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दमी डीठम नद वहवनी, दमी डयूठुम सुम नत तार। दमी डीठम थर फवलवनी, दमी डीयूठुम गुल नत खार।। Now I saw a river flowing, Now neither a bridge nor a ferry. Now I saw a plant in full bloom, now neither a flower nor a thron to be seen.

भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिञ्जय: | अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव च || 8|| आप द्रोणाचार्य और पितामह भीष्म तथा कर्ण और संग्राम विजयी कृपाचार्य तथा वैसे ही अश्र्वत्थामा, विकर्ण और सोमदत्त का पुत्र भूरिश्रवा।। ८।। There are personalities like yourself, Bheeshma, Karna, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Vikarn, and Bhurishrava, who are ever victorious in battle. (8)  श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता अध्याय पहला श्लोक.।।८।।

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History of Kashmiri Pandits- How they were saved by Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib

History of Kashmiri Pandits- How they were saved by Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib

JAGMOHAN
Former Governor of J&K and Former Union Minister of Communication & Urban Development

Influenced by the narrow and fanatic outlook of Aurangzeb, Mughal Governor Iftikhar Khan (1671-1675) started the persecution of Kashmiri Pandits, with the objective of securing their conversion to Islam. Agonised by Iftikhar Khan's relentless campaign, a group of Pandits led by Kirpa Ram Dutt of "Mattan" went to ChakNanki / Anandpur Sahib to meet Guru Tegh Bahadur and sought his guidance and help. Saddened by the plight of the Pandits, Guru Tegh Bahadur became pensive. He made up his mind to put his life at stake. He advised the Pandits to go and tell the Mughal Governor and his Emperor that Tegh Bahadur was their Guru and if he could convert their Guru to Islam, they would all accept conversion. The Guru's stand so infuriated the Mughal establishment that Aurangzeb ordered his arrest & subsequently, his execution on November 11,1675. The Guru died calmly, but a volcanic upsurge erupted in the hearts of men and women and history underwent a revolutionary change. The Great Khalsa emerged on the scene and "Sparrows" turned into "Hawks". I have no doubt that the book, Guru Tegh Bahadur - Hind di Chadar, would go a long way in acquainting the people of this Saga.

Sheila Dikshit
Chief Minister, Delhi

Guru Tegh Bahadur's Martyrdom has become the symbol of religious unity, tolerance and the message against the fanaticism. He sacrificed his life for the dignity of Indian ethos. The tremendous sacrifice of GuruTegh Bahadur and his disciples did not go in vein. It became a volcano and stirred the people who were in slumber. He stood for equality, freedom and brotherhood of mankind at a time when such values were totally unthinkable. This booklet paradigmatically builds the significance of Guru Tegh Bahadur's sacrifice in the Indian history. I congratulate the author and the society for bringing with such a wonderful book.

Prof. Chaman Lai Sapru
Ex-Editor (KoshurSamachar) President- (Hindi-Kashmiri Sangam) Ex- Pnn ci pal - Govt. College Baramulla, Kashmir

MaryadaPurshotam "Shri Ram" was born to put an end to the tyranny of 'Ravan'. Lord Shri Krishna descended on the universe to eliminate oppression perpetrated by 'Kans'. Similarly "Guru Tegh Bahadur ji" emerged to decimate tyranny unleashed by Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb as a fierce propagator of Islam committed unlimited atrocities on Hindus. In those days a 'Kashmiri Pandit' in his dreams received a holy message from "BhagwanAmarnath" that in order to save Hindu Religion, they should make a fervent plea to the Ninth Sikh Guru "Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji" at Anandpur Sahib. In compliance of this, a congregation of 500 Pandits under the leadership of 'Pandit Kirpa Ram' resident of 'Mattan1 presented themselves before Guru Tegh Bahadur ji. Guruji laid down his life to protect Tilak* and 'Janeu'. Indians proclaim Guru Ji by the title of 'HIND Dl CHADAR' for making supreme sacrifice of his life to protect Hindus. The booklet contains a narration of life and supreme moral character of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur, am confident this inspirational book for our youths will have publications in future as well.



