Guru Ram Das was the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, and he remained much loved and respected for seven years of his guruship. He did the work assigned to him by Guru Amardas with great dedication and devotion, and thus added a lot of glory to the Sikh religion and community throughout the country.
He had won many people over with his simplicity, his faith in his religion, and by his utmost respect for all the other religions of the country. He had even succeeded in diffusing all misunderstandings and ill-feelings in the minds of other scholars. Even Emperor Akbar realised the affinity he shared with Guru Ram Das about a common religion for all mankind. He had earned the emperor’s respect and admiration not just for his religious ideas and activities, but also for his humility.
In fact, it was this very humility in his nature that he did not leave any record of his life and work behind. Guru Ram Das believed that a man’s work and actions, in his lifetime, were his true legacy.
Like his predecessors he had composed quite a few devotional hymns which were later included in the Adi Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs. But that was never his priority. For him, the only meaning of hjs life was to serve his people, his Guru, and carry on the work of Guru Nanak to the best of his abilities. Almost all his time was spent in looking after the religious work at Goindwal and Amritsar, looking after Guru Amardas’s work and supervising the construction of the holy tank, along with the establishment of the new city.
He taught his disciples the virtues and values inherent in the Sikh religion and in the teachings of their Gurus. He not only emphasised the value of service, but even inspired his disciples to serve their fellowmen by one’s life and work. He worked hard to see that the langar or the free kitchen was never short of food for his people, and that everyone irrespective of caste, religion and creed could partake of food in his kitchen.
Guru Ram Das was the epitome of
patience, devotion and humilit}’, and his devotees grew in large number because he treated them like his children. He had great faith in his people, and his devotees had great faith in him. They came from all corners of the country to seek his blessings. The Guru made them all feel special and endeared them to him. Anyone who met him began to treat him as his Guru. He wielded a lot of power over people, by love and not by force. He was a humanitarian, a healer, and a sage in the true sense.
Guru Ram Das practised what he
preached. What he practised was what Guru Nanak had taught, and passed down the ages for all Sikhs. He believed that God helped those who have endurance and patience. He was of the opinion that it is in the service of man and God that real joy could be found. It was in this service that he gave up his life. He believed in whole-hearted service and paid no heed to his health as he moved from Goindwal to Amritsar to Lahore to serve his people. This is what took its toll on him, and he left the world at the young age of forty-seven.
Just like the Sun that forever sends out its revitalising and life-giving rays, Guru Ram Das’s life continues to inspire people to this day.