Today in Sikh History – 11th November
Bhai Mardana passed away at Kurram in Afghanistan.
Bhai Mardana was born at Talwandhi to mother Lakho and fatherBadro in Sanmat 1516. After becoming a Sikh of Guru Nanak, herighteously earned the status of “Bhai”. He accompanies Guru Nanak Dev ji on his world trip and served as a key participant inKirtan. He dies in 1591 in Karam Nagar on the banks of Karamriver in Afghanistan. Guru Nanak, personally conducted the lastrights for Mardana. As per his wishes no monument was erectedin his remembrance. Since Mardana was a “Rabab” player, heand all his descendents came to be known as Rababis. Mardana’swritings are included in Guru Granth Sahib. He is recalled in twoSaloks by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Rag Bihagdha, see Paudhi 12.His role during Guru Nanak’s travels is well illustrated by thepopular phrase “Mardana, Jagat Nu Taran Da Bahana” -Mardana, a reason to save this world.
Patshahi ninth, Guru Teg Bahadhur Ji Patshah Guru Teg Bahadhur was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk, Delhi by orders of the Mughal Emporer. He was brought into the open place of execution in Chandni Chowk, Delhi and beheaded around 11am. Guru Ji’s dead body was cremated by Lakhi at Rakab Ganj around 8pm. While Guru’s severed head was smuggled to Anandput Sahib by Bhai Jaita, a distance of 350 kilometeres that was covered in 5 days. Today is the actual date of Guru Sahib’s martyrdom, although it is observed on a different date by Guru Khalsa Panth.
Kashmiri Pandits, led by Kirpa Das of Mattan (Martand), reached Chak Nanki, Kahlur (old name of Anadpur Sahib). He appealed to Guru Tegh Bahadhur for his help in against the prosecution of Kashmiri Pandits by Aurangzeb’s forces and resulting extinction of hindu dharma. After appointing Gobind Rai as the next Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadhur left for Delhi on July 11, 1675. After Guruji’s martyrdom, Pandit Kirpa Das stayed back and became Kirpa Singh after taking amrit in 1699 and died fighting at Chamkaur along with the two elder sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
When Guru Tegh Bahadhur sacrificed himself to save the Kashmiri Pandits from extinction in 1675, Guru Gobind Singh put his stamp on this truth by proclaiming “The Lord (Guru Tegh Bahadhur) protected the sacred thread and the frontal mark of the Hindus: He performed a great deed in the age of Kalyug.” However, it is strange that the Kashmiri Pandits did not build any memorial in honour of Guruji. On the other hand the present generation had started doubting the veracity of this event.
==> GURU TEGH BAHADUR (1621-1675): RAG SORATH
That man who in the midst of grief is free from grieving,
And free from fear, and free from the snare of delight,
Nor is covetous of gold that he knows to be dust,
Who is neither a backbiter nor a flatterer,
Nor has greed in his heart, nor vdnity, nor any worldly attachment,
Who remains at his centre unmoved by good and ill fortune,
Who indifferent to the world's praise and blame
And discards every wishful fantasy
Accepting his lot in the disinterested fashion,
Not worked upon by lust or by wrath,
In such a man God dwelleth.
The man on vjhom the Grace of the Guru alights
Understands the way of conduct:
His soul, 0 Nanak, is mingled with the Lord
As water mingles with water!
In the galaxy of immortal martyrs who laid down their precious lives to keep ablaze the flame of faith and freedom, the name of the Ninth Master, Guru Tegh Bahadur stands out radiantly prominent. Doubtless, there have been prophets who sacrificed themselves at the altar of their own religion, but the uniqueness of the Ninth Master’s martyrdom lies in the fact that he courted death in defending the religion of the persecuted Hindus who had sought his shelter when they were forced to choose between death and Islam. Guru Tegh Bahadur, the second martyr Guru, who was born at Amritsar in 1621, was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the Sixth Master (1595-1645). Guru Har Rai, the Seventh Master (1630-61), and Guru Hari Krishna, the Eight Master (1656-1964): however, preceded him as Gurus. He adorned the sacred throne of Guru Nanak from 1664 to 1675. His installation as Guru enraged Dhirmal and the masands, who were the most contentious claimants to the Guruship.
Guru Tegh Bahadur toured the Punjab, particularly the Malwa region, and Eastern India, to preach Sikhism. He also went to Assam with Raja Ram Singh and stayed with him for nearly two years. The Guru’s family accompanied him on this trip, but, while proceeding to Assam, he left his familly at Patna. It was here that his only son Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was born. While leaving Assam for the Punjab, Guru Tegh Bahadur broke his journey at Patna for a short time and then returned to the Punjab. He purchased land from the Raja of Kahloor at Makhowal (Anandpur) and settled down there. From here he set out on extensive missionary tours and attracted amongst others, several Muslims to his faith.
