Search for the Guru 10 : Guru Amardas Ji

Once his sons grew up Amardas had ample time to pursue his religious activities.

Although a man of profound knowledge of religious philosophy, his thirst to gain a better insight into life compelled him to search for a Guru. He adopted various paths in quest of one like fasting, living in the company of sadhus, etc. He even observed the penances performed by the yogis and hermits, attended the sermons and discourses delivered by pandits, and also visited holy men engaged in meditation in solitary caverns. Even though he held them in high esteem and valued their religious activities, they did not appeal to him as a Guru.

Meeting with Pandit

Bhai Amardas religiously visited Hardwar once a year for the holy dip in the river Ganges. On one such trip he came in contact with a monk called Brahmachari. Similar interest in religion brought them together. On their return journey they stopped at the house of Durga Pandit, in the village of Mehre.

When Bhai Amardas was resting Durga Pandit, an astrologer by profesion, noticed Padam Rekha, that is lines shaped in the form of a lotus on the palms and the soles of Bhai Amardas. The learned Pandit wondered at the interpretation of these lines, as the old man of sixty appeared to be a poor pilgrim while the lines indicated his fate to be that of a Chakravati king or a saint of supreme type.

The Pandit spoke out loudly that the rekhas must bring their fruit. The sound woke Bhai Amardas. He smiled at the Pandit’s prediction and offered some money as dakshina. Pandit promised to accept dakshina when his prediction would come true.

Next day, Bhai Amardas and the

Brahmachari left for Basarke. They reached in a couple of weeks. Bhai Amardas’s family welcomed them warmly. The Brahmachari stayed as a guest, and enjoyed the hospitality of Bhai Amardas.

One day , the monk asked Bhai Amardas about his Guru who had taught him such wisdom and piety. Amardas was silent for a while, and then said he had no guru but he f £$in search of one. Instead of guiding or sympathising with his friend the monk lamented that he had eaten from the hands of a man who had no Guru! Before Amardas could pacify the guest he left the house without his belongings. This incident greatly troubled Amardas, and it kindled a new desire to find a Guru.

The Search for the Guru ends

Amardas was troubled by this incident and was unable to find solace for a long time.

Though he would carry out various religious rituals and ceremonies dutifully, he still felt dissatisfied and incomplete. His mind was always restless as if desperately seeking something. He felt lifeless. He wanted a Guru, a teacher who could guide him spiritually, and help him resolve the inner conflicts that plagued him. He was looking for peace of mind and he knew that only a true Guru could show him the right path.

One day, as he was lying on his bed, he heard a sweet and melodious voice rendering some beautiful hymns. He woke up with a start. He found himself being drawn to the hymns. He walked towards the voice singing those enchanting hymns. As he went closer and closer, the voice became louder and louder. He had this feeling, this wonderful feeling that his search for solace was coming to an end. As he approached the lake, he found Guru Angad’s daughter, Bibi Amro, singing those hymns. He asked her what she was singing and who had taught her such beautiful hymns. Bibi Amro, who used to sing hymns daily after her morning bath, was surprised at the question asked by her unclein-law. She informed him that they were devotional hymns that had been composed by Guru Nanak, and she had learnt them from her father, Guru Angad. She was made to recite these hymns everyday, after her morning bath, as it cleansed the mind and the soul.

Amardas knew that he had found his Guru. So deeply moved was he by the holy verses that he could feel that they were the words, the thoughts of the one who would become his spiritual guide for life. He requested Bibi Amro to take him to Guru Angad right away. Touched by his humble request, Bibi Amro arranged a meeting for him with her father.

The very next morning, she accompanied Amardas to Khadur, to visit her father.

Khadur was a rural area in Amritsar. When Guru Angad was made the second Gurtkpf the Sikhs, he had been asked by Guru Nanak to stay there and establish a settlement in that small district.

When they reached the Guru’s house y Guru Angad rose to greet the sixty-one year old man from his daughter-in-law’s house.

But Amardas immediately came forward, went down on his knees and touched Guru Angad’s feet, even though he was twenty years his senior. Seeing this, Guru Angad was surprised as was everyone else. But Amardas humbly asked Guru Angad to accept him as his disciple and bless him. He requested the Guru not to think of him as a relative or even as a man older to him in years. Instead, he asked the Guru to take him under his wings and show him the right path.

One look at the saintly face of Guru Angad, and Amardas knew that this was the teacher he had been looking for. The angelic face of the Guru was so captivating that Amardas could not take his eyes off him. He felt very peaceful and serene in the Guru’s presence. And now that he had found him, he was never going to let go. He pleaded with Guru Angad to accept him as his Sikh. Guru Angad smiled as he noticed his perseverance and keenness. Then he gently lifted him by the shoulders and accepted him as his new disciple. So overjoyed and touched was Amardas that he began to cry, and thanked Guru Angad for giving him the honour of serving him.

Guru Angad then applied the tilak on Amardas’s forehead and welcomed him to the Sikh community. From that day on, Amardas began living in Khadur, devoting himself completely to his Guru’s service. He felt rejuvenated and alive as though he had been reborn. He derived great pleasure and satisfaction from serving the Guru in any way he could, and despite his age he never felt tired and weary. He began to look after Guru Angad’s needs and requirements personally, and was involved in all the Guru’s spiritual activities.

He worked all day in the Guru-ka-langar, helping out in cooking the food and serving it to the hundreds of people who came to eat. He served everyone with equal love and dedication, regardless of their background.

This endeared him greatly to the poor who came there to be fed by him. He loved the daily prayers and would listen intently as the Guru preached to the whole Sikh community.

He would wake up very early in the morning to fetch water for the Guru’s bath.

He never once shirked from his

responsiblities, and did all his work with utmost dedication.

Life at Khadur

Bhai Amardas’s day began before dawn each day. First, he would walk down to the river Beas, about 5 kms away, and fetch water for the Guru. No adverse weather conditions deterred his activities. Later he participated in reciting hymns in praise of God, served the langar, cleaned utensils, and took his simple meal. He stayed at Khadur doing odd services. His duties went on till late in the night. Only when the Guru was comfortably in bed would Bhai Amardas leave for Goindwal. This routine continued for twelve years.