19. Missionary Work

Guru Amardas realised the importance of building up the Mansion of Sikhism and making it solid and second to none. He organised missionary work throughout India with the help of his devoted Sikhs. The Manjis were established wherever there was a sizeable population of his devotees. Moreover, he issued a directive that all the Sikhs would assemble twice a year either at the Guru's centre or at the Manji of their area, on the first day of Baisakh (April) ,and at Diwali festival (November). Goindwal became a place of Sikh gatherings after the construction of Baoli Sahab. Moreover, the sanctity attached to this spot on account of its long association with the Third Guru made it a kind of holy place, as an alternative to Hardwar. Guru Amardas took steps to keep the Udasi sect separate from Sikhism. There was a basic difference between the two sections. The Sikhs believed in family-life, while the Udasis believed in celibacy. The Udasis wanted to join Sikhism on their own terms to which the Guru did not agree. Narang observes in his connection: "The Sikhs were once for all separated from Udasis, and raised above asceticism, were free and fit to follow their course of national progress". Guru Amardas laid down Sikh ceremonies, so as to make Sikhs distinct from the Hindus. He prescribed the marriage ceremony, when one of his Sikhs, Bhai Dayala, complained to him that the Brahmins had refused to perform his daughter's marriage. Guru Amardas made the recitation of Anand Sahab and Ardas compulsory for a Sikh wedding. The new ceremony "constituted a distinct break with Hinduism". Similarly, Guru Amardas gave special diretions for a Sikh funeral when he was to leave his mortal coil. His grandson - Bhai Sundar - has mentioned the funeral ceremony in Sadd   (Page or Ang. 923)  of the Adi Granth. Hymns in praise of God are to be sung before and after the cremation. No pandit, no lamps, and no immersion of the ashes in any holy river is necessary for the funeral ceremony of a Sikh. Moreover, there is to be no crying or lamination, because death is a natural and inexorable event and takes place according to the Will of God. Guru Amardas had obtained a collection of the hymns of Guru Nanak and Guru Angad from the second Guru when he succeeded the latter in 1552. To these he added his own compositions. This Pothi was later given by him to his son Mohan and it therefore was called Mohan Pothi. It was this collection of hymns which Guru Arjan obtained from Baba Mohan when he wanted to compile the Adi Granth in 1604. It may be noted that the compilation of hymns made by Guru Amardas and known as Mohan Pothi also contains the compositions of many India Bhagats and saints. The reasons for the compilation of the Mohan Pothi were the demand for copies of hymns as the number of Sikhs was increasing and the need to exclude spurious anthologies of hymns containing Kachi Bani or fake compositions.