Guru Ram Das Jayanti is celebrated annually by the Indian Sikh community to commemorate the birth of Sikhism’s fourth Guru – Guru Ram Das Ji (24th September 1534 – 1st September 1581). He is revered for his contributions to the Sikh community and is also credited with founding the Sikh’s holiest city – Amritsar.
Guru Ram Das was born in a poor Hindu family in Lahore on 24th September 1534; however, his birthday is celebrated on 9th October, based on the Nanakshahi calendar.
Guru Ram Das Jayanti 2019
The 485th birthday of Guru Ramdas Ji was celebrated on Wednesday, 9th October 2019. In the state of Punjab and Haryana the festival is called “Gurupurab”.
Gurupurab was celebrated with religious fervor in the entire state especially in Amritsar. The arrangements were made by Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee which had displayed a Jalau at Akal Takht and at Gurudwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib.
Students of several colleges performed kirtans and organized langar (community lunch) for people from all the religions. Recital of Gurubani was a common event during the Guru Ramdas Ji Birthday celebrations.
When is Guru Ram Das Jayanti Celebrated?
The birthday of Guru Ram Das is observed based on the traditional Sikh calendar, known as the Nanakshahi calendar. It falls on 25th day of the Assu (15th September to 14th October as per Gregorian calendar) month, which is the seventh month of Nanakshahi calendar.
The date corresponds with 9th October in Gregorian calendar. Assu month coincides with Ashvin month of traditional Hindu calendar, which marks the Sard or autumn season.
Biography of Guru Ram Das
Guru Ram Das was born on 24th September 1534 in a poor Hindu family, at Chuna Mandi, Lahore (present day Pakistan) in Punjab province of undivided India. He was born in a Sodhi Khatri family to Hari Das and Daya Kaur. Ram Das became orphaned at a very early age of seven and was taken care of by his grandmother. Guru Ramdas’ initial name was Jetha.
When Jetha was 12 years old, his grandmother took him to Goindwal, where they met Sikhism’s third Guru – Guru Amar Das. Goindwal Sahib is located near Taran Taaran district of Punjab and is a sacred Sikh pilgrimage. Young Jetha devoted himself to the service of Guru Amar Das and accepted him as his mentor.
Impressed by the service and devotion of Jetha, Guru Amar Das married his younger daughter Bibi Bhani to him, thus making Jetha a family member. Despite having two of his own sons to choose as successors, Guru Amar Das instead chose Jetha, who succeeded him as Sikhism’s fourth Guru, after his death.
Though, the early life of Guru Ram Das was filled with pain and struggles, his devotion to Guru Amar Das and selfless service to humanity, made him the most revered Guru in Sikhism, after Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. As a boy he was involved in menial jobs to earn a living. He lived a simple yet devoted life and his acts were filled with service to the Guru and the community as well.
Guru Ram Das tirelessly participated in social activities, while being a disciple of Guru Amar Das. He worked at the latter’s langars (communal free kitchen) and other social services. Guru Ram Das displayed extreme physical endurance in the service of the Guru Amar Das and general public. He is known to have continued his services even after he was appointed as Sikhism’s fourth Guru.
After his coronation in 1574, Guru Ram Das faced hostile opposition from the sons of his predecessor, Guru Amar Das. He shifted to a site called Guru da Chak, chosen by Guru Amar Das, who trusted upon him to build a sacred Sikh pilgrimage. Materializing his Guru’s wish, Guru Ram Das invited traders and general people to live with him at the site.
Thus was formed the city of Ramdaspur, which was later named as Amritsar. Though the pool surrounding the Golden Temple was made by Guru Ram Das, the foundation of Sri Harmandir Sahib was laid by his son and successor – Guru Arjan Singh. Guru Arjan placed a copy of Adi Granth in Harmandir Sahib in 1604.
Guru Ram Das Ji – A Divine Healer and Protector
There is a true story related to the healing powers of Guru Ram Das. The story relates to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, a spiritual teacher and yogi. When Harbhajan Singh Khalsa was a nine year old boy in 1938, he developed a severe ear infection. The infection started to spread and neither his father Dr. Kartar Singh Puri, who was a doctor himself, nor the other doctors were able to cure the infection.
