gurU qyZ bhwdur swihb; 1621-1675

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was the 9th Sikh Guru. He was the youngest son of the 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib. He was born to Mata Nanaki Ji in April 1621 AD in the town of Guru ka Mahal (Now known as Amritsar). He was named Tiag Mall. He received training in various aspects covering religious education, music, sword/archery & horse riding skills under the supervision of his father, Baba Buddha Ji and Bhai Gurdas Ji. He was married at the age of 11 to Gujri Ji, daughter of Sri Lal Chand's at Kartar Pur.

Tiag Mall was courageous. At the age of thirteen, He joined his father 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib to fight a battle in Kartarpur against the Mogul ruler, Shahjahan. His bravery and skilful use of sword (tegh) in the battle impressed his father who changed his name from Tiag Mall to Tegh Bahadur (which meant the 'Master of the sword or Bold with the sword'). After the 4th and the last battle, Guru Hargobind Sahib moved to Kiratpur town and organised the Sikhs to spread the message of “Fatherhood of one Lord” as initiated by Guru Nanak Dev Ji.


Guru Hargobind Sahib sent Tegh Bahadur Sahib along with the family to village Bakala. Tegh Bahadur Sahib used to spend long hours in devotional meditation of almighty Waheguru. It is mentioned in the history that Guru Hargobind Sahib had given a hint to the close by Sikhs & family that Tegh Bahadur Sahib was going to give a supreme sacrifice and He was the only “Bahadur” (Bold & daring) who could endure the Tegh (sword) to stand-up for the freedom of faith. Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th guru, left for heavenly abode in March 1644 after nominating his grandson Har Rai Sahib (son of Baba Gurdita Ji) as the 7th Guru.  Subsequently, Guru Har Rai Sahib passed on the Guruship to His youngest son Guru Har Krishan Sahib when he was just over 4 years old. Guru Har Krishan Sahib was the youngest of all the Gurus and before His demise at the age of 8, He uttered the words "Baba Bakala" in order to indicate that the next Guru lived in Bakala village. The word “Baba” was used as a mark of respect since Tegh Bahadur Sahib was His grandfather’s brother.

 Upon hearing this, 22 opportunists including Dhir Mal (Guru Har Rai Sahib's elder brother) set up their camps in Bakala claiming to be the 9th guru. The Sikhs were confused and could not ascertain who the true guru amongst the 22 was. Incidentally, a devout Sikh trader, named Makan Shah Lubana found his ship caught in a violent storm at sea. Totally unaware of the acting Guru in succession to Guru Nanak Dev Sahib, he prayed for rescue of his trouble bound ship and wished to make offering of 500 gold coins to the Guru.

His ship was saved. Now, he was very eager to meet the Guru. But when he visited the village Bakala, he was confused to see 22 Gurus. He decided to put the imposters to a test. He offered two gold coins to each of them and none of them asked for the remaining 498 gold coins.


Makhan Shah was very disappointed and finally, he decided to make another attempt. Upon enquiring, someone pointed him to the house where Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib lived. Makhan Shah had to seek permission from Mata Gujri Ji (Guru Sahib’s wife) to see Guru Sahib. When he entered the room, Guru Sahib was in deep meditation. Makhan Shah bowed and placed two gold coins in front of Guru Sahib and turned around to leave. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib slowly opened His eyes and said, "Where are the remaining 498 gold coins you promised when your ship was sinking". Makhan Shah was overjoyed to have found the true guru. He could not contain his excitement to himself. He placed all the gold coins in front of Guru Sahib and climbed the roof and shouted in excitement "Gur Lado Re ... Gur Lado Re ... that meant that "I have found the Guru". All the Sikhs gathered around the house and felt overjoyed & relieved.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib took on His duties as the ninth Guru in March 1665, and started preaching the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib. Sikhs, from far and near, came to pay their respect and offerings to Guru Sahib. It is believed that Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib had already met Guru Har Krishan Sahib in Delhi where necessary proceedings for the succession had been formalised.

