Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji is the ninth Guru of the Sikhs. He was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. He was born on April 1st, 1621 at Amritsar. His mother was Bibi Nanki Ji. His birth name was Tyag Mal but keeping in view his courage and bravery, he was named Tegh Bahadur. At the time of his eternal rest, Guru Har Krishan Ji bowed down saying, “Baba Bakale” ie. My successor is at Bakala.
Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji meditated at Bakala for about twenty years (1644-1664) and lived there with his wife Mata Gujari Ji and mother Mata Nanaki Ji. Bhai Makhan Shah Lobana, a rich businessman, revealed him at Bakala. Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji received Guruship on March 30th, 1664 when he was living at Baba Bakala.
The Mughal Emperor of India, Aurangzeb, attempted to consolidate India into one Islamic nation. In order to achieve this aim, he set out to virtually eliminate Hinduism from India. When the ninth Guru Ji heard of this from a desperate group of Hindus, he challenged the Emperor that, in order to convert all the Hindus, the Guru himself would have to embrace Islam. He offered to sacrifice everything for the cause of righteousness. As a result the Guru was imprisoned at the request of Aurangzeb in 1675, three devout Sikhs who accompanied the Guru were arrested and martyred in front of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji at Delhi:
- Bhai Mati Das Ji
- Bhai Sati Das Ji
- Bhai Dyala Ji
Despite being forced to watch the torture and execution of these disciples, the Guru Ji simply refused to concede to the Emperor’s demand. The Emperor Aurangzeb gave Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji three options:
- To embrace Islam
- To perform miracles
- Be ready for death.
Finally, the Guru preferred the latter. His head was chopped off publicly at Chandni Chowk in Delhi on November 11th, 1675 for being a protector of fundamental human rights. Unparalleled in the history of humankind, the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was an act of sacrifice for another religious community. The Guru Ji’s martyrdom served to awaken the collective conscience of the Sikh community, which was about to undergo a final transformation in the years to follow.
The headless body was taken away by Bhai Lakhi Shah Vanjara Ji who cremated it respectfully at his place in Delhi on November 12th, 1675. Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib Ji was erected at this location to commemorate the incidence. The Severed head of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was then presented respectfully to, Guru Gobind Singh Ji by Bhai Jaita Ji at Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji in Punjab. Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib Ji has been erected inside the town of Anandpur Sahib Ji where the severed and revered head of the Guru Ji was cremated.
Some writers have stated that once you promise allegiance to anybody, sacrifice your head but do not let him down at any cost. A great example of this is Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji who sacrificed his life but did not falter from his faith. Gobind Rai Ji son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was nominated to Gurgaddi. Guru Gobind Singh Ji was a child of 9 years when he was called upon to shoulder the responsibilities of a Guru. Bani of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji was entered into Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji by Guru Gobind Singh at Talwandi Sabo Ji, Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Ji. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji’s bani gives the message of non-attachment.