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At Anandpur

Guru Tegh Bahadur, immediately after occupying the apostalic seat on August 11, 1664, undertook extensive tours as Guru Nanak and his father Guru Hargobind had done. His first itinerary covered certain places in Majha and Malwa. While in the second itinerary he covered places mostly in the Eastern part of the country as far away as U.P., Bihar, Bengal and Assam. He left Assam in the year 1670. The Guru took a route different from the one he had travelled during his onward journey on account of the former being shorter. This being so, he travelled in the direction of Patna via Bongaigaon, Siliguri and Kathiar.

The journey was undertaken with a definite motive. Apart from visiting Sikh Sangats already established, and organising new ones across India, he knit them into a network, enabling each to have linkage or communication with others, besides direct links with the Guru. He also intended to give a definite system to the collection of offerings and their remittance to the Guru. The responsibility of this task was laid on the Sangat itself, which was advised to send the collections through their own persons instead of Masands or their deputies who upto then had earned the notoriety of misappropriating the funds. Besides, the Guru intended to satisfy his deep philosophical interest in other faiths. To better inform himself of their beliefs, he had extensive exchanges with the Mughal bureaucrats in Delhi, with Brahmin priests in Prayag (Allahabad), Buddhist pilgrims in Gaya (even though the Brahmins had long since taken over), Sufis in Malda and with Assam's Ahom tribesmen regarding their tantric practices. He also thought it prudent to keenly watch the working of the Mughal government in different provinces, especially their attitude towards the non-Muslims, weaker and unprivileged sections. This vouchsafes the fact that the Guru was constantly under surveillance right from the beginning of his itinerary from Chak Nanki to the Eastern region of the country.

Returning from Assam, Guru Tegh Bahadur took a very short time to reach Patna. The Guru was in haste to come to the Punjab since during the period he was away from the Punjab, there had occurred a marked change in the socio­-religious policy of Emperor Aurangzeb who had adopted a much sterner attitude towards the Hindus and other non- Muslims. On April 8, 1669, the Emperor, according to Maasar- i-Alamgiri, issued orders to the governors of the provinces "to destroy without remorse the schools and temples of the infidels. They were strictly enjoined to put an end to the teaching and practising of idolatrous form of worship." According to De Graff, "In the month of January 1670, all the governors and native officers received the order from the great Mughal, prohibiting the practice of pagan religion throughout the country and bring down all the temples and sancturies of idol worshippers in the hope that some pagans would embrace the Muslim religion."[1] While this general order was showing its effect in the country, the Sikhs also, according to Mohammad Hashim, Khafi Khan's Muntakhab-ul-Lubab "had their share of Emperor's wrath. Emperor Aurangzeb having received information about them had ordered their deputies to be turned out and places of worship destroyed."[2] And in obedience to this order, a Sikh temple in the town of Burya in the Pargana of Khizrabad of the Sarkar of Sirhind was destroyed and a mosque raised on the site. The Sikhs were enraged. They killed the in charge of the mosque in retaliation.

Such were the circumstances when Guru Tegh Bahadur reached Patna. The people of Patna were thrilled to see their Guru after an absence of four years. His mother Mata Nanki and wife Mata Gujri were delighted to see him. Happiest of all was the four year old Gobind Rai, who was to meet his father for the first time. His playful pranks and precocious ability had already given to the people the impression that a new prophet was born. Guru Tegh Bahadur had repeatedly sent messages from Bengal that no one should interfere with the likes and dislikes of Gobind Rai; and no one should interfere with the freedom of this new apostle of hope.

Gobind Rai was now carried in a palanquin to meet Guru Tegh Bahadur while the prominent disciples led by Bhai Dayal Das followed him chanting hymns from the Adi Granth. Guru Tegh Bahadur alighted from his horse while his son came out of his palanquin. He went to his father, bowed low and touched his feet in reverence. Guru Tegh Bahadur embraced him and kissed him. The Guru was delighted to see his son about whom fascinating stories had reached him. He offered him numerous presents and gifts which he had brought from Assam and Bengal. Bhai Dayal Das was the first to go forward and touch the Guru's feet. Guru Tegh Bahadur honoured him with a robe of honour, blessed and thanked him and the Sangat for looking after his family so well. The place where Gobind Rai first met his father has been preserved as a garden which originally belonged to the Nawab of Patna.

Even as the Guru's family and Sangat were experiencing beatitude in the presence of the Guru, the latter preferred to set out for the Punjab where the Sikhs needed him the most, especially when the tidings reached him that Aurangzeb was bent upon converting the land of the Punjab into Dar-ul-lslam to ultimately see the whole of geographical region right from Afghanistan to Delhi Islamised.

At the time of departure, the Guru told his family that they would soon be called to the Punjab. He himself proceeded to Chak Nanki via Delhi. He reached Delhi on June 13, 1670.[3] He put up in the Dharmsala of Bhai Kalyana where disciples and followers flocked in large numbers to seek his blessings.

Rani Pushpa Devi came alongwith her daughter-in-law, the wife of Ram Singh and felt relieved of her anxiety to hear the well-being of her son. She beseeched the Guru to stay for a few days in her house in Raisina.[4] Soon after, the Guru left for Lakhnaur via Rohtak, Kurukshetra and Pehoa.

In the meantime, a message from Guru Tegh Bahadur reached Patna instructing Gobind Rai, his mother and maternal uncle to come to Anandpur in the Punjab. In strict compliance of his father's message, the entire family got busy packing their belongings that included Gobind Rai's precious weapons of different varieties. "His baggage consisted of various articles such as tents, Qanats, Shamianas (canopies), Jajim (cloth thrown over the carpet to sit on) and Shattranjs (i.e. spotted carpets). The palanquin was embellished with gold and pearls; hawks, camels and elephants were decorated attractively. He put all his weapons, such as Khanjar (daggers), Budge (knife), Teg (swords), Katar (scimitar), Tope (swivel), Tamanche (pistol) and Siper (shield) in a box."[5] In short, everything was packed up at once.

The news of intended departure from Patna spread in the whole city like a wild fire. For the devotees and admirers the moment was painful. They assembled to have a last glimpse of their beloved child, who had enraptured their minds for over five years. They waited upon him, imploring him to leave behind his beautiful cradle as a souvenir so that they might be able to console themselves by beholding it when overcome with grief. The child Gobind Rai acceded to the request of the residents of Patna and the cradle is even preserved today in Sri Harmandir Sahib as Gobind Rai's keep-sake, before which the high and the low make obeisance. While demanding cradle, the people of Patna seemed to be struggling to keep the child's memory evergreen. At that time, none had thought that in the times to come, Patna would be inseparably associated with the name of Gobind Rai. In the medieval period, Patna was a famous trade centre, situated as it was on the route from

Prayag to Bengal, but after the birth of Gobind Rai it also came to be looked upon as a venue like Gaya, heralding the beginning of a new phase in the socio-cultural history of India through Guru Nanak's dispensation. In the Sikhs religious consciousness, Patna acquired a special place, as they considered it sanctimonious being connected with the tenth Master. This perception of the Sikhs persisted and acquired poignancy as the time rolled on. Ultimately, Patna won the honour of being the locale of one of the five supreme seats of Sikh religious authority.

Of all the people who felt disconsolate at the departure of Gobind Rai from the city, the sorrow of Raja Maini's wife was the profoundest. She swooned and could gain consciousness only when she was consoled and cheered by the child Guru himself. A large number of people resolved to accompany him wherever he would go and it was with great difficulty that they were prevailed upon to drop the idea.[6] Even the zealots among them decided to accompany him upto Danapur where they finally bid him and his entourage a befitting farewell.

At Danapur an old lady named Pardhani[7] served khichari (rice and lentils cooked together) which she had cooked in an earthen pot called handi in Hindi. The Guru blessed her and assured her that her desire to have the Guru's darshan daily would be fulfilled if she continued to serve khichari similarly to wayfarers. The place where the Guru sat to partake of khichari was considered special and subsequently a shrine was built there. It was named as Handiwali Sangat. The shrine is now called Gurdwara Handi Sahib. Handi is said to be still preserved there.[8]

From Danapur the party moved towards the Ganges and after crossing it, reached Chhapra. From there they re-crossed the river and went to Arrah wherefrom they proceeded to Dum Rao and Buxor. To reach Buxor they crossed the river again. After this, they recrossed the river to visit Sasram wherefrom they set out for Benaras and on the way passed by Mughal Sarai and Chhota Mirzapur. Jaunpur which lay to the North of Benaras was visited on the way. This was the place where Bhai Gurdas had preached and established a Sangat. There stands now a gurdwara called Sangat Mridang Wali. The tradition has it that the child Guru bestowed a Mridang—a musical instrument—upon one Bhai Gurbax Singh, a Masand, Sikh missionary of the place.[9]

From Jaunpur the party reached Benaras, a great Hindu centre of classical learning. Bhagats Kabir and Ravi Das whose hymns are included in the Adi Granth used to live there. Guru Nanak had sojourned here during his first round of itineraries and organised a Sangat (holy congregation) which had been flourishing since Guru Tegh Bahadur hallowed the place in 1666 and expressed his satisfaction at the output of local Sangat. Understandably, this Sangat welcomed the child and his entourage. It is said that both Sikhs and non-Sikhs, came in large numbers to behold the divine apostle. All were amazed at wisdom and refined conduct of the Guru's child. Gobind Rai loved scenic beauty of the place. It suited his inquisitive mind as well; for in his time the residents of this place were restive due to different socio-religious ideologies like Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Sargun Bhakti, Nirgun Bhakti, Islamic Sunnism, Sufis et al which converged here and were proactive to prove the relevance and truth of their respective stands.

Gobind Rai's contribution to these proceedings were though childlike, yet indicated that he was well-versed in Sikh philosophy.

It is said that at Benaras, Gobind Rai refused to accept the sacred thread when it was offered to him as was customary with the Pandits of that place.[10]

From Benaras they headed westward for Allahabad, another great Hindu Tirath (place of pilgrimage) in Uttar Pradesh.[11] Gobind Rai stayed where Guru Tegh Bahadur had sojourned and where now stands a gurdwara named Pakki Sangat.

The party left Allahabad, crossed River Ganges for the seventh time and reached Ayudhya where stands a Gurdwara commemorating the visit of Guru Gobind Singh (as a child).[12] Gobind Rai was accorded a tumultuous welcome here and a large number of people thronged to receive divine knowledge of his dispensation.

From Ayudhya, the party proceeded to Lucknow enroute to Pilibhit and Nanakmata.[13] According to another tradition, they proceeded to Mathura and Brindaban via Kanpur, Brahmavart, Bathoor and Agra. After visiting Mathura, they set out for Pilibhit via Bareilly thus crossing River Ganges for the ninth time.[14] From Pilibhit, they proceeded to Nanak Matta which was known as Gorakh Matta before Guru Nanak's visit. It was a great centre of Yogis.[15]

From Nanak Mata, the party proceeded to Hardwar via Ram Nagar. Most of the places visited by the child Gobind Rai were centres of orthodox Hindu tradition. Side by side centres of different denominations of Islam such as Sunni, Shite, Mahdi functioned. Discussions must have taken place on matters ranging from deeply philosophical and metaphysical to the forms and formalism then prevalent in Hindu and Muslim societies, as also in various socio-religious groups who were outside the parameters of Islam or Hinduism. It is not difficult to strike a conclusion that Gobind Rai despite his tender age, must have formed some impressions on how different socio­-religious societies or sub societies functioned and conducted themselves.

