Guru Nanak during his missionary tours had established Sangats at the various places throughout the country. The connection with the center was kept up by the constant visits of the Sikhs to the Guru. During Guru Amar Das’s time the missionary work became more regular and methodical. He divided the Sikh spiritual kingdom into twenty-two Manjis. Guru Ram Das established the nucleus of a new order of missionaries called Masands. The word Masand seems to have come from ‘Mas Nad’ which is shorter form of ‘Masnedi-Ali’ or His Excellency, the title which the Mughal Governors often held. The purpose of this organization was to spread the Sikh faith at a rapid pace and also to collect money for the construction of tanks and the city of Ramdaspur. Guru Arjan organized Masand system afresh. He appointed new Masands of integrity and sincerity to look after the secular as well as spiritual affairs of the Sikhs. Masands were required to collect Daswandh (one-tenth of income) from the Sikhs which was then contributed towards the Guru’s treasury (Golak) for the maintenance of the Sikh temples. Some writers are of the opinion that Daswandh was raised under compulsion. Daswandh was never raised under any pressure nor it was considered ‘a tax’. Whatever the Sikhs contributed or are contributing even today, is totally out of free will, love and devotion.
Masands were required to pay annual visits to Amritsar at the Baisakhi fair to receive instructions from the Guru and to hand over the amount of Daswandh collected. Regular accounts of these offerings were kept and receipts were issued. Apart from financial duties, Masands were vigorous preachers. For the ceremony of initiation the ideal Charanamrit was the one administered by the Guru himself. Since it was not possible for the Guru to be present physically everywhere, the authority was delegated to the local missionaries to enrol new members of the Sikh Sangat by administering Charanamrit prepared by themselves in the prescribed manner. It attracted a large number of converts. During the time of Guru Arjan, there was hardly any place in India where the Sikhs were not found. Masands worked very hard to propagate Sikhism in every corner of the country.