Guru Tegh Bahadur(1621 to 1675) Full Name : Tegh Bahadur Personal Details Birth : Wednesday, April 18, 1621 Guruship : Saturday, 16 April 1664 Joti Jot : Wednesday, November 24, 1675 at Chandani Chownk New Delhi Family Parents : Guru Har Gobind & Mata Nanaki Brother/Sisters : Brother – Baba Gurditta, Baba Suraj Mal, Baba […]
Full Name : Tegh Bahadur
Birth : Wednesday, April 18, 1621
Guruship : Saturday, 16 April 1664
Joti Jot : Wednesday, November 24, 1675 at Chandani Chownk New Delhi
Parents : Guru Har Gobind & Mata Nanaki
Brother – Baba Gurditta, Baba Suraj Mal, Baba Ani Rai, Baba Atal Rai
Sister – Bibi Biro
Spouse : Mata Gujri
Children : Guru Gobind Singh
A summary of the main highlights of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s life:
- He built the city that his son would enlarge and rename Anandpur Sahib.
- He travelled extensively throughout India.
- He sacrificed his own life, facing down EmperorAurangzeb on behalf of the Kashmiri Hindus, ending Aurangzeb’s threat to either convert to Islam or be executed.
- He contributed 115 hymns to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, all of them Sloks.
- His Saloks (Mahal 9) near the end of the Guru Granth Sahib are extremely popular.
Today Gurdwara Sis Ganj, Chandani Chowk, Delhi, stands at the site where Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded, while Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, Delhi stands at the site where Guru Tegh Bahadur’s headless body was cremated by Lakhi Shah Vanjara, one of the Guru’s devotees, who had managed to rescue the Guru’s body from the Mughals, setting his home afire, in order to cremate the Guru Sahib’s body.
Guru Ji whose original name was Tyag Mal (Master of Renunciation) spent his childhood at Amritsar. In his early years he learned Gurmukhi, Hindi, Sanskrit and Indian religious philosophy from Bhai Gurdas, and archery and horsemanship from Baba Budha while his father Guru Hargobind Ji, Master of Miri and Piri taught him swordsmanship. Only 13 years old, he asked his father to accompany him into battle as his village was attack by Painde Khan and the Mughals in a battle over Shah Jahan’s hawk. During the battle he had weighed into the enemies with abandon, slashing his sword right and left.
After the battle was won, (the Battle of Kartarpur) the victorious Sikhs returning home honored their new hero with a new ‘warriors’ name. And so Tyag Mal Ji was renamed Tegh Bahadur Ji (lit. Brave sword wielder or Best sword wielder).(Tegh = wielder of the sword. Bahadur (originally meaning brave was by that time being also used as a superlative meaning better or best). The young Tegh Bahadur soon showed a bent in the direction of the earlier Sikhs Gurus who had passed the ‘seli’ of Nanak (the sacred headgear of renunciation) to each new Guru. He delved into his studies and spent his time in meditation living up to his given name – Master of Renunciation. He was married to Mata Gujri Ji at Kartarpur in 1632.
After the untimely death of his son Bhai Gurditta the Guru Hargobind seemingly started grooming his grandson Har Rai to sit next on Guru Nanak’s seat. Har Rai Ji became Guru Hargobind’s successor in 1644. Shortly after this Guru Hargobind asked Tegh Bahadur Ji to move with his wife and his mother to the village of Bakala. He had told his wife, who had wanted her son to follow the father as Guru, that one day he would become Guru and have a son and that both would become famous in their fight for justice.
For the next 20 years the Master of Renunciation spent most of his time in an underground room absorbed in meditation. Before Guru Har Krishan Ji passed to God’s court, he indicated that his successor would be found in Bakala. Earlier a wealthy Sikh trader Makhan Shah whose ship was caught in a violent storm prayed to God that if his ship reached port safely he would give 500 golden Mohurs to his Guru Har Krishan.
The ship landed safely and proving to be a Sikh of great integrity he headed to Delhi where the young Guru had travelled at the command of Aurangzeb. Along the way he learned of Guru Har Krishan’s passing and of his mentioning that the next Guru was in the village of Bakala. He arrived in Bakala to find 22 members of the Sodhi dynasty styling themselves as the Guru and taking donations from the Sikhs. He decided to give each Guru 2 gold pieces and each Guru was pleased and blessed him.
Makhan Shah was about to leave the village when a child told him of yet another holy man meditating nearby in an underground room. Again Makhan Shah bowed and gave 2 gold pieces and turned to leave. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji said: “Why have you broken your promise? When you prayed to God to save you and your ship from the terrible storm you promised 500 gold pieces to the Guru”. Makhan Shah was overjoyed, he gave the rest of the gold as promised and ran to the roof shouting “The True Guru has been found, O Sikhs come seek his blessing”. The false Gurus all ran away.
Becomes Sikh Guru
The responsibility of instructing and guiding the Sikh community was now of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s. He was the focal point of veneration of the Sikhs. They came singly and in batches to seek spiritual solace and inspiration. And by his teachings and practise, he moulded their religious and social conscience.
As had been the custom since Guru Har Gobind, Guru Tegh Bahadur kept a splendid lifestyle. He had his armed attendance and other marks of royalty. But he himself lived austerely. Sikh or other documents make no mention of any clash with the ruling power having occurred during his time.
Visit to Harmandar Sahib
Soon after the public announcement by Makhan Shah, the Guru with a party of Sikhs travelled to Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Harmandar Sahib. However on his arrival at this sacred shrine, the Guru was rebuffed by the Sodhi family Sardars who then had control of the Gurdwara and he was not allowed to enter the main section of the complex but went as far as the Thara Sahib.
The party found that the doors of this premier Sikh shrine were suddenly shut and they were refused admittance. The reason for this action was that the greedy “masands” (bishops) of Amritsar had acknowledged Guru Arjan Dev ji’s elder brother Prithi Chand to be their guru. It was under the instructions of Harji, the impostor (Mina) guru of that time, that the doors of the Golden Temple were closed to Guru Tegh Bahadur ji.
The Guru waited nearby for a little while. This place is now known as “Thara Sahib” – the Pillar of Patience. But when the doors were not opened, Guru ji went away and stayed in a nearby village of Wala in the humble dwelling of a peasant couple. Later, the women of Amritsar came out and repented for the shameful behaviour of the masands of Amritsar. Highly pleased at the sincere devotion and courage of the women of Amritsar, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji said, “Ever blessed by God be the women of Amritsar.”