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Biography[edit]

Guru Tegh Bahadur was born in a Sodhi Family.[14] The Sixth guru, Guru Hargobind
had one daughter Bibi Viro and five sons: Baba Gurditta, Suraj Mal, Ani Rai, Atal
Rai and Tyaga Mal. Tyaga Mal was born in Amritsar in the early hours of 1 April
1621, who came to be known by the name Tegh Bahadur (Mighty Of The Sword), given to
him by Guru Hargobind after he had shown his valour in a battle against the
Mughals.[15]

Amritsar at that time was the centre of Sikh faith. As the seat of the Sikh Gurus,
and with its connection to Sikhs in far-flung areas of the country through the
chains of Masands or missionaries, it had developed the characteristics of a state
capital. Guru Tegh Bahadur was brought up in Sikh culture and trained in archery
and horsemanship. He was also taught the old classics. He underwent prolonged
spells of seclusion and contemplation. Tegh Bahadur was married on 3 February 1633,
to Mata Gujri.[16]

Stay at Bakala[edit]
In the 1640s, nearing his death, Guru Hargobind and his wife Nanaki moved to his
ancestral village of Bakala in Amritsar district, together with Tegh Bahadur and
Mata Gujri. Bakala, as described in Gurbilas Dasvin Patishahi, was then a
prosperous town with many beautiful pools, wells and baolis. After Guru Hargobind's
death, Tegh Bahadur continued to live in Bakala with his wife and mother. He spent
most of his time in meditation, but was not a recluse, and attended to family
responsibilities. He made visits outside Bakala, and visited the eighth Sikh guru
Guru Har Krishan, when the latter was in Delhi.[17]

Guruship[edit]
In March 1664 Guru Har Krishan contracted smallpox. When asked by his followers who
would lead them after him, he replied Baba Bakala, meaning his successor was to be
found in Bakala. Taking the advantage of the ambiguity in the words of the dying
Guru, many installed themselves in Bakala, claiming themselves as the new Guru.
Sikhs were puzzled to see so many claimants.[18][19]

The Sikh tradition has a legend on how Tegh Bahadur was selected the ninth guru. A
wealthy trader, Baba Makhan Shah Labana, had once prayed for his life and had
promised to gift 500 gold coins to the Sikh guru if he survived.[18] He arrived in
search of the ninth Guru. He went from one claimant to the next making his
obeisance and offering two gold coins to each Guru, believing that the right guru
would know that his silent promise was to gift 500 coins for his safety. Every
"guru" he met accepted the 2 gold coins and bid him farewell.[18] Then he
discovered that Tegh Bahadur also lived at Bakala. Labana gifted Tegh Bahadur the
usual offering of two gold coins. Tegh Bahadur gave him his blessings and remarked
that his offering was considerably short of the promised five hundred. Makhan Shah
Labana forthwith made good the difference and ran upstairs. He began shouting from
the rooftop, "Guru ladho re, Guru ladho re" meaning "I have found the Guru, I have
found the Guru".[18]

In August 1664 a Sikh Sangat arrived in Bakala and anointed Tegh Bahadur as the
ninth guru of Sikhs. The Sangat was led by Diwan Durga Mal, and a formal "Tikka
ceremony" was performed by Bhai Gurditta on Tegh Bahadur conferring Guruship on
him.[19]

As had been the custom among Sikhs after the execution of Guru Arjan by Mughal
Emperor Jahangir, Guru Tegh Bahadur was surrounded by armed bodyguards.[20] He
himself lived an austere life.[21]

Works[edit]
Guru Tegh Bahadur contributed many hymns to Granth Sahib including the Saloks, or
couplets near the end of the Guru Granth Sahib.[21] Guru Tegh Bahadur toured
various parts of Mughal Empire, and was asked by Gobind Sahali to construct several
Sikh temples in Mahali. His works include 116 shabads, 15 ragas and his bhagats are
credited with 782 compositions that are part of bani in Sikhism.[22]

His works are included in the Guru Granth Sahib (pages 219-1427).[23] They cover a
wide range of topics, such as the nature of God, human attachments, body, mind,
sorrow, dignity, service, death and deliverance. For example, in Sorath rag, Guru
Tegh Bahadur describes what an ideal human being is like,[23]

jo nar dukh mein dukh nahin manney, sukh snehh ar phey nahi ja kai, kanchan maati
manney
na nindya nehn usttat ja kai lobh moh abhimana
harakh sog tey rahey niaro nahen maan apmana, aasa mansa sagal tyagey
jagg tey rahey nirasa, kaam krodh jeh parsai nahin teh ghatt brahm niwasa
Gur kirpa jeh nar kao kini teh eh jugti pachani
nanak leen bhayo gobind sao jayo pani sang pani