SushmaSwaraj
MP (RajyaSabha)

I am greatly pleased to know that with publication of this booklet on the life of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, who sacrificed his life to protect the religion & culture, the future generations would know about his sacrifice, character and indomitable spirit. The life of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who laid down his life to protect religion and stop atrocities, would serve good purpose of enlightening and inspiring future generations. I extend my good wishes to Guru Tegh Bahadur Educational & Charitable Society for this worthy effort.



Kidar Hath Sahnl

This venture of publishing the booklet, to acquaint our society about the supreme sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji is worthy of high degree of accolades. No amount of praise would suffice for this great work. By doing this, the writer & the publisher have rendered great service to one and all, particularly Hindu community and Kashmiri Pandits. . India can never redeem the debt it owes to Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji.



PREFACE

The foundation of Sikhism was laid by Guru Nanak Dev Ji about 500 years ago. This was the time when people were badly affected by superstitions, rituals, renunciation and hypocrisy. He opposed these & demonstrated their futility by simpler & practical instances from day to day life. His teachings on way of life were (1) NAM JAPNA - Meditation (2) KIRTKARNI-To do one's duty and live truthfully & honestly (3) VAND CHAKNA - To share the fruits of one's labour with others.
He was a true secular and was acclaimed by both Hindus & Muslims. When he passed away, Hindus wanted to cremate him whereas Muslims insisted on giving him a burial. The same secular setting was practiced and preached by all Sikh Gurus who followed Guru Nanak. It is pertinent to mention that it was the Muslim Sufi saint 'SainMian Mir1, whom the fifth Sikh Guru "Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji" invited to lay the foundation stone of Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple-Amritsar), where subsequently, first volume of Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Book of Sikhs) was installed. In this Holy Guru Granth we also find prominent mention of four 'Vedas' of the Hindus and the holy 'Quran' & the 'Allah'.

Sikh Gurus were not only spiritual leaders, they were also concerned about social obligations. They advocated complete equality for women who had for ages been considered inferior to men & upped the ante against practice of "SATI". They were also aware of scientific facts & environmental significance. 500 years ago Guru Nanak had revealed that there are innumerable worlds over worlds, galaxies over galaxies & universes over universes - PAATALA PAATAL, LAKHAGAASA AGAAS. All this is being proved so by science today. With reference to preservation of environment, as envisaged now, he had said: PAWAN GURU, PAANI PITA, MATA DHARATMAHAT. Nine Gurus who followed Guru Nanak, further fortified the core of Sikhism till it matured and acquired singular identity as "Khalsa"- embodiment of purity, valor and protector of the weak, oppressed & the women folk. History stands testimony to this that Khalsa took upon themselves as saviors of India from the early years of their creation in 1699 AD and stood as a strong wall on Indian Border.
In 18th century, India was invaded several times from across the border by rulers like Nadir Shah of Persia, Ahmed Shah Abdali and others. They looted not only gold, diamond and valuables but also abducted women from different parts of India. While returning with the loot, these invaders had to pass through Punjab. When people all around were focused on saving their own lives & resources, Sikhs could not withstand these outrageous acts.
They ventured to save the women folk in particular. They choose 12 O'clock i.e. midnight as the time to strike, with the sole objective of freeing as many of the captive women as possible and restoring them to their respective homes. They coined their own tactical term 'BarahBaj Gaye' (It is 12 o'clock) to alert small Sikh bands to get ready for the raid on the camps of invaders. Unfortunately this tactical term has undergone meaningless distortion due to lack of factual knowledge and without realizing that had the Sikhs not picked up courage, women folk of India would have been dishonored, taken into exile to live a degraded life. This term in fact is a matter of pride for Sikhs and connotes bravery and righteousness.
The Sikh Gurus were consistent in their message of brotherhood and 'service before self1. They led from the front and laid down their own lives without a whimper. This booklet is one such attempt to narrate the supreme sacrifice by Guru Tegh Bahadur, which changed the Course of Indian History.



