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::  Sikh Gurus  ::

Guru Har Gobind Ji

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 Har Gobind Ji - Riding horse
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.
Guru Har Gobind Ji - Wearing swords
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).
Guru Har Gobind Ji - The Akal Takht Temple
On ascending 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 time.
Guru Har Gobind Ji - Raising army
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.
Guru Har Gobind Ji - Releasing from jail
Jehangir got 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 ever since.
On receiving 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 matters.
Guru Har Gobind Ji with his grand son (Guru Har Rai Ji)
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.
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