Guru Har Gobind


Guru Har Gobind

Guru Har Gobind

The only son of Guru Arjan Dev and Mata Gangaji was born on June 19, 1595. He was extremely handsome, truly courageous and highly intelligent. He was married in about 1610 to Mata Nanakiji. He had a daughter called Bibi Viroji and five sons Baba Gurdittaji, Suraj Malji, Ani Raiji, Atal Raiji and Tegh Bahadurji. His first four sons passed away during the lifetime of the Guru and the only survivor, the fifth son, became the ninth Guru later in 1664. The life of Guru Har Govind was full of struggle and journeys, spiritual preaching and political strife. It was a tempestuous life of turmoil, activities and restlessness.

Just after the martyrdom of his father Guru Arjan Dev, he was nominated and installed as the sixth Guru in 1606 at the tender age of 11. The struggle for existence had taken the form of war, so there was no peace in the country. In accordance with the cruel wishes of the Mughal rulers, Muslim troops were torturing everyone. Sikhs had to keep swords and other weapons to save their lives. This was the time when Guru Har Gobind decided to wear two swords, one for Piri (spiritual enlightenment) and the other for Miri (military power). The physical and spiritual powers were blended well and the emergence of these "saint-soldiers" was regarded as essential and accepted wholeheartedly. The Guru himself learnt the adroit use of various weapons, as well as wrestling, riding and fighting, besides the favourite pastime, hunting. He advised Sikhs to take part in the military training and martial arts. All sorts of martial sports were introduced. He composed martial songs like Vim, which were sung daily to inculcate the fighting spirit in Sikh youth and inspire them to heroic deeds.

Within three years he made all efforts for safety and security. He had a wall erected around Amritsar and a Lohgrah constructed on its outskirts. Akal Bunga (Timeless Throne) or Sri Akal Takht Sahib was established just in front of the Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib, in 1609.

Mughal emperor Jahangir could not tolerate the Sikh expansion, consolidation and militarization on such a large scale. He imprisoned Guru Har Gobind in the Gwalior fort for three long years. Just after his release, on his request, 52 other prisoners were also released and he received the nickname Bandi Chhor-Baba (saint who freed the prisoners).

His Dharma Prachar yatras (tours for spreading the religion) gave him immense power both in Piri and Miri. He raised an army and made Sikhism popular in different parts of the country.

The atmosphere was more vitiated when Shah Jahan became the Mughal ruler. As a result, Guru Har Gobind fought five battles during the reign of Shah Jahan and won all. After these successful encounters, he retired to Kartarpur but there too he had to wage war. Then he moved on to Kiratpur Sahib, where he established another Sikh centre. He spent around ten years of his life here and nominated his grandson Har Raiji as his successor and the seventh Guru.

On February 28, 1644 he breathed his last. When his body was on the pyre and the flames leapt high, many saint-soldiers tried to jump into the fire. Guru Har Rai stopped them. However, at least two of them were consumed by the fire along with the Guru. 

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