GURUDWARA SIS GANJ

The historic 'Gurudwara Sis Ganj1 is located at Chandni Chowk, Delhi. This Gurudwara has been built in the reverential memory of the Great Martyr, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the Ninth Sikh Guru. The Guru was martyred at this place on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The Guru sacrificed his life for upholding the right of Hindus for "freedom of worship".
Aurangzeb ruled India from 1658 AD to 1707AD. To gain and rein power, he imprisoned his father "Shahjahan" and got even his real brothers killed. He wanted to convert India into a Muslim Nation. He demolished Hindu temples at several places in India and imposed extra taxes on Hindus. He ordered that the Hindus be stripped off their sacred thread (Janeu), Tilakbe removed from their forehead and they be forcibly converted to Islam
He ordained his officers to convert or kill large number of Hindus in order to retrieve 'Janeu' equivalent to 1.25 Mann.[approx 46 kgs.] in weight per day. Such was the extent of his religious oppression that it led to large scale conversion of Hindus to Islam. Those who resisted lost their lives. Emperor's orders were implemented vigorously.
No Hindu ruler had the courage to challenge the Emperor. Religious leaders of the Hindus were deeply distressed. One Kashmiri Pandit got spiritual message (aakashwani) in his dream from Lord Shiva that Ninth Guru of Sikhs "Guru Tegh Bahadur" would be the savior of Hindus. Guruji was then living in Anandpur (Punjab). Following this revelation, religious leaders of Kashmir went to Anandpur, paid their obeisance to Guruji and sat down in his holy presence.

The leader of the delegation, Pandit Kirpa Ram pleaded their cause before the Guru: "O, Great Master, theSavior of the oppressed, save us from the persecution of Emperor Aurangzeb. He has ordered that all Hindus be forcibly converted to Islam."

Guru Tegh Bahadur did not believe in wearing the 'Janeu'. He did not even follow the religious customs of Hindus. But helping the oppressed was the mission of the Sikh Gurus. Guru Tegh Bahadur could not countenance that anyone should be forced to give up his religion. He listened to the Hindu leaders with deep concern. Their tale of woes

recessed the Guru in deep and pensive thoughts. While he was pondering about their problem, his nine year old son, Gobind Rai walked in. His divine face cast a great impact on the Kashmiri Pandits. He came closer to his father and noticed that his father was absorbed in deep thought. The Pandits sitting beside him were looking de-spirited and extreme anxiety writ on their faces. He enquired from the Guru: "Respected father, who are they ? And what engages your mind ?"Guru Tegh Bahadur answered: "My son, Emperor Aurangzeb has decreed that all Hindus be converted to Islam." "Why ?" asked the young son.
"Aurangzeb thinks, Islam is the only true religion." replied the Guru. "How is the Hindu religion to be saved then?" queried young Gobind. The Guru answered: "This requires the sacrifice of a holy person." "Who can be holier than you, my respected father?" asked Gobind. Guru Tegh Bahadur appreciated the courage of his son in face of grave repercussions of defying Emperor's writ. The Guru after a brief thought told the sad and grief-stricken Pandits: "Go and tell your State Governor, Sher Afghan that if he wants to convert you to Islam, let him first convert Tegh Bahadur." The Pandits felt relieved on hearing the reply of the Guru. Guru assured them that he would fully honor his promise. Kashmiri Pandits offered their obeisance and departed with his blessings. On reaching back, they conveyedGuruji's message to Sher Afghan: "We would all embrace Islam, if you could first convert our Guru Tegh Bahadur to Islam". Guru's message was also conveyed to the Emperor Aurangzeb.

