GOBIND SINGH ( 1666-1708, Guruship 1675-1708 )
It may not be out of the way to say here that throughout the annals
of human history, there was no other individual who could be of
more inspiring personality than Guru Gobind Singh. At its climax
the tenth Nanak infused the spirit of both the saintlihood and the
undauntedness in the minds and hearts of his followers to fight
oppression in order to restore justice, righteousness (Dharma) and
to uplift the down-trodden people in this world. It is said that
after the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the tenth Master declared
that he would create such a Panth (nation) which would not be cowed
down by tyrant rulers but it would rather challenge the oppressor
in every walk of life to restore justice, equality and peace for
mankind. He further resolved that he would feel worthy to be called
Gobind Singh only when any single member of his Khalsa Panth would
successfully and undauntedly challenge the army of one hundred and
twenty-five thousand opponents in the field. This point was rightfully
proven at Chamkaur Sahib when Sahibzada Ajit Singh (Guru's about
18 years old eldest son) challenged the Mughal forces and their
allies, the hilly Rajas.
"The Divine Guru hath sent me for religion's
sake On this account, I have come into the world; Extend the faith
everywhere Seize and destroy the evil and sinful. Understand this,
ye holymen, in your minds I assumed birth for the purpose of spreading
the faith, saving the saints and extirpating all tyrants."
(Guru Gobind Singh- Chaupai, Bachitar Natak)
Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom symbolized in itself
the resistance to the tyranny of Muslim rule in favor of a new
society. When evil is holding its head high, should a holy man
knuckle under it or take up arms to combat and destroy it? The
young Guru, Gobind Rai, decided in favor of the latter course
i.e. to combat evil and uphold righteousness. He thus enjoined
upon his followers to make use of the sword if all other means
failed to liquidate the wicked and his wickedness. In order to
achieve this mission, he issued 'Hukamnamas' (circular letters
of authority) to his followers to present to him arms of different
designs. The Guru's orders were obeyed with great zeal and devotion.
He himself wore uniform and bore arms and induced others to practise
archery and musket- shooting. He encouraged various muscle-developing
and strenuous sports as part of the program of physical culture.
Many followers with martial instincts whose forefathers had served
the Guru's father and his grandfather, flocked to him. His principal
companions at that time were his aunt Bibi Viro's (Guru Har Gobind's
daughter) five sons, Sango Shah, Jit Mal, Gopal Chand, Ganga Ram,
Mohri Chand; his uncle Suraj Mal's two sons- Gulab Rai and Sham
Das; his maternal uncle Kirpal Chand; Bhai Daya Ram, the friend
from his youth; and Bhai Nand Chand, a favorite masand.
The Guru instructed his followers to lead a well-meaning
and disciplined life. He according to the customs of his predecessors,
used to rise early in the morning and perform his devotions. He
was particularly delighted to listen to Asa di Var. After day-break,
he gave divine instructions to his Sikhs and then practised martial
exercises. In the afternoon, he received his followers, went shooting
or raced horses; and ended the evening by performing the divine
service of 'Rehras'.
The Guru's handsome exterior was much admired
both by men and women. A person called Bhikhia from Lahore came
to visit him. Seeing the handsome young Guru, Bhai Bhikhia offered
the alliance of his daughter Jito to him. The proposal was accepted
and there were great rejoicing at Anandpur on the occasion of
the betrothal ceremony. The twenty-third of Har, Sambat 1734 (1677
A.D.) was fixed for the marriage. The Guru sent orders in all
directions for this occasion and the Sikhs thronged from various
places including Lahore. A place was set up near Anandpur, which
was called Guru ki Lahore where the marriage ceremony took place.
VISIT OF DUNI CHAND AND RAJA RATTAN RAI:
Surging crowds of people with their hearts filled
with love and devotion to the Master, thronged to see him. Some
came from Kabul, Qandhar, Gazni, Balkh and Bukhara. They brought
several priceless gifts- rugs, carpets, shawls and other valuables
when they came to pay homage to their Lord. Duni Chand, one of
the devotees, visited Anandpur in 1681 and presented to the Guru
a woolen tent, 'Shamiana' or a royal canopy which surpassed in
excellence. It was embroidered in gold and silver studded with
pearls. It is said that its splendor surpassed that of the Emperor's
Through the grace of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Raja Ram
of Assam was blessed with a son, Rattan Rai. Raja wanted to take
his son to the Guru but he died soon and could not visit Anandpur.
His last injunction to his Rani (wife) was that the prince should
be brought up as a devout Sikh. The Rani faithfully carried out
the behests of her husband and imparted the knowledge of the lives
and teachings of the Gurus to the growing prince. When Rattan
Rai, the prince, attained the age of twelve, he felt an inclination
to see the Guru. Accordingly he with his mother and several of
his ministers proceeded to Anandpur. He brought with him an offering
of five horses with golden trappings, a very small elephant, and
a weapon out of which five sorts of arms could be made, a pistol,
a sword, a lance, a dagger, and a club.
The Raja was accorded a great reception. He offered
his presents and prayed to the Guru to grant him the Sikh faith.
He was granted all his desires. The Raja exhibited the traits
of his presents. He caused the elephant to wipe Guru's shoes and
placed them in order for him. At the word of command the animal
took a chauri and waved it over the Guru. The Raja requested the
Guru never to let the elephant out of his possession.
The prince and his party remained at Anandpur
for five months and during this time, he enjoyed kirtan and felt
uplifted by the Guru's sermons. At the time of departure, the
Guru accompanied them to some distance and then bade them good-bye.
They were sent off with presents. Besides these tangible gifts,
the Guru gave Rattan Rai a RATTAN - a jewel of Nam, which was
the ultimate gift of life:
"Nam is the priceless Jewel that the perfect
If one dedicates oneself in love to the True Guru,
He lights in one's heart the Light of Wisdom, and Nam is then
Blessed is the fortunate one who goeth to meet the Guru."
(Sri Rag Mohalla 4, p-40)
The Guru's army was swelling day by day and he
was now set for the construction of a big beating drum which was
deemed necessary to enthuse his army and without which he considered
his equipment was incomplete. The work of the drum was entrusted
to his Dewan, Nand Chand. In those days, only an independent chieftain
was to use such a drum within the limits of his territory. The
beating of the drum within the bounds of another chief's domain
was an hostile act and meant an open invitation of war. The completion
of the big drum which was called Ranjit Nagara, or victorious
drum on the battle- field, was celebrated with prayers and the
distribution of Parshad (sacred food). When it was beaten, the
men and women of the city came to behold it and there were great
The Guru and his men went for hunting the same
day and when they reached near Bilaspur, the capital of Kahlur,
the drum was beaten and it sounded like a thunder to the hillmen
who became apprehensive of some danger. Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur
consulted his prime minister who advised him that it was the Guru's
drum who was worthy of worship, secondly, he maintained a large
army and was greatly feared; and thirdly the Guru was brave, and
such men were sometimes useful as allies. On hearing this Raja
Bhim Chand desired to meet the Guru and despatched his prime minister
to arrange for an interview which was granted. The Raja accordingly
went with his courtiers to Anandpur.
RAJA BHIM CHAND AND THE GURU:
Raja Bhim Chand was received in Guru's darbar
(court) with great honor. He prayed to the Guru to let him see
the gifts from the Raja of Assam. He was shown all the presents.
Bhim Chand was astonished at the magnificence of the Kabuli tent.
He was told that it was the offering of a pious Sikh from Kabul.
During this conversation when the beautifully decorated elephant
was let forward, Bhim Chand stood spellbound and expressed his
unbounded admiration of all that he had seen. On his homeward
journey his mind burned with jealousy of the Guru's state and
wealth and he made up his mind to take possession of at least
On his return to the capital, Bhim Chand disclosed
his designs to his courtiers. It was decided that a message should
be sent to the Guru that Raja Fateh Chand of Garhwal's party was
coming with the object of betrothing his daughter to Bhim Chand's
son, and Bhim Chand desired to borrow the elephant so as to make
a display of his wealth to his guests. When the message was delivered
to the Guru, he knew that it was only a trick to obtain permanent
possession of the animal. He sent the reply to Bhim Chand,"
The Raja who presented the elephant, requested me not to let the
animal go out of my possession. It is the principle of Guru's
house to comply with such requests." It is said that the
Raja sent his emissaries thrice, the last one being Kesari Chand,
the Raja of Jaswal, but the Guru did not yield and therefore,
Bhim Chand's demand was not met. So he got angry and wanted to
Majority of the masands felt agitated at the Guru's
warlike preparations and they represented to his mother to dissuade
him from such activities lest it should bring some trouble to
him. When his mother talked to him about it, he replied,"
Dear mother, I have been sent by the Immortal God. He who worshippeth
Him shall be happy; but he who acteth dishonestly and worshippeth
stones shall receive well-merited retribution. This is my commission
from God. If today I give Raja Bhim Chand the elephant, I shall
have to pay him tribute tomorrow." Nand Chand then joined
the conversation and said," Mother, hath a lion ever feared
jackals? Hath any one ever seen the light of the firefly in bright
sunshine? What availeth a drop of water in comparison with the
ocean? The Guru is a tiger brave and splendid as the sun. Shall
he fear Bhim Chand?" The Master ended the discussion by saying,"Dear
mother, heed not the evil advice of the masands. They have become
cowards by eating the offerings of the Sikhs."
The Guru and his troops continued to practise
archery and devoted themselves to the chase. The Sikhs kept visiting
continually and make offering of arms. Those who came for military
service, were readily received and were taught the profession
of arms. In this way the Guru collected a considerable army.
GURU LEAVES FOR PAUNTA SAHIB:
In the meantime the Raja Medani Parkash of Nahan,
invited the Guru to visit him. The invitation was accepted and
he left for Nahan. Gulab Rai and Sham Das were made incharge for
the defence of Anandpur. The Raja came to greet and welcome the
Guru and then took him to his palace. One day the Raja took him
on hunting excursion and complained that Raja Fateh Shah of Garhwal
had often quarrelled with him over the ground on which they were
then standing. He suggested that he would be very pleased if a
fort were to be constructed on the spot for protection against
the enemy. The Guru erected a tent on that spot and held a darbar.
He laid down foundation stone of the fort. With the help of the
Raja's army and with the zeal and energy of the workmen, the fort
was completed within a short time. The Guru named it Paunta, and
started to live there and continued to increase his army.
Raja Fateh Shah of Garhwal arrived at the conclusion
that since the Guru started living near his territory, it would,
therefore, be politic to be on good terms with him and accordingly
he decided to pay a visit to the Guru. He was received with great
honor in the Guru's darbar (court). During his visit the Guru
sent his uncle Kirpal to him to suggest that it would be well
if he and the Raja of Nahan were on good terms. Raja Fateh Shah
gave his consent immediately. The Guru then sent for the Raja
of Nahan. He brought the two Rajas together in the open court,
caused them to embrace and form a friendship.
In the meantime a hillman came with tidings of
a fierce tiger which was destroying cattle in the neighborhood.
He requested the Guru to free the country from the wild animal.
He took the two Rajas and others to the place where the tiger
was said to be residing. On hearing the huntsmen's foot steps,
the tiger sat on his haunches looking at his pursuers. The Guru
called on any one who could engage the tiger with sword and shield.
No one came forward. He then took his sword and shield and challenged
the tiger. The tiger rose with a roar and sprang at the Guru,
who received him on his shield and striking him on the flank with
his sword, cut him in two. The Rajas and the hunting party were
astonished and delighted at his strength and bravery.
RAM RAI'S RECLAMATION:
Ram Rai, the eldest son of Guru Har Rai, when
sent to Delhi on behalf of the Guru, distorted the holy words
of Guru Nanak in the court of Aurangzeb in order to please the
Emperor. Upon this the Guru disowned him and excommunicated him
from the Sikh faith. The Emperor gave him an estate where he founded
the town of Dehra Dun and continued to live there. Ram Rai claimed
himself as the real Guru. Being a willing tool in the hands of
the Mughal Emperor, he continually tried to harm the cause of
the Sikhs. Now since Guru Gobind Singh had come to Paunta, which
was only thirty miles from Dehra Dun, Ram Rai became afraid of
him and could not muster courage to face him. A discussion started
in Ram Rai's assembly about all this. Hearing on Ram Rai's anxiety,
the Guru sent Nand Chand and Daya Ram to reassure him that no
harm would be done to him. Ram Rai on receiving the Guru's message,
was very much delighted. He gave robes of honor to Nand Chand
and Daya Ram and decided to be on friendly terms with the Guru.
It is said that a meeting between the Guru and
Ram Rai took place in a ferry in the middle of the stream. Ram
Rai touched the Guru's feet in obeisance and said," I am
fortunate to have obtained a sight of thee. When I am gone, protect
my family........my father Guru Har Rai used to say that someone
would be born from our family who would restore and refit the
vessel for the safe conveyance of the souls." He asked for
forgiveness. Ram Rai while he was in trance, was cremated by his
masands in defiance of the entreaties and prayers of his wife,
Punjab Kaur. The Guru then responded to the request of Punjab
Kaur and meted out strict punishment to the guilty masands and
rewarded those who had remained faithful to her.
PIR BUDHU SHAH:
Pir Budhu Shah was a Muslim saint who lived at
Sadhaura, about ten or fifteen miles from Paunta Sahib. He was
well known for his piety and had a large number of followers.
He had heard of Guru Nanak and his mission. He had also learned
that Guru Nanak's throne was then occupied by Guru Gobind Singh
who was staying in the neighborhood. Ultimately he decided to
visit him. The Guru seated the Pir near him who beseeched,"
Pray! tell us how one meets God Almighty." During the discussion
the Pir humbly submitted to the Master. There was a glow in the
eyes of the Guru which radiated Divine Light and the Pir exclaimed
with sudden joy," Allah-hu- Akbar!" - Great is God Almighty.
After a while the Pir confessed," Master, I was spiritually
blind and you have shown me the Light." Blessed are the souls
on whom the Guru bestows the divine grace.
THE BATTLE OF BHANGANI:
One day the Guru received an invitation from Fateh
Shah of Garhwal to his daughter's marriage with the son of Raja
Bhim Chand of Kahlur who nursed enmity with the Guru. He decided
not to attend the ceremony himself but sent his Dewan, Nand Chand
and Daya Ram with costly gifts for the princess.
The shortest route for the marriage party was
through Paunta Sahib; the Guru refused to give them the passage
because he had no faith in Bhim Chand who was accompanied by a
large number of soldiers. After a lot of negotiations, the Guru
permitted the bridegroom and a small number of his companions
to cross the ferry near Paunta Sahib. The rest of the party including
Bhim Chand had to follow a circuitous route to Srinagar, the capital
of Garhwal state. This happening made Bhim Chand very mad and
he began to look forward to the opportunity to give vent to his
anger. He became still more enraged when he learnt that Guru's
envoy was present at the bride's place to attend the marriage.
