Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh
ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ

Guru Gobind Singh by Sobha Singh
Born Gobind Rai[1]
22 December 1666
Patna, Bihar, India
Died 7 October 1708(1708-10-07) (aged 42)
Nanded, Maharashtra, India
Known for 10th Sikh Guru
Title Guru Sahib of Sikhs
Predecessor Guru Tegh Bahadur
Successor Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Panth
Spouse Mata Jito
Mata Sundari
Mata Sahib Kaur[2]
Children Ajit Singh
Jujhar Singh
Zorawar Singh
Fateh Singh
Parents Guru Teg Bahadur, Mata Gujri

Guru Gobind Singh (born: Gobind Rai[3]) (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਸਿੰਘ, Marathi: गुरु गोबिंद सिंघ, IPA: [gʊɾu gobɪnd sɪ́ŋg]) (22 December 1666 - 7 October 1708[4]) is the tenth Sikh guru in a sacred lineage of eleven Sikh gurus and passed the throne of religious authority to The Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the current and everlasting Sikh Guru. Born in Patna, Bihar in India, he was also a warrior, poet and philosopher. He succeeded his father Guru Tegh Bahadur as the leader of Sikhs at a young age of nine. He contributed much to Sikhism; notably was the formation of the Khalsa Brotherhood, this introduced a new Amrit ceremony, Khande Pahul Amrit Sanskar, replacing the previous way one was baptized to become a Sikh in the former ceremony called Charan Pahul Amrit Sanskar started by Siri Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh Religion. Guru Gobind Singh marked the ending of Charan Pahul Amrit Sanskar via preparing the final nectar, placing his lotus feet into the blessed water and then sealing the water in an iron case then buried it under a river. Establishing this new method for formal initiation into the religion of Sikhism continued the progression of the Sikh Religion, like doves transforming into hawks. [5]


Education and Family

Guru Gobind Singh's birthplace

Guru Gobind Singh was born on 22 December 1666 to Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru, and Mata Gujri in Patna. He was born while his father was on a tour of a neighbouring state Assam, spreading God's word. He learned Persian and Sanskrit when he was a child and was also trained to become a warrior.[5]

Guru Gobind Singh married three times[2][6][7] and had four children.[8] He was married off to Mata Jito in 1677, when he was only 11-years-old.[9] They had three children together: Zorawar Singh, Jujhar Singh and Fateh Singh.[8] He married Mata Sundari in 1684, and the couple had one child, Ajit Singh.[8][10] His third wife was Mata Sahib Dewan.[8]

Early life

Guru Tegh Bahadur 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 Sivalik 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.

In April 1685, Guru Gobind Singh shifted his residence to Paonta in Sirmur state at the invitation of Raja Mat Prakash of Sirmur. According to the Gazetteer of the Sirmur state, the Guru was compelled to quit Anandpur due to differences with Bhim Chand, and went to Toka.[11] From Toka, he was brought to Nahan (the capital of Sirmur) by Mat Prakash. From Nahan, he proceeded to Paonta. 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. The Guru remained at Paonta for around three years, and composed several texts.

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.

Founding of the Khalsa

In 1699, the Guru sent hukmanamas (letters of authority) to his followers, requesting them to congregate at Anandpur on 30 March 1699, the day of Vaisakhi (the annual harvest festival).[12] 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 as Amrit ("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.[12] 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.[12] 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").[12] 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).[13]

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.[14]

Guru Gobind Singh's respect for the Khalsa is best represented in one of his poems:[15]

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.

Conflicts with the Rajas of Sivalik Hills

The formation of the military order Khalsa did not go well with the Rajas of the Sivalik Hills, who in turn got united to evict the Guru from the region. However their expeditions during 1700-04 were unsuccessful.

Balia Chand and Alim Chand - two of the hill chieftans - made a surprise attack on the Guru, while he was on a hunting expedition.[16] In the ensuing combat, Alim Chand managed to escape, while Balia Chand was killed by Guru's aide Ude Singh.

After several failed attempts to check the rising power of the Sikhs, the hill chiefs petitioned the Mughal rulers for help. The Mughal emperor of Delhi sent his generals Din Beg and Painda Khan, each with an army of five thousand men.[17] The Mughal forces were joined by the armies of the hill chiefs. However, they failed to defeat the Guru's forces, and Painda Khan was killed in the First Battle of Anandpur (1701).

