The Sixth Guru: Guru Hargobind

Guru Hargobind was the Sixth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism.

Dada J. P. VaswaniUpdated: Tuesday, July 05, 2022, 02:11 AM IST
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Guru Hargobind was the Sixth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. He became Guru in June 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev. Guru Hargobind was born at village Guru Ki Wadali in June, 1595. He was extremely handsome and the only son of Guru Arjan Dev and Mata Ganga.

He was barely eleven years old when his saintly father, Guru Arjan Dev had been captured by Jehangir and imprisoned in Lahore. The disciple delivered to the young boy his father’s last injunction; “Let him sit fully armed on his throne and maintain an army to the best of his capacity.”

Following the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev on May 30, 1606, Guru Hargobind raised a platform called the Akal Takht, or the Timeless Throne, opposite the Harmandir built by his father. It was on this Takht that Bhai Buddha performed, on June 24, 1606, the investiture ceremony at which Guru Hargobind put on two swords, one on each side, symbolising miri and piri, sovereignty and spiritual eminence respectively.

According to some historians, he had one daughter Bibi Viro and five sons: Baba Gurditta, Suraj Mal, Anil Rai, Atal Rai and (Guru) Tegh Bahadur.

The Guru held his darbar in princely grandeur, seated on a raised platform of twelve feet, attired in royal robes. He made the Harmandir Sahib the seat of his spiritual authority while the Akal Takht was the seat of his temporal authority. To the symbols of sainthood traditionally associated with his predecessors, he added marks of sovereignty, including the umbrella and the kalgi (a plume of ornamental feathers worn on the turban). He travelled widely, setting up Gurudwaras and preaching the words of the Gurbani.

We can say that the Sixth Guru’s period was a time of consolidation and militarisation for the Sikh faith. The last days of his life were spent at Kiratpur, a township he himself had built. Soon thereafter he passed away in 1644, having in his lifetime transformed the Sikhs into soldier-disciples. Out of his five sons, Tegh Bahadur became the Ninth Guru in 1664.

* July 5 is sacred as Guru Hargobind Singh’s Birthday.

(Dada J. P. Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)

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