During sleep one night, young Harbhajan Singh was visited by Guru Ramdas in a dream. Guru Ramdas told him to ask his father to put onion juice in his ear to treat the infection. The boy told his father who in turn put onion juice into boy’s ear. Miraculously, the infection was healed.
The incident had a great impact on young Harbhajan Singh Puri, who started looking upon Guru Ram Das as his teacher, leader and protector. He dedicated his life to the service of Guru and cleaned floor and did other small works at the Harmandir Sahib for five years.
Harbhajan Singh Puri grew up to become a spiritual teacher and a yogi and is popular by the name “Yogi Bhajan”. He invented his own version of Kundalini Yoga and founded 3HO (Healthy, Happy and Holy organization), which today has over 300 centers in 35 countries. Though, Yogi Bhajan breathed his last on 6th October 2004, he gave the credit of all his successes to Guru Ram Das Ji.
Another true miraculous incident which projects Guru Ram Das as a divine protector; happened at Sri Harmandir Sahib on 30th April 1877 in the early morning hours around 4:30 A.M. The incident is written on a sign board outside the darshan deori at Harminder Sahib.
The written message tells about a lightning strike entering from the mountain side and exploding with a deafening sound right in front of Guru Grant Sahib. Although it all happened in the presence of hundreds of devotees sitting outside, neither any devotee nor the building was harmed in any way. Once again, this miraculous event was said to be an act of divine intervention by Guru Ram Das.
Guru Ramdas Ji Jayanti Celebration
The birthday of Guru Ram Das Ji is celebrated every year on 9th October with much reverence. He is hugely revered for his duty and devotion so much so that he is considered as equivalent to God and known as the God of miracles. Eleven days prior to his birthday, a hymn “Dhan Dhan Ramdas Guru” is chanted by the Sikh community around the globe. Gurudwaras are decorated with lights to commemorate the event.
In Sikhism all worships are directed to the holy book – Guru Granth Sahib and the Jayanti of Guru Ramdas is no exception. Guru Granth Sahib is recited in Gurudwaras across India and also abroad. People bow to the Holy book and remember the duty and devotion of Guru Ram Das.
The birthday of Guru Ram Das is celebrated in Amrit Vela (3 A.M. to 6 A.M.) with a special jap (recitation) of Guru Granth Sahib and two and a half hour recitation of “Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru”, in praise of Guru Ram Das.
Devotees bathe in Amrit Sarovar, the holy pond surrounding the golden temple. The temple itself is beautifully illuminated by decorative lighting and fireworks are displayed to commemorate the occasion. Langars are an integral part of any Sikh festival and also on Guru Ram Das Jayanti special langars are held at all the Gurudwaras around the globe.
Guru Ram Das Jayanti Significance
Guru Ram Das is believed to have miraculous powers and the day of his birth is considered as the most powerful day for fulfilling the wishes of disciples. Guru Ram Das had also composed the four rounds (pheras) known as laavan, in a traditional Sikh wedding and four engagement shabads.
Guru Ram Das played a significant role in building the Sikhism’s holiest shrine – Gurudwara Sri Harmandir Sahib and the holy pond that surrounds it. He also composed nearly ten percent (638 hymns) of Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Ram Das is also revered as a great poet and he had composed Gurubani and daily Sikh prayer called – Kirtan Sohila. His compositions are sung everyday in Golden Temple.
Guru Ram Das was an epitome of duty, devotion, service and righteousness. His chants are recited daily, not only in Harmandir Sahib but also in other Gurudwaras around the globe. By reciting chants in his praise, devotees not only remember his virtue, but also invoke the same qualities in themselves.
The life of Guru Ramdas has been an inspiration for not only the Sikh community, but for other religions as well. He manifested exceptional qualities and demonstrated that anyone from as simple a background as his, could also become a Guru, through service and devotion.