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Guru Amar Das, the subject of this biography, was the third of the ten great Gurus of the Sikhs. Together they covered a period of 239 years, from the birth of Guru Nanak in 1469 to the death of Guru Gobind Singh in 1708. Among all ten of them, Guru Amar Das had the longest span of life. He began his pontificate at an age which none of the other nine Gurus had attained even at the time of their passing away. His contribution to the con tents of the holy Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture was the third largest and his service to the growth and development of the Sikh community was of a very high order.

This book is the first elaborate,  well-documented and scientific study of the life and work of Guru Amar Das. In its preparation two main considerations have been kept in mind:

(i) context of Indian history, (ii) growth of Sikh community.

In this way on the one hand the study has been related to the broad currents of our nation al history and on the other to the process of evolution of the Sikh s as a corporate body. As a result of this line of approach the account of the Guru's life and work has acquired a degree of reliability hitherto unknown. All attempts have their share of imperfections and more so the pioneer attempts. The present attempt being the first of its kind naturally is not above flaws, but no more merit for it is claimed than what, naturally, belongs to a pioneering task.

However, it must be admitted that the writing of this monograph has not been an easy task, the reason being that on the subject there is such a great paucity of source materials. The writings of Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das, a few compositions of some Bhatt poets and a single composition of Bhai Sundar are the only primary sources available to us. Though extremely valuable for understanding the philosophy and message of the Guru, they do not give us much help about the various happenings of his life. For this latter aspect we have had to place our major reliance on the works of Sarup Das Bhalla and Bhai Santokh Singh, particularly the former because he was a direct descendant of Guru Amar Das. Here and there help has been taken from some other sources as well, such as Kesar Singh Chibbar's Bansavali Nama, Gian Singh's Panth Parkash and Bhai Vir Singh's Asht Gur Chamatkar. To supplement the information from the above sources, a physical survey was carried out with the help of a survey team. Besides, any personal discussions with Dr. Diwan Singh Bhalla of Ferozepur, a direct descendant of Guru Amar Das's family, have been of great value to me.

Before I close, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Shri Guru Amar Das Foundation for inviting me to undertake this project. I am particularly thankful to its General Secretary, Lt Col (Dr) Diwan Singh but for whose constant promptings the task might not have been accomplished so quickly.

Fauja Singh