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Guru Angad Dev Ji

Guru Angad Dev Sahib Ji (31 March 1504 – 28 March 1552) was the Second of the Ten Sikh Guru Ji'. He was born in the village of Sarae Naga in Muktsar District in Punjab, on 31 March 1504 and given the Name Lehna shortly after His Birth as was the custom of His Hindu parents. He was the Son of a Small Successful Trader named Pheru Mal. His Mother' Name was Mata Ramo Ji (also known as Mata Sabhirai Ji, Mansa Devi Ji and Daya kaur Ji). Baba Narayan Das Ji Trehan was His Grandfather, whose ancestral house was at Matte-di-Sarai near Mukatsar.

In 1538, Guru Nanak Dev chose Lehna, his disciple, as a successor to the Guruship rather than one of his sons.[1] Bhai Lehna was given the name Angad and designated Guru Angad, becoming the second guru of the Sikhs. He continued the work started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Sahib.

He married Mata Khivi in January 1520 and had two sons (Dasu and Datu) and two daughters (Amro and Anokhi). The whole family of his father had left their ancestral village in fear of the invasion of Babar's armies. After this the family settled at Khadur Sahib, a village by the River Beas, near what is now Tarn Taran a small town about 25 km from the city of Amritsar, the Sikh holy city.

One day, Bhai Lehna heard the recitation of a hymn of Guru Nanak Dev from Bhai Jodha a neighbour who was a follower of the Guru. His mind was captured by the tune and while on his annual pilgrimage to Jwalamukhi Temple he asked his group if they would mind going to see the Guru. Everyone thought this most inappropriate and refused. Not one to shirk his responsibilities, he was after all the guide and leader of the group, he couldn't abandon them with thieves along the way. But man of honor and dharma that he was, the poems and prayers (kirtan) of Nanak still held onto his every thought. So one night without telling anyone he mounted his horse and proceeded to the village now known as Kartarpur (God's city) to visit with Guru Nanak Ji. As soon as he found the Guru, he threw himself at Nanak's feet. His very first meeting with Guru Nanak Ji completely transformed him. He dedicated himself to the service of Guru Nanak Ji and so became his disciple (Sikh) and began to live in Kartarpur.

Bhai Lehna displayed deep and loyal service to Guru Nanak. Several stories exist which display how Lehna was chosen over the Guru's sons as his successor. One of these stories is about a jug which fell into mud. Nanak's sons would not pick it up; Sri Chand, the older, refused on the grounds that the filth would pollute him, and Lakshmi Chand, the younger, objected because the task was too menial for the son of a Guru. Lehna, however, picked it out of the mud, washed it clean, and presented it to Guru Nanak full of water.[2] A different version of this story counts this as a key part of Guru Nanak deciding upon Lehna for his successor. The Guru's wife, Mataji, said to Nanak "My Lord, keep my sons in mind," meaning that she wished them to be the ones considered for succession to the guruship. Guru ordered them to come, and he threw a bowl into a tank of muddy water. The Guru ordered them to retrieve it for him, and both of them refused to do it. Guru Nanak then asked Lehna to retrieve it, and Lehna promptly complied.[3] In one instance, the Guru orders a wall of his house, which had fallen down, to be repaired. His sons refused to fix it immediately because of the storm that had knocked it down, and the lateness of the hour. They proposed that they send for masons in the morning. Guru Nanak said that he needed no masons while he had his Sikhs, and ordered them to repair it. Lehna started to repair the wall, but Nanak claimed that it was crooked when he was finished, and ordered him to knock it down and build it again. Lehna complied, and Nanak still claimed the wall was not straight. The Guru ordered him to attempt it a third time. At this, the Guru's sons called Lehna a fool for putting up with such unreasonable orders. Lehna simply replied that a servant's hands should be busy doing his master's work.[4] Yet another anecdote exists where Guru Nanak asks his Sikhs and his sons to carry three bundles of grass for his cows and buffaloes, and, as with the other examples, his sons and his followers failed to show loyalty. Lehna, however, immediately asked to be tasked with carrying the bundles, which were wet and muddy. When Lehna and the Guru arrived at the Guru's house, the Guru's wife complained at Nanak's terrible treatment of a guest, noting how his clothes were covered from head to foot with mud. Guru Nanak then replied to her, "This is not mud; it is the saffron of God's court, which marketh the elect." Upon another inspection, the Guru's wife saw that Lehna's clothes had, indeed, changed into saffron. To this day, Sikhs consider the three bundles as important symbols of spiritual affairs, temporal affairs, and the Guruship.[5] In one of the most significant stories, Guru Nanak travels through the forest with his disciples. The Guru made gold and silver coins appear in front of the group, and all but two followers ran to pick them up: Lehna and Bhai Buddha. Guru Nanak led them both to a funeral pyre, and ordered them to eat the corpse that was hidden under a shroud. Bhai Buddha Ji started thinking, but Lehna obeyed. When he lifted the shroud, he found the Guru Nanak himself underneath it.[2] In a different version of this story, Lehna is met with Parshad (sacred food) instead of Guru Nanak. Lehna offers the Parshad to the Guru, satisfied to eat of the leavings. Guru Nanak, after this test, reveals the Japji to Lehna, proclaims Lehna is of his own image, and promises that Lehna shall be the next Guru.[6]

