Two Masands, Bakhat Mal and Tara Chand had been deputed to Kabul to collect funds for the Guru. They returned with a company of Sikhs who brought the offering and two horses of supreme beauty and speed, were Dil Bagh and Gul Bagh. Both of the horses were seized by the Emperor’s officials who presented them to him. The Sikhs were much dismayed to see that they were robbed of the horses which they had bought for the Guru. Bhai Bidhi Chand before entering the services of Guru Arjan, had been a very famous highwayman and robber and several of his exploits in that capacity were recorded. Afterwards he became Guru’s follower. The Sikhs thought that as there ere no horses like Dil Bagh and Gul Bagh in the world, so there was no one like Bidhi Chand who could secure possession of the horses. Ultimately Bidhi Chand decided to do thejob. He got ready, uttered a prayer and went to Lahore to recover the horses. There lived a Sikh carpenter, Jiwan in Lahore and he stayed with him.
Bidhi Chand started the work of a kasiara (grass-cutter). He cut beautiful soft grass, made a bundle and took it to the market. The grass was beautiful and Bidhi Chand was demanding very high price for that. Ultimately he reached Sondha Khan, the royal stable- keeper who on seeing the grass remarked that he had never seen such grass before. It was fit for Dil Bagh and Gul Bagh, and he ordered his men to adjust the price and buy it for the horses. Sondha Khan took Bidhi Chand with grass on his head to where the horses were tethered. The horses ate to their heart’s content as if they had been fasting for a whole day. He continued this practice for several days before he was appointed grass-cutter for the Emperor’s famous steeds for one rupee a day. He worked so hard and showed so much civility and sweetness in his words that Sondha Khan entrusted him with bridling and unbridling of the horses. The Emperor once came to see the horses and was very much pleased to observe their excellent condition and he admired Bidhi Chand for that.
|Guru Hargobind had asked his Sikhs to bring weapons and horses to him so as to strengthen his army. Here a Sikh brings a horse in His darbar.|
One day one of his fellow-servants told him that he was drawing more money than any one of them but he never celebrated. Bidhi Chand agreed to their demand. He went to the market and bought the most potent liquor. A dinner was arranged. He served so much and so strong a liquor to his friends that they were disposed of for the night and Bidhi Chand was free for his action. He mounted on Dil Bagh and applying the whip he faced him towards the fort-wall over which he wanted the horse to leap. The horse which was never touched before, on receiving a cut with whip roused at unusual summons, gathered his strength and cleared without hesitation the high battlement with a bound, and plunged with his rider into the river (river was flowing by the side of the stable). Bidhi Chand, well skilled in horsemanship, steadied the horse in the water and reached safely to shore. He reached Bhai Rupa, a village where the Guru was staying.
The Sikhs noticed that Dil Bagh did not eat his corn well and he was missing his mate Gul Bagh. So Bidhi Chand set out to recover Gul Bagh too. When he reached Lahore, he heard that a reward was posted for the finder of Dil Bagh. Bidhi Chand changed his appearance and dress, reaching at the gate of the fort he claimed,”I am an experienced tracker and astrologer, and can trace anything that has been lost.” Bidhi Chand under the pseudo name of Ganak, when presented before the Emperor, convinced him that he had the skill to interpret omens, discover tracks and read the stars and planets. The Emperor promised him lakhs of rupees if he pointed out where the stolen horse was. Bidhi Chand replied to the Emperor,”I know where the horse is, but I want to have a look at the place whence he was stolen, and then I will give all the information.”