The party reached Lakhnaur probably by the end of the year 1670 (September 13, 1670).[16] Lakhnaur, now in Ambala district and situated at a distance of seven miles from Ambala city was the original home of Mata Gujri and her brother Kirpal Chand. The place is marked by the presence of a majestic Gurdwara where some sacred relics of the Guru's family are kept.

While leaving Patna after a brief visit, Guru Tegh Bahadur had informed his family members that he himself would come to Lakhnaur via Delhi where he wanted to meet Pushpa Devi, mother of Raja Ram Singh.[17] This done, he immediately left for Delhi and reached there on Harh 22, 1727 BK.[18] (June 20, 1670). When he was staying at Dharamsala, Bhai Kalyana, Rani Pushpa Devi along with her daughter-in-law (Raja Ram Singh's wife) waited upon the Guru and after paying homage to him inquired of the well-being of her son. The Guru informed her that Raja Ram Singh had achieved initial victories in Assam and consoled her by saying that he would return shortly.[19]

After a stay of two months and thirteen days under strict surveillance at Delhi,[20] Guru Tegh Bahadur left for Lakhnaur via Rohtak, Kurukshetra and Pehowa. He was accompanied this time among others by Nawab Saif Khan.[21] The Nawab had been leading a hermit's life since 1669. He had followed the Guru to Assam and had met him either in Assam or somewhere else on his way back.

It was indeed a great occasion for the people of Lakhnaur. Little Gobind Rai was the cynosure of all eyes, not merely because it was his first visit to the place but also due to his magnetic looks and lovable pranks. On the auspicious day of Dussehra which came only a few days after his arrival there, the lovely child was seated on the cot and his elder maternal uncle Mehar Chand Subhikhi performed sarvarna and Dastar ceremonies. The colour of the turban was Zamurdi (green) according to Bhat Vahi.[22] Sahibzada Gobind Rai was ceremoniously dressed for this special occasion. He was carrying some arms also. A tikka mark of sandalwood was applied on his forehead by Mehar Chand, his maternal uncle.[23] Then followed the offerings. First of all, Jhanda, the Masand of Lakhnaur presented 101 Mohars. Many others followed suit. After that people would flock from the neighbouring areas daily and make their offerings to him by way of homage. Arrangements were made for imparting formal education to the child. Bhai Sahib Chand taught him Gurmukhi and Bhai Sati Das gave him lessons in Persian language. It was here that he received a homage for the second time from a Muslim Pir, Arif-ud-din. Sayyed Bhikhan Shah of Thaska (in the Patiala district of Punjab) a pious Sufi also paid his obeisance to Gobind Rai. As the story goes, he held upon his palms two earthen pots when he saw the child. The latter touched both. By this Bhikhan Shah inferred that he would treat both, Hindus and Muslims, alike. During his stay of about six months at Lakhnaur Gobind Rai visited adjoining places such as Rana Majra, about 15 miles North of Lakhnaur, Salar Gram, about ten miles North of Lakhnaur and Mardogram about four miles from Lakhnaur.[24] Besides, he visited Ambala City and the villages Bhano and Kheri.[25]

He also engaged himself in various exercises such as horse-riding and use of weapons. The Sikhs of this area presented to him steeds of high quality-breed and weapons of high calibre.[26] He also enjoyed hunting in the neighbourhood of Lakhnaur,[27] which then was surrounded by groves of trees and bushes.

After a short stay with his family, Guru Tegh Bahadur, in the company of Bhai Dayal Das, Bhai Sadhu Ram etc. left for the village Malla to meet his sister Bibi Viro. The family, however, was instructed to stay at Lakhnaur till he sent for them.

From Malla the Guru proceeded to Bakala. Shortly after­ward a message was received at Lakhnaur asking all members of his family to join him at Bakala.[28]

The family proceeded to Bakala wherefrom it went to Chak Nanki in company of the Guru. How long did the family stay at Bakala is not clear. Nevertheless we have the evidence of Shahid Bilas by Sewa Singh that in Chet Sudi 11, 1729 BK (March 29, 1672) Guru Tegh Bahadur was definitely present at Chak Nanki.[29]

Enroute to Chak Nanki, the family visited Bhanu Kheri, Ambala, Qabalpur, Harpalpur and Kutha Kheri, which lay between Ambala and Rajpura to the West of the modern G.T. Road joining the two places.[30] From Kutha Kheri, they went straight to Ropar visiting on the way places such as Nandpur, Kalaur and Kotla Nihang.[31] From Ropar they journeyed on to Kiratpur where Baba Suraj Mai, second son of Guru Hargobind was living.[32] He and his family were immensely pleased to receive Gobind Rai. After staying at Kiratpur for a couple of days the family reached Chak Nanki which was only eight kilometres away from Kiratpur.[33] They were received amidst great rejoicings. Disciples from all over the Punjab poured in to meet Guru Tegh Bahadur and to see the young prophet Gobind Rai. By that time the child had attained the age of six.

Some historians including Bhai Santokh Singh, the author of Suraj Parkash hold that Guru Tegh Bahadur had left for Delhi to discuss the matter with the Emperor that culminated into his martyrdom before Gobind Rai reached Chak Nanki. It is incorrect in the light of the statement of Guru Gobind Singh in his composition Bachittar Natak wherein he has proclaimed that when he reached the age of eight for performance of his religious duties, his father left for heavenly abode.

At Chak Nanki, Gobind Rai was fondled by nurses and he was tended very carefully.[34] He received instructions in various disciplines.[35] He had picked up the accent and dialect peculiar to the Bihari people. Most of the Sikhs who were unfamiliar with Bihari language were amused to hear him as his speech was a charming novelty to them.

Excellent arrangements were made to impart education to him. Sahib Singh, a learned Granthi continued to teach Gurmukhi. Qazi Pir Mohammad[36] replaced Bhai Sati Das whose services the Guru utilised elsewhere. Hari Das was appointed to teach Sanskrit. Use of arms and equestry was taught by Bajjar Singh.[37] Sango Shah the eldest son of Guru Tegh Bahadur's sister Bibi Viro gave him lessons in archery.[38]

Gobind Rai's tutors in various fields were very exacting. His mastery of Braj Bhasha,[39] Persian and Sanskrit[40] languages is a proof of his early grooming in these languages. The fact that he could compose Chandi Di Var before the age of twenty and later dictate the whole of the Adi Granth at Damdama during time of great stress reveal how hard his Gurmukhi teacher had worked on Gobind Rai. Gobind Rai's battles were a testimony to the hard labour which his Rajput tutor had put in. Some Hindu poets and scholars had sought refuge in Anandpur. He heard them recite Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharta and other Hindu texts. These were impressionable years and Gobind Rai developed a sensitive response to literature. Side by side he was encouraged to develop interest in sports and recreation. The games which were dear to his heart were almost the same as he had played at Patna. He would divide his playmates into two groups and with himself at the head of one, engage them in mock battles. He also enjoyed hunting and swimming.

Gobind Rai was lucky in having among his playmates Maniya, Suraj Mai's two grandsons[41], his five cousins[42], the sons of his father's sister, and Nand Chand. All of them were outstanding in one aspect or the other. Maniya (later Mani Singh) was always thoughtful and contemplative with literary bent of mind. Suraj Mai's two grandsons had an incorrigible charitable disposition. His five cousins were fearless and transparently sincere. Nand Chand[43] was extremely cool and taciturn. All of these playmates remained Gobind Rai's favourites both in childhood and in later life.

Guru Tegh Bahadur's Darbar was always filled with people who yearned to listen to the words of the ninth Master for their spiritual elevation. In the service of the Guru and of his Sikhs, they found an occupation which imparted them a sense of purpose and freedom.

To Guru Tegh Bahadur's Darbar came scholars, poets, artists; some to seek refuge, some to feel free to develop their art, some to receive help and others to seek enlightenment.[44] The Guru welcomed them all. Bhai Mani Singh reached Chak Nanki in the month of Chet 1729 BK/March 1673 from Aliwal. He recited and explicated Gurbani. Many more came and took up different tasks. Thus a new society was in the process of making. Chak Nanki had become a workshop to produce men immersed in Sikh ideology who could become a beacon of hope in the gloomy environments created by an oppressive government, cruel and intolerant elite, both religious and political.

Gobind Rai's regular attendance in the Darbar brought him in contact with people of varied interests, with the consequences that his outlook broadened, his wit sharpened and his sensibilities were fine-tuned. He started observing and analysing happenings around him with distinct objectivity which was the product of his own experience and his understanding of what his predecessors had preached. Many questions rocked his mind: Why had his father undertaken tours of different places? Why was the new awareness which the gospel was engendering considered anathema to the power that was? What was the Summum Bonum of Sikh Gurus including his father?

Notwithstanding convulsive moments at times, Gobind Rai on the whole led a hard but blissful life at Chak Nanki, enjoying parental affection, warmth of friends and respect of the Sikhs. He acquired knowledge in different fields, registered impressions, interacted with different people and their ideologies. This helped him in making up his mind to determine his own cause. But such a life was not to endure for long. The events moved at such a rapid pace that very soon Gobind Rai had to undergo mortifying experience. Guru Tegh Bahadur spent the whole of the year 1671 at Chak Nanki organising and training disciples, directing the construction of the city, according to the new requirements. Early in the year 1672 or 1673, he left for an extensive tour of Malwa and the Banger Desh. These were the backward areas where mass conversion was carried out by local officials. These were also the areas which the saints and reformers rarely visited and the local landlords in collusion with their master exploited the poor peasants with impunity. There was scarcity of water and lack of education. The people were living in poverty, ignorance, misery and fear. Guru Tegh Bahadur went there to awaken them to their individual and collective responsibilities. Every place that Guru Tegh Bahadur visited, the compassionate Master asked the people about their difficulties and problems. Where fields were dry, he had the well dug for the people. Where there was scarcity of milk, he procured cows for them and distributed them free to the people. For the landless peasants, he procured some land and urged them to live courageously as free people in love and humility before God. In barren areas, he had the trees planted.

