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|Born||July 5, 1595
Guru Ki Wadali, Amritsar, Punjab, India
|Died||March 19, 1644 (aged 48)
Kiratpur Sahib, India
|Other names||The Sixth Master|
|Known for||Building the Akal Takhat, First Guru to engage in warfare and advising the Sikhs to take part in the military training and martial arts, establishing Miri Piri.|
|Predecessor||Guru Arjun Dev|
|Successor||Guru Har Rai|
|Spouse(s)||Mata Nanaki, Mata Mahadevi, and Mata Damodari|
|Children||Baba Gurdita, Baba Suraj Mal, Baba Ani Rai, Baba Atal Rai, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and Bibi Biro|
|Parents||Guru Arjan Dev & Mata Ganga|
Guru Har Gobind, (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਾਹਿਬ [ɡʊru həɾɡobɪnd sɑhɪb]) also Saccha Padshah (ਸੱਚਾ ਪਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ "True Emperor") (5 July 1595 – 19 March 1644 ). According to another tradition, he was born on 5th of July 1595. He was the sixth of the Sikh gurus and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev. He was not, perhaps, more than eleven at his father's execution. Before ascension, he nominated Guru Har Rai, his grandson as the next Guru of the Sikhs.
He put on two swords: one indicated his spiritual authority and the other, his temporal authority. ('miri' symbolizing temporal power and 'piri' symbolizing spiritual power).He built the Akal Takht, the Throne of the Almighty. Guru Har Gobind ji excelled in matters of state, and his Darbar (court) was noted for its splendour. The arming and training of some of his devoted followers began, the Guru came to possess seven hundred horses, and his Risaldari (army) grew to three hundred horsemen and sixty gunners in the due course of time. Additionally, five hundred men from the Majha area of the Punjab were recruited as infantry. Guru Har Gobind built a fortress at Amritsar called Lohgarh "Fortress of steel". He had his own flag and war-drum which was beaten twice a day.
The Guru was a brilliant martial artist (shastarvidya) and an avid hunter. Guru Hargobind encouraged people to maintain physical fitness and keep their bodies ready for physical combat. His policy was sometimes at odds with more established members, such as Baba Budha Ji.
Relations with Jahangir and wars with Mughals
The reasons for Guru Har Gobind to arm his followers were many. Both externally and internally, the situation was changing, and the policy of the Guru had to be adjusted to a new environment. The organisational development of Sikhism had mostly taken place during the tolerant days of Akbar, who had never interfered with it; he had, on the contrary, even helped the Gurus in various ways. But the execution of Guru Arjan at the hands of Jahangir and imprisonment of Guru Hargobind definitely showed that sterner days were ahead, and the policy of mere peaceful organisation no longer sufficed. Guru Arjan had foreseen and Guru Hargobind also clearly saw that it would no longer be possible to protect the Sikh community without the aid of arms. He had a stable of eight hundred horses; three hundred mounted followers were constantly in attendance upon him, and a guard of fifty-six matchlock-men secured his safety in person.
Jahangir could not tolerate the armed policy of Guru Hargobind and consequently imprisoned him. The main reason for leaving him after years was that there were a lot of reports from across the length and width of the country that people were against the throne due to the popularity of the guru, as well as the unjustified martyrdom of the fifth guru. A lot of people were following Sikhism, and there was a possibility of a coup if the Guru was not relieved at the earliest. As it is, there were 52 Hindu kings in the Gwalior prison at that moment, the policies of Jahangir against the local majority people were oppressive in nature. Therefore, the situation compelled him to order release of Guru Hargobind and save the throne.
During the reign of Shah Jahan, relations became bitter again, for Shah Jahan was intolerant. He destroyed the Sikh baoli at Lahore. The quarrels which originally started over hawks or horses between Mughal officials and the Sikhs subsequently led to risings on a large scale and were responsible for the deaths of thousands of persons on both sides. Battles were fought at Amritsar, Kartarpur and elsewhere. He defeated the Imperial troops near Amritsar. The Guru was again attacked by a provincial detachment, but the attackers were routed and their leaders slain. Guru Hargobind grasped a sword and marched with his devoted soldiers among the troops of the empire, or boldly led them to oppose and overcome the provincial governors or personal enemies.
A childhood friend of Guru Hargobind, Painde Khan, whose mother had been the nurse of the Guru, had become his enemy. The cause given, in some accounts, was a valuable hawk of a follower of the Guru which was taken by Khan, and when asked for, was resented by him. Other accounts note Khan's vanity and his pride. This opportunity was used by Mughal officials, who saw Guru Hargobind as an ever-present danger. Painde Khan was appointed leader of the provincial troops and marched upon the Guru. Guru Hargobind was attacked, but the warlike apostle slew the friend of his youth, with his own hand, and proved again a victor.
There is an incident narrated by both Sikh and Muslim native accounts. During one of the battles, Guru Hargobind was rushed upon angrily by a soldier. He not only warded off the blow but struck and laid dead the soldier at his feet. "Not so, but thus is the sword used"; an observation from which the influence is drawn that "Guru Hargobind struck not in anger, but deliberately and to give instruction; for the function of the Guru is to teach". Guru Hargobind had many difficulties of a similar kind, but his Sikhs always rallied around him.
During the era of Guru Hargobind, the Sikhs increased greatly in number, and the fiscal policy of Guru Arjan and the armed system of Guru Har Gobind had already formed the Sikhs into a kind of separate entity within the empire. The Guru was not unconscious of his latent influence, but in his private life never forgot his genuine character, and always styled himself Nanak, in deference to the firm belief of his Sikhs, that the soul of their great teacher was alive in each of his successors.
Guru Hargobind had no regard for idol worship. One of his followers cut off the nose of an idol; on complaints from various neighboring chiefs, he summoned the Sikh to his presence; the culprit denied the act, but added, ironically, that if the idol bore witness against him, he would accept punishment willingly. "O fool," replied the chiefs, "how will the idol speak?" Replied the Sikh, "If he can't save his head, then how will he avail you?"
The following is a summary of the main highlights of Guru Har Gobind's life:
- Transformed the Sikh fraternity by introducing martial arts and weapons for the defence of the masses following his father's martyrdom.
- Militarised the Sikh movement – carried two swords of Miri and Piri.
- Built the Akal Takht in 1608 – which is now one of five Takhts (Seats of Power) of the Sikhs.
- Founded the city of Kiratpur in District Jalandhar, Punjab.
- He was imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior for one year and on release insisted that 52 fellow prisoners be freed as well. To mark this occasion, the Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas.
- The first Guru to engage in warfare.
- Fought four battles against the Mughal rulers.
- The city Hargobindpur, in Majha region of Punjab, is named after him, which he won over from Mughals after defeating them in a battle.
- Guru Har Gobind Ji, the true emperor
- Joseph Davey Cunningham (1853). A History Of The Sikhs. John Murray,London.
- V. D. Mahajan (1970). Muslim Rule In India. S. Chand, New Delhi, p.223.
- Twarikh Guru Khalsa, Giani Gian Singh
- Grewal, J.S. Sikh History from Persian Sources: Translations of Major Texts ISBN 978-8185229171 "Many person became his disciples. Nanak believed in the Oneness of God and in the way that it is asserted in Muhammadan theology. He also believed in transmigration of souls. Holding wine and pork to be unlawful, he had [himself] abandoned eating meat. He decreed avoidance of causing harm to animals. It was after his time that meat-eating spread amongst his followers. Guru Arjan Dev, who was one of his lineal successors, found this to be evil. He prohibited people from eating meat, saying, 'This is not in accordance with Nanak's wishes'. Later, Guru Hargobind, son of Guru Arjan, ate meat and took to hunting. Most of their [the Guru's] followers adopted his practice.
- Cunningham, Joseph Davey. A History Of The Sikhs (1853 ed.). London: John Murray. p. 55.
- Cunningham, Joseph Davey. A History Of The Sikhs (1853 ed.). London: John Murray. p. 53.
- Cunningham, Joseph Davey. A History Of The Sikhs (1853 ed.). London: John Murray. p. 57.
- Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2005), Sikh Twareekh Vich Akal Takht Sahib Da Role, Sikh University Press.
- Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2011), Akal Takht Sahib (Concept & Role), Sikh University Press.
- Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2008), Sikh Twareekh (5 volumes), Sikh University Press.
- Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer (2012), SIKH HISTORY in 10 volumes, Sikh University Press.
- DiscoverSikhism - Sri Guru Hargobind Ji Sri Guru Hargobind Ji is the sixth of the Ten Sikh Gurus. Read about his life and stories here.
- The Sikh Web Site
- The Sikh History Web Site
Guru Arjan Dev
(15 April 1563 – 30 May 1606)
|Guru Har Gobind||Followed by:
Guru Har Rai
(26 February 1630 – 30 May 1661)