Thus he refused to accept Fateh Shah's daughter for his son, if
he continued his friendship with the Guru. Bhim Chand, therefore,
asked Fateh Shah to choose between himself and the Guru. Fateh
Shah was obliged to yield. Nand Chand and Daya Ram had to bring
their presents back as a result. On their way back Nand Chand
and party were attacked by Bhim Chand's troops but they were able
to return safe and sound. After the marriage was over, Bhim Chand
held a conference with Fateh Shah and other hilly Rajas- Kirpal
of Katoch, Gopal of Guler, Hari Chand of Hadur and the Raja of
Jaswal who were present there. They all decided to attack the
Guru on their way back.
The hilly Rajas ordered their troops to march
upon Paunta Sahib. The news of the impending attack came fast
before the army could move and so the Guru was not taken by surprise
On the recommendation of Pir Budhu Shah, 500 Pathans
were enlisted in the Guru's army under the command of five chieftains-
Kale Khan, Bhikan Khan, Nijabat Khan, Hyat Khan, and Umar Khan.
The Pathans became apprehensive of the scanty resources at the
disposal of the Guru and they all except Kale Khan with one hundred
men, deserted the Guru at the eleventh hour, and joined the hill
Rajas. The Udasi Sadhus except their chief Mahant Kirpal, also
took to their heels. The Guru informed Budhu Shah of the misconduct
of the Pathan soldiers. Pir Budhu Shah looked upon their behavior
as a personal disgrace. In order to compensate this loss, Budhu
Shah accordingly placed himself, his brother, his four sons and
seven hundred disciples at the Guru's disposal.
The Guru stationed his troops at an eminent place
near Bhangani village about six miles from Paunta Sahib. The five
sons of Bibi Viro- Sango Shah, Jit Mal, Gopal Chand, Ganga Ram
and Mohri Chand organized the attack for the Guru's forces. They
were ably backed by Bhai Daya Ram, Dewan Nand Chand, Guru's uncle
Kirpal and Mahant Kirpal. While repeating his orders the Guru
buckled on his sword, slung his quiver over his shoulders, took
his bow in his hand, mounted his steed, and shouting 'Sat Sri
Akal' in his loudest voice, proceeded to confront his enemies.
It is recorded that the hoofs of the Guru's horse in their quick
movement raised clouds of dust which obscured the sun, and that
the cheers of his men resembled thunder in the stormy and rainy
season. As mentioned Guru's forces were also joined by Pir Budhu
Shah's troops and one hundred Pathans under the command of Kale
The enemy forces were led by Raja Fateh Shah who
was joined by Raja Hari Chand of Hadur, Raja Gopal of Guler, Raja
of Chandel, Rajas of Dadhwal and Jaswal, and four hundred Pathans
who had deserted the Guru's side. A severe and bloody battle was
raged. Many brave soldiers were killed on both sides. Although
the opposite army far outnumbered the Guru's men, but they did
not have the same spirit of sacrifice, nor did they have the same
devotion to their leaders, as the Sikhs had. Mahant Kirpal hit
Hayat Khan, Pathan chief, and killed the deserter. Jit Mal and
Raja Hari Chand engaged in a single combat. The arrows lodged
in their horses' foreheads and both horses fell. After a short
breath when their swords clashed, Hari Chand fell fainting to
the ground and Jit Mal dropped down dead. Sango Shah, another
cousin of the Guru, and Pathan chief Nijabat Khan were engaged
and both fell dead. Upon this the Guru mounted his charger and
rode into the thick of the combat. He discharged an arrow at Pathan
leader Bhikan Khan. It missed him but killed his horse, and Bhikan
Khan fled away. Upon this Nand Chand and Daya Ram launched a fierce
attack on the demoralized Pathans which resulted in great slaughter
of the treacherous Pathans. When the hillmen saw the defeat of
the Pathans, they began fleeing from the battle field. By this
time Hari Chand regained his conscious and reappeared on the scene
and shot many brave men with his arrows. On seeing this the Guru
confronted Hari Chand and he describes the combat in Bachitar
"Hari Chand, one of the hill chiefs, in his
rage drew forth the arrows. He struck my steed with one and then
discharged another at me, but God preserved me and it only grazed
my ears in its flight. His third arrow penetrated the buckle of
my waist and touched my body, but wounded me not. It is only God
Who protected me, His servant. When I felt the touch of the arrow,
my spirit was kindled. I took up my bow and taking aim killed
the young chief Hari Chand with my very first shot. I discharged
arrows in abundance. Upon this my adversaries began to flee. The
chief of Korari was also seized by death. Upon this the hill men
fled in consternation and I, through the favor of God Almighty,
gained the victory........" (Translated)
The Guru went to the site where lay the dead bodies
of Sangho Shah, Jit Mal and other brave Sikhs. Two sons of Budhu
Shah were also killed. The Guru ordered the slain on both sides
be disposed of with great honor. The bodies of the Sikhs were
cremated, of the Hindus thrown into the river and of the Muslims
buried with all solemnity. Pir Budhu Shah presented himself and
his two surviving sons to the Guru. At that time the Guru was
combing his hair. Budhu Shah begged of him to give him the comb
with his loose hair as a sacred souvenir. The Guru gave him the
turban, the comb with hair and a small sword. The greatest gift
of all, the Guru blessed him with Nam.
Significance of the battle of Bhangani:
The victory in the battle of Bhangani was of far
reaching importance. It uplifted the spirit and strengthened the
moral of the Sikhs. Since the Guru did not acquire even an inch
of the territory or gained any material advantage, the cause he
championed, received added strength. His fame spread far and wide
with the result that the supply of arms and horses to the Guru
increased abundantly and hundreds and hundreds of persons offered
themselves to be enlisted in his army. The Guru's victory also
did not go without causing concern to the Mughal rule at Delhi.
The hilly Rajas also viewed the whole issue afresh. Although the
Rajas and the Guru were poles apart in ideology, yet the Rajas
being goaded by their self-interest of thwarting the Mughals over
lordship and thus to be relieved of the burdens of payment of
annual tributes to the Mughal Emperor, wanted cordial relations
with the Guru. Therefore, their leader Raja Bhim Chand entered
into agreement with him.
RETURN TO ANANDPUR:
The Guru remained about three years at Paunta
Sahib and his fame attracted poets, singers and learned people
to his court. During this period he composed Jap Sahib, Swayas
and Akal Ustat.
He ordered his army to return to Anandpur and
he came back via Sadhaura and then encamped at Laharpur for a
few days. Raja of Nahan sent his envoy to convey his desire to
meet the Guru but he never did. Leaving Nahan the Guru entered
Ramgarh state and stayed at Tabra for more than a week. He then
went to Raipur in response to the invitation of the Rani of that
place. She showed him the greatest hospitality and presented him
a beautiful horse with costly trappings, and a purse of Rupees
as an offering. He gave her son a sword and shield. After this
he continued his journey to Anandpur and passing through Toda,
Nada, Dhakoli, Kotla, Ghanaula, Bunga, he reached Kiratpur. From
there he reached Anandpur in October, 1687. The eldest son, Ajit
Singh was born on the fourth day of bright half of Magh, Sambat
1743 (1687 A.D.).
EXPEDITION OF ALIF KHAN:
The south India was up in the arms. Emperor Aurangzeb,
therefore, remained busy many years in suppressing the revolt
in southern India. All the expenditure of such a long war was
met by levying heavy tribute on the northern and eastern provinces
of the country. At that time Mian Khan was a viceroy of Jammu.
He sent his commander-in-chief, Alif Khan to levy tribute on the
hill Rajas. First he addressed Raja Kirpal of Kangra," Either
pay me the tribute or contend with me in arms." Raja Kirpal
gave him certain presents and then told him that Raja Bhim Chand
of Kahlur was the greatest of all the Rajas. If he pays the tribute
first, all the rest will follow him. If Bhim Chand refused to
pay, he (Kirpal) would support him. Raja Dayal of Bijarwal was
persuaded by Kirpal to meet Alif Khan's demands.
Alif Khan adopted Raja Kirpal's suggestion and
proceeded towards the capital of Bhim Chand's state. He halted
at Nadaun and sent his envoy to Bhim Chand with his demands. Bhim
Chand replied that he would defend himself rather pay the tribute.
However his prime minister advised Bhim Chand that if he desired
victory, it would be assured only if he had obtained Guru's assistance.
Upon this Bhim Chand sent his prime minister to the Guru to seek
his active support. The Guru agreed to support the movement of
non- payment of tributes which symbolized the spirit of defiance
against the Mughal imperialism. The Guru came in person as the
head of a strong contingent. The Rajas of Jaswal, Dadhwal and
Jasrot also came to participate in the impending war.
Bhim Chand opened the attack with sharp arrows
but the shots could not make any impact on the enemy because of
their position and they struck only the wooden rafters of the
fortress. The troops of Bhim Chand began to grow indifferent.
At this critical juncture the Guru played his part most effectively.
He took his gun and aimed at Raja Dayal. Fighting bravely the
Raja fell to the ground. The Guru shot arrows one after the other
on the enemy. Arrows and bullets flew in abundance and the battle
turned in their favor. Alif Khan and his men fled and Bhim Chand
won the victory. He remained at Nadaun for sometimes where he
reached an understanding with Alif Khan through Kirpal who acted
The Guru after staying about a week there, returned
to Anandpur. His son, Jujhar Singh was born on the seventh day
of month of Chet, Sambat 1747 (1691 A.D.).
DILAWAR KHAN'S ATTEMPT TO WEAKEN GURU'S POWER:
Dilawar Khan who attained power in Punjab while
Aurangzeb was in the Daccan (south), became jealous about Guru's
fame and success. He sent his son Khanzada with a force of one
thousand men to curb the power of the Guru at Anandpur. Khanzada
crossed the river Satluj under the cover of the darkness at about
midnight when Guru's scout, Alam Khan hastened to give information
to him about the approach of a hostile force. The drum (Ranjit
Nigara) was immediately beaten and Guru's men at once marched
to the river. The quick formation of the Sikhs bewildered the
enemy and the guns which began discharging volleys of shots, terrified
Khanzada's men so much that they were constrained to reel back.
However they plundered the village of Barwa on their way back.
Khanzada through shame, could not answer to his father when he
censored him for his cowardice. This happened at the end of 1694.
HUSSAIN KHAN'S EXPEDITION:
Dilawar Khan had a slave called Hussain who boasted
that if he were given a command, he would sack the Guru's city
of Anandpur and exact tribute from Bhim Chand and other hilly
Rajas. The failure of Khanzada provoked Dilawar Khan to plan for
a bigger attack on the Guru. So he sent Hussain Khan with a force
of two thousand men. Hussain brought the Raja of Dadhwal to his
knees and plundered Dun. Raja Kirpal of Kangra joined him. Bhim
Chand too cast his lot with Hussain. He then with the help of
Kirpal and Bhim Chand, planned to proceed to Anandpur. The Guru
kept his troops ready for any eminent attack.
When Hussain was preparing to march towards Anandpur,
Raja Gopal of Guler sent his envoy to make peace with him. Hussain
replied that he would be glad to meet with Raja Gopal if he gave
him a subsidy as other Rajas had done. Gopal went with some money
but Hussain was not pleased with his contribution. Hussain's terms
were payment of ten thousand rupees or he would put Gopal and
his troops to death. Gopal pleaded his inability to pay that large
sum of money and thus came back. At this point Gopal sent his
envoy to the Guru to pray to him for a negotiated settlement with
Hussain. The Guru sent his agent, Sangtia with an escort of seven
troopers to negotiate a peace settlement between Gopal and Hussain.
Two parties could not reach any settlement with the result that
a battle ensued between Hussain, Kirpal and Bhim Chand on one
side and Raja Gopal and Raja Ram Singh on the other. Having fought
very bravely Hussain perished in the battle field. Raja Kirpal
of Kangra was also slain. Himmat and Kimmat, two officers of Hussain
Khan were also killed. On the other side the Guru's envoy Sangtia
and his seven troopers were all killed. On seeing this Bhim Chand
fled with his army. After his victory Raja Gopal went to the Guru
with large offerings and thanked him for his grace which made
him successful in the battle field.
A third son, Zorawar Singh was born to the Guru
on Sunday, the first day of the second half of the month of Magh,
Sambat 1753 (1697 A.D.).
The defeat irked Dilawar Khan and he then sent
Jujhar Singh and Chandel Rai to Jaswan but they could not achieve
the purpose. They, however, captured Bhalan, a strategic place
in that state. Before they could proceed further, Gaj Singh of
Jaswal fell upon them. Jujhar Singh and Chandel Rai both fought
like lions but Jujhar Singh was killed and Chandel Rai fled from
The defeat of the imperial forces caused anxiety
to Aurangzeb and he sent his son Prince Muazzam, later known as
Bahadur Shah, for restoration of order in the hills. The Prince
took charge in August, 1696 and deputed Mirza Beg to teach lesson
to hill Rajas. He inflicted defeat after defeat, set up villages
on fire, plundered the territory. After Mirza Beg, the Prince
sent four more officers who, side by side, chastised the hill
Rajas, plundered the homes of the apostates who had escaped destruction
at the hands of Mirza Beg.
In due time a fourth son, Fateh Singh was born
to the Guru on wednesday, the eleventh day of Phagan, Sambat 1755
(1699 A.D.). In the state of seclusion and tranquility of the
mountains, the Guru translated Sanskrit works in Sambat 1755 (
1698 A.D.). It was on the 14th of June of that year that the Guru
according to his own version, completed his translation of the
Ram Avtar from Sanskrit into Hindi. Most of the compositions that
are said to be of the tenth Guru, are not his. Macauliffe writes:
"What is called the Granth of the tenth Guru
(Dasam Granth) is only partially his composition. The greater
portion of it was written by bards in his employ. The two works
entitled Chandi Charitar and the Bhagauti ki Var found in it are
abridged translations by different hands (any one even moderately
acquainted with Hindi can tell from inner evidence of style that
these translations have been done by different persons) of the
Durga Sapt Shatti, or seven hundred sloks on the subject of Durga,
an episode in the 'Markandeya Puran' on the contests of the goddess
Durga with demons who had made war on the gods."
There were fifty-two bards in the court of Guru
Gobind Singh to translate the Mahabharat, the Ramayan, and the
gallant achievements of Rama, Krishna, Chandi, and others. It
does not follow from this that the Guru worshipped those whose
acts were thus celebrated; this was only done for the purpose
of inciting bravery and dispelling cowardice, and filling the
hearts of his troops with valor to defend their faith. This the
Guru himself declares in his translation of the tenth canto of
the Bhagwat," I have rendered in the vulgar dialect the tenth
chapter of the Bhagwat with no other object than to inspire ardour
for religious warfare."
The Guru never put faith or worshipped anyone
other than the One Immortal God. In Akal Ustat he writes:
"Without Thee (God) I worship none Whatever
boon I want, get from Thee."
The Guru makes the above point clear in his thirty-three
"Some fasten an idol firmly to their breasts;
some say that Shiv is God; Some say that God is in the temple
of the Hindus; others believe that He is in the mosque of the
Some say that Rama is God; some say Krishna; some in their hearts
accept the incarnations as God;
But I have forgotten all vain religion and know in my heart that
the Creator is the only God." (Swaya- XII)
"Why call Shiv God, and why speak of Brahma
God is not Ram Chander, Krishan, or Vishnu whom ye suppose to
be the lords of the world.