Dhir Mal, one of the self-styled Guru, felt very jealous and made an attempt to kill Guru Sahib in vain. Then, he sent a group of people and robed Guru’s property. Makhan Shah & the Sikhs recovered it back from Dhir Mal along with his belongings & original copy of Guru Granth Sahib as composed by Guru Arjan Dev Sahib. But, kind Guru Sahib asked everything that belonged to Dhir Mal to be returned to him. Guru Sahib left Bakala and moved to Kiratpur. He bought land in the nearby hilly area & founded a township in 1665 and named it  “Chak Mata Nanaki” after His mother “Mata Nanaki” (“chak” means “a city”). Later, it became popular as Anandpur i.e. “Town Of bliss” where Guru Gobind Singh Sahib founded the Khalsa on the day of Vaisakhi in April 1699.

After founding the new city, Guru Sahib did not stay there for very long. However, He entrusted the construction work to His trustworthy Sikhs. Guru Sahib along with His family undertook the missionary tour of the east India in response to the invitation of His Sikhs from that region. Guru Sahib left His family in the town of Patna as Mata Gujri Ji was expecting a child. While Guru Sahib was at Dacca, He received good news of birth of His son on December 22nd, 1666 at Patna. The child was named "Gobind Rai". Guru Sahib returned to Patna to join the family. After spending a few years in Patna, all family returned to Anandpur Sahib.

Auragzeb’s Ruthless Attitude

Aurangzeb ascended the throne of India by imprisoning his father and murdering his brothers. After resuming the power, he considered it to be his religious duty to convert all the people of India to Islam. He issued special orders in April 1669 to all his governors and officers throughout India to force the conversion to Islam by use of all possible, fair or unfair means. Non‑Muslims were not given jobs and additional taxes were imposed on them. Many temples were destroyed and were replaced by the mosques. Torture & killing were resorted to for conversion to Islam. Even the Muslims, who in any way assisted the non-Muslims, were mercilessly put to death. Conversion process started from Kashmir & other parts of India those were the strong holds for the Hindu faith. Idea was to convert the leaders first and then rest of the followers would have converted by themselves.

Hit badly by the extreme agony, the Hindu Brahmins (pundits) from Kashmir prayed to their gods and goddesses in vain. They tried all the help from elsewhere but all failed. They had heard about the glory of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib’s faith and the reputation of helping the needy irrespective of their faith, caste & background. They had also heard about the fresh incident how Guru had saved His Sikh’s sinking ship.  Kashmiri Brahmins decided to meet the acting Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, 9th in succession.  A group of these brahmins approached Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib at Anandpur Sahib to make a plea to rescue their faith. Guru Sahib listened to them and was in deep thoughts when His 8 year old son, Gobind Rai, walked in and asked about the reason for His sadness. Guru Sahib told him about the endless misery of the Kashmiri Brahmins & other non-muslims.

Gobind Rai asked, "How could this intolerance be put to an end, Pita Ji (father)?".

Guru Sahib replied that it would require a sacrifice of life from a noble person. Gobind Rai immediately replied to his father, "who could be more noble than you for the supreme sacrifice?" Guru Sahib was pleased to hear such words of courage from His son. He immediately made up His mind, and told the Kashmiri Pundits to tell Aurangzeb, that if he could convert Guru Sahib to Islam, they would all convert as well.

When Aurangzeb received the message through his Governor, he immediately issued orders for the arrest of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib and that the Guru Sahib should be presented in his court at Delhi. After long & unsuccessful dialogue to persuade Guru Sahib to accept Islam, Guru Sahib had to accept one of the following three conditions:

1) Accept Islam and you would be given part of the Empire & all the comforts of life  OR

2) Show miracle to prove that you are a Divine person & then you would be released OR

3) Be prepared to face death


Guru Sahib replied

1) I cherish my faith and I am not prepared to give it up. Forcing someone to give up one's faith is not only a sin but rather a deadly sin and such interference is against the principles of a true religion.

2) Showing miracle is against the Will of Waheguru and is act of shame & cowardness. Real miracle is to be truthful & attain union with Waheguru.

3) The threat of physical death possesses no terror for me. You make your preparations and you shall see the miracle yourself.


Aurangzeb now resorted to forceful persuasions. Guru Sahib was kept in chains and imprisoned in an iron cage . Iron cage was specially made to torture Guru Sahib as it was shorter than Guru Sahib's height and had sharp spikes pointing inwards so that Guru Sahib could neither stand upright nor lean against the walls of the cage. Guru Sahib remained in the cage for 3 days. The Emperor's ministers tried their best to persuade him to accept Islam but Guru Sahib remained firm.

In front of Him, three of His disciples were cruelly put to death.