Alarmed at the Guru's rising influence, the Rajas of several hill states assembled at Bilaspur to discuss the situation. The son of Bhim Chand, Raja Ajmer Chand of Kahlur, suggested forming an alliance to curb the Guru's rising power. Accordingly, the Rajas formed an alliance, and marched towards Anandpur. They sent a letter to the Guru, asking him to pay the arrears of rent for Anandpur (which lay in Ajmer Chand's territory), and leave the place. The Guru insisted that the land was bought by his father, and is therefore, his own property. A battle, dated from 1701 to 1704, followed. The hill Rajas were joined by a large number of Gujjars, under the command of Jagatullah. Duni Chand led five hundred men from Majha region to assist the Guru. Reinforcements from other areas also arrived to help the Guru. The conflict, known as the Second Battle of Anandpur, resulted in retreat of the hill Rajas.[18]

Later, the hill Rajas negotiated a peace agreement with the Guru, asking him to leave Anandpur. Accordingly, the Guru left for Nirmoh village.[19] Seeing that Nirmoh was not fortified, Raja Ajmer Chand and the Raja of Kangra launched an attack on the Guru's camp. However, they were not able to defeat the Guru. Meanwhile, Raja Ajmer Chand had sent his envoys to the Mughal viceroys in Sirhind and Delhi, seeking their help against the Guru. The army of Sirhind viceroy Wazir Khan arrived to assist the hill Rajas. The assault by Wazir Khan's army forced the Guru to retreat to Basoli, whose Raja was on good terms with the Guru.

After staying for a few days at Basoli, the Guru marched back to Anandpur, and the local Rajas decided to make peace with him. However, after two years the hostilities between the Rajas and the Guru reappeared. Raja Ajmer Chand allied with the Rajas of Hindur, Chamba and Fatehpur, and attacked Anandpur in 1703-04. They failed to oust the Guru in the Third Battle of Anandpur, and retreated.

After repeated pleas for assistance from the hill Rajas, the Mughal emperor sent an army under Saiyad Khan's command. Saiyad Khan was a brother-in-law of Pir Budhu Shah, and defected to the Guru's side, after the Pir spoke highly of him. Ramzan Khan then took the command of the imperial army, and allied with the hill Rajas to attack Anandpur in March 1704. It was the crop-cutting time of the year, and the majority of the Guru's followers had dispersed to their homes. Guru was assisted by two of his Muslim admirers, Maimun Khan and Saiyad Beg, however his men were outnumbered, and decided to vacate Anandpur.[20] The Mughal army plundered the city, and then proceeded to Sirhind. On their way back, they were caught in a surprise attack by the Guru's forces, who recovered the booty captured from Anandpur. The Guru then returned to Anandpur.

Evacuation from Anandpur

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.[21][22]

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 Aurangzeb 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. From there, he proceeded to Machhiwara and Raikot, halting at Bur Majra. 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.

A painting shows Sahibzada Ajit Singh before going in the battlefield at Chamkaur as Sahibzada Jujhar Singh looks on. Depiction by artist Mehar Singh.

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, Ajit 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 .

Later travels

Stay at Dina

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.[23]

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.

Guru Gobind Singh moved onto Talwandi Sabo and was at place called Rohi when a group of forty Sikhs from Majha area of Punjab region accompanied by Mata Bhag Kaur, also known as Mai Bhago, visited him. They had come to offer their condolences over the death of his four sons and his mother, and also offered to effect a compromise between the Guru and Mughal authorities. The Guru narrated to them the atrocities of Mughals from the time of martyrdom of Guru Arjan to the laying of the siege of Anandpur. He rebuked them for their behaviour and put them to shame for talking like that. One of the leaders of the Jatha (group), Bhag Singh Jabhalia, said that it was not in their means to have more faith in the Guru. The Guru said that he had not called for them and they should write a disclaimer, which was signed by Bhag Singh Jabhalia and another four. The remaining thirty five did not sign the disclaimer.[24] The Guru at the moment got the information of advancing Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan. He along with those acompanying him moved on to take positions by the side of a mound, which incidentally was also the only water source in the area.

At this stage Mata Bhag Kaur criticised the forty Sikhs for deserting Guru Gobind Singh at such a crucial stage. Her challenge made the forty to face the oncoming Mughal force led by Wazir Khan. In 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.

Stay at Talwandi Sabo

Illuminated Adi Granth folio with nisan of Guru Gobind Singh

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.

After Aurangzeb's death

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.[25][26] 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.

Final Days & Death

Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, Nanded, built over the place where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated in 1708, the inner chamber is still called Angitha Sahib.

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,[27] to assassinate the Guru. The two secretly pursued the Guru and got an opportunity to attack him at Nanded.[28]

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.

The European surgeon sent by Bahadur Shah stitched the Guru's wound. However, the wound re-opened and caused profuse bleeding, as the Guru tugged at a hard strong bow after a few days. Seeing his end was near, the Guru declared the Granth Sahib as the next Guru of the Sikhs.[29] 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, before which he had declared the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor.[30]

