Bishwa Nath Singh
A glimpse on life history of Guru Tegh Bahadur ,ninth Guru of Sikhism.
(Photo of Guru Teg Bahadur,ninth Guru of Sikhism known for his martydom)
Bishwa Nath Singh:
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the youngest sun of Guru Har Gobind Ji and Mata Nanki. He was born in Amrtisar on April 1, 1621. The Guruji spent his early years mainly in meditation with God and spent his latter years as the Guru in spreading the teachings of Guru Nanak and spreading the joy of worship to God with humanity. Guruji is honored and remembered as the man who championed the rights for all religious freedom. He sacrificed his own life to save the Hindus from religious persecution from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji became the ninth guru of the Sikh religion on March 20th, 1665 after the untimely demise of his grand-nephew Guru Har Krishan Ji. Guru Tegh Bahadur traveled far and wide spreading kindness, wisdom and blessings to all no matter their caste and social standing. He helped countless poor and hardship stricken people and also built many centers of Sikh religious teachings and temples.He was named Tyal Mal (master of detachment). At the tender age of 13, he joined his father at the battle of Kartarpur against Painde Khan and Mughal forces over Shah Jahan's hawk and showed great courage and excellence in wielding his sword. The Sikhs was very proud with their hero and Named him Tegh Bahadur(master of swordsmanship).He learnt Sankrit, Hindi, Gurmukhi, Archery and Swordsmanship from a very young age from Baba Buddha, Bhai Gurdas and his father.He was married to Mata Gujri in 1632 and moved to Bakala village with his family and mother as was instructed by his father. For the next the Master of Detachment spent most of his time in an underground room absorbed in meditation.He had ony one son Guru Gobind Singh Ji who later succeeded him and became the 10th Guru of the Sikhs.He is remembered to have built the city of Anandpur Sahib. Never in the annals of history has the religious leader of one religion sacrificed his life to save the freedom of another religion. He had sacrificed his life upholding the "right to freedom of religion".". Guru Tegh Bahadur was responsible for saving Kashmiri Hindu pandits who being persecuted by the Mughals, but had to lay down his own life to protect their freedom of religion. Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred by Emperor Aurangzeb because he would not become a Muslim on November 11, 1675 Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Chandani Chowk, New Delhi is located where he was martyred. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in New Delhi is located where the Guru's body was cremated.On November 16, 1675 at Anandpur Sahib, a pyre of sandalwood was constructed, sprinkled with roses and the head of Guru Tegh Bahadur was cremated by young Gobind.This ended the earthly reign of the ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur.Before his death, Guru Har Krishan Ji said that his successor would be found in the village of Bakala. He did not mention any specific name of his successor.When the Sikhs went to Bakala to seek their new guru, they were faced with many people claiming to be the next guru. The Sikhs were in a quandary as to who was really the true Guru?Meanwhile a wealthy merchant Makhan Shah had his ships carrying valuable cargo caught in a fierce storm at sea. He vowed to offer five hundred gold coins to the Guru if his goods reached home safely. His wish was fulfilled and his merchandise safely arrived at the port. Makhan Shah immediately set out for Delhi where he received the tragic news that Guru Har Krishan had passed away and that his successor was at Bakala. Makhan Shah set out for Bakala to pay his homage to the Guru. When he finally got there he was confronted with the same quandary as the rest of the Sikhs -- who was the real Guru? -- He decided that he would pay homage to all of the twenty two claimants and placed two gold coins before each of them as tribute. When he had visited all of the claimants, a child pointed out to him that a holy man lived across the street. Makhan Shah decided that he may as well pay this holy man a tribute also. When Makhan Shah entered the he found that Guru Tegh Bahadur was in meditation. He was told that Tegh Bahadur did not like to receive visitors but spent his time in meditation. Makhan Shah waited until he met the Guru and placed two gold coins before him.At this Guru Tegh Bahadur smiled and said to Makhan Shah, "I thought that you had pledged five hundred coins". Makhan Shah became so elated that he kissed the Guru's feet and started shouting from the rooftop "I've found the Guru, I've found the Guru!".All the Sikhs rushed to the house of the quiet saint and when they heard the story there was much rejoicing for many days. Thus the pious, humble saint Tegh Bahadur was acclaimed as being the true Guru of the Sikhs and natural successor of Guru Har Krishan.Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji travelled extensively spreading the joy of worship and teachings of Guru Nanak. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib with his entire family reached Amritsar (about November, 1664) to pay obeisance at Harmandir Sahib, but the ministers of the holy place shut its doors against him and he was not allowed to enter. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib did not pressed or forced his entry but returned calmly and reached Kiratpur Sahib via Vallah, Khandur Sahib, Goindwal Sahib, Tarn Taran Sahib, Khem karan. Before reaching Kiratpur, he also visited Talwandi Saboke, Banger and Dhandaur. It is to be noted that wherever Guru Sahib went, there he established new Manjis (preaching centres of Sikhism). Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib reached Kiratpur Sahib in May 1665.In June 1665 Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib bought some land from Raja of Bilaspur near Makhowal village on the bank of River Satlej and founded a new town Chak-Nanki after revered name of his mother Nanki. Later this town was renamed as Sri Anandpur Sahib (City of Bliss).After a brief stay at new founded town, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib set out for a long journey towards the east in order to strengthen the Sikh nation by setting up new preaching centers and renewing the old ones. It was his second missionary tour. He left Anandpur Sahib in August, 1665 alongwith many staunch sikhs. It was like a long-march for the sake of suffering humanity. This mission raved the othodox regime of the Mughals, because large crowds began to attend the gatherings and sought the Guru's blessings. When Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was coming at Dhamdhan in the Banger area in December 1665 a Mughal enforcement officer Alam Khan Rohella arrested him alongwith some other Sikh followers under the imperial orders from Delhi. All these were produced before the court of the Emperor Aurangzeb, who ordered to hand-over them to Kanwar Ram Singh Kachhwaha, son of Raja Jai Singh Mirza. The entire family of Raja Jai Singh was a staunch follower of Guru Sahib and hence they treated him not like prisoner but endorsed great respect and also secured the releasing orders from the imperial court. Guru Sahib was released after about two months. Resuming his mission further, Guru Sahib reached Mathura and then Agra and from here he reached Allahabad via Etawah, Kanpur and Fatehpur. He also visited Benaras and Sasaram and then reached Patna in the May 1666.Later on,he proceeded further towards Dacca via Mongair, Calicut (now Kolkata), Sahibganj and Kant Nagar in October 1666. But before leaving for these places he made necessary arrangements under the supervision of a devout Sikh lady known as Mata Paidi for the safe stay of his family members at Patna during the rainy season. Then Mata Gujri Ji was expecting a child. At all the places Guru Sahib halted, Satsangat and Kirtan (recitations of Verses from Guru Granth Sahib) were held daily and religious sermons were delivered. Many prominent Sikhs supported Guru Sahib in religious sittings during these tours.At Dacca Guru Sahib established a big Sangat (Hazuri Sangat) with the help of ardent followers like Almast Ji and Natha Sahib. A Gurdwara Sangat Tola now marks the place where Guru Sahib used to deliver holy sermons to the audience. It was here that Guru Sahib heard the news of the birth of his son, (Guru Gobind Singh Sahib) who was born on December, 22,1666 at Patna. From Dacca, Guru Sahib proceeded towards Jatia Hills and Sylhet where he established a preaching centre for Sikh Sangat and reached Chittagong via Agartala.He returned Dacca in 1668. During this tour Guru Sahib meditated on the banks of river Brahmaputra at Dhubri in Assam where stands a Gurdwara known as Sri Damdama Sahib. Earlier Guru Nanak Sahib also sanctified this place. It is said that by the grace of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, there was a peaceful settlement instead of bloody conformation between the ruler of Kamrup and Raja Ram Singh. Guru Sahib left Assam in April-May, 1670 and returned to