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Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)

Guru Ram Das is the fourth Master in Sikh Dharma from 1574 to 1581.  “Ram” means God and “Das” means servant.  Yogi Bhajan considered Guru Ram Das his ”personal Guru”.  Guru Ram Das was well known and loved for his compassionate nature, and complete devotion through selfless service (“seva”). 


Guru Ram Das (originally known as “Jetha”) was orphaned at the age of seven years old. Years later, Guru Amar Das (the third Guru) looked out his window and saw him selling beans on the street. The Guru noticed that he was honest, hard-working and beautifully spiritual; and because Bibi Bhani and (Guru) Ram Das had a true spirit of service and a keen understanding of the Sikh principleshe decided that his daughter should marry this young man. Guru Amar Das later appointed him as his successor in recognition of his profound spirituality.

After becoming the Guru, Guru Ram Das used to sneak out in disguise, walking the streets of Amritsar, and washing the feet of poor weary travelers.  The next day, when these travelers met their Guru, they were deeply moved to discover that he was the same person who had so humbly and lovingly tended to them.


Guru Ram Das designed the Harimandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) which is the most sacred temple for Sikhs around the world. He undertook the excavation of the tank of water which surrounds the Temple. The water and whole environment are legendary for their healing powers.  He created the Harimandir Sahib so that it would have four doors – one on each side of the building – meaning that is was open to people of every caste, background, language and religion.


One day, Baba Siri Chand (Guru Nanak’s son) came to see Guru Ram Das and said rudely to the Guru, “Why do you keep such a long beard?”  Guru Ram Das answered, with complete neutrality and humility, “To wipe the dust off the feet of holy men like yourself.”  In that instant, Baba Siri Chand understood that the Guru’s spiritual greatness came from his humility and surrender of his ego.  Baba Siri Chand then bowed to Guru Ram Das and accepted him as the Guru.

Guru Ram Das also encouraged people to start small businesses. He helped establish Amritsar as the religious center for the Sikhs.


Guru Ram Das composed many poems that were included in the Sikh scriptures, including this:

“My eyes are damp with the Nectar of the Lord; My soul is filled with His love.

He tested my heart with His touchstoneand found it to be pure.

Through the Guru, I am dyed a deep crimson.This body and mind are wet with the love of the Lord.

Nanak, the slave has been drenched in His fragranceand this life of mine has been blessed.

The song of the Lord's Love is like the piercing arrow; it has struck deep into my Heart.

Those who have felt Love's pain know how to withstand it.

The one who dies to this life while yet alive, has achieved liberation in his lifetime.

Oh, God, make thy slave to meet with the true Guru, so he can cross the difficult ocean of the world.”

(Note: The Gurus all referred to themselves as “Nanak” because they carried the same light.)


We often chant to Guru Ram Das in Kundalini Yoga classes. When we chant these mantras, we are not calling on a person, but invoking the enlightened consciousness and healing that this great being embodied and bringing into ourselves his divine qualities.


Imagineyourself coming before Guru Ram Das, knowing that he compassionately and completely sees you, then sees beyond your flaws to your divine soul, and totally accepts all of you as you are.

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