Amar Dās, Gurū

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Amar Dās, Gurū (1479–1574 CE). Third Sikh Guru. Gurū Amar Dās, the son of Tej Bhān, was born into a Bhallā Khatrī family to Lachhmī in Bāsarke village, Amritsar District, Pañjāb. In 1552 Amar Dās was installed as Gurū by Aṅgad.

As Gurū, Amar Dās was responsible for establishing practices distinctively Sikh yet reminiscent of Hindu custom: (i) he instructed Sikhs to gather to worship the one God on the first days of the Hindu months, Vaiśākhi (April-May), Māgha (Jan.-Feb.) and on Dīvālī; (ii) he had a deep well dug at Goindvāl as a Sikh tīrath; (iii) he provided distinctive rituals for birth and death, replacing the Sanskrit śaloks with hymns of the Gurūs; (iv) also ascribed to Gurū Amar Dās is the Mohan Pothī, a two-volume collection of hymns (composed by himself, his two predecessors, and six bhagats, Kabīr, N̄amdev, Trilochan, Seiṇ, Ravidās, and Jaidev), which served as a nucleus for Gurū Arjan Dev's compilation of the Ādi Granth; (v) Gurū Amar Dās emphasized the importance of the Gurū-kā-laṅgar in the motto ‘pahale paṅgat picche saṅgat’, i.e. ‘First sit in a laṅgar row, then sit in the congregation.’ This denial of caste distinction antagonized the brahmans.

Aged 95, Amar Dās died at Goindvāl.