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HARGOBIND THE WARRIOR GURU

HARGOBIND THE WARRIOR GURU


Guru ki wadali where Guru was born

World is a drama enacted by God, where the good and the evil are in constant conflict. Nanak insisted that the Sikh should participate and fully live the life rather than withdraw from it. The lives of the Gurus are the noble ideals where they are in struggle with the evil forces of 'haumen’ or the ego. Here DR. H.L. AGNIHOTRI portrays the life of the Sixth Nanak.  

Gwalior Fort where Guru Hargobind Sahib was jailed
 Guru Hargobind, the lord of Miri and Piri, occupies a unique place in the annals of Punjab. Translating into practice, the clarion call of Guru Nanak Dev for unreserved commitment to the cause of righteousness and humanity (Je tau prem Khelan ka chao, Sir dhar tali Gali mori aao), the Sixth Nanak initiated the process of transforming the community of pious house-holders into a brotherhood of saint-soldiers, a process that culminated in the creation of the Khalsa by his illustrious grandson, Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master. 
Signature of Guru Hargobind Sahib
 The only child of Guru Arjun Dev and Mata Ganga, Guru Hargobind was born on 19 June, 1595 A.D. (21 Har. Samvat 1652) at Wadali in Amritsar District. Guru Arjun Dev had temporarily shifted his residence to Wadali, now called Guru Ki Wadali, probably to ward off the un-abating hostility of Pirthi Chand, the disgruntled claimant to the Guru-Gaddi, and his Mughal patrons. A tradition entrenched in the group-memory of the Sikhs holds that Baba Budha, the venerable old man of the then Sikh Society, had offered prayers to the Almighty and made a prophecy that Mata Ganga would be blessed with a mighty warrior-  son strong enough to smash tyrants and oppressors like raw onions served by Mata Ganga in his meal. 
 Guru Hargobind Was barely eleven when he ascended to the exalted seat of the spiritual authority soon after the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev. lt is more than a mere coincidence of history that Guru Gobind Singh became the Guru of the Sikhs, when just nine, in almost identical circumstances. The child-Guru did not take long to learn the dynamics of history that mere peaceful organisation of the righteous people could not survive in the hostile world. Accordingly, the Guru wore two swords of Miri and Piri representing temporal and spiritual power of the Sacha Padshah. The spiritual sublimity (Piri) and the temporal sovereignty (Miri) are the in-alienable attributes of God and hence of the Guru in Sikh ethos. The combination seems to the creative synthesis of Shakti lnd Bhakti. The saint-soldier is duty-pound to combat evil and defend the defenceless without ignoring his spiritual elevation  
 Originally called the Akal Bunga, but later known as Akal Takht, an imoosing structure came to be erected during 1606-09 A. D. in front of Sri Harminder Sahib at Amritsar gradually developed into the nucleus of religions and political activities of the Sikhs Akal Takht has grown into the most important authority of the Sikh polity.
Divergent reasons have been ascribed to the internment of Guru Hargobind in the Gwalior Fort. Emperor Jahangir might have tried to stem the tide of the growing influence of the warrior-Guru. The Guru was apprehended for a period of little over two months presumably because of his war-like activities. His release was marked by an era of stability and peace. It was on the intervention of the Guru that Jahangir granted the release of Rajput princes, 52 in number. The Guru was hailed as Bandi Chhor, the Liberator of the detainees 
 The new Sikh psyche generated by the supreme sacrifice of Guru Arjun Dev and the consequent marshalling of men and material of Guru Hargobind, when the farming community of the Majha known for their volatile temperament emerged as the preponderant section of the Sikh Society, brought during the reign of Shah Jahan. The Bhat Vahis, the earliest source of information regarding the Sikh Gurus, record five battles fought by Guru Hargobind :
1) The Battle of Rohilla or Sri Hargobindpur (1621 A.D.);
2) The Battle of Amritsar (April 1 4, 1634O. r. )
 3) The Battle of Lahira (Dec. 16, 1634 A.D.)