Bhai Mati Das was tied up between two wooden blocks and sawed into half . Bhai Dayal Das was boiled to death in a large vessel . Bhai Satti Das (Bhai

Mati Das’s brother) was wrapped up in cotton and doused with kerosene and set alight . All the three disciples died with the Name of God on their lips and their eyes fixed on their Guru. All this was done to frighten Guru Sahib but He was calm as ever.

Having failed through all the possible means, orders were issued for the execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib in the Chandni Chowk in Delhi (near Red Fort) on 11th November 1675 AD.

Guru Sahib was allowed to perform His last prayers. After having bath at the nearby well, He recited Jap Ji Sahib Hymns under a large tree, the appointed place for execution. Guru Sahib asked the executioner, “Jalal-ul-din” perform the execution task when He would bow His head to the Almighty Waheguru after completion of the Jap Ji Sahib recitation. The great Guru Sahib sacrificed His life to bring freedom to practice faith of one’s own choice . At this site, Gurdwara “Sis Ganj”  stands today marking the supreme martyrdom. The tree trunk is still preserved within the premises of the Gurdwara.

There was a tight security so that no one could come near the body. It is believed that before meeting with Aurangzeb, Guru Sahib had planned removal of His body with His close Sikhs. History has recorded that a furious storm raged immediately after the brutal assassination, which filled every one's eyes with dust. The clouds darkened the sky. Under the cover of darkness, Bhai Jaita rushed out with the head of Guru Sahib and went straight to Anandpur Sahib whilst making stops on the way at houses of the Sikhs appointed by Guru Sahib. The young Guru Gobind Singh Sahib performed the last rites of Guru Sahib’s head. At the place of cremation stands the Gurdwara “Sis Ganj” in Anandpur Sahib. Another Sikh, Lakhi Shah, retrieved Guru Sahib’s body. He carried it in his cart to his house located 2-3 miles away from the execution site. He and his sons put the body inside a room and performed the cremation by setting fire to their house. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj stands on the site in Delhi.  Guru was supreme & great were Guru’s Sikhs

Great Sacrifice

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was an embodiment of sheer courage and bravery. The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib is unique in the history of the World. The history of the world is full of martyrs, but they died for the defence of their own cause or their faith. But Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib sacrificed His life not for His own faith, but for the defence of the oppressed humanity and for freedom to practice one’s own faith. That is why Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib is regarded as “DHARAM DI CHAADAR” literally implying “Protector sheet (shield) for the faith” which means that He saved honour of the faith under threat like an intact sheet saves the dishonoured honour of a person with soiled or no clothes. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib describes Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib’s sacrifice in the Bachitar Natak through the following poetry:

Thhikar phor dileas sir, prabh pur kiya pyan. Tegh Bahadur  si kiriya kari na kinhoo aan. Tegh Bahadur ke chalat bhayeyo jagat ko sok. Hai hai hai sub jug bhayeyo jai jai jai surlok”

"Having broken His body vessel on the head of the king of Delhi, Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib departed for Waheguru’s Home (Sach-khand); No one else in the world has performed such deed like Tegh Bahadur Sahib. Whilst the world was mourning the departure of Tegh Bahadur Sahib; There was rejoicing in Waheguru’s Home (as the seed to uproot the evil had been sown)." 

It may be noted that within few years the mogul empire was uprooted from India.


Real way of paying tributes to the great Guru is to act upon His message to exercise tolerance for the people from all the faiths. Perform worship of One Waheguru and practice brotherhood of all. Stand up to protect & help the needy. Guru Sahib’s main messages, as recorded in Guru Granth Sahib, page 1427, are:

BY kwhU kau dyq nih nih BY mwnq Awn ] khu nwnk suin ry mnw igAwnI qwih bKwin ] 16 ]  
Bhai kaahoo kao det neh, neh bhai manat aan, kaho Nanak sun re manaa gayaanee tahen bakhaan (page 1427)

“Those who frighten others are fools and those who fear are cowards. He alone is a real religious & enlightened person who fears none and frighten none”

gun goibMd gwieE nhI jnmu AkwrQ kInu ] khu nwnk hir Bju mnw ijh ibiD jl kau mInu ] 1 ]  
Gun Gobind gao nahi janam akarth keen, kao Nanak har bhaj manaa jeh bid jal ko meen (page 1427)