Upon this the Emperor along with his attendants took him to the stable. Some tried to dissuade the Emperor from trusting the stranger but the advice was disregarded. Upon Bidhi Chand’s advice all the horses were saddled in the stable, perfect solitude and tranquility was ordered and an embargo was put on the ingress and egress of the inhabitants of the fort. All this was done to make possible for Bidhi Chand to sit in perfect tranquility and make calculation. Macauliffe records Bhai Bidhi Chand’s address to the Emperor,”Hear everything, consider not the thief a person to be forgotten. Thy father, by the power of his army, formerly took possession of an excellent horse intended for the holy and worshipful Guru Har Gobind, whose fame is like that of the sun, and thou hast now mitation of thy unjust father seized these steeds specially intended by the pious Sikhs for their beloved Guru. I have made reprisal and taken the first horse by my ingenuity. My name is Bidhi Chand; I am the Guru’s servant. It was I who took home Dil Bagh, the horse thou art in search of. On account of separation from his mate, he wept copiously on his arrival, and we could only induce him to eat and drink with difficulty. Wherefore, in the guise of a tracker and with a love for dumb animals, I have come to take his companion to join him. I am the thief, the true King is my Master. Thou hast now given me Gul Bagh ready saddled. I have thoroughly gauged the wisdom of thy court. I will tell where the horse is, and in doing so remove all blame from myself. The Guru hath pitched his tent in the new village of Bhai Rupa. Know that Dil Bagh is standing there. Gul Bagh shall now go to join him.”
Upon this Bidhi Chand undid the ropes that tethered the horse to the peg and galloped it to Bhai Rupa where the Guru had encamped. Dil Bagh’s name was changed to Jan Bhai (as dear as life) and Gul Bagh was called Suhela (companion). At this the Emperor got inflamed and he asked,”Is there any brave man who will undertake an expedition against the Guru?” Up rose Lala Beg, a high officer of the imperial army and said that he would lead the expedition against the Guru, and produce the stolen horses before the Emperor in a few days. Lala Beg’s brother Qamar Beg with his two sons, Qasim Beg and Shams Beg, and his nephew Kabuli Beg also volunteered. Lala Beg and his companions were put in command of an army of thirty-five thousand men with horses. The imperial army marched to Bhai Rupa and not finding the Guru there proceeded to his new headquarters, Lehra which was a few miles away from Bhai Rupa. The Guru chose this site because it was not connected with any city to provide supplies and other requirements of war to the enemy and it had one well of drinking water which was firmly guarded by the Guru’s army.
The Guru’s army was commanded by Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jetha, Bhai Jati Mal, and Bhai Rai Jodh and there were about four thousand soldiers. Rai Jodh with a thousand men went to oppose Qamar Beg. Showers of bullets thinned the ranks of the imperial army. They used their swords and guns. The Guru’s troops caused great havoc upon the enemy. Rai Jodh finding an opportunity pierced Qamar Beg with his lance who fell and soon after died. After seeing his chiefs slain and his army disheartened, Lala Beg himself hurried to oppose Bhai Jati Mal, and discharged an arrow which struck Jati Mal on the breast and made him fall fainting to the ground. The Guru seeing ati Mal fall, entered the battle field and invited Lala Beg to measure his strength with his. He shot Lala Beg’s horse which fell with its rider. The Guru, on seeing the chief on the ground, dismounted so as not to take an unfair vantage of his adversary. Lala Beg assumed the offensive and aimed several blows of his sword at the Guru, who avoided them all. The Guru then putting forward his strength, struck the chief a blow which completely severed his head from his body. Kabuli Beg, the chief’s nephew was the only one of imperial commanders remained in the field. On seeing Lala Beg fall down, Kabuli Beg jumped on the Guru. He slashed again and again at the Guru but every blow was evaded. The Guru then warned him,”It is now my turn, be on thy guard.” He then dealt him with such a blow that his head was cut off. This ended the battle. The surviving imperial army soldiers fled for their lives. Twelve hundred soldiers of the Guru’s army were slain or wounded.
The battle which had begun at midnight, lasted for eighteen hours on the 16th of Maghar, Sambat 1688 or 1631 A.D. (some date this battle in 1634). The Guru admired the bravery shown by Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jati Mal and Bhai Rai Jodh. In order to commemorate the victory, a tank called Guru Sar was built on the spot.
