After the death of Guru Amardas, Guru Ram Das began working on the township with greater devotion and urgency. He was aware that it was the heartiest wish of his Guru that the township be established soon. So it became his first priority. The town which came to be called Amritsar or the pool of nectar became the shrine of all the Sikhs.
There is a very interesting story about how the miraculous power of the pool in this city came to be known to the people there. It goes like this:
In the small town of Patti, an old
settlement near Goindwal, there lived a kardar or the revenue collector. He had five daughters, all beautiful and young. While no one in the family, least of all the father, was religious, the youngest daughter was a staunch devotee of God. She spent her time in prayers and in other religious activities. Soon all the girls, except the youngest, were married and gone. The father would often taunt her undying faith in God and his ways.
He felt that she was never grateful for all that he did for her, and attributed it all to God.
When he spoke to her about her marriage she would say that God would take care of it.
Irritated by her faith in God, the proud man decided to teach her a lesson. He got her married to a crippled leper, and told her that God had decided such a sorry fate for his devotee. But the girl was unaffected. She calmly accepted her fate and left town with her husband.
So strong was her faith in God that she took care of her husband lovingly and devotedly, believing that God must have a good reason for this. She nursed her husband as well as she could, and together they went from place to place. Once, on their way they stopped by the pond, near the tank that was being constructed by Guru Ram Das. The girl made her husband sit under a tree, and went to fetch some food.
While she was away the leper saw
something very strange. He saw a pair of crows taking a dip in the water. When they surfaced they had turned into beautiful swans. He watched in amazement as they flew away before his very eyes. He suddenly realised that there was some special power in the pond. Unable to stop himself he tried to move towards it in his crippled state. He dragged himself with great effort, and finally, managed to take a dip in the water. When he came out he could not believe his eyes. His whole body had become clean and healthy. He looked at his reflection in the clear water and saw that even his face had cleared up. He cried out in joy and jumped around in glee.
Just then his wife returned, and began looking for her husband. Seeing her, the man ran up to her and told her the whole story. But the girl did not believe a word of what he said.
She panicked at the thought that this good looking young man might have killed her invalid husband to get to her. She began crying and yelled at him for being so evil, while the man kept insisting that he was none other than her husband.
Meanwhile, Ram Das was on the other
side of the pool supervising the tank construction. She decided to go to him and seek justice. Her husband too followed her.
When the Guru saw them approaching he smiled at them, and began praising the ways of God. The girl was surprised when the Guru told her that her husband was indeed cured by the healing pond. But somehow she still could not believe it.
So Guru Ram Das asked the young man to put forth his hand. The girl saw that one of his fingers was still stricken with leprosy. He then asked him to dip it in the water so that his wife could be satisfied. When the man did so, the girl was amazed to see that it had become as clear as his body. She was thrilled with joy, and along with her husband they sought the Guru’s blessings. This is how the city around that pool came to be known as ‘Amritsar’.
The news of this miracle spread far and wide. People from all corners of the country came to visit the holy tank, and seek the blessings of the Guru. Whoever came to meet the Guru did not leave without becoming a better Sikh. They were so taken in by his deep and lucid teachings that stressed on love and service to all living beings, that it changed their lives. Whoever came to Amritsar wanted to contribute, in some way or another, to the good work that the Guru was doing. Some of them stayed back to lend a helping hand with the construction work, while others
contributed food for the langar.
Many people who visited Guru Ram Das were impressed and inspired by the fact that he believed and followed Guru Nanak’s teachings so faithfully. Like Guru Nanak, he too believed in active life. When the devotees saw the Guru working with them they began to take great pride not only in this holy work, but in every other work. This is what Guru Ram Das wanted most from his devotees, since he believed that the daily chores of life were as holy as any other religious work, and should be done with as much devotion.
Following these teachings, the Sikhs learnt to love and respect their work. It even gave them the courage to continue with their work even in the face of failure. Soon more and more people came to the holy city of Amritsar to have a glimpse of the Guru.
Within no time Amritsar became the centre of Sikh activity in the country.