Guru Gobind Rai who later became Guru Gobind Singh is the tenth Master in Sikh Dharma. He lived for 42 years. He was born in Patna, India and he breathed his last in Nanded, India, where the Gurdwara of Hazoor Sahib is established. His father was Guru Teg Bahadur and his mother was Mata Gujri. His wives were Mata Jeeto, Mata Sundari and Mata Sahib Kaur. He had four sons, Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh.
Young Gobind Rai, the son of Guru Teg Bahadur, was only 9 years old at the time of his father’s confinement, torture and death. The experience impacted him very deeply. In the coming years, the Sikhs would be called on again and again to fight Aurangzeb’s forces and protect the people from religious bigotry and persecution.
In order to create a society of people willing to lay down their lives to protect the dignity and divinity of all humanity, Guru Gobind Rai through the guidance of the Creator gave the Sikhs Amrit. For the full story of how the Amrit Ceremony developed in the Sikh tradition, please read The First Baisakhi. Guru Gobind Rai took Amrit from the hands of his own Sikhs and was reborn as Guru Gobind Singh. The Order of the Khalsa was established – a group of men and women dedicated to living in equality and peace, but willing to fight and lay down their lives to protect themselves and others from injustice and tyranny.
In the battles that followed, Guru Gobind Singh’s two eldest sons died in the fight. The two younger sons were captured by a Governor in league with Aurangzeb. The younger sons were bricked alive inside a wall and died.
Yet despite loosing his children, Guru Gobind Singh stayed surrendered to the Will of the Divine. He said that his children had come to him from the Creator. And that he understood it was time to send them back home. When a few of his Sikhs attempted to gather the bodies of his two eldest sons on the battle field, Guru Gobind Singh asked them what they were doing. They replied that they wanted to give his sons a proper funeral. Guru Gobind Singh told them that they should then stop and pick up all of the bodies – for all of the boys and men lying dead on the battlefield were equally his sons.
During Guru Gobind Singh’s life, the Adi Granth compiled by his great-grandfather Guru Arjan was lost. Guru Gobind Singh set up his camp and dictated the entire Adi Granth from memory. He also included in it the songs of his father, Guru Teg Bahadur. The result was the creation of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
At the end of his life, in 1708, Guru Gobind Singh passed the mantle of the Guruship to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. This ended the time of the physical masters of the Sikhs. And began the reign of the Shabad Guru, itself, as the Spiritual Light and Guide for the Sikh community.
Guru Gobind Singh, the only child of Guru Teg Bahadur and his wife Gujri, was named Gobind Rai at birth. Guru Teg Bahadur settled his family in Patna under the protection of the local Raja while he toured Assam and Bengal, and was not present at the birth. *A Muslim mystic Saiyid Bhikhan Shah journeyed 800 miles and fasted in a prophetic quest to have darshan (to see personally) and get a glimpse, of the infant prince.
The Raja’s wife, Maini, had no child of her own and became very fond of Gobind Rai. Every day she prepared chole and poori (spicy chickpea curry and crispy flatbread) for him and his playmates. She later built a gurdwara in her home where she also fed the worshipers chole and poori. This custom still exists today and the gurdwara is now known as Maini Sangat.
Childhood in Anandpur:
When Gobind Rai was about six years old when, at last, he and his mother joined his father in Anandpur where his education continued. When Gobind Rai was about nine years old, a delegation of Hindu Pundits appealed to Guru Teg Badadar for help resisting in forced conversion to Islam. Gobind Rai entered the council and asked what the meeting was about. His father explained, and the boy asked how a solution could be found. His father told him it would require the sacrifice of a great man. Gobind Rai told his father, that as guru, he was the greatest of men.
Inauguration and Father’s Martyrdom:
Guru Teg Bahadur made arrangements to leave Anandpur in order intervene on behalf of Hindus who were being forcibly converted to Islam at sword point. Guru Teg Bahadar appointed his nine year old son Gobind Rai to be his successor and tenth guru of the Sikhs. Mughal officers acting under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb arrested and imprisoned the Guru and his companions. The Mughals employed all manner of atrocities and torture in an unsuccessful effort to coerce Guru Teg Bahadar and his companions to convert to Islam. Guru Teg Bahadar and his companions remained true to their faith until their final breath.
