In the Reign of Terror : Guru Teg Bahadur Ji

From Moradabad the Guru went to Delhi, At this time the persecution of Hindus by the Mughals was at its zenith, and the people were really frightened. He tried to calm them down, and assured them of the power of God.

From Delhi he reached Anandpur in

February 1671. The people were happy to have him there as fear and death lurked everywhere in Aurangzeb’s reign of terror.

His return boosted the sagging morale of the Hindu population. After sometime he made up his mind to call Gobind and his family from Patna, and summoned them to

Anandpur. There he taught and guided his son for two years. He organised and trained his disciples. He held his darbar daily, and gave sermons to the people, stressing the importance of dharma (righteousness), and the need to protect and uphold it at any cost.

All this while, everyone at Anandpur could feel an undercurrent of unpleasant

happenings. Guru Tegh Bahadur dauntlessly infused the spirit of daring bravery and resistance amongst the people against oppression of any kind. He was practising what the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, had preached — the equality and dignity of man. Guru Tegh Bahadur empathized

completely with the suffering and sorrow of his people. He was full of compassion and love for them. Under the ruthless reign of terror that Aurangzeb was spreading at the point of a sword, Guru Tegh Bahadur knew that the time for him to act was nearing.

Day by day, the cruelty of the fanatic Mughal emperor increased. He had ordered the demolition of all temples, and the expulsion of all Hindus from his court. He was also forcing the devout Hindus to become Muslims.

In order to gain favour of the emperor, the Governor of Kashmir, Sher Afghan Khan, began terrorizing the Kashmiri brahmins. In fear and panic, around 500 of them managed to escape to the Guru for protection. They pleaded with him to save Hindu dharma from total destruction. They cried that they were being forced to turn Muslims, and all those who refused were being mercilessly slain.

Guru Tegh Bahadur heard everything calmly, and asked the troubled and terror-stricken people to eat from the langar and rest, while he thought the matter over. He assured them that he would sacrifice anything for the safety and honour of their faith.

The Kashmiri brahmins thus reassured, went away while the Guru brooded over their problem seriously. He realised that the dharma could be saved only if a pure and noble soul laid down his life for it. While he was deeply engrossed in his thoughts, his nine-year-old son, Gobindji, came running to him, and was surprised to find his father in a grave mood. When he asked the reason, the Guru told him about the atrocities of the bigot Muslim emperor. He also told him that the Hindu dharma was facing a very big crisis. He also confided that there was only one solution.

If a noble man, the holiest of the holy, sacrificed his life for the cause of dharma the situation could be saved. Hearing this, Gobindji replied that there was none more holy and noble than the Guru himself.

At first Guru Tegh Bahadur was

surprised, but then he was delighted to hear his responsible son express such noble sentiments. He immediately asked the pandits to go to Aurangzeb, and tell him that all the brahmins were ready to embrace Islam if they could first convert their Guru. He also said that he would sacrifice his life for the cause of dharma but never be converted. The brahmins were very pleased to hear this.

They went away with the hope that their religion was now safe. When Aurangzeb heard of Guruji’s decision he immediately issued an order, and sent two officials to arrest Guru Tegh Bahadur.

When the officials reached Anandpur the city was cast in gloom, and there v/as sadness on every face. The Guru advised his family to stay put at Anandpur. He sought his mother’s blessings, and instructed Mata Gujari to take good care of Gobindji.

Before leaving for Delhi he addressed his people,and told them not to be sad for him since it was necessary to sacrifice himself for the freedom of his people. He also told them to worship their God and follow their dharma.

The Guru reached Delhi in June 1675. He was accompanied by the chief priest, Bhai Gurditta, Bhai Matidas, Bhai Dayal Das and Bhai Satidas, who were the pet disciples of Guruji.