Sikh Guru Family Tree
Guru Nanak Dev Ji – Guru from 1469 to 1539
The first of the Gurus and the founder of the Sikh religion was Guru Nanak. He was born at Talwandi (now known as Nankana Sahib in Pakistan) on October 20, 1469.
Guru Angad Dev Ji – Guru from 1539 to 1552
He was born in 1504. Guru Angad invented and introduced the Gurmukhi (written form of Punjabi) script and made it known to all Sikhs.
Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji – Guru from 1552 to 1574
He was born in 1479. Guru Amardas took up cudgels of spirituality to fight against caste restrictions, caste prejudices and the curse of untouchability.
He strengthened the tradition of the free kitchen, Guru Ka Langar (started by Guru Nanak), and made his disciples, whether rich or poor, whether high born or low born (according to the Hindu caste system), have their meals together sitting in one place.
Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji – Guru from 1574 to 1581
He was born in 1534. Guruji founded the city of Amritsar and started the construction of the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs. He requested the Muslim Sufi, Mian Mir to lay the cornerstone of the Harmandir Sahib.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji – Guru from 1581 to 1606
He was born in 1563. He was the third son of Guru Ram Das Ji. Guru Arjan was a saint and scholar of the highest quality and repute.
He compiled the Adi Granth, the scriptures of the Sikhs, and wrote the Sukhmani Sahib. To make it a universal teaching, Guruji included in its hymns of Muslim saints as well as those of low-caste pariah saints who were never permitted to enter various temples.
Guru Har Gobind Sahib Ji – – Guru from 1606 to 1644
He was born in 1595. He was the son of Guru Arjan Dev and was known as a “soldier saint,” Guru Hargobind Ji organized a small army, explaining that extreme non-violence and pacifism would only encourage evil and so the principles of Miri-Piri were established.
Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji – Guru from 1644 to 1661
He was born in 1630, spent most of his life in devotional meditation and preaching the teachings of Guru Nanak.
Although Guru Har Rai Ji was a man of peace, he never disbanded the armed Sikh Warriors (Saint Soldiers), who earlier were maintained by his grandfather, Guru Hargobind. He always boosted the military spirit of the Sikhs, but he never himself indulged in any direct political and armed controversy with the Mughal Empire. Guruji cautiously avoided conflict with Emperor Aurangzeb and devoted his efforts to missionary work.
Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji – Guru from 1661 to 1664
He was born in 1656. Guru Har Krishan was the youngest of the Gurus. Installed as Guru at the age of five, Guruji astonished the Brahmin Pundits with his knowledge and spiritual powers.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji – Guru from 1665 to 1675
He was born in 1621 in Amritsar.
He established the town of Anandpur. The Guru laid down his life for the protection of the Hindu religion, their Tilak (devotional forehead markings) and their sacred (Juneau) thread. He was a firm believer in the right of people to the freedom of worship.
Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji – Guru from 1675 to 1708
He was born in 1666 and became Guru after the martyrdom of his father Guru Tegh Bahadur.
He created the Khalsa (The Pure Ones) in 1699, changing the Sikhs into a saint-soldier order with special symbols and sacraments for protecting themselves. After the Guru had administered Amrit to his Five Beloved Ones, he stood up in supplication and with folded hands, begged them to baptize him in the same way as he had baptized them. He himself became their disciple (Wonderful is Guru Gobind Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple). The Five Beloved Ones were astonished at such a proposal and represented their own unworthiness, and the greatness of the Guru, whom they deemed God’s representative upon earth. He gave the Sikhs the name Singh (lion) or Kaur (princess).
He fought many battles against the armies of Aurangzeb and his allies. After he had lost his father, his mother and four sons to Mughal tyranny, he wrote his famous letter (the zafarnama) to Aurangzeb, in which he indicted the Grand mughal with his treachery and godliness, after which the attacks against the Guru and his Sikhs were called off. Aurangzeb died soon after reading the letter. Soon, the rightful heir to the Mughal throne sought the Guru’s assistance in winning his kingdom. It was the envie and fear of the growing friendship between the new Emperor and the Guru which lead to the sneak attack of the Pathan assasins of Wasir Khan who inflicted the wound which later caused the Guru’s death.