Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur: A true saviour of mankind
Humanity will ever be indebted to the supreme sacrifice made by the 9th Sikh Guru Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, a great warrior, spiritual personality and lover of the motherland. He propagated the message of universal brotherhood and religious freedom. He sacrificed everything for the sake of righteousness, mother land and the rights of people irrespective of their castes and faiths. That is why he was crowned with the rare honour of ‘Hind Di Chadar.’ As we celebrate the 400th Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, we need to recommit ourselves to his great ideals which teach us about the importance of religious freedom and welfare of mankind and the motherland.
In an unparalleled manner Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji taught us to fearlessly lead a free life. He did not surrender to extreme tortures heaped upon him and his family by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb but endured them with a divine calmness. His transformation from Tyaga Mal to Tegh Bahadur is a story of ultimate religious firmness, propriety, morality and bravery with very few parallels in human history. He sacrificed his life but did not shun the path of truth and probity. Such was the power of his divinity that he remained in deep meditation when his disciples were butchered in front of him. He was immersed in meditation when he himself made the supreme sacrifice. Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji said that religion is not a religion but a duty, and an ideal way of life.
Today’s young generation needs to take inspiration from the life, character and sacrifice of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, and adopt humane and moral values and move forward so that India again becomes the Vishwa Guru. He refused to bow to tyranny and injustice. He chose to traverse on the path of ideals and principles. A delegation of Kashmiri Pandits went to meet Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at today’s Shri Anandpur Sahib, also known as Chakk Nanaki. After giving a patient hearing to them, he asked them to tell Aurangzeb or his men that they will give up their religion only if their Guru does so.
The subsequent gory acts of Aurangzeb were so horrible that even today one shivers to recall them. Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji along with his three devotees – Bhai Sati Das, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Dayala were made captive! The sublime trio were executed in front of their Guru when they refused to convert to Islam. They made the supreme sacrifice for the sake of dharma. Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was unfazed and embraced martyrdom in the year 1675. Gurudwara Shish Ganj Sahib in Chandani Chowk, Old Delhi, epitomizes the ultimate saga of ‘tyaag’ and ‘balidaan’ with no match in known human history. Bhai Jaita Singh took the holy ‘shish’ of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji to Shri Anandpur Sahib, one of the holiest places for Sikhs in the world.
His sacrifices not only saved an ancient civilization and culture premised on the principle of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ from extinction but also served as a watershed moment in our collective pursuits to emerge as a determined and inclusive nation. Foundation of Sikhism was not an ordinary development in human history but one which became the shield for humanity against all forms of atrocities. It was and is still a great tradition which 9th Sikh Guru Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji not only preserved and strengthened people’s resolve to protect their religion but took Sikhism to the next level of greatness.
Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji knew that his devotees paid the price for the sake of religion without any remorse. They rejected all allurements, bore all pains and hardships meted out to them but they did not shed any tears. Their commitment and faith in the cause of religion was unwavering. The life of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur is one of monumental sacrifices made for the sake of dharma and mankind. He did not give in to the cruelty of Aurangzeb. His answer to every question was – I am a Sikh and will remain a Sikh!
The lessons we need to derive from the teachings and sacrifice of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji are many and multifaceted. His sacrifice, his belief in truth, non-violence and a benevolent approach towards all are so inspiring for us even today. He fought against superstitions, caste-based discrimination and untouchability so that every human being should lead a life of his choice. Religion is a duty for all. A true religion teaches us to be good to all and serve society and people in the best possible manner. He stood up for the weak and underprivileged. His son Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji not only upheld his father’s principles and values but took them forward by creating the Khalsa, a scintillating symbol of fight for righteousness and justice.
We need to remember the great words of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji – “We must live our lives in the same way in happiness and sorrow and in honour and humiliation.” His teachings give us lessons in the purpose of life and importance of equality, harmony and renunciation. The great ‘shabads’ of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji are an everlasting source of energy and enlightenment for humanity. His melodious recital of ‘shabads’ of Gurus by him used to have an electrifying effect on devotees. He fought against the despotic and fanatic ruler in the most peaceful and humane manner. His teachings are timeless and will continue to inspire generations to come. The life of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur teaches us to face every situation with total calm and firmness without deviating from the path of propriety, and build a social order based on amity, justice, equality and harmony.
(The author is Governor, Haryana. The views are his personal)