If you do not sing the praises of the Lord, your life shall be rendered useless. Says Nanak, meditate upon the Lord; immerse your mind in the Lord, like fish always remains immersed in the water to survive.  || 1 ||       

ibiKAn isau kwhy ricE inmK n hoih audwsu ] khu nwnk Bju hir mnw prY n jm kI Pws ] 2 ]  
Bikhiyan seon kahe racheyo nimakh na hoe udaas, kao Nanak bhaj har manaa pare na jum ki phaas (page 1427)

Why are you engrossed in sin and corruption? You are not detached, even for a moment! Says Nanak, meditate upon the Lord, and you shall not be caught in the transmigration.  || 2 ||

qrnwpo ieau hI gieE lIE jrw qnu jIiq ] khu nwnk Bju hir mnw AauD jwqu hY bIiq ] 3 ]  
tarnapo eyo he gayeo leeyo jaraa tun jeet,, kao Nanak bhaj har manaa aud jat hai beet

Your youth has passed away in vain and old age has overtaken your body. Says Nanak, meditate upon the Lord as your life is passing away every moment!  || 3 ||

ibriD BieE sUJY nhI kwlu phUicE Awin ] khu nwnk nr bwvry ikau n BjY Bgvwnu ] 4 ]
Birdh bhayeo soojai nahee kaal pahuncheo aan,, kao Nanak nur bavare keon na bhajai bhagwaan

You have become old, and you do not understand that death is approaching you. Says Nanak, O human being, you are insane! Why do not you meditate upon God?  || 4 ||

Dnu dwrw sMpiq sgl ijn ApunI kir mwin ] ien mY kCu sMgI nhI nwnk swcI jwin ] 5 ]  
Dhan daaraa sampat sagal jin upnee kar maan, in meh kuch sungee nahi Nanak saachee jaan

Your wealth, spouse, and all the possessions, which you claim as your own — none of these shall go along with you in the end. O Nanak, know this as the true fact.  || 5 ||



Q 1 : The Gurus possessed spiritual powers, why did not Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib use those powers to avoid the assassination & stop Aurangzeb from committing the cruel deed  ?

A : Guru Sahib only knows the real answer but a trivial attempt is made to answer the question in the light of Gurbani as follows :

Use of spiritual powers is prohibited in Sikhism as these distract one from the true path of achieving union with Waheguru, which is the true objective of human life. Also, the miracles interfere with the Will of Waheguru and that is a deadly sin which deprives one from obtaining favourable glance (blessing) of Waheguru. 

There were many instances, when the Gurus performed such deeds which seemed like miracles to the ordinary human beings, but the Gurus performed such actions spontaneously when they felt compassionate or merciful. Sometimes, such extra ordinary acts were performed in order to put ignorant people back on the spiritual or true path. But motive behind such extra ordinary deeds was not to earn fame or cause harm to anyone or for a financial gain. Some incidents are given below:

1)     Bhai Mardana, born in a Muslim family, accompanied Guru Nanak Dev Sahib on the four major missionary journeys. Once, he was so hungry that Guru Sahib, out of sympathy, turned the poisonous soap nuts (reetthas) into a sweet fruit. This tree still bears sweet fruit on the side where Bhai Mardana plucked reetthas from and rest of the tree still grow bitter reetthas. Gurdwara “Reetthas Sahib” stands in the town of Banaras in East India. Examining the incident carefully, it sounds like a miracle but Guru Sahib felt merciful for His companion and could not see him suffer.

2)     Koda Raakhash, a cannibal, was about to deep fry Bhai Mardana in the boiling oil pan, but Guru Nanak Dev Sahib removed the heat from the fire flame so that the oil would never become hot. Again, the objective was to show Koda Raakhash the true path. Guru Sahib intentionally passed through the region where Koda Raakhash and his gang used to eat human beings. Koda Raakhash, later was blessed by Guru Nanak Dev Sahib and Guru Sahib delegated him with sewa (service) to serve the humanity. Later, Koda organised many spiritual & charitable units.

3)     3rd Guru, Guru Amardas Sahib, revived a boy when He felt sympathetic by seeing the mother in agony & depressed state. This incidence moved Guru Sahib so much that he said the word “No mother should loose her child in Goindwal (the town founded by Guru Sahib) during my life time. And these words came true in that no child died whilst mother was still alive.

Now, question is that why did Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib not use spiritual powers to save His life & stop Aurangzeb from committing cruelty on the helpless people.

