Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji
“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)
Guru Gobind Singh was born with a holy mission of which he tells us in his autobiography “Bachitar Natak” (Wonderous Drama). In it Guru Ji tells us for what purpose he was sent into this world by God.
He states that before he came into this world , as a free spirit he was engaged in meditation in the seven peaked Hemkunt mountain. Having merged with God and having become One with the Unmanifest and the Infinite, God commanded him:
“I have cherished thee as my Son,
and created thee to establish a religion and restrain the world from senseless acts.
I stood up, folded my hands, bowed my head and replied,
‘Thy religion will prevail in all the world, when it has Thy support’.”
|Born||December 22, 1666 atPatna, Bihar, India|
|Died||October 7, 1708 (aged 42) at Nanded, Maharashtra, India|
|Known for||10th Sikh Guru|
|Title||Guru Sahib of Sikhs|
|Predecessor||Guru Tag Bahadur|
|Successor||Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Panth|
|Spouse||Mata Jito, Mata Sundari and Mata Sahib Kaur|
|Children||Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, Fateh Singh|
|Parents||Guru Teg Bahadur and Mata Gujri|
The tenth Guru (teacher) of the Sikh faith, was born Gobind Rai. It may not be out of context to say here that throughout the chronicles of human history, there was no other individual who could be of more inspiring personality than Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh Ji infused the spirit of both sainthood and soldier in the minds and hearts of his followers to fight oppression in order to restore justice, peace, righteousness (Dharma) and to uplift the down-trodden people in this world.
He had a natural genius for poetic composition and his early years were assiduously given to this pursuit. The Var Sri Bhagauti Ji Ki, popularly called Chandi di Var. written in 1684, was his first composition and his only major work in the Punjabi language. The poem depicted the legendary contest between the gods and the demons as described in the Markandeya Purana. The choice of a warlike theme for this and a number of his later compositions such as the two Chandi Charitras, mostly in Braj, was made to infuse martial spirit among his followers to prepare them to stand up against injustice and tyranny. At the same time, he described the God Almigty as under:
“God has no marks, no colour, no caste, and no ancestors,
No form, no complexion, no outline, no costume and is indescribable.
He is fearless, luminous and measureless in might.
He is the king of kings, the Lord of the prophets.
He is the sovereign of the universe, gods, men and demons.
The woods and dales sing the indescribable.
O Lord, none can tell Thy names.
The wise count your blessings to coin your names.” (Jaap Sahib)
His teachings are very scientific and most suitable for all times. Unlike many other prophets he never called himself God or ‘the only son of God.’ Instead he called all people the sons of God sharing His Kingdom equally. For himself he used the word ‘slave’ or servant of God.
“Those who call me God, will fall into the deep pit of hell.
Regard me as one of his slaves and have no doubt whatever about it.
I am a servant of the Supreme Being;
and have come to behold the wonderful drama of life.”
Guru Gobind Singh (born: Gobind Rai) (December 22, 1666 – October7, 1708) is the tenth Sikh guru in a sacred lineage of eleven Sikh Gurus. Born at Patna, Bihar in India. He was also a warrior, poet and philosopher.
A splendid Divine Light shone in the darkness of the night. Pir Bhikhan Shah a Muslim mystic performed his prayers in that Easterly direction (instead of towards the West, contrary to his daily practice), and guided by this Divine Light, he travelled with a group of his followers until he reached Patna Sahib in Bihar. It was here that Gobind Rai was born in 1666. It is said that Pir Bhikhan Shah approached the child and offered two bowls of milk and water, signifying both the great religions of Hinduism and Islam. The child smiled and placed his hands on both bowls. The Pir bowed in utter humility and reverence to the new Prophet of all humanity.
Guru Gobind Singh married three times and had four children. He was married off to Mata Jito in 1677, when he was only 11-years-old. They had three children together:
and Fateh Singh.
He married Mata Sundri in 1684,
and the couple had one child, Ajit Singh
His third wife was Mata Sahib Dewan. According to one theory prevalent among some modern Sikhs, Mata Jito and Mata Sundari were the same person. She was called Jito before her marriage to the Guru, and Sundari afterwards.