Aurangzeb was pleased hearing this. He felt his mission had now become far easier, as by converting one person, the whole nation would embrace Islam. He could foresee fulfilment of his cherished dream of eliminating Hindu religion from India. He ordered that the Guru should be arrested and brought to Delhi at once.
On hearing this, Guruji on his own accord left for Delhi. The Guru bid farewell to his brave son Gobind Rai, wife Gujri Ji and mother Mata Nanaki. His followers gave him a moving send off. He was accompanied by five close followers. They were Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Dayala, BhaiUdha& Bhai Gurditta. The known places visited by him, while on his way to Delhi, were Malwa, Patiala, Dhamtan, Jind, LakhanMajra, Rohtak and Agra. On reaching Agra, Guruji camped in a garden. He adopted a peculiar method of conveying the Mughal forces about his presence there. Guru Ji saw a shepherd grazing sheep in the garden. He called the shepherd and gave him his ring and a shawl and asked him to get some sweets. The shepherd went to a sweets shop, and asked for sweets in exchange of ring and shawl. The Shopkeeper got suspicious on seeing a very expensive ring. He took the shepherd to the Kotwali (Police Station). The shepherd told the Kotwal (Police Officer) that a holy man had requested him to exchange the shawl and ring for sweets. The suspicious Kotwal accompanied the shepherd to the garden. He was surprised to find Guru Tegh Bahadur camping there.
A beautiful Gurudwara "GURU-KA-TAAL" has been built at this place in Agra in memory of Guru Ji's stay there. This place is now an important landmark in Agra on G. T. Road where the travellers stop for offering their prayers. Here Langar is served round the clock.
The Kotwal sent a message to Delhi that Guruji was in his custody. Aurangzeb immediately sent a large contingent of armed soldiers to Agra to bring Guruji to Delhi. The soldiers surrounded the garden as they feared that the Guru might escape. Guru Tegh Bahadur, however, was unperturbed. He was watching the whole scene calmly, unconcerned.
The presence of such a huge force filled the local populace with fear and concern. Onlookers, who had gathered near the garden in large numbers, thought that some battle was in the offing.
But Guru Ji had come prepared for sacrifice. He readily agreed to accompany the force. The entire party then proceeded to Delhi.
The news of Guruji's arrest greatly relieved the Mughal court. His followers, however, were greatly concerned as they knew he would honour the pledge he had made to the Kashmiri Pandits to save the Hindu Religion. Emperor Aurangzeb was out of Delhi those days. His ministers and religious leaders met the Guru. They conveyed the message of the Emperor to the Guru that he should embrace Islam or face dire consequences. They also tried to lure him in many ways.
Guru Tegh Bahadur replied that he was firm in his religion and would not forsake it. He said his body was perishable but his principles would endure. He made it clear that he was ready for all consequences. He rather explained them that the religion which respects other religions is only pure and true.
The Chief Qazi, Abdul WahabBohra, tried his utmost to persuade the Guru to accept Islam. Again, the Guru refused. The Emperor had ordered that, if the Guru refused, his devoted followers were to be tortured to death in Guru Ji's presence. He did this with the belief that Guruji will get terrified on seeing these horrific scenes and will embrace Islam. Bhai Mati Das was the first to receive their attention. He was placed within wooden blocks and sawn alive. He suffered this torture with utmost aplomb and kept reciting JapjiSahib till he breathed his last.
The place in Chandni Chowk, where Bhai Mati Das was martyred is now known as "Bhai Mati Das Chowk". Bhai Dayala was the next to be brought before the Guru. A huge cauldron of water placed on a fire. when the water started boiling ,Bhai Dayala was mercilessly flung in to it. Despite the physical torture he underwent, he continued reciting the Gurbani,till the last breath .The Guru witnessed these gruesome sights with composure

Then came the turn of Bhai Sati Das. He was wrapped all around with cotton, and then set on fire. he bore the brutal suffering without a murmur .Guru Tegh Bahadur watched the supreme sacrifice of his beloved disciples with serenity .TeraKiyaMeethaLaage,
Har Nam PadarathNanak Mange (Whatever the God does is cheerfully accepted by me.I simply need the wealth of Almighty'Name).
Emperor Aurangzeb had no personal grudge or scores to settle with the Guru, but he wanted Guruji to disassociate himself from being protector of Hindus. This was not acceptable to Guruji. The Emperor directed that the Guru be imprisoned in a small iron cage where he was subjected to severe torture for several days. Yet he was always engrossed in meditation.

The Ministers and priests of the Emperor tried their best to persuade him to accept Islam. Guru Tegh Bahadur, the embodiment of patience and forbearance however stuck to his resolve even during his imprisonment and torture in the cage. Once again Aurangzeb tried to change Guruji's mind: Emperor: You are called a Guru. Hindus worship you. Could you show a miracle to establish that you are a Prophet? Guru Tegh Bahadur: The laws of nature are unalterable. There is no place for Miracles in a true religion. Miracle is another name for calamity Emperor: Convert to Islam as only Islam is true and pure. All else is false and untrue. Guru Tegh Bahadur: All religions are true. Only noble deeds count in the end. Freedom of worship should be allowed to everyone. You should treat all religions alike. Emperor: Then get ready for the execution. Guru Tegh Bahadur: Though I do not apply Tilakor wear the Janeu, but I am ready for any consequences to save the Hindu religion. Emperor realised that Guruji will not budge. It will not be possible to convert him to Islam and till Guruji was alive, his dream of eliminating Hindus from India would not be accomplished.

