Bhai Gurdas (1551-1636) is a reputed figure in Sikhism. He is credited with inscribing the first copy of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. His work was supervised by Guru Arjan Dev, one of the Sikh gurus.
Bhai Gurdas was born in a small village in Punjab. He lost his parents at a very early age. During his childhood, he had the opportunity to listen to the preaching of many learned and spiritual persons. Later on, he converted to Sikhism and traveled places preaching the words of Guru Nanak. He became a disciple of Guru Arjan Dev and through his devotion and thirst for knowledge earned an enviable position among the disciples. He was chosen by the guru for compiling the hymns of the Sikh gurus and other saints. This compilation was the Guru Granth Sahib, which was completely written by Bhai Gurdas. This original text still exists in the hands of the guru’s descendants.
Bhai Gurdas was a revered Sikh of his times. He contributed his labor in the construction of the sacred pool of the Golden Temple of Amritsar. He taught
Guru Tegh Bahadur many ancient classics during the latter’s early years. He was the chosen one to recite the verses from Guru Granth Sahib in the court of Emperor Akbar, who had earlier doubted that the verses contained anti-Muslim feelings. But on hearing the recital of Bhai Gurdas, the emperor was greatly impressed by the preaching and the spiritual depth.
Bhai Gurdas himself composed some verses in praise of the Guru. His poems titled ‘Vara Bhai Gurdas’ and ‘Braj Kabitt Savaiyye’ are sung during the Sikh religious gatherings.