During this time Guru Tegh Bahadur visited as many places and houses as he could, holding the torch of spiritual wisdom in one hand and the sword of freedom from fear, hunger, and oppression in the other. He felt that only those minds which are strong in moral fervour and spirit made unconquerable by the realisation of their higher destiny were capable of struggling against injustice and tyranny and could save the people from dehumanisation. The Guru, therefore, exhorted the people to imbibe spiritual and ethical values, sink differences on grounds of birth, caste, give up all fear and face tyranny with stoic calmness. The challenge of spiritual and social malaise as well as the tyrannical absolutist rule of Aurangzeb could be met only if the people were conscious of higher spiritual and ethical values and were prepared to suffer like a sage and die like a warrior, forgetting their narrow attachments. But before one could suffer like a sage, one had to be taught to live like a warrior. The Guru repeatedly laid added emphasis on this theme through his sermons and his hymns, the burden and essence of which was : be fearless by relying on the strength and power of God; be fearless by giving up attachment to wealth, body and other earthly possessions which are transient; be fearless and be stoically indifferent to pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow; be firm in moral purity and spirit of dedication; be wise in spiritual enlightenment and the love of humanity and God and be Godlike in flesh. "Fear no one, nor strike fear in anyone's mind."

The Guru's message and teachings awakened people to their responsibilities and grim realities of human existence and inspired them with the conviction that the spirit of self­-consecration alone could liberate them from fear, greed and subservience. Through moral and spiritual effort, every man can imbibe godlike qualities in himself, become strong enough to meet any challenge to his freedom and integrity. He can become courageous enough to strike at the root of tyranny. The boon of power, strength, and inspiration should be sought from God.

In order to see the reaction of the people to his policies, Aurangzeb had sent Khufia-Navis (secret-news reporters) to all the provinces. From their reports, Emperor Aurangzeb learnt that the Guru had a large following in the country. People voluntarily filled his coffer with money and he distributed it freely keeping only that much which was barely necessary. He was extremely independent-minded and was loved by Muslims and Hindus alike. He vehemently opposed all taxes like Jazya and was preaching the message of religious freedom and fearlessness. People addressed him as Sacha Patshah (The True Emperor). On May 25, 1675, a deputation of sixteen[45] leading Kashmiri Brahmins led by Pandit Kirpa Ram Dutt of Mattan (who, after adopting Khalsa rites took the name of Kirpa Singh and died a martyr in the Battle of Chamkaur[46]) reached Chak Nanki. These people narrated their tragic story to Guru Tegh Bahadur : how determined Aurangzeb was to convert Kashmir into the land of Muslims and in obedience of the royal order of Aurangzeb, how cruelly Iftikhar Khan (1671-1675), the Governor of Kashmir had been carrying out the fanatical policies in the state. They begged him to be with them in their hour of distress. With all earnestness they urged, "We suffer great atrocities Master! Janeus (Sacred Threads) are forcibly taken off our persons. Kins are being killed. Janeus weighing, a maund and a quarter are snapped in a single day.[47]

The Guru listened to the Pandit's heart-touching account of forcible conversions and the atrocities that Aurangzeb's sadistic satrap of Kashmir was inflicting on the Hindus there. Their heart-rendering tale plunged the Guru in deep thought. He had already juxtaposed the whole panorama of events since the accession of Aurangzeb with the mission of Guru Nanak and reached the conclusion that the partisan and fanatical policies of the Emperor vis-a-vis non-Muslims, particularly the Hindus and the Sikhs were totally unjustified and contrary to the concept of Halimi Raj (The order of the merciful) and its fundamentals such as freedom from fear, freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, acceptance of diversity of faiths, multiculturistic and multi-religious approaches.

The Guru therefore, decided to take decision, which in fact, was the culmination of his cherished convictions. To say that the appeal of the Kashmiri Brahmins was the sole reason for his decision is to lose sight of other factors. His decision was prompted by larger issue of human rights including freedom of conscience. The cause of the Brahmins was in no way absent from his mind as his son and successor, Guru Gobind Singh has made reference to it in his autobiographical composition entitled "Bachittar Natak". But whether it was an independent, sole prompting factor, is open to deliberations. Being conscious that his reference to Tilak and Janeu might be taken in a narrow sense, Guru Gobind Singh himself added at the same place that the sacrifice of his father was for Dharma which in the context of Indian culture covers almost every aspect of life, where the principles of justice and righteousness are involved.

Guru Tegh Bahadur sat in rapt thought brooding over the anguish and the helplessness of these men, his eyes gleaming with divine compassion as he reflected on the vastness of the agony of his countrymen. He did not believe in idolatry. Sacred threads and the sandalwood Tilak mark on the forehead was never part of his faith. He did not believe in Brahmanism. He and his predecessors had been preaching against it for nearly two hundred years. But could he bear to see such a bloodshed, such inhuman treatment of any section of humanity? The Sikh, the Christian were aspiring for divine light in their own way. Every form of worship however unrefined or immature, was the yearning of the creatures of the Eternal. The whole life of the universe with his countless languages, creeds and seen and unseen realities, was an act of worship, glorifying the Creator and the Sustainer. If some Muslim or Christian divine had come with similar complaint against a Hindu tyrant, Guru Tegh Bahadur would have reacted no differently. Now the helpless Brahmins had come to him after they realised that no Hindu warrior or saint, no Hindu leader or divine, no Hindu Sanyasi or Yogi dare confront the challenge of Emperor Aurangzeb to maintain their freedom of worship and to tell him: "I will die for your freedom of worship." For God-like Guru Tegh Bahadur, every creature, ignorant or wise, black or white, theist or atheist, nature worshipper or an idolater was a precious creation of the Supreme Lord, each made according to His will and each carrying the same hidden flame of His light in soul. When anyone tried to torment, agonise, strangle, destroy and physically annihilate any section of humanity in the name of any narrow totalitarian creed or religion and politics, it was his duty to stake all his power and spirit of self- sacrifice for protecting and defending it. The woeful tales of the Brahmins moved Guru Tegh Bahadur to profound pity and compassion. Their anguish became his personal sorrow. Their gloom and suffering weighed heavily on his mind.

At this moment came young Gobind Rai who was about nine year old. Never had he seen such a gloom and eerie silence in the Guru's Darbar. He had never seen the calm face of his beloved father so sad and reflecting agonising sorrow. He bowed and touched the feet of his father and asked, "What has happened, dear father? What weighs so heavily in your compassionate soul that an unusual sadness is reflected from your divine face and eyes."

The Guru replied, "Grave burden the earth carries. She will be redeemed only if a truly worthy person comes forward to sacrifice his life. Only then will the distress be expunged and happiness ushered in."[48] Young Gobind Rai told his father that there was nobody more worthy than him (Guru Tegh Bahadur).

The hint was clear. The Guru appreciated the bold reply from his son, who then was barely nine years old. He decided to offer himself for the sacrifice. Therefore, he told Pandit Kirpa Ram and his associates to go home and tell the Emperor that if he (Guru Tegh Bahadur) was converted, they all would voluntarily embrace Islam. Before they took their leave, the Guru, according to Guru Kian Sakhian, consoled them with the words, "Guru Nanak will protect you." The Kashmiri Brahmins as per advice of the Guru sent a petition through Zalim Khan, the Governor of Lahore to Aurangzeb that Guru Tegh Bahadur was prepared to come to him and discuss with him the subject of his religious policy. If the Emperor succeeded in converting Guru Tegh Bahadur, all the Hindus of India would accept Islam but if he failed to convert him, the campaign of forcible conversion should be ended and the freedom of worship given to all the people in the realm.[49]

This declaration of Guru Tegh Bahadur in fact was a bold attempt to demonstrate that a man convinced of the moral purpose of his religious belief had the strength to stand up to any despot bent upon subjugating people to his will. That the inalienable right of the people to practice their own faith could not be denied to them by any ruler. In a way, it was a challenge as well. The Guru understandably challenged the arrogant assumptions of Imperial power accustomed to having its own way with shackled people. The declaration also brought to the forefront the resolve of the Sikhs to rebuild society on the bases enunciated by Guru Nanak.

The intelligence reports received by Aurangzeb apprised him of all that had happened at Chak Nanki. Busy, as he was quelling the Pathan rebellion in North-Western frontier, he had neither the time nor perhaps the inclination to make extensive enquiries about the proceedings at the Guru's Darbar. But he was already suspicious of the Sikh movement, which his grandfather Emperor Jahangir wished to decimate with one stroke and which was in keeping with his policy, "to put down the teachings and public practices of the religion of these misbelievers." He therefore, readily believed all the intelligence reports and wrote to the Governor of Lahore to arrest Guru Tegh Bahadur and ordered that he be fettered and detained in the prison.[50] The Governor of Lahore passed on the Imperial order to Dilawar Khan, the Faujdar of Sirhind for compliance, who in turn asked the circle Kotwal of Ropar, Nur Muhammad Khan Mirza, in whose jurisdiction lay Anandpur, to arrest the Guru. The order, however, was kept a secret.[51]

Guru Tegh Bahadur in the meanwhile called the assembly of Sangat on Savan 8, 1732 BK (July 8, 1675). He told Durgah Mai that Gobind Rai was to be consecrated as Guru and asked him to fetch customary articles used at the time of passing on succession. The Guru arrayed his son in ceremonial apparel and weapons and seated him in his own place. Durgah Mai laid the articles in front of Gobind Rai and bowed in obedience. Baba Gurditta of Baba Buddha's family applied the Tilak (frontal mark)[52] on Gobind Rai's forehead. Guru Tegh Bahadur then said, "Brother Sikhs acknowledge Gobind Rai as Guru in my place henceforth. He who does so, will receive divine reward. We must now go to Delhi." The Guru made a prayer to Akal Purakh for the boon of righteousness even if it means martyrdom. He then took leave of his family and the Sikh devotees. He left Chak Nanki on July 10/11, 1675. He was accompanied by Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayal Das. The first halt was at Kiratpur, where Dip Chand and Nand Chand, two sons of Baba Suraj Mai, came to pay homage. Mata Sulakhani, wife of Guru Har Rai and her daughter, Bibi Rup Kaur, were upset when they learnt that the Guru was proceeding to the Imperial capital. As says Guru Kian Sakhian, Guru Tegh Bahadur consoled them and asked them to accept the will of God cheerfully.

It is not precisely known as to what prompted the Guru to leave Chak Nanki. Basing his inference on the information furnished by Ferrukh-Siyar-Nama Irvine says that Guru intended to proceed to the River Ganges for a bath. This does not seems to be correct because according to the Sikh philosophy, taking baths at known sacred places had no spiritual or social merit and were described by the Gurus as useless rituals. The probable view seems to be that the Guru hoped to see the Emperor at Delhi to plead the case of the non-Muslims, and in the event of the Emperor's unfavourable reaction bear the consequences.[53]

As the Guru arrived at Malikpur Ranghran near Ropar to cross the river Sutlej for his onward journey towards Delhi, he was arrested along with his three companions by Mirza Nur Muhammad Khan, the Kotwal of Ropar on July 12, 1675 (Sawan 12,1732 BK)[54] and was sent to Faujdar’s headquarter at Sirhind where he and his companions were detained in a narrow cell for four months awaiting further orders from the Emperor (who was at Hasan Abdal at that time) or from the Governor of Delhi.

