Become a member

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (Wednesday, April 18, 1621 - Wednesday, November 24, 1675) was the ninth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, becoming Guru on Saturday, 16 April 1664 following in the footsteps of his grand-nephew, Guru Har Krishan. Before his epic challenge of Aurangzeb's policy of forced religious conversion, the Guru Sahib had nominated his son, Gobind Rai as the 10th Guru of the Sikhs.

A summary of the main highlights of Guru Tegh Bahadur's life:

    He built the city that his son would enlarge and rename Anandpur Sahib.
    He travelled extensively throughout India.
    He sacrificed his own life, facing down EmperorAurangzeb on behalf of the Kashmiri Hindus, ending Aurangzeb's threat to either convert to Islam or be executed.
    He contributed 115 hymns to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, all of them Sloks.
    His Saloks (Mahal 9) near the end of the Guru Granth Sahib are extremely popular.

Today Gurdwara Sis Ganj, Chandani Chowk, Delhi, stands at the site where Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded, while Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, Delhi stands at the site where Guru Tegh Bahadur's headless body was cremated by Lakhi Shah Vanjara, one of the Guru's devotees, who had managed to rescue the Guru's body from the Mughals, setting his home afire, in order to cremate the Guru Sahib’s body.

Guru Ji whose original name was Tyag Mal (Master of Renunciation) spent his childhood at Amritsar. In his early years he learned Gurmukhi, Hindi, Sanskrit and Indian religious philosophy from Bhai Gurdas, and archery and horsemanship from Baba Budha while his father Guru Hargobind Ji, Master of Miri and Piri taught him swordsmanship. Only 13 years old, he asked his father to accompany him into battle as his village was attack by Painde Khan and the Mughals in a battle over Shah Jahan's hawk. During the battle he had weighed into the enemies with abandon, slashing his sword right and left.

After the battle was won, (the Battle of Kartarpur) the victorious Sikhs returning home honored their new hero with a new 'warriors' name. And so Tyag Mal Ji was renamed Tegh Bahadur Ji (lit. Brave sword wielder or Best sword wielder).(Tegh = wielder of the sword. Bahadur (originally meaning brave was by that time being also used as a superlative meaning better or best). The young Tegh Bahadur soon showed a bent in the direction of the earlier Sikhs Gurus who had passed the 'seli' of Nanak (the sacred headgear of renunciation) to each new Guru. He delved into his studies and spent his time in meditation living up to his given name - Master of Renunciation. He was married to Mata Gujri Ji at Kartarpur in 1632.

After the untimely death of his son Bhai Gurditta the Guru Hargobind seemingly started grooming his grandson Har Rai to sit next on Guru Nanak's seat. Har Rai Ji became Guru Hargobind's successor in 1644. Shortly after this Guru Hargobind asked Tegh Bahadur Ji to move with his wife and his mother to the village of Bakala. He had told his wife, who had wanted her son to follow the father as Guru, that one day he would become Guru and have a son and that both would become famous in their fight for justice.

For the next 20 years the Master of Renunciation spent most of his time in an underground room absorbed in meditation. Before Guru Har Krishan Ji passed to God’s court, he indicated that his successor would be found in Bakala. Earlier a wealthy Sikh trader Makhan Shah whose ship was caught in a violent storm prayed to God that if his ship reached port safely he would give 500 golden Mohurs to his Guru Har Krishan.

The ship landed safely and proving to be a Sikh of great integrity he headed to Delhi where the young Guru had travelled at the command of Aurangzeb. Along the way he learned of Guru Har Krishan's passing and of his mentioning that the next Guru was in the village of Bakala. He arrived in Bakala to find 22 members of the Sodhi dynasty styling themselves as the Guru and taking donations from the Sikhs. He decided to give each Guru 2 gold pieces and each Guru was pleased and blessed him.

Makhan Shah was about to leave the village when a child told him of yet another holy man meditating nearby in an underground room. Again Makhan Shah bowed and gave 2 gold pieces and turned to leave. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji said: “Why have you broken your promise? When you prayed to God to save you and your ship from the terrible storm you promised 500 gold pieces to the Guru”. Makhan Shah was overjoyed, he gave the rest of the gold as promised and ran to the roof shouting “The True Guru has been found, O Sikhs come seek his blessing”. The false Gurus all ran away.

The responsibility of instructing and guiding the Sikh community was now of Guru Tegh Bahadur's. He was the focal point of veneration of the Sikhs. They came singly and in batches to seek spiritual solace and inspiration. And by his teachings and practise, he moulded their religious and social conscience.

As had been the custom since Guru Har Gobind, Guru Tegh Bahadur kept a splendid lifestyle. He had his armed attendance and other marks of royalty. But he himself lived austerely. Sikh or other documents make no mention of any clash with the ruling power having occurred during his time.

