SHRI GURU TEG BAHADUR JI (THE NINTH SIKH GURU) WHO SACRIFICED HIMSELF FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
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 Shri 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 Shri 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,see structure
of Shri Harmandar 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."
Mission Starts in Punjab
The Guru made three successive visits to Kiratpur. On 21 August 1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur went there to
console with Bibi Rup Kaur upon the passing away of her father, Guru Har Rai, and of her brother, Guru Har
Krishan. The second visit was on 15 October 1664,at the death on 29 September 1664, of Mata Bassi, mother
of Guru Har Rai. A third visit concluded a fairly extensive journey
through Majha, Malwa region in Punjab
and Bangar districts of the Punjab.
Crossing the Beas] and Sutlej] rivers, Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived in the Malwa. He visited Zira,
and Moga and reached Darauli. He then sojourned in the Lakhi Jungle, a desolate and sandy tract comprising
mainly present-day districts of Bhatinda and Faridkot.
According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Baisakhi of 1665 was celebrated at Sabo-ki Talwandi,
now known as Damdama Sahib. This journey took Guru Tegh Bahadur up to Dhamdhan, near Jind,
from where he returned to Kiratpur. The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh offered
to give the Guru a piece of land in her state.
The Guru bought the site (which was about six miles away from Kiratpur Sahib) on payment of Rs 500.
The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru
Tegh Bahadur ordained that a city be constructed. The original name of the city was Chakk Nanaki. However,
later he would rename the city Anandpur - the City of Bliss and this was where the Khalsa was born.
However, the Guru did not stay at Anandpur or Kiratpur for long; he left most of its
construction to be done during his absence.
Mission to the East
Soon after, during about late 1665 and 1666, the Guru undertook travels to the region east of Punjab and to
Easter India to different parts of this region to preach the teachings of Guru Nanak. His places of visit
included Uttar Pardesh, Bihar, Assam, Bengal and present-day Bangladesh. One reason for Guru Tegh Bahadur ji's
travels to the East was his wish to visit and pay homage to
various places that were associated with the previous
visit by Guru Nanak Ji.
These visits to places where core Sikh sangats (communities) existed created confidence and infuse renewed enthusiasm in
the people; gave them moral and spiritual courage and a better and deeper understanding of Guru Nanak mission.
Leaving Anandpur,the Ninth Guru blessing various villages and towns, reached Kurukshetra.
An eclipse of the Sun was due and there was a fair and a large gathering. The Guru took advantage
of the occasion and went there. The Brahmans and some other people suggested to the Guru that he
should bathe in the sacred tank and thus be purified.
The Guru smiled and said, "My friends, one cannot be purified simply by washing one's body since
the polluted mind cannot be washed with water. It is only the True Name of Almighty God that can wash
away all sins and emancipate the soul." By these
means, the Guru imparted the message of Guru Nanak and
dispelled superstition and empty ritualistic behaviour.
Birth of Gobind Rai
During 1666 the Guru was travelling east of Patna to the regions of Bihar, Assam and present-day Bangladesh
after leaving his wife, family members and Sikh sangat at Patna, Bihar.
At this time Mata Gujri was expecting a baby as so found it difficult to travel. Thirty four years had passed
since her marriage to the Guru Tegh Bahadur. Three hours before the dawning of day, in the winter of her
forty second year, on Friday, January 5, 1666, Mata Gujri ji became the mother of a prince. Marvelling at
the majestic bearing of one so small, Mata Nankee delivered her newborn grandson proudly to his mother's
At his post outside the room, Kirpal Chand heard the infant take his first breath and immediately,
he turned to dispatch the courier who stood by awaiting the signal to seek out the Guru and deliver the news
of his son's birth. Thus Gobind Rai was born in the city of Patna in Bihar, East India.
Return to the Punjab
Returning to Patna in 1670, the Guru directed his family to return to the Punjab. On the
site of the house at Patna in which Gobind Rai was born and where he spent his early childhood now
stands a sacred shrine, Sri Patna Sahib Gurdwara, Bihar.
