Biography of Guru Angad Dev (1504 – 1552)
Guru Angad Dev (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਅੰਗਦ ਦੇਵ) was the Second Sikh Guru who started the Gurumukhi language that is the writing script of Sikh Religion.
The second Sikh Guru contributed the following to the people of the world:
- To do Nishkam Sewa Selfless Service to humanity.
- Completely surrender to the Will of God.
- Disapproval of exhibitionism and hypocrisy.
- Formalized the present form of the Gurmukhi script
- Establishment of Langar.
- Name: Bhai Lahna
- Famous name: Guru Angad Dev
- Birth: 31 March 1504
- Place of Birth: Harike Village, Ferozepur, Punjab
- Father: Pheru Mal
- Mother: Mata Ramo
- Marriage: January 1520
- Wife: Mata Khivi
- Children: Two sons, Dasu Ji and Datu Ji, and two daughters, Amro Ji and Anokhi Ji.
- Guruship: From age 35 for 13 years: 1539 to 1552
- Death: 29 March 1552.
- Death Place: Amritsar
- Indian spiritual teacher: Standardising the Gurmukhi Script
- Spiritual Predecessor: Guru Nanak
- Spiritual successor: Guru Amar Das
Guru Angad was born on Vaisakh Vadi 1, (Fifth Vasak) Samvat 1561 (31st March 1504) in a village of Harike, Ferozepur, Punjab. His father Shri Pheru Ji was a businessman and his mother’s name was Mata Ramo Ji. Guru Angad former name was Lahna. He was born in a Hindu family who was a devotee of Goddess Durga. Whenever Pheru mal went for a pilgrimage to Goddess Chintapurni, his son also accompanied him. This practice inculcated a sense of devotion to the goddess and he used to go on pilgrimage to Chintapurni every year.
When he was 16 years old he married Mata Khivi in 1520 and had two sons and two daughters. Lehna’s father passed away and he took up his father’s trade. But even business could not dilute his religious bent. He was creative and his mind did not find peace anywhere. So he was on the lookout for a guru who could help him towards the attainment of peace of mind.
The first step towards spirituality
One day Lehna in the early morning heard his neighbor Jodha singing Guru Nanak Deva ‘Bani’, who was a devout follower and disciple of Guru Nanak. On inquiry he was told that it was Guru Nanak’s prayer, he decided to pay a visit to Guru Nanak in Kartarpur. Upon meeting Guru Nanak at the age of 27, Lehna became a devout disciple of Guru Nanak and renounced his former practices.
Under the benign influence of the divine personality of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, he stayed on in Kartarpur for seven years in the dedicated service of his Master. Bhai Lehna (old name of Guru Angad Dev Ji), would not hesitate to carry out the wishes of Guru Ji even for an instant. No act was regarded as below one’s dignity in Guru Nanak’s domain.
Bhai Lehna followed every word that Guru Nanak Dev Ji told him to do. Impressed by his sincere devotion and his spirit of humility Guru Nanak Dev Ji called him ‘Angad’ – part of myself – and finally called him Angad Dev. Guru Nanak subjected Bhai Lehna to many hard tests but he always emerged successfully. He proved to be a very loyal disciple and sincerely acted upon every command of the guru with unwavering faith.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji being a divine being had a premonition that his end is nearing and soon so he chose Guru Angad Dev Ji as the successor over his own sons. Upon the death of Guru Nanak, Guru Angad returned to Khadur where he went into seclusion and meditation for six months. Eventually, a delegation of Sikhs led by Baba Buddha convinced the Guru that they needed him. Guru Angad longed for Guru Nanak, when he said to Baba Buddha:
“He whom you love, die for him. Accursed is the life without the beloved. The head should be sliced that does not bow before the Master. O Nanak! the body should be burnt that suffers not the agony of separation.”
Guru Angad followed the daily routine that Guru Nanak had. He would wake up early at dawn to recite Guru Nanak’s Japji (Morning Prayer) as well as sing Asa di var with his congregation, work during the daytime and then have evening prayers.
After Guru Nanak’s death, Angad Dev ji put forward his ideas. Yogis and saints of various sects met Angad Dev ji and had a detailed discussion about Sikhism with him. Guru Angad Sahib introduced a new alphabet known as Gurmukhi script, which modifies the characters of the Purani Punjabi script.
Guru Angad Dev Ji’s Contributions
He opened several schools to educate children so that the number of literate people could increase. For the youth, he started the Maal Akhara, so that the youth could do spiritual practice as well as physical exercises. Angad Dev ji collected facts about the life of Guru Nanak Sahib from Bhai Bala Ji and wrote the first biography of Gurunanak Sahib. He also wrote 63 verses which were later included in the Guru Granth Sahib by the fifth Sikh Guru.
Guru Angad Dev Ji popularized and expanded the institution of ‘Guru Ka Langar’ started by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Angad Dev Ji visited important places and centers established by Guru Nanak to propagate Sikhism. He established hundreds of new Dharamshalas and thus strengthened the base of Sikhism.
The period of his Guruship was the most crucial one. The Sikh community had moved from having a founder to a succession of Gurus and the infrastructure of Sikh society was strengthened and crystallized – from being an infant, Sikhism had moved to be a young child and ready to face the dangers that were around. During this phase, Sikhism established its own separate religious identity.
Guru Angad Dev Ji, following the example set by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, nominated Sri Amar Das Ji as his successor (The Third Nanak) before his death. He presented all the holy scripts, including those he received from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Amar Das Ji. He breathed his last on March 29, 1552, at the age of forty-eight. It is also said that the Mughal Emperor Humayun, running from Sher Shah Suri, came to obtain the blessings of Guru Angad Dev Ji in regaining the throne of Delhi.