This is the nature of ego, that people perform their actions in ego. This is the bondage of ego, that time and time again, makes people suffer”
Eliminate your conceit and then perform service to humanity,
Only then you will be get honor - Guru Angad Dev
On April 18, 2007, the Sikhs marked the 503rd Birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev ji, the second Guru in Sikhism. The appointment of Guru Angad by Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, as his own successor was an event of far reaching significance in the evolution of Sikhism. The second Guru, who believed to have embodied the spirit of his great predecessor, consolidated the infant faith movement through his energy and his global vision.
On this auspicious occasion, let us remind ourselves of the simple and sublime teachings of Guru Angad, which are non-sectarian and universal in their application. Guru Angad is one of the world teachers whose message is of universal application and is valid for all time. It has particular relevance not only to us but to the whole of mankind at this critical period of human history, If only we pay heed to it, we can surely foster universal brotherhood based on mutual love, respect and understanding, and we can build and promote international peace..
Gurmukhi Script and Education
Guru Angad Dev Ji Teaching Gurmukhi to children
Guru Angad Dev ji started the schools and also developed the Gurmukhi language in order to make education available to the downtrodden and the underprivileged of the society at that time. Guru Angad was a great teacher who personally taught Punjabi in Gurmukhi script to children. He provided education and means of communication to common folk who would no longer be dependent on the religious or political establishment to pursue their own economic, educational or spiritual goals. This was his way of empowering people to have higher goals in life..
An imperfect Punjabi alphabet existed at the time of Guru Nanak, but Guru Angad modified and polished it. Since the Guru Angad had adopted the modified alphabet, it was called 'Gurmukhi'- meaning that which is spoken through the mouth of the Guru. Gurumukhi became the medium of writing in which the hymns of the Gurus were expressed and it also suited to the language of the people. Although the origins of the Punjabi Alphabets are unclear, it is clear that Guru Angad popularized the use of this simplified Gurumukhi script among the Sikhs starting around 1541.
The invention of Gurumukhi helped the early Sikh community to dissociate itself from the Sanskrit religious tradition. Sanskrit language was used by the Brahmins, the upper castes and it was the language of the Vedas, the Hindu religious texts. People of lower castes and untouchables were barred from reading any spiritual literature. This maintained the status of the superiority of the upper castes. Gurmukhi enabled the Sikhs to grow and develop their own unprejudiced spiritual literature. Creating this new script was significant for many reasons. It gave the people who spoke this language an identity of their own, enabling them to express their thought without any restrictions. The guru also saw the need of a script which could faithfully reproduce the hymns of the Gurus keeping its purity and which would also prevent misinterpretation or misconstruction by any reader to suit his own purpose and prejudices..
This step by Guru Angad Dev helped secure the unhindered development and growth of Sikhism. Guru Angad also initiated the writing of the first authorized biography of Guru Nanak completed in 1544, as well as having a number of copies of Guru Nanak's hymns written out in the new Gurmukhi script..
Guru Angad took a keen interest in physical fitness, and encouraged his devotees to be involved in sports after their morning prayers. Guru Angad Dev ji inspired people to lead healthy lives. According to Guru ji, if you are physically fit only than you can pursue higher goals in life, because a sound mind can exist only in a sound body. He provided opportunities to underprivileged sections of the society to maintain good health. He encouraged all people to be involved in wrestling bouts or Mal Akharas to compete in physical competitions. This was again his way of doing away with social taboos of people of lower caste not having physical contact with higher castes. These steps initiated by him laid the foundation for a spiritually, educated and enlightened, healthy Sikh community, without distinctions of caste and creed..
The position of woman at the time was deplorable. She was looked down upon because she was thought to be inferior to man and was regarded as merely a temptress. She was confined to her home and was not allowed to participate in any public work. Guru preached that man and women were equal before God. He welcomed women to the Sangat, offered them seats side by side and gave them religious rights that have so far been denied to her..
Guru Angad scarcely worked alone. His wife and partner, Mata Khivi, is a very important woman who contributed significantly to Sikhism. Mata Kheevi played a major role in enlarging the women participation in the leadership position in Guru’s court. Mata Khivi was instrumental in creating and maintaining the institution of langar, whereby all devotees of the Guru and all people in general, were invited to come and eat together. This practice started initially with Mata Khivi serving food to the members of the community and the visitors who would come to see Guru Angad and it came to symbolize the Guru’s teachings; emphasizing the humanity in every single person and abolishing any innate discriminations. She did her job in a skillful and selfless manner, characteristic of her, and evoked spontaneous respect among the people. Her role in that capacity was unique and revolutionary because women were usually not seen in the forefront of the society. She also made sure that the food being fed was nutritious and wholesome because many who came to see Guru were needy and destitute. Mata Kheevi would embrace them all and offer love and food. She was, to use the simile of the contemporary ministrel Balwand, like a shady tree to the Guru’s disciples and afforded them effectual shade. Her role and praise is recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib..
To this day, after every service, visitors to a Sikh gurudwara witness a congregation who join and eat Langar together. Langar also emphasized that service to fellow man was an important tenet of the Sikh way of life, as it is customary for members of the congregation to serve one another..