Guru Nanak Ji had touched him and renamed him Angad (part of the body) or the second Nanak on 7 September 1539. Before becoming the new Guru he had spent six or seven years in the service of Guru Nanak Ji at Kartarpur.

After the death of Guru Nanak Ji on 22 September 1539, Guru Angad Ji left Kartarpur for the village of Khadur Sahib (near Goindwal Sahib). He carried forward the principles of Guru Nanak Ji both in letter and spirit. Yogis and Saints of different sects visited him and held detailed discussions about Sikhi with him.

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. First, it gave the people who spoke this language an identity of their own, enabling them to express their thought directly and without any difficulty or transliteration. The measure had the effect of establishing the independence of the mission and the followers of the Guru. Secondly, it helped the community to dissociate itself from 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. This measure, as shown by the subsequent growth of Sikhi, was essential in order to secure its unhindered development and progress as it required an entirely different approach to life.

Dr Gupta feels that this step, to a certain extent, kept the upper classes among Hindus, to which the Guru belonged, away from Sikhi, partly because they were steeped in the old religious and Brahminical tradition and partly because the Sanskrit tradition fed their ego by giving them a superior caste status to that of the other castes. But, the idea of equality of man was fundamental to the Sikh spiritual system. Thc Guru knew that its association with traditional religious literature would tend to water it down. The matter is extremely important from the point of view of the historical growth and study. Actually, the students of Sikh history know that over the centuries the influence of these old traditions has been very much in evidence. It has sometimes even given a wrong twist to the new thesis and its growth. The educated persons were almost entirely drawn from the upper castes and classes. They had a vested interest, visible also in their writings, in introducing ideas and practices which helped in maintaining their privileges and prejudices of caste superiority, even though such customs were opposed to the fundamentals about the equality of man laid down by the Gurus. For example, the Jats, who were themselves drawn from classes branded as low by the Brahminical system, started exhibiting caste prejudices vis-a-vis the lower castes drawn from the Hindu fold.

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 interested persons.

The institution of langar was maintained and developed. The Guru's wife personally worked in the kitchen. She also served food to the members of the community and the visitors. Her devotion to this institution finds mention in Guru Granth Sahib.

The Guru earned his own living by twisting coarse grass into strings used for cots. All offerings went to the common fund. This demonstrates that it is necessary and honourable to do even the meanest productive work. It also emphasises that parasitical living is not in consonance with the mystic and moral path. In line with Guru Nanak's teaching, the Guru also declared that there was no place for passive recluses in the community.

Like Guru Nanak, Guru Angad and the subsequent Gurus selected and appointed their successors by completely satisfying themselves about their mystic fitness and capacity to discharge the responsibilities of the mission.

About Singh Sabha Gurudwara

Registration of Singh Sabha Brisbane done in November 2009. Since 2009, a search for a suitable place for the Guru's house has also started, With the Blessing of the Satguru we got successful in this work in May 2011.

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