The Sikh Gurus

"The Palace of the Lord God is so beautiful. Within it, there are gems, rubies, pearls and flawless diamonds. A fortress of gold surrounds this Source of Nectar. How can I climb up to the Fortress without a ladder? By meditating on the Lord, through the Guru, I am blessed and exalted. The Guru is the Ladder, the Guru is the Boat, and the Guru is the Raft to take me to the Lord's Name. The Guru is the Boat to carry me across the world-ocean; the Guru is the Sacred Shrine of Pilgrimage, the Guru is the Holy River. If it pleases Him, I bathe in the Pool of Truth, and become radiant and pure." (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag, pg. 17)

The word "Guru" is a Sanskrit word meaning teacher, honoured person, religious person or saint. Sikhism though has a very specific definition of the word Guru. It means the descent of divine guidance to mankind provided through ten Enlightened Masters. This honour of being called a Sikh Guru applies only to the ten Gurus who founded the religion starting with Guru Nanak in 1469 and ending with Guru Gobind Singh in 1708; thereafter it refers to the Sikh Holy Scriptures the Guru Granth Sahib. The divine spirit was passed from one Guru to the next as "The light of a lamp which lights another does not abate. Similarly a spiritual leader and his disciple become equal, Nanak says the truth."

"They distinguish and separate one Guru from the other. And rare is the one who knows that they, indeed, were one. They who realised this in their hearts, attained Realisation of God." (Guru Gobind Singh, Dohira, Vachitra Natak)


Pictures of the Gurus
Sikhism rejects any form of idol worship including worship of pictures of the Gurus. Although some of the Gurus did pose for paintings, unfortunately none of these historical paintings have survived. Artists renditions are for inspirational purposes only and should not be regarded as objects of worship themselves.

 

The Great Masters of Sikhism
The First Master: Guru Nanak (1469 to 1539)
The Second Master:: Guru Angad (1504 to 1552)
The Third Master: Guru Amar Das (1479 to 1574)
The Fourth Master: Guru Ram Das (1534 to 1581)
The Fifth Master: Guru Arjan (1563 to 1606)
The Sixth Master: Guru Hargobind (1595 to 1644)
The Seventh Master: Guru Har Rai (1630 to 1661)
The Eighth Master: Guru Harkrishan (1656 to 1664)
The Ninth Master: Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 to 1675)
The Tenth Master: Guru Gobind Singh (1666 to 1708)