11 Sikh Gurus who established the essence of Sikhism

It is the birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, today and we wish his teachings stay with us and always inspire us...

It is the birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, today and we wish his teachings stay with us and always inspire us.

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November 24, 2015: It is Guru Nanak Jayanti or Guru Nanak Gurpurab today, the birthday of the first Guru of Sikhs, the Guru who gave the first teachings and the true essence of Sikhism. Guru Nanak is revered as a Guru and almost worshipped, though not as a deity, but with a deep faith for his words of wisdom and his knowledge to humanity. Guru nanak Jayanti, which is also known as Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav is one of the most sacred Sikh festivals as it is one of the Gurpurab’s, that is the birthday of one of the 10 Gurus of Sikhism. However, Guru Nanak being the founder of the religion, his birthday is celebrated on a large, grand scale.

Guru Nanak was born on 15th April 1469 in Shekhupura District of then India, now Pakistan. As birthdays in India were then celebrated according to the Hindu calender, his birthday falls in the month of Kartik and on the full moon night. According to the Gregorian calender, it is the full moon night in the month of November. Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated in the same way as all the Gurpurabs with hymns dedicated specially to Guru Nanak. On the day of the festival, the festivities begin early in the morning with hymns and reading of scriptures after which lunch is served at Langars.

The teachings of Sikhism are beautiful and for all and here are the 11 Gurus (10 human Gurus and the 11th the present Guru) who gave us the beautiful teachings of Sikhism.

1. Guru Nanak

The first of the Gurus and said to be founder of the religion, Guru Nanak incarnated on 15 April 1469 and left his body on 22 September 1539. He espoused a profound and universal concept of God, emphasizing the importance personal righteousness. He established equality for women and also started the Langar practice.

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2. Guru Angad

The second Guru after Guru Nanak, Guru Angad incarnated on 31 March 1504 and took up the Guruship on 7 September 1539. He left his body on 29 March 1552. He popularised the Gurumukhi script and also set up many new schools. He also spread the religion further.

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3. Guru Amar Das

The third Guru, Guru Amar Das incarnated on 5 May 1479, attained Guruism on 26 March 1552 and left his body at the age of 95 on 1 September 1574. He established the Manji and Piri system of religious missions for men and women respectively. He brought about a lot of feminist reforms like preaching against Sati and Purdah systems, advocating widow remarriage, etc. He also asked Akbar to ban the toll levied from non-Muslim travellers while crossing Ganga and Yamuna.

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4. Guru Ram Das

Guru Ram Das, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, incarnated on 24 September 1534, became a Guru on 1 September 1574 and left his body on 1 September 1581. He composed the four Lawans (stanzas) of the Anand Karaj, a distinct marriage code for Sikhs separate from the orthodox and traditional Hindu Vedi system. He also laid the foundation of the city of Amritsar.

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5. Guru Arjan

Guru Arjan, who complied the Guru Grant Sahib, the holy text of the Sikhs was the 5th Guru. He incarnated on 15 April 1563 and left his body on 30 May 1606. He attained Guruship on 1 September 1581. He was tortured and executed on the orders of Mughal emperor Jahangir and is the first martyr of Sikh religion, and known as Shaheedan-de-Sartaj.

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6. Guru Har Gobind

Incarnated on 19 June 1595, the sixth Sikh Guru attained Guruism on 25 May 1606 and left his body on 28 February 1644. He commenced the practise of creating the Sikh army-saints warriors.

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7. Guru Har Rai

The 7th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai incarnated on 16 January 1630 and left his body on 6 October 1661. He became a Sikh Guru on 3 March 1644. During his leadership he encouraged Sikhs to learn of other religions. His court is known for appreciation of nature, animals and setting up free hospitals.

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8. Guru Har Krishan

The youngest and a Guru for the shortest duration of just 7 years, Guru Har Krishan, incarnated on 7 July 1656, took up Guruship on 6 October 1661 and left his body on 30 March 1664 due to smallpox which he contracted while treating sick people.

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9. Guru Tegh Bahadur

The second last human Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur incarnated 1 April 1621 and died on 11 November 1675. He attained Guruship on 20 March 1665. Guru Tegh Bahadur was against the conversion of Hindu Kashmiri Pandits to Muslims and hence he was tortured and executed by Aurengzeb.

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10. Guru Gobind Singh

Incarnated on 22 December 1666 Guru Gobind Singh, the final Guru of Sikhism became a Guru on 11 November 1675 at the tender age of 9 and passed away on 7 October 1708. As he was the last Sikh Guru in human form, he passed on the Guruship of Sikhs to Guru Granth Sahib, the holy text of Sikhs. He was also assaulted by a Mughal emperor Wazir Khan and died of wounds.

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11. Guru Granth Sahib

The holy text of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib is the present and the future Guru for eternity. Guru Granth Sahib

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Editor's note: This article has been edited from it's original version.

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