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The Supreme Sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur
 
The Supreme Sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: The Supreme Sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur:

Ancestry, birth and childhood


Ancestry, birth and childhood

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur belongs to the solar dynasty of Kshatriyas. This dynasty ruled over India in ancient times. Guru Gobind Singh in his Autobiography "The Bachittar Natak" has narrated the ancestry of all the Gurus. To this solar dynasty belongs the legendary king-god Sri Ramchandra. After Sri Ramchandra, his two sons Luv and Kush ruled over the Punjab. The modern cities of Lahore and Kasur are named after them. Later in this dynasty there were two brothers named Kalket and Kalrai. Out of the two, Kalket was stronger and he defeated his brother Kalrai. Kalrai, after his defeat, went away to Snodh, where he married the local king's daughter. His son was named Sodhi Rai. His descendants are called Sodhis. Over a period of time the dynasty expanded and with increased power and wealth there began battles between the descendants of Luv and Kush. In the end the descendants of Luv (Sodhis) came out victorious. The descendants of Kushv were defeated and went away to Kanshi (Banares), which is the ancient Indian centre of learning. During their period in Kanshi they mastered the Indian classics (Vedas), and became renowned intellectuals. Since they learnt the Vedas, they were referred to as Bedis. The fame of their learning spread far and wide. The Sodhis, the rulers of the Punjab, came to know of the heights to which their brethren Bedis had reached and invited them to pay a visit to the Punjab. During this visit to the Punjab, the Bedis held learned discourses with the Sodhis and recited from memory all the four Vedas. The Sodhis were very pleased and impressed with the spiritual knowledge that their brethren had acquired during their stay in Kanshi. They felt that the best way of rewarding such learned ones was to give them their kingdom, and following their footsteps, go away to Kanshi and devote more time to the learning of Vedas themselves. The Bedis were very pleased with the offer of the Sodhis kingdom. They blessed the Sodhis and said that in place of, this worldly kingdom their descendant, Guru Nanak, in his third form shall bestow upon the Sodhis the true spiritual kingdom of both the worlds. This, they said, shall happen in "Kali-yug" - the age of darkness and ignorance.

As prophesied by the ancient Bedis, Guru Nanak was born in their dynasty in 1469 A.D. at Talwandi, Punjab, in this dark age of "Kali-yug". He founded the Sikh religion and showed the true path to all holy men. After His Ascent, Guru Angad became the second Guru of the Sikhs*. Guru Angad then handed over this spiritual kingdom to Guru Amardas**. Now the time had come to implement the promise which the Bedis had made ages ago. Thus Guru Amardas, in honouring the promise made by the Bedis, bestowed upon Guru Ramdas Of Lahore, who belonged to the same ancient Sodhi dynasty, the true spiritual kingdom of both worlds. Guru Ramdas ji was the husband of Guru Amardas ji's daughter Bibi Bhani.
* Guru Gobind Singh in "Bachittar Natak" has said that we must recognise Guru Nanak and the subsequent nine Gurus as being one in spirit. Hence the use of the name "Nanak" by all the Gurus in their writings in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and in their "Hukam-namas,"
** Both Guru Angad Dev ji and Guru Amardas ji were also kshatriyas of the Trehan and Bhalla clans, respectively.

In the meantime, Bibi Bhani had requested her father Guru Amardas ji to make her a promise in return for her dedicated service to Him. This promise was that the inheritors of this true kingdom shall from now on be the descendants of Bibi Bhani i.e. Sodhis. Thus, after Guru Ramdas ji's ascent, His youngest son, Guru Arjan Dev ji became the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. Then, after Guru Arjan's martyrdom at Lahore in 1606 A.D. His only son, Sri Guru Hargobind ji became the next Guru.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was born in the holy city of Sri Amritsar on Sunday, the 1st April in the year 1621 AD. Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur was the fifth and the youngest son of Sri Guru Hargobind - the sixth sovereign on the throne of Guru Nanak. His mother was Mata Nanaki. Sri Guru Hargobind ji was 6:1/2 foot tall and his charming and handsome personality is beyond comparison. Sri Guru Hargobind's other children were Baba Gurditta, Bibi Viro, Baba Suraj Mal, Baba Ani Rai and Baba Atal Rai.

After the morning prayers at Sri Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) and Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Guru Hargobind ji requested the High Priest Baba Budha Jee, Bhai Gurdas and Bhai Bidhi Chand to come with Him and bless the baby who had just arrived. On seeing the child, both Baba Budha lee and Sri Guru Hargobind ji bowed to the baby in reverence and then touched his feet. Bhai Bidhi Chand, who had so far been, a quiet spectator could not help enquiring of the Guru as to why did He, the Master of both the worlds, bow before his own newly born son? To this the Guru replied that his son had come into this world with a great mission ahead of him, and that he would save all humanity from tyranny by laying down his own life. It was with this regard in mind that both the Guru and Baba Budha jee had bowed to the child.