Guru Tegh Bahadur (father of Guru Gobind Singh) had found the city of Anandpur Sahib in the year 1665, on the land purchased from the ruler of Bilaspur (Kahlur). After his tour of eastern parts of India ended, he asked his family to come to Anandpur. Gobind Rai reached Anandpur (then known as Chakk Nanaki), on the foothills of the Shivalik Hills, in March 1672. Gobind Rai’s early education included study of languages and training as a soldier. He had started studying Hindi and Sanskrit while at Patna.
In Anandpur, he started studying Punjabi under Sahib Chand, and Persian under Qazi Pir Mohammad.
Early in 1675, a group of Kashmiri brahmins under the leadership of Pandit Kirpa Ram, mad in desperation by the religious fanaticism of the Mughals General, Iftikar Khan, (he had threatened them with forced conversion to Islam) visited Anandpur to seek Guru Tegh Bahadur’s advice. Aurangzeb had ordered the forced conversion of all Hindus and thought that if the respected Kashmiri brahmans accepted Islam, others in the country would be easily converted. They had been given six months to decide or suffer the consequences. Time was running out! As the Guru sat reflecting what to do.
young Gobind Rai, arriving there in company with his playmates, asked why he looked so preoccupied. The father replied, “Grave are the burdens the earth bears. She will be redeemed only if a truly worthy person comes forward to lay down his head. Distress will then be expunged and happiness ushered in.” “None could be worthier than you to make such a sacrifice,” remarked Gobind Rai in his innocent manner. Guru Tegh Bahadur advised the brahmins to return to their village and tell the authorities that they would accept Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadurcould first be persuaded to do so. Soon afterwards the Guru with a few followers proceeded to the imperial capital, Delhi. After watching the tortured deaths of three of his followers
Bhai Mati Das
Bhai Sati Das
he, as well, refused to convert and was beheaded on November 11, 1675.
The 13 year old Gobind Rai, ordained as the next Guru before his father departed Anandpur, was formally installed as Guru Gobind Singh on the Baisakhi day of March 1676. In the midst of his engagement with the concerns of the community, he gave attention to the mastery of physical skills and literary accomplishment. He had grown into a comely youth spare, lithe of limb and energetic.
In April 1685, Guru Gobind Singh shifted his residence to Paonta in Sirmur state at the invitation of Raja Mat Prakash of Sirmur. Mat Prakash invited the Guru to his kingdom in order to strengthen his position against Raja Fateh Shah of Garhwal. At the request of Raja Mat Prakash, the Guru constructed a fort at Paonta with help of his followers, in a short time.
Much of Guru Gobind Singh’s creative literary work was done at Paonta Sahib. Poetry as such was, however, not his aim. For him it was a means of revealing the divine principle and concretizing a personal vision of the Supreme Being that had been vouchsafed to him. His Japu and the composition known as Akal Ustati are in this tenor. Through his poetry he preached love and equality and a strictly ethical and moral code of conduct. He preached the worship of the One Supreme Being, deprecating idolatry and superstitious beliefs and observances. The glorification of the sword itself which he eulogized as Bhaguati was to secure fulfilment of God’s justice. The sword was never meant as a symbol of aggression, and it was never to be used for self-aggrandizement. It was the emblem of manliness and self-respect and was to be used only in self-defence, as a last resort. For Guru Gobind Singh said in a Persian couplet in his Zafarnamah:
When all other means have failed,
It is but lawful to take to the sword.
The hostility between Nahan king and Fateh Shah, the Garhwal king continued to increase during the latter’s stay at Paonta, ultimately resulting in the Battle of Bhangani near Paonta. Fateh Shah attacked on the 18th of September 1688; the battle resulted in the Guru’s victory.
In the Battle of Nadaun in 1687, the armies of Alif Khan and his aides were defeated by the allied forces of Bhim Chand, Guru Gobind Singh and other hill Rajas. According to Bichitra Natak and the Bhatt Vahis, Guru Gobind Singh remained at Nadaun, on the banks of the River Beas, for eight days, and visited the places of all the chiefs.
Sometime after the Battle of Bhangani, Rani Champa, the dowager queen of Bilaspur requested the Guru to return to Chakk Nanaki (Anandpur), the Guru agreed. He reached Anandpur in November 1688.