Finally the Emperor ordered that the Guru be executed in public at Chandni Chowk. This was announced by the beat of drum in the whole city. People were greatly perturbed by this proclamation. On November 11,1675 the day of reckoning,the Guru woke up as usual before dawn, bathed and recited the sacred Japji (Gurbani). He was made to sit on a specially constructed platform in Chandni Chowk .People were greatly perturbed by this proclamation. On November 11,1675 the day of rekoning , the Guru woke up as usual before dawn , bathed and recited the sacred Japji (Gurbani).He was made to sit on a specially constructed Platform in chandnichowk .
\Hindus and Muslims had gathered in large numbers at the site of execution. All eyes were on the Guru. Dark clouds were gathering and hovering on the sky. The signs of an impending storm and perilous atmosphere were clearly visible. The executioner was present in readiness to carry out execution, while Guru Tegh Bahadur was in deep meditation despite highly charged

atmosphere. In compliance of his duty the executioner unsheathed the sword and Guruji's head was severed from his body. Trunk of the tree under which Guruji was executed is still preserved in Gurudwara Sis Ganj, Delhi. The "Well" where he bathed before execution is in good shape till today. Pilgrims partake its holy water for betterment of their lives. The building adjacent to Gurudwara Sis Ganj which now serves as a guest house for visiting pilgrims with underground parking space, was the Kotwali (Police Station) during erstwhile Mughal period. This Kotwali was a prominent Police Station of "Delhi Police" till 1970s. It was subsequently transferred to Gurudwara by "Govt. of India" for development of the Gurudwara premises. People visit this Gurudwara throughout the day. It is the belief of his devout followers that Gracious and all-knowing Guru bestows bounties and is of assistance everywhere.

"Guru Tegh Bahadur SimriyeGharNauNidhAaveDhae, SabhThain Hoe Sahae"

People cried in anguish : "What barbarity! A saintly person has been executed. This rule will not last long." Even Nature shed tears of grief. A terrific thunderstorm followed the execution as if nature also could not countenance such a gruesome act. Tegh Bahadur KeChalat, bhaeojagatkosokHaehaehae sab jag bhaeo, jaijaijaisurlok ("Tegh Bahadur is gone! The world says, 'Alas, Alas', But Heaven resounds with Glory! Welcoming a pure soul)
Great consternation and chaos followed Guru's execution. The nature too played its role. A fierce cluster storm engulfed the place, which blinded the Mughal soldiers. It appeared that nature too opposed this gruesome act vehemently as the whole atmosphere turned dark, dreary and violent. In this confusion, one of the Guru's devoted Sikh, Bhai Jaita, rushed forward. He picked up the martyred Guru's severed "head" swiftly, covered it respectfully and escaped. Two of his companions, Bhai Nannuand Bhai Udha accompanied him. They carried the Guru's head and reached Kiratpur (Punjab) surreptitiously after five days. The sad and dismal news had already reached the young son of the Martyred Guru , now Guru Gobind Rai and his devoted wife Gujri ji. They had already reached kiratpur . Bhai Jaita laid the sacred "head" reveentially in front of Guru Gobind Rai.

Guru Gobind Rai embraced Bhai Jaita, who belonged to a lower caste called Rangreta, and said: "Rangrete, Guru KeBete". Guru Tegh Bahadur's head was cremated with veneration at Anandpur Sahib. Everyone fully appreciated and acknowledged the supreme sacrifice of Guruji. A Gurudwara known as "Gurudwara Sis Ganj" has been constructed at Anandpur Sahib (Punjab) also, in memory of the Great Martyr, Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Back in Delhi, a true devotee of Guiuji, 'Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara1 and his son 'Nagahia', pushed their several bullock carts, loaded with cotton and other goods, in Chandni Chowk. They lost no time in picking up the body of the Guruji. They concealed it under heap of cotton in a bullock cart and swiftly disappeared from the scene of the execution. Passing through by lanes, they took the bullock cart to Lakhi Shah's house in Raisina (Presently Gurudwara RakabGanj). A 'ballad' singer of those days, Keso Bhatt, described the scene in the following words: ChaloChalai Ho Rahi, GarhGarhBarseMegh. Lakhi, Nagahia Le Gae, tuKharhaTamashaDekh.

