This mid October weekend we had a special session dedicated to Guru Ram Das Ji as it was Guru Ji’s Prakash Utsav (day of birth) on the 9th of October. For full calendar of the Sikh memorable dates/Gurpurabs see our 2014-2020 Calendar, PDF available for free download. We’ve made these adorable bearded Singh puppets and shared a story about Guru Ram Das Ji.
We’ve sung the Gurus song and then we talked about children of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Baba Sri Chand in particular. I’ve introduced the concept of “nimrita” or humility to children, made then put their hands together and lower their heads as if in submission. Then I’ve told a simplified version of the story below, stressing the importance of humility.
Guru Ram Das was perhaps the most self-effacing of the 10 Sikh gurus. As the fourth guru, he built the Amrit Sarovar and established the city of Amritsar around the Sarovar. His son, the fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev, built the magnificent Golden Temple in the Amrit Sarovar. Not much is known about the personal life of Guru Ram Das. However, there is a beautiful story about his sense of humility.
Once, Baba Sri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak, came to meet Guru Ram Das. Baba Sri Chand was not part of the Sikh mainstream, but being Guru Nanak’s son the Sikh gurus who followed the founder gave him the highest respect. So, even on this occasion Guru Ram Das treated Sri Chand with utmost respect.
Baba Sri Chand was much older than Guru Ram Das. Because of his years, he had the privilege to joke at the expense of the younger man. It is said that during the meeting he passed a remark at the long beard of Guru Ram Das, “Why have you grown such a long beard?”
Without taking offence at Baba Sri Chand’s remark, Guru Ramdas replied, “My Guru had told me to use this long beard to wipe the holy feet of great men like you.”
And he immediately bowed down and started wiping Babaji’s feet with his beard.
Baba Sri Chand was taken aback at such display of humility by the reigning guru of the Sikhs. Embarrassed, the Baba chuckled sheepishly and said, “Yes, that is the difference between you and me. You have completely erased your haumai. I have not been able to do so. No wonder, Guru Amar Das chose you as his successor to lead the Sikhs. You fully deserved to be the guru.”
To make the story come to life I’ve used one of the puppets I’ve made at home to show how long Guru Ji’s beard was.
To make the bearded Singh puppets you will need:
- card puppet; I’ve bought them from Wilkinson, but if that’s unavailable, you could print out and cut out some from card (here are some templates)
- coloured card or paper for the clothes (kurta) and the turban (dastaar)
- googlie eyes (optional)
- Fold your sheets of coloured paper to fit the puppet. I had A4 sheets and folded them in such a way, so each sheet would give me 6 little shirts for the puppet.
- Trace puppet’s outline with the pencil and cut.
- Add neck detail and shorter sleeves.
- You can either use skin toned card or colour the puppet’s face lightly with pencil or crayons
- Glue the shirt (kurta) on
- If you don’t want the hassle of cutting out the clothes, you can just draw things on the puppet. Otherwise you can add bottoms, dastaar etc etc
- Add further details with pen/felt tip, pen/pencil
- Draw the face or use googlie eyes
- Cut the string to desired length and just glue the yarns to make the beard and moustache