Sukhdev, Prasar, and Vyas erred in abandoning the One God and
worshipping many gods.
All have set up false religions; I in every way believe that there
is but One God."
(Swaya- XV, Guru Gobind Singh)
CREATION OF THE KHALSA:
The Guru sent Hukamnamas to his followers all
over the country to visit Anandpur at the Baisakhi festival to
be held in Sambat 1756 (1699 A.D.). It seemed as if the whole
of Punjab was on the move; and they came from all parts of the
A small tent was pitched on a small hill now called
Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur and an open air dewan (assembly) was
held. The Guru drew his sword and in a thundering voice said,"
I want one head, is there any one who can offer me?" This
most unusual call caused some terror in the gathering and the
people were stunned. There was dead silence. The Guru made a second
call. Nobody came forward. There was still more silence. On the
third call there rose Daya Ram, a khatri of Lahore who said,"
O true king, my head is at thy service." The Guru took Daya
Ram by the arm and led him inside the tent. A blow and thud were
heard. Then the Guru, with his sword dripping with blood, came
out and said," I want another head, is there anyone who can
NOTE: Most of the writers including many Sikh
writers, state that the Guru had concealed five goats inside the
tent on the previous night without letting anybody know. Therefore,
when he took Daya Ram inside the tent, he cut off goat's head
instead of Daya Ram's. It is difficult for these writers to perceive
Guru's supernatural acts. They cannot comprehend that the Guru
could behead Daya Ram, and then bring him back alive from the
tent. They need to understand that the Guru was a Divine Jot,
sitting on the Divine throne of Guru Nanak. They are showing complete
disrespect to the Guru by implying that he was incapable of performing
supernatural acts. With these types of thoughts, these writers
are committing sacrilege upon the Guruship. The Guru had the power
to raise the dead. The Divine Word confirms:
"Satgur mera mar jiwalei." (Bhairon
Mohalla 5, p-1142)
'My lord can raise the dead to life.' (Translation
of the above)
This was not an ordinary feat, this was the most unparallel and
supernatural act which was performed through the direct Will of
God. The Guru himself authenticates this act:
"Khalsa is the army of God
Khalsa is created with the Will of God."
(Guru Gobind Singh- Sarbloh Granth)
Again on third call Dharam Das, a Jat from Delhi
came forward and said," O true king! My head is at thy disposal."
The Guru took Dharam Das inside the tent, again a blow and thud
were heard, and he came out with his sword dripping with blood
and repeated," I want another head, is there any beloved
Sikh who can offer it?"
Upon this some people in the assembly remarked
that the Guru had lost all reason and went to his mother to complain.
Mohkam Chand, a washerman of Dwarka (west coast of India) offered
himself as a sacrifice. The Guru took him inside the tent and
went through the same process. When he came out, he made a call
for the fourth head. The Sikhs began to think that he was going
to kill all of them. Some of them ran away and the others hung
their heads down. Himmat Chand, a cook of Jagan Nath Puri, offered
himself as a fourth sacrifice. Then the Guru made a fifth and
the last call for a fifth head. Sahib Chand, a barber of Bidar
(in central India), came forward and the Guru took him inside
the tent. A blow and thud were heard.
The last time he stayed longer in the tent. People
began to breath with relief. The Guru clad them in splendid garments.
They offered their heads to the Guru, and the Guru had now given
them himself and his glory. When they were brought outside, they
were in the most radiant form. There were exclamations of wonder
and the sighs of regret on all sides. Now people were sorry for
not offering their heads.
Since the time of Guru Nanak, Charanpauhal had
been customary form of initiation. People were to drink the holy
water which had been touched or washed by the Guru's toe or feet.
The Guru proceeded to initiate them to his new order by asking
five faithful Sikhs to stand up. He put pure water into an iron
vessel or Bowl (Batta of Sarbloh) and stirred it with a Khanda
(two edged small sword). While stirring the water with Khanda,
he recited Gurbani or Divine Word ( Five Banis- Japji, Jap Sahib,
Anand Sahib, Swayas, and Chaupai). Sugar crystals called 'Patasas'
which incidently the Guru's wife, Mata Sahib Kaur, had brought
at that moment, were mixed in the water.
The Guru then stood up with the sacred Amrit (
nectar) prepared in the steel bowl. Each of the five faithfuls,
by turn, each kneeling upon his left knee, looked up to the Master
to receive his Eternal Light. He gave five palmfuls of Amrit to
each of them to drink and sprinkled it five times in the eyes,
asking them to repeat aloud with each sprinkle, "Waheguru
ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh." (This meant: Khalsa
belongs to God and all triumph be to His Name) Then he anointed
with five sprinkles in the hair. In this way Amrit was administered
to the five faithfuls from the same bowl. After that he asked
them to sip Amrit from the same bowl to signify their initiation
into the casteless fraternity of the Khalsa. All the five faithfuls
were baptized in this way by the Guru who then called them 'PANJ
PYARE' or Five Beloved Ones. He gave them the appellation of SINGHS
or lions and they were named from Daya Ram to Daya Singh, Dharam
Das to Dharam Singh, Mohkam Chand to Mohkam Singh, Himmat Chand
to Himmat Singh, and Sahib Chand to Sahib Singh. The Guru then
addressed them as the supreme, the liberated ones, pure ones and
he called them THE KHALSA.
He then ordained them to do the following:
I. First they must wear the following articles
whose names begin with 'K':
1. Kes- unshorn hair. This represents the natural
appearance of saintlihood. This is the first token of Sikh faith.
2. Kanga- A comb to clean the hair.
3. Kachha- An underwear to denote chastity.
4. Kara- A steel bracelet on the wrist, a symbol of dedication
to the Divine Bridegroom.
5. Kirpan- A sword for self-defence and a symbol of dignity, power
and unconquerable spirit.
II. They must observe the following guidelines:
1. Not to remove hair from the body.
2. Not to use Tobacco or other intoxicants.
3. Not to eat 'Kutha', a meat of an animal slaughtered by slow
degrees as done by the Muslims.
4. Not to commit adultery- 'Par nari ki sej, bhul supne hun na
jayo' (never enjoy, even in dream, the bed of a woman other than
your own wife) (A supplementary ordinance was issued that any
one who did not observe any of the four directives, must be re-
baptized, pay a fine, and promise not to offend any more; or he
must be excommunicated from the Khalsa).
III. They must rise at dawn, bathe, meditate on
Gurmantar- 'Waheguru', Moolmantar- the preamble of Japji, and
recite five banis- Japji, Jap Sahib and Swayas in the morning;
Rehras in the evening; and Kirtan Sohela at bed time at night.
IV. They must not have matrimonial relations with
smokers, with persons who killed their daughters, with the descendants
or followers of Prithi Chand, Dhir Mal, Ram Rai, or masands who
had strayed away from the tenets and principles of Guru Nanak.
V. They must not worship idols, cemeteries, or
cremation grounds, and must believe only in One Immortal God.
The Guru further spelled out that they should practise arms, and
never show their backs to the foe in the battle field. They should
always be ready to help the poor and protect those who sought
their protection. They were to consider their previous castes
erased, and deem themselves all brothers of one family. Sikhs
were to intermarry among themselves.
THE MASTER BECOMES THE DISCIPLE:
After the Guru had administered Amrit to his Five
Beloved Ones, he stood up in supplication and with folded hands,
begged them to baptize him in the same way as he had baptized
them. This was the height of this remarkable episode setting up
unparallel example in the world that first as Guru, he created
the Khalsa blessing them with power, supremacy and glory, and
then he himself became their disciple- Wonderful is Guru Gobind
Singh, himself the Master and himself the disciple. In the annals
of human history a disciple could become a Guru but never a Guru
became a disciple. The Five Beloved Ones were astonished at such
a proposal, and represented their own unworthiness, and the greatness
of the Guru, whom they deemed God's Vicar upon earth. They asked
him why he made such a request and why he stood in a supplicant
posture before them. He replied," I am the son of the Immortal
God. It is by His order I have been born and have established
this form of baptism. They who accept it shall henceforth be known
as the KHALSA. The Khalsa is the Guru and the Guru is the Khalsa.
There is no difference between you and me. As Guru Nanak seated
Guru Angad on the throne, so have I made you also a Guru. Wherefore
administer the baptismal nectar to me without any hesitation."
Accordingly the Five Beloved Ones baptized the Guru with the same
ceremonies and injunctions he himself had employed. The Guru was
then named Gobind Singh instead of Gobind Rai.
Guru Gobind Singh was the first one to take Amrit
from the Khalsa, the Five Beloved Ones. About 80,000 men and women
were baptized within a few days at Anandpur.
By creating the Khalsa, the Guru embedded two
qualities in one person. A Khalsa is a Saint-Soldier. A Sikh is
a saint because he worships the All-Pervading Divine Spirit and
in whom that Spirit shines day and night like a full moon. A Sikh
is a soldier because he is ever ready to take up the arms to uphold
The Guru promised the Five Beloved Ones (The Khalsa)
that whenever they called upon him, he would agree to their proposal.
This was the establishment of democratic Khalsa. The Guru fulfilled
this promise by submitting to the demand of the Five Beloved Ones
at the battle of Chamkaur and left the Garhi.
The Guru himself gives the definition of his beloved
"He who constantly keeps in mind Intent upon
Ever Awake Living Light of Consciousness And never swerves from
the thought of One God; And he who is adorned with full faith
in Him And is wholly steeped in the Love of the Lord, And even
by mistake never puts his faith in fasting Or in worship of tombs,
sepulchre or crematoriums, Caring not for pilgrimages, alms, charities,
Penances or austerities; Or anything else but devotion to One
God; And in whose heart and soul the Divine Light Shines forth
as the full moon He is known as Khalsa, the purest of the pure."
(Guru Gobind Singh- Swayas)
The Persian historian Gulam-ul-din, the newswriter
of that period, sent Emperor Aurangzeb a copy of the Guru's address
to his Sikhs on the first of Baisakh, Sambat 1756 (1699 A.D.)
which reads as follows:
"Let all embrace one creed and obliterate
differences of religion. Let the four Hindu castes who have different
rules for their guidance abandon them all, adopt the one form
of adoration, and become brothers. Let no one deem himself superior
to another. Let none pay heed to the Ganges, and other places
of pilgrimage which are spoken of with reverence in the Shastras,
or adore incarnations such as Rama, Krishna, Brahma, and Durga,
but believe in Guru Nanak and the other Sikh Gurus. Let men of
the four castes receive my baptism, eat out of one dish, and feel
no disgust or contempt for one another."
When the Guru addressed the gathering, several
Brahmans and Khatris stood up and accepted the religion of Guru
Nanak while others insisted that they would never accept any religion
which was opposed to the teachings of the Vedas and Shastras.
So far the leadership had remained in the hands
of non- militant urban Khatris from whom the majority of the masands
were drawn, but now the situation had completely changed. Peasantry
and other classes of rural areas formed the bulk of the converts.
Even those people who had been considered the dregs of humanity
were changed like a magic into something rich and super. The sweepers,
the barbers and confectioners who had never touched a sword and
whose whole generations had lived as slaves of the higher castes,
became doughty warriors under the stimulating leadership of the
Ideologically, the Khalsa was created to be aimed
at a balanced combination of the ideals of Bhakti and Shakti,
of moral and spiritual excellence and militant valor or heroism
of the highest order; or in other words the Khalsa was to be a
brotherhood in faith and brotherhood in arms at one and the same
time. The Khalsa symbolized in itself the determination to complete
the social and religious revolution inaugurated by Guru Nanak.
The code of conduct prescribed for the newly created Khalsa was
so devised as to impose a strict discipline on the Sikhs to ensure
firm coherence and commitment on their part to the holy and lofty
ideals of Sikhism.
With the creation of the Khalsa, some new doctrines
were also established. The first doctrine of the Khalsa was the
doctrine of the theocratic democracy by his selected, not elected,
five representatives of the people from amongst the thousands
of the devotees from all over the country while second was the
doctrine of collective responsibility by authorizing the Five
Beloved Ones only, in the presence of the holy Guru Granth Sahib
to assume authority implicitly to be obeyed by the whole nation.
The Guru set the souls of the Khalsa free and
filled their hearts with a lofty longing for religious and social
freedom and national ascendancy. The Khalsa, therefore, accepted
the challenge to combat terror inspired by tyranny of the powerful
Mughal empire and embarked upon a national struggle of liberation.
BHAI NAND LAL:
Bhai Nand Lal Goya, born at Ghazni in Afghanistan
in 1643, was an accomplished persian scholar who composed verses
in praise of God and Guru Gobind Singh. He was hardly nineteen
when his parents passed away and after that he moved to the city
of Multan. The Nawab of Multan being impressed with his scholastic
talents and personality, appointed him as his 'Mir Munshi' (Revenue
officer). At the age of 45 Nand Lal left the service and set out
in pursuit of peace. At last he reached Anandpur. Nand Lal wanted
to test the Guru before he could accept him. He took a small house
and started living quietly in that and made up his mind that he
would go to the Guru only when the Guru beckoned him. The Guru
did not call for sometimes. During this period Nand Lal became
very restless which he recorded:
"How long shall I patiently wait? My heart
is restless for a vision of thee, My tearful eyes, says Goya,
Have become flooding streams of love Flowing in a passionate affection
(Nand Lal- Translated)
At last the Guru called Nand Lal. When he reached
there for his holy sight, the Guru was sitting in a trance with
his eyes closed. As Nand Lal saw the Master, he was wonder-stuck
and he recorded:
"My life and faith are held in bondage,
By His sweet and angelic face;
The glory of Heaven and earth,
Is hardly worth,
A hair of His golden looks.
O! How can I bear the light,
Shed by the piercing glance of His love,
To ennoble and enlighten life,
A glimpse of the Beloved is enough."
(Bhai Nand Lal)
After a short while the Master opened his eyes
and smiled as he looked towards Nand Lal. By mere opening of his
eyes, he enabled Nand Lal to see the Divine. His one glance of
Grace opened the spiritual eyes of Nand Lal. He bowed down saying,"Lord,
my doubts are dispelled. I have known the Truth. The doors of
my heart are opened and I have attained peace."
Nand Lal, thus, continued to live at Anandpur
in the service and love of the Master. One day the Guru commanded
him," You left the home and renounced the world; such a renunciation
is not acceptable to me. Go back and live in the world, work for
your living and serve the humanity; but remain unattached to Maya
(materialism), keeping God alive in thy mind." Nand Lal asked,"
Whither should I go, O Master?" The Guru replied," To
whichever direction your feet carry thee."
