Guru Amar Das (5 May 1479 – 1 September 1574), was the third Sikh Guru and became Guru on 26 March 1552 at age 73.
He was born on 5 May 1479, in Amritsar district, Punjab, India. His parents were Tej Bhan, a farmer and trader, and Mata Lachmi.
Like his father, he became a trader. Since he was a Hindu, he often went to temples to pray and participated in religious rituals. He regularly went on pilgrimages to Haridwar and Jwalamukhi.
When he was in his early sixties, he heard Bibi Amro sing some Guru Nanak Dev hymns. He heard these hymns all the time and was intrigued by them. He enquired about them and found out about Guru Angad Dev.
Learning about the guru influenced him so much that he decided to visit him. He became a devout Sikh after meeting Guru Angad Dev and dedicated the rest of his life to him. He started serving the guru and volunteering in the community.
While he was an old man, he still woke up early to do physical work. His devotion was so intense that he completely lost his ego and pride in serving the guru.
He was interested in the langar system, or communal kitchen, and encouraged everyone to take part. Guru Angad Dev named him as his successor due to his commitment to Sikhi principles and dedication to spreading Sikhi knowledge.
Guru Angad Dev died on 29 March 1552 and Guru Amar Das became the spiritual leader of the Sikhs. At the newly built town of Goindwal, established by Guru Angad Dev, he made his headquarters. Soon, a lot of people came to meet the new guru and seek his blessings.
One of Guru Angad Dev’s sons, Datu, claimed he was the true guru. He got jealous of Guru Amar Das, he confronted him in front of his followers and kicked him so hard. Guru Amar Das didn’t say anything. He simply went away from Goindwal and returned to his native village.
After that, a group of Sikhs went to his village and asked him to come back. Guru Amar Das returned to Goindwal and took over as a guru.
He strengthened the langar system. All people, regardless of religious beliefs, caste, or social status, had to share a meal with the guru in the community kitchen. Also, Emperor Akbar ate at the langar before meeting the guru.
For spreading Sikhism, Guru Amar Das created the Manji and Piri system. In order to preach Sikhism to the people, he appointed 94 men and 52 women as Manji and Piri, respectively. A prolific writer, he composed 907 hymns that are included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Until the age of 95, Guru Amar Das was the guru of the Sikhs, and he named his son-in-law Bhai Jetha later remembered by the name Guru Ram Das as his successor.
He died on 1 September 1574, in Punjab, India.