Bhai Amar Das was a prosperous famer and trader, who would undertake frequent pilgrimages. On one such pilgrimage, his caravan is joined by a pundit, and both spend time together in spiritual discussions. One day, the pundit asked Bhai Amar Das to name his teacher, and on being told that he had none, the pundit leaves the caravan. The pundit says that he must undergo penance for sharing company of one without a teacher, since being teacher-less means being without a set of principles.
Bhai Amar Das, who was aged 65 years, regrets not having a guru. Returning from pilgrimage, he joins the congregation of Guru Angad Dev, at Goindwal in Punjab. Though advanced in years, he performs tireless service. Getting up early, he fetches water from the river for the Guru’s bath, followed by time spent in meditation. The day is spent in service at the community kitchen – collecting firewood, lighting stoves, and preparing and distributing food.
In March 1552, at the age of 72, he is anointed as Guru Amar Das. Datu, who is the son of Guru Angad Dev, is infuriated. He reaches Goindwal, and kicks Guru Amar Das. While the other devotees are taken aback, Guru Amar Das, massages Datu’s foot. “My old bones are hard, they must have hurt your foot,” he says! With this astonishing act, he taught his followers that humility and poise should never be hostage to one’s ego.
Leaving Goindwal, he returned to his village. He pastes a sign outside his door, “He who opens this door, is not my sikh, and I am not his guru”. A wise person named Bhai Budha leaves the door as it is, and cuts a hole in the wall. Guru Amar Das returned to Goindwal to lead the congregation, as the third Guru. Of such teachers, Guru Granth Sahib says:
The Holy people are an invincible army of spiritual warriors; Their bodies are protected by the armor of humility.