The Guru went for a repose at Kangar and soon returned to Kartarpur. After a while a war broke between the Sikhs and the Mughals. This time the cause was Painde Khan. He went to Subedar of Jullundhur, Qutab Khan, and then both of them went to the Emperor and induced him to despatch a strong force against the Guru. Kale Khan, the brother of Mukhlis Khan, was given a command of fifty thousand men. Qutab Khan, Painde Khan, Anwar Khan and Asman Khan were commissioned to fight under Kale Khan.
|Mata Sulakhni is remembered in history as a woman of deep faith and piety. Here she is seen seeking the blessings of Guru Hargobind. She was childless. She implored Guru Sahib saying, you decided my fate before I was born; you alone can re-write it. She received the blessings of Guru Hargobind and had seven children who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the Guru, which she accepted with faith and resignation.|
Bhai Bidhi Chand, Bhai Jati Mal, Bhai Lakhu, and Bhai Rai Jodh ranged their troops on the four sides of Kartarpur. The imperial army chiefs advanced against them. The Pathans were, however, powerless against the brave Sikhs who were fighting for their religion and their Guru. Bidhi Chand engaged with Kale Khan, and Baba Gurditta, Guru’s eldest son, with Asman Khan. Even Tegh Bahadur (later on the ninth Guru) who was only fourteen years old, had shown feats of valor in the field. Painde Khan with drawn sword confronted the Guru and used profane words for the Master. In the words of Mohsan Fani, a Muslim historian of that time, the Guru addressed him,”Painde Khan, why use such words when the sword is in your hand. Brave as you are my boy, come I give you full leave to strike first. I have no grudge against you. But you are full of wrath. You can wreak your rage by striking the first blow.”
Painde Khan aimed a heavy blow at the Guru but it was parried off. He was allowed again to strike but in vain. Infuriated with his double failure, he gave a third blow but could not hit. The Master then urged him,”Come, my boy, I will teach you how to strike. Not your way but this.” Saying this he gave him such strong blow that Painde Khan ell on the ground mortally wounded. From this blow he seemed to have regained his old sense of discipleship. The Guru told him,”Thou art a Musalman. Now is the time to repeat your kalma (creed).” Painde Khan replied,”O aster, your sword is my kalma and my source of salvation.”
The Guru on seeing him dying was filled with pity, and by putting his shield over his face so as to shade it from the sun, he said,”Painde Khan, I cherished you, I reared you, and I made you a hero. Though men spoke ill of you, I forgot all your failings, and evil never entered my mind against you; but the evil destiny misled you so much that you brought an army against me. It is your own acts of ingratitude and insolence that have led to your death at my hands. Though you have been ungrateful and untrue to your salt, I pray the Almighty to grant you a dwelling in heaven.”
After all his chiefs were slain, Kale Khan confronted the Guru. He discharged an arrow which whizzed past him. A second arrow grazed the Guru’s forehead, and drops of blood bespattered his face. He remarked,”Kale Khan, I have seen your science. Now see mine.” At this he discharged an arrow which killed Kale Khan’s horse. The Guru thought it a point of honor also to dismount and offer his adversary a choice of arms. Sparks of fire issued from clash of sword to sword. He parried all his strokes and commented,”Not thus, this is the way to fence.” He then dealt Kale Khan a blow with his two-edged scimitar which severed his head from his body. On this the imperial soldiers fled for their lives. Bidhi Chand and Jati Mal shouted slogans of victory.
It is said that several thousand Mohammadans were killed while only seven hundred brave Sikhs lost their lives in this battle. It ended on the 24th day of Har, Sambat 1691 (1634 A.D.).
Guru Har Gobind fought and won four battles. Since his purpose had always been defensive, he did not acquire even an inch of territory as a result of these victories. However this effected a great change in the character of the Sikhs who, side by side of their rosaries, girded up their loins and buckled on their swords in defence of their faith. A new spirit of heroism was risen in the land to resist the mighty and unjust power of the Mughal government who had embarked upon the policy of religious discrimination against non-Muslim subject. The Master was looked upon by the Sikhs not only a divine messenger but as an accomplished swordsman, a hero and thorough master of the war.
|At Sri Nagar (Garhwal) Sant Ramdas Samrath, the spiritual guide to Shivaji Marhatta met Guru Hargobind. The Sant seeing the Guru’s regal splendour and ornaments, expressed doubts that ‘an heir to the throne of Guru Nanak, the ascetic – and in this attire?’. The Guru convinced him by saying that words do not make an ascetic or disguise can make one rich. Weapons are for the protection of the poor and a mark of the valiant.|
Guru Har Gobind was the first, after Guru Nanak, who went outside the Punjab to spread Sikh religion. He travelled from place to place and went as far as Kashmir in the north and Nanakmata, Pilibhit in the east.