Bhai Nand Lal bowed and left Anandpur and after
sometimes he reached Agra, the city of Taj Mahal where Prince
Bahadur Shah was holding his court. There were some poets, scholars
and artists patronized by the prince. Nand Lal was soon recognized
at Agra as a great scholar which earned him a high office and
emoluments from the prince. It is said that Emperor Aurangzeb
had to send a letter to the King of Persia and Nand Lal's draft
of that letter was deemed as the most suitable. Upon this Aurangzeb
sent for Nand Lal, and after an interview he remarked to his courtiers
that it was a pity that such a learned man should remain a Hindu.
Aurangzeb told Prince Bahadur Shah to convert Nand Lal to Islam
by persuasion if possible, and by force otherwise. This news leaked
out and Bhai Nand Lal with the help of Ghiasuddin, a Muslim admirer
and follower of him, escaped from Agra one night, and fled to
Anandpur, the only place where such refugees could find safe asylum.
Enjoying the blissful life at the Master's feet
at Anandpur, Bhai Nand Lal then settled down to a routine of a
devoted disciple. He presented to the Guru a Persian work called
Bandagi Nama in praise of God, a title which the Guru changed
to Zindagi Nama, or 'Bestower of Eternal life'. The following
few extracts are from that work:
"Both worlds, here and hereafter, are filled
with God's light; The sun and moon are merely servants who hold
They who search for God are ever civil.
(Bhai Nand Lal- Translated)
BHAI JOGA SINGH:
From the early youth Joga Singh was living at
the Guru's Darbar and was a great devotee. One day Guru's eye
caught him and he asked what his name was. He replied," O
true king, my name is Joga Singh." The Guru asked,"
Whose Joga you are?" (Joga means for whose service he is
fit or simply for whom he is?) "I am Guru Joga (I am in the
service of the Guru)," replied Joga Singh. Upon this the
Guru promised," If you are Guru Joga, then Guru is tere Joga
( then the Guru is for you)."
After sometimes Joga Singh went to his home in
Peshawar for his marriage. When the marriage ceremony was half-way
through, a man arrived with an urgent message from the Guru to
him to proceed to Anandpur without delay. Joga Singh read the
command and instantly left for Anandpur without completing the
marriage ceremony. He obeyed Guru's order over everything else.
Indeed the path of the devotees is sharper than the edge of a
razor blade, and it is even narrower than the hair-breadth on
which they have to tread.
Joga Singh continued his journey to Anandpur as
fast as he could. After passing through Lahore and Amritsar, he
reached a resting spot at Hoshiarpur. On his way his ego got inflated
and he thought," Who could have acted like me? Certainly
very few Sikhs would carry out the Guru's order like me."
This sense of pride brought his fall. At night he was overwhelmed
by evil-passion and he started towards the house of a prostitute.
Joga Singh was wearing Guru's uniform- a turban and beard. On
his way to the prostitute, Joga Singh talked to himself,"
If some one sees me going into the house of a prostitute, it will
bring disgrace to the Guru. Outwardly I am in Guru's attire. So
nobody should see me entering the prostitute's house."
As soon as he reached near the house of the prostitute,
a watchman appeared saying aloud," Be aware fellows!"
Joga Singh could not enter the house and he walked on to the next
street. Looking around and thinking that the watchman might have
left, he hurried towards the house of the prostitute again. To
his amazement the watchman reappeared shouting," Be aware
fellows!" Joga Singh could not afford to be seen by anybody
going into the house of the prostitute, knowing in his heart that
it would bring slur to Guru's name since he was in Guru's uniform.
Finally he quit his evil act after trying a few times without
Next morning he started his journey and reached
Anandpur. Joga Singh stood mute before the Guru with his head
down. The Guru asked him about the well-being of himself and his
family but Joga Singh stood mute. The divine Master then addressed
him," Joga Singh, do you remember when you said that you
were Guru Joga, and the Guru had promised, if you were Guru Joga,
then Guru tere Joga." Upon this the Guru further explained,"In
the garb of a watchman I guarded you in the streets of Hoshiarpur
last night, against the sinful deeds and thus saved you from disgrace."
Joga Singh fell on Guru's feet and asked for forgiveness.
Such are the ways of the Master. Once we put our
complete faith in him, he does not abandon us. The Guru confirms:
"As long as the Khalsa remain distinct and
intact, I shall bless them in every way; When they detract from
the prescribed path, I detest them for ever."
(Guru Gobind Singh)
POST-KHALSA PERIOD ACTIVITIES:
The hill Rajas including the Raja of Kahlur came
to visit the Guru and had a good deal of discussion about the
pros and cons of the Khalsa. He advised them to embrace the Khalsa
religion in order to elevate the fallen condition of their country.
The hill Rajas took their departure without accepting the Guru's
proposal to accept Khalsa creed.
The immediate effect of the creation of the Khalsa
was the anxiety of the hill Rajas who considered the Guru's activities
as a potent threat to their own religion and state power. The
Guru asked his Sikhs, wherever they resided, to come to Anandpur
and accept baptism, thus, become members of the Khalsa. They started
coming in large numbers to pay homage to him and get baptized.
This growing number of the baptized Sikhs, surcharged with their
spirit of equality, and disengaged from the orthodox way of living,
who seemed to be always ready to combat evil, alarmed the hill
Rajas who considered it a direct challenge to their feudal order
and their orthodox way of living.
One day the Guru went on a hunting excursion in
the Dun when Balia Chand and Alim Chand, two hill chiefs made
a surprise attack on his party. There were only a few Sikhs with
the Guru. Both sides fought desperately. Alim Chand aimed a blow
of his sword at Alim Singh, who received it on his shield and
then with his return blow struck off Alim Chand's right arm. He
managed to escape and left Balia Chand in sole command of the
troops. However Balia Chand was soon shot dead by Ude Singh. The
hill troops, having found one of their chiefs dead and the other
having fled, abandoned the battle field leaving the Guru's party
FIRST BATTLE OF ANANDPUR:
After this defeat, the hill Rajas thought it highly
dangerous to allow the Sikhs to increase in power and number.
They therefore, decided collectively to complain to the Delhi
government against the Sikhs. Aurangzeb was still busy in the
south. The viceroy of Delhi sent General Din Beg and General Painde
Khan each with five thousand men to resist the Guru's encroachments
on the rights of the hill Rajas. When the imperial forces reached
Rupar, they were joined by hill Rajas.
The Guru appointed the Five Beloved Ones as generals
of his army. The Sikh chronicler states that, when the engagement
began at Anandpur, the Turks were roasted by the continuous and
deadly fire of the Sikhs. General Painde Khan seeing determined
resistance of the Sikhs, shouted to his men to fight to the death
against the infidels. He came forward to engage in a single combat
with the Guru and invited him to strike the first blow. The Guru
refused the role of an aggressor and claimed that he had vowed
never to strike except in self-defence. Upon this Painde Khan
discharged an arrow which whizzed past Guru's ear. He charged
another arrow which also missed the mark. The whole of Painde
Khan's body except his ears was encased in armour. Knowing this
the Guru then discharged an arrow at his ear with such an unerring
aim that he fell off his horse on the ground and never rose again.
This, however, did not end the battle. Din Beg assumed sole command
of the troops. Maddened by Painde Khan's death they fought with
great desperation but could not make any impression on the firm
hold of the Sikhs. On the other hand, however, the Sikhs caused
a great havoc upon the enemy. The hill chiefs left the field.
In the meantime Din Beg was wounded and he beat a retreat but
was pursued by the Sikhs as far as Rupar (upto the village of
Khidrabad near Chandigarh where there is a Gurdwara in that memory).
This battle was fought in the beginning of 1701.
SECOND BATTLE OF ANANDPUR:
The Rajas of Jammu, Nurpur, Mandi, Bhutan, Kullu,
Kionthal, Guler, Chamba, Srinagar, Dadhwal, Handur and others,
assembled at Bilaspur to discuss the newly created situation.
Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur (son of late Raja Bhim Chand) addressed
them that if they overlooked the growing power of the Guru, he
would one day drive them out from their territories. On the other
hand if they were to seek assistance from Delhi again and again,
they might be taken over by the Mughal empire for ever. It was,
therefore, decided that they must defend themselves. If all the
hill Rajas contributed reasonable contingents, they could muster
a large army which would be sufficient to annihilate the Guru
and his Sikhs. Thus a simple and feasible measure was thought
out to invest the Guru's capital, Anandpur, and starve its occupants
Accordingly all the Rajas brought their contingents
and marched towards Anandpur. On arriving near the city they dispatched
a letter to the Guru in which they wrote," The land of Anandpur
is ours, we allowed your father to dwell on it and he never paid
any rent. Now you have originated a new religion which is opposed
to our religious system. We have endured all this up to the present,
we can no longer overlook it. You should pay the arrears of rent
for the occupation of our land and promise to pay it regularly
for the future. If you fail to accept these terms, then prepare
your departure from Anandpur or be ready for the consequences."
The Guru replied," My father had purchased this land and
he paid for it. If you deprive me of Anandpur, you shall have
it with bullets added thereto. Seek my protection, and you will
be happy in both worlds. Also seek the protection of the Khalsa
and abandon pride. Now is the time for a settlement. I shall act
as a mediator between the Khalsa and you. You may then rule your
states without apprehension."
It was now clear to the Rajas that the Guru would
not surrender. Next morning they beat the drum of war. As anticipated
a large number of Ranghars and Gujars under the command of Jagatullah
flocked to the side of the hill Rajas.
Five hundred men from the Majha area arrived under
the command of Duni Chand to join the Guru's forces, and other
reinforcements from other quarters also arrived at that juncture.
There were two main forts, Lohgarh and Fatehgarh. The Guru ordered
his forces not to advance beyond the city but remain as far as
possible on the defensive. Sher Singh and Nahar Singh were appointed
as chiefs to guard Lohgarh, and Fatehgarh was entrusted to Ude
Singh. Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Guru's eldest son, asked his father's
permission to join hands with Ude Singh.
The hill Rajas opened fire with large guns on
the Guru's fortress. Several brave Sikhs made a determined stand
against the enemy and forced them to retreat. The allied chiefs
then held a brief council of war in which it was decided to despatch
Raja Kesari Chand, the haughty chief of Jaswal, to attack the
right flank and Jagatullah the left flank of the Guru's position
while Ajmer Chand himself and his troops made a front attack on
Anandpur. Jagatullah was shot dead by Sahib Singh and the Sikhs
did not retreat to allow the enemy to remove his body. Raja Ghumand
Chand of Kangra rallied his troops but failed to cause the Sikhs
to retreat. The hill chiefs were in great dismay at the result
of the battle and held a council of war during the night. Raja
Ajmer Chand advised the council for peace with the Guru saying
that the Guru occupied Guru Nanak's spiritual throne and there
would be no indignity in appealing to him as supplicants. Many
Rajas agreed to the proposal but Kesari Chand of Jaswal opposed
the reconciliation and promised to fight with more determination
the next day in order to oust the Guru from Anandpur.
Next morning the allied forces contented themselves
with concentrating their attack on one particular part of the
city but the Sikhs again offered valiant resistance. The allied
forces rallied many times but could not overcome the brave Sikhs
and so they decided to siege the city which lasted for a few weeks.
As the blockade prolonged successfully, Raja Kesari Chand prepared
to intoxicate an elephant and direct him against the city. Whole
body of the elephant was encased in steel. A strong spear projected
from his forehead for the purpose of assault. The intoxicated
elephant was directed towards the gate of Lohgarh fort and the
allied army followed him. The Guru blessed his Sikh, Vichitar
Singh to combat the elephant. Vichitar Singh took a lance to meet
the furious animal. He raised his lance and drove it through the
elephant's head armor. On this the animal turned around on the
hill soldiers, and killed several of them. Meanwhile Ude Singh
continued to advance against Kesari Chand, challenged him, and
then with one blow cut off his head. Mohkam Singh, one of the
Five Beloved Ones, cut off the mad elephant's trunk with one blow
of his sword. What remained of the hill army now fled. In the
retreat the Raja of Handur was severely wounded by Sahib Singh.
On the following day Ghumand Chand of Kangra directed
the efforts of his troops against the city. Ghumand Chand's horse
was killed by a bullet from the musket of Alim Singh. The battle
lasted with varying success until evening, when Ghumand Chand,
as he was proceeding to his tent in the evening, was mortally
wounded by a chance bullet. All the hill chiefs now became disheartened
and demoralized. Raja Ajmer Chand was the last to leave Anandpur
and marched home in the dead of night. This battle was fought
BATTLE OF NIRMOH:
Ajmer Chand in spite of the defeat of the allied
forces, determined to oust the Guru. He sent an envoy to the Emperor's
viceroy in Sirhind and another envoy to the viceroy of Delhi to
complain against the Sikhs and sought their help to assist the
hill chiefs in destroying the Guru's power and expelling him from
Anandpur. Accordingly the imperial forces were directed to assist
the hill chiefs.
At the same time to save their faces, the hill
chiefs proposed to the Guru through Pamma Brahman, that they would
be friends with him for ever only if he left Anandpur for a while
and come back later. The Guru agreed to the proposal and left
for Nirmoh, a village situated about a mile from Kiratpur. After
he reached Nirmoh, Raja Ajmer Chand and Raja of Kangra both thought
that since he was now in the open and he had no fort around him
for protection, it would be better to launch an attack. They attacked
the Guru's army without even waiting for the arrival of the imperial
army. A fierce battle ensued in which the Sikhs were ultimately
victorious. One afternoon as the Guru was sitting in his open
court, the hill chiefs engaged a Mohammadan gunner to kill him
for an adequate remuneration. The gunner fired a cannon ball which
missed the Guru but took away the life of Sikh who was fanning
him. The Guru picked up his bow and shot an arrow which killed
the gunner and with another arrow killed his brother who was assisting
him. On seeing this the hill men quit fighting. The two Mohammadans
were buried on the spot called Siyah Tibbi or the black hill and
a Gurdwara was erected by the Sikhs to commemorate Guru's escape
from the bullet.
The army of Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sirhind,
arrived in due time. The Guru found himself in a very dangerous
position between the hill Rajas on one hand, and the imperial
army on the other. But he resolved to defend himself in whatever
way it was and his Sikhs stood faithfully and valiantly by him.
Wazir Khan gave an order to his troops to make a sudden rush and
seize the Guru. The Guru was successfully protected by his son
Ajit Singh and his other brave warriors. They stopped the advance
of the imperial forces and cut them down in rows. The carnage
continued until night. Next day the imperial army and the hill
chiefs made a furious assault when the Guru decided on retiring
to Basoli whose Raja had frequently invited him to his capital.
Until the Guru's army reached the river Satluj, fierce fighting
continued in which brave Sahib Singh was slain. Bitting his thumb
Wazir Khan admitted that he had never before witnessed such desperate
fighting. The Guru with his troops crossed over the river and
reached Basoli. The hill chiefs were overjoyed and presented elephants
to Wazir Khan and departed to their homes. Wazir Khan returned
to Sirhind. This battle was fought at the end of 1701.