It seems that Aurangzeb deliberately kept Guru Tegh Bahadur at Sirhind for about sixteen weeks to expose him to the guile and arguments of the Mujaddads with a view to make him relent in his faith and accept Islam. Aurangzeb, perhaps, thought that none else than[55] Shaikh Saifuddin who was the son of Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi was better equipped to do the job. His failure, however, led the Guru's transfer to Delhi. According to Swarup Singh Kaushish, the author of Guru Kian Sakhian (Sakhi No. 26), on receipt of Parwana from the Imperial headquarters, Guru Tegh Bahadur was taken in an iron cage to Delhi. The Guru reached Delhi on Maghar Vadi 1732 BK. He was kept in the Kotwali of the city under instructions from Subedar of Shahjehanabad who himself acted as per instructions from Aurangzeb.

A story often narrated is regarding the escape of some Sikhs, particularly Bhai Gurditta and Bhai Uda from the prison. It says that on witnessing the martyrdom of Mati Das, other Sikhs of the Guru were petrified. They went to him at night and expressed their apprehensions. He told them that they were free to leave him. They pointed to the chains of their feet and asked how their release could be effected. Through the Guru's miraculous interception, their fetters fell off, all the prison doors stood ajar and the guards snored in the sleep of neglect.[56] It is said that at this juncture Bhai Gurditta and Bhai Uda escaped. According to yet another version; the Guru helped some other Sikhs escape because he wanted to send through them a message to his son at Chak Nanki. As the account goes they were instructed to carry the insignia of Guruship to Chak Nanki and offer it on his behalf to his son.

This story does not stand the test of historical scrutiny. Only three men were arrested along with the Guru and they all were executed. Therefore the question of helping others—even Bhai Gurditta and Bhai Uda—does not arise. Again the content of the story suffers from serious drawbacks and is contrary to the spirit of Sikhism. To give credence to the display of miracle of breaking the fetters of the Sikhs in prison is positively against the teachings of the Gurus as it is violative of God’s will. Similarly, the story that the Sikhs were sent to Chak Nanki to offer the insignia of Guruship holds no ground, since the Guru had already nominated his son as his successor prior to his departure from Chak Nanki.

However, it may be agreed that there was some communication between the Guru and his son, although it was extremely difficult. This conjecture is attributed to the two slokas believed to have been exchanged between them. Guru Tegh Bahadur wrote to Gobind Rai:

All power shattered, humanity in fetters nothing availeth at all.

Nanak prays O God, save all as thou saved elephant on his drowning call.[57]

Gobind Rai, in reply, uttered:

"With power fetters break, availth all in grace Divine.

All is in thy hand, O Lord, Nanak seeks Divine."[58]

Many Sikh writings on Guru Tegh Bahadur make a reference to these sloks and give different interpretation of them. Of those Dr. Trilochan Singh's interpretation which is based on 'Bhai Mani Singh's evidence seems nearest to truth. According to him, in his Slokas Guru Tegh Bahadur expressed his deep concern over the helplessness of the people, whereas Gobind Rai in his reply assured him his confidence to handle the situation with God's Grace.

During the eight days[59] in Delhi Kotwali, tortures of different kinds were inflicted on the Guru. On the first day of the Guru's arrival, Qazi Abdul Wahab Vora offered the Guru three alternatives viz., (i) to show a miracle to prove divinity of his mission; (ii) to embrace Islam or (iii) to prepare himself to court death. He refused to perform miracles or display occult power saying that it was never right to interfere in the Will of God. He also declined to accept Islam. His message to Aurangzeb was simple. "The Prophet of Mecca who founded Islam could not impose that on the world, so how can you? It is not God's Will." He, however chose the last alternative. On Friday and Saturday attempts were made to persuade the Guru, to show a miracle or accept Islam. Persuasions having failed, coercion was employed to make the Guru agree to one of the first two alternatives. During the next four days, the Guru was subjected to severest tortures. Hot sand was poured on his body; he was not allowed to drink water; his three disciples and companions, Mati Das, Dayal Das and Sati Das were done to death in front of his eyes. Bhai Mati Das was tied to two poles and sawn asunder. Bhai Dayal Das was boiled alive to death in a cauldron of hot water and Sati Das was roasted alive wrapped all-over with cotton-wool. According to Guru kian Sakhian, he calmly uttered "Blessed are the Sikhs; blessed is their faith."[60]

These cruelties could not shake the Guru. All torture to him was like a mud spray against a mountain wall. Like his grandfather, Guru Arjan Dev, he was never ruffled. Not a thought of curse or retaliation disturbed his peace; not a wrinkle of frown appeared on his shining brow. As calm as at Anandpur or anywhere else, he maintained a peace of mind that the doom of the three worlds could not have disturbed.

When the authorities saw that the Guru was determined and was in no mood to oblige them, they ordered the state executioner Jalaludin of Samana to sever his head from the body. The executioner struck, and in a flash the head lay separated from the trunk.[61] The Guru allowed his end to befall upon him without the sound of a groan. He remained wholly composed before the executioner's blow. His was no stoic fortitude but a determined gesture to force a moral issue. It was not a passive but a positive decision to confront the existing situation.

As per order of the Government, the Guru's body was to be quartered and exposed for public viewing, obviously to impart stern warning to all such people who dared go against the wishes and orders of the Emperor. Because of promptitude and timely action of the Sikhs, this could not be done. According to Bansavalinama,[62] a furious dust-storm raged immediately after this brutal deed was accomplished. Perhaps this was the Nature's way of manifesting her anguish over the sad event and of providing the Sikhs with cover to escape with the Guru's earthly remains. In the confusion caused by the dust-storm, a devoted Sikh, Bhai Jaita, a resident of Dilwali Gate, Delhi, who along with Gurbakhsh Singh had witnessed everything with his own eyes, rushed out of the crowd and instantaneously, disappeared with the reverend head of the Guru. He shared his secret with his neighbour Nanu, son of Bhai Bagha.[63] Bhai Uda,[64] a resident of Ladwa (near Kamal) was also taken into confidence. They decided to take the holy but sorrowful possession to Chak Nanki. They placed the sacred possession in a basket, covered it carefully and started their journey to their destination. Bhai Jaita, being the strongest, had the privilege of keeping the basket on his head for most of the time on the way. They made five halts enroute. Their first halt was at Bagpat, the second at Karnal, the third at Grain Market Ambala (Sis Ganj Ambala), the fourth at Nadha Sahib (near Chandigarh) and the fifth at Kiratpur. They left Delhi early in the morning of 13th November 1675 and reached Kiratpur on 15th November 1675.[65] The head was accorded a royal reception and was carried in a procession to Chak Nanki. The moment was very painful but Guru Gobind Rai displayed unsurpassable fortitude. He consoled his mother, relatives and the Sikhs.

He hugged Bhai Jaita and blessed him exalting his whole tribe by his meaningful utterance Rangrete Guru Ke Bete, i.e. Rangretas are Guru's sons.

Guru Gobind Rai performed the obsequies with dignity and reverence on 16th November, 1675. A pyre of sandal-wood was raised and extract of Roses sprinkled on the head which the young Guru took and solemnly placed on the pyre. He then repeated the preamble of the Japji and lit the pyre with his own hand. While the head was being cremated, the Sikh congregation sang hymns of the Guru. They called to memory and spoke of Guru Tegh Bahadur's philanthropic and self- sacrificing deeds. The Sohila (the last of the Sikh five prayers) was then read with a concluding benediction and Krah Prasad (sacred food) was distributed amongst those gathered there. When Guru Gobind Rai reached home, he ordered recitation of Guru's hymns and this was continued for ten days.

When Lakhi Shah Lubana, a rich and famous contractor with a permanent residence at Delhi and a devout Sikh, came to know of the martyrdom of the Guru, he felt much upset. Being affluent and well-respected among official circles, he decided to make use of his influence. He emptied his carts loaded with lime near the Red Fort and went in retreat to his home in village Raisina. On the way, taking advantage of the darkness and carelessness of the Mughal guards, he, helped by his sons, Nagahiya, Hema, Hari, and Dhuma, son of Kanha took the headless body in one of their carts to their home at Raisina, now called Rakab Ganj, on the city's outskirts. This was accomplished on 12th November, 1675 (Maghar Sudi 6, 1732 Bk).

Apprehensive of the Royal reprisal, Lakhi Shah and his sons then built up a pyre inside their house and set fire to it the same evening a little after dark.

To quote from the Bhat Vahis Jadav Bansian:

"Lakhi beta Gudhu ka Nagakia, Hema beta Lakhi ke, Naik Dhuma beta Kahne ka, Tumar Bijlaut, Guru Tegh Bahadurji Mahall Naum ki Lash uthai..Lae Sal Satrai Sai battis Mangasar Sudi chhat Sukarvah ko dag dia Rai Sina Gaon adhi ghari Rat gai."

Lakha (Lakhi Das or Lakhi Shah) son of Godhu, Nagahia, Hema and Hari sons of Lakhi.... and Naik Dhuma son of Lahna Tumar Bijlaut brought the body of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru.... The body was cremated in the village of Raisina half a ghari before dark on Maghar Sudi 6, 1732 Bk.

The bodies of Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayal Das were removed by the Sikhs and cremated on the bank of River Jamuna alongwith the bodies of those who had passed away in the Dharamsal of Bhai Kalyana in Delhi on the very day of Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom.

It is said that a little after dark, a police party arrived at the scene in search of the body but finding the house consigned to flames and the inmates weeping bitterly returned. After the cremation was over, the ashes were collected, put in a pitcher like metalic vessel called Gaagar in Punjabi parlance and buried on the spot.

Lakhi Shah, and other Sikhs came from Delhi to Chak Nanki with a part of the sacred remains which they had saved. Guru Gobind Rai welcomed them. According to Guru Kian Sakhian, he took Lakhi Shah into his embrace and hugged him warmly in acknowledgement of his services to the Sikh community. Lakhi Shah related the whole story and the entire Sangat was overwhelmed with grief and pain. Guru Gobind Rai comforted the Sikhs and advised them not to give way to grief. He called upon them to contemplate upon moral issues which were dear to the Guru for which he had fearlessly embraced martyrdom.

According to Guru Kian Sakhian, the Guru turned thoughtful and said, "My father accepted the Will of God as the cause most agreeable. The event will be remembered as long as the Sun and the Moon continue to shine."[66]

Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom had a uniqueness of its own. It was a Suo motto case undertaken not to achieve any mundane or even spiritual advantage. It was done to assert the sovereignty of the moral principle or for Dharma as Guru Gobind Rai would vouchsafe in his composition Bachittar Natak. It was indeed astonishing that the children of the same Creator in whom He permeates in spirit-form are considered mutually incompatible and one segment of them namely Sunni Muslims regard itself superior to the others. Sadly indeed, Mughal Government denied essential freedom, the right to live, the right to hold and express their religious beliefs to the people except Sunni Muslims. The temples/places of worship of different sections of people were desecrated and demolished. Administrative artifices and state power were used extensively to promote the rule of suppression on a scale which was horrible. The Muslim elite and the Muslim State run by Aurangzeb had a single purpose which was to create unitary and monolithic society having only one religion that is Islam of Sunni variety and the form of government as suggested by Shariat. Such a state could not but be intolerant, unaccommodating, rigid, inflexible and imposing. It was by its very nature opposed to ethical social order and the Sikh principles of tolerance and acceptance of diversity of faith and practice. Such a situation was, therefore, unpalatable to Guru Tegh Bahadur who resolved to make sacrifice as prescription for remedying the prevalent malaise. He invited the trial upon himself to redeem the people’s sufferings and left Chak Nanki to go to Imperial Delhi, determined to correct the state of affairs or lay down his life. The choice, his own, was the consequence of no escapist ethics, but of a consciousness in the growth of which his heritage played a significant role.