Family and Supporters:
Loyal family members surrounded young Guru Gobind Rai. His mother Gujari, and her brotherKirpal Chand watched after him and advised him. Also present were Daya Ram, an early childhood companion of Guru Gobind Rai, and Nand Chand, a trustworthy treasurer (massand). His principal companions who acted as bodyguards were his relations:
- Five sons of Bibi Veero, the late Guru Teg Bahadar’s sister:
- Sango Shah
- Jit Mal
- Gopal Chand
- Ganga Ram
- Mahri Chand
- Two grandsons of Suraj Mal, the late Guru Teg Bahadar’s brother:
- Gulab Rai
- Sham Das
Other relatives, loyal Sikhs, bards and minstrels completed his court.
Marriage and Progeney:
At age 11, Guru Gobind Rai wed *Jito, daughter of Bhikhia from Lahore who with her family came to Anandpur for the marriage. Later his family pressed him to accept *Sundari, daughter of a new Sikh convert, as his wife. He fathered four sons:
- Ajit Singh
- *Zorawar Singh
- *Jujhar Singh
- Fateh Singh
After he founded the Khalsa, the parents of *Sahib Devi of Rohtas publicly promised their daughter to Guru Gobind Singh. He accepted the proposal to protect her honor on condition that theirs be a spiritual union. When she requested that he give her a child, the Guru named her Mata Sahib Kaur, mother of the Khalsa.
Rebirth and Innitiation:
Guru Gobind Rai created the new spiritual order of warriors known as the Khalsa. He assembled thousands of people for the Vaisakhi New Year festival in Anandpur and called for those willing to give their heads. Five volunteers became known as the Panj Pyara, or five beloved:
- Bhai Daya Singh
- Bhai Mukham Singh
- Bhai Sahib Singh
- Bahi Dharam Singh
- Bhai Himmat Singh
He initiated them as Khalsa giving them Amrit or immortal nectar to drink, and then submitted himself for initiation taking the name of Singh. The Khalsa were required to keep five articles of faith, and adhere to a strict code of conduct while avoiding four taboos.
Gobind Rai engaged in martial training from early childhood. He had a child-sized arsenal of weapons. Games with his playmates took the form of mock battles. After his father’s martyrdom, Guru Gobind Rai raised a guard, built a fortress, and practiced military maneuvers. A number of minor conflicts arose with local adversaries over petty jealousies of neighboring kingdoms. After founding the Khalsa order, Guru Gobind Singh fought a series of major battles attempting to protect his Sikhs and Anandpur from assault by Mughal forces. Vastly outnumbered, courageous Khalsa warriors defended their holdings to the last breath.
Guru Gobind Singh wrote prolifically while at Fort Paonta in Sirmur. He completed the Guru Granth, adding the compositions of his father Guru Teg Bahadar, but including only one of his own. His remaining compositions are compiled in the Dasam Granth. Portions of his most important works appear in the five prayers, or Panj Bania, of the Sikhs daily prayer book,Nitnem and include:
- Jaap Sahib,
- Tev Prasad Swayee
- Akal Ustat
Other important works are:
- Shabad Hazaray, which some Sikhs include with their nitnem.
- Bichitra Natak, considered by many to be his autobiography.
- Chandi di Var, a rousing description of battle.
