1. Born

Bhai Amardas was born on 5th May 1479 at Basarkay in Amritsar district. His father Tejbhan Bhalla was a middle class farmer and trader. His mother Bhakht Kaur, also called Sulakhni, was a homely and pious lady. Born in a typical Vaishnava family, Amardas followed its traditional religious practices, and abstained from meat. At the age of twenty-four he married Mansa Devi. In due course, he had two sons - Mohri and Mohan, and two daughters - Dani and Bhani. He was religiously inclined and followed the Vaishnava mode of worship. From the age of forty-two, he started going to Hardwar for pilgrimage every year. After the death of his father (in 1553), he became the head of the family. In 1541, Amardas as usual proceeded to Hardwar for pilgrimage. On his return journey, he met a monk who got very friendly with him. Both shared a meal and began a religious discussion. During the conversation, the monk - some say he was a Brahamchari devotee - asked Amardas the name of his Guru. Amardas replied that he had no Guru. The monk was much upset by the answer and expressed his regret for having taken food from one who had no Guru. He further added that he had committed a sin by sharing a meal with a Guru-less person and as such he would have to go again to Hardwar for washing away his sin. Amardas reflected on the remark of the monk and realised the need of a Guru. He felt that he had wasted twenty-one years in pilgrimage and achieved nothing on the spiritual plane. Moreover, the label of Beguru Nigura (Guru-Less person) given by the monk to Amardas was a source of constant humiliation to him. So Amardas began his search for a Guru in right earnest. As soon as Amardas reached home, he began to reflect over his sad plight and inner tension. He could hardly sleep during that night. Lost in his anxiety over the restless condition of his mind, he turned frequently from one side to another in his bed. Fortunately, early at dawn he heard a sweet and inspiring song sung by his nephew's wife - Bibi Amro. He listened to the hymn attentively and reflected on the meaning of the words. Amro had learnt the hymn from her father - Guru Angad Dev - who lived in Khadur. Amardas realised that the hymn summed up his real condition and the need of a Guru for gaining peace of mind and spiritual comfort.

The hymn is as follows:

"Conduct is the paper and mind is the inkpot. Good and bad deeds are the writs recorded thereon. As the past deeds drive the man, so he walks. O God! There is no limit to Thy excellence. The body is the furnace and the mind is the iron therein. The fires of five passions heat it up. The mind turned into dross is again transmuted into gold, if the philosopher's stone, like the Guru is met. The Guru blesses man with ambrosial Name of the Lord and then the body and mind become stable."    (Page or Ang. 990)

* The number given in brackets refers to the page of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

As he heard the melody and understood its message, he felt comforted. The sweet and inspiring words soothed his mind. He asked Bibi Amro about the composer of the hymn. She told him that this was the composition of Guru Nanak who had passed away and nominated her father - Guru Angad - as the second Guru of the Sikhs. Amardas requested her to take him immediately to her father at Khadur. She complied with his wish and both of them reached Khadur after a few hours.