In 1695, Dilawar Khan, the Mughal chief of Lahore, sent his son with an army of one thousand men to Anandpur, to check the rising power of the Guru. As Khanzada crossed the Satluj river, Guru’s scout Alam Chand (aka Alam Singh) alerted the Guru’s forces. The Ranjit Nagara was beaten, and the Guru’s men quickly marched to the river, forcing the Mughal army to retreat back. After Hussain’s death, Dilawar Khan sent his men Jujhar Hada and Chandel Rai to Sivalik Hills. However, they were defeated by Gaj Singh of Jaswal.
The developments in the hill area caused anxiety to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who sent forces under the command of his son, to restore Mughal authority in the region.
The Guru received various complaints against the priests, masands who robbed the poor Sikhs and misappropriated the collections. Guru Sahib abolished this order and severly punished the miscreants. Hereafter, the faithful were to bring their offerings directly to the Guru at the time of the annual Vaisakhi fair.
After the martyrdom of his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the tenth Master declared that he would create such a Panth (Sect) which would challenge the tyrant rulers in every walk of life to restore justice, equality and peace for all of mankind. As a prophet, the Guru is unique. In 1699, the Guru sent Hukamnamas (letters of authority) to his followers, requesting them to congregate at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, the day of Vaisakhi (the annual harvest festival).
He addressed the congregation from the entryway of a small tent pitched on a small hill (now called Kesgarh Sahib). He first asked everyone who he was for them? Everyone answered – “You are our Guru.” He then asked them who were they, to which everyone replied – “We are your Sikhs.” Having reminded them of this relationship, He then said that today the Guru needs something from his Sikhs. Everyone said, “Hukum Karo, Sache Patshah” (Order us, True Lord).
Then drawing his sword he asked for a volunteer who was willing to sacrifice his head. No one answered his first call, nor the second call, but on the third invitation, Daya Ram (later known as Bhai Daya Singh) came forward and offered his head to the Guru. Guru Gobind Rai took the volunteer inside the tent. The Guru returned to the crowd with blood dripping from his sword. He then demanded another head. One more volunteer came forward, and entered the tent with him. The Guru again emerged with blood on his sword. This happened three more times. Then the five volunteers came out of the tent in new clothing unharmed.
Guru Gobind Singh then poured clear water into an iron bowl and adding Patashas (Punjabi sweeteners) into it, he stirred it with double-edged sword accompanied with recitations from Adi Granth.
He called this mixture of sweetened water and iron asAmrit (“nectar”) and administered it to the five men. These five, who willingly volunteered to sacrifice their lives for their Guru, were given the title of the Panj Piare (“the five beloved ones”) by their Guru. They were the first (baptized) Sikhs of the Khalsa:
Daya Ram (Bhai Daya Singh),
Dharam Das (Bhai Dharam Singh),
Himmat Rai (Bhai Himmat Singh),
Mohkam Chand (Bhai Mohkam Singh),
and Sahib Chand (Bhai Sahib Singh).
Guru Gobind Singh then recited a line which has been the rallying-cry of the Khalsa since then:
‘Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji Ki Fateh’
(Khalsa belongs to God; victory belongs to God).
He gave them all the name “Singh” (lion), and designated them collectively as Khalsa (the Pure Ones), the body of baptized Sikhs.
The Guru then astounded the five and the whole assembly as he knelt and asked them to in turn initiate him as a member, on an equal footing with them in the Khalsa, thus becoming the sixth member of the new order. His name became Gobind Singh. Today members of the Khalsa consider Guru Gobind as their father, and Mata Sahib Kaur as their mother. The Panj Piare were thus the first baptised Sikhs, and became the first members of the Khalsa brotherhood. Women were also initiated into the Khalsa, and given the title of kaur (“princess”). Guru Gobind Singh then addressed the audience -
|“From now on, you have become casteless. No ritual, either Hindu or Muslim, will you perform nor will you believe in superstition of any kind, but only in one God who is the master and protector of all, the only creator and destroyer. In your new order, the lowest will rank with the highest and each will be to the other a bhai (brother). No pilgrimages for you any more, nor austerities but the pure life of the household, which you should be ready to sacrifice at the call of Dharma. Women shall be equal of men in every way. No purdah (veil) for them anymore, nor the burning alive of a widow on the pyre of her spouse (sati). He who kills his daughter, the Khalsa shall not deal with him. Five K’s you will observe as a pledge of your dedication to my ideal|
- Kesh: uncut hair is a symbol of acceptance of your form as God intended it to be.