Guru Gobind Rai observed everything that happened around. Nobody else understood the moral issues involved better than him. He was fully aware that what his father had done was a moral imperative and was fully justified under the circumstances. It was a religious call as well as a social need. It was perfectly in consonance with the mission of Sikhism which was laid down by Guru Nanak in the light of God's ordainment to him at Sultanpur Lodhi and passed on to his successors one after the other. Also, it was a deed of spiritual insight and discipline of the highest order.

At the same time it bespoke of love, compassion and humility as also of Guru's determination to face the tyranny till his last breath. It was not a passive submission but a positive decision to confront an existing situation. Guru Tegh Bahadur, all through his life had preached unflinching faith in God, of His omnipotence, His concern for the mankind, His ever flowing benevolence, His fearlessness, His animosity towards none, His will to uplift the people to be God- consciousness. He had also exhorted that one should neither fear nor frighten anyone and that people as a whole should endeavour to be in a position to cast their life-style as per the attributes of God. For instance, they should be compassionate, caring, ever-ready to help the needy and the helpless, and to restrain the unjust and tyrannous from doing misdeeds.

Guru Gobind Rai called his father's martyrdom a deed beyond comparison in Kalyug as he had suffered to uphold righteousness.[67] He in the process played no charlatan, and fearlessly cast off his bodily vesture to the suzerain of Delhi (Aurangzeb). He did what God liked and loved and, therefore, in the sphere of God, sang out shouts of adoration.

This being the perception of young Guru about his father's martyrdom, he could not be acquiescent. Many thoughts might have come to his mind. Should he gird up his loins or to defend and promote the sovereignty of the moral principles held close to their hearts by his predecessor Gurus; which were the bed-rock of Sikh religion or knuckle under? Should he combat unrighteousness by courting death following the example of his father or by taking up arms against it? What form of unrighteousness should he combat—political, social or spiritual? The Guru was convinced that knuckling under tantamounted to the activities scorned by God who himself was 'smasher of tyrants' and such a conduct was in no way supportive of the universe of his vision. Nor was offering of further sacrifices considered desirable for, perpetrators of evil had lost all moral consciousness. Aurangzeb the head of the state in his foolhardiness and arrogance had circumscribed God to be the One only of the Muslims (Rub-ul-Momin). The Mullahs, Ulemas and others of their ilk had based their ethics on premises those catered only to the interests of a particular class. Similar was the plight of the elite of Hindu religion. Against this background the Guru inferred and very rightly too that arms should be taken up; of course as the last resort, to combat and destroy unrighteousness and assert the sovereignty of moral principles. The Guru considered any act whether political, social or spiritual as evil if it was violative of the divine consciousness in human mind.

Such thinking of the Guru can be corroborated by his writings. At numerous places in his compositions he expressed the ideal of a crusader on the path of God, yearning to cultivate the qualities which helped forge such a character.

It appears that he became convinced in spite of his young age when he had held his father's severed head in his hands that the flames lit by Guru Hargobind had to be stoked still further and the tyrant's injustice and cruelty had to be met by armed warriors with an iron will, thereby adding a new dimension to Guru Nanak's dictum truth is steel. Steel would now seal the fate of those who mocked and smothered the rights of others, to safeguard mankind from the inhumanity of the evil-doers.

The task of the Guru was stupendous and difficult, yet he addressed it with zeal, fervour, and steadfastness, as was his wont, and with the conviction which later on he vented umpteen times that he did not look for help from any quarter, nor did he believe in resorting to hoax, but he would certainly sow the seed surely to germinate into the invaluable.[68]

The way had been shown by the earlier Gurus. Guru Nanak roundly condemned the atrocities inflicted by Zahir-u-din Babar on the people of India. Guru Angad too did not acquiesce when Humayun threatened him with naked sword. Guru Arjan Dev suffered execution but did not submit. Guru Hargobind proclaimed that Miri and Piri were the two parts of the ground strategy of Guru Nanak's house and the Sikh Gurus would take care of both the temporal and religious affairs of their followers and in the process would not hesitate even to make use of force. Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom was a protest against the excesses of the Mughal State. Thus Guru Gobind Singh's decision to enjoin upon the Sikhs to make use of the sword if all other means fail to liquidate the wicked and their wickedness, was not a break, but a continuation with a little elaboration of the already laid down principles.

To achieve his objective, he initiated schemes to orientate the Sikh psyche to fresh targets and to fulfilment of the teachings of Guru Nanak. He issued Hukamnama (religious fiat) asking the Sikhs to bring him arms of different designs and makes as offerings. The Guru's orders were obeyed with zeal. His foundries also supplied a large number of weapons. He himself bore arms and induced others to emulate his example. Many of his followers, who had served in the army of his grandfather or had been the body-guards of Guru Har Rai, flocked to him. He welcomed them and drilled them in martial arts. The Guru's Darbar hummed with activities of the inspired, energised and determined people.[69]

The Guru encouraged various martial and strenuous sports as a part of his programme to impart physical fitness to his people. His favourite games were splashing of water in a flowing stream, hunting and sham fights. His principal companions of this time were, Sango Shah, Jit Mai, Gopal

Chand, Ganga Ram, Mohari Chand, Gopal Rai, Sham Das, Bhai Day a Ram, and Bhai Nand Chand, an upright and favourite Masand.

Along with all this, the Guru took steps in order to put his Sikhs on the path of self-improvement. He enjoined upon his followers to lead a disciplined life. Later on, in one of his writings, he very tersely expressed, "I am not enamoured of a Sikh; what is dear to my heart is his disciplined life."[70] He would get up well before dawn and sit contemplating on the Eternal One. He would then come to the morning assembly and listen to the holy hymns being sung by musicians and explicate the sacred Word. The rest of the day would be spent in recitation of heroic poetry, drills and athletic competitions and in administering to the needs and problems of his disciples. The evening assembly would be followed by board and concourses which continued late into the night at which general news were discussed and stories of the preceding Gurus and the eminent Sikhs of their times narrated.

Not only this, the Guru harnessed literature and the services of literary luminaries. According to the author of Bansavali Namci, the Guru issued Hukamnama to the Sikhs in 1677 that poets, writers, painters and scholars are invited to attend his court. A large number of eminent literary figures reached the court of the Guru and rendered into a dialect of Hindi, Braj (varying round Sanskrit on one extreme and colloquial Hindi on the other), the stories of Rama and Krishna and the deeds of Chandi. The Guru himself had a natural genius for rendering poetic composition. He bore highly artistic and elegant hand at Gurmukhi calligraphy, specimens of which are preserved on the leaves of some copies of the Adi Granth of his time and in the form of inscriptions on several of his Hukamnamas which have come down to us.

The Guru composed 227 Chhands of Dehi Path in 1683-84 and 1106 Chhands of Dasam Katha Bhagwat Ki in 1685.[71] The former composition deals with the ventures of Chandi in extripating the tyrants, while the latter composition relates to the story of Lord Krishna in Duapar Yng as stated in Dasivan Sakand.

Another composition of the Guru which belonged to this period was Jaap. In this composition he has revealed his mastery over the Sikh philosophical thought and also his keenness not to break its continuity.

The first eleven verses which set the theme could make that clear. He looks upon God as follows:

Chakr chihan ar(u) baran jdt(i) ar(u) pat(i) nahin jeh.

Rup rang ar(u) rekh bhekh kou kahe na sakat keh.

Achal murat(i) anubhau prakas(h) amitoj kahijjai.

Kot(i) Indra indran sah(u) sdhan(i) ganijjai.

Tribhavan mahip sur nar asur net(i) net(i) ban trin kahat.

Tav sarab nam kathai kavan karam nam barnat sumat(i).

 

Contour and countenance, caste, class or lineage, He has none.

None can describe His form, figure, shape and semblance, whatsoever,

Immovable and self poised in His being without fear.

He is the Sovereign of three worlds, the demons, the mortals and the angelic beings.

Nay, even the grass blades in the forest proclaim Him to be boundless, endless and infinite.

O, Who can count all the names that are Thy Glory

Through Thy enlightenment

I will count Thy Attributive names. (Jaap Sahib)[72]

Gobind Rai then commenced to give the names, personal and impersonal and transcendental and immanent. It is opined that he wrote the Jaap on the model of Vishnu Sahsarnama. That might well be true but it should be remembered that his Jaap was in complete consonance with Guru Nanak's Japji and very appropriately both now constitute the morning prayer of the Sikhs. The overall impact of all this was that a process was set in to galvanise the people to think/react different from gross apathy to active involvement and action, always adhering to the cause of righteousness and universal brotherhood of humankind. Besides taking steps for fostering self-improvement and physical fitness, the Guru got prepared in March 1680, a drum under the supervision of Nand Chand, his trusted Dewan.[73] The underlying objective of the Guru was to make use of it as an aid in military training as well as in generating a sense of discipline among his followers, although it caused a lot of misgivings among the Hill Chiefs as well as Mughal officials who looked upon the drum as a symbol of Guru's assertion of sovereignty, since in the contemporary political parlance, the beating of the drum was considered the prerogative of an independent chieftain. The name of the drum Ranjit Nagara—a heralder of victory—was also deemed to be suggestive of the Guru's political ambition. The Sikhs called the Guru Sacha Padshah and his court as Sacha Darbar. The implications of Ranjit Nagara and the titles as Sacha Padshah were misconstrued by the Hill Chieftains and the Mughal officials. These were interpreted in temporal sense and appeared to them emblems of Guru’s political ambitions. Rather these should have been seen as sounding forth a fresh song, the song of victory over evil impulses within and wicked enemies outside so that life rooted in Truth may take the new course of flood and storm.

The Guru and the Hill States

While at Chak Nanki, the Guru had to take notice of hill states, their perception of the Sikh movement, their reactions to the Mughal Emperor, their polity and their socio-religious beliefs.

Between Rivers Sutlej and the Jamuna lay Kahlur (Bilaspur), Sirmour (Nahan) and Hindur (Nalagarh). Kahlur lay on both sides of River Sutlej. On the East of River Jamuna lay Garhwal, which was not really a part of the Punjab. Between the Rivers Ravi and the Sutlej lay very important hill principalities of Kangra, Kulu, Mandi, Saket, Chamba, Nurpur, Guler, Datarpur, Siba, Jaswan and Kutler. Between the Ravi and Jehlum several hill principalities such as Jammu, Basoli, and Jasrota existed.

All the Hill States right from the ancient times were ruled by Rajput princes, who governed their principalities on the principles of feudal polity and Brahmanical orthodoxy. In the medieval period, when the Sultans established their hegemony in the Punjab, these states were only marginally touched.