More Hukams and Hymns of Tenth Guru:
- Khalsa Mahima In Praise of Khalsa
- Code of Conduct Letter To Sikh Sangat of Kabul (1699)
- Letters From Guru Gobind Singh To Aurangzeb Zafar Nama (1705)
- Lakhi Jungle (1705)
- 52 Hukams (1708)
Death and Succession:
Wazir Khan, an official of Sirhind who had ordered the death of Guru Gobind Singh’s youngest two sons, later sent assassins to kill the guru. They found the guru in Nanded and attacked him after his evening prayer, stabbing him beneath his heart. Guru Gobind Singh fought and killed his assailant. Sikhs rushed to his aid and killed the second man. The wound began to heal after but reopened several days later when the guru attempted to use his bow. Realizing his end had come, Guru Gobind Singh assembled his Sikhs and instructed them that thescripture of the Granth should forever be their irreplaceable guru and guide.More:
Joti Jot Guru Gobind Singh
(10th Guru’s Death and Inauguration of Granth)
Important Dates and Corresponding Events:
Dates correspond to the Nanakshahi fixed calendar unless otherwise indicated with A.D. representing the Gregorian calendar or SV the ancient Vikram Samvat calendar.
- Birth: Patna – January 5, 1667 (December 22, 1966 Julian Calendar). Gujri gives birth to Gobind Rai while his father Guru Teg Bahadar is on tour.
- Pandits Petition: Anandpur – May 25,1675 A.D. Gobind Rai remarks that his father Guru Teg Bahadar is worthy to intervene with Moguls on behalf of Kashmiri Brahmans.
- Inauguration: Anandpur – July 8, 1675 A.D. Guru Teg Bahadar appoints Gobind Rai as 10th guru and takes his leave.
- Father’s Martyrdom: Delhi – November 24, 1675. After being arrested and imprisoned, Guru Gobind Rai’s father, Guru Teg Bahadar, is beheaded by order of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
- ***Jito the daughter of Hari Jas of Lahore.
Marriage – Anandpur on 23, Har, SV year 1734, or June 21, 1677 A.D.
Participated in first Amrit ceremony Vaisakhi 1699.
Death – Anandpur on December 5, 1700 A.D. Cremated nearby Holgarh Fort at Agampura. Memorial at Gurdwara Mata Jito ji, at Garshankar road, Anandpur.
- ***Sundari the daughter of Ram Saran, a Kumarav Khatri and new Sikh convert from Bijvara (modern day Hoshiarpur, Punjab)
Marriage – Anandpur on April 4 1684
Death – Late 1747 A.D. at Delhi. Memorial at Gurdwara Bala Sahib, New Delhi.
- *Sahib Devi mother of the Khalsa
Birth – Rohtas of Jhelum, Pakistan on 18th of Kattak, SV year 1738, or November 1, 1681 A.D to mother Jasdevi and father Ramoo Busi a Khatri.
Marriage 18th of Vaisakh, SV year 1757, or April of 1701 A.D.
Death: SV year 1804, or early 1747 A.D. at Dheli. Memorial at Gurdwara Bala Sahib, New Delhi.
- ***Jito the daughter of Hari Jas of Lahore.
- Progeny: The Guru fathers four sons:
- With wife Sundari:
- Ajit Singh – Fourth day in light half of Magh SV 1743 (1687 A.D)
- With wife Jito:
- *Zorawar Singh – Seventh of Chet SV 1747 (1691 A.D.)
- *Jujhar Singh – First day in dark half of Magh SV 1753 (1697 A.D.)
- Fateh Singh – 11th of Phagan SV 1755 (1699 A.D.)
- With wife Sundari:
- Dasam Granth: Paonta – April 1685 A.D. The Guru composes and compiles Dasam Granth while raising an army and training his men at arms near the banks of the River Yamuna.
- Early Battles:
- Bhangam – September of 1688 A.D.
- Nadaun – March of 1691 A.D (Described in Bachitra Natak)
- Husaini – February 20, 1696 A.D.
- Initiation: Anandpur – Vaisakhi, April 14, 1699. Guru Gobind Rai submits himself to the newly created Panj Pyara for initiation into the order of Khalsa, and takes the name of Singh.
- Battles of Anandpur – Three major conflicts take place from 1701-1704 A.D culminating inHistoric Events of 1705:
- Martyrdom of Sons & Mother:
- Battle of Muktsar: – December 29, 1705 A.D Guru Gobind Singh battles Mughals with Mai Bhago & Martyred 40 Liberated Ones
- Assassination: Nanded – October 7, 1708. Guru Gobind Singh declares the Guru Granth Sahib as his everlasting successor.