400th Birth Anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur


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    Recently, Sri Akhand Path has been inaugurated at Gurdwara Guru Ke Mahal to mark the 400th Prakash Purab (birth centenary) of Guru Tegh Bahadur

    About Guru Tegh Bahadur

    • Born: He was born at Guru ke Mahal (now a Gurudwara with the same name), Amritsar in 1621.
    • He was the fifth and the youngest son of Guru Hargobind Sahib. His childhood name was Tyag Mal.
    • He became the ninth Sikh Guru after the eight guru, Guru Har Krishan (1656-1664) and was followed by the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708).
    • Contributions
      • He resisted forced conversions of non-Muslims to Islam during Aurangzeb’s rule.
      • He contributed many hymns to the Guru Granth Sahib including the Saloks, or couplets.
      • He is known to have travelled extensively to preach the teachings of Nanak.
      • He had set up community kitchens and wells for the local people wherever he went.
      • He founded the town of Chak-Nanki in Punjab, which later became a part of Anandpur Sahib, a famous holy city and a global tourist attraction in the foothills of the Himalayas.
    • Death: He was publicly killed in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi.
      • Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi are the sites of his execution and cremation, respectively.


    • Foundation: It was founded by Guru Nanak (1469–1539) in the 15th century in the Punjab district of erstwhile undivided India and Pakistan.
      • It was subsequently led by a succession of nine other Gurus.
      • The development of Sikhism was influenced by the Bhakti movement and Vaishnavism.
    • Meaning: Sikh in Punjabi means “learner,” and those who joined the Sikh community, or Panth (path), were people who sought spiritual guidance. They call their faith Gurmat (the way of the Guru).
    • Believes
      • It is a monotheistic religion, meaning Sikhs believe in one God (Ek Onkar). 
      • The most important thing in Sikhism is the internal religious state of the individual and they should remember God in everything they do (Simran).
      • It stresses the importance of doing good actions rather than merely carrying out rituals.
      • It believes that the way to lead a good life is to keep God in heart and mind at all times, live honestly and work hard, treat everyone equally, be generous to the less fortunate and serve others.
      • It condemns rituals such as fasting, worship of the dead, superstitions, etc.
      • Sikhism rejects any form of idol worship including worship of pictures of the Gurus.
    • Place of Worship: The Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara and there is no image or idol of any deity or any Guru.
    • Scripture
      • Guru Granth Sahib, also known as the Adi Granth, is considered a living Guru by the Sikhs.
        • Guru Gobind Singh decreed that after his death the spiritual guide of the Sikhs would be the teachings contained in that book, so it has the status of a Guru.
        • He held that where Sikhs could not find answers in the Guru Granth Sahib, they should decide issues as a community, based on the principles of their scripture.
      • The Dasam Granth is the collection of writings attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. However, it is controversial in the Panth because of questions concerning its authorship and composition.
    • Community
      • Guru Gobind Singh recreated the Sikhs as a military group of men and women called the Khalsa in 1699, with the intention that the Sikhs should forever be able to defend their faith.
      • It upholds the highest Sikh virtues of commitment, dedication and a social conscience.
      • They have to wear Panj Kakka or 5Ks (5 symbols or physical articles of the faith: Kada (ron bracelet), Kachera (cotton underpants), Kirpan (iron dagger), Kesh (uncut hair) and Kangha (wooden comb).


    Ten Sikh Gurus


    Guru Nanak (1469-1539)

    • Founder of Sikhism.
    • Travelled all over India speaking out against religious rituals, pilgrimages and the caste system.


    Guru Angad (1504-1552)

    • Firm believer in education and founded many schools for children.
    • Began the tradition of Mall Akhara for young people, a form of physical, as well as spiritual, exercise.
    • Invented Gurumukhi (language of the Guru).


    Guru Amar Das (1479-1574)

    • Fought against caste prejudice and sought to establish social equality amongst people.
    • Built on Guru Nanak’s idea of Langar (free kitchen) where all followers, regardless of caste or wealth should eat together in the same place.


    Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)

    • Founded the city of Amritsar in north-west India, the holy city for the Sikhs.
    • Also started the construction of the Harmandir Sahib (now known as the Golden Temple) at Amritsar.


    Guru Arjan (1563-1606)

    • Compiled Adi Granth.
    • Finished the construction of Harmandir Sahib.
    • First Sikh Martyr.


    Guru Hargobind (1595-1644)

    • Known as the ‘soldier saint’.
    • Erected Akal Takhat (throne of eternal God) and established two swords, Miri-Piri (representing soldiers and saints).
    • First Guru to teach that sometimes it was necessary to take up arms to defend the faith and to protect the weak and needy.


    Guru Har Rai (1630-1661)

    • Peaceful leader, spreaded Guru Nanak’s teachings taking on missionary work.


    Guru Harkrishan (1656-1664)

    • Installed as Guru at the young age of five.
    • Humanitarian and helped people suffering from a smallpox epidemic.
    • Himself contracted it and died before his eighth birthday.


    Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675)

    • Firm believer in people’s freedom to worship.
    • Himself refused to convert to Islam and was executed and martyred as a result.


    Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708)

    • Last Guru.
    • Introduced Khalsa.
    • Put together Guru Granth Sahib and proclaimed it as the future Guru.

    Source: IE