ethical, anti-ritualistic, nonothestic and highly spiritual religion. Nanak laid
greater stress on the purity of character and conduct as the first condition in
approaching god, and also the need of a guru for guidance.
     After his death, his followers called themselves ‘Sikhs’ and a new
religious sect, Sikhism, was founded. Nanak was followed by nine Sikh
gurus. Guru Angad, the second guru, started the Gurumukhi script. Guru
Amardas, the third guru, began the institution of langar (common kitchen) to
abolish the caste system. Guru Ramdas, the fourth guru, was given the site of
Harmandir at Amritsar by Akbar. Guru Arjun, the fifth guru, compiled the
Adi Granth (later called the Granth Sahib) and also completed the
construction of the Harmandir at Amritsar. His execution by Jahangir for
political reasons led to the first phase of militancy among the Sikhs under
their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, who was also imprisoned by Jahangir for
ten years. While the period of Guru Harrai, the seventh guru, was uneventful,
Guru Harkishan, the eighth guru, died of smallpox at the tender age of eight.
Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru, was executed by Aurangzeb and Guru
Gobind Singh, the 10th and last guru, established the Khalsa and organised
the Sikhs into a military sect. All his sons were killed by a Mughal army at
Sirhind, and he was also slain by a Pathan in revenge.
     A Sikh is initiated into the religion by a rite known as the pahul, when he
is of the adult age, and is entitled to use the honorific Singh (Lion) after his
name. The orthodox Sikhs are also distinguished by the five kakka (i.e. the
five k’s), viz. kesa (top knot), kachha (short drawers), kara (iron bangle),
kanga (comb) and kirpan (sword).
Dadu Dayal (1544–1603) Born in Ahmedabad to Muslim parents, he was
brought up by Lodhi, a Hindu cotton-carder. He preached in Rajasthan, first
at Sambhar and later at Naraini (near Jaipur) where he finally died. Though
illiterate, his verses were collected by his disciples in a book, the Bani, in
Hindi. His followers, Dadupanthis, expose their dead like the Parsis.
     He practised the teachings of Kabir and denounced caste distinctions.
     Other prominent Nirguna saints were Raidasa (a contemporary of Kabir),
Sundaradasa (a disciple of Dadu), and Dharanidasa (a disciple of Kabir).