In the later medieval period, situation changed and the Mughal Imperial system extended to the hill states more or less effectively during the reign of Akbar. The rulers of principalities officially designated as Zamindars were required to pay tributes. They were subject to the supervision and control of local Faujdars of Jammu and Kangra. These Faujdars were privileged to have direct access to regional governors who had been instructed to provide help as and when it was needed.

The Mughal Emperors employed force, cunning and diplomacy to keep their political hold on the hill rulers very firmly. They often resorted to the policy of divide and rule. For instance Nurpur and Foler were brought into prominence at the cost of Kangra. Even then the Mughals were only partially successful in keeping them politically subservient to them. This was because of their traditional love of independence which they had developed over past few centuries because of the inaccessibility of their areas which were hilly and difficult to traverse and their never-failing pride in their social system, which otherwise was unprogressive and ultra-conservative. The economy was sustained by the agricultural Rathies and semi-nomadic Gujjars who formed a large segment of the population. Social life was dominated by the Brahmins who were numerically more than the Rajputs whose support they utilized for rigid enforcement of caste rules and preservation of the traditional caste hierarchy.

Religion, often regarded as the most important element of refined minds, had not crossed even primitive stages of animism and idolatry. The principal deities worshipped by the people were Siva or Mahadeva and his consort. Many temples were dedicated to this deity. The dominant religion in the hills was Shaivism. Puranic literature was widely read.

The worship of goddess in her several forms—Uma, Shyam Kumari, Shakti, Bhavani, Chandi and Kali was very popular, even though worship of goddess in its terrible form was preferred. She was the family deity of the proudest of Rajputs, the Katoches of a thousand years history. The recitation of Durga Sapt Sati was especially esteemed for ensuing safe return from a long journey.

Tantras too, with their cult of five Makaras—Wine, Flesh, Fish, Parched grams and Sexual intercourse—were quite popular and a sizeable proportion of the people appear to have belonged to this sect of Devi worshippers. At popular level, the worship of many minor gods was quite common. The sacrifice of animals—goats, cocks, buffaloes, at the shrines of Shaivism and Shakta deities was also prevalent.

Vaishnavism had made only marginal inroads into hill areas. The Pandore Gaddi (Near Gurdaspur) was established probably in 1572 and Chiefs of Nurpur and Guler associated themselves with the Bairagis in 1572 By 1648, Raja Suraj Sen of Mandi had introduced Vaishnavism in his capital. Raja Karam Parkash, the founder of Nahan had intimate association with a Bairagi named Banwari Das. Temples dedicated to Vishnu, Ram and Sita were raised in Kangra and Chamba by the Chiefs of those principalities in the seventeenth century. Vaishnavism, however, could not become popular at common man's level. A desperate resistance was put up by adherents of the 'old' faith. The Bairagis of Pandore, for instance, were attacked by the Gosains; and biting satires in the Vaishnavas in certain extant drawings amply indicate the general attitude of the people towards Vaishnavism7 Belief in monotheism or monism was a far cry as also, a universal society based on social equality, non-discrimination, non-exploitation and human dignity which had formed the basis of certain religious dispensation in contemporary world.

Such being the broad parameters of the polity, society and religion in hill states, the entry of Sikhism into them could hardly be welcome. Rather it was bound to provoke opposition. Sikhism stood for an egalitarian society based on principles of social equality, honest hard labour, freedom from fear and respect for all irrespective of caste, creed, birth and status etc., all having full faith in the oneness and singularity of God and universal brotherhood.

The political formulations to which Sikhism lent validity was democracy where the people were free to participate and spurn the aristocratic exclusiveness as it was associated with the Rajputs. The economic structure recommended by Sikhism was anti-feudal, democratic and egalitarian in spirit and social action.

To sum up, the politico-social model in the hill states was quite different from the model the Gurus had envisaged, championed and sponsored.

The Rajput rulers who were hand in glove with socio-­religious elites of the hill states resented in particular, the social equality that Sikhism professed and offered to the low caste people and the Jats whom they treated as inferiors socially because in their reckoning, it not only ran counter to their long- upheld religious notions but also delivered a stunning blow to their whole social fabric. Thus in the face of the stout opposition of the hill states and their allies, the progress of Sikhism was bound to be slow. Chronologically the contact of Sikhism with the hilly region was peripheral upto the time of Guru Hargobind. In the times of Guru Angad and Guru Ram Das there were occasional visits of devoted Sikhs to the hilly region and of still less number of seekers to the Guru's court. Among the notables of the hilly tract, there was solitary example of Raja of Haripur who visited Goindwal to make obeisance to the Guru. The impression of the Guru as also of Sikhism which the people from the hill areas carried was that of reverence. In Guler, one of the hill states of Punjab, Sikh Sangat had been established through a Manjidar. Bhai Gurdas avers that there were Sikh Sangats at Sirhind and Kashmir from which it can be safely drawn that Sikhism atleast had crept into the hill states.[74]

In the time of Guru Hargobind, the penetration of Sikhism was marked and significant. This happened inspite of the fact that the Guru had to undergo incarceration, wage wars against the Mughal Islamic imperialism and face the opposition of Minas and recalcitrance of certain Masands. Hargobindpur, which Guru Hargobind founded and turned into religious centre, was situated on the route leading to Kashmir. Its proximity understandably provided a chance for interaction between the hill states and Sikhs in the plains of the Punjab.

Fame of the Guru and his work had already reached the hill states. In 1618, the Guru came to Hindur to help Dharam Chand in a military engagement which the latter undertook to oust his father Sansar Chand, who had nominated his brother as his successor, a development which Dharam Chand did not like. Most probably Dharam Chand had won the heart of the Guru in Gwalior Fort where both of them had been imprisoned. The Guru returned to his head-quarters at Amritsar after Dharam Chand ascended the throne of Hindur after the death of his father in 1618. The Guru's help to Dharam Chand was significant in as much as it sent signal atleast among the Hill Rajas that the Guru was a military force to reckon with. Since the Guru's entourage consisted of scholars, preachers and devoted Sikhs besides soldiers, people in general must have had the opportunity to interact with the Sikhs resulting in improvement of their understanding of Sikhism. The Guru must have also experienced that the hill region needed Guru's dispensation for the spiritual and social elevation of its population steeped deep in ignorance and sufferings from the worst type of conservatism. But, for almost seven years, no special efforts seemed to have been made by the Guru to advance Sikhism in that region. At last in 1627, when Jahangir died, the Guru sent his son Baba Gurditta to Hindur to establish a Sikh Centre in the territory of Dharam Chand. Apart from the general impulse of introducing Sikhism in far off hilly areas, the impending profile of political landscape also inveigled him to take this step. He had gauged that Shah Jahan, the son and successor of Jahangir, would not be as considerate towards him as Jahangir had been in the past few years and in that case a new centre outside the administrative jurisdiction of the Mughals could be useful in several ways. Baba Gurditta ji was well received in Hindur and was helped to establish a centre at the present site of Kiratpur which lay close to the border of Kahlur.

In the thirties of the seventeenth century, Guru Hargobind fell out with the Mughal officials in the Punjab and after having fought successful battles shifted his headquarter to the developing city of Kiratpur which flourished still more. Kiratpur began to radiate the light of Sikhism to the neighbouring and far off places.

This caused commotions, even convulsions among common people and the elite, some appreciating and some deprecating the Guru's ideas. In short Sikhism started influencing the people. Quite a big segment of them became empathetic towards it. The ruling elite including the Brahmins and the upper castes Hindus took to Sikhism with reservation.

In 1642, the Nawab of Ropar attacked Hindur. Dharam Chand sought Guru’s help and defeated him. Even in the time of Guru Harkrishan in 1656, the Sikhs rendered help to Dharam Chand in his war with the chief of Kahlur. The Guru's sustained help to Dharam Chand seemed to have been actuated by his devotion to the Guru, the Sikh's concern for the security and stability of their headquarters, the righteousness of the cause of the ruler of Hindur and the benevolence with which Dharam Chand ruled the state.

As the time rolled on, Dip Chand (1650-1667) the ruler of Kahlur became a devotee of the Guru.[75] Guru Tegh Bahadur's arrival at Kiratpur in 1665 was considered a great event since it instilled a new confidence into the devouts, besides ushering in a new era in the relationship between Dip Chand of Kahlur and the Sikhs. Dip Chand visited the Guru to request him to settle at Makhowal within his territory not far from Kiratpur (which was in the territory of Hindur). The Guru accepted the offer. Possibly the Guru wanted to be away from jealous Sodhis of Kiratpur and to function as a common friend of Kahlur and Hindur who otherwise were rivals to each other.

The existence of Guru's headquarters in two principalities did not create any immediate complications due to various reasons. Bhim Chand who had succeeded to the Kahlur's throne after Dip Chand's death in 1667, was a minor and could not assert himself in any way. Also, there was a general stir in the hills against the Mughals in the first half of the 1670's which subsumed the mutual differences of the Chiefs of Kahlur and Hindur.

Within few years of his assumption of gurgaddi, the pontific throne, the Guru intensified his activities. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Guru Hargobind; he spared no efforts to disseminate Guru's message. He raised an army also and made it publicly known that he would be pleased particularly if the gifts were of use to his soldiers.[76] He followed it up by selecting a place strategically better situated than Makhowal, and set up a small establishment there.[77] The change was reflected in the appearance of the Guru's Darbar. The young Guru would now meet his daily congregation in a costly tent with elephants and horses as a part of the establishment. He would wear an aigrette and sit on a raised platform. The Sikhs called him Sacha Padshah. Princes from far off places visited Chak Nanki.[78] The whole setting was that of a regal court.[79]

One such prince was Raja Ratan Rai. In October, 1680, he along with his mother and select courtiers reached Chak Nanki. He was the son and successor of Raja Ram Rai who ruled state of Jaintia[80] in Assam and was a disciple of Guru Tegh Bahadur.

He was lucky enough to be in the entourage of the Guru that accompanied him on his visit to different places in Assam/ Bengal. He had no male issue and longed for a son. The Guru blessed him and his wish was fulfilled. Raja Ram Rai and his wife were immensely grateful to the Guru and always yearned to make obeisance personally. But they could not as they were constrained by circumstances. Guru Tegh Bahadur laid down his life in 1675 and since then they had been feeling morally guilty. In 1680, Raja Ram Rai passed away and he was succeeded by his son Ratan Rai who was then twelve years old. He too had developed devotion to the Guru because he had been constantly told how Guru Tegh Bahadur undertook arduous tours to awaken the people; how he made supreme sacrifice for the protection of Dharma and for defeating the ill- conceived design of Aurangzeb to convert Hindustan which he considered as Dar-ul-Harb (land of infidelity) into Dar-ul- Islam (land of Muslims), how through his blessing his parents begot him and how great was the aura of his splendid personality. On ascending the throne, Ratan Rai expressed his desire to his mother to visit Chak Nanki to experience the greatness of his son, Guru Gobind Rai and to receive his blessings. His mother encouraged him in his resolve.