See also


  1. ^ Owen Cole, William (1995). The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practice. Sussex Academic Press. p. 36. 
  2. ^ a b "Prominent Sikh Women". http://www.sikh-heritage.co.uk/personalities/sikhwomen/prosikhwomen.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  3. ^ Owen Cole, William; Piara Singh Sambhi (1995). The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practice. Sussex Academic Press. p. 36. 
  4. ^ "A Biography of Guru Gobind Singh on the website of SGPC". Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. http://www.sgpc.net/gurus/gurugobind.asp. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  5. ^ a b "BBC Religions - Sikhism". BBC. 2009-10-26. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/sikhism/people/gobindsingh.shtml. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  6. ^ W. H. McLeod. The A to Z of Sikhism. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810868288. http://books.google.com/books?id=amDuB0HDv5QC&pg=PA103&dq=guru+gobind+singh+three+wives&hl=en&ei=8ri0To_TCsKIrAfqpInoAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=guru%20gobind%20singh%20three%20wives&f=false. 
  7. ^ Constance Jones, James D. Ryan. Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Facts on File. ISBN 0816054584. http://books.google.com/books?id=OgMmceadQ3gC&pg=PA417&dq=guru+gobind+singh+three+wives&hl=en&ei=8ri0To_TCsKIrAfqpInoAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=guru%20gobind%20singh%20three%20wives&f=false. 
  8. ^ a b c d Dalbir Singh Dhillon (1988). Sikhism Origin and Development. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. http://books.google.com/books?id=osnkLKPMWykC&pg=PA144&dq=guru+gobind+singh+%22three+wives%22#v=onepage&q=guru%20gobind%20singh%20%22three%20wives%22&f=false. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  9. ^ Sukhmandir Khalsa. "Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708)". About.com. http://sikhism.about.com/od/gurugobindsing1/p/Guru_Gobind_Singh.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  10. ^ Surinder Singh Johar (1999). Guru Gobind Singh: a multi-faceted personality. M.D. Publications. p. 139. ISBN 9788175330931. 
  11. ^ Gazetteer of the Sirmur State. New Delhi: Indus Publishing. 1996. ISBN 978-8173870569. OCLC 41357468. 
  12. ^ a b c d Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley (1996). Fighting for faith and nation dialogues with Sikh militants. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-0812215922. OCLC 44966032. 
  13. ^ Singh, Gopal (1979, 1988). A history of the Sikh people, 1469-1978. Delhi: World Sikh University Press. pp. 289–90. 
  14. ^ Cole, W. Owen; Sambhi, Piara Singh (1978). The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 36. ISBN 0-7100-8842-6. 
  15. ^ Cole, W. Owen; Sambhi, Piara Singh (1978). The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 37–38. ISBN 0-7100-8842-6. 
  16. ^ Williams, Rosetta (2004). Sikh Gurus. Educa Books/Har-Anand Publications. pp. 103. ISBN 978-8124107164. 
  17. ^ Banerjee, Indubhusan (1963). Evolution of the Khalsa. Calcutta: A. Mukerjee. pp. 25. OCLC 5880923. 
  18. ^ Macauliffe, Max Arthur (1996) [1909]. The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings, and Authors. Low Price Publications. pp. 130. ISBN 978-8186142318. OCLC 1888987. 
  19. ^ Singh, Dalip (1992). Guru Gobind Singh and Khalsa Discipline. Amritsar: Singh Bros.. pp. 256. ISBN 978-8172050719. OCLC 28583123. 
  20. ^ Singh, Prithi Pal (2007). The History of Sikh Gurus. Lotus Books. pp. 128–147. ISBN 978-8183820752. 
  21. ^ Singh, Gopal (1988). A history of the Sikh people. Delhi. pp. 292–93. 
  22. ^ Singh, Patwant (1999). The Sikhs. Delhi: Rupa &Co.. pp. 59–60. 
  23. ^ Johar, Surinder Singh (1998). Holy Sikh shrines. New Delhi: M D Publications. pp. 63. ISBN 9788175330733. OCLC 44703461. 
  24. ^ Piara Singh Padam and Giani Garja Singh(Eds), Sawrup Singh, 'Guru Kian Sakhian'(1790), Patiala, 1986
  25. ^ Harbans Singh Noor (2004). Connecting the dots in Sikh history. Institute of Sikh Studies. ISBN 9788185815237. 
  26. ^ Bhagat Lakshman. Short Sketch of the Life and Works of Guru Gobind Singh. Asian Educational Services. pp. 133–135. ISBN 9788120605763. 
  27. ^ Names given in the Guru Kian Sakhian.
  28. ^ Singh, Prithi Pal. The history of Sikh Gurus. Lotus Press. pp. 158. ISBN 8183820751. 
  29. ^ Soundar, Chitra. Gateway to Indian Culture. Asiapac Books (p) Ltd.. pp. 59. ISBN 9812293272. 
  30. ^ Official Web Site Of Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib, Nanded

Further reading

  • Singh, Gobind; Jasbir Kaur Ahuja (1996). The Zafarnama of Guru Gobind Singh. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. OCLC 42966940. 
  • Singh, Prof. Surinderjit, Guru Gobind Singh's Zafarnamah Transliteration and Poetic Rendering in English. Singh Brothers, Amritsar. 2003. ISBN 81 7205 272 3.
  • Deora, Man Singh (1989). Guru Gobind Singh: a literary survey. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. ISBN 978-8170411604. OCLC 21280295. 

External links

Preceded by:
Guru Teg Bahadur
(1 April 1621 – 11 November 1675)
Guru Gobind Singh Followed by:
Guru Granth Sahib
(Eternal Guru of the Sikhs)

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