The main theme of Guru Tegh Bahadur’s sacred hymns is Nam Simran (concentration on the Divine Name) and Guru Bhakti (adoration of the Guru). One hundred and fifteen hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur are incorporated in the Adi Granth.
He has clearly set forth his own definition of Giani (or the enlightened one). In these compositions he has laid special stress on vairag or detachment for the realisation of the lofty ideals that distinguish the life of a BrahmGiani.
During Guru Tegh Bahadur’s ministry, Emperor Aurangzeb intensified his fanatical plans for forcibly converting the Hindus to Islam. This move had serious repercussions in Kashmir, and, the learned Pandits of Kashmir came to Guru Tegh Bahadur to seek refuge. The Guru advised them to go and tell Aurangzeb that if he could persuade Guru Tegh Bahadur to embrace Islam, they would all willingly become Muslims. This proposal appealed to Aurangzeb, who had already hatched plans to bring to an end Guru Tegh Bahadur’s missionary activities, so, he at once issued orders for his arrest.
The Guru, along with some of his companions was finally brought to Delhi and asked to convert to Islam or else face the penalty of death. The Master averred that he would sacrifice his life rather than give up his faith and his freedom of belief. Thus, under Aurangzeb’s orders, he was beheaded at the place now called Sis Ganj in Delhi. His martyrdom was yet another challenge to the Sikh conscience. It was realized then that there could be no understanding between an insensate power imbrued with blood and a proud people wedded to a life of peace with honour. The sacrifice roused the devitalized Hindus from their supine somnolence and gave them a hint of the power that comes from self-respect and sacrifice. Guru Tegh Bahadur thus earned the enduring sobriquet title of Hind-di-Chadar or the Shield of India.
-Ref. “Guru Granth Ratnavali,” (pp. 70) by Dr. D.S. Mani, Sardar Bakhshish Singh, and Dr. Gurdit Singh.
==> SHAHADAT GURU TEGH BAHADHUR: The Great Guru laid down his life to secure the people the liberty of conscience. His martyrdom was for the protection of human dignity, specifically the right of everyone to practise his religion unhindered which was denied to its people by the Mughal rulers of India. He protested against the State’s interference with the individual’s duty towards his faith. It was a declaration that any attempt to create a unitary, monolithic society must be resisted. It was a reiteration of the Sikh belief in an open and ethical social ordwer and of teh Sikh principle of tolerance and acceptance of diversity of faith and practice. This lesson is part of the Sikh experience and teaching and no follower of thefaith may contravene it. Forcible conversions to Islam was the order of the day. Guru Sahib was presented with three choices; either accept Islam, perform miracles, or accept death. Miracles although recognized by Sikh faith, are actively discouraged. Their exposition or display is considered arrogance – competing with Vaaheguru’s order. Therefore Guru Sahib accepted the last option and laid down his life to protect human dignity and the freedom of worship which was denied to its people by the Mughal rulers of India. Forcible conversions to Islam was the order of the day. Guru Sahib delibrately made this choice to embrace a martyr’s death in pursuit of his declared objective to defend Hindu Dharma, further kindled the spark to resort to the use of force of arms.
The Sikhs have built a mermorial at this place in honor of the Guru’s martydom for the cause of freedom to worship. This is the actual date of Shahadat, although Guru Khalsa Panth observes it on a different date (see description below).
The martyrdom of Guruji was unique in the history of the world. Wheras Guru nank had publicly decalerd his opposition to the sacred thread and tilak in his bani, the Ninth form, gave his head to establish the right of Hindus to live according to the dictates of their religion. This was indeed to establish Human rights about which we hear so much today. All Sikh Gurus accepted the will and wonder of Akal Purakh that there are countless civilisations and cultures and every human being likes to live in his/her own culture. Guru Gobind Singh has stated this very beautifully in his Bachitar Natak, or the Wondrous Drama:
"Many belive that they have become superior by accepting celibacy or undertaking meditation away from habitation, by giving up material comforts or by making themselves look different by wearing matted hair or no hair. Other feel higher by joining a particular sect of Islam. But the reality is that followers of all religions are the same human beings. The creater of all, provides for the needs of all humans. There is one Lord of all and that Lord alone should be worshipped. Do not remain ignorant and belive in anyone else except the one Lord. All humanity is equal, each one of us carries the reflection of the creator in us, we are all manifestations of one creator."
