ANGAD DEV, GURU,
ANGAD DEV, GURU, (1504-1552), the second of the ten Gurus or prophet teachers of the Sikh faith was born Lahina on Baisakh vadi 1, Sammat 1561 Bikrami, corresponding with 31 March 1504. His father, Bhai Pheru, was a Trehan Khatri and a trader of humble means, whose ancestral home was located near the village of Matte di Sarai, now known as Sarai Nanga, 16 km from Muktsar, in present day district of Faridkot in the Punjab. His mother\’s name is variously given as Sabhirai, Ramo, Daya Kaur and Mansa Devi. In Magh 1576 Bk/January 1520, he was married to Khivi, daughter of Devi Chand, a Marvah Khatri from the village of Sanghar, near Khadur, in Amritsar district.
Two sons, Dasu and Datu, and a daughter, Amaro, were born to the couple. According to some writers Guru Angad had two daughters, Amaro and Anokhi. Lahina became a disciple of Guru Nanak in his late twenties. There are two main versions concerning the manner in which he was converted to the teachings of Guru Nanak.The janam sakhis of the Puratan tradition describe Lahina as the pujari of Khadur. With only one exception, the inhabitants of Khadur were all worshippers of the goddess Durga and Lahina accordingly served as a pujari of the Devi cult. The one exception was a Sikh who regularly chanted Guru Nanak\’s hymns. On one occasion, Lahina overheard him singing a sabda and upon asking who had composed it he was told that it was by Guru Nanak.
Further converse with the Sikh convinced Lahina of the truth of the Guru\’s words and, casting aside the trappings of Durga worship, he too became a Sikh. No initial meeting with Guru Nanak is described in this account. The next Puratan anecdote assumes that Lahina is already in his company at Kartarpur. The other version, to be found in the Adi Sakhian (q.v.), the B40 Janam Sakhi (q.v.) and the Miharban Janam Sakhi (q.v.), opens with Lahina living in the village of Hanke, near Matte di Sarai. In common with other inhabitants of the village, Lahina made an annual pilgrimage to a “shrine of Durga” which the Mahima Prakash Kavita later identifies as Jvalamukhi.
On one such pilgrimage, the party happened to pass by Kartarpur and, hearing that it was the abode of the renowned Guru Nanak, they decided to visit the village in order to receive his darshan. While they were in his presence. Guru Nanak briefly conversed with Lahina who was instantly converted. In spite of the protest\’s by the pilgrim party which he was leading, he announced that the purpose of the pilgrimage had been fulfilled in Kartarpur and that he would proceed no further. For the remainder of his master\’s lifetime, he resided partly in Kartarpur and partly in Khadur.
Guru Nanak bestowed the name Angad on him to signify that the disciple had become as much a part of him as his own limbs (arig). Angad devoted himself whole heartedly to the Guru\’s word and to deeds of service. He cleaned the utensils and swung the fan. The Janam sakhis and the Mahima Prakash lay insistent stress on the patient, unquestioning loyalty of Angad the disciple, distinguishing him in this respect not merely from Guru Nanak\’s sons but also from other reputable disciples whose endurance proves to have limits.
This quality of Arigad\’s character is repeatedly affirmed through a series of anecdotes, each seeking to express a limitless faith and boundless humility. These stories, explicitly or by implication, point forward to Angad\’s succession as Guru. Because he surpasses all others in loyal obedience, he is the disciple chosen to lead the Panth at the death of its first Master. Two anecdotes from the janam sakhis will serve to illustrate this aspect of Guru Angad\’s character. Angad once visited Guru Nanak out in the fields and was there commanded to carry a bundle of wet paddy back to the house.
Notwithstanding the fact that he was wearing new clothes, Angad unhesitatingly seized the sodden bundle and placed it on his head. By the time he reached the house, slime oozing from the paddy had ruined his clothing. When Guru Nanak\’s wife protested at such apparently thoughtless treatment, he replied that far from being drenched with mud he had in fact been baptized with saffron. The slime was, in other words, the insignia of his unquestioning obedience and so of his fitness for the succession.
The second anecdote recounts the incident which is said to have clinched the succession issue. In order to test the loyalty of his followers, Guru Nanak once escorted them to a jungle where he made silver and gold coins appear before them. Many of his Sikhs immediately disqualified themselves by seizing all they could grasp. Further on most of those who remained eliminated themselves by picking up jewels which had similarly appeared on the ground before them. Only two Sikhs now remained, one of them being Angad. Guru Nanak led them to a funeral pyre and commanded them both to eat the corpse which lay on it concealed beneath a shroud.
The second Sikh fled but Angad, obedient to the end, lifted the shroud to do his master\’s bidding. Under it he discovered no corpse but Guru Nanak himself. The test had been miraculously contrived and Angad alone had passed it. Needless to say the truth of this anecdote lies not in the series of miracles which it related but in the supreme loyalty and obedience which it so vividly depicts. Bypassing his own sons, Guru Nanak nominated Angad his successor on Har vadi 13, 1596 Bk/13 June 1539.
