) and sell them to the public for his livelihood. He was honest, hard-working, and remembered Waheguru whilst working. He was not from a wealthy family and only made ends meet with the little he earned. Guru Amar Daas jee was so impressed with character of Bhai Jetha jee that he asked him to marry his daughter, Bibi Bhani jee. This showed that Guru jee did not take in account social or economic background of Bhai Jetha jee, but instead considered his values. Something that modern society can learn from, as nowadays we focus more on how rich a family is, what caste background, and how many degrees some has rather than the character, values, and Gursikhi jeevan of an individual.
Obedience and Correct Attitude for Seva
Guru Amar Daas jee tested the faith, devotion, humility and obediance of his two son-inlaws, Bhai Rama jee (married to Bibi Daani jee) and Bhai Jetha jee (married to Bibi Bhaani jee). Both were ordered by Guru jee to make a platform for him to sit on and that whoever does the better work will receive the greater honour. Both began doing the task. Bhai Rama jee finished and bowed before Guru jee but Guru jee said, "It's crooked. Tear it down and build another." Although Bhai Rama jee spent time and effort on it, he decided to rebuild it for the second time but it still failed the test so he built the third one. He mumbled, "The Guru has grown old, he must be senile." On the other hand, when Guru jee tested Bhai Jetha jee and repeatedly failed his work, Bhai Jetha jee fell at Guru jee's feet and begged, "I am a fool and lack understanding, while you possess all knowledge. Kindly bless me with the wisdom so that I may be able to erect the platform to your liking." Bhai Jetha jee showed how a Sikh must always obey the Guru no matter what their own mind thinks, and also to do seva with correct attitude - to continue doing seva even if criticised, even if there is nothing to gain, or no one to praise you.
Response to Baba Sri Chand
The elder son of Guru Nanak Dev Jee went to Amritsar to visit Guru Raam Daas Jee. Baba Sri Chand disobeyed Guru Nanak Dev jee and went separate from Sikhi. Baba Sri Chand made a new sect called the "Udaasis". Guru Amar Daas jee took steps to keep the Udaasi sect separate from the Sikh Panth. There was a basic difference between the two sections. The Sikhs believed in family-life, while the Udaasis believed in celibacy and rejecting the householder life. The Udaasis wanted to join Sikhi on their own terms to which Guru jee did not agree. When Baba Sri Chand met Guru Raam Daas jee, he tried to belittle him and laugh at him. He said, “O Raam Daas! Why is your beard so long?” Guru jee replied, “I have a long beard to wipe the feet of holy men like you.” Guru Sahib’s humility hit Baba Sri Chand who feel at the feet of Guru Sahib and said: “Now I know why I didn’t become chosen to be Guru and instead you are sitting on my father’s throne.” Guru Raam Daas jee showed that each situation requires ‘awareness’ to react appropriately, and how humility can be the most powerful weapon.
Founded Amritsar (Chakk Ramdas)
Guru Raam Daas jee followed the steps of the first three Guru Sahibs in constructing cities. This was part of the vision of the Guru Sahibs to broaden the horizons of the Sikh People and show them that Sikhs should not confine themselves to thinking small but to thinking big. The Guru Sahibs were forward thinker. Guru Raam Daas jee founded the city of Amritsar, which was then known as 'Chakk Raamdaas' and later 'Raamdaas Pur'. The site was initially founded by Guru Amar Daas jee but it was Guru Raam Daas jee who made it into a city and began work on the excavation of the Amrit Sarovar (pool). Guru Raam Daas jee founded the place which became known as the centre and heartbeat of the Sikh faith.
Bhai Nand Lal Singh Ji writes in his poetry that if one word could describe and summarise Guru Raam Daas Sahib jee's life, that word be "SEVA" (SELFLESS SERVICE).
Bhul Chuk Maaf.