On the other hand, Mughal forces were bewildered and confused as to where and how Guru's head and body had disappeared. Since it was risky to publicly cremate Guruji'sbody, Lakhi Shah carried the Guru's body with reverence to his house. He offered prayers to the memory of the departed Guru and then set his house on fire. The Guru's body was thus cremated surreptitiously with all solemnity and dignity. People thought Lakhi's house had caught fire. The great Guru had refused to show any miracle to the Emperor. But nature with the help of Guruji's devoted Sikhs, Bhai Jaita& Bhai Lakhi, performed no less than a miracle by saving his martyred head and body from any disgrace and sacrilege. GURUDWARARAKABGANJ, DELHI GumdwaraRakabGanjis situated at the place,where Bhai Lakhi Shahcremated Guru ji's bodyby setting his house onfire. It is near President'sEstate, Central Secretariatand Parliament House ofGovernment of India. Aprocession (Nagar Kirtan)is organized every year byGuru's devotees to commemorate his martyrdom. It follows same route and by lanes, which Lakhi Shah had followed for carrying Guruji's body from Chandni Chowk to now located Gurudwara RakabGanj through NaiSarak, Chawri Bazar, Ajmeri Gate, PaharGanj, Panchkuyian Road and Cannaught Place.

Generally everyone cares &fights for his "Right of Religion". But nowhere in the history of world, we would find a parallel of sacrifice for saving the religion of others. The sacrifice of Guruji touched and warmed up Hindu hearts of that time and proclaimed him as:

"GURU TEGH BAHADUR, HIND Dl CHADAR"

Shield or protector of India & Hindu religion. As chadar (sheet) shields us from vagaries of climate, he defied persecution of Hindus by laying down his life. The outrage of Aurangzeb of eliminating Hindus was nipped in the bud by Guru Ji'ssacrifice. Otherwise it would have engulfed the whoie nation and the profile of India would have been totally different today. Every Indian ought to take pride & be thankful to the Almighty for having a saviour in Guru Tegh Bahadur.

Guruji's sacrifice shattered Mughal Empire & rattled it from foundation which ultimately led to its downfall. In 1783, thirty thousand (30000) Sikh soldiers led by SardarBaghel Singh, SardarJassa Singh Ahluwalia &SardarJassa Singh Ramgarhia, captured Delhi by defeating Mughal forces and hoisted Khalsa Flag on the Red Fort. Prior to this, Sikhs concentrated at a place near Kashmiri Gate which is now known as T!S HAZARI (the name it got by the presence of thirty thousand Sikh soldiers at that place). Since their aim was not to rule Delhi, Sikhs agreed to withdraw if their demands were met These among others included restoration of Hindu temples and establishing Gurudwaras in Delhi at sites which were sanctified by Sikh Gurus including Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Gurudwara Sis Ganj, Gurudwara RakabGanj, etc. This was accepted by the rulers and 37.5% of total octroi collection of Delhi was earmarked for this purpose. SardarBaghel Singh along with 4000 soldiers stayed in Delhi to supervise the work while others moved back. SardarJassa Singh Ramgarhia before leaving Delhi removed the marble slab from the Mughal Throne in Red Fort where coronation ceremonies of Mughal Emperors were held (It was the same place from where Aurangzeb had issued orders for conversion of Hindus to Islam &for execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur).He brought that marble slab to Amritsar like a prisoner and placed it in "RamgarhiaBunga" in the vicinity of Golden Temple, where it still lies.