Real Miracle

Mr Emerson, a European historian, spent numerous time contemplating over of Guru Sahib’s statement that “The threat of physical death possesses no terror for me. You prepare yourself for the task and you will see the miracle for yourself”. He visited Gurdwara “Sis-ganj” in Delhi to get the answer to his question himself. He captured the results of his personal experience in his book as follows:


Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib's sacrifice was a miracle in itself, which further brought about miracles:

1)     Body of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was whisked away from such a tight security and the Sikhs were never caught.

2)     It sowed the seed of KHALSA PANTH (God's own religion), which came to fruition on the day of Vaisakhi in April 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh Sahib publicly founded the “Khalsa Panth”. It is reminded that Aurangzeb wished to have just one Faith in India but one more was established.

3)     Guru Granth Sahib was revealed to the world in 1708 when Guru Gobind Singh Sahib publicly announced it as the Shabad Guru for Sikhs. Guru Sahib’s message was not to follow the human beings rather practice “The Word” to reach the formless Lord Waheguru.

4)     The sacrifice shook the foundations of Mogul Empire. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib won all the battles against the tyrant emperor and remained victorious. Finally, Guru Sahib  wrote a “message of victory” (“Zafar-Nama”) to Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb, after reading it, repented for his foolish deeds and asked his governor to treat Guru Sahib respectfully as He was the Divine Person. He invited Guru Sahib for conciliation but he died before the meeting.

Soon after Aurangzeb’s death, his son, Bahadur Shah, was helped by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib in order to regain the kingdom. After victory, he offered Guru Gobind Singh Sahib to seat on the throne of Delhi, Guru Sahib refused the offer & replied that worldly kingdom did not interest Him. He remained a very close friend of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib. After Bahadur Shah’s death, the Mogul empire diminished from India.

Some of the Hymns from Guru Granth Sahib are quoted below which clearly forbid use of spiritual powers :

Bugiq igAwnu dieAw BMfwrix Git Git vwjih  nwd ] Awip nwQu nwQI sB jw kI iriD isiD Avrw swd ] sMjogu ivjogu duie kwr clwvih lyKy Awvih Bwg ] Awdysu iqsY Awdysu ] Awid AnIlu Anwid Anwhiq jugu jugu eyko vysu ] 29 ] (AMg 6/7)

Guru Nanak Dev Sahib gave this advice to a group of Sidhs (persons with spiritual powers) that acquiring and mis-using the wealth and miraculous spiritual powers shall take one away from the real goal of human life i.e. to re-unite with Lord Waheguru.  If one wants to meet with Waheguru then one should make the Divine wisdom as the food for soul and the compassion the storekeeper (i.e. mercifully spread the wisdom to other for the benefit of the humanity without any desire for reward). Realise that the Naad (Divine Word) is vibrating in each and every heart & Lord is the Supreme Master of all. Union with the Lord comes from remaining in Lord’s Will otherwise the worldly relishes and fame results in the separation from Waheguru. We shall receive what is written in our destiny. I humbly bow to Waheguru who is the Primal One, the pure, without beginning and without end. Throughout all the ages, the Lord shall remain true.  || 29 || (Part 6/7)

Also Guru Gobind Singh Sahib has described in the Bachitar Natak scripture that the devotees of the Lord shy away from the demonstration of the miraculous spiritual powers as it is sinful & an act of cowardness. The wording is Naatak Chetak kiye kukaajaa, Prabh logan ke aavat laajaaa



Q 2 : Why did Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib sacrificed His own life to save the people belonging to the Hindu faith that He himself, including all other Sikh Gurus, disapproved it.

A  : The 1st Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Sahib, was born in a Hindu family. He disapproved the Hindu faith by refusing to wear the sacred thread (junjhoo) at a very young age as it carried no spiritual value or served no real purpose. The successor Gurus preached Guru Nanak Dev Sahib’s principles.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, 9th Guru in succession, was approached by the Hindus whose faith was in serious trouble. Guru Sahib did not turn them down rather agreed to help them as Sikhism promoted “Fatherhood of One Waheguru & love for Waheguru’s creation”. A needy had to be helped irrespective of faith, creed & colour. Guru Sahib in no way agreed with the principles of the Hindu faith rather gave the supreme sacrifice in order to provide freedom of faith of one’s own choice.


Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh