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Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji – Life History of 6th Sikh Guru | Biography

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji

Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was the first Saint Soldier among Sikh Gurus. Took up 2 swords of Miri and Piri, constructed Akal Takht – a symbolic of Raj Satta and Throne of the Eternal God.

Name of Guru Sat Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, Sodh Linage
Birthplace Wadali Sahib, 6 Miles from Wadali Sahib.
Birthday 1652 Bikrami Assarh (Haarh) Vadi Ekam 21 Haarh, Sunday Night of Pooranmashi, June 6th, 1596 CE Pushya Nakshatra.
Parents Mata Ganga Ji, Father Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Nana Krishan Chand Ji, Nani Dhanvanti Ji
Spouse Mata Damodari Ji from Dalla Village Near Sultanpur, Grand-daughter of Bhai Paro Ji, Daughter of Narain Dass and Daya Kaur Ji. 2nd Wife Mata Nanaki Ji from Baba Bakala, 3rd Wife Mata Marwahi Ji (Mahadevi Ji) from Mandyali Daughter of Duara Ji and Mata Bhagan Ji.
Gurgaddi 1663 Bikrami Jeth Vadi Ashtami, 15 May 1605 CE Amritsar Sahib, Above the Akal Takhat in Kothdi Sahib
Joti Jot 1695 Bikrami Chet Sudi Panchami, 28th March 1638 CE, Pataalpuri, Kiratpur Sahib *In Bir Bhai Mani Singh at Sri Hazoor Sahib + Twarikh Guru Khalsa + Sri Guru Panth Parkash Samvatt of Ascension is 1701 Bikrami. In Gur Bilas and Sri Gur Partap Suraj it is 1695 Bikrami.
Children From Mata Damodari Ji – Baba Gurditta Ji, Beebi Veero Ji; From Mata Nanaki Ji – Baba Ani Rai, Satguru Teg Bahadar Ji & Baba Atal Rai Ji; From Mata Marwahi Ji – Suraj Mal Ji.
Total Age 42 Years 9 Months 19 Days
Guruship Period 32 Years 10 Months 12 Days
Throned King Jahangir, Shahjahan

Guru Hargobind (1595-1644)

The son of Guru Arjan Dev, ascended the throne of Sikh Guruship on the martyrdom of his father when he was only 11 years old. He was trained in the art of horsemanship, swordsmanship, hunting, and wrestling. Guru Hargobind built Akal Takht as the temporal seat of authority opposite the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He built a small fort, called Lohgarh and kept a small army (cavalry).

The Guru ordained his Sikhs to bring offerings of weapons and horses. So Jehangir (Mughal ruler) imprisoned the Guru in the fort of Gwalior for about 12 years, though later on the Emperor tried to befriend him. Guru Hargobind traveled far and wide including Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. He fought four battles against the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. The Guru lived the last year of his life in meditation, leading a simple life. Finally, he appointed his grandson Har Rai as his successor.

Concept of Miri Piri

The concept of Miri-Piri laid by Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji can be understood as follows;
‘Pir’ means sainthood and ‘Miri’ denotes sovereignty. The sequence has been placed as such that sainthood is mentioned first and then temporal making it clear that the prerequisite to bear arms is knowledge and spirituality.

This concept has also been utilized by Guru Gobind Singh Ji multiple times under a similar context but as a different name where Miri= Tegh and Piri= Degh. The Degh and Tegh are Persian words, meaning kettle and the sword respectively. Death literally means cooking pot where it symbolizes the free kitchen (Langar) and sainthood. Whereas, Tegh means sword which symbolizes dignity, power, and sovereignty.

Life History of Guru Hargobind Sahib

Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) The martyrdom of Guru Arjun, it is commonly believed, turned the tide of Sikh history and made them warlike instead of the pacifists that they were earlier. It is true, that when Guru Hargobind came to the Throne, he was only eleven, and yet he chose to wear two swords at the time of being anointed as the Guru by Bhai Budha, the devout Sikh, who had seen the Sikh movement evolve ever since the days of Guru – Nanak. Indeed, he trained the new Guru in the art of horsemanship, marksmanship, swordsmanship, wrestling, and hunting.