Gobind Rai was escorted to Anandpur (then known as Chakk Nanaki) on the foothills of the Sivaliks where he reached
in March 1672 and where his early education included reading and writing of Punjabi, Braj, Sanskrit and Persian.
He was barely nine years of age when a sudden turn came in his life as well as in the life of the community he was
destined to lead.
Oppression by the Mughals
But soon oppression and intolerance would again rear its ugly head.
The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Hindu temples to be destroyed and that idol worship was
to be stopped. He had a temple converted into a Mosque and slaughtered a cow inside it.
He also had Hindus sacked from their government jobs and employed Muslims instead. Aurangzeb also
ordered Gurdwaras to be destroyed, and he expelled many missionaries from the main cities. Despite
some resistance after many years of persecution,
people were being forced to take up Islam.
Kashmiri Pandits Visit to Guru Ji To Get Help
Aurangzeb, being clever, decided if he could convert the revered Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir,
then millions of their followers would also convert to Islam. Threatened with conversion or death,
the Pandits overcome by panic, came in a delegation to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji to ask for help at Chakk Nanaki,
Pargana Kahlur (from a contemporary entry in the Bhat Vahi (diary) of the purohit of Talauda in Jind Pargana).
Hearing the serious nature of the conversation, Guru Ji’s 9 year old son Gobind Rai Ji asked his father what
the problem was. The Guru told his son of the Pandits dilemma and said that it would take a holy man literally
laying down his life to intercede, but the question is who would be such a man? Gobind Rai responded “Who would
be better than you to defend the poor Brahmins?”. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji smiled and decided to stand up for the right
of freedom of worship and told the delegation to tell Aurangzeb that if he could convert Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, they
would gladly convert to Islam too. And, then the cruel Aurangzeb tried his all to convert Guruji to Islam, but to no
vain. He tortured Guruji to death. The Guruji thus sent a strong message of religious freedom and is rightly
called 'Hind di Chaadar'(Protector of Hindus).
Guru tegh Bahadur then left Anandpur for Delhi with 3 other Sikhs who knew as well the danger they were
to face, Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dayal Das.
Journey to Martyrdom
It seems orders for his arrest had been issued by emperor Aurangzeb as soon as he received reports
of his declared intention,SHRI GURU TEGH BAHADUR SAHIB JI along with his followers Bhai Mati Das ji,
Bhai Sati Das ji Bhai Dyala Ji, Bhai Gurditta Ji, Bhai Udo ji, and Bhai Jaita ji started journey from
SHRI ANANDPUR SAHIB. Stopping at Saifabad (Patiala), Cheeka, Jind, Rohtak, Janipur GURU SAHIB reached
here at Agra. GURU SAHIB stopped outside Agra city at this place (GURUDWARA SHRI MANJI SAHIB, situated
on the left side of GURUDWARA GURU KA TAAL in the same campus). As history reveals there was a grazer by
the name of Hasan Ali who used to bring the goats here for grazing. He always used to pray to God that the
savior of Hindus will get arrested one day and he should be the one responsible for his (GURU TEGH BAHADUR SAHIB’S)
arrest and get paid a bounty of Rs.500 in the process. Guru Sahib beckoned Hasan Ali to fetch sweets from the market
as He was hungry. Guru Sahib gave him His precious ring to sell in market and bring some sweets and food from that money.
Guru Sahib also gave him a Shawl to carry the sweets and food. Hasan Ali went to the confectioner and gave the ring to
the shopkeeper, in exchange for the sweets. Seeing such expensive things the shopkeeper became suspicious that how can
a grazer have such things, maybe he must have stolen it and reported it to the Kotwali (Police Station). The Police
arrested Hasan Ali who took them to Guru Sahib. The Police then asked who Guru Sahib was and in turn the reply came
“The savior of Hindus Tegh Bahadur is my name”. On hearing this Police arrested Guru Sahib along with the other Sikhs.
Guru Sahib was kept blind-folded for 9 days in Bhora Sahib (below the main Darbar Sahib). Hasan Ali was in turn given
the bounty of 500 rupees. From here Guru Sahib and the other Sikhs were taken under high security to Delhi.