Celebrating the birth of Guru Ram Das

Guru Ram Das was born on September 24, 1534, to simple and devout parents, Hari Das and Anup Devi, in Lahore. Originally named Jetha, meaning "the first-born," he was a striking young man known for his handsomeness and strong sense of spirituality. Throughout his formative years, he often sought the company of religious individuals.

One significant turning point in Jetha's life occurred when he encountered a group of Sikhs on their way to Goindwal to pay respects to Guru Amar Das. Intrigued, Jetha decided to join them on their journey. Upon reaching Goindwal, Guru Amar Das was struck by Jetha's pleasant demeanor and profound devotion. While the others returned to Lahore, Jetha chose to remain and become a disciple of Guru Amar Das.

Jetha's dedicated service and unwavering devotion to Guru Amar Das led to his marriage to Guru Amar Das's younger daughter, Bibi Bhani. Together, they had three sons, named Prithi Chand, Mahadev, and Arjan Dev.

Under the guidance of Guru Amar Das, Jetha served as a trusted disciple and even represented Guru Ram Das before the Mughal royal court, defending Sikhism against charges of maligning both Hindu and Muslim religions. He proclaimed that birth and caste held no significance before God, emphasizing that it was one's deeds that defined them. He strongly opposed exploiting ignorant individuals with superstitions and upheld the ideals of compassion, self-surrender, and equality. The Emperor Akbar was deeply impressed by Jetha's explanation of Sikhism and dismissed all accusations.

Jetha's spiritual journey culminated when he succeeded Guru Amar Das as the fourth Sikh Guru. He adopted the name Guru Ram Das, which means "servant of God." During his tenure, he made significant contributions to Sikhism. He played a pivotal role in the construction of the city of Ramdaspur, which was later named Amritsar, and the excavation of the sacred pool known as Amritsar, the foundation of the renowned Harmandir Sahib, or the Golden Temple.

Guru Ram Das encouraged Sikhs to actively engage in the joys and sorrows of others, emphasizing that true fulfillment came not only through meditation but also through selfless service and empathy. He played a key role in shaping the Sikh marriage ceremony, Anand Karaj, by composing the Lawan, a hymn central to the ceremony, emphasizing God's role in the union of the couple.

Guru Ram Das also sent his youngest son, Arjan, to Lahore to oversee the needs and education of Sikhs in that region. Arjan's love and devotion to his father were expressed through heartfelt poems, which were intercepted and concealed by his jealous elder brother, Prithi Chand. Upon discovering this betrayal, Guru Ram Das instructed Arjan to return, anointed him as his successor, and publicly denounced Prithi Chand for his actions.

Guru Ram Das's life was marked by selflessness, devotion, and a commitment to Sikhism. He passed away on September 1, 1581, leaving behind a profound legacy that continues to inspire Sikhs and people of all backgrounds.