Guru Hargobind Ji : The Master of ‘Miri – Piri’

Inderjeet S.Bhatia “Prince”
Guru Hargobind Ji, revered as the 6th Nanak, was the 6th of Ten gurus of the Sikh religion. Guruji succeeded his father, Guru Arjan Dev Ji at the young age of 11 years after the execution of the later by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir at Lahore. Guru Hargobind Ji was born in 1595 at Wadali, a village seven kilometers west of Amritsar. Guruji studied religious texts with Bhai Gurdas Ji. Guru Ji also trained him in swordmanship and archary. Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the Father of Guru Hargobind Ji, selected him as his successor on 25th of May 1606, the day he was leaving for Lahore to face the false allegations levelled against him. Guru Arjan Dev Ji instructed Guru Hargobind Ji to start a Military tradition to protect Sikh faith.

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Guru Hargobind Ji’s succession ceremony took place on 24th of June1606, on that day, Bhai Budha Ji, the grand old man of the Sikh Brotherhood brought him ‘Seli’ the sacred headgear of renunciation that Guru Nanak wore and had bequeathed to his successors one after another. Guru Ji put it aside and asked for a sword instead. Bhai Budhaji, who had never handled a sword brought out one and put it on the wrong side. Guru Ji noticed it and then asked for another. “I will wear two swords” said Guruji, a Sword of “Shakti” (Power) and a sword of “Bhakti” (Meditation). Thus Guru Hargobind Ji combined in himself “Piri” (renunciation) and “Miri” (royalty). Henceforth the Guru’s Sikhs were to carry arms and ride horses. It gave birth to a new concept of the “Soldier-Saint”.
The most absorbing passions of Guru Hargobind Ji’s life was to steel his followers against tyranny and oppression. The Hindu society had become so weak that they could not contemplate any kind resistance to the rulers of the day. Guru Hargobind Ji, thus, introduced the process of militarization to Sikhism. This was more likely, a response to his father Arjan Dev’s execution. Guru Ji got constructed the ‘Akal Takht Sahib’ in front of the Harmanider Sahib in Amritsar. The ‘Akal Takht Sahib’ represents the highest seat of earthly authority of the ‘Khalsa’ (The collective body of the Sikhs today). Guru Arjan Dev Ji’s martyrdom brought out a sea change in the life style of the Sikhs. No more did they believe in self denial alone they grew increasingly aware of the need for assertion also. They would not frighten any one nor were they afraid of anybody. They reared horses, rode on them and racing & hunting became their favourite pastimes. Guru Ji maintained a regular army with various cadres. The heroic youth joined him in large numbers irrespective of caste and creed. Guru Ji came to possess 700 horses and his ‘Resaldari (army) grew to 300 horsemen and 60 musketeers.
Guru Ji rose long before the day dawned and, after his bath, went in to meditation. He joined Sikhs for prayers both in the morning and in the evening. The rest of the day was devoted to parades and manoeuvres, horse races and hunting. Guru Ji sat on a throne and received visitors & offerings like any other king. Guru Ji used to wore a royal airgrette and was also called as ” Sachha Paatshah”. Chandu Shah, the man, who had conspired against Guru Arjan Dev Ji, also poisoned the ears of Emperor Jahangir against Guru Harbind Ji. But due to turn of events, the emperor became friends with Guru Ji. The king even admired Guruji’s love for sports and hunting. It so happened that once Emperor Jahangir invited Guruji to accompany him on a tiger – hunt. Guru Ji accepted the invitation gladly. It so happened that the king was left alone when a tiger was about to pounce upon him to kill him. Guru Ji rushed his horse to the spot and pulling his sword, Guruji attacked the tiger single handedly. The next moment the Tiger lay slain on the ground. The king was full of gratitude. He admired the way Guru Ji risked his life to save him.
Chandu Shah, the conspirator, was extremely unhappy over the new turn of events. It so happened that while in Agra, the king fell seriously ill, Chandu Shah conspired against Guru Ji, once again. He told the king that he could recover only if some holy man went to the Gwalior Fort and offered continuous prayers to the deity there. And who could be holier than Guru Ji. Thus Chandu Shah suggested Guru ji’s name to the Emperor. Guru Ji who was aware of Chandu’s evil designs, agreed to the proposal. Guru Ji left for Gwalior fort in the company of five Sikhs. Inside Gwalior Fort, Guru Hargobind Ji met fifty two hilly princes who were detained there by the king. They were living in very deplorable conditions. Guru Ji got their living conditions improved and also invited them to join prayers in the morning and in the evening as well. With the passage of time, the king fully recovered and felt thankful to Guru ji. He invited Guru ji to Delhi to honour him. But Guru Hargobind Ji refused to leave the Gwalior fort unless fifty two hilly princes, who were detained there were also released. The monarch agreed and Guru Ji in a very tactful way left the Gwalior Fort along with 52 hilly princes who were languishing there for years. A part of Gwalior fort where Guru Ji stayed is still known as “Bandi Chhor” It was Diwali day when all this incident took place. As a result of which Diwali is also referred to as “Bandi Chhor Diwas” by the Sikhs all over the world.
When the king met Guru Ji in Delhi, Guru Ji narrated the trail of events and the villainy of Chandu shah due to which his father was executed. Chandu Shah met his gory end in the streets of Lahore where people spat on his face and stoned him to death. Guru Ji nominated his grandson Har Rai Ji as the Seventh Guru of Sikhism and passed away in 1644 (on 3rd of March) at Kiratpur Sahib Gurudawara” Patalpuri sahib is situated on the banks of river Satluj where Guru Ji breathed his last.
The greatest contribution of Guru Hargobind Ji was that he gave new turn to Sikh way of life. He turned the saints into Soldiers!
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