Search For The True Guru
Once his sons grew up Bhai Amar Das had ample time to pursue his religious activities. Although a man of profound knowledge of religious philosophy, his thirst to gain a better insight into life compelled him to search for a Guru. He adopted various paths in quest of one like fasting, living in the company of sadhus, etc. He even observed the penances performed by the yogis and hermits, attended the sermons and discourses delivered by pandits, and also visited holy men engaged in meditation in solitary caverns. Even though he held them in high esteem and valued their religious activities, they did not appeal to him as a Guru.
Bhai Amar Das religiously visited Hardwar once a year for the holy dip in the river Ganges. On one such trip he came in contact with a monk called Brahmachari. Similar interest in religion brought them together. On their return journey they stopped at the house of Durga Pandit, in the village of Mehre.
When Bhai Amar Das was resting Durga Pandit, an astrologer by profesion, noticed Padam Rekha, that is lines shaped in the form of a lotus on the palms and the soles of Bhai Amar Das. The learned Pandit wondered at the interpretation of these lines, as the old man of sixty in front of him appeared to be a poor pilgrim while the lines indicated his fate to be that of a Chakravati King or a Supreme Saint. The Pandit spoke out loudly that the rekhas must bring their fruit. The sound woke Bhai Amar Das. He smiled at the Pandit's prediction and offered some money as dakshina. The pandit promised to accept dakshina when his prediction would come true.
The following day, Bhai Amar Das and the Brahmachari left for home to the village Baserke Gillan. The journey took a couple of weeks and Bhai Amar Das's family welcomed them warmly. The Brahmachari stayed as a guest, and enjoyed the hospitality of Bhai Amar Das.
One day, the monk asked Bhai Amar Das about his Guru who had taught him such wisdom and piety. Bhai Amar Das was silent for a while, and then said he had no guru but he was in search of one. Instead of guiding or sympathising with his friend the monk lamented that he had eaten from the hands of a man who had no Guru! Before Bhai Amar Das could pacify his guest, the monk left the house without his belongings. This incident greatly troubled Bhai Amar Das, and it kindled a new desire to find a Guru.
Bhai Amar Das was troubled by this incident and was unable to find solace for a long time. Though he would carry out various religious rituals and ceremonies dutifully, he still felt dissatisfied and incomplete. His mind was always restless as if desperately seeking something. He felt lifeless. He wanted a Guru, a teacher who could guide him spiritually, and help him resolve the inner conflicts that plagued him. He was looking for peace of mind and he knew that only a true Guru could show him the right path.
A short while later early one morning, as he was lying on his bed, Bhai Amar Das heard a sweet and melodious voice rendering some beautiful hymns. He woke up with a start. He found himself being drawn to the hymns. He walked towards the voice singing those enchanting hymns. As he went closer and closer, the voice became louder and louder. He had this feeling, this wonderful feeling that his search for solace was coming to an end. As he approached, he found Guru Angad's daughter, Bibi Amro, singing those hymns.
Bibi Amro was related to Bhai Amar Das as the daughter-in-law of his younger brother. Bhai Amar Das must have heard Bibi Amro singing many times before. Now he was in a receptive mood, Bhai Amar Das asked her what she was singing and who had taught her such beautiful hymns. Bibi Amro, who used to sing hymns daily after her morning bath, was surprised at the question asked by her uncle-in-law. She informed him that they were devotional hymns that had been composed by Guru Nanak, and she had learnt them from her father, Guru Angad. She was made to recite these hymns everyday, after her morning bath, as it cleansed the mind and the soul.
The sacred hymn touched Bhai Amar Das's heart. The last two lines, written on Ang 990 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, from this hymn are as follows;
ਭਇਆ ਮਨੂਰੁ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਫਿਰਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੇ ਗੁਰੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਿਨੇਹਾ ॥
Bẖaiā manūr kancẖan fir hovai je gur milai ṯinehā.
What was turned to rusted iron is again transformed into gold, if one meets with the Guru.
ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਓਹੁ ਦੇਵੈ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਟਸਿ ਦੇਹਾ ॥੪॥੩॥
Ėk nām amriṯ oh ḏevai ṯao Nānak ṯaristas ḏehā. ||4||3||
He blesses the mortal with the Ambrosial Name of the One Lord, and then, O Nanak, the body is held steady. ||4||3||
Bhai Amar Das knew that he had found his Guru. So deeply moved was he by the holy verses that he could feel that they were the words, the thoughts of the one who would become his spiritual guide for life. He requested Bibi Amro to take him to Guru Angad right away. Touched by his humble request, Bibi Amro arranged a meeting for him with her father.
The very next morning, she accompanied Bhai Amar Das to Khadoor, to visit her father. Khadoor was a rural area in Amritsar. When Guru Angad was made the second Guru of the Sikhs, he had been asked by Guru Nanak to stay there and establish a settlement in that small district.
Humility Like No Other
When they reached the Guru's house, Guru Angad rose to greet the sixty-two year old man from his daughter-in-law's house. But Bhai Amar Das immediately came forward, went down on his knees and touched Guru Angad's feet, even though he was twenty years his senior. Seeing this, Guru Angad was surprised as was everyone else. But Bhai Amar Das humbly asked Guru Angad to accept him as his disciple and bless him. He requested the Guru not to think of him as a relative or even as a man older to him in years. Instead, he asked the Guru to take him under his wings and show him the right path.
One look at the saintly face of Guru Angad, and Bhai Amar Das knew that this was the teacher he had been looking for. The angelic face of the Guru was so captivating that Bhai Amar Das could not take his eyes off him. He felt very peaceful and serene in the Guru's presence. And now that he had found him, he was never going to let go. He pleaded with Guru Angad to accept him as his Sikh. Guru Angad smiled as he noticed his perseverance and keenness. Then he gently lifted him by the shoulders and accepted him as his new disciple. So overjoyed and touched was Bhai Amar Das that he began to cry, and thanked Guru Angad for giving him the honour of serving him.
Associated with Sri Guru Angad Sahib Ji, Sri Guru Amar Das Ji.
Gurdwara Sri Janam Asthan Guru Amar Das marks the site where Guru Amar Das was born.