Soon after the public announcement by Makhan Shah, the Guru with a party of Sikhs travelled to Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Harmandar Sahib. However on his arrival at this sacred shrine, the Guru was rebuffed by the Sodhi family Sardars who then had control of the Gurdwara and he was not allowed to enter the main section of the complex but went as far as the Thara Sahib - see Structure of Harmandar Sahib.

The party found that the doors of this premier Sikh shrine were suddenly shut and they were refused admittance. The reason for this action was that the greedy "masands" (bishops) of Amritsar had acknowledged Guru Arjan Dev ji's elder brother Prithi Chand to be their guru. It was under the instructions of Harji, the impostor (Mina) guru of that time, that the doors of the Golden Temple were closed to Guru Tegh Bahadur ji.

The Guru waited nearby for a little while. This place is now known as "Thara Sahib" - the Pillar of Patience. But when the doors were not opened, Guru ji went away and stayed in a nearby village of Wala in the humble dwelling of a peasant couple. Later, the women of Amritsar came out and repented for the shameful behaviour of the masands of Amritsar. Highly pleased at the sincere devotion and courage of the women of Amritsar, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji said, "Ever blessed by God be the women of Amritsar."

The Guru made three successive visits to Kiratpur. On 21 August 1664, Guru Tegh Bahadur went there to console with Bibi Rup Kaur upon the passing away of her father, Guru Har Rai, and of her brother, Guru Har Krishan. The second visit was on 15 October 1664, at the death on 29 September 1664, of Mata Bassi, mother of Guru Har Rai. A third visit concluded a fairly extensive journey through Majha, Malwa region in Punjab and Bangar districts of the Punjab.

Crossing the Beas] and Sutlej] rivers, Guru Tegh Bahadur arrived in the Malwa. He visited Zira, and Moga and reached Darauli. He then sojourned in the Lakhi Jungle, a desolate and sandy tract comprising mainly present-day districts of Bhatinda and Faridkot.

According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Baisakhi of 1665 was celebrated at Sabo-ki Talwandi, now known as Damdama Sahib. This journey took Guru Tegh Bahadur up to Dhamdhan, near Jind, from where he returned to Kiratpur. The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state.

The Guru bought the site (which was about six miles away from Kiratpur Sahib) on payment of Rs 500. The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru Tegh Bahadur ordained that a city be constructed. The original name of the city was Chakk Nanaki. However, later he would rename the city Anandpur - the City of Bliss and this was where the Khalsa was born.

However, the Guru did not stay at Anandpur or Kiratpur for long; he left most of its construction to be done during his absence.

Soon after, during about late 1665 and 1666, the Guru undertook travels to the region east of Punjab and to Easter India to different parts of this region to preach the teachings of Guru Nanak. His places of visit included Uttar Pardesh, Bihar, Assam, Bengal and present-day Bangladesh. One reason for Guru Tegh Bahadur ji's travels to the East was his wish to visit and pay homage to various places that were associated with the previous visit by Guru Nanak.

These visits to places where core Sikh sangats (communities) existed created confidence and infuse renewed enthusiasm in the people; gave them moral and spiritual courage and a better and deeper understanding of Guru Nanak mission.

Leaving Anandpur, the Ninth Guru blessing various villages and towns, reached Kurukshetra. An eclipse of the Sun was due and there was a fair and a large gathering. The Guru took advantage of the occasion and went there. The Brahmans and some other people suggested to the Guru that he should bathe in the sacred tank and thus be purified.

The Guru smiled and said, "My friends, one cannot be purified simply by washing one's body since the polluted mind cannot be washed with water. It is only the True Name of Almighty God that can wash away all sins and emancipate the soul." By these means, the Guru imparted the message of Guru Nanak and dispelled superstition and empty ritualistic behaviour.

During 1666 the Guru was travelling east of Patna to the regions of Bihar, Assam and present-day Bangladesh after leaving his wife, family members and Sikh sangat at Patna, Bihar.

At this time Mata Gujri was expecting a baby as so found it difficult to travel. Thirty four years had passed since her marriage to the Guru Tegh Bahadur. Three hours before the dawning of day, in the winter of her forty second year, on Friday, January 5, 1666, Mata Gujri ji became the mother of a prince. Marvelling at the majestic bearing of one so small, Mata Nankee delivered her newborn grandson proudly to his mother's outstretched arms.

At his post outside the room, Kirpal Chand heard the infant take his first breath and immediately, he turned to dispatch the courier who stood by awaiting the signal to seek out the Guru and deliver the news of his son's birth. Thus Gobind Rai was born in the city of Patna in Bihar, East India.

About Singh Sabha Gurudwara

Registration of Singh Sabha Brisbane done in November 2009. Since 2009, a search for a suitable place for the Guru's house has also started, With the Blessing of the Satguru we got successful in this work in May 2011.

Contact us

  Singh Sabha Brisbane

        101 Lemke Road,

        P O Box 424

        TAIGUM QLD 4018

  ABN 17 140 805 312

  info@singhsabhagurudwara.com

Copyright © 2018, Singh Sabha Gurudwara. All Rights Reserved.