Patna.Along the way, Guru Sahib was arrested at Agra along with many of his prominent Sikhs in June 1670. They were produced before an imperial court at Delhi but released shortly. Guru Sahib returned Anandpur Sahib in February 1671. He spent about two years there peacefully preaching Sikhism. Here he identified himself with the sorrows and sufferings of the common masses.In 1672, Guru Sahib set out for another religious journey towards Malwa region in Punjab. Socially and economically this area was backward and almost neglected, but the people were hard working and poor. They were also deprived of basic amenities like fresh drinking water, milk and even simple food. Guru Sahib toured this area about one and half year.He helped villagers in many ways. Guru Sahib and Sikh Sangat assisted them in planting trees on barren stretches of land. They were also advised to start dairy farming and in this respect many cattle heads were also distributed free of cost among the poor and landless farmers. To cope with the scarcity of water many community wells were dug on the behest of Guru Sahib by performing Kar-Sewa (free service). Thus Guru Sahib identified himself with the common masses. At this stage many followers of Sakhi Sarver (a muslim outfit) entered into the fold of Sikhism. On the other hand Guru Sahib established many new preaching centres of Sikhism at these places. The main and important halts of Guru Sahib were Patiala (Dukhniwaran Sahib), Samaon, Bhiki, Tahla Sahib, and Talwandi in Bhatinda, Gobindpura, Makrora, Bangar and Dhamdhan. Guru Sahib toured these areas about one and a half years and returned Anandpur Sahib in 1675. He can safely be called the peerless martyr in the history of the world. He laid down his life for the protection of 'Tilak' and 'Sacred Thread' of the Hindus. He was a firm believer in the right of the people to freedom of worship.In the year 1674, the Hindu religious leaders of Kashmir, approached Guru Ji, to help them and save the Hindu faith, from being forcefully converted to Muslim by the Emperor Aurangzeb. Guru Ji agreed to protect their faith from the tyrant ruler.Guru told the Pundits, "Go and tell Emperor that you will agree to embrace Islam if he can persuade your Guru Tegh Bahadur to be converted to the Muslim faith".Aurangzeb on hearing this arrested Guru Tegh Bahadur and forcefully tried to make him convert to Muslim. Guru Ji, along with many of his devotees, was cruelly tortured. Bhai Mati Das, the devoted Sikh, was tied between two pillars and his body split in two by being sawn alive. Bhai Dyala was boiled alive in a cauldron of boiling water and Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool and burnt alive. Determined not to renounce his faith, Guru Ji was even prepared to give up his life. By now, Aurangzeb had become very furious and therefore ordered that Guru Tegh Bahadur be executed publicly in Chandi Chowk.On November 11, 1675 Guru Tegh Bahadur took his early morning bath and recited the sacred Japji. Thereafter he was brought out of the Kotwali and seated on a platform.Guru Ji sat absorbed in deep meditation, while the executioner took his sword and at one stroke Guru Ji was beheaded.The Guru's body was left in the dust as no one dared to pick up the body for fear of the emperor's reprisal. Just then a severe storm swept through the city and under the cover of darkness a Sikh named Bhai Jaita managed to collect the Guru's sacred head and carried it off to Anandpur Sahib to the Guru's son. Another Sikh Bhai Lakhi Shah who had a cart was able to smuggle the Gurus headless body to his house. Since a public funeral would be too dangerous, Bhai Lakhi Shah cremated the body by setting his house on fire.Meanwhile the head was taken to the grief stricken young Guru Gobind Singh and the widow Mata Gujari.On November 16, 1675 at Anandpur Sahib, a pyre of sandalwood was constructed, sprinkled with roses and the head of Guru Tegh Bahadur was cremated by young Gobind.This ended the earthly reign of the ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur.
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Guru of Sikhism who will be always remembered for His martyrdom for freedom of another religion.Never in the annals of history has the religious leader of one religion sacrificed his life to save the freedom of another religion.Gurdwara Sis... Ganj in Chandi Chowk, Delhi, visited by hundreds and thousands of devotees, stands as a monument to the unique sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur. Kirtan or holy singing is performed in this Gurdwara throughout the day.