So Raja Ratan Rai came on a pilgrimage and amongst many other valuable offerings, brought a trained elephant named Parsadi and a unique weapon for the Master. This elephant had a white stripe from the tip of his trunk all along his back right to the end of his tail; he was trained to hold a fan in his trunk and wave it and to perform many other feats.

The uniqueness of the weapon lay in the fact that it could be used as a sword, a lance or a club.

The young Guru accepted the offerings and showered his benediction on the Raja. The Raja enjoyed celestial atmosphere of Chak Nanki and was highly impressed by the way the Guru conducted affairs, how he scattered joy and light in abundance, how he was working on the plans to recast man and society afresh and on bases already propounded and championed by his predecessors as also ordained to him by the Almighty.

After staying for some days, the Raja sought permission to go back to his state. The parting was soul-stirring. The Guru took him in his embrace and kissed him. The Raja touched the feet of the Guru, rubbed the dust made pious by Guru's feet and touched it on his forehead. In child-like innocence and totally overwhelmed by emotions and love of the Guru, he expressed that offerings represented his love and devotion to him and were not to be parted with. The Guru acknowledged his feelings by consoling him. The Raja along with his party started his homeward journey. On reaching home, he built a temple in honour of the Guru, whom he worshipped as a holy Divine.

The scenario at Chak Nanki reflecting exuberance, vigour and a constructive dynamism was looked upon with suspicion by Bhim Chand, the ruler of Bilaspur, who had succeeded his father who was poisoned to death in 1667 by the ruler of Kangra.

Upto the eighties, Bhim Chand had set himself on the road to realise his cherished goal. He had successfully beaten back the invasion of Mughal Faujdar of Kangra who intended to replace him with his uncle, Manak. Similarly his new minister Parmanand had inflicted a defeat on the Faujdar of Sirhind and brought laurels to his young master.

It was at this stage when his reputation stood high that Bhim Chand took notice of the Guru's activities and appraised them not in the context of the Guru's vision and his grand design, but from his own perspective or at best from the perspective of the hill states. It was not difficult for him to surmise that Guru's activities not only did not fit in the long established social and political order in the hill states, but also could pose a serious threat to his authority. Ranjit Nagara, maintenance of an army, infusing of new ideology into the minds of the people were regarded as an affront to him and as a prelude to establishment of a state within a state. Nevertheless, Bhim Chand decided to visit the Guru to see things for himself. The Guru received the Raja in the famous woollen tent which had been presented to him by a disciple named Duni Chand from Kabul. Other gifts presented to the Guru were also displayed. Bhim Chand was surprised at the majesty and splendour of the young Guru, at his confidence and the devotion of his Sikhs towards him. When he returned to Bilaspur, he decided to make it clear to the Guru that since Makhowal fell in his territory, he was within his rights as an overlord to levy tribute. From the Guru's point of view the question of overlordship was irrelevant because none of the Gurus had paid tribute either to Flindur or to Kahlur till then. Bhim Chand also insisted on being presented with the things of his choice as for instance Prasadi elephant and the unique weapon which could be used as a sword, a lance or a club beside the embroidered Shamiana (Canopy).

Considering the Guru's refusal to oblige him as a challenge to his authority, he attacked the Guru in 1682[81] but was beaten back. Fearing that the states on his North and North Eastern border might take advantage of his discomfiture, he hurriedly packed up and retreated. In contemplating attack on Guru Gobind Rai he had been incited by the Governors of Sirhind, Lahore and Jammu.[82]

The unexpected conflict, as it was not followed by any understanding between the victorious and the vanquished, started a period of tension both for Bhim Chand and the Guru. In this environment of suspended hostilities, constant clashes between Sikhs and Bhim Chand's soldiers were inevitable. At this juncture, a large number of Masands tried to dissuade the Guru from proceeding with war-like activities. The Guru declined to oblige them. Nand Chand, his maternal uncle Kirpal and all others supported the Guru in his stand. View­point of Masands was actuated by a fear factor and it certainly did not take into consideration the far-reaching implications of Guru's acquiescence. In case the Guru had submitted, Anandpur (Chak Nanki) would have lost its independent character which it had maintained as a religious centre and the Guru would have been forced to surmount more difficulties in the process of consummating his design. In 1685, Raja Medni Parkash of Sirmour (later known as Nahan) invited the Guru to settle in his territory. The Guru accepted the offer and left for Sirmour. Guru himself says in Bachittar Natak, "After this I left Anandpur (Chak Nanki) and reached Paonta (a place in the Nahan State) situated on the bank of Kalindri (Jamuna) and partook of various activities."[83]

The great majority of the Sikhs in Guru's township in Bilaspur state accompanied the Guru. There is a strong Sikh tradition that speaks of Gulab Rai and Sham Das, the grandsons of Suraj Mai, being left behind by the Guru at Anandpur (Chak Nanki) to look after the welfare of Sikhs who did not accompany him to Nahan.[84]

Why did the Guru leave Chak Nanki? The event, as it involved shifting of headquarters and settling in another state, was not fortuitous or just a freak; it was the product of the interplay of different factors. The first among them of course was the animosity of Bhim Chand. The Guru needed a place where he could mature his plans undisturbed, free from mundane interference from any king or such other authority. Secondly, the Raja of Sirmour had cordially invited the Guru to settle in his state, knowing full well that the relation between the Guru and Bhim Chand had gone sour. Besides devotion to the Guru, he had certain mundane motives as well. Sirmour and Garhwal were neighbouring states engaged in hostilities for several generations. Supported by the Mughal government, the former had successfully encroached upon the territory of the latter. During the reign of Aurangzeb, Sirmour received Kala Garh (near Dehra Doon) and the Doon was conferred upon Garhwal. This put the two states in dangerous proximity to each other. After Aurangzeb's departure from Delhi in 1679, two new chiefs became rulers of the two states: Medni Parkash (1684-1704) in Sirmour and Fateh Shah in Garhwal (1684-1717). The former desired to strengthen himself by accommodating the Guru in his own territory.[85] Thirdly there was the Mughal factor that prompted the Guru to shift to Sirmour. For about ten years since the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, there had been no move on the part of the Mughals against the Guru.

Between Guru Tegh Bahadur's execution in November 1675 and the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh in December 1678, Aurangzeb's hands were comparatively free. The situation in the rebellious tribal areas in the North-West had improved to a large extent by the end of the year 1675. Shivaji had won victories in the South in 1676-77 but this did not deter Aurangzeb from continuing religious persecutions and military aggression in the North. He had revived Jazya in April 1674, with a purpose to spread Islam and eliminate infidels. Then the Rajput war drew him away to Ajmer where he established his headquarters in September, 1679 to deal effectively with the rebellion of his eldest son, Akbar, who had found shelter at the court of Sambhaji. The Emperor arrived at Burhanpur in November 1681 but never returned to the North. The Deccan became the Chief Centre of his political and military activities from 1681 onwards and Imperial policy did not concern itself with Sikh affairs for quite a long time.

If Aurangzeb had really intended to harm the Sikh community after November 1675, he had an excellent opportunity during the three years period after the commencement of Rajput war. Guru Gobind Rai was a mere boy, inexperienced and yet to mature as a statesman and a warrior-general. Minas, Dhirmalias and Ram Rayyas—the dissentient sects were active in their opposition to him. But even at the height of his religious frenzy symbolised by the reimposition of jazya, Aurangzeb did not take any step particularly against the Sikhs and their religion. Instead of creating difficulties for the Guru he is credited to have directed his potential rival Ram Rai to retire to his possessions in Doon valley thereby making it difficult for him to dabble effectively in Sikh affairs. Had he really changed his mind towards Sikhism and the Sikhs? Was he now favourably disposed towards the Sikhs? Analysis of his religious policy towards non-Muslims makes us conclude that he was not. This soft peddling towards the Guru and his Sikhs for quite a long time was actuated first by his belief that the Guru was not in a position, at least for some time, to challenge Mughal authority in respect of its religious and political policies, and secondly, he had computed that the Guru was bound to evoke jealousy/ enmity of the hill states and would soon be bogged down in hill affairs with the likely result that he would lose the intensity, even shine of his mission.

The Sikhs, however, had no reason to expect that Aurangzeb's hostility had ceased after the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Khushwant Singh says," the leaders of the Sikh community were concerned about the safety of Gobind, for the possibility of his being taken to Delhi as a hostage could not be ruled out. To avoid any chances, the young Guru and his entourage were shifted from Anandpur (Chak Nanki) to the mountains of Paonta, which was not only farther from Sirhind as compared to Anandpur (Chak Nanki) but also provided from the nearest Mughal centre of power a natural fortress which, because of its difficult terrain was well-nigh inaccessible."[86]

In this connection Dr. A. C. Banerjee says, "In the years following the Guru's martyrdom, the 'Turks' took no steps against the young Guru nor did he seek to destroy them. His migration to Paonta took place most probably in 1685 at the instance of Raja Medni Parkash of Sirmour. It has nothing to do with the 'dread' of the Mughal hostility which appears to have evaporated as a result of Mughal inactivity for about a decade."[87] The assessment of the learned scholar is fallacious, as on one hand it runs contrary to the very strong Sikh tradition reflecting constant lurking fear of Aurangzeb's wrath and on the other hand it lacked supportive, authentic, historical evidence.

Notes and References

 

[1] Sri Ram Sharma, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors; Saqi Mustad Khan, Maasar-i-Alamgiri, p. 81, (ed.) J.N. Sarkar, A Short History of Aurangzeb, p. 212.

[2] Khafi Khan, Muntakhab-ul-Lubab II, p. 652 as quoted in J.N. Sarkar, A Short History of Aurangzeb, p. 212.

[3]    Bhat Vahi Talaunda Pargana Jind. Fauja Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur: Martyr and Teacher, p. 42.

[4] Swarup Singh Kaushish, Guru Kian Sakhian.

[5] Koer Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10, p. 15. Sukha Singh, Ibid., p. 35. Ved Parkash, Sikhs in Bihar, p. 93.

[6] According to Koer Singh, the author of Gurbilas Patshahi 10, "The people returned to their houses at night when they sat silently and at the same time finding no interest in any kind of work.

[7] In some accounts the name is 'Jamni'.

[8] The Gurdwara is housed in a small hall with verandah on three sides and a small brick-paved walled compound in front on the bank of a seasonal stream, Son.

[9] According to Gurmukh Singh, the author of Historical Sikh Shrines, p. 32, this Mridang was bestowed by Guru Tegh Bahadur.

[10] Suraj Parkash, Ras 62, Ansu 45, pp. 2197-98.

[11] Fauja Singh (ed.), Atlas Travels of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 10.

[12] Gurmukh Singh, Historical Sikh Shrines, p. 323.

[13] Fauja Singh (ed.), op. cit., p. 11.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Bhat Vahi Multani Sindhi 'Khata Jalhana Balauton ka'; Vahi Pandit Neel Kanth son of Pandit Atma Ram Jeotishi, Pahewa Tirth.

