Sikh gurus

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A miniature painting, dated 1890, depicting an "imaginary portrait" of the ten gurus and others.[1]
Gurus of the Sikhs. Fresco from Dera Nirmala, Tanda-Hoshiarpur.

The Sikh gurus (Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖ ਗੁਰੂ; Devanagari: सिख गुरु) are the spiritual masters of Sikhism, who established this religion over the course of about two and a half centuries, beginning in 1469.[2] The year 1469 marks the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. He was succeeded by nine other human gurus until, in 1708, the Guruship was finally passed on by the tenth guru to the holy Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, which is now considered the living Guru by the followers of the Sikh faith.[3]

Etymology and definition[edit]

Guru (/ˈɡr/, UK also /ˈɡʊr, ˈɡʊər-/; Sanskrit: गुरु, Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ, IAST: guru) is a Sanskrit term for a "teacher, guide, expert, or master" of certain knowledge or field.[4] Bhai Vir Singh, in his dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib describes the term Guru as a combination of two separate units: "Gu;(ਗੁ)" meaning darkness and "Rū;(ਰੂ)" which means light.[5] Hence, Guru is who brings light into darkness or in other words, the one who enlightens.

Bhai Vir Singh's definition provides further insight about Sikhi itself and explains why Guru Granth Sahib is considered the living Guru. The word Sikh is derived from the Sanskrit term shishya[6](Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖ) which means a disciple or a student. Thus, Sikhs have a student–teacher relationship with their Gurus since their teachings, written in Guru Granth Sahib, serve as a guide for the Sikhs.

The gurus[edit]

No. Name Portrait Birth date Guruship Birthplace Born as Father Mother Date of death Reason Place of death
1 Guru Nanak Dev Ji Mural painting of Guru Nanak from Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai.jpg 14 April 1469 [note 1] Since birth Nankana Sahib, Punjab, Delhi Sultanate Hindu Khatri Kalyan Das Bedi Mata Tripta 22 September 1539(1539-09-22) (aged 70) Natural causes Kartarpur, Punjab, Mughal Empire
2 Guru Angad Dev Ji Guru Angad from a painting at the Lahore Museum.jpg 31 March 1504 7 September 1539 Muktsar, Punjab, Mughal Empire Hindu Khatri Baba Pheru Mal Mata Ramo 29 March 1552(1552-03-29) (aged 47) Natural causes Khadur Sahib, Punjab, Mughal Empire
3 Guru Amar Das Ji Amardas-Goindwal.jpg 5 May 1479 26 April 1552 Amritsar, Punjab, Mughal Empire Hindu Khatri Tej Bhan Bhalla Mata Lachmi 1 September 1574(1574-09-01) (aged 95) Natural causes Goindval, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire
4 Guru Ram Das Ji Guru Ram Das.jpg 24 September 1534 1 September 1574 Lahore, Punjab, Mughal Empire Hindu Khatri Baba Har Das Mata Daya 1 September 1581(1581-09-01) (aged 46) Natural causes Goindval, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire
5 Guru Arjan Dev Ji Guru Arjan.jpg 15 April 1563 1 September 1581 Goindval, Punjab, Mughal Empire Sikh Guru Ram Das Ji Mata Bhani 30 May 1606(1606-05-30) (aged 43) Execution by Mughal Emperor Jahangir Lahore, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire
6 Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji Guru Hargobind, The sixth Guru of Sikhism.jpg 19 June 1595 25 May 1606 Amritsar, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire Sikh Guru Arjan Dev Ji Mata Ganga 28 February 1644(1644-02-28) (aged 48) Natural causes Kiratpur Sahib, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire
7 Guru Har Rai Ji Guru Har Rai.jpg 16 January 1630 3 March 1644 Kiratpur Sahib, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire Sikh Baba Gurditta Mata Nihal Kaur 6 October 1661(1661-10-06) (aged 31) Natural causes Delhi, Delhi Subah, Mughal Empire
8 Guru Har Krishan Ji Sri Guru Har Krishan Ji Gurudwara Pothi Mala.jpg 7 July 1656 7 October 1661 Kiratpur Sahib, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire Sikh Guru Har Rai Ji Mata Krishan Kaur 30 March 1664(1664-03-30) (aged 7) Smallpox Delhi, Delhi Subah, Mughal Empire
9 Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Guru teg bahadur.jpg 1 April 1621 20 March 1664 Amritsar, Lahore Subah, Mughal Empire Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji Mata Nanaki 11 November 1675(1675-11-11) (aged 54) Execution by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Delhi, Delhi Subah, Mughal Empire
10 Guru Gobind Singh Ji Guru Gobind Singh contemporary painting.jpg 5 January 1666 11 November 1675 Patna Sahib, Bihar Subah, Mughal Empire Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Mata Gujri 7 October 1708(1708-10-07) (aged 41) Assassinated by Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg on order of Wazir Khan Hazur Sahib, Bidar Subah, Mughal Empire
11 Guru Granth Sahib Sri Guru Granth Sahib Nishan.jpg 29 August 1604 20 October 1708



Bansawali Guru Sahiban Ki[note 2]

Imaginary Meeting of Guru Nanak and the rest of the Sikh Gurus, Bhai Mardana, and others. 1780 painting

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Officially observed on Katak Puranmashi (October–November)
  2. ^ Listed names and relations might vary from source to source since different aspects of Sikh history have been written by many different individuals over the course of past six centuries


  1. ^ The Sikhs. E.J. Brill. p. 38. ISBN 9004095543.
  2. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 186–187. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  3. ^ The Sikhs : faith, philosophy & folk. Lustre Press. ISBN 9788174360373.
  4. ^ Stefan Pertz (2013), The Guru in Me - Critical Perspectives on Management, GRIN Verlag, ISBN 978-3638749251, p. 2–3.
  5. ^ Singh, Veer (1964). Sri Guru Granth Kosh. p. 122.
  6. ^ World religions : from ancient history to the present. ISBN 978-0-87196-129-7.