Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Sikh Guru undertook the supreme sacrifice for the protection of the most fundamental of human rights – the right of a person to freely practice his or her religion without interference or hindrance. To bring to the attention of all human beings in greater India and to record in world history the barbaric ways of the Mughal Empire, escalated the consciousness of the Sikh psyche to a newer level. It was no longer deemed acceptable for the God loving people to protect just their own kind, but it was reckoned that it was the duty of all God loving people to protect the rights of all the people of God, no matter what their chosen religion may be.
1 . He was born in a Sodhi family on 18th April 1621 and was the youngest of the five sons of sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Ji. As the news of his birth spread, people hurried to offer there felicitations. As Guru Hargobind Ji set his eyes on him, he predicted auspiciously. In the words of the Garbilas Chhevin Patshaili, he said, “Of my five sons, he shall take the of five of Guru. He shall protect the weak and relieve their distress. This shall be his principal mark.” Guru Hargobind called the child, Tegh Bahadur, Mighty of Sword.
2. Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought up in Sikh culture and trained in archery and horsemanship. He was also taught the old classics as he underwent prolonged spells of seclusion and contemplation.
3 . Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji got married on 3rd February 1633 at the age of 12 to Mata Gujri who was 9 years old at that time.
4 . Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was treated differently by his father. To quote the Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth, “But Mother Nanaki’s perplexity was not abated. She knew that her son, Tegh Bahadur, maintained no contact with the masands, nor did he supervise the household. One day she directly questioned Guru Hargobind why he treated Tegh Bahadur with such attention. The Guru answered, ‘I shall unlock the mystery for you. Tegh Bahadur can suffer what none other can. His forbearance is unsurpassed. He is master of many virtues. None else is there like him in the world. This is one reason which entitles him to acknowledgment. Second, a son will be born to him who will be mighty of limb and be the vanquisher of foe. He will take part in many a battle. He will excel in both valour and compassion. He’ll bring fame to the house of Guru Nanak, the world teacher.”
5 . In the 1640s, nearing his death, Guru Hargobind and his wife Nanaki moved to his ancestral village of Bakala in Amritsar district, together with Tegh Bahadur and Mata Gujri. Bakala, as described in Gurbilas Dasvin Patishahi, was then a prosperous town with many beautiful pools, wells and baolis. After Guru Hargobind’s death, Tegh Bahadur continued to live in Bakala with his wife and mother. He spent most of his time in meditation, but was not a recluse, and attended to family responsibilities.
6 . In August 1664 a Sikh Sangat arrived in Bakala and anointed Tegh Bahadur as the ninth guru of Sikhs. The Sangat was led by Diwan Durga Mal, and a formal “Tikka ceremony” was performed by Bhai Gurditta on Tegh Bahadur conferring Guruship on him.
7. In 1675 Guru Teg Bahadur was executed in Delhi on 11th November under the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, after refusing to covert from Sikhism to Islam.
The sacrifices made by Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji were truly remarkable and the values and principles that he stood for are still extremely relevant in our society. He truly embodied the essence of total sacrifice and service for the well being of others.
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