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Gurdwara under construction during the time of the Gurus with the donations from the Sangat

Dasvandh or Dasaundh, literally means a tenth part and refers to the practice among Sikhs of contributing in the name of the Guru one-tenth of their earnings towards the common resources of the community. This is their religious obligation — a form of seva or humble service so highly valued in the Sikh system. The concept of dasvandh was implicit in Guru Nanak’s own line: “ghali khai kichhu hathhu dei, Nanak rahu pachhanahi sei—He alone, O Nanak, knoweth the way who eats out of what he earneth by his honest labour and yet shareth part of it with others” (GG, 1245). The idea of sharing and giving was nourished by the institutions of sangat (holy assembly) and langar (community kitchen) the Guru had established.

In the time of Guru Amar Das, Nanak III, a formal structure for channelizing Sikh religious giving was evolved. He set up 22 manjis or districts in different parts of the country, each placed under the charge of a pious Sikh who, besides preaching Guru Nanak’s word, looked after the sangats within his/her jurisdiction and transmitted the disciple’s offerings to the Guru. As the digging of the sacred pool at Amritsar, and the erection in the middle of it of the shrine, Harimander, began under Guru Ram Das entailing large amounts of expenditure, Sikhs were enjoined to set apart a minimum of ten per cent (dasvandh) of their income for the common pool, Guru Ki Golak (q.v.). Masands, i.e. ministers and the tithe-collectors, were appointed to collect "kar bhet" (offerings) and "dasvandh" from Sikhs in the area they were assigned to, and pass these on to the Guru. ....Continued