Daya Singh and Ude Singh requested the Guru to
return to Anandpur. After staying a few days at Basoli, he marched
back to Anandpur and the inhabitants of the city were delighted
to see him again among them. Finding the Guru again firmly established
at Anandpur, Raja Ajmer Chand thought it most wise to pursue for
peace. The Guru told Ajmer Chand that he was willing to come to
terms with him, but he would punish him if he were again found
guilty of treachery. Ajmer Chand was glad to find peace with the
Guru and he sent his family priest with presents to him. The other
hill Rajas also followed Ajmer Chand's example and made good relations
with the Guru.
After this the Guru went to Malwa for the propagation
of his mission. In January 1703 he went to a fair held at Kurukshetra
on the occasion of a solar eclipse in order to purchase horses
to replace those which were killed or stolen in previous warfare.
The custom of sale and barter of horses and other animals at religious
fairs was prevalent even during the time of the Guru.
Two Mohammadan generals, Saiyad Beg and Alif Khan,
were on their way from Lahore to Delhi. Raja Ajmer Chand who also
went to Kurukshetra along with other hill chiefs, thought to secure
their assistance. He promised the generals large remuneration
if they attacked the Guru. Instead on hearing favorable accounts
of the Guru, Saiyad Beg withdrew his army, and when the battle
ensued at Chamkaur between the Guru's and Alif Khan's troops,
he joined the Guru's forces. Upon this Alif Khan retired from
the contest thinking that he had no chance for victory. The Guru
returned to Anandpur. Saiyad Beg threw his lot with him and accompanied
him to Anandpur, and remained with him as a trustworthy and powerful
After two years of peace, the old hostilities
reappeared. The reasons being, the increasing prestige of the
Guru and the clashes as a result between the hill Rajas and the
THIRD BATTLE OF ANANDPUR:
At that time there were only 800 Sikhs in the
Guru's army at Anandpur. Raja Ajmer Chand summoned his allies,
Rajas of Handur, Chamba and Fatehpur with the object of chastising
the Guru. They all expressed themselves in favor of immediate
measures and attacked the Guru's forces at Anandpur. In the previous
battles of Anandpur the Sikhs had mostly remained behind their
battlements but they met the enemy this time in the open field
outside Anandpur. The Sikhs fought with their usual courage and
determination. The hill chiefs could not achieve any success and
retired from the battle in despair. This battle was fought in
FOURTH BATTLE OF ANANDPUR:
Owing to the repeated representations of the hill
chiefs, the Emperor sent a large army under the command of General
Saiyad Khan to subdue the Guru. Saiyad Khan was a brother-in-law
of Pir Budhu Shah of Sadhaura who fought on the side of the Guru
at the battle of Bhangani. On his way to Anandpur Saiyad Khan
met Pir Budhu Shah and heard all favorable accounts of the Guru
and, thus, had a wish to behold him.
It was the end of March, 1704 and was a crop-cutting
time of the year, so the majority of the Guru's Sikhs had dispersed
to their homes. There were only five hundred strong troops left
at Anandpur at that time. The Guru had to make best defence with
the present force. Maimun Khan, a faithful Mohammadan who had
attached himself to the Guru, asked his permission to show his
bravery. The brave and faithful Saiyad Beg also came forward to
render his services. Both Musalmans fought like tigers in the
battle, and were followed by the Sikhs.
The Sikhs advanced boldly against the enemy. Saiyad
Beg entered into a single combat with Raja Hari Chand. After they
had repeatedly missed each other, Saiyad Beg at last struck off
the hill chief's head. On seeing this Din Beg of the imperial
army rushed at Saiyad Beg and mortally wounded him. Maimun Khan
from horseback charged in every direction and committed great
havoc among the imperial troops. The Guru knew what was passing
in General Saiyad Khan's mind, and advanced ostensibly to challenge
him. Saiyad Khan on obtaining the wish of his heart to behold
the Guru, dismounted and fell at his feet. The Guru conferred
on him the true Name. After Saiyad Khan's defection, Ramzan Khan
took command and fought with great bravery against the Sikhs.
The Guru shot an arrow which killed Ramzan Khan's horse. The Sikhs
rallied and presented a bold front to the enemy but being too
few in number were overpowered by them. When the Guru saw that
there was no chance of retrieving his position, he decided to
evacuate Anandpur. The Mohammadan army plundered the city. After
obtaining this booty they proceeded back to Sirhind. When the
imperial army was resting at night, the Sikhs made a sudden attack,
which created great confusion in the enemy camp. The Turks who
turned to oppose the Sikhs, were killed and only those who fled,
escaped the vengeance of the Guru's pursuing army. The Sikhs also
deprived them of all the booty they had captured at Anandpur.
After this the Guru returned and took possession of Anandpur.
FIFTH BATTLE OF ANANDPUR:
The Emperor called on his troops to account for
their cowardice. They pleaded that the Sikhs had taken an unfair
advantage of their position in the battle field. At one point
the Emperor asked what sort of person the Guru was and what force
he possessed. A Mohammadan soldier gave highly colored accounts
of the Guru's beauty, sanctity and prowess. He described him as
a young handsome man, a living saint, the father of his people
and in war equal to one hundred twenty-five thousand men. The
Emperor was much displeased on hearing this elaborate praise of
the Guru and ordered that he should be brought to his presence.
In the meantime Raja Ajmer Chand made a strong representation
to the Emperor for assistance to bring the Guru to submission.
Accordingly the viceroys of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir were ordered
to proceed against the Guru.
Some faithful Sikhs informed the Guru of war preparations
as a result of Raja Ajmer Chand's representation to the Emperor.
The Guru made arrangements accordingly and sent for his followers.
The Sikhs of Majha, Malwa and Doaba and other places thronged
to Anandpur. They were delighted at the prospect of battle, and
congratulated themselves on their good fortune in being allowed
to die for their Guru and their faith. The Guru affirmed that
the death in the battle-field in the name of religion was equal
to the fruits of many years' devotion, and ensured honor and glory
in the next world.
The noteworthy point in this whole episode is
that the Guru having won battle after battle, never captured an
inch of territory, never nurtured enmity, and never attacked anybody
as an aggressor. By the creation of the Khalsa he established
equality and brotherhood of mankind. The down-trodden segments
of the society which were ever ridiculed by the so called high
caste Brahmans and Khatris, had now become undaunted saint-soldiers
after being baptized by the Guru and joining the brotherhood of
the Khalsa. The Brahmans and the hill chiefs considered all this
a threat to their very existence. They were, therefore, waging
a constant war against the Guru and his Sikhs.
The hill chiefs who arrayed themselves against
the Guru were Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur, Rajas of Kangra, Kullu,
Kionthal, Mandi, Jammu, Nurpur, Chamba, Guler, Garhwal, Bijharwal,
Darauli and Dadhwal. They were joined by the Gujars and the Ranghars
of the area, and all of them formed a formidable force. The imperial
army of the viceroys' of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir came in large
number. The chronicler judiciously remarks that the Khalsa must
be congratulated because, though few in number, having the blessings
of their Guru they had confidence in themselves to fight for their
religion, and delighted in anticipation of the approaching conflict.
It is recorded that there were ten thousand Sikhs at Anandpur
while the opposing army came as strong as fifteen to twenty times
in number than the Sikhs.
The allied forces fell on Anandpur like locust.
On seeing this the Guru ordered his artillery men to discharge
their cannon into the hostile army at the thickest spot. The enemy
made a charge to seize the artillery, but were quickly restrained
by the fatal accuracy with which the Sikhs served their guns.
They were supported by the infantry. The city of Anandpur was
on a little higher elevation and the allied forces were in the
open and had no protection, and consequently fell in heaps. A
fierce battle was fought for a few days. The Mohammadan gunners
were promised large reward if they killed the Guru but they were
unsuccessful in their mission because their gun fire was either
high or too low and could not hit the target. The allied army
finding their guns useless tried hand to hand fight. On seeing
this the Guru began to discharge his arrows with marvelous effect.
The fearful carnage continued, horses fell on horses, men on men.
The allied forces rallied a strong effort to conquer, but was
so vigorously and successfully repulsed that they were obliged
to suspend hostilities at the end of each day of warfare. The
Mohammadans and the hill chiefs had different opinions as to the
cause of the success of the Sikhs. Some thought that the Guru
had supreme miraculous power and the supernatural forces fought
on his side. Others maintained that the Guru's success was owing
to the fact that his men were protected behind their ramparts.
While this discussion was going on, the Mohammadan viceroys decided
to storm the fortress where the Guru was stationed. On seeing
this the Sikhs put their two guns called Baghan (tigress) and
Bijai-ghosh (sound of victory) in position. The aims were taken
at the enemy. The tents were blown away and great havoc was caused.
On seeing this the Mohammadan viceroys retreated and the hill
armies fled. That evening the Guru offered thanksgiving, and beat
the drum of victory.
Having failed through direct assault, the allied
army planned a siege of the city of Anandpur in such a way that
all entrances and exits for both goods and persons were completely
closed. They completely besieged the city, and the Guru's supplies
were failing. Food position became extremely serious and the Sikhs
were driven to undertake some dangerous expeditions. They went
out at night to snatch provisions from the besiegers. After some
time the allies collected their stores at one place and guarded
them day and night. When the enemy learnt about the distressful
situation of the Sikhs, they planned a different strategy to induce
the Guru to leave Anandpur. Raja Ajmer Chand sent his envoy to
him saying that if he left Anandpur, their armies would withdraw
and he could afterwards return whenever he pleased. The Guru did
not pay any heed to this proposal. The offer was repeated several
times, but the Guru did not accept it. Having suffered extreme
hardships, the Sikhs besought the Guru to evacuate the fort, but
the Guru counselled them patience for some time more. The Sikhs
who heard enemy's proposal, went to the Guru's mother to use her
influence on him. She pleaded with him but in vain. The Guru told
her that the enemy's proposal was hypocritical since they planned
to draw out the Sikhs from within the shelter of the city and
attack them. Some of the Masands and the Sikhs who were influenced
by the hill chiefs, insisted that the proposal of the enemy be
accepted and the city be abandoned. Some Sikhs became impatient
and disheartened. The Guru asked them to declare their allegiance.
Forty of them signed a disclaimer saying that he was not their
Guru and they were not his Sikhs. After they signed the disclaimer,
they were allowed by the Guru to go away. He then brought out
a scheme to expose the hypocrisy of the enemy.
The Guru sent for Raja Ajmer Chand's envoy and
told him that he would evacuate Anandpur if the allied armies
would first allow the removal of his treasure and property. The
Hindus swore on the Salgram (their idol) and the Mohammadans on
the holy Quran, that they would not deceive or molest his servants
departing with his property. The Guru then immediately ordered
a number of cartloads of useless articles. To the bullocks' horns
were attached torches and at the dead of night, the caravan of
bullocks with their loads, started along with some Sikhs accompanying
them. When the caravan reached the enemy lines they forgot all
their pledges and fell upon the small company of the Sikhs to
loot the treasure. Their disappointment was great when they found
out that the treasure was made up of rubbish articles. In this
way the Guru exposed the treachery of the enemy and told his Sikhs
that everything they had endured had been by the Will of God,
and he quoted Guru Nanak- "Happiness is a disease, the remedy
for which is unhappiness".
At last came an autographed letter from the Emperor
to the Guru- "I have sworn on the Quran not to harm you.
If I do, may I not find a place in God's court hereafter! Cease
warfare and come to me. If you do not desire to come hither, then
go whithersoever you please." The Emperor's envoy added that
the Emperor promised that he would not harm the Guru. The hill
Rajas also swore by the cow and called their idols to witness,
that they would allow safe passage to the Guru. The Guru told
the enemy," You are all liars, and therefore all your empire
and your glory shall depart. You all took oaths before and then
The Sikhs went again to the Guru's mother to complain
of his refusal to listen to reason. He, however, felt that their
pleading was not reasonable but it was not appropriate to accept
the terms of the enemy and leave the fort. The Sikhs stricken
with hunger, supported the envoy's representation. The Guru comforted
them," My brethren, waver not, I only desire your welfare.
You know not that these people are deceivers and design to do
us evil. If you hold a little longer, you shall have food to your
heart's content." When the Sikhs refused to wait any longer,
he asked them to wait only a few days more when the great God
would send them relief. The Sikhs, however, refused to wait even
for a day. The Guru repeated his request saying that the enemy
would then retire and they would all be happy. He also warned
the Sikhs," O dear Khalsa, you are rushing to your destruction,
while I am endeavoring to save you."
The Sikhs were so much hunger stricken that they
refused to stay even for a day. The Guru's mother was also in
favor of evacuating the fort. The allied armies sent a Saiyid
(a Mohammadan priest) and a Brahman, both of whom were to swear,
on behalf of the allied armies, solemn oaths of safe conduct for
the Guru should he evacuate Anandpur. On seeing this the Sikhs
began to waver in their allegiance to the Guru, and in the end
only forty Sikhs decided to remain with him and share his fortunes.
He told them that they too might desert him. They refused and
said that they would either remain within the fort or force their
way out as the Guru directed. He knew that the seed of his religion
would flourish. He then finally decided to leave Anandpur and
gave orders to his men that they all were to march at night. Anandpur
was finally evacuated on 6-7 Poh, Sambat 1762 (20-21 December,
Bhai Daya Singh and Ude Singh walked in front
of the Guru, Mohkam Singh and Sahib Singh on his right, the second
batch of baptized Sikhs on his left. His sons Ajit Singh and Jujhar
Singh followed with bows and arrows. Then came Bhai Himmat Singh
carrying ammunition and matchlocks. Gulab Rai, Sham Singh and
other Sikhs and relations accompanied him. The rest of the followers
brought up the rear, about five hundred in all.
The moment the enemy got the news of Guru's departure,
they again forgot all about their pledges and set out in hot pursuit
immediately. Skirmishes started from Kiratpur onwards. Realizing
the impending danger the Guru charged Ude Singh with the responsibility
to check the advance of the enemy. Bhai Ude Singh fought a bloody
battle at Shahi Tibbi. The enemy surrounded and killed the dauntless
and the bravest of the Guru's brave warriors, Ude Singh. When
the battle of Shahi Tibbi was in progress, the Guru had reached
the bank of Sarsa river. At that time a news came that a contingent
of enemy troops was fast approaching. Bhai Jiwan Singh, a Rangretta
Sikh, was given a band of one hundred warriors to encounter the
pursuers. With the rest of his people the Guru plunged into the
flooded waters of the Sarsa river. The flood was so strong that
many were drowned and many were scattered in different directions
including the Guru's mother with two younger sons, Zorawar Singh
and Fateh Singh. Besides, there was a heavy loss of valuable literature
and property. The Guru accompanying his two eldest sons and some
veteran Sikhs reached the village Ghanaula on the other side of
Sarsa river. Apprehending that the route ahead might be beset
with danger, the Guru gave Bhai Bachitar Singh a band of one hundred
Sikhs and instructed him to march by the direct route to Rupar,
whereas he with some veteran Sikhs preferred to take a longer
route and reached Kotla Nihang near Rupar to stay with Pathan
Nihang Khan who was an old and sincere devotee of the Sikh Gurus.
