6. Guru Har Gobind Ji
(1595 - 1644 & Guruship: 1606 - 1644)
Guru Har Gobind
was born at Wadali village in June 1595 and was the only child
of Guru Arjan Dev. He was made the sixth Guru at the age of 11
when Jehangir summoned Guru Arjan Dev to Lahore. He had five sons
namely, Gurditta, Suraj Mal, Ani Rai, Atul Rai and Tegh Bahadur.
Guru Arjan not
only trained Har Gobind in languages and religious philosophy,
but also in horse riding, the use of weapons, astronomy, medicine,
agriculture, sciences and public administration. Baba Buddha was
put in charge of the religious education of the young Har Gobind,
while a team of experts were employed for instruction in their
areas of expertise.
|During the Guruship
ceremony Guru Har Gobind respectfully declined to wear the Seli
(woolen cord worn on the head) which had been passed down on each
successive Guru since Guru Nanak. Instead the Guru asked for a sword.
Baba Buddha, never having handled a sword before, placed it on the
wrong side of the Guru. Guru Har Gobind noticing this, asked for
another sword saying "I'll wear two swords, a sword of shakti (power)
and a sword of bhakti (meditation)." Henceforth the Guru would always
carry two swords to symbolize his dual role of holding secular power
(Miri) and spiritual authority (Piri).
the Gurugaddi in 1606, Guru Har Gobind laid the foundation of
a new temple at Amritsar; the Akal Takht. The Akal Takht was built
facing Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple). Guru Har Gobind had
a throne built, and would administer Sikh affairs from here. The
temporal nature of the Akal Takht balanced the spiritual nature
of the Golden Temple, emphasizing the dual concepts of Miri and
Piri introduced by the Guru. Guru Har Gobind donned the royal
regalia of a King and was known by the Sikhs as Sacha Padshah
(The True King).
Guru Har Gobind
knew that the Sikh's would no longer take their freedom for granted,
he encouraged the Sikhs to build their bodies and join his troops.
He introduced the practice of hunting and laid much emphasis on
military training. He issued instructions to his devotees to make
offerings of horses and weapons. The Sikhs did not believe in
self-denial alone; they grew increasingly aware of the need for
assertion also. They wielded arms and lived an active life, reared
horses, rode on them, and racing and hunting became their part
Guru Har Gobind
encouraged Sikhs in physical activity and weapons training as
well as prayers. Soon an army of one thousand horses was raised.
The spiritual side was not neglected. Guru Har Gobind would rise
long before the day dawned and after his bath in the holy tank,
would go into meditation.
news of these activities of Guru Har Gobind and ordered that he
be arrested. The young Guru was imprisoned in Gwalior Fort for
three years. Sikh devotees were greatly perturced and were yearning
to see their Master. They would go in large numbers to the Gwalior
Fort, go round it, bowing in respect to their Guru whom they could
not even see in person. They were getting restless, the Punjab
province was in commotion, resulting in a revolt. A few peace-loving
noble Muslims persuaded Jehangir to release the Guru.
But the Guru
refused to leave the fort till all the Rajas (Kings), who had
been locked up unjustly in the same fort were also released. They
had become great admirers of the Guru during his imprisonment.
Jehangir reluctantly agreed to let off as many of those Rajas
that could hold the Guru's dress. At once the Guru got a special
dress made which had 52 apron strings attached to it. This enabled
Guru Har Gobind to allow each of the Rajas to hold on to a silken
bud of Guru Ji's dress (chola). The Guru thus earned the title
of Bandi Chhor (the Liberator) and is remembered by this name
the shocking news of his eldest son's death, Baba Gurditta, who
passed away at age 24, Guru Har Gobind started training his grandson
Har Rai, son of Baba Gurditta as his natural successor. The Gurus
own sons; Gurditta had passed away, Suraj Mal Atul Rai and Ani
Rai were too worldly while Tegh Bahadur preferred solitude and
meditation. Har Rai was a pious young man and Guru Har Gobind
proceeded to train him in the use of arms as well as spiritual
At the age of
fourteen Har Rai was ordained by Guru Har Gobind as the seventh
Sikh Guru. Guru Har Gobind passed away in Kartarpur in 1644 having
in his lifetime transforming the Sikhs into soldier-saints.