Sri Guru Hargobind ji then took the baby into His arms. It was then that the baby held firmly the handle of one of the swords, which Sri Guru Hargobind ji was wearing. Sri Guru Hargobind ji always wore two swords, which represented Miri (political sovereignty) and Piri (Spiritual sovereignty). The sword, which the baby had so firmly clasped in his hand, was that representing Spiritual sovereignty. Guru Hargobind ji was amused at this and named the child Tegh Bahadur. The literal meaning of "Tegh Bahadur" is "Master of the Sword". The very name Tegh Bahadur given to the child made the people reflect and hope that he might grow up to be the living image of his warrior-prophet father, Sri Guru Hargobind ji.

Babe Tegh Bahadur was brought up with the care and attention which only princes could get. Yet he lived and grew in an atmosphere of religious discipline. This was what Guru Nanak wanted the world to understand, that it was of little use to renounce the world and become recluse. It was more important, and spiritually more rewarding to live within materialism and yet be a recluse at heart. During childhood, Babe Tegh Bahadur was aloof but always active. He was silent and meditative but very energetic and quick to learn everything his teachers taught him. He was loved by everyone in Amritsar. As he grew older, he took time to be out alone or to sit in a secluded corner, brooding over life and nature. He would pause and look into the beauty of the vast unknown. From his childhood he was tender at heart and full of concern for the poor and the suffering.

Guru HARGOBIND ji knew that His youngest son TEGH BAHADUR was to take His Ninth Form and was to perform the greatest deed and that the time for, the same had not yet come. As such He wished that the child Guru should be brought up as a true Sikh and should meditate on the Nam for some time. He selected Baba Budha jee the blessed priest to act as the tutor to Tegh Bahadur. So at the age of 4:1/2 years Tegh Bahadur was placed under the charge of Baba Budha jee, the Brahm Gyani (Sikh of the highest order), who had been blessed by Guru Nanak and had served Him in His six forms. He taught the child Guru the Gurubani, the Gurmat, Philosophy, Theology, languages like Prakrit, Persian and Punjabi. Bhai Bidhi Chand taught Him the warfare and made Him perfect in the use of various types of weapons then in use. About three years later He received baptism at the hand of His Father - Guru Hargobind ji, the saint-warrior, and received the holy Nam in the formal manner as a Sikh.

Guru Tegh Bahadur took part in the battles fought by His Father Guru against Jehangir and Shahjehan and showed his skill in defeating the enemy. He was 14 at the time. But Guru Hargobind ji ordained that His son should not use the sword of "Miri" any more since He had to show the miracle of the sword of "Piri" in due time and He should meditate for a few years and get ready for that.

Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was married to Mata Gujri, daughter of Bhai Lal Chand and Mata Bishan Kaur of Kartarpur near Jullundur. Lal Chand had one son Kirpal Chand and one daughter, Mata Gujri. He wished that his son should become a soldier-general in the army of the Great Guru and that his daughter should be married to one of the Guru's great noble SONS. Both these desires were fulfilled. Mama Kirpal Chand (maternal uncle of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji) was recruited into the Army of Sri Guru Hargobind ji, and served as a general. He then served under Guru Har Rai ji as a devoted Sikh, before becoming the Chief Military Adviser to his nephew, the Great Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It was under his guidance that the famous battles of Bhangani were fought against the Shivalik Hindu Rajas.

The marriage of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji and Mata Gujri was a worldly re-union of two Great Martyrs. Later it was Mata Gujri who, while in captivity at Sirhind, had constantly reminded the younger sons of her Great Son that their Grandfather and Great-Grandfather (Guru Arjan Dev Ji) had both sacrificed their lives to strengthen the faith of Guru Nanak. Her task was great for if the captured princes Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh had accepted Islam on that winter day, the whole of the Sikh movement would have been washed away. So, in fact, the Khalsa exists because of the teachings of Mata Gujri and the determination of her grandsons. She left this world after hearing that her mission had been fulfilled i.e. her grandsons had elected to be bricked alive rather than give up their faith and become muslim nobles in the Emperor's court. This lady was truly noble for she gave birth to a unique personality - the Founder of the Khalsa Panth; our Great Father Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Her noble Son has mentioned in His autobiography - "The Bachittar Natak" - that both His Father and Mother contemplated day and night on the name of the Invisible Supreme Force and that their great devotion was rewarded with His birth. Thus, Mata Gujri had the honour of being the greatest woman ever, the wife of a martyr, the mother of the Great Guru, the grandmother of the child martyrs of Sirhind and Chamkaur.
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