A Sikh, Almast (means enthusiast) who had been preaching Sikh religion at Nanak Mata near Pilibhit, had been expelled from his shrine by the Jogis who had also burnt the sacred pipal tree under which Guru Nanak had held debate with the followers of Gorakh Nath. Night and day Almast read the compositions of the Gurus. He used to pray,”O searcher of hearts, true Guru, render us assistance.” Enduring all hardships, Almast waited until the Guru came to repair and take possession of Guru Nanak’s temple.
Ramo, the eldest sister of Guru’s wife- Damodri, was married to Sain Das who lived in Daroli in the present district of Ferozepur. Sain Das was ever praying that Guru Har Gobind would visit his village. He built a mansion to receive him and vowed not to allow any one to live in it until the Guru had hallowed it by his presence. Sain Das prepared a beautiful bed, and over the pillow he put up a canopy. Every morning he used to lay flowers in the room and pray that the Guru would come to bless the place. Ramo used to ask Das to go and bring the Guru but he would say,”The Guru is omniscient and will come of his own accord.”
On account of the troubles of Almast and the devotion of Sain Das, the Guru decided to visit Nanakmata and Daroli and taking with him a troop of his armed retainers. He went to Kartarpur and stayed there for some days. After that when he arrived in Nanak- Mata, the Jogis, seeing his retinue, thought that some Raja had come. Almast came forth and uttered thanksgiving that his spiritual master had arrived. The Guru constructed a platform and sitting on it recited the Sodar. He sprinkled saffron on the pipal tree which came back to its full bloom.
The Jogis came in a body and represented,” Thou art a family man; we are well-known holy ascetics.Bearing the ame of Gorakhnath, this place has been ours. Therefore leave it, and go and abide wherever it pleases you.” The Guru replied,”Whom do you call a holy ascetic? I apply this name only to him who has renounced pride and who as the love of God in his heart. It is he, and not a man who wears an ascetic’s garb, who will obtain salvation.”
The Jogis, in order to terrify him, made a show of their supernatural powers, but could produce no effect on the Guru, and thus retreated. Since that date the place is called Nanakmata, and remained in the possession of Udasi Sikhs. He remained there for some time and occupied himself with preaching to his Sikhs, and set up a Sikh ervice organization under the guidance of Almast.
On his return journey he proceeded to Daroli where his mother and wives were waiting for him. Sain Das and his wife Ramo begged for his blessings. He replied,”God at all times assist those whose hearts are pure. With a pure mind meditate on His Name, and accept His Will, then you shall be happy.”
The moon was full in the month of Kartik, Sambat 1670 (1613 A.D.) Mata Damodri gave birth to a son who was afterwards named Gurditta, and who bore a remarkable likeness to Guru Nanak. After that he returned to Amritsar.
Sewa Das, a Brahman who was residing at Srinagar in Kashmir, had been a converted Sikh. His mother, Bhagbhari made a beautiful robe to give to the Guru when he would visit her. She continued praying and waited for him who answered her prayer by deciding to proceed to Kashmir to see her.
On his way to Kashmir he reached Chaparnala near Sialkot, where he met a Brahman and asked him where could he find water to drink and bathe in? The Brahman carelessly replied that the soil was stony and therefore, the water was very scant. Upon this the Guru drove a spear into the ground and it is said that a spring of pure water issued forth. The Sikhs constructed a tank at the spring and it was called Gurusar. The Brahman felt ashamed and asked for pardon for not having recognized the Master’s greatness. The Guru replied,”The sins of those who repent shall be pardoned.”
e continued h is journey into the mountains of Kashmir. There he met Kattu Shah, a faithful Sikh who had advisited him at Amritsar. He spent a night in his house and then proceeded to Srinagar, where Sewa Das was meditating and waiting for him. His mother said that she worshipped the very ground on which the Guru would tread. He was received with great respect and enthusiasm and he asked Sewa Das’s mother to bring the dress she had made for him. He put it on and blessed her. Overwhelmed with devotion for the Guru, she recited the following Sabad:
“Who but Thee, my Beloved, could do such a thing?
