Unlike the first five Sikh gurus, who are remembered mostly for their spiritual insights, Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru, is also credited with leading the community towards militarization.
Guru Hargobind was born on June 19, 1595 in Wadali, Amritsar. He was the only child of Guru Arjan Dev and Mata Ganga.
At the tender age of 11, Guru Hargobind became the guru on May 25, 1606, days before his father’s martyrdom.
On Guru Hargobind’s birthday today, here are some facts about him
Guru Hargobind studied science, sport and religion. Baba Buddha was assigned to oversee the religious teachings of Guru Hargobind.
His father Guru Arjan Dev appointed him as his successor shortly after Guru Arjan was summoned by Mughal Emperor Jahangir to Lahore. The fifth Sikh Guru suspected that he might never return, so before leaving he named his son Hargobind as his spiritual successor.
On July 24, 1606, more than a month after his father’s execution, Guru Hargobind appeared for the first time before his followers.
At his succession ceremony, Guru Hargobind wore a saffron robe, churidar pajamas and a turban with a fixed crest. He defiantly carried two swords, symbolizing his dual power as the temporal (miri) and spiritual (piri) leader of the Sikh community. Guru Hargobind had chosen a falcon as a pet. With this, Guru Hargobind has completely redefined the attire of a guru, who has now evolved from a spiritual leader to a warrior-ruler.
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“My rosary will be the girdle of the sword and on my turban I will wear the emblem of royalty,” Guru Hargobind is said to have said.
As he carried two swords, Guru Hargobind was also known as “Miri Piri Ka Malik”.
Guru Hargobind was himself an expert horseman, swordsman and wrestler and he trained others in military warfare and martial arts.
mughalAlthough it was Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th chief, who institutionalized the Sikh identity by forming the Khalsa, Guru Hargobind laid the foundations for this new identity.
The militarization of the Sikh community was an important program which brought him into direct conflict with the Mughals. He raised an army called Sant Sipahi.
Mughal Emperor Jehangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind in Gwalior Fortress for 12 years.
The sixth guru is believed to have served as the longest serving Sikh spiritual leader for over 37 years.
In 1608, Guru Hargobind built the Akal Takht, which today is one of the five Takhts (seats of power) of the Sikhs.
He also built a fort named Lohgarh near Amritsar.
After Jehangir’s death, his son Shah Jahan became the Mughal Emperor, who began persecuting Sikhs. The army under the leadership of Guru Hargobind defeated the Mughals four times.
Shortly before his death, Guru Hargobind appointed his grandson, Har Rai, as the next Guru.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)