Sikh History & Personalities

What do you know of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji?

Guru Harkrishan Ji had not specifically named the Ninth Guru to the Sikh Sangat. However, by the Guru saying the next Guru is “Baba Bakala”, those close to the Guru knew that this meant the grandfather of the Guru who lived in Bakala. No less than 22 imposters who called themselves Guru set themselves up in the village of Bakala. Bhai Makhan Shah, a Lubana went to Bakala to discover the real Guru, there by personal testimony, he discovered Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji and proclaimed him as the Ninth Guru in 1664.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s life (1621-1675) may be divided into three periods: the first period of 23 years spent at Amritsar along with his father, the second period of 19 years was spent in quiet meditation at Bakala and the third period of 11 years he travelled exclusively in eastern India and then the Panjab.

Dhirmal, a nephew of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was extremely jealous of and angry with the Guru. He wanted to kill the Guru. So he sent a number of decoits to plunder the Guru’s house. Sihan one of them, shot the Guru and injured his shoulder. The next morning, the Sikhs captured Sihan and brought him to the temple. The Guru pardoned him and set him free. The Guru Said: “Forgiveness is a great virtue.”

Some Kashmiri Hindus who were being forced to accept Islam came to Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at Anandpur. The Guru agreed to sacrifice his life for the protection of the Hindus. The Hindu pandits sent a message to Emperor Aurangzeb that if Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji accepted Islam, they would follow his example.

Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the imprisonment of Guru Tegh Bahadur. He told him either to accept Islam or to show a miracle. The Guru refused to do either. With regard to the performance of a miracle the Guru said: “Is it not a great miracle that the emperor forgets his own death, while inflicting it on others?”

Aurangzeb ordered the Guru’s execution. The executioner Adam Shah dealt the blow after the Guru had finished a recitation of “Japji”. The head of the Guru fell into the lap of a Sikh who took it to Anandpur. The body was cremated by a Lubana Sikh at the place where now stands Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji’s martyrdom is unique, he gave his life not for the preservation of Sikhi, but for the human rights and protection of the Hindus. His was the second martyrdom in Sikh history.