Cherisher of the poor, Lord of the world, Thou hast put over my head the umbrella of spiritual
(Rag Bani Maru Ravdas, p-1106)
After this she and her son both drank some of the water in which the Guru had washed his feet, and the remainder she sprinkled over her house.
Crowds of Kashmiris both from Srinagar and the surrounding villages paid homage and many embraced Sikhism. A very interesting story- a company of Sikhs came to behold the Guru from a distant village with an offering of honey. On the way they met Kattu Shah who requested them to let him have some of the honey, but they refused saying that they could not offer him Kattu Shah’s leavings. When the Sikhs reached the Guru, the honey was found rotten and full of worms. The Guru remarked,”This is the result of not having given to my Sikh in whom is the spirit of the Guru.” He ordered them to return and satisfy Kattu Shah. It is said that the honey became fresh and sweet when they returned to Kattu Shah. ‘Hungry mouth is Guru’s treasure.’
He returned to Punjab through Bara Mula. The next day he visited the place where Rikhi Kashyap had dwelt, and where Vishnu was said to have incarnation of a swarf. Then he proceeded to Gujrat in the Punjab where he met Shah Daula, a saint of that city. Shah Daula was astonished to see the Guru with swords hanging on his both sides, aigrette attached to his turban and a hawk perched on his wrist. Shah Daula asked him,”How can you be a religious man when you have wife and children and possess worldly wealth and have arms?” The Guru retorted,”A wife is man’s conscience, his children perpetuate his memory, wealth enables him to live, arms are needed to extirpate the tyrants.”
After that he proceeded to Wazirabad and Hafizabad, both in the district of Gujranwala (now in Pakistan).Then he ent to a village called Mutto Bhai and preached the principles of his religion. He spent some time there. The Guru then reached Mandiali, a place about five miles from Lahore. Here Dwarka, a devout Sikh, married his daughter, Bibi Marwahi to him.
While still at Mandiali the Guru was informed by his Sikh Langha of the sustained efforts of some of imperial officers and the Qazis to poison the Emperor’s mind to destroy the sacred buildings of the Sikhs. The Guru took only a casual notice and proceeded to Talwandi, the birth place of Guru Nanak. He imparted religious instructions to the people who had gathered there in connection with the Namani fair. From there he proceeded to Madai. Next stop was at Manga in Lahore district. From there he returned to Amritsar where as usual great rejoicing were held in his honor.
During Shah Jahan’s reign all those persons and groups who had enmity towards the Guru, were constantly on the look-out for some opportunity to strike him and impede the onward march of Sikh movement. Tara Chand, the ruler of Hadur or Kehlur (Nalagarh) had waited upon the Guru and requested him to pay a visit to his state. In view of these circumstances the Guru had an idea of alternative headquarters. He sent his son Baba Gurditta to Tara Chand and promised him to visit his state later on. The Raja offered a piece of land for his permanent abode. Some writers say that the land was purchased from him. Baba Gurditta founded the town of Kiratpur on that piece of land.
Malwa region was still a vast tract of waste land and its people were still uncommitted to any religion. The Guru, therefore, undertook great tour of this region. He visited Zira, Rode Lande, Gill, Kotra and Hari. After that he visited Marajh, Dabwalli, Bhadaur, Mahal, Ded Maluke, Demru and then reached Darauli. Before departure, he blessed the people of Darauli and gave them a ‘pothi’ and a small katar (a small sword) as monuments. He visited Bara Ghar, Mado, Lopo, Sidhwan and then reached Sidhar. Rai Jodh, a big landlord of Kangar inspired by his wife Bhagan who was a daughter of Bhag Mal Gill, a devotee of the Guru, waited upon him. He was so much impressed that he desired to enter the Sikh fold. The Guru initiated him, his brother Umar Shah and many others of their families.
The people came in flocks and embraced Sikhism specially in Malwa region. For the first time in history of
Indian religions, the people were coming across a religious leader who was committed to the ideal of resisting all ypes of exploitations, injustice and tyranny. In fact the Guru’s close identification with the lower and down-trodden classes and his constant endeavors for their welfare and uplift made him the cynosure of the masses.