Bhai Bachitar Singh and his men had to fight their way through
a cordon of the Ranghars of Malikpur, a village near Rupar, and
the Pathans of Rupar. During the fierce fighting that took place
on this occasion, majority of the Sikhs fell dead and Bachitar
Singh was mortally wounded.
The Guru did not stay long at Kotla Nihang. It
seems that he was to proceed to Machhiwara and Rai Kot. Accompanied
by his two eldest sons and forty Sikhs, the Guru halted at Bur
Majra after Kotla Nihang. A news was received that a large body
of Sirhind troops was chasing them. Immediately the Guru decided
to face the enemy from within the Garhi of Chamkaur and he hurried
towards it. He was well aware of the importance of this Garhi
(mud fortress) as he had, on a previous occasion, fought a battle
at this place.
BATTLE OF CHAMKAUR:
The imperial army which was in hot pursuit, besieged
the fortress. They were joined by the hill chiefs and the Ranghars
and the Gujars. The Guru appointed eight men to guard each of
the four walls. Two Sikhs held the door and other two were appointed
sentinels. The Guru himself, his two sons; and Daya Singh and
Sant Singh went on the top storey. The Sikhs held the fortress
for a long time against the heavy odds. Nahar Khan and Ghairat
Khan, the two imperial officers, attempted to scale the little
fort, but were shot down by the Guru. After that none of the Mohammadan
officers dared to attempt the fatal ascent. Five Sikhs went forth
to contend with the enemy. After fighting with great bravery,
they were killed. They continued in batches of five. Guru's eldest
son, Ajit Singh (about 18 years old) asked permission to go forth
and fight the enemy. The Guru approved the proposal and Ajit Singh
went with five Sikh heroes. He performed prodigies of valor and
ultimately fell, fighting bravely along with his companions. On
seeing his brother's fate, Jujhar Singh (14 years old) could not
restrain himself and asked his father's permission. Like his elder
brother, Jujhar Singh went in the battle field, but after a little
while he turned back and asked for water. The Guru shouted,"
Go back, there is no more water left for you on this earth. See
yonder, Ajit Singh is holding the cup of nectar for you."
Jujhar Singh went back and created havoc upon the enemy and fell
fighting valiantly. Upon this the Guru's face was jubilant. His
expression of mental composure showed glow of divinity upon the
glorious end of his sons. After the sons had achieved their splendid
mission, the Guru then got ready to go out and fight. The remaining
few Sikhs fell on their knees before him and entreated him not
to go. At that moment their victory lay in saving the Guru. If
he lived, they argued, he would create millions like them. They
therefore, persuaded the Guru to leave the place but he would
not listen to them. At that point Bhai Daya Singh who was the
first of the Five Beloved Ones, recalled that at the time of creation
of the Khalsa, the Guru had promised that the mandate of the Five
Beloved Sikhs would be binding even upon the Guru. Upon this Bhai
Daya Singh took four other Sikhs and formed an assembly which
passed a 'Gurmata' (resolution) and said," O true king, the
Khalsa now orders you to leave this place." As promised at
the time of administering Amrit to the Five Beloved Ones, the
wonderful supreme lord Guru Gobind Singh submitted before the
Khalsa and accepted their verdict to leave the Garhi (fortress).
Sant Singh and Sangat Singh offered to remain
in the fort while Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and Man Singh were
determined to accompany the Guru. It is said that Sant Singh very
much resembled the Guru. Therefore he gave his plume to Sant Singh,
clothed him in his armor and seated him in the upper room where
Guru was stationed. He and three of his companions escaped during
the night. He told them that if per chance they were separated
from him, they were to go in the direction of a particular star
which he showed to them. It was a cold night of December and the
allied armies were resting in their tents. The Guru decided to
awaken the enemy, lest they should think that he absconded. He
discharged two arrows on the Turkish sentries. The arrows first
struck torches which they held in their hands and then they passed
through their bodies. In the darkness which followed the extinction
of the torches, the Guru and his three companions escaped. A little
far outside, he clapped his hands and shouted aloud that he was
leaving if any one wanted to capture him, should try.
When he was escaping, he bade his men to stand
firm. The Sikhs who were left behind, inflicted great loss on
the enemy. The Mohammadans at last were able to scale the building
and they believed that they were going to capture the Guru. They
were greatly disappointed to subsequently learn that the person
who was wearing plume and armor, was not the Guru but he was Sant
Singh, and that the Guru had escaped. The allied armies retreated
to their respectable places. Wazir Khan sent orders in all directions
of his areas that any one who offered aid to the Guru, would be
severely punished, and the one who captured him or gave his whereabouts
would be greatly rewarded.
After leaving the Garhi, he proceeded barefooted
on his journey alone and after passing through Jandsar and Behlolpur,
he reached the thorny wilds of Machhiwara, a place between Rupar
and Ludhiana. Thirst, hunger and fatigue overtook him. His feet
were blistered. When he reached a garden he rested his head on
a heap of earth and slept. While he was resting in the garden,
his three companions, Daya Singh, Dharam Singh and Man Singh reached
and rejoined him. The situation was very grave because the enemy
was in hot pursuit of the Guru. Gulaba, an old Masand of Machhiwara,
took him and his three companions to his home, but soon he got
frightened and feared for his own safety if the Guru stayed with
him. At this juncture two Pathan horse merchants, Nabi Khan and
Ghani Khan, who were old acquaintances of the Guru, came and chose
to risk their lives for the service of the Guru. There lived a
Sikh woman in the village who had spun and weaved a cloth for
the Guru and had vowed to keep it until his arrival in the village.
The Guru had the cloth dyed blue and a robe was made from it in
imitation of the attire of Mohammadan pilgrims. He wore the blue
robe and then departed from Gulaba's village. He was carried in
a litter by Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan in front, and Dharam Singh
and Man Singh in rear, while Daya Singh waved a chauri over him.
They told all inquirers that they were escorting Uch da Pir or
a high priest. Since Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan were very famous
horse merchants in the area, people believed them.
From there they reached Ghangharali village and
then Lal. At the village Lal which is about five miles from Doraha
in Ludhiana district, a military officer had some doubts and he
made searching inquiries. Pir Mohammad of Nurpur who was known
to the Guru, was asked to identify the occupant of the litter.
He confirmed that he was really Uch da Pir, upon which the officer
let the Guru go. From Lal he visited Katana and then Kanoch where
masand Fateh put him off with excuses and did not let him stay.
From there he reached Alam Gir. Here Nand Lal, a Zamindar presented
a horse to the Guru, thereby enabling him to change from litter
to horse. The situation became easier and the Guru asked Nabi
Khan and Ghani Khan to return home, after giving them a letter
of appreciation (Hukam Nama) recommending them for the consideration
of the faithful. Pir Mohammad was also honored with such a letter
of appreciation. From Alam Gir he advanced on horse back in the
direction of Rai Kot. At Silaoni the chief of Rai Kot, Rai Kalla
who was Guru's devotee and a close relative of Nihang Khan of
Kotla Nihang, waited upon him and took him to Rai Kot. Here Nura
Mahi brought the news from Sirhind about Guru's younger sons.
INNOCENT CHILDREN MARTYRED:
During the catastrophe that befell in crossing
the flooded Sarsa river, the companions of the Guru and his family
were scattered in different directions. Mata Jit Kaur, Mata Sahib
Kaur and their two female attendants, Bhai Mani Singh, Dhana Singh
and Jawahar Singh, were all together in one group. Jawahar Singh
who was an inhabitant of Delhi, took this whole group to his house
in Delhi. Guru's old mother and his two younger sons, went with
Gangu Brahman to his village Saheri near Morinda. Gangu worked
in Guru's kitchen for twenty-one years. Guru's mother, Mata Gujri
was carrying money in a bag. Seeing Mata's money, Gangu got tempted
forgetting that he ate Guru's salt for twenty-one years. As Mata
Gujri was half-asleep, Gangu stole the money and shouted,"Thief,
thief," to create the impression that some thief stole the
money. Mataji encountered Gangu and told him that she did not
see anybody else entering the house. Upon this he tried to defend
himself by saying that he was being blamed because he had given
shelter to the homeless and the outlawed. Instead of admitting
his guilt, he ordered them to leave his house. Gangu finally handed
them over to the police officer of Morinda who in turn took them
to Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sirhind. They were imprisoned in
Next morning the two children, Zorawar Singh and
Fateh Singh, were presented in the court of the viceroy. Wazir
Khan reflected that if the children became Mohammadans, it would
be a glory to his faith- Islam. He, therefore, told them that
if they accepted Islam, he would grant them an estate, would marry
them to the princesses and they would be happy and be honored
by the Emperor. The nine years old Zorawar Singh replied,"
Our grandfather, Guru Tegh Bahadur, parted with his head but not
with his religion and he ordered us to follow his example. It
is best that we should give our lives to save the Sikh religion
and bring down God's vengeance on the Turks," continued Zorawar
Singh,"O viceroy, I spurn your religion and will not part
with my own. It has become the custom of our family to forfeit
life rather than faith. Why do you seek to tempt us with worldly
ambitions? We shall not be led astray by the false advantages
of your offer."
Wazir Khan could not endure such an outspokenness
and got very angry. He decided that he must put these children
to death. Sucha Nand, a Hindu minister supported Wazir Khan by
implying that their arrogant words were uncalled for. He ignited
Wazir Khan's anger by saying that when these children grew up,
they would follow their father's foot steps and would destroy
enemies. Therefore, this progeny of a cobra must be smothered
in time. At that time, outspoke Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan of Maler
Kotla," O viceroy, these children are still drinking milk
in the nursery, and are too young to commit an offence and know
not good from evil. The holy Quran does not allow the slaughter
of innocent and helpless children. Therefore be pleased to release
them." In spite of his appeal, the Qazi confirmed that the
holy law would give the infidels the choice between Islam and
It is said that in order to bring the children
to submission to Islam, they were made to enter, next day, through
a very small door while the Quran was displayed on the other side.
The idea was that as the children would enter the door with their
heads down, they would then be told that they had bowed to the
holy Quran and thereby to Islam. When the children saw that trap,
the seven years old Sahibzada Fateh Singh threw his feet first
instead of his head while entering through the small door. Throwing
the feet towards the Quran meant an insult to Islam. Wazir Khan,
therefore, could not conquer the nine and seven years old children
of Guru Gobind Singh. When every effort failed to convert the
children to Islam, it was finally ordered that they should be
bricked alive in the wall. A wall was, therefore, built step by
step on their tender limbs until it came up to the shoulders of
Sahibzada Fateh Singh. The executioner advanced with his sword,
and asked whose head he should chop off first? Upon this Sahibzada
Fateh Singh said," Listen O executioner, since the wall has
reached my shoulders first, therefore cut off my head first."
Sahibzada Zorawar Singh exhorted,"No, you cannot cut off
his head till you do mine, because I am the eldest and therefore,
I have the right to go first. Cut off my head first." Hearing
such a strange debate, the whole assembly of Wazir Khan's court
was stunned. The small children were ridiculing the angel of death.
The chronicler states that Sahibzada Fateh Singh's head was cut
off first. Therefore, that place is called Fatehgarh Sahib to
commemorate the memory of the young children. When this news was
delivered to Mata Gujri in the tower, where she was waiting for
them, she breathed her last on the spot. This treacherous event
took place on the 13th Poh, Sambat 1762 ( 27th of December, 1705).
A rich Sikh called Todar Mal cremated the bodies of the Guru's
mother and her grandsons. A Gurdwara stands to symbolize their
As Nura Mahi narrated the tale of woes, Rai Kalla
and other listeners were torn with grief and wept bitterly. The
Guru was unruffled and remained as composed as ever. When Mahi
finished his distressing story, the Guru thanked God for the glorious
and triumphant end of his sons. He then addressed to the Almighty,"
O God, Thou gavest me father, mother, and four sons. They were
all Thy trust to me. Today I have been successful and happy in
restoring that entire trust back to Thee." While the Guru
was listening to Mahi's story, he was digging up a shrub. He then
pronounced,"As I dig up this shrub by the roots, so shall
the Turks be extirpated." The Guru also remarked," No,
my sons are not dead. They have returned to their Eternal Home.
It is Sirhind that shall die."
The Guru resumed his march to Hehar where he spent
two days with Mahant Kirpal Das, a hero of the battle of Bhangani.
The next stop was Lamma Jatpura. It was here that Rai Kalla who
was accompanying him, took leave. Realizing that the territory
around Rai Kot was not suitable place for meeting the enemy's
challenge, the Guru directed his Sikhs towards the Jungle Desh,
the land of Brars. On the way he passed through the villages of
Manuke, Mehdiana Chakkar, Takhatpur and Madhen and reached Dina,
in Ferozepur district.
At Dina a devoted Sikh, Rama presented the Guru
with an excellent horse which he accepted for himself and gave
his former horse to Bhai Daya Singh. His arrival soon became known
to the people of the area and they began to rally around him.
Some of the influential people who met the Guru at Dina were Shamira,
Lakhmira and Takhat Mal, grandsons of Jodha Rai who had rendered
material assistance to Guru Har Gobind in the battle of Gurusar.
Param Singh and Dharam Singh, grandsons of Bhai Rup Chand, also
came to him. The viceroy of Sirhind heard that the Guru was entertained
by Shamira and his brothers. He wrote to Shamira on the subject
and ordered him to arrest and surrender the Guru. Shamira replied
that he was only entertaining his priest, who was merely visiting
his Sikhs and harming none. Shamira however, feared that the viceroy
would send his troops and arrest the Guru, so he sent a spy to
obtain information of the viceroy's movements and proceedings.
The Guru stayed at Dina for some days. It was
here that he wrote his celebrated 'Zafarnama', or Persian epistle
to Emperor Aurangzeb. It was in fact an exquisite reply to the
letters of the invitation to the Guru which he had received from
the Emperor. The letter is characteristic of the sublimity of
the Guru and each line is pregnant with stimulating truths and
righteous indignation. He wrote to the Emperor that he had no
faith in his solemn promises in the name of God and oaths on the
Quran. The fact remained that he, the Emperor, on all occasions
violated his sacred promises and proved false, mean and treacherous.
The Guru wrote,"......What though my four sons were killed,
I remain behind like a coiled snake. What bravery is it to quench
a few sparks of life? Thou art merely exciting a raging fire the
more...........As thou didst forget thy word on that day, so will
God forget thee. God will grant thee the fruit of the evil deed
thou didst design......Thou art proud of thine empire, While I
am proud of the kingdom of the Immortal God........When God is
a friend, what can an enemy do even though he multiply himself
a hundred times? If an enemy practice enmity a thousand times,
he cannot, as long as God is a friend, injure even a hair of one's
The letter was sent through Bhai Daya Singh and
Dharam Singh to the Emperor and they delivered it to him in Daccan.
This letter awakened the Emperor's dormant conscience and evoked
in him a sense of true repentance. It cast such a miracle effect
on him that he began to pine and soon confined to bed. Aurangzeb
dictated this letter to his son when death was at hand, in which
he acknowledged his defeat in the life that he led:
"......Whatever good or bad I have done,
I am taking it as a load upon my head to the Great Unseen............I
am totally in the dark about the destiny that awaits me. But what
I know is that I have committed enormous sins. Canst tell what
grim punishment is in the store for me.........."
