Guru Ram Das Biography

Guru Ram Das was the fourth of the ten Gurus of Sikhism. This biography of Guru Ram Das provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: October 9, 1534

Nationality: Indian

Famous: Spiritual & Religious Leaders Indian Men

Died At Age: 46

Sun Sign: Libra

Born in: Lahore

Famous as: Fourth Sikh Guru


Spouse/Ex-: Mata Bhani

children: Baba Mahan Dev, Baba Prithi Chand, Guru Arjan

Died on: September 1, 1581

place of death: Goindval

City: Lahore, Pakistan

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Guru Ram Das was the fourth of the ten Gurus of Sikhism. He took forward the legacy of the first three Sikh gurus and made significant contributions to the development of Sikhism. He is especially revered for planning and developing the township of Ramdaspur which became the city of Amritsar, the holiest city of the Sikhs. Born into a Sodhi Khatri family in Lahore as Jetha, he was raised by pious and hardworking Hindu parents. He was spiritually inclined from a young age and sought the company of holy men. As a young man he came across a party of Sikhs who were on their way to Goindwal to pay homage to Guru Amar Das and decided to join them. On meeting the guru he was deeply influenced by his holiness and became his disciple. He worked hard under the guru’s supervision and served him wholeheartedly. Guru Amar Das was so impressed by the young man’s dedication that he gave his daughter in marriage to him. Jetha continued being a dedicated Sikh totally devoted to the service of God and humanity which made Guru Amar Das select him as his successor. Jetha assumed the Guru Gaddi as Guru Ram Das following the death of his predecessor.

Childhood & Early Life
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Later Life
  • Jetha was a strong young man who believed in the dignity of physical labor. He worked hard in the various construction projects that were taking place in Goindwal under the guru’s supervision.
  • With time he endeared himself to Guru Amar Das who was very impressed by his hard work and determination. The guru decided to get him married to his daughter and the wedding took place in 1554.
  • The couple remained in Goindwal following their marriage and worked together in developing the place as an upcoming Sikh town. They performed voluntary service (Sewa) in the construction of the Baoli Sahib (sacred well) and continued their service to the guru.
  • In the late 1560s, some jealous Hindus complained to the Mughal Emperor Akbar that Guru Amar Das maligned both the Hindu and the Muslim religions with his teachings of Sikhism. On receiving the complaint, the Emperor sent a special messenger to Goindwal asking Guru Amar Das to see him.
  • Guru Amar Das could not go personally due to his advancing age but he sent Bhai Jetha instead to defend the tenets of Sikhism. Jetha successfully represented the guru before Akbar and satisfactorily replied to every query of the Mughal emperor. Impressed by the explanation given by Jetha, Akbar dismissed all the charges against the guru.
  • Jetha began building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564 and went on to found the township of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. In Amritsar he designed the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Darbaar sahib or Golden Temple.
  • Guru Amar Das chose Bhai Jetha as his successor. He renamed him Guru Ram Das and gave him the title of Sikh Guru on 30 August 1574. Guru Amar Das died on 1 September 1574, leaving behind Guru Ram Das to carry forward the legacy of the Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Ram Das served as the Sikh leader for seven years. He composed many hymns, of which 688 are in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh supreme granth. His compositions are also included in Rehras Sahib and Kirtan Sohila which are daily prayers of Sikhs.
Major Works
  • Guru Ram Das is best known as the founder of the holy city of Amritsar, previously known as Ramdaspur. He founded it in 1574 on land he bought for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. The guru then designed the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib which translates as "The Abode of God". The gurdwara, informally known as the Golden Temple is one of the most famous tourist attractions in India.
  • He composed many hymns, including ‘Laavan’, a four-stanza hymn about the meaning of marriage. This hymn is read during the standard Sikh marriage ceremony known as the Anand Karaj during which the couple circumscribe the Guru Granth Sahib as each stanza of the Laavan is read.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He was married to Bibi Bhani, the younger daughter of Guru Amar Das. They had three sons: Prithi Chand, Mahadev and Arjan. He chose his son Arjan as his successor.
  • Guru Ram Das died on 1 September 1581, in the city of Amritsar, Punjab.

See the events in life of Guru Ram Das in Chronological Order

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Guru Ram Das

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