Guru Gadhi was bestowed on Tenth Patshah, Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He bacme Guru at the age of 9 when his father was tortured to death by the ruling Mughals. From the age of 9 to 42 when he breathed his last, life had been occupied fighting the Moghuls against injustice and tyranny. Today is the actual date when Guru Sahib was bestowed Guruship, though Guru Khalsa Panth observes it on a different date.
==> GURU GOBIND SINGH JI (1666-1708), tenth Patshah of the Sikh faith, was born on Saturday, Dec. 22, 1666 at Patna Sahib to father Guru Tegh Bahadhur Patshah and Matta Gujri. On, Nov. 11, 1675, he assumed Guruship at Anandpur Sahib.
“Rahao Gur Gobind” Salok Mahala 9
Since early childhood, Guru Sahib was keen on weapons and their use. It is for this reason, that Guru Sahib became a scholar on weapons and mastered their usage, at a very early age. Guru Sahib continually emphasized scholarly works throughout his life. As a results, scholars around the world traveled long distances to participate and receive honors in his courts. He was always surrounded by renowned scholars. One of Guru Sahib’s objective was to translate all scholarly works in Gurmukhi and commissioned several such translations. His vision of Sikh Kaum included a communion of scholars. In an attempt to turn Anandpur Sahib as the center of knowledge, Guru Sahib actively encouraged and sent Sikhs to study at various renowned institutions in the world.
To uplift the suppressed people, Guru Sahib instituted the tradition of Amrit during Vaisakhi diwan of sunmat 1756 at KeshGadh Sahib. Further he established a communion of Amritdharis (who received Amrit) and called it “Khalsa”. Guru Sahib, himself was the sixth member of the Khalsa order. Witnessing the false practices and prevalent injustices, Guru Sahib propagated the message of Guru Nanak so vigorously that the neighboring hill rulers felt threatened. Without understanding either his message or appreciating his objectives, these rulers suddenly turned enemies and attacked on several occasions. Each time Guru Sahib had to fight for his defense.
In sunmat 1761, the Turk forces sought Guru Sahib to leave Anandpur Sahib under promises that were proven false through subsequent events. Once Guru Sahib was out of Anandpur Sahib, he was attacked and suffered heavy losses. The hard work of 52 poets, accumulated over the years, along with several commissioned translations was burned by the enemies of knowledge. However, Guru Sahib patiently but bravely faced the enemy and escaped into the neighboring forest. Here with his influence, Guru Sahib turned this ghost land into Saint land and the forest into civilized Malwa. With his message of patience and valor, Guru Sahib preached the importance of sacrifice and true knowledge.
He had four sons from Mata Jeeto and Sundari, namely, Baba Ajit Singh, Baba Zujar Singh, Baba Zorawar Singh, and Baba Fateh Singh Ji. All four sacrificed their lives to protect and further the growth of the institutional plant sown by Guru Sahib.
After bestowing Guruship to Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Sahib left this earth on Oct. 7, 1708, near the banks of Godawari river in Nanded, Guru Gobind Singh bravely fulfilled the responsibilities of Guruship and guided the Sikh Panth for 32 years, 10 months, and 26 days. He spent a total of 41 years, 9 months, and 15 days during his visit to this earth.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh
Fort of Rahon was conquered by Baba Gurbakhash Singh (Banda Bahadhur).
==> BABA GURBAKHASH SINGH (BANDA BAHADHUR): born on KatakSudhi 13 sunmat 1727 to Rajput father Ramdev who was a resident of the Rajori village in Jammu. He was named Lashman Dev by his parents. Since childhood, he exhibited extremely fondness for sanskrit literature and hunting. However, he plunged into deep remorse after killing a pregnant deer. As a result he discarded all his hunting tools and became a disciple of Vaesnav JankiPrasad. He shed all his material wealth, started onto the seekers path for enlightenment, and adopted the new name, Madho Dass.
Wondering in search of enlightenment, when he traveled towards south India and reached the banks of Godawari, he fell in love with this beautiful new place. He established his Ashram and started living here. In sunmat 1765, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji reached Nandaedh, he was extremely impressed and influenced by Guru’s preaching. He offered himself as “Satguru Da Banda” (Satguru’s person). Guru Gobind Singh Ji introduced him to Amrit and changed his name to Gurbakash Singh. However, he remained popularly known in our Panth as “Banda”.
