Guru Amar Das
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|Guru Amar Das Ji
ਗੁਰੂ ਅਮਰ ਦਾਸ
Guru Amar Das - Goindwal
|Born||5 May 1479
Basarke Gillan, Amritsar, Punjab, India
|Died||1 September 1574 (aged 95)
|Other names||The Third Master|
|Successor||Guru Ram Das|
|Spouse(s)||Mata Mansa Devi|
|Children||Bhai Mohan, Bhai Mohri, Bibi Dani, and Bibi Bhani|
|Parent(s)||Tej Bhan & Mata Lachmi|
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Amar Das was the eldest son of Tej Bhan a farmer, trader and of Mata Lachmi. He was a shopkeeper and lived in Basarke, a village near Amritsar. He was married to Mata Mansa Devi and they had four children - two sons named Bhai Mohan and Bhai Mohri and two daughters named Bibi Dani and Bibi Bhani. Bibi Bhani later married Bhai Jetha who became the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das. Before becoming a Sikh, Amar Das was a very religious Vaishanavite Hindu. One day, he heard some hymns by Guru Nanak being sung by Bibi Amro, daughter of Guru Angad. She was married to his nephew, Bhai Jasso. Amar Das was impressed and moved by the hymns and decided to go and see Guru Angad Dev at Khadur Sahib. Amar Das was 61 years old at that time.
Adoption of Sikhism
Upon meeting Guru Angad, Amar Das was touched by the Guru's message and became a devout Sikh. He started living there and became involved in service to the Guru and the community. He adopted the Guru as his spiritual guide. He was dedicated to service to the Guru and had completely extinguished pride. He was so totally lost in this commitment that he was considered to be an old man who had no interest in life. He was dubbed Amru, and generally forsaken.
As a result of the commitment by Amar Das to Sikhi principles, dedicated service and devotion to the Sikh cause, Guru Angad Dev appointed him as the third Guru Nanak in March 1552 at the age of 73. Guru Amar Das established his headquarters at the newly built town of Goindwal, which Guru Angad Dev had established. He strengthened the Langar community kitchen system. Guru Amar Das started the Manji and Piri system by appointing 94 men as Manji and 52 women as Piris for the spread of Sikhism. The word Manji (wooden cot) and Piri (very small wooden cot) are taken as the cot/seat of authority in this context from which the Sikh Manji's (male Sikh preachers) and Piris (female Sikh preachers) as the holders of seat of religious authority would teach Sikhism to other men and women respectively. Later, Manji was significantly enhanced by the 7th Sikh Guru Har Rai by establishing additional 360 Manjis. The Guru had a cordial relationship with Emperor Akbar, who compared to other Muslim rulers was relatively less intolerant. Guru Amar Das influenced Akbar to stop the persecution of Hindus and Sikhs by removing Islamic Jizya toll taxes on non-Muslims for crossing Yamuna and Ganges rivers. The Guru prohibited Sikhs from visiting and paying obeisance to Muslims religious places.
Death and succession
Guru Amar Das died at the age of 95 on 1 September 1574. Before his death, he convened a Sikh congregation headed by Baba Buddha that was also attended by the Guru's two sons Mohan and Mohri. He appointed his son-in-law Jetha as his successor and renamed him Guru Ram Das.
26 March 1552 – 1 September 1574
Guru Ram Das