While staying at Dina, the Guru visited a few
places in the neighborhood. In the meantime he came to know that
his whereabouts became known to the viceroy of Sirhind and he
was, therefore, anxious to find a suitable place where he could
best meet the challenge of the enemy. So he left Dina and visited
many places such as Bander, Bargarh, Baihbal and Saravan etc.
At Saravan the Guru gave his people a little practice in arrow
shooting. Next he proceeded to Jaito, Kotla Maluk Das, Lambhawali
and then reached Kot Kapura. Realizing that the pursuing enemy
had come too near, the Guru asked Chaudhri Kapura, a Brar Jat,
to lend the use of his fort to him for a few days. Fearing the
wrath of the Mughals, he refused to oblige him. From there the
Guru reached Dhilwan Sodhian where one of his relatives received
him with great warmth and cordiality. It was here, as the tradition
goes, that one of the Prithi Chand's descendants, Kaul visited
the Guru and presented him clothes. The Guru took off his blue
robe which he had been wearing since he left Machhiwara, and tearing
it piece by piece burned it in fire. The historic words that he
is said to have uttered on his occasion are memorable:
"I have torn the blue clothes which I wore,
and with that the rule of the Turks and Pathans is at an end."
Chaudhry Kapura being repentant of his disgraceful
act, came to see the Guru and asked for his forgiveness which
the Guru did. Then he provided him with a good guide, Chaudhry
Khana with whom the Guru marched westward in the direction of
Dhab Khidrana. On the way he passed through Ramina, Mallan, Gauri
Sanghar and Kaoni.
Meanwhile a large number of followers had rallied
around him. The forty Sikhs who had deserted him at Anandpur and
had given a disclaimer to him, were taunted by their wives who
would not let them enter into their own homes. They came back
to reinforce the Guru's small army. One brave lady, Mai Bhago
brought them to the aid of the Guru along with a large contingent
of other Majha Sikhs. He had taken up his position on a sandy
hillock at Khidrana in the district of Ferozepur. The Mughal army
advanced towards his camp, but before they could attack him, they
had to encounter a contingent under Mai Bhago and Jathedar Mahan
Singh. A fierce fighting ensued. They were all overpowered but
not before they had shown their mettle as the toughest fighters
whom the experienced Mughal commander had ever known in his life.
The Guru from his position of high altitude about two miles from
the place of the battle, discharged arrows with fatal effect against
the Mohammadans who could not see from what quarter destruction
was raining on them. As the tank at Khidrana was dry, Mohammadan
army was in great state of distress for want of drinking water,
thus, Wazir Khan decided to return without striking a blow on
the main body of the Khalsa with Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru became
After the departure of the Mohammadan army, the
Guru decided to see the battle field and went about wiping the
faces of both dead and wounded, and praising their unsurpassed
valor. He found out that forty Sikhs including their leader Mahan
Singh, who had given him disclaimer at Anandpur, all but Mahan
Singh, died fighting bravely. Mahan Singh was still alive but
was on his last breath when the Guru told him to open his eyes
and said," Mahan Singh, ask for any boon you desire from
an empire to salvation." After opening his eyes, Mahan Singh
was delighted to see the Guru and replied," O true king!
We are sinners because we disclaimed you at the time of need at
Anandpur. The doors of Heaven are closed for those of us who had
departed ahead of me. O Lord, grant us your Grace and disregard
that disclaimer." It is recorded that the gracious Master
took out that disclaiming document, which he carried on his vest
during all these times, tore it up as a sign of forgiveness and
reconciliation. Mahan Singh saw this with his own eyes and then
breathed his last as happy, forgiven and emancipated soul. The
souls of forty were also emancipated. Those forty Sikhs are called
Forty Mukte-the Saved Ones or Emancipated Ones and are remembered
in our daily prayers as Forty Muktas. Khidrana has since that
time been called Mukatsar or the tank of salvation. The Guru then
found Mai Bhago who inspired these forty Sikhs. A little aid revived
her and she was blessed by the Master.
From Mukatsar the Guru moved to Rupana, Bhander,
Gurusar, Thehri Bambiha, Rohila, Jangiana and Bhai ka Kot. Then
he proceeded to Sahib Chand and to Chatiana where Brars who had
fought for him demanded the arrears of their pay under threat
of blocking his onwards march. By the grace of God it so happened
that a Sikh from the neighborhood brought enough money about the
same time which enabled the Guru to pay off all the arrears. However
the leader of the Brars, Chaudhri Dana was extremely sorry for
the arrogant behavior of his people and refused to accept any
payment for himself. On the request of Chaudhri Dana, the Guru
then went to his native place Mehma Swai. Reaching there he encamped
at a place which is now called Lakhisar. From there he visited
other places in the vicinity. On the request of Chaudhry Dalla,
the Guru then decided to move to Talwandi Sabo. On his way he
passed through Chatiana, Kot Sahib Chand, Kot Bhai, Giddarbaha,
Rohila, Jangirana, Bambiha, Bajak, Kaljhirani, Jassi Bagwali,
Pakka Kalan and Chak Hira Singh, and reached Talwandi Sabo now
called Damdama Sahib or Takhat Damdama Sahib. This place appealed
to the Guru so much that he assumed a permanent residence there
and lived at this place for nine months and nine days.
GURU AT DAMDAMA SAHIB:
By this time all restrictions against the Guru
by the Mughal government had been removed. On receipt of Zafarnama,
the governors had been ordered by Aurangzeb to cease all molesting
activities against him.
It was here that the Guru's wife joined him. When
she arrived, he was seated in a big gathering of his disciples.
Addressing the Master, she asked,
"Where are my four sons?"
The Master replied,
"What then if thy four are gone?
They yet live, and shall ever live- the Khalsa,
Millions of our dear brave sons."
The peaceful period at Damdama Sahib was put to
best possible use by the Guru. He laid abiding foundations of
Sikhism in the Malwa tract. Large crowds came from far and near
and presented a spectacle of New Anandpur. The Guru extensively
visited the neighboring areas. Many old and hereditary Sikhs were
baptized and brought more thoroughly into the Khalsa. Dalla, the
chief of Talwandi; Tiloka, the ancestor of Nabha State; and Rama,
the ancestor of Patiala State, are outstanding examples. Besides
new converts were also made in large numbers.
The Master sent for the Adi Granth from Kartarpur,
near Beas, in order to incorporate Guru Tegh Bahadur's hymns in
it. The original copy was with the Dhirmalias and they refused
to part with it and rather remarked that if Guru Gobind Singh
was the Guru, he should make one himself. It was, therefore, here
that Guru Gobind Singh dictated the whole of Granth Sahib as it
stands today, to Bhai Mani Singh. The sacred volume concludes
with 'Rag Mala' (1430 pages). It appears that 'Rag Mala' does
not form an essential part of Guru Granth Sahib. Macauliffe writes,
"A Mohammadan poet called Alim in A.H. 991
(1583 A.D.) wrote a work in 353 stanzas generally from four to
six lines each, called 'Madhava Nal Sangit', which purports to
be an account of the love of Madhava Nal and a lady called Kam
Kandala. The Rag Mala, which forms the conclusion of Guru Granth
Sahib and contains a list of rags and raginis and their subdivisions,
is a portion of Alim's work extending from sixty-third to seventy-second
stanzas. It is not understood how it was included in the sacred
volume. The rags mentioned in it do not correspond with the rags
of the Granth Sahib."
This sacred volume is called 'Damdama Sahib di
Bir'. This Bir was installed at Hari Mandar Sahib but it is not
available NOW. It is not known whether it has been destroyed or
taken away by Ahmed Shah Abdali when he plundered the town of
Amritsar during one of his raids.
The order of the Nirmala Sikhs was also created
here with a view of giving the Sikhs a band of the Sikhs exclusively
devoted to the study and preaching of the Sikh faith. The Guru's
Darbar here was as splendid as it used to be at Anandpur. Quite
a large number of poets and scholars gathered around in his court.
Due to all of this, Damdama Sahib became a famous educational
center. The Guru also reorganized his forces. His strength had
increased considerably. Besides regular followers, he had also
taken some Dogras and Brars into his service.
GURU PROCEEDS TO THE SOUTH TO SEE AURANGZEB:
In response to the Guru's letter called 'Zafarnama',
it was here that he received imperial messengers who had come
to convey to him the Emperor's wish for a personal meeting. In
the Ahkam-i- Alamgiri (Aurangzeb's writing), the receipt of a
letter from Guru Gobind Singh is acknowledged by the Emperor and
it contains the orders which he issued to Munim Khan of Lahore
to reconcile with the Guru and also to make satisfactory arrangements
for his travel towards the south. It is also evident from Ahkam-i-Alamgiri
that Aurangzeb was anxious to meet the Guru. May be the Emperor
wanted to secure peace in the Punjab so that he could concentrate
on his schemes to bring the Marahtas to their knees in the south.
It was, therefore, on the 30th of October, 1706 (some say it was
20th of October) that the Guru decided to proceed to the south
to see Aurangzeb.
He set out in the direction of Rajasthan enroute
to Ahmednagar where the Emperor was encamped. From Damdama passing
through Kewal, Jhora, he reached Sarsa. Then he proceeded to Nohar,
Bhadra, Sahewa, Madhu Singhana and then to Pushkar, a place of
pilgrimage sacred to Brahma. From there he moved to Narainpur,
generally known as Dadudwara where saint Dadu had lived and his
sect flourished. The Guru paid a visit to the shrine and held
a discussion with Mahant Jait Ram. Here the Guru was censured
by his Sikhs for lowering his arrow in salutation to Dadu's cemetery.
Man Singh quoted the Guru's own written instruction, "Worship
not even by mistake Mohammadan or Hindu cemeteries or places of
cremation." The Guru explained that he saluted the shrine
to test his Sikhs' devotion and their recollection of his instructions.
He, however, admitted that he had technically rendered himself
to a fine and he cheerfully paid one hundred and twenty-five rupees.
Here he met Bhai Daya Singh and Dharam Singh who returned from
their official mission with Aurangzeb. Then he reached Baghaur
where he received the news of Aurangzeb's death and that the war
of succession had broken out among his sons. There was no point
now in proceeding any further and he remained there for some time.
Bahadur Shah who was the eldest son of Aurangzeb,
hurried back from Peshawar to oppose his younger brother, Azim,
who had proclaimed himself as Emperor. Bhai Nand Lal had served
prince Bahadur Shah before he permanently moved to the Guru's
court. Bahadur Shah, therefore, sought the Guru's help through
the good offices of Bhai Nand Lal and in doing so he promised
the Guru that he would be fair and just to the Hindus and Muslims
alike and undo all the wrongs that his father had done to them.
So the Guru helped him with a detachment of his men in the battle
of Jaju in which Bahadur Shah became victorious. In grateful regards
for the Guru's timely help, Bahadur Shah invited him to Agra where
he was being crowned. A royal robe of honor was conferred upon
the Guru on July 24, 1707.
During his stay in Agra, the Guru made Dholpur,
a place about 25 to 30 miles from Agra, a center of his missionary
activities. He carried his missionary tours in the areas of Mathura,
Aligarh, Agra, and also in the states of Bharatpur and Alwar for
many months before proceeding to Daccan. Many people became Guru's
followers. It is said that the Guru had talks with Emperor Bahadur
Shah, but these talks were still inconclusive when the Emperor
had to leave for Rajasthan to suppress the revolts of some Rajput
chiefs. He requested the Guru to accompany him. By now the news
reached Bahadur Shah that his younger brother, Kam Bakhsh, in
the Daccan had proclaimed himself the Emperor of India. Bahadur
Shah proceeded towards Daccan via Chittorgarh. From there he left
for Burhanpur and the Guru accompanied him enroute to Hyderabad.
The Guru stayed there for many days and met Jogi Jiwan Das. He
also met Mahant Jait Ram of Dadudwara who happened to be there.
Both of them told the Guru about one Bairagi Madho Das and his
great occult power. He decided to meet with Bairagi Madho Das.
In the meantime the Guru was not satisfied with Bahadur Shah's
evasive replies in making clear decision against Wazir Khan, the
viceroy of Sirhind, and other officers about their atrocities
in the Punjab. The Emperor avoided to give a firm reply under
one pretext or the other. Accordingly the Guru parted company
with the Emperor at Hingoli and moved to Nader where he reached
Some writers like Bute Shah and Malcolm, say that
the Guru went to the Daccan because he despaired at the terrible
reverses and bereavement which had been his lot and wanted a change.
Others say that he joined the Mughal service. Cunningham says
that the Guru received a military command in the valley of Godavari.
All these accounts are untrue and irresponsible
and show gross irreverence to Sikh faith. It seems that majority
of these writers are ignorant of the Sikh fundamentals. It should
be pointed out to all these writers that the whole ideology of
the Guru (all of Sikh Gurus) is based on:
"Tera kia meetha lagai, Har Nam padarath
(Asa Mohalla 5, p-394)
'Sweet be by Thy Will, my Lord Nanak beseecheth the gift of Nam.'
(Translation of the above)
At the age of nine, Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed
his father to save Hinduism and stood face to face with formidable
Mughal Empire at its zenith. When his wife asked him where her
four sons had gone, he replied,
"What then if thy four are gone?
They yet live, and shall ever live- the Khalsa,
Millions of our brave sons."
In Zafarnama he openly threatened the Emperor
when he wrote,
"What though my four sons have been killed,
when lives the Khalsa, all my sons! What bravery is it to quench
a few sparks of life? Thou art merely exciting a raging fire the
There is no trace of grief or despair in these
lines. Therefore, in the presence of such unimpeachable evidence,
it is absurd to put faith in the dejection theory.
'Service Theory' can also be rejected in the light
of the ideology and the ideals of the Guru. What for he had to
have a service under the Mughal government? He was called a 'true
king' by his followers and he was actually a true king sitting
on the throne of Guru Nanak. As a true king he had vast wealth
and true following. Even if for a moment, we listen to these writers-
the memory of the wrongs that had been inflicted on him and his
followers was too fresh in him to reconcile joining the army of
oppression. Nor can this service theory be adjusted with the Guru's
commission of Banda Bahadur to the leadership of the Punjab Khalsa.
The whole argument is baseless and it rather seems a mud-slinging
on the part of these writers to say that the Guru joined the Mughal
GURU AT NADER:
At Nader the Guru selected a lovely spot on the
bank of the river Godavri. Two reasons are generally given for
his choice of this place. Firstly he wanted to see Banda Bairagi
and secondly there were eight Ashrams of different religious sects.
The Guru wanted to enter into a dialogue with the leaders of the
holy camps to show them the true path and to convert them to his
own viewpoint. It was perhaps because of this that he immediately
started addressing congregations. Crowds of people seeking spiritual
light flocked to him. Soon it was indeed a model of 'Anandpur'
reproduced in the Daccan.
A news reached here that the Emperor's army had
ransacked Sadhaura and treated Pir Budhu Shah as a rebel, for
having faith in Guru Gobind Singh whom they considered as a 'Kafir'
One day the Guru went to the place of Bairagi
Madho Das, a hermit. Finding the Bairagi absent, and on hearing
that he possessed supernatural powers who could overthrow any
one who sat on his couch, the Guru took comfort in sitting on
it. The Guru's followers killed a goat and had cooked it in the
forbidden square of the Bairagi. A disciple went to inform the
Bairagi of the Guru's actions. It was a sacrilege to kill an animal
at the Bairagi's place and another sacrilege to take possession
of the couch which served him as a throne. Bairagi was mad with
anger and violently moved headlong towards the Guru. He tried
all his powers to hurt him but in vain. When he found himself
helpless, he asked the Guru who he was. The Guru replied that
he was Gobind Singh. Bairagi was pacified and his anger suddenly
transformed into worship. The Divine Light from the Guru's eyes
dispelled all darkness from the mind of the Bairagi who immediately
knelt before the Master and in total submission admitted that
he was his (Guru's) Banda- a slave.
The Master then instructed him on the tenets of
Sikh religion and baptized him. He was named Gurbakhsh Singh but
continued to be known as Banda or Banda Singh. He had heard from
the Sikhs the atrocities of the Muslim rulers in the Punjab including
the massacre of Guru's innocent children, thus, became ready for
any service he could perform for the Master. Upon this the Guru
instructed him to proceed to the Punjab and fight oppression of
the rulers upon the Khalsa. Saying this he presented him with
his bow and five arrows and addressed," As long as thou remainest
continent, thy glory shall increase. He who is content, turneth
not away from the combat, his opponents cannot withstand him.
Once thou forsakest the Khalsa principles and associate unlawfully
with woman, thy courage shall depart." The Guru despatched
some Sikhs to assist him in this enterprise. Banda took the oath,
bowed and departed. This was an outstanding example of Guru Gobind
Singh's power to make sparrow to hunt the hawk and make one Sikh
fight with one hundred twenty-thousand. Banda Bahadur who was
a hermit wedded to the creed of non-violence, was made into the
greatest general of the time by the Guru's power.
(Banda Bahadur planted the Guru's flag in a village
about thirty-five miles of Delhi. The Sikhs from all over the
Punjab gathered under his banner and made such powerful and devastating
attacks that within a few months they razed Samana, Shahbad, Sadhaura
and Chhat Banur to the ground. Next came Sirhind. Banda Bahadur
made so strong and sweeping attack that the enemy could not stand
against his army. Wazir Khan and his minister Suchnand were both
put to sword. Emperor Bahadur Shah failed to crush him and died
in delusion of victory over the Sikhs.)
After Banda's departure the Guru lived at various
places in the neighborhood called Shikar Ghat where he used to
go hunting, at Nagina Ghat where a Sikh presented him with a valuable
signet ring which he threw into the river. At the Hira Ghat where
he disposed of a similar valuable diamond ring, and also at a
spot now called Sangat Sahib where he used to give religious instructions
to his followers.
The close connections between the Guru and Emperor
Bahadur Shah had alarmed Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sirhind. He
had ordered the infant sons of the Guru to be bricked alive in
the wall and beheaded. It was he, who was responsible for inflicting
most of the atrocities upon the Sikhs in the Punjab. He feared
that his life would be in danger if the new Emperor and the Guru
came to a compromise. He, therefore, conspired a plot to kill
the Guru and he sent two Pathans, Gul Khan alias Jamshed Khan
and Ata-ullah, to assassinate him.
All kinds of people started attending the congregations
of the Guru at Nader. Soon the two Pathans also started coming
to the assembly which was addressed by the Guru. On the third
or fourth day, Jamshed Khan found an opportunity and as Guru Gobind
Singh retired to his personal apartment after the evening prayer,
he entered the apartment and, wounded him with a dagger. The Guru
put him to death immediately, though he himself was wounded seriously.
His fleeing companion was stabbed to death by a Sikh who rushed
to the Guru's place hearing the noise.
Various views and stories have been expressed
with regard to the circumstances of the assassination of the Guru.
Cunningham writes that a Pathan merchant who had sold horses to
the Guru, came one day and asked for immediate payment. The Guru
who was short of funds, asked him to come some other day. The
Pathan used an angry gesture, and his uttering of violence provoked
the Guru to strike him dead. The body of the Pathan was removed
and buried, and his family seemed reconciled to the fate. His
sons nursed their revenge, and availed an opportunity of fulfilling
it. They succeeded in stealing upon the Guru's retirement, and
stabbed him mortally when asleep and unguarded. (Cunningham- History
of Sikhs, p-82)
Other writers such as McGregor (History of Sikhs,
vol.1 p-99- 100) states that the Guru shortly after, realized
his mistake and as a recompense for the fate of the victim, the
Guru showed special favor to the widow and brought up her son
as a father would do. When the boy grew to manhood, he is said
to have been incited by the Guru himself to strike him. The boy
did it with fatal results for the Guru. Trumpp also believes in
this version and to give a rationale to it, states that the Guru
had been disgusted with life and wanted to end it.
These stories are absolutely baseless. These writers
should understand who the Guru was. Guru Gobind Singh was sitting
on the divine throne of Guru Nanak, therefore, he was the embodiment
of Divine Light; the Divine never feels disgusted or dejected.
The Guru never uttered any word of grief nor did he show any sign
of despair during the unparallel sufferings he went through. It
is not recorded any place in his sermons or writings that he had
ever expressed a sigh of grief. When Nura Mahi brought the news
of the brutal massacre of his younger children, the Guru thanked
God,"Father, mother and four sons, all were Thy trust to
me. Today I have been successful and happy in restoring that entire
trust back to Thee." One can hardly find such an example
in the annals of human history.
In recent years fresh light is thrown by a Hukamnama
according to which no demand for immediate payment was put before
the Guru. The Pathan actually refused to make any demand when
reminded of it by the Guru. This is shown by Hukamnana (letter
of appreciation issued by the Guru) which the Guru granted to
the Pathan for his good and friendly behavior and which is still
preserved by the descendants of that Pathan. (Kartar Singh: Life
of Guru Gobind Singh, p-263)
A probe into the historical circumstances leads
to the Emperor's involvement. The Emperor was enraged with the
Guru for deputing Banda to Punjab to renew the struggle and kill
Wazir Khan. It seems that the Emperor was also afraid that the
Guru might join the Marahattas in their battle against the Mughals
during the time of his struggle with his brother at Hyderabad.
It was perhaps for this reason, he was not leaving the Guru alone.
Bahadur Shah had the mistaken belief that the Guru's death would
be a fatal blow to his scheme of renewing the revolution in Punjab,
he, therefore, entered into conspiracy with two Pathans deputed
by Wazir Khan to put an end to Guru's life. The following historical
facts testify this view:
On October 28, 1708, the Emperor ordered that
a dress of mourning be presented to the son of Jamshed Khan Afghan
who had been killed by Guru Gobind Singh. The imperial newsletter
of Bahadur Shah's court records reads:
"Keh Guru Gobind Singh Rai Jamshed Khan Afghan
ra bajan Kushtah bud khilat-e-Matami bapisar-i-Khan Mazkur Mrahmat
shud." (Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla, dated 24 Shaba, second
year of Bahadur Shah (Oct. 28, 1708) quoted by Dr. Ganda Singh
in Makhiz-i-Twarikh-i-Sikhan, p-83)
Jamshed Khan was not a high dignitary upon whom
the Emperor had to bestow high honors. He was only a spy of Wazir
Two days later on October 30, 1708, the Emperor
ordered for the grant of a robe of mourning to Guru Gobind Singh's
It means that the Emperor treated Jamshed Khan
and Guru Gobind Singh on equal footing, thereby confirming that
Jamshed Khan enjoyed the patronage of the Emperor.
"On November 11, 1708 it was represented
that the deceased Guru left huge property." The courtiers
asked how should it be disposed? It was ordered that such chattels
would not replete the imperial treasury. "This was the property
of a darvesh (saint). There should be no interference with it,"
ordered the Emperor.
The Emperor's refusal to attach the property of
the Guru against the will of his courtiers shows his diplomacy
and cunningness. It was purely an eye-wash of his complicity,
a pious fraud, writes H.R. Gupta in his 'A history of Sikh Gurus',
The Guru's wound was immediately stitched by the
Emperor's European surgeon and within a few days it appeared to
have been healed. Soon after when the Guru tugged at a hard strong
bow, the imperfectly healed wound burst opened and caused profuse
bleeding. It was now clear to him that the call of the Father
from Heaven had come and he, therefore, gave his last and enduring
message of his mission to the assembly of the Khalsa. He then
opened the Granth Sahib, placed five paise and a coco-nut before
it and solemnly bowed to it as his SUCCESSOR, GURU GRANTH SAHIB.
Saying 'Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh', he circumambulated
the sacred volume and proclaimed," O beloved Khalsa, let
him who desireth to behold me, behold the Guru Granth. Obey the
Granth Sahib. It is the visible body of the Gurus. And let him
who desireth to meet me, diligently search its hymns." He
then sang his self-composed hymn:
"Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth
Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru manyo Granth
Guru Granth Ji manyo pargat Guran ki deh
Jo Prabhu ko milbo chahe khoj shabad mein le
Raj karega Khalsa aqi rahei na koe
Khwar hoe sabh milange bache sharan jo hoe."
Translation of the above:
"Under orders of the Immortal Being, the
Panth was created. All the Sikhs are enjoined to accept the Granth
as their Guru.
Consider the Guru Granth as embodiment of the
Gurus. Those who want to meet God, can find Him in its hymns.
The Khalsa shall rule, and its opponents will be no more, Those
separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved."
He, in grateful acknowledgement of the spiritual
benefactions of the founder of his religion, uttered a Persian
distich, the translation of which is:
"Gobind Singh obtained from Guru Nanak
Hospitality, the sword, victory, and prompt assistance."
(These lines were impressed on a seal made by
the Sikhs after the Guru left for his heavenly abode, and were
adopted by Ranjit Singh for his coinage after he had assumed the
title of Maharaja in the Punjab)
He then left for his heavenly abode. The Sikhs
made preparations for his final rites as he had instructed them,
the Sohila was chanted and Parsahd (sacred food) was distributed.
While all were mourning the loss, a Sikh arrived
and said," You suppose that the Guru is dead. I met him this
very morning riding his bay horse. After bowing to him when I
asked whither he was going, he smiled and replied that he was
going to the forest on a hunting excursion."
The Sikhs who heard this statement arrived at
the conclusion that it was all the Guru's play, that he dwelt
in uninterrupted bliss, that he showed himself wherever he was
remembered. He who treasures even a grain of the Lord's love in
his heart, is the blessed one and the Guru reveals himself to
such a devotee in mysterious ways. Wherefore for such a Guru who
had departed bodily to Heaven, there ought to be no mourning.
The Master returned to his Eternal Home on the
5th of the bright half of Katik, Sambat 1765 (7th October, 1708
A.D.). He was 42 years of age.
Before leaving this world, the Guru had ordained,"
If any one erects a shrine in my honor, his offspring shall perish."
The Sikh temple at Nader is called Abchalnagar.
It was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1832 in defiance of the
Guru's interdiction. After Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the rule of
his dynasty, therefore, came to an end. Guru's prophecy was fulfilled.
FN-1:One day a Sikh came and proposed to the Guru
to wed his daughter, Sundri. The Guru did not desire the alliance
but it was pressed on him by his mother. However it is believed
that Sundri which means the beautiful, was an epithet of Jito
and not a second wife of the Guru. It is also believed that Jito
was the name given by her parents while Sundri was the name given
to Mata Jitoji by the Guru's side. This frequently happens in
FN-2:Raipur is near Ambala. In the fort of Raipur
is a Gurdwara on the spot where the Guru dined as the Rani's guest.
There is also a Gurdwara outside the fort on the place where his
tent was pitched.
FN-3:Fifty-two bards were permanent in his employ
but this number went as high as 94 at some point of time.
FN-4:Some say that Himmat Chand was the third
Sikh to come forward and Mohkam Chand was the fourth.
FN-5:As a matter of fact there were five forts
built at Anandpur in 1689. They were Anandgarh, Lohgarh, Fatehgarh,
Kesgarh and Holgarh.
FN-6:Vichitar Singh was not a very big person
and this lance was weighing about 40 pounds and it is still present
inside the fort Anandgarh at Anandpur.
FN-7:The Guru was then expecting reinforcements
of the Malwa Sikhs and that was the reason he was asking for delay.
In fact the reinforcements did come, but arrived too late for
the defence of Anandpur.
FN-8:Some writers say that there were 1500 Sikhs
who followed the Guru.
FN-9:Bhai Jaita's name after baptism. Bhai Jaita
had brought Guru Tegh Bahadur's head from Delhi to Anandpur.
FN-10:A place about ten miles from Rupar.
FN-11:Some writers say that there were eleven
Sikhs left inside the Garhi at that time.
FN-12:There is a Gurdwara called Tari Sahib on
this spot where he clapped his hands. At Chamkaur Sahib there
are four Gurdwaras. The first one is called Damdama Sahib where
he rested before entering the Garhi; then Garhi Sahib which was
the fortress; then Katalgarh Sahib where the bodies of Guru's
sons were cremated, and the last one is the Tari Sahib.
FN-13: Chauri- it was a bunch of peacock's wings
which were waved over him as mark of respect.
FN-14:Uch da Pir meant priest (Muslim faqir) of
Uch, a town in the south western Punjab. The expression also meant
FN-15:It is also said that Guru met the elder
brother of Bhai Mani Singh called Nagahia Singh. He and his son
were horse merchants and they offered the horse to the Guru.
FN-16:It is stated in 'Suraj Parkash' that Tilok
Singh and Ram Singh who were the sons of Baba Phul of Mehraj,
cremated their bodies. They happened to be at Sirhind at that
FN-17:Guru Nanak had granted a boon to Mughal
Emperor Babar for a long rule of his dynasty. Since the Mughal
Monarchs resolved to injustice, falsehood, deceit, tyranny and
oppression, their rule needed end. By digging up a shrub the Guru
actually dug up the roots of the Mughal rule and it did end after
FN-18:Three years after this atrocity, Banda Singh
Bahadur razed the whole of Sirhind to the ground and destroyed
the enemy root and branch.
FN-19:Zafarnama- Zafar means victory. It was a
letter to the Emperor written in Persian verse. It is also famous
as being a masterpiece of Persian language.
FN-20:Copies were prepared of this Bir later on.
FN-21:Koer Singh- Gur Bilas Patshahi 10: 'Everyday
would the Guru distribute gold and silver coins, countless soldiers
were thus attractedKoer Singh- Gur Bilas Patshahi 10: 'Everyday
would the Guru distribute gold and silver coins, countless soldiers
were thus attracted to the place.'
FN-22:Some writers say that Bahadur Shah sent
other persons to the Guru.
Singh Gandhi- History of the Sikh Gurus, p-466.