Bhai Gurdas (Punjabi: ਭਾਈ ਗੁਰਦਾਸ; 1551 – August 25, 1636) was an influential Sikh figure, writer, historian and preacher. He was the original scribe of Guru Granth Sahib and later served as the first Jathedar of Akal Takht.
|1st Jathedar of Akal Takht|
|Preceded by||Position Established|
|Succeeded by||Mani Singh|
Goindwal, Tarn Taran, the Punjab
|Died||August 25, 1636 (aged 84–85)
Goindwal, Tarn Taran, the Punjab
|Known for||Transcribing the Adi Granth
Vaaran Bhai Gurdas
Gurdas was born in 1551 at Goindwal, a small village in the Punjab. He was the only child of Bhai Ishar Das, first cousin of Guru Amar Das, and Jivani. Gurdas was barely 3 years of age when his mother died.
After being orphaned at the age of 12, he was adopted by Guru Amar Das. Gurdas learned Sanskrit, Braj Bhasha, Persian and Punjabi and eventually began preaching. He spent his early years at Goindval and Sultanpur Lodhi. At Goindval, Gurdas listened and obtained knowledge from scholars and swamis that continuously visited the town while traversing the Delhi-Lahore road. He later moved to Varanasi, where he studied Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures. After Guru Amar Das died, his successor Guru Ram Das assigned Gurdas as a Sikh missionary to Agra.
In 1577, Gurdas contributed his labour to excavating the pool at Harmandir Sahib. Twenty years later, he went on an expedition to Kartarpur and recited many of the early hymns to Emperor Akbar. Akbar was impressed by their spiritual content and was satisfied they had no anti-Muslim tone.
After Guru Ram Das died, Gurdas formed a close relationship with the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan. The Guru had great respect for him, and regarded him as his maternal uncle (“mama“). Gurdas led a group of Sikhs to Gwalior, where the Mughal emperor Jahangir, jealous of the popularity of Sikhism, had imprisoned Guru Hargobind.After that, Gurdas was sent to Kabul, Kashmir, Rajasthan, and Varanasi again to preach Sikhism. He even went to Sri Lanka, preaching the name of the Guru among the masses and showing them the true way of life.
Bhai Gurdas completed the Adi Granth in 1604. It took him nearly 19 years to scribe. He not only wrote the Adi Granth, as dictated by Guru Arjan, but also supervised four other scribes (Bhai Haria, Bhai Sant Das, Bhai Sukha and Bhai Manasa Ram) in the writing of various Sikh scriptures. His other works in Punjabi are collectively called Vaaran Bhai Gurdas.
- 6 Chands of 8 Verses each in Sanskrit
- 672 Kabits and 3 Swayyas in Brij Bhasha
- 40 Vaars containing 912 Pauris in Panjabi
Elevation as the first Jathedar of Akal Takhat
The Akal Takht was revealed by Guru Hargobind on 15 June 1606. The foundation stone of the building of the Akal Takht was laid down by Guru Hargobind himself. The rest of the structure was completed by Baba Buddha and Bhai Gurdas. No mason or any other person was permitted to participate in the construction of the structure. Guru Hargobind himself was the custodian of the Takht. On 31 December 1612, when Guru Hargobind was imprisoned at Gwalior Fort, he assigned Baba Buddha to perform the services at Harmandir Sahib and Bhai Gurdas as the first Jathedar of Akal Takht.
He died on 25 August 1636 at Goindwal. Guru Hargobind personally performed the ceremonial service at his funeral.