To eradicate the prevalent injustices, Guru Gobind Singh sent Baba GurBakhash Singh accompanied by the following five GurSikhs to Punjab:
Baba Binod Singh Baba Kanh Singh Baba Bajh Singh Baba Bijae Singh Baba Ram Singh
Baba Gurbakhash Singh went to Punjab in sunmat 1765 accompanied with a Hukamnama from Guru Gobind Singh addressed to all the GurSikh. In this Hukamnama, Guru Gobind Singh asked GurSikhs to help Baba Gurbakhash Singh in his efforts. Before departure, Baba Gurbakhash Singh received three arrows from Guru Gobind Singh and the following instructions:
- Remain celibate (“Jatt rakhana”)
- Live, operate, and act under the dictates of Khalsa (“Khalsae dae Anusari hokae rahna”)
- Never consider yourself to be Guru (“Aap nu Guru na manenna”)
- Eat only after serving others (“Vartakae Shakana”)
- Help the orphas, poor, unprotected, helpless, destitute, or disolate. (“Anatha di sahiata karni”)
Upon reaching Punjab, Gurbakash Singh strictly followed Guru Sahib’s instructions and successfully punish all who had previously mistreated the Khalsa Panth. On the 1st Hadh sunmat 1767, after conquering Sirhind, Wajir Khan was punished and eventually killed for the mistreatment of Sahibzadas.
However, Gurbakash Singh became popular among the Khalsa Panth, his self-godliness started awakening. As a result he started adopting and engaging in practices that were against Gurmat. In sunmat 1771, Baba Gurbakhash Singh expressed desires to establish his own Gadhi in Sri Harmindar Sahib and sought his self-worhsip. He started a new slogan of “Sachae Sahib ki Fateh” in contrast to the traditional “Vaaheguru Jee Kee Fateh”. This resulted in a severe split among Khalsa Panth. Those following the principles as laid by Guru Gobind Singh came to known as “TattKhalsa” while the followers of Gurbakash Singh were known as “BandaiKhalsa”. Today there are very few Bandai Sikhs. They do not believe in any other holy scriptures other than Sri Guru Granth Sahib. All their practice are according to Gurmat principles.
Eventually, Baba Gurbakhash Singh was cornered by the pursuing enemy forces at “Gurdaspur de Gadhi”. It is also popularly known as Bhai Duni Chand di Hawaeli. After months of sustained attacks from AbdalSamadKhan and others with a force of over 20,000, Baba Gurbakhash Singh was arrested along with his companions and taken to Delhi. He accepted Shahadat on Chaet Sudhi 1st sunmat 1773.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh
Bada Deep Singh Ji accepted Shahadat in Amritsar. The Sikh’s attack on returning Afgan forces from Ahmad Shah’s 4th invasion infuriorated Ahmed Shah. He sent and expedition against the Sikhs that resulted in the destruction of Sri Harimandir Sahib. Subseqquently, the Sikhs collected at Amritsar in Oct. 1757 to celebrate Diwali. They were attacked repeatedly bu Jaham Khan, Governor of Punjab. It is during these battles Baba Deep Singh Ji accepted Shahdat reclaiming and preserving the sactity of Sri Harimandir Sahib.
==> BABA DEEP SINGH SHAHEED, known as Deepaa in his childhood, was born on 14 Magh Sunmat 1737 to mother Mata Jeeonee and father Bhai Bhagtoo at Paahoowind, Amritsar. He is remembered as one of the most revered martyrs of sikh history.
He was influenced and introduced to amrit by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. After partaking amrit, at the age of 20-22 years, Deepaa came to known as Baba Deep Singh. He learned Gurmukhi and Gurbani from Bhai Mani Singh along with horseback riding, archery and other arms training. Baba Deep Singh served the Panth extremely well through :
fighting several wars for the Panth. In 1709, he joined Baba Gurbakhash Singh (Banda Bahadur) to fight in the battle of Sirhind and Sadhora. In 1746, Deewan Lakhpat Rai attacked Sikhs at Kahnoowal jungles and ordered to set the whole jungle on fire. Baba Deep Singh, also there, somehow escaped and fought back at the Beaas River bank, and finally reaching Malwa. This incidence is known as “Chotta Ghalughara” (minor genocide). preparation and distribution of hand-written beadhs of Sri Guru Granth Sahib from Takhat Dumdama Sahib. fighting for the independence and sovereign sanctity of Sri Harmandir Sahib following its distruction by Jahan Khan, who was general to Tamur Shah, Subaedar of Punjab and son of Ahmad Shah Abdali.
On Magh of Sunmat 1817, Baba Deep Singh fell near Rampur, while fighting the mughals to free Sri Harmandir Sahib. His head was severed from its body. However, Baba Deep Singh picked up his head and kept fighting until he reached the Parkiramas of Sri Harmandir Sahib. In honor of such noble sacrifice, Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj is established in Amritsar, where GurSangat gathers on a regular daily basis. Baba Deep Singh was among the leaders of our Shaheedi Misls.