Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji


Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was executed on the orders of Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, in Delhi, India. Sikh holy premises Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of Guru Tegh Bahadur. His day of martyrdom (Shaheedi Divas) is commemorated in India every year on 24 November. Guru Tegh Bahadur was born Tyag Mal in Amritsar on 1 April 1621. He was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru. Guru Hargobind had one daughter, Bibi Viro, and five sons: Baba Gurditta, Suraj Mal, Ani Rai, Atal Rai, and Tyag Mal. He gave Tyag Mal the name Tegh Bahadur (Brave Sword) after Tyag Mal showed valor in the Battle of Kartarpur against the Mughals. Tegh Bahadur was brought up in the Sikh culture and trained in archery and horsemanship. He was also taught the old classics such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Puranas. He was married on 3 February 1632 to Mata Gujri. In the 1640s, nearing his death, Guru Hargobind and his wife Nanaki moved to his ancestral village of Bakala in Amritsar district, together with Tegh Bahadur and Mata Gujri. Bakala, as described in Gurbilas Dasvin Patshahi, was then a prosperous town with many beautiful pools, wells, and baolis. After Guru Hargobind's death, Tegh Bahadur continued to live in Bakala with his wife and mother. In March 1664, Guru Har Krishan contracted smallpox. When his followers asked who would lead them after him, he said, "Baba Bakala", meaning his successor was to be found in Bakala. Taking advantage of the ambiguity in the words of the dying guru, many installed themselves in Bakala, claiming to be the new guru. Sikhs were puzzled to see so many claimants.Sikh tradition has a myth about how Tegh Bahadur was selected as the ninth guru. A wealthy trader named Baba Makhan Shah Labana had once prayed for his life and promised to give 500 gold coins to the Sikh Guru if he survived. He came to Bakala in search of the ninth guru. He met each claimant he could find, making his obeisance and offering them two gold coins in the belief that the right guru would know of his silent promise to give them 500 coins. Every "guru" he met accepted the two gold coins and bid him farewell. Then he discovered that Tegh Bahadur also lived at Bakala. Makhan Shah gave Tegh Bahadur the usual offering of two gold coins. Tegh Bahadur blessed him and remarked that his offering was short of the promised five hundred. Makhan Shah made good the difference and ran upstairs. He began shouting from the rooftop, "Guru ladho re, Guru ladho re", meaning "I have found the Guru, I have found the Guru".