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Gurus (Sikh Masters)

Subject Indian Traditions » Sikhism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxxiii ] The S ikh community (the P anth ) with its distinctive doctrines (G urmat ) derives from a succession of ten Gurus who taught in the Punjab during the 16th and 17th centuries. N anak (1469–1539 ce ), first of the ten, was born a H indu in an area ruled by Muslims. His teachings, delivered in hymns of superb quality, bear the characteristic S ant impress with little evidence of Muslim influence ( see S ant tradition of northern india ) [27: v ]. An extensive hagiography (the J anam-sakhis ) describes his childhood and missionary travels [27: iv ]. Eventually he returned to the Punjab and there attracted disciples, one of whom succeeded him as Guru Angad (1504–52). The third Guru, Amar Das (1479–1574), consolidated the Panth, particularly in terms of pastoral supervision [26: 7–9, 41–2]. His son-in-law, Guru Ram Das (1534–81), founded the town of Amritsar ( see G urdwaras ) and at his death confirmed the succession in his own family by choosing his youngest son Arjan (1563–1606) as fifth Guru. Arjan's term was important, partly because he compiled the principal scripture (the A di granth ) and partly because the Mogul authorities began to taken an unfriendly interest in the Panth. Guru Arjan died in Mogul ( see I slamic dynasties ) custody, and the skirmishes which followed in the time of Guru Hargobind (1595–1644) strengthened those elements within the Panth ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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