The installation on gurgaddi took place a few days before the death of Guru Nanak on Assu vadi 10,1596 Bk/7 September 1539. Guru Nanak had made Angad more than his successor. He had made him equal with himself. He transferred his own light to him. Angad became Nanak, Nanak II. Guru Angad now shifted to Khadur from where he continued his work. Like his predecessor, he taught people the virtues of piety and dedicated service. The musician Balvand, who composed in praise of the Guru a portion of the panegyric popularly known as Tikke di Var, declares that Guru Angad was celebrated for his practice of meditation, austerities and abstinence (japu tapu sanjamu).
Other anecdotes are on record testifying to these qualities, as also those of humility, wisdom and generosity. His regular daily programme consisted of the following activities. During the last watch of the night, he would rise, bathe and then meditate until daybreak. Then the musicians sang Guru Nanaks Asa ki Var. Guru Angad was always present. Afterwards, he attended to sick persons. Such persons, particularly lepers, came from all parts to be healed by the Guru. Later he preached and expounded Guru Nanak\’s hymns.
At mealtime, all sat together without distinctions of caste or creed to eat from the community kitchen. The Guru\’s wife looked after the langar. The Guru and his family ate a simple meal which he earned by twisting munj, reed fibre, into string. The afternoon was for children\’s instruction. Guru Angad himself taught them Gurmukhi letters. In the evening there would be more Jcirtan followed by instruction from the Guru. Khadur became the centre of the Sikh faith as Kartarpur had been in Guru Nanak\’s time. Sikhs came from far and near to seek instruction and renew their faith.
According to Sikh tradition, Emperor Humayun came to Khadur and sought Guru Angad\’s blessing. Two varieties of memorials bear visible witness to the life and teachings of Guru Angad. The first consists of gurdwaras commemorating particular episodes in his life and these are almost all clustered in or near Khadur. The main one, now named Darbar Sahib, stands within the town at the place occupied by Guru Angad\’s residence and darbar. On the northern outskirts of the town is Mall Akhara, marking the spot where the Guru used to give instruction in wrestling.
Further out in the same direction, Tapiana Sahib designates the place where the Guru is said to have performed austerities (tap). This gurdwara stands besides a tank, opposite the samadh of Bhai Bala. A short distance to the southwest of Khadur, in the village of Khan Rajada, stands a gurdwara commemorating a specific episode in the life of Guru Angad. According to tradition, there once arrived in Khadur a yogi who managed to persuade the local cultivators that a current drought would remain unbroken until they had evicted Guru Angad.
The Guru agreed to go and, leaving Khadur, he moved to a the (site of a ruined village), known at the time as Khan Rajada. The drought persisted, however, and did so until (Guru) Amar Das intervened. Following his instructions, the cultivators tied a rope to the yogi\’s feet and pulled him round the village. Wherever they dragged him, rain fell in torrents. The humiliated charlatan was then permitted to depart and Guru Angad returned to his rightful place. There is another gurdwara associated with Guru Angad in village Bharoval, southwest of Khadur, between Khan Rajada and Khadur Sahib.
In addition to these five commemorative gurdwaras in the Khadur area there is one in Sarai Nanga, the village formerly known as Matte di Sarai, the birthplace of Guru Angad. The second kind of memorial is provided by the small collection of compositions by Guru Angad preserved in the Guru Granth Sahib. Amongst the Guru Granth Sahib collections of works by the first five Gurus, this is the smallest, comprising sixty three slokas scattered through vars which are primarily the work of the first, third and fourth Gurus. Fifteen of his slokas have been incorporated in Var Asa, twelve in Var Majh, eleven in Var Suhi, nine in Var Sarang, and the remaining sixteen in the vars of Siri Raga (2), Sorath (1), Ramkali (7), Maru (1) and Malar (5).
Guru Angad was an inspired poet. The slokas, in chaste Punjabi, faithfully reflect the teachings embodied in the works of Guru Nanak. In them we find the same stress upon the perils of worldly concerns and selfcentred attitudes, and the same insistence that regular meditation on the divine Name (nam) provides the only sufficient means of escape. Man is the creature of his self centred haumai. God, however, is gracious and proffers in the Divine Name a means of liberation accessible to all who pursue a life of disciplined meditation and virtuous living.
Early morning is the time for meditation and virtue is the necessary supplement during the remainder of the day. Two doctrines receive particular emphasis in these slokas. One is the total authority of God. This imposes upon all who seek liberation an inescapable obligation to know and observe the Divine Will (hukam). The second prominent doctrine concerns the means of recognizing the Divine Will. It is. Guru Angad insists, by the grace of Guru that man may know the way of liberation. Only those who turn to the Guru may have both, the hope and the assurance of finding it.
The style in which this message finds expression is simple, direct, and effective. Pungency is the quality which distinguishes the slokas of Guru Angad, an unadorned vigour which communicates his message in terms easily understood by any member of his following. Using the same simple style, the Guru gives pithy expression to refined doctrine as well as to homely wisdom. Guru Angad passed away at Khadur on Chet sudi 4,1609 Bk/29 March 1552, passing on succession to Guru Amar Das who became Nanak III.
1. Bhalla, Sarup Das, Mahima Prakash. Patiala, 1971
2. Vir Singh, Bhai ed., Puratan Janam Sakhi. Amritsar, 1982
3. Piar Singh, ed., Adi Sakhian. Ludhiana, 1989
4. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1926-37
5. Satibir Singh, Kudarati Nur. Jalandhar, 1981
6. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion. Oxford, 1909