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Religion Library: Sikhism

Founders

Written by:

Two years before his death, Guru Arjan had completed work on an updated version of the holy Sikh text, which contained his own writings in addition to those of his four predecessors, earlier bards, and non-Sikh poets. The sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), did not compose poetry (nor did his two immediate successors), and instead focused on consolidation of the temporal leadership. He had to contend with an increasingly hostile Mughal state and by the 1630s was forced to relocate to the east of Amritsar.

The last four of the ten Gurus completed their periods as community leaders from this region. The ninth Guru, Teg Bahadur (1621-1675), re-ignited the practice of composition and added his own poetry to the Sikh canon. He travelled more than any other Guru since Guru Nanak, and consolidated support for the Sikh center among the prosperous trading communities in the Gangetic plains. His travels and political activity triggered the ire of the Mughal state and like the fifth Guru, the ninth was arrested and executed by the Mughals. Like the sixth Guru before him, the tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh, 1666-1708) organized a military response to his father's execution, and this time that response instigated an all-out revolt that led to the eventual fall of the severely over-extended Mughal Empire.

Study Questions:
1.     How and when was the city of Amritsar founded?
2.     What were some of the problems with the succession of the office of Guru?
3.     When was the first time the Sikh community had a confrontation with the Mughal Empire and what was the result?