Guru Ramdas - the fourth Nanak
Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of Sikhs, was born on September 24,1534 AD in a simple God-fearing Sodhi family of Lahore. He was also known as Jetha, a word, which in Punjabi means the eldest or first-born. His father's name was Haridas and mother's Daya Kaur. As he grew up, Guru Ramdas reached Goindwal and served Guru Amardas with such devotion that he could win the hand of his daughter Bibi Bhani to whom he was married in 1553 AD.
Bhai Jetha (Guru Amardas) used to earn his livlihood by selling boiled grains. Very often he would freely give away the boiled grains to the needy and to the poor labourers. Guru Amardas was highly impressed by his charitable nature and blessed the young boy. Ultimately the divine succession was bestowed on him, he was named Ramdas and was installed as the fourth Guru (Nanak).
The day Guru Ramdas set foot in Goindwal he seemed marked out for the highest honour. Guru Amardas made several tests and being convinced he installed Guru Ramdas as the fourth Guru in 1574 AD. Guru Ramdas had three sons : Pirthi Chand, Mahadev and Guru Arjan. He died in Goindwal in 1581 AD.
Guru Ramdas (1534-1581 AD) laid the foundation stone of Amritsar on 13th June 1577. The devotees have been visiting the Holy City since its existence, for having a dip in the ascred 'Sarovar' and also for promoting their trade.
Guru Ramdas founded the city of Amritsar. He was a talented musicologist and has contributed 638 hymns and salokas in eleven raagas to Guru Granth Sahib. Among his famous compositions is the routine of a Sikh given in a hymn on page 305 and the Lawan, the hymns recited at every Anand Karaj-wedding ceremony. He put missionary work on a sound footing and sent masands to different parts of north India to propagate the message of Sikhism. He himself was fond of serving his disciples. The Guru's mission spread quickly both among the poor and the rich classes. Some of the aristocrats visited Amritsar and became his followers. The Guru turned his friendship with Emperor Akbar to good account by persuading him to relieve distress and to remove the oppressive taxes on non-Muslims.
Guru Ramdaseyn Hoi Sahai
These three painting of Guru Ram Das Ji by a Muslim painter. (Courtesy Randhawa,"The Sikhs"