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SIKH GURUS

GURU GOBIND SINGH SAHIB
(1661-1708)


GURU GOBIND SINGH SAHIB (18.12.1661 - 7.10.1708), son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib and Mata Gujari, was born at Patna Sahib Guru Gobind Singh Sahib spent his childhood at Patna. In 1670, he left Patna for Bakala. On his way to Bakala, he broke his journey at Lakhnaur (district Ambala) and stayed there, at the residence of his maternal uncle, for a few months. He spent more than one year at (Baba) Bakala. In March, 1672, he reached Chakk Nanaki. On July 8, 1675, he was installed as the Tenth Nanak. He was married to Mata Jitoji (Jit Kaur) who gave birth to four sons Ajit singh in 1687, Jujhar Singh in1691, Zorawar Singh in 1696 and Fateh singh in 1699.

From 1673 till 1685 Guru Sahib stayed at Chakk Nanaki. In April 1685, Medani Parkash, the ruler of Nahan, invited Guru Sahib to his territory. At the request of the Raja, Guru Sahib founded the town of Paonta Sahib. The foundation stone of the new town was laid down by Bhai Ram Kanwar (a descendant of Baba Buddha), in 1685. From April 1685 to 1688, Guru Sahib stayed at Paonta Sahib. Soon, Paonta Sahib became a major centre of the Sikh nation. Here, several poets and intellectuals joined the court of Guru Sahib. During this period, Ram Rai, whom Guru Har Rai Sahib had excommunicated from the Panth, visited Guru Sahib and submitted an apology. Guru Sahib forgave him. In September 1687, Ram Rai died. Guru Sahib visited village Khurvaddhi (now Dehradun) and settled the affairs of the centre of Ram Rai. Some followers of Ram Rai wanted to occupy that centre. Gurbakhsh Rai was their chief. He approached Feteh Shah, the chief of Garhwal State, and sought his help. Fateh Shah agreed to attack Paonta Sahib. Here, Guru Sahib had to fight a battle at Bhangani (on September 18, 1688). Guru Sahib won this battle. On October 27, 1688, Guru Sahib left Paonta for Anandpur Sahib. On March 28, 1689,

Rani Champa, the queen-mother of the Bilaspur State, visited Guru Sahib at Anandpur Sahib and granted Guru Sahib the territory of some villages for the construction of five forts for the defense of the Sikh State. On March 29, 1689, Guru Sahib laid down the foundation of Anandpur Sahib, near Chakk Nanaki. [Now both, Chakk Nanaki and Anandpur Sahib, jointly, are known as Anandpur Sahib].

On March 20, 1690, Guru Sahib participated in the battle of Nadaun, against the Mogul army, to help the hill chiefs of the area. On March 28, 1692, Guru Sahib presided over the conference of the rulers of the hill States, held at Rivalsar. After this he visited several hill States. On February 19, 1696, Guru Sahib helped the ruler of Guler when he was attacked by the Mogul army. In March 1698, Guru Sahib abrogated Masand system.

Guru Gobind Sahib revealed the Throne of Faith "Kesgarh Sahib" at Anandpur Sahib. On March 29, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib revealed Khalsa. Khalsa was to be a "politically and spiritually sovereign" entity, in direct line of Waheguru, the Supreme Sovereign. It was an extension of the concept of Akal Takht Sahib. Khalsa is the direct subject of Akal Purakh (the Almighty). Hence, the sovereignty of Khalsa is both temporal and transcendental. Guru Gobind Singh prescribed Khanday di Pahul (proper initiation ceremony) obligatory for those who wished to join Khalsa (the sovereign subjects of the Almighty) brotherhood.

Since 1700, Guru Sahib had to fight several battles against the Moguls, the Hindu hill chiefs and their joint forces too. On August 29, 1700, the army of the hill chiefs attacked Anandpur Sahib the battle contained till September 1, 1700. On October 7, 1700, the hill armies attacked again. Another battle was fought on October 13 and 14, 1700. On October 14, 1700, Guru Sahib went to Basali and stayed there for fifteen days. Besides these battles the Sikhs had to face some small skirmishes too. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib told the Sikhs not to hesitate to take up arms to fight against injustice.