- Kangha: a wooden comb, a symbol of cleanliness to keep one’s body and soul clean.
- Kara: an iron or steel bracelet worn on the forearm, to inspire one to do good things and also used in self-defense.
- Kacchera: undergarment reminding one to live a virtuous life and desist from rape or other sexual exploitation.
- Kirpan: a sword to defend oneself and protect other people regardless of religion, race or creed.
Smoking being an unclean and injurious habit, you will forswear. You will love the weapons of war, be excellent horsemen, marksmen and wielders of the sword, the discus and the spear. Physical prowess will be as sacred to you as spiritual sensitivity. And, between the Hindus and Muslims, you will act as a bridge, and serve the poor without distinction of caste, colour, country or creed. My Khalsa shall always defend the poor, and ‘Deg’ – or community kitchen – will be as much an essential part of your order as Teg -the sword. And, from now onwards Sikh males will call themselves ‘Singh’ and women ‘Kaur’ and greet each other with ‘Waheguruji ka Khalsa, Waheguruji ki fateh (The Khalsa belongs to God; victory belongs to God). A result of the Guru’s actions is arguably that the strength of Sikhi in the 18th and 19th centuries was based on the third, fourth, and fifth orders of Indian society, even though some of its leaders still came from the Kshatriya varna.
An interesting representation of the first amrit ceremony is found in the paintings that show two dead hawks, lying on their backs on the ground, while their killers, two doves, sit upon the bowls of amrit. Symbolically, the Sikhs, the doves, had gained the strength of hawks, the strong, militant people who lived on all sides of them. Guru Gobind Singh’s respect for the Khalsa is best represented in one of his poems:
All the battles I have won against tyranny I have fought with the devoted backing of the people;
Through them only have I been able to bestow gifts, Through their help I have escaped from harm;
The love and generosity of these Sikhs Have enriched my heart and home.
Through their grace I have attained all learning;
Through their help in battle I have slain all my enemies.
I was born to serve them, through them I reached eminence.
What would I have been without their kind and ready help?
There are millions of insignificant people like me.
True service is the service of these people.
I am not inclined to serve others of higher caste:
Charity will bear fruit in this and the next world, If given to such worthy people as these;
All other sacrifices are and charities are profitless.
From toe to toe, whatever I call my own, All I possess and carry, I dedicate to these people.
The hill chiefs then decided to approach the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, through his Governor in Punjab, Wazir Khan, to help them subdue the Sikhs. Their memorandum spoke of his establishing the new order of Khalsa which is contrary to all our cherished beliefs and customs. He (Gobind Singh) wants us to join hands with him to fight our Emperor against whom he harbours profound grudge. This we refused to do, much to his annoyance and discomfiture. He is now gathering men and arms from all over the country to challenge the Mughal Empire. We cannot restrain him, but as loyal subjects of your Majesty, we seek your assistance to drive him out of Anandpur and not allow grass to grow beneath your feet. Otherwise, he would become a formidable challenge to the whole empire, as his intentions are to march upon Delhi itself. At the plea of Raja Ajmer Chand, the Mughal emperor ordered the viceroys of Sirhind, Lahore and Kashmir to proceed against the Guru. The Mughal forces were joined by the armies of the hill Rajas, the Ranghars and the Gurjars of the area. The Guru also made preparations for the battle, and his followers from Majha, Malwa, Doaba and other areas assembled at Anandpur.
The imperial forces attacked Anandpur in 1705, and laid a siege around the city. After a few days of the commencement of the siege, Raja Ajmer Chand sent his envoy to the Guru, offering withdrawal of the siege, in return for Guru’s evacuation from Anandpur. The Guru refused to accept the offer, but many of his followers, suffering from lack of food and other supplies, asked him to accept the proposal. As more and more followers pressured the Guru to accept Ajmer Chand’s offer, he sent a message to Ajmer Chand offering to evacuate Anandpur, if the allied forces would first allow his treasury and other property to be taken outside the city. The allied forces accepted the proposal. The Guru, in order to test their sincerity, sent a caravan of loaded bullocks outside the fort. However, the allied forces attacked the caravan to loot the treasure. To their disappointment, they found out that the caravan carried no treasure. The Guru then decided not to vacate Anandpur, and refused to accept any further proposals from the allied forces.
