Gurus were originally teachers and parents, but Sikhs came to rely on them for spiritual guidance. As Sikh’s gurus they were not only considered spiritual guides, but also community leaders. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism sought to redefine who a guru really was. To him an authentic guru works for an honest living, and gives to the poor. Sikh’s ten gurus are as follows:
- Guru Nanak (1469–1539), was the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is celebrated worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab on Kartik Pooranmashi, the full-moon day in the month of Katak, October–November.
- Guru Angad (1504–1552), was the second of the ten Sikh gurus. He was born in a Hindu family, with the birth name as Lehna, in the village of Harike in northwest Indian subcontinent.
- Guru Amar Das (1479–1574), was the third of the ten Gurus of Sikhism, and became Sikh Guru on March 26, 1552 at age 73. Before becoming a Sikh, Amar Das had adhered to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism for much of his life.
- Guru Ram Das (1534–1581), was the fourth of the ten Gurus of Sikhism. He was born on September 24, 1534 in a poor Hindu family based in Lahore, part of what is now Pakistan. His birth name was Jetha.
- Guru Arjan (1563–1606), was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith, and the fifth of the ten total Sikh Gurus. He compiled the first official edition of the Sikh scripture called the Adi Granth, which later expanded into the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Guru Hargobind (1595–1644), revered as the sixth Nanak, was the sixth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He had become Guru at the young age of eleven, after the execution of his father, Guru Arjan, by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
- Guru Har Rai (1630–1661), Guru Har Rai revered as the seventh Nanak, was the seventh of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He became the Sikh leader at age 14, on March 8, 1644, after the death of his grandfather and sixth Sikh leader Guru Hargobind.
- Guru Har Krishan (1656–1664), was the eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus. At the age of five, he became the youngest Guru in Sikhism on October 7, 1661, succeeding his father, Guru Har Rai. He contracted smallpox and died of the disease in 1664 before reaching his eighth birthday.
- Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675), was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. Tegh Bahadur continued in the spirit of the first guru, Nanak; his 116 poetic hymns are registered in Guru Granth Sahib.
- Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher. When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, he was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at age nine.
The Sikh’s sacred scripture rests with the authority of Adi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib). This influence was passed down on the death of the tenth Guru Gobind Singh, through whom it was declared the spirit of all the gurus. So Sikhs venerate Guru Granth Shib in the Khalsa (community). For only through this Guru’s teaching may devotees achieve union with God.