From the Bhat Vahi: "Guru Gobind Das ji beta Tegh Bahadur ji....Lakhnaur Aae, Pargana Ambala, Sambat 1727 Asun 9 Shukla Pakhe gail Mata Gujri ji Aae Mahal Guru Tegh Bahadur ji....

[17] Guru Kian Sakhian, Sakhi 26.

[18] Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Mehal Nama... Assam Pati Raja Singh Dev, Amber Pati Raja Ram Singh se baidaigi lai Dilli Bhai Kalayane Di Dharamsala me aae niwas kiya, gail dewan Durgah Mai Chhibbar, Nawab Saif Khan aae sal sataran se satais Asarh mas ki baais ko do mas teran dihon Dilli me baraje. Guru Ji Shan Nazar Bandi se mukt hoe Raja Ram Singh ke Mata Pushpa Devi se badaigi lai Madhar Desh aae." Bhat Vahi Talaunda Pargana Jind.

[19] Guru Kian Sakhian, Sakhi 26.

[20] Guru Kian Sakhian: The government surveillance referred to here in all probability was started at Agra. When Guru Tegh Bahadur reached this place on his way to Delhi in 1670, he was taken under custody and from there was brought to Delhi. This view is supported by the popular and strong tradition about Guru Sahib's arrest at Agra, if read independently of the setting of time somehow imparted to it by later writers such as Bhai Santokh Singh and Giani Gian Singh.

[21] Saqi Mustad Khan, Maasar-i-Alamgiri, (ed.) J.N. Sarkar (Calcutta 1947), p. 69. Dr. Ganda Singh (ed.), Hukamname, pp. 108-09.

[22] Fauja Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur: Martyr and Teacher, p. 49, footnote 38.

[23] Guru Kian Sakhian, Sakhi 39.

[24] Kirpal Singh, Sikh Itihas de Vishesh Pakh (Punjabi), pp. 199-200.

[25] Kirpal Singh, Sikh Itihas de Vishesh Pakh, pp. 199-200.

[26] Kirpal Singh, Badshah Darvesh Guru Gobind Singh, p. 5, Chandigarh, 1999.

[27] Ibid.

[28] There is another equally strong tradition that the family stayed on at Lakhnaur till the Guru arrived at Chak Nanki and sent for them. But in case the Guru's stay at Bakala was long as we have assumed here, it is more plausible that the family proceeded to Bakala and from there went to Chak Nanki in the company of the Guru.

[29] Giani Garja Singh (ed.), Shaheed Bilas, p. 58.

[30] Fauja Singh (ed.), Atlas Travels of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 11.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Fauja Singh (ed.), Atlas Travels of Guru Gobind Singh, p. 11.

[33] Ibid., p. 12.

[34] Bachittar Natak.

[35] Ibid.

[36] According to Teja Singh and Ganda Singh, the descendants of Pir Mohammad have an autographed letter from Guru with them. It was given to Pir Muhammad by Guru Gobind Singh in appreciation of his services as a teacher.

[37] Lakshman Singh believes that child Gobind Rai had a very efficient Rajput tutor to train him in martial art. He does not mention his name. Khazan Singh calls this tutor Bajar Singh Rajput.

[38] Trilochan Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur, p. 275.

[39] Guru's composition as preserved in Dasani Granth are mostly in Braj Bhasha.

[40] His Persian composition, Zafar Nairn and Hakayat reveal an excellent grounding in that language.

[41] Gulab Rai and Sham Das.

[42] Sango Shah, Jit Mai, Gopal Chand, Ganga Ram and Mohri Chand. They commanded units of Guru's army in the battle of Bhangani. Sango Shah and Jit Mai died fighting in the battle of Bhangani.

[43] Son of an old servant of Guru Tegh Bahadur. At Paonta he acted as Dewan; was sent to Srinagar (Garhwal) to attend the marriage of Fateh Shah's daughter. His daring escape enabled the Guru know of the impending attack on Paonta. He faltered in devotion to the Guru only late in life; ran to Kartarpur; and got killed at the hands of Dhir Malias.

M.A. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, Vol. V, pp. 2, 12, 15, 24, 29, 36, 41, 44, 56, 87, 89.

[44] According to Bhai Kahn Singh, the ninth Guru had a number of poets at Makhowal. Also refer to D.P. Ashta, The Poetry of Dasam Granth, p. 32.

[45] P.N.K. Bamzai, A History of Kashmir, pp. 602-03. The author says the number of deputationists was 500. According to Bhat Vahi Talaunda Pargana Jitid the number was 16.

[46] Kirpa Ram, son of Aru Ram, grandson of Narain Das, great grandson of Brahm Das, of the house of Thakar Das, Bhardwaj gotra Sarswat Brahmin (Mulal) resident of Mattan Pargana Kashmir came to Chak Nanki Pargana Kahlur on Jeth Sudi Ikadshi 1732 Bk/25 May, 1675 bringing sixteen leading Brahmins of Kashmir. Guru Tegh Bahadur the ninth Guru consoled them.

[47] Koer Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10, p. 48.

[48] Koer Singh, Gurbilas Patshahi 10, p. 48.

[49] P.N.K. Bamzai, A History of Kashmir, p. 555.

[50] Siyar-ul-Mutakhrin.

[51] William Irvine, Later Mughals, Vol. I, p. 79. Muhammad Ahsan Ijad's, Ferrukh Siyar Nama, p. 13.

[52] Opinions differ amongst the scholars since this is a Brahmanical ritual and all the Gurus were against such practices.

[53] The Emperor at that time was in the North-West frontier. Considering the difficulty of communication in that age, it is not surprising that the Guru had no idea about the exact whereabouts of the Emperor. The normal expectation was that he would be at his capital, Delhi.

[54] For details see Bhat Vahi Multani Sindhi, 'Khata Balautan Ka' (Punjabi University, Patiala); Muhammad Ashan Ijad, Ferrukh-Siyar-Nama, a source quoted by William Irvine in his book, Later Mughals I, p. 79.

In view of the evidence of Bhat Vahi the statement of Koer Singh Kalal, author of Gurbilas Patshahi 10, relating to the Guru's arrest in a garden near Delhi, or that of M.A. Macauliffe (V 376-77) based on Suraj Parkash, Ras 62 (Ansu 30-37) in respect of the Guru's arrest at Agra seems historically invalid. Thus the story of the shepherd boy as related in the above accounts appears like a fable.

[55] Bhat Vahi Purbi Dakhni.

[56] M.A. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, Vol. II, p. 383. The account is based on Bhai Santokh Singh's Suraj Parkash, Ras XI.

[57] Bal chhutkio bahdhan pare kachchu na hot upae. Kahu Nanak ab of Har(i) gaj jio hoh(u) sahae.53.       (SGGS, p. 1429)

[58] Bal hoa bahdhan chltute, sab(u) kichh(u) hot upae. Nanak sab kichh(u) tumrai hath mai turn hi hot sahae.54.                (SGGS, p. 1429)

[59] Bhat Vahi Purbi Dakhni. Guru ji char mass Bassl Pathana ke bahdi khane band rahe, aath divas Dilli Kotwali me band rahe.

[60] Harbans Singh, Guru Tegh Bahadur, p. 78.

[61] Bhat Vahi Talaunda and Bhai Vahi Multani Sindhi.

[62] Kesar Singh Chhibber, Bansavalinama.

[63] According to Bansavalinama, Bhai Nanu was son of Bhai Bagha and Bhai Jaita son of Agya Ram. Both lived in Mohalla Dilwali, Delhi. (Chain 9).

[64] Bhai Uda died a martyr in the Battle of Bhangani 1688.

[65] Gurdwara Babangarh, Kiratpur, marks the place where the sacred head was received and Gurdwara Sis Ganj, Anandpur marks the place where it was cremated.

[66] Swarup Singh Kaushish, Guru Kian Sakhian, No. 28.

[67] Tilak jariju rakha prabh ta ka, kryo batio kalu main saka. (Bachittar Natak)

[68] Kinu na dan rakh huh.

Kinu na bhekh bhlj huh.

Alakh blj blj huh.

[69] Giani Gian Singh, Tivarikh Guru Khalsa, pp. 755-59.

[70] Rehat Piari Mujh Ko, Sikh Piara Nahi.

[71] Randhir Singh, Shabad Murat.

[72] M.A. Macauliffe, The Sikh Religion, Vol. V, p. 366.

[73] Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, Anandpur Sahib, p. 19.

[74] J.S. Grewal and S.S. Bal, Guru Gobind Singh, p. 17.

[75] Dip Chand ruled over Kahlur state from 1650 to 1667. According to Swarup Singh Kaushish, Dip Chand's wife Champa Devi was a great devotee of the Guru. Gradually Dip Chand also developed respect for the Guru. The authenticity of this fact can be gleaned from the Sakhi No. 24 as incorporated in Guru Kian Sakhian, (ed.) Piara Singh Padam.

[76] J.S. Grewal and S.S. Bal, Guru Gobind Singh, p. 52.

[77] The foundation of Anandpur was laid by Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675) on 16th June, 1665 on a piece of land covering the ruined mound of an older village Makhowal, which the Guru had earlier purchased from the Rajput hill state of Kahlur. After the Battle of Bhangani (18th September, 1688) Guru Gobind Rai returned to Chak Nanki which he renamed Anandpur after one of a ring of forts (Anandgarh) which he now undertook to raise. (Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, Vol. I, p. 128). Rose, however, says that Anandpur was founded in 1678 (The Land of Five Rivers, Historical and Descriptive Sketches, p. 213). The correct position seems to be that the piece of land of Anandgarh fort had been acquired in 1678., but Chak Nanki acquired the new name once the Guru returned to this place after the Battle of Bhangani.

[78] According to Sikh tradition Rattan Chand of Assam came to Makhowal and met Guru Gobind Rai in 1680. Though the Sikh tradition has preserved the memory of only this chief coming to Makhowal, others too must have visited.

[79] The Persian writers tell us that Aurangzeb wanted his Faujdars on the North-West to see that Guru Gobind Rai stopped practices that created the impression that the Guru was a Raja (an independent ruler). Khushwaqt Rai, Twarikh-i-Sikhan, S.H.R. 116, pp. 632-33; Muhammad Qasim Lahori, Suraj Parkash II, Rut-1, Ansu 24, p. 2294; Gurbilas by Bhai Sukha Singh, p. 104.

[80] Sylhet at this period was divided into three principal states—Laur, Gaur and Jaintia and it is highly possible that Raja Ram Rai was a ruler of one of these states.

[81] H.A. Rose, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, Vol. III, p. 688. Rose puts Bhim Chand's defeat in 1682.

[82] Hari Ram Gupta, History of the Sikhs, Vol. I, p. 227, it was a challenge to the king's authority. The Gurus followed the concept of Khalsa and if they paid any tribute that would mean 'serving a man' whereas Khalsa served only God.

[83] Bachittar Natak Steek, p. 138.

[84] Giani Gian Singh, Shri Dasmesh Chamatkar, p. 119.

[85] Hutchinson and Vogal, History of the Punjab Hill States, Vol. II.

[86] Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Vol. I, p. 76.

[87]  A.C. Banerjee, Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, p. 230.