Finally, the Mughal emperor Auragzeb sent a signed letter to the Guru, swearing in name of Quran, that the Guru and his followers would be allowed a safe passage if he decided to evacuate Anandpur. The Guru, hard pressed by his followers and his family, accepted the offer, and evacuated Anandpur on 20–21 December 1705.
On the first night after they left Anandpur, the Guru’s contingent was attacked by the imperial forces. Following a few skirmishes, the Guru and his followers reached the banks of Sirsa river. The group could not keep together while crossing the flooded Sirsa (or Sarsa) river.
The Guru’s mother, and his two younger sons, Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh, strayed away from the main group. Guru’s old servant, Gangu, escorted them to his village, Kheri. His wife Mata Jito, was in another group that also included Mata Sahib Kaur; this group was escorted to Delhi by Jawahar Singh. The floods in the river resulted in loss of several of the Guru’s followers.
The Guru, with his two elder sons, and some other Sikhs, managed to cross the river, and reached the Ghanaula village. He instructed a band of hundred followers under Bachitar Singh to march to Rupar. The Guru, with the remaining followers, marched towards Kotla Nihang near Rupar, to stay with his trusted acquaintance Pathan Nihang Khan. He was informed that a large body of troops from Sirhind was chasing him.
He decided to face the enemy troops at the fortress of Chamkaur. The imperial troops besieged the fortress at Chamkaur in December 1705, leading to the battle of Chamkaur. The two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh,
and Jujhar Singh, died in the battle.
The Guru asked the remaining disciples to get ready for the final charge, and die fighting. However, his disciples insisted that the his survival was necessary for the survival of the Khalsa, and planned his escape from Chamkaur. It was decided that Sant Singh and Sangat Singh would stay in the fortress, while Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and Man Singh would accompany the Guru out of Chamkaur. The Guru gave his kalghi (plume used to decorate headgear) and his armor to Bhai Sant Singh, a Sikh who resembled him. Sant Singh was seated in the upper room where Guru was stationed. The Guru marched out of Chamkaur in the night, along with some followers. Next day, the Mughal army, which still believed that the Guru was inside the fortress, attacked the fortress, and killed all the Sikhs inside the fortress. The Guru separated from his companions, and reached Machhiwara, after passing through Jandsar and Behlolpur. There, his three companions, Daya Singh, Dharam Singh and Man Singh rejoined him.
Gulaba, an old masand of Machhiwara, gave them shelter, but feared for his own safety. Two Pathan horse merchants, Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan, decided to help him. The Khans, who were old acquaintances of the Guru, disguised him as the Pir (Sufi saint) of Uchh village, and carried him to safety, in a palanquin.
At Alam Gir, Nand Lal, a zamindar decided to help the Guru.
From Alam Gir, the Guru proceeded to Raikot. At Silaoni, Rai Kalha III, the Muslim chief of Raikot state, received him warmly. The Guru stayed there for some time.
Meanwhile, Guru’s mother Mata Gujri and the his two younger sons were captured by Wazir Khan, the governor of Sirhind.
The two boys were executed after refusing to convert to Islam, and Mata Gujri died soon after hearing of her grandsons’ death.
Rai Kalha’s servant Noora Mahi brought this news to the Guru from Sirhind.Mata Sundari and Mata Sahib kaur escaped towards Delhi escorted by bhai Mani Singh . Realizing that Rai Kot was not a suitable place to stage resistance against the Mughals, Guru Gobind Singh left Raikot, and spent two days at Hehar with Mahant Kirpal Das (who had earlier participated in the Battle of Bhangani). He then marched to Lamma Jatpura, where his companion Rai Kalla took leave. The Guru moved southwards, accompanied by three Sikhs. On the way he passed through the villages of Manuke, Mehdiana, Chakkar, Takhtupura and Madhe and finally reached Dina (now in Moga district) in Malwa (Punjab). The people had heard that the Guru had been killed at Chamkaur, but the truth began to be known when he reached Dina. He was received warmly at Dina by Shamira, Lakhmira and Takht Mal, the three grandsons of Rai Jodh, a devotee of Guru Har Gobind.
While at Dina, the Guru received a concilatory letter from Aurangzeb, asking him to come to Deccan to discuss the situation. The Guru was wary of Aurangzeb, who had beheaded his father. The Guru rejected the emperor’s offer, and wrote a famous letter in Persian, titled ‘Zafarnamah (the Epistle of Victory). In the letter, the Guru reminded Aurangzeb of his misdeeds, and condemened the treacherous acts of the Mughals. He sent a group of Sikhs, consisting of Daya Singh, Dharam Singh, and some guards, to despatch the letter to Aurangzeb, who was camping in Ahmednagar.
The action that occurred on 30 poh 1972 (29 December 1705), beside the forty Sikhs and Mata Bhag Kaur from Majha, Guru Gobind Singh and those accompanying him also participated.
By sunset most of warriors were killed or seriously injured. Of the forty only three sikhs (Rai Singh, Sunder singh and Mahan singh) were in their last breath, while Bhag Kaur lay seriously injured. At their request Guru Gobind Singh tore the disclaimer and blessed them as Muktas (emanicipated).
He also changed the name of the place, Ishar sar or Khidrana, to Muktsar in their honour. From Muktsar, the Guru moved to Rupana, Bhander, Gurusar, Thehri Bambiha, Rohila, Jangiana and Bhai Ka Kot. At Chatiana, the Brars who had fought for him at Muktsar, threatened to block his march as the Guru had failed to disburse pay arrears to them. A Sikh from the neighborhood area brought enough money, which enabled the Guru to pay off all the arrears. However, the leader of the Brars, Chaudhri Dana apologized the Guru on behalf of his people, and refused to accept any payment for himself. At his request, the Guru visited his native place Mehma Swai. The Guru continued his travel, passing through Lakhi Jungle (Lakhisar). From Lakhi, he visited nearby areas and initiated large number of people into Khalsa.
A landowner called Chaudhari Dalla welcomed the Guru to his estate, and took him to Talwandi Sabo (aka Talwandi Sabo Ki). 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. Guru Gobind Singh arrived at Talwandi Sabo on 20 January 1706, and stayed there for several months. The place is now called Damdama Sahib (the resting place). The Guru made a tour of the neighbouring villages, and initiated several people into the Khalsa. When Wazir Khan learned that the Guru was at Sabo Ki Talwandi, he sent a letter to Chaudhri Dalla asking him to hand over Guru Gobind Singh to him. However, the Chaudhari refused, in spite of Wazir Khan’s threats and promises of reward. Wazir Khan complained to the Emperor, who was in the Deccan. The Emperor received Dalla’s letter written to Wazir Khan and also the Guru’s Zafarnamah at about the same time. He ordered Wazir Khan to remove all restrictions imposed on the Guru and stop harassing him.
The Guru’s literature had been destroyed as he crossed the river after evacuating Anandpur. He dictated the Guru Granth Sahib to Bhai Mani Singh. A number of poets and scholars gathered around the Guru at Talwandi Sabo, and the place came to be known as Guru’s Kashi (Varanasi).
The Guru’s wife, who had separated from him at Anandpur, also reunited with him at Damdama Sahib. The Guru also reorganized his forces at this place, and took many Dogras, Rathores and Brars into his service. In response to the Guru’s Zafarnamah, Aurangzeb expressed his wish for a personal meeting with the Guru. The Guru left for Deccan in October 1706 to meet Aurangzeb. He passed through what is now Rajasthan, on his way to Ahmednagar, where the Emperor was encamped. At Baghaur (or Baghor), he received the news of Aurangzeb’s death in March 1707, and decided to return to Punjab, via Shahjahanabad. After the emperor’s death, a war of succession broke out between his sons. The third son, Mohammad Azam (or Azim), declared himself the Emperor. The second son Muazzam (later Emperor Bahadur Shah) set out from Peshawar to claim the throne. The Guru’s follower Bhai Nand Lal (who had earlier served in the Muazzam ‘s court) brought him a letter written by Muazzam. Muazzam had sought Guru’s help in securing the throne, and had promised to pursue a policy of religious tolerance towards the non-Muslims. The Guru sent a band of his followers under the command of Bhai Dharam Singh, to help Muazzam. Muazzam’s forces defeated Azam Shah’s forces in the Battle of Jajau on 12 June 1707.
Muazzam ascended the throne as Bahadur Shah. He invited Guru Gobind Singh for a meeting which took place at Agra on 23 July 1707. The Guru was received with honour and was given the title of Hind Ka Pir (the Saint of India). The Guru stayed with the Emperor in Agra till November 1707. He made Dholpur a center of his missionary activities, and toured nearby areas for many days, before proceeding to Deccan. In November 1707, the Emperor had to march into Rajputana against the rebel Kachwahas. He requested the Guru to accompany him. From Rajputana, the emperor marched to the Deccan to suppress the rebellion of his brother Kam Bakhsh, and the Guru accompanied him.
Guru Gobind Singh was not happy with Bahadur Shah’s friendly attitude towards Wazir Khan of Sirhind. He parted ways with the Emperor at Hingoli, and reached Nanded in July 1708. At Nanded, the Guru camped on the banks of the river Godavari. Saiyad Khan, the former general of the imperial forces, resigned from his post and came to Nanded from Kangra, to see the Guru.
During a trip, the Guru met a bairagi (hermit) called Madho Das, whom he initiated into Khalsa as Gurbakhsh Singh. Gurbakhsh Singh, popularly known as “Banda Singh” or “Banda Bahadur”, soon became his most trusted general. While in Nanded, the Guru received in a letter from Saiyad Khan’s sister Nasiran, the wife of Pir Budhu Shah of Sadhaura. The letter informed him that the Emperor’s army had ransacked Sadhaura and hanged Pir Budhu Shah as a rebel, for having faith in Guru Gobind Singh, whom they considered as a Kaffir (“infidel”). The Guru assumed that the Emperor had fallen prey to Wazir Khan’s propaganda, and was plotting to kill all of his supporters. He sent a letter to the emperor, demanding an explanation for Pir Budhu Shah’s death. There was no reply from the emperor. Instead, the Guru heard rumors that the emperor was planning to wage a battle against him.
The Guru appointed Banda Singh as the commander of the Khalsa, and asked him to march towards Punjab.
Wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sirhind, felt uneasy about any conciliation between Guru Gobind Singh and Bahadur Shah I. He commissioned two Pathans, Jamshed Khan and Wasil Beg, to assassinate the Guru. The two secretly pursued the Guru and got an opportunity to attack him at Nanded. According to Sri Gur Sobha by the contemporary writer Senapati, Jamshed Khan stabbed the Guru in the left side below the heart while he was resting in his chamber after the Rehras prayer. Guru Gobind Singh killed the attacker with his sabre, while the attacker’s fleeing companion was killed by the Sikhs who had rushed in on hearing the noise. As the news reached Bahadur Shah’s camp, he sent expert surgeons, including an Englishman, Cole by name, to attend on the Guru.
The wound was stitched and appeared to have healed quickly but, as the Guru one day applied strength to pull a stiff bow, it broke out again and bled profusely.
Seeing his end was near, the Guru declared the Granth Sahib as the next Guru of the Sikhs. He then sang his self-composed hymn:
“Agya bhai Akal ki tabhi chalayo Panth Sabh Sikhan ko hukam hai Guru Maneyo 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 impure will be no more,
Those separated will unite and all the devotees shall be saved.”
The Guru reportedly died, along with his horse Dilbagh (aka Neela Ghora) on 7 October 1708 at Nanded,
Guru Gobind Singh thus passed on the succession with due ceremony to the Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, ending the line of personal Gurus. “The Guru’s spirit,” he said, “will henceforth be in the Granth and the Khalsa. Where the Granth is with any five Sikhs representing the Khalsa, there will the Guru be.” The Word enshrined in the Holy Book was always revered by the Gurus as well as by their disciples as of Divine origin. The Guru was the revealer of the Word. One day the Word was to take the place of the Guru. The inevitable came to pass when Guru Gobind Singh declared the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor. It was only through the Word that the Guruship could be made everlasting. The Word as contained in the Guru Granth Sahib was henceforth, and for all time to come to be the Guru for the Sikhs.
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 Nanded 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.