 4) The Battle of Kartarpur (April 26, 1635 A D.) and
5) The Battle of Phagwara (April 29, 1635 A.D.).  
 Though a small affair, the Battle  of Sri Hargobindpur was the first armed encounter which engaged Guru Hargobind. lt was triggered by Bhagwan Das, a local money-lender, who tried to forcibly eject the Guru from the tract of the land occupied by the Guru for raising a building. The small band of devoted Sikhs gave a crushing defeat to the forces of the Faujdar of Jalandhar who obstructed the Guru's efforts to develop the town. The Battle of Amritsar was preceded by a minor clash over a royal hawk caught by the Sikhs near the wedding of Guru's daughter Viro near Jhabal but the Muslims were forced to retreat with heavy losses.  
  The Battle of Lahira (Gurusar) came in the wake of two lraqi horses, Dilbagh and Gulbagh, recovered from t]re royal stable at Lahore by Bhai Bidhi  Chand, known for his uncommon ' ingenuity and dare-devilry. The next battle took place at Kartarpur on April 26, 1635 A.D' when Guru Hargobind to humble the inflated ego of once confidant of Guru, Painda Khan. Baba TYag Mal, the youngest son of the Guru, was affectionately named Teg Bahadur for  his grit and Valour shown in the battle. The Battle of Phagwara (Palahi) was the last clash that engaged the Sikhs before the Guru crossed the Sutlej on his way to Kiratpur.  
  The Guru and his Sikhs did not fight to conquer territories. lt was a determined challenge of the righteous people to the ruthlessness and fanaticism of the Mughal rulers. Therein lies the fulfilment of the Guru's mission. The armed resistance put up by the Guru was the beginning of a revolution that culminated in the creation of the Khalsa.  
  The warrior-image generally overshadows the profile of the Sixth Guru who inculcated martial traits among the Sikhs and preferred and  horses to traditional gifts. lt was however, Guru Hargobind, after the founder of the faith Guru Nanak, who travelled extensively to preach the Sikh ethos. The Guru visited Nanakmata in Pili Bhit District of U.P. and re- 'established Almast, a pious Udasi Preacher, who had been ousted by the Yogis. Guru Hargobind met Ram Das Samrath, th preceptor of Shivaji. The Maratha savant was perplexed to find the Guru, a descendent of Nanak, carrying weapons and wearing regal attire. Explaining that Guru Nanak had renounced the self and ego, not the world, Guru Hargobind claimed that he was at heart a saint, though externally a Prince (Batan Faqiri '. Zahir Amiri). The arms that th€ Guru wore meant to ensure the poor man's protection and tyrant's destruction. (Shastar, garib ki rachhia, jarvane ki bhakhia).  
  Guru Hargobind advised his eldest son Baba Gurditta to create four preaching centres. These centres were controlled by four Udasi Sikhs - Almast, Phul, Gonda and Hasna. Bhai Bidhi Chand was sent to Bengal for the missionary work whereas Bhai Gurdas had been stationed at Kabul before he was shifted to Benaras. The reconciliation brought about between the Udasis led by Baba Sri Chand and  the Sikhs greatly helped the process of proselytisation.  
  By relating devotion and piety to valour and pugnacity, the Guru gave the Sikh faith a new thrust and direction. Guru Hargobind lived and suffered for righteousness. He might not have composed any hymn; he practised the truth enshrined inthe hymns. The Guru fought battles but sought no territory or kingdom. By giving identity to the down-trodden and the oppressed, the Guru created a tradition that blazed the trail for others.  
  Guru Hargobind becomes a powerful link in the chain of martyrs. The martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, his youngest son, and tender-aged great grandsons, the four sons of the Tenth Master (Sahabzadas Jujjhar Singh and Fateh Singh aged  Nine and Seven were bricked alive at Sarhind while Ajit Singh and Jorawar Singh, in their teens, kissed death as heroes in the-battle of Chamkaur along with the relentless fight against oppression launched by Guru Gobind Singh, his grandson, and also by Khalsa constitute an eloquent tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Guru Arjun Dev, his father.
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