The True King

The Guru was called Sachā Pädshāh (the True King), as was the custom ever since Guru Nanak’s days, his audience-hall was known as Durbār as of old, and his accession to Guruship-the coming to the Throne. His was the Sachā Rāj (True dominion or rule). A fly brush waved over his head, as in the case of the other Gurus. And he built a place for the congregation for his Sikhs called the Akal Takht or the Throne of the Immortal (opposite the Golden Temple in Amritsar), where besides spiritual matters, secular affairs affecting the community were also discussed.

He built up a small fortification also, called Loh Garh (the fort of iron), and kept a small-sized cavalry and army. He also sent word to his Sikhs that thereafter the offerings to be made to the Guru should be in the shape of weapons and horses. Hunting expeditions were regularly held, as also symposia of martial music.

No wonder this was a departure from old pacifism in the eyes of the rulers. So it looked also in the eyes of the detractors of Sikhism. And yet when we read that the terminology used in Guru Hargobind’s days was the same as in the days of Guru Nanak, that Nänak himself had protested against foreign rule, ways of life, dress, language, and diet, and even courted imprisonment at the hands of Babur, and that secular activity had always been an integral part of the Sikh faith, we do not see any essential difference in the outlook of Guru Hargobind from his predecessors’ except perhaps in emphasis which was, of course, the need of the time.

Imprisonment in Gwalior

But Jahāngir sensed danger in it for his rule and without being provoked by the Guru in any way, imprisoned him in the fort of Gwalior. According to some historians, he was in jail for twelve years, but it is likely that he was released much earlier. Seeing the simple life of the Guru in the fort and his single-minded devotion to God, Jahāngir not only remitted his sentence considerably but even tried to befriend him. He would go out with him on hunting expeditions and paid a visit to him in Amritsar, even offering to complete the construction of the Akal Takht at his own expense which the Guru declined to accept.

Guru Hargobind, like Guru Nanak before him, now traveled throughout the country and visited Kashmir where he converted many people to his faith. A Gurdwārā still stands to his memory here, and most of the Sikhs now residing in Kashmir derive their faith from those days. He also journeyed in Uttar Pradesh and went as far east as Pilibhit, building shrines to the memory of his predecessors and creating Sangats.

Clash with Mughals

Meanwhile, Jahāngir died and his son, Shah Jahān, coming to the throne, prohibited the conversion of Muslims and ordered the demolition of many temples, including the Gurdwara Baoli Sahib at Lahore which was razed to the ground and a mosque constructed in its place. But the Guru held his hand till Shah Jahan struck the first blow against him in 1628, over a mere trifle, that the Sikhs had captured a hawk that had strayed away from the King’s party which was hunting near Amritsar and refused to part with it.

The Guru’s property was looted, but the loss of life, including the General who led them, was all on the Moghal side. The Guru, not wanting to prolong this struggle, retired to Kartārpur (in the Jullundur district). But he did not want to be caught napping again and so kept his troops, which included Muslims, in good trim. For the sake of his Muslim troops, he built a mosque at Hargobindpur nearby.

Guru Hargobind & Bidhi Chand

Another battle ensued with the Mughals when two of the most precious horses that a Sikh had brought as an offering for the Guru were snatched from him on the way by the Moghal forces. The Guru deputed a Robinhood type of Sikh, Bidhi Chand, to rescue these horses which he did by a clever device. This resulted in a major conflict and the Guru was attacked by a strong contingent of the Moghal forces. More than a thousand Sikhs were killed in this battle against many more on the other side, including the commanders.

One Painda Khān, who was a General in the Sikh camp, deserted to the Mughals on his dismissal from service and came with a Moghal detachment to attack the Guru at Kartārpur in 1634. But Painde Khän along with another Moghal General, Kale Khān, was killed and the Moghal forces scattered leaving behind a considerable number of the dead.

Last Years

For the last ten years of his life, the Guru passed in meditation, preaching the Gospel, and living a very austere life so much so that he even gave up using the pillow. He insisted so much on the simple virtues of life that he severely reprimanded his sons, Atal Rai and Bābā Gurdittă, for performing miracles. Both these sons died before him, as well as another son, Ani Rai, and though he had two more, Suraj Mal and Tegh Bahadur, he appointed his grandson, Hari Rāi, to be his successor for his obvious saintliness and strength of character, for he found Surajmal to be much too involved in the world and Tegh Bahadur practically a recluse.

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