GURUJI'S EARLY LIFE

Meditation for 20 years- For twenty long years he lived in deep and solitary meditation in village Bakala near Amritsar (Punjab). AGurudwara, called 'Baba Bakala1, has been built on this spot. The basement cell (Bhora) where Guruji meditated is also preserved in his sacred memory. Declaration of Ninth Guru by the Eighth Guru before his death-Eighth Guru,"GuruHarkrishan Ji" had come to Delhi at the invitation of Raja Jai Singh and stayed at his bungalow. At that time Delhi was stricken by dreaded diseases like Cholera and Small Pox in epidemic form. Guruji set up a sacred water pond in the bungalow. Its water had a healing effect which cured people of the ailments.

GURUDWARA BANGLA SAHIB, DELHI

The famous Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi has been built at the site of the bungalow where Guru Harkrishan Ji stayed. Devotees visit this sacred shrine all around the year and partake Nectar (holy water) of the sacred water body sanctified by the Guru. It is the firm belief of followers of GURU that prayers offered, with full faith and sincerity, at this Gurudwara find their fulfillment. Guru Harkrishan Ji breathed his last in 1664 AD in Delhi. At the time of his passing away, when Guruji's followers enquired about the Ninth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Harkrishan Ji just uttered the words: "Baba Bakala". This gave the indication that the Ninth Sikh Guru was at 'Bakala1, a place near Amritsar (Punjab). But nobody exactly knew, who in Bakala was the "real Guru".Takingadvantage of this unclear sitution, a number of persons proclaimed themselves as Guru in Bakala Village. Emergence of Ninth Guru — Makhan Shah was a rich merchant. He used to bring merchandise worth thousands from abroad by sea. Once his ships were caught in a furious storm on the high seas. There appeared to be no hope of survival. Makhan Shah was a devoted follower of the Sikh Gurus. He had full faith that Guruji will protect him in these difficult times.
He closed his eyes and prayed to the Guru to save his ships. He promised to offer 500 Gold coins to the Guru. Makhan Shah's prayers were answered. The storm subsided and his ships were saved. His merchandise reached the shore safely. Makhan Shah had his cargo unloaded, stored them in the godownsand left immediately for Bakala to redeem his pledge. On reaching there he was at a loss. He could not make out who the actual Guru was. He went from one to the other proclaimed Guru, bowed his head & offered two gold coins to each. All of them blessed MakhanShah, but no one demanded the 500 gold coins. He was not satisfied.
Makhan Shah was sure that the omniscient Guru, who saved his sinking ships, would know his mind. The truth prevails in the end. Someone told him, there was a holy man called 'Baba Tegha1, who lived in a basement cell. Makhan Shah reached the cell. The Guru was in deep meditation. He bowed his head and placed two gold coins before him as his humble offering. The Guru opened his eyes and said, "Welcome Makhan Shah, you had promised offering of 500 gold coins."
At once Makhan Shah took out 500 gold coins and placed these at the Guru's feet. He was overjoyed. Thrilled at the discovery of the real Guru, he went up the roof and proclaimed: GURU LADHO RE, GURU LADHO RE -"Behold, here is the true Guru." The impostors rolled up their belongings and fled.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was then enthroned as Ninth Guru. He travelled to Malwa, Bihar, U.P. & Assam to preach the mission of Guru Nanak Dev. After martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, his son Gobind Rai was named as Tenth Guru. During his life, Tenth Guru fought several battles with Mughals and their allies against religious oppression & injustice. To save Hindus from the atrocities being committed by the rulers of those days and to fight for their "right to life", "honour" & "dignity", the tenth Guru founded "Khalsa Panth"on 13th April 1699 (Baisakhi Day). After this he was christened as 'Gobind Singh' from 'Gobind Rai'. He gave a unique, distinct and identifiable identity to "Khalsa" so that if any one needed assistance, he could recognize 'Khalsa' easily and seek his help. Establishment of 'Khalsa Panth' is based on the principles of 'service before self & 'sacrifice1. A perfect example of this is that all four sons (Sahibzadas) of Guru Gobind Singh laid down their lives for the sake of country & religion.

