• Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • You Tube icon


Bhai Amar Das Becomes Guru Amar Das

There were many incidents that had helped Guru Angad decide who his successor would be. Guru Angad had often put his various Sikhs to the test. Each time Bhai Amar Das surpassed everyone in his service, devotion and humility. Guru Angad became more and more convinced that Bhai Amar Das was indeed the right choice for a Guru. However, the test that finally made the choice clear to all was conducted by Guru Angad, one stormy night.

The Final Test

It was a terrifying night, the wind was blowing wildly and the rain was pouring heavily. No one dared to venture out in such a weather, when thunder and lightning seemed to wreck havoc everywhere. Around this time, Guru Angad asked for some water. He called out to his sons, but none of them heard him. Guru Angad called out again but his sons pretended not to hear.

Guru Angad shook and woke his sons. He asked for either of his sons to get him some water to drink. After the sons rose grumbling about being woken up at an unseemly hour, they found that there was no water in the house. They informed Guru Angad and were about to get back to bed, when Guru Angad asked them to get the water from the nearest well. The sons almost fell off the bed and expressed their horror at being asked to venture out on a night like this! But Guru Angad persisted, saying that his throat was dry. The sons refused and went back to bed.

A son can refuse to help his father but a Sikh cannot refuse to help his Guru. Bhai Amar Das, who had been watching the whole incident, came forward and sought permission from the Guru to fetch the water for him. But Guru Angad refused, saying that he was too old for such a work and he would not allow him to go. But Bhai Amar Das would not hear of it, and begged permission to go. And then, touching Guru Angad's feet, he set out to fetch some water.

Water For Guru Angad

Bhai Amar Das stepped out into night as lightning split the dark night, the wind was blowing furiously and rain poured down. Bhai Amar Das placed a pitcher on his head and walked towards the nearest well but because of the rain, the well water had become muddy and was unsuitable for the Guru. The Beas normally flowed clear, even during a storm, so Bhai Amar Das decided to go down to the river.

The wind drove the cold, hard rain relentlessly, soaking the skin of the elderly Sikh. Lightning illuminated his way through the darkness, while the drone of the rain against the urn kept him company. Despite the cold and damp, Bhai Amar Das was in a cheerful mood, and kept reciting holy hymns. He reached the Beas quickly. The water of the river was running fast but had not muddied from the storm, so Bhai Amar Das waded out into the river where the water flowed fresh and filled the urn.

As Bhai Amar Das walked against the rain back to the village, he began to recite his morning prayers, for it was now the hour when he usually made his trek from Goindwal to Khadoor. It was so dark that night that Bhai Amar Das could not find his way back to the Guru's house. And yet, he moved on while groping in the dark.

As Bhai Amar Das entered the village and struggled through the muddy streets toward the Guru's house, he passed the enclave of weavers, where the holes for their spindles had become filled with water. Bhai Amar Das could see nothing in the dark, and suddenly, his foot hit against a peg and he fell into the hole in the weaver's loom.

The Weavers

Striking the peg within forcefully, Bhai Amar Das fell to one knee but somehow managed to keep the urn upright and only a surprisingly small portion of the water spilled on his already-drenched face and shoulders. The weavers were roused from their sleep by the noise and came running, thinking that a thief was prowling. Through the sound of the rain they heard Bhai Amar Das's strong voice reciting his prayers, which had continued unbroken despite his predicament.

"Heh," laughed a woman, "what kind of thief is that?" "Oh, Amru," taunted another, "what low-caste job do you perform now?" "Who is it?" asked a man running out from his house. "It's crazy, homeless Amru," laughed a woman, "and he has managed to get himself stuck in the mud with a jar on his head. Worse than a hapless shudra!"

The weavers stood around Amar Das and laughed and taunted him, and in a grumbling tone remarked that only Guru Angad could be so insensitive as to send one of his very old Sikhs out for water on a night like this. Not one of the weavers stopped to help the aged Sikh. Bhai Amar Das would have calmly heard any complaint made against him, but he could not bear to hear anything said against the Guru. He immediately retorted that the weaver must be out of her mind to speak ill of the Guru. Saying this, he went on his way with his pitcher full of water. Later, the weaver woman was said to have gone mad.

Bhai Amar Das Becomes The Third Guru

When Guru Angad came to know of this incident, he summoned Bhai Amar Das and embraced him. He then openly declared that he was nominating Bhai Amar Das as his successor. Guru Angad told the Sangat, "Bhai Amar is not homeless but the home of the homeless, stronghold of the defenceless, shelter of the shelterless, strength of the strengthless, support of the supportless, friend of the friendless and underpins the world and its faith."

Guru Angad declared that only Bhai Amar Das had the virtues that were expected of a Guru. Guru Angad said that only Bhai Amar Das possessed the qualities of true humility and selfess service that made him worthy of becoming the next Guru.

Guru Angad praised Bhai Amar Das for the service he had provided him, and acknowledged it by conferring the robe of honour, known as 'Saropa' on him. Guru Angad blessed Bhai Amar Das as Guru Amar Das and proclaimed that henceforth, Guru Amar Das would be the home for the homeless, the strength for the weak and would be the new spiritual leader of the Sikhs.

Back Back to Guru Amar Das Sakhis (Stories)

Guide To Discover Sikhism |   Guide To Becoming A Pure Sikh|   Guide To Carrying Out Nitnem