At Anandpur Sahib, he founded the institution of 'Sikh Red Cross', with Bhai Ghanaiya Singh as its leader.

On May 3, 1705, huge Mogul and hill forces besieged Anandpur Sahib. The Sikhs fought against these armies for seven months. On December 4, 1705, Guru Sahib received a letter from Aurangzeb, the Mogul emperor, asking Guru Sahib to leave Anandpur Sahib and meet him at village Kangar (it is possible that the hill rulers might have prepared a fake letter). On the night of December 5-6, 1705, Guru Sahib along with his family and about 500 Sikhs, left Anandpur Sahib and moved to Ropar and then to Chamkaur. Here too, the Mogul army attacked Guru Sahib. There were about 40 Sikhs when thousands of the Mogul soldiers attached the Sikhs. The Sikhs thought about 40 in number, fought the most crucial battle of the Sikh history. The Sikhs fought bravely. Two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib three of the Punj Piaray and 35 Sikhs embraced martyrdom in this battle.

On the night of December 7-8, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, along with a couple of the Sikhs, left Chamkaur with the help of Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan. On December 12, two younger sons of Guru Sahib were butchered to death of Fatehgarh (Sirhind). The same day the mother of Guru Sahib succumbed to torture. On December 20, Guru Sahib reached village Dina-Kangar. The following day he wrote Zafarnamah (literally : letter of victory), to Aurangzeb and sent Bhai Daya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh to deliver the same to Aurangzeb.

After touring the area of Malwa, Guru Sahib reached Talwandi Saboo on January 16, 1706 and stayed there for about nine months. Guru Sahib left Talwandi Sabo on October 30, 1706 and began his journey towards Ahmednagar. When Guru Sahib was on his way to Ahmednagar, Aurangzeb died (on February 20, 1707). After the death of Aurangzeb, his son Bahadur Shah tried to patch up with Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib helped Bahadur Shah in his war of succession against his brothers. After his victory, Bahadur Shah, the new emperor, held a meeting with Guru Sahib at Agra, on July 23, 1707. The emperor personally thanked Guru Sahib for his (Guru Sahib's) help. At first he behaved properly but soon Guru Sahib smelt his tactics and left him near Nander.

On September 3, 1708, Guru Sahib appointed Baba Banda Singh Bahadur as the leader of the Sikh army and assigned him the duty to expel the Moguls from the Sikh Homeland. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur left Nander on October 5, 1708. The same night, when Guru Sahib was asleep, Jamshed Khan, a Pathan (who had been sent by Bahadur Shah, the Mogul emperor, to kill Guru Sahib), attacked Guru Sahib with his dagger. Guru Sahib breathed his last on October 7, 1708. Before his death he installed Guru Granth Sahib as Guru-Eternal of the Sikhs (on October 6, 1708). Guru Sahib's body was cremated on the night of October 7, 1708 and his ashes were immersed in the river Godavari.

Guru Gobind Singh Sahib was a great soldier, general, planner, builder, philosopher and poet (his verses are a part of the Dasam Granth). It is hard to believer that he accomplished all this in such a short span of his life. Before his death, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib told the Sikhs that they had become enough trained with regard to their philosophy and did not need another living Guru. Beside, the lives of the Gurus were, in addition, a beacon light for them. The Sikhs did not need any more explanations, precepts and examples. The Sikh Scriptures contain everything that a Sikh needs to know. Guru Sahib announced that Guru Granth Sahib shall be the Guru-Eternal of the Sikh nation. Since then the spiritual leadership of the Sikhs is endowed with Guru Granth Sahib. The temporal leadership lies with the Sarbat Khalsa (the Sikh Commonwealth), under the patronage of Guru Granth Sahib. It does not mean separation of temporal and transcendental spheres. It means that the Sarbat Khalsa can take decision with regard to the Sikh nation but only with the counsel of Guru Granth Sahib.






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