Two elder sons, SahibzadaAjit Singh &SahibzadaJujharSingh laid down their lives fighting the Mughals. Two younger sons, SahibzadaFateh Singh (aged 6 years) &SahibzadaZoravar Singh (aged 9 years) were arrested along with their grandmother Mata Gujri ji in "SIRHIND" and kept in a "Cold Tower" in severe winter. When produced before NawabWazir Khan, younger Sahibzadaswere allured in many ways and persuaded to accept Islam. On their refusal to renounce religion at any cost, Nawab ordered that these children be bricked alive in walls. Sahibzadaslooked fearless even when itwas a matter of 'life & death'.Everybody was amazed attheir determination and lackof fear on their faces. In theevening, these children gaveresume of court proceedingsto theirgrandmother.Sheembraced them for upholdingthe dignity &honour of theirfather and grandfather. Next morning Sahibzaclas were brought at the place where 'walls' were to be raised. Both of them started reciting Gurbani while the walls were going up brick by brick. People were shocked at this ghastly act. After their martyrdom, when a messenger went to give this news to their grandmother, he found that Mata ji had already attained salvation. There was great commotion in the whole town. Everyone was unanimous in view that this heinous act would herald the doomsday of the Mughal Empire.

Mind boggles at the thought that how these children at the tender age of 6 & 9 years, had the guts and bravery to refuse the allurement of many lavish gifts and a future of cozy royal comfort that was being offered by the Mughals, if they abandoned their faith. However these children choose the stark option of a brutal, painful, slow and tragic death but refused to give up SIKHI. Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab) has been built at that place in their memory. At a later stage of his life Guru Gobind Singh went to Nanded(Maharashtra) and baptized "Madho Das Bairagi" with 'Amrif, (holy water) and transformed him a Sikh "Banda Singh Bahadur", who struck the very roots of Mughal Empire. Before attaining the eternal bliss in the year 1708 AD, 'Guru Gobind Singh' declared that "Guru Granth Sahib" will be the 'GURU' of Sikhs after him, as embodiment of 10 Gurus. Classic in content and secular in nature GURU GRANTH SAHIB advocates oneness of God, but referred to Him by different names vizHah 8344 times, Ram 2533 times &Allah 46 times figure prominently in Guru Granth Sahib with reference to the Almighty. Indeed it is a paradise of spiritual harmony.

It contains the hymns of "Hindu and Muslim" Saints and Peers along with those of Sikh Gurus. For this very reason "Guru Granth Sahib" is not the preserve of Sikhs only. It belongs to all humanity and every one bows before the sacred Guru Granth Sahib in reverence. This has been opined even by contemporary religious scholars & researchers both in India and abroad.

Pearl S. Buck, recipient of Nobel Prize: "I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes.
Reverend H.L. Bradshaw, a Christian academic from the United States: "Sikhism is a Universal world Faith.. .a message for all. The Sikh religion is truly the answer to the problems of modern man."
Bertrand Russell, a British Philosopher - If some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them.
Archer, an English writer, in his book -The religion of the Guru Granth is a universal & practical religion. The world needs today its message of peace and love.
By imbibing the inspiration from their 'Gurus',Sikhs of the present times take pride in following the principles of sacrifice & selfless service. Sikhs contributed immensely in the struggle for Independence of India and to defend its territories thereafter. The Sikhs who are about 2% of India's population, have made tremendous contribution in the freedom struggle. The following figures testify the same:

Out of 121 Indians hanged by Britishers, 93 ( 76°/o)were Sikhs. Out of2646 Indians sentenced for life ( including those deported to Andaman Islands -Kala Paani), 2147 (81 %) were Sikhs.
These figures do not include, those killed in police atrocities at Jallianwala Bagh, Kooka Movement, Gadar Movement & several other freedom movements.
Further, the practice of Langar (Free Kitchen), started by Sikh Gurus, with equality for all castes, creed & religion, is prevalent and practiced with full fervour till date. It is indeed the need of the hour that Guruji's principles of respecting others' religion, tolerance & acceptability are followed in present turbulent times. This will ensure peace and harmony of our great nation & the world and prevent hurting sentiments of others. This is the essence and the Core Message of "Guru Granth Sahib"- From one & the same light, the entire Universe / Humanity came into existence. No one is good or bad, high or low. All humans are equal.
Awwal Allah Noor Upaya, KudratKe Sab BandeEk Noor Te Sab Jag Upjya, KaunBhaleKoMande
With this very belief, the Sikhs pray for welfare of all

NANAK NAAM CHARDIKALA, TERE BHANE SARBAT KA BHALA

(May God bestow high spirits and well-being to one and all)

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