Jaswant Singh Puri

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, a spiritual leader of sacrifice, embraced this world on April 1, 1621 in Amritsar called Guru’s city. He was the youngest son of Sri Guru Hargobind and Bibi Nanki. He had four brothers, Baba Gurditta, Baba Suraj Mal, Baba Ani Rai and Baba Atal and a sister Bibi Viro. Guru Hargobind prophesied that he would be a brave, fearless warrior and lover of mankind and named him Tyag Mal. But keeping his courage and bravery, he was named Tegh Bahadur. He was crowned Guru on March 30, 1664 while he was living at Baba Bakala. He is called ‘Hind Di Chaadar’(Savior of India) for vindicating the right to freedom of religion.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur was a multifaceted genius who was not only a martyr and a prophet but also a poet of par excellence. He spent his childhood in Amritsar who was baptized at the age of eight. He turned to deep meditation due to the early death of three brothers; Baba Gurditta, Baba Ani Rai and Baba Atal. He got his primary and secondary education under the supervision of Baba Budha Ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji. He studied many languages, philosophy, music along with horse riding and the deft and adept use of sword.

Gurudwara Dukniwaran sahib, Patiala

He moved with his father to Kiratpur in 1635 where he stayed upto 1644 A.D. till his father merged with the Eternal. Then he moved to Bakala, a village of his maternal grandparents, with his mother. Here he lived for about twenty years till he achieved prophethood. From 1665 to 1670, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji travelled to Punjab and the East of India upto Dhaka to spread the message of love and peace. He visited and paid obeisance at all the Hindu temples. He left his family at Patna on his travelling campaign. Here a son was born on 22 December, 1966 who later became the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs. Then he came back to Punjab in 1670. He founded the city of Anandpur Sahib in 1665 on the site of an old deserted village called Makhowal. Guru Ji travelled to Malwa in 1673-74 and inspired a large number of Jats to follow the Sikh faith. It was Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur who opposed the policy of the Emperor Aurangzeb of forced conversion to Islam. He saved the Kashmiri Pundits from the atrocities of Sher Afghan’s declaration either to opt for Islam or face death. A fifteen man deputation of Kashmiri Pundits, under the leadership of Kirpa Ram came to Guru Ji at Anandpur Sahib to find a solution of their problem. Guru Ji’s son Gobind Rai was nine years old at that time. When he questioned about the seriousness of the problem, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur replied that the nation required the sacrifice of a holy person. The child of nine years innocently replied that there was no holier person than the Guru himself. At this, Guru Tegh Bahadur meditated with closed eyes and the Divine Light dawned on him. He told the Brahmins that they should tell Sher Afghan to convert Tegh Bahadur first to Islam and then they would follow suit.

Aurangzeb in his rage and fury got arrested Guruji on 12 July, 1675 where he was camping with Mati Das, Sati Das and Dayal Das. He was kept in custody for four months. Aurangzeb did all in his power to tempt the Guru to embrace Islam and offered him wealth, power and reign. But Guru ji did not accept anything and opposed his policy of forced conversion. The debate between Aurangzeb and Guru Ji did not bear fruit and the emperor in his anguish beheaded the Guru on 24 November,1675 in Chandni Chowk, Delhi. His body was secretly cremated by a Sikh named Lakhi Shah Lubana. Magnificent gurudwaras in his pious memory were erected called ‘Sis Ganj’ and ‘Rakab Ganj’. The Guruji’s execution brought a revolt in the Rajput princes and the Punjab peasantry who honored him highly. It halted the torture of the Hindus by the Mughals.

Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, new Delhi

Guru’s pontificate lasted for more than eleven years and during this period, he visited Punjab and the East of India where Sri Guru Nanak Dev had founded his Devotees (Sangat) to imbibe in them dynamic force. He imparted his devotees with a new concept of life i.e. the life of a liberated soul. He taught people to lead a normal family life and still follow a life of detachment. He founded the cities of Khadur, Goindwal, Taran Taran and Kiratpur. He founded the city of Anandpur Sahib where Sri Guru Gobind Singh founded his headquarters and founded the Khalsa.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji composed 116 hymns in 15 ragas which were incorporated in the Granth Sahib.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was a poet, a thinker, a warrior and carried ahead the divine light of sanctity. His spiritual writings have a huge hues of themes like the nature of God, human attachment, body, mind, sorrow, dignity, service in the form of poetic hymns. His martyrdom broke the myth of Aurangzeb’s religiosity. He identified himself with the common masses. He established many new preaching centers of Sikhism. The main and important halts of Guru Sahib were Patiala (Gurdwara Dhukniwaran Sahib, Gurdwara Sri Moti Bagh and Gurdwara Sri Bahadurgarh. He sacrificed his life for the religion ensuring that the Hindus, Jains and the Buddhists were able to follow and practice their belief without hindrance. He advised people to shed off anger which is a dangerous poison and people lose all sense of righteousness.


“ਕਰਨ ਕਰੋਧ ਘਟ ਹੀ ਕੇ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਜਿਹ ਸੁਧਿ ਸਭ ਬਿਸਰਾਈ॥” ”

(Karan krodh ghat hee ke bheetar jeh sudh sabh bisraee)

(The Heart is filled with anger and violence which leads to forget all sense.)

Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji writes about Sri Tegh Bahadur Ji.

“ਧਰਮ ਹੇਤ ਸਾਕਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਕੀਆ ,ਸੀਸੁ ਦੀਆ ਪਰ ਸਿਰਰੁ ਨ ਦੀਆ

(Dharamhet saaka jin kia

Sees deeya par sirar na dia)

(For the sake of righteousness, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji sacrificed himself. He beheaded himself remaining uncompromising in his principles.)

His martyrdom draws parallel to the couplet in Salok Mahla 9:

““ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਜਿਹ ਪਰਸੈ ਨਹੀਂ ਲੋਭੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨੁ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਸੋ ਮੂਰਤ ਭਗਵਾਨ॥”  

“Sukh dukh jeh parse nahi lobh moh abhiman,

Kaho Nanak sun re mana so murat bhagwan”

(One who is not touched by pleasure or pain, greed, emotional attachment and egotistical pride, Says Nanak, listen, mind, he is the very image of god.)


Jaswant Singh Puri
Note: This article is dedicated to Shrimati Alka Puri (M.A. Hindi, B.Ed) who was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice-chancellor Dr. S.S Johal, awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2004. Smt. Alka Puri was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and  Jaswant Singh Puri.

(The views expressed are personal)

November 28,2022


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