Guru Tegh Bahadur martyrdom is observed by the Sikh community by organizing processions, singing hymns in Gurudwaras (Sikh Temples) and organizing sermons, kirtans (religious hymns) and lectures. It falls during the months of November or December.
The Life of Guru Tegh Bahadur
Guru Tegh Bahadur embraced death to save humanity from the tyranny of Aurangzeb – the Mughal emperor. Teg Bahadur, which means master of the sword , was undoubtedly the master of the spiritual sword. He was the ninth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the youngest of five sons of Guru Har Gobind, sixth guru of Sikhs. He was born at Amritsar in Punjab, India on 1st April 1621 and became Guru on March 20th,1675. Guru Gobind fought for the cause of religious freedom.
It is said that when he was born, his father Guru Har Gobind asked priests Baba ji and Baba Gurudas to bless the child. They bowed to the child and touched his feet. Perplexed by the action of priests one of the followers, tried to know the mystery. Guru Gobind, explained, this child was sent for a great mission who would sacrifice his life for the cause of humanity.
His father used to wear two swords: Mini (political sovereignty) and Piri (Spiritual- sovereignty). When his father first took him in his hand, he caught Piri, truly echoing his father s statement.
Guru Tegh Bahadur scripted three steps to detach oneself from the worldly attachment (Maya)
- Naam mediate on God s name (Wahe Guru)
- Daan to share one s earnings
- Isnaan to take a bath before morning prayers
Aurangzeb forcibly converted many Hindus into Muslims and adopted zero tolerance policy against Hindus. Guru Tegh Bahadur could not tolerate this and stood for the cause of religious freedom. He saved Kashmiri pandits from Aurangzeb terror.
He was asked by Aurangzeb to convert to Islam or face death. The man, who fought for the cause, kissed death and was beheaded in 1675 in Delhi. The site of his execution was turned later into Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Chadni Chowk. Lakhi Shah Vanjara, his follower burnt his own house to cremate his Guru s body, which is now known as Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, Delhi. Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom is a heart breaking instance of religious tolerance and equality.
Guru Tegh Bahadur became the Guru on March 20, 1665 following the footsteps of his grand nephew. He adorned the sacred throne of Guru Nanak Sahib from1664 to1675 and composed one hundred and fifteen hymns. He also wrote poetry, which is included in Guru Granth Sahib.
He traveled several places of pilgrimage like Allahbad, Varanasi, Gaya and Jagganath Puri and others. He inspired his followers to derive strength from truth, worship, sacrifice and knowledge. He taught the essence of freedom from attachment fear and discipline. He founded the city of Anandpur, which became a center of Sikhism.
Before his death he appointed his son Gobind Rai, who later came to be known as Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of Sikh. Guru Tegh Bahadur martyrdom epitomized the values he preached.