Sikh Gurus

The word “Guru” is a Sanskrit word meaning teacher, honoured person, religious person or saint. Sikhism though has a very specific definition of the word Guru. It means the descent of divine guidance to mankind provided through ten Enlightened Masters. This honour of being called a Sikh Guru applies only to the ten Gurus who founded the religion starting with Guru Nanak in 1469 and ending with Guru Gobind Singh in 1708; thereafter it refers to the Sikh Holy Scriptures the Guru Granth Sahib. The divine spirit was passed from one Guru to the next as “The light of a lamp which lights another does not abate. Similarly a spiritual leader and his disciple become equal, Nanak says the truth.”

“They distinguish and separate one Guru from the other. And rare is the one who knows that they, indeed, were one. They who realised this in their hearts, attained Realisation of God.” (Guru Gobind Singh, Dohira, Vachitra Natak)

The term ‘Guru’ in Sikhism is not used for a teacher or a guide or an expert or even a human body. The word Guru is composed of two terms-

GU- means darkness &  RU- means Light.

In Sikhism the word ‘Guru’ is, thus, defined as the Light that dispels all darkness, and that is called JOT (Divine Light). Guru Nanak was, therefore, the EMBODIMENT of Divine Light:

‘Gur Nanak Dev Govind roop.’  (Basant Mohalla 5, p-1192, Guru Granth Sahib)
‘Guru Nanak is embodiment of the Light of God.’ (Translation of the above)

The Guru in Sikhism is a perfect Prophet or Messenger of God in whom the Light of God shines fully, visibly and completely. Guru is in union with Divine. Thus he ushers the devotees, the seekers of Truth into a spiritual birth. Through him the Glory of the Lord is transmitted to humanity. On account of his Divine prerogatives, the Guru, though human in form, is Divine in Spirit.

Literally Guru Nanak’s body was a platform from which God Himself spoke and delivered His message- Gurbani (Divine Word). God manifested Himself through Guru Nanak:

‘Gur meh aap samoai sabad vartaya.’ (Var Malar ki Mohalla 1, p-1279)
‘In the true Guru (Nanak) He installed His Own Spirit Through him, God speaketh Himself.’ (Translation of the above) .

God is in the Guru and Guru is in God. Though God is everywhere and in everybody but His traits are illuminated through the Guru. The Jot (Divine Light) that enshrined Guru Nanak’s body and the Primal Jot of God are, therefore, one and the same:

‘Gur Nanak Nanak har soai.’  (Gaund Mohalla 5, p-865)
‘O Nanak, Jot of Nanak and God are one.’ (Translation of the above)

Ten Sikh Gurus [Das Patshaiyan]

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539)
Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji (1504 – 1552)
Sri Guru Amardas Ji (1479 – 1574)
Sri Guru Ramdas Ji (1534 – 1581)
Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563 – 1606)
Sri Guru Har Gobind Ji (1595-1644)
Sri Guru Har Rai Ji (1630-1661)
Sri Guru HarKrishan Ji (1656-1664)
Sri Guru Teg Bhadur Ji (1621 -1675)
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708)
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (An Everlasting Guru)

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