According to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee website, Sikhism has a very specific definition of the word “Guru”:
It means the descent of divine guidance to mankind provided through 10 Enlightened Masters. This honour of being called a Sikh Guru applies only to the 10 Gurus who founded the religion starting with Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 1469 and ending with Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1708; thereafter it refers to the Sikh Holy Scriptures the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
Each one of the ten Gurus represents a divine attribute:
- Guru Nanak Dev Ji – Humility
- Guru Angad Dev Ji – Obedience
- Guru Amar Das Ji – Equality
- Guru Ram Das Ji – Service
- Guru Arjan Dev Ji – Self-Sacrifice
- Guru Hargobind Ji – Justice
- Guru Har Rai Ji – Mercy
- Guru Harkrishan Ji – Purity
- Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji – Tranquility
- Guru Gobind Singh Ji – Royal Courage
Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru, exemplified the Sikh ideal of the Soldier-Saint. He was also an inspired and prolific writer, courageous warrior, and a source of Divine Wisdom to his Sikhs. “When all other means have failed,” he said, “only then is it righteous to take up the sword.” He was the defender of the poor, the meek, and the oppressed masses of India.