Guru Arjan Dev

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Fast Facts
Sikhism, Sant Mat, Surat Shabd Yoga
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
15 April 1563
Place of Birth: 
Amritsar, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
30 May 1606
Other Related Gurus: 
Guru Nanak Dev | Guru Angad Dev | Guru Amar Das | Guru Ram Das | Guru Arjun Dev | Guru Har Gobind | Guru Har Rai | Guru Har Krishan | Guru Teg Bahadur | Guru Gobind Singh | (Followed by Guru Granth Sahib, Perpetual Guru of the Sikhs)


Guru Arjan Dev Ji or Guru Arjun Dev Ji (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜੁਨ ਦੇਵ) (born in Amritsar, Punjab, India on 15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606 Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan) was the fifth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became a Guru on 1 September 1581 following in the footsteps of Guru Ram Das. He was born at Goindval, and was the youngest of the sons of Guru Ram Das and Bibi Bhani, the daughter of Guru Amar Das. Before his death, he nominated his son Har Gobind as the next Guru of the Sikhs.

Guru Arjan was head of Sikhism for a quarter of a century and accomplished a lot during his regime. He completed the construction of Amritsar and founded other cities such as Taran Taran and Kartarpur. He constructed a Baoli at Lahore. The most important work of Arjan Dev was the compilation of Adi Granth. He collected all the work of the first four Gurus and dictated it in the form of verses in 1604. It is, perhaps, the only book of a scriptural nature which still exists in the form first published (a hand written manuscript) by the Guru. It and the Guru Granth Sahib which includes the writing of the later Gurus have managed to avoid the embellishments, additions and alterations that have plagued the original writing of other more ancient religious texts.

Guru Arjan organised the Masand system, a group of representatives who taught and spread the teachings of the Gurus and also collected the Dasvand , one tenth of a Sikh's income (in money, goods or service) that Sikhs paid to support the building of Gurdwaras, the all important Guru ka Langars (free communal kitchens) originally intended to support the poor, the elderly, still an important element today in any Gurdwara. The Langars were open to any visitors and were designed from the start to stress the idea of equality and a casteless society. The land that Amritsar is built upon is believed to be a jagir (estates gifted to individuals under the Mughal system which included one or more villages and often a portion of the crops produced on the land) given as a gift by the Emperor Akbar, who was impressed by the practice, after